This is what we found when we entered the church building today.
Today was Sunday. I love Sundays. I love that we set this day aside to honor our Heavenly Father. I love that we call this a day of rest. I love that we have made a commitment to worship him on Sunday not only at Church but in our home. I love going to church. I love everything about it. I love pulling into the parking lot and seeing little boys and girls dressed in their Sunday best getting out of their cars and helping their younger siblings safely maneuver the parking lot. I love how when you enter the building the prelude music just washes over you like a thick warm blanket. I love that you can always count on certain families to occupy their "self assigned" pews. I love to see Daddy's wandering the buildings with babes in their arms. I love that so many of the women and men who occupy the space in our home ward with my husband and I on Sunday's are no longer strangers but Brothers and Sisters. I remember the first time we walked into an LDS Chapel it felt like "coming home" and I love that it has continued to feel like that no matter where we are. Until.........
Today I woke up and found myself thinking, "Ugh, I hate Sunday." I know, that is awful that I even thought it and even worse that I admit it. I'm sorry, but Sunday is a little different here in Ukraine because we don't speak Russian. I was not really looking forward to going to church because I feel like I miss so much when I can't understand what is going on. I don't know what the talks in Sacrament Meeting are about unless some poor missionary translates for me. I am still having difficulty singing the hymns because I can't read fast enough so I struggle with something that use to give me so much comfort. I feel sad that I can't talk to the members of the Branch and I can't participate in class discussions. I was feeling like "what do I have to offer." So, I was definitely starting the day out all wrong. I was in desperate need of an attitude adjustment.
I decided just before we left for church to e-mail a brief note to my daughter and her husband and tell them I love them and I saw that I had an e-mail from someone whose name I didn't recognize. I really didn't have time but I have to say, I felt prompted to open it before leaving. It was a comment that had been posted on our blog from a Woman in West Africa. She wrote,
"You have made my Sunday truly a day of worship. My 10yr-old daughter and I are the only church members in Burkina Faso and it's a glorious day when we can find a way to keep a little Sabbath in our Sunday! We're the little red dot in West Africa and we love the sweet spirit of your blog. Book marked for FHE lessons.
I should have gone straight to my knees to thank my Heavenly Father for such a gift. It completely changed my attitude about the day. I noticed I felt HAPPY as we were waiting for the bus to take us to the Chapel where we meet with about 50 members and 10 missionaries each week. I felt happy when we walked inside and found 10 or12 umbrellas all opened and scattered across the tile floor. The umbrellas that these faithful Saints had used to stay dry as they walked to church today. I felt happy when just like every Sunday, some sweet sister approached me with a big smile and a kiss on the cheek as I was making my way to my seat in the back. When I sat down and opened the hymn book and the piano began playing one of my favorite hymns, "because I have been given much", I could feel the my Heavenly Father's Love for me. The members beautiful voices blended, and as they sang in their native tongue. I could feel a peace engulf me as the words ran through my mind. I felt incredible peace as a young man of 17 who had just recently joined the church offered the blessing on the bread. I was loving Sunday by now as I thought of the faith of this young man. He is the only member of his family that has been baptized. He was brought to church for the first time by a classmate. He is 17 years old and he is such a righteous young man. Every week he shows up dressed in a clean white shirt and tie, and every week he attends the youth night even though sometimes there is only 3 or 4 other young people there. He has attended every Branch activity and every Service Project we have had since joining the church. I was finding myself filled with gratitude when I looked over at one of the Sisters and saw that she was sitting next to her husband who has only attended church once before since I have been here. I know that it has been the desire of her heart to have her husband sit beside her as she worships her Heavenly Father. My heart was touched as I reflected on the sweet members of our branch and what a blessing it is to be here in Ukraine witnessing the growth of the church.
I love being able to see people enter our building for the first time and see a member welcome them and know that they too are having that "coming home" feeling that I experienced so long ago.
I am so thankful for that sweet Sister in West Africa and her 10 year old daughter who have reminded me once again to count my blessings. God Bless You. What an example you are to all of us. I promise you I will never look at Sunday worship with the attitude I started today with again.
When I woke up this morning I just wanted my daughter to know that I loved her and was thinking of her. I think that's probably how it is with our Heavenly Father. He knows when we are struggling with something, he knows when our burden seems too heavy to bear. Sometimes he just wants us to know that he loves us. I pray that our eyes will be open, that our ears will hear when he sends loving reminders of who we are and why we are here.
July 27, 2008
Health Fair click on the photo to see what is coming up
|From Health Fair|
To listen to this talk you will need to put the music on pause first
Sometimes we forget what divine gifts we have been given. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints