Saturday, February 20, 2016

Almost a full time job!

I can't remember if I mentioned in my last post that I was once in a Relief Society presidency the first a singles ward.

For those of you not of my faith, a singles ward is just like a regular LDS congregation except there are no married members besides the bishop and his counselors who lead the ward. It's a way for single adults to interact with like-minded people of the opposite sex and hopefully find friends and possibly even a spouse.

I'm sure being the RS president of a student ward has its own set of challenges, but I know for a fact we didn't have to deal with half of what a regular, family ward has to deal with.

Pretty much since day one, compassionate service has been on the forefront of what I do. Funerals, moms having babies, sick moms with sick kids, emergency room visits, deaths in the family...all things we didn't even think about when I was in the singles ward and yet have already dealt with in the three weeks I've been in the position. Of the 21 days I've been RS Pres, I think there has only been 7 days I haven't been called about someone who needs something. It's kind of wearing.

This past week, we had an incident that left an awful taste in my mouth and a pit in my stomach. I couldn't sleep all last night for thinking about it. I made a mistake and said yes to something and got taken advantage of...more accurately, the ladies in our ward who provided the service were taken advantage of (although I pray they never realize it and receive all the blessings they deserve for their generosity).

Yesterday, Matthew and I watched an hour of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood in the morning (he's sick so we didn't go to the gym like we usually do). One of the episodes was about making mistakes; everyone makes them and the important thing to do is to fix them if you can and to learn from them.

Well, I made a mistake and am determined to learn from it. I chatted with the bishop (the leader of our congregation) and he assigned me to come up with some guidelines for our ward's compassionate service efforts.

I believe in providing service to those in need. It's one of the three fundamental purposes of the Relief Society and it is a godsend to those who give and receive the services. I was counselled recently to never turn away from an opportunity to serve; however, I fear that there are members in my congregation who are abusing this service, and it makes me sick in my heart. Already, there are ladies in my ward who are getting burned out from all the compassionate service needs of our ward (we have at least a dozen women who are expecting babies in the next few months - we provide 2 meals for each pregnancy - plus all the elderly, sick, and others).

It's only been three weeks. What is in store for me the next year or so (hopefully not too long)??

Julie :)


Cardine said...

I don't envy your position.

I find it interesting that service can be so rewarding when you know you're really helping someone, yet when people wrongfully take advantage of those who serve, it can be the most disillusioning thing possible. I'm sorry you had to experience that.

I'm sure you're doing a great job! Thanks for sharing about your experiences!

Sarah P said...

Wow! Busy! I can see there definitely ARE some major differences between the needs of those in a singles ward and family ward - at least needs that the RS can meet (I guess what I mean is, people in a singles ward might turn to their families when in need, while those in a family ward are the families).

When I had Benjamin, I appreciated the meals and attention, but then I strained my back and REALLY appreciated the meals and attention.

You know what I value? Visiting Teaching that works correctly.

One time my friend Katy, not in my ward, randomly called me during those difficult days to see if she could come over and help me with anything, like doing my dishes, watching Daniel, or just hanging out. I took her up on the offer and felt GREAT relief that I didn't even need to ask, because I don't do that very well - no one does. Katy offered several times during the following months. Randomly. Sometimes I was doing fine and I didn't have her come, or if she came, it was to hang out. Other times I was so grateful she thought of me and my needs, and offered a little of her time. She was a visiting teacher to me!

Without being too negative, allowing for unknown variables in people's lives, etc., I will relate that when my real visiting teachers asked "what can we do for you?" I asked them to randomly call me, when they had a half hour or so free, to see if I may need help (the moments of difficulty would come and go, you see). I asked them to do this, call me when they could help, instead of calling them when I most needed help, because that was the most unlikely time I would call for help.

But, they never called.

I just assumed they never thought about me, but I should be more charitable - there really are times when a person has no free time. But, still....

So, real visiting teaching. That's where it's at. That's the moral of my story.

tearese said...

In the Branches in SD, particularly on the Reservations, they have a big problem with people taking advantage of the church and compassionate service.
I have a really hard time doing well at compassionate service. I never know how to help people and am really bad at most things people associate with it like cooking..or even visiting, which is extremely stressful for me. When I was RS president I felt stressed just thinking about it, and more stressed because I lived so far away from our small congregation that I felt I couldn't properly help anyway if there was a problem. On top of that, I felt like the number one thing they wanted me to do as President here was to plan our ward parties, and I REALLY can't do that well, as I never have them myself and hate big gatherings.
I think the most stressful feeling in the world is feeling like you let someone down, slightly after the feeling that people are talking about how you let people down. Ugh.
Honestly, I had to ask to be released after two years, and I know for a fact I couldn't handle it at all in a big ward like yours probably is. So, I totally think you're doing great, compared to me for sure.