Sunday, February 23

Ward Mission!

This has been an interesting few months for me... mostly because I've been learning how to be a good ward missionary.  I mean... as a missionary for the church, you have many clearly defined roles.

Ward missionary is an important role as well... but there is a lot less in regards to obligation, visibility... and clarity.  I mean, how much time do I give?  What is my priority?  What is my responsibility here?

Anyways.  I don't know if anyone has any thoughts on this.

The ward mission leader, Joseph, and I are currently drafting a new mission plan for our ward.  We are trying to figure out what goals to set and what habits we can try to help the ward members develop.  Tonight we went over it with the Bishop of our congregation.  We all agree that our greatest challenge is trying to motivate several hundred 18-30 year old adults to "catch on", so to speak.  We want to help everyone to set measurable, attainable goals to go to the temple, to invite regularly, and to visit and teach others in the ward.

Here are our application activities so far:
1. Pray for the missionaries and the members of our ward daily
2. Invite a non-member friend or a less active member to church or to an activity each week
3. Commit to fulfill your Home and Visiting teaching assignments 100% each month

Does anyone have any ideas/suggestions?  What has helped you in the past?  When have you found the motivation you needed to be involved?  

I am really beginning to re-learn and re-establish my roles in the church here.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn how to work with the ward council and the ward mission leader from the OTHER side... the civilian one.  ;)  Because it is a whole new plate of beans.  Or cup of tea.  Or whatever.

In other news, I have a new job... But I will write about that later.  :)  Needless to say, I am slowly and methodically destroying my social life.

Tuesday, February 18

Something Sweet

Gayle Gerson - Moonlit Forest
I got to go on a hike the other day-my first time snowshoeing.  Every year my professor Dr. Allen takes a group up on the night of a full moon.  We go specifically to see a white fir tree- purportedly one of the largest in the world.  It was beautiful.  :)

Some of you have heard me talk about a "tree journal" we're being required to keep in my arboriculture class (taught by this same Dr. Allen.)  The journal is meant to contain your observations, specifically about 6 woody plants of your choice (trees or shrubs).  I felt a little dubious about it at first, especially because we were encouraged to "connect" with our plants, to write poetry, and to have tree experiences (along with sketches and scientific observations.)  But to my surprise, this assignment has brought me a measure of peace and self-discovery... even revelation.

I thought I'd share an entry.  I'm not looking to impress anyone with my dialogues.  ;)  But I feel like it portrays a little of what I felt on that hike.

"Something Sweet" - A Narrative

They were waiting.
They pushed us along up the windy slopes.
Almost like they wanted us to see.
Deeper, deeper...
How often do they see anyone?  We are far from any path.
Everyone appreciates the moonlight.
It sets us apart from the rest of the world.  For a short while, we are primitive.  We see each other's
     faces in tones of blue and black.  
Deeper, deeper...
     Stumbles, falls, too eager.  We are coming-quickly now.
Closer and closer.
Do they remember?  
I laugh.  The cool air doesn't discourage, but follows along.  
Closer.
We are close now.
Trudging, wading,

Then we see it-waiting for us.
There are congratulations, treats, discussion,
We are a fellowship...

But I close my eyes.  And for a moment...

I am alone.

The quick pace and shallow breaths behind me. 
     Water fills my boots, soaks my socks.  It's almost too cold.
I turn towards the darkness, away from our circle.  The head lamps have come on.  It is distracting.
But I close them out too.

I am alone...
For a moment.
The dark shapes of neighboring trees loom without being intimidating.
I smile.
I am connected and I feel suddenly secure.
Not just to God, but to the beginning.  To ageless times and this ageless forest.

Just like always, the trivialities of life soften, fade, and become ghosts.
Hovering outside, waiting.

And the spirit of that moment fills my heart.

They were waiting.  Waiting to remind me.