Monday, November 2, 2009

Adrift, Yet Not

We knew that coming here would be a challenge. We also knew it would yield great rewards. We've definitely been finding this to be true on both counts.

The food situation was expected, and I had planned for it. It will be a relief to go back to real supermarkets, but I appreciate all I'm learning about using the sorts of food you are advised to have in your food storage. I am also happy to discover that when you have to do without, innovation kicks in and possibilities abound.

The one thing I'm having the hardest time with, though, is the inability to attend church. I miss having a ward to go to. Well, actually, I miss having the opportunity to meet with anyone outside our family that is LDS. I am realizing just how many times I took that for granted, how many times I just stayed home because it was easier. I wish I hadn't done that. It's a real blessing to be around people that share your religion, that both teach and strengthen you.

We've met some great people, but I can tell it will be a bit harder to find friends here. I can't just go to church and make the quick bonds that come with a shared experience and understanding. I know I'll find my place, but right now, it's tough to know where that will be. Drinking seems to be the big pastime here, which obviously puts a damper on things for us. We haven't made a big deal about it, but people already seem to know not to offer it. The last time we went to something, a couple people tried to find me the few non-alcoholic drinks buried in the cooler. I really appreciated that.

We're just doing our own thing right now. We get dressed for church in the morning, and have a small Primary for our boys. This past Sunday, Wyatt asked for a small chair, so we lined up our little camping chairs in the living room and had them sit there. They already seem to realize that even though we are at home, we are still going to church. It's hard to have to do it by ourselves, to feel the pressure of knowing that if we don't teach them, no one will.

It's also amazing, though, just how much more we are getting out of this. I'm seeing Oliver in a totally new light as he has met me halfway in making this happen. He's missed so much church in the past that I haven't really had the opportunity to see him serving or teaching in that way. He has only held one calling that actually required he do something in the last six years, and it was only for about six months. I love discovering that he has a faith and belief I didn't realize was as strong as it is.

I have felt in the past that I was going to church just because I was supposed to, not because I was going to learn anything. Most of my time was spent with our youngest, who hated nursery and wouldn't sit still for sacrament meeting. I rarely could sit through an entire Relief Society meeting without being needed, and didn't even bother to try to get to Sunday School. Now, while we are still struggling to teach Oscar to sit still and listen, it's amazing just how much more you can gain when you are preparing and teaching the lessons to your own children.

There are problems, however. I have no idea where we fit anymore. I thought every part of the world had at least a mission to watch over it, but no one we've talked to seems to know who is over us. Our records are still sitting in Washington because I don't know where to send them. Our tithing is also an issue because I don't know who to give it to. I actually mailed a check to Salt Lake last week because we had three months worth building up in our account and I don't want it there. It's not our money.

Hopefully, we'll be able to figure this all out before too much longer. At least before I need a new temple recommend. I don't even know where to begin to get another one of those...

6 sonar pings:

Emily said...

Wow! Just, wow! I can't even imagine not having some sort of Church around! On my mission, we had to travel quite a distance sometimes to go to Church, but there was always one somewhere!
Have you looked up on the Church website for a Branch near you? Maybe you can find out which Mission you're in, and eventually find out to whom to give your tithing to!
I admire you and your family for doing what you can with what you have! Keep it up, and you'll be blessed.

MOMSWEB said...

I can't remember being stationed anywhere that didn't at least have a chapel nearby. This is why it is so important to read the Word, marinate on it, and carry it in our hearts. We never know when we'll be without HEARING it.
The great part about this is that God's perfect plan for your family is still a perfect plan - even this part. Bless you!

SaraG said...

Looks like you all are settling right in! Your Halloween pictures were too cute.
One idea for you about the church thing. When my Grandma can't attend church she watches the video's from the days events at her Church website. If you had a home church in the states perhaps they have video's of their services you could watch.
Take care!!

Ana said...

Emily: Yeah, I've looked on the Church's website and asked people I thought would know, but haven't been able to come up with an answer. I can't even figure out what mission we are in. Obviously, I have no idea how to ask the right questions, but I'm still looking.


I like the video idea; we're doing something like that right now, actually. The LDS church has a lot of videos and other resources on their website, so we're pulling from there to come up with lessons for the kids and reading material for the adults.

It's so true that you should really study when you can, because when it's gone, that's all you have to hold on to! I'm definitely learning that one.

Peggy said...

I'm not 100% sure but I think you send your tithing where your records are.

Using the church website is a great idea. Could you attend a ward in WPB or is that not an option at all? Maybe once a month or so?

Good luck! I know you will make the most of this opportunity. It's who you are.

Ana said...

We will probably try to attend church in WPB when we are there, but I don't forsee it happening too often. It's a challenge to work out flights, and there is always a danger of being bumped. Because Oliver has to work every Monday, and the last flight out is early afternoon, I don't think we could do it unless he was on vacation or I just took the kids myself. To be honest, I don't see myself doing that...