Monday, January 10, 2011

Ward Conference Season

Among my several church callings is an assignment as a counselor in our stake Sunday school presidency.

When I told my brother about the calling, he said that he would love to serve in such a “peripheral” calling. He currently serves as a counselor in his ward bishopric, which is a fairly demanding position. He said that he joked with his stake president that he’d pay double tithing if he could be a counselor in the stake Sunday school presidency. Church service would be a breeze if that were indeed my only calling.

At any rate, as a stake official, I am currently in a season of attending the annual conferences of each ward in our stake. In my stake, this means visiting other wards most Sundays during the first two months of the year. Other than being apart from my family during worship services, this is actually a fairly pleasant experience. I really don’t have to do anything except be there. Unlike some other stake officers, I have no speaking, teaching, or support assignments.

While attending ward conferences, I become acquainted with wonderful people in my stake that I usually only see from a distance. Yesterday I visited a Sunday school class filled with 12-year-old boys. Apparently the birth pattern in that ward included no female children in 1998.

The class was taught by a mother that has four young children of her own. I knew from hearing this woman speak in a meeting last year that she and her husband had both been members of the church since childhood, but had never been active. They didn’t really care to know the doctrines.

Then a couple of years ago, this couple decided they needed help beyond themselves in raising their family, so they turned to prayer, to the scriptures, and eventually back to the church. In the meeting where this sister and her husband spoke, they told of their conversion. You could tell that it was a very real and powerful force in their lives.

I was pleased to see that this sister had carefully prepared the Sunday school lesson to engage the target audience. Although some of the boys started out as relatively passive listeners, they were all quite involved by the end of the lesson. I could see that these boys could tell that this sister really cared about them. It was plain that she had a personally powerful witness in her soul that seeped out at every opportunity.

Our Sunday school presidency spends time dealing with and focusing on problems in church classes and teaching engagements. It is really nice to visit a class and see something very close to the ideal. You come away without having a problem to deal with. Perhaps that sense of relief allows one to feel uplifted.

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