Sunday, October 18, 2009
It feels weird at the moment, but I know I will get over it. I do not have a new calling, yet, but that is just fine. During the two hours after sacrament meeting and in the hour after the meeting block, I felt lost with nothing to do. I'd given my binder and keys to the new counselor. I feel a bit naked without them.
For the past five years I've sat to Kelly's right as we (along with four second counselors, three ward clerks and three executive secretaries over the years) have been the ward leadership. Our main goal, among other things, was to not to lose any young men and get them on missions through a strong Young Men/Scouting program. We put a similar emphasis on the young women. While we were not 100% successful, we did very well in our youth programs and had the very best scouting program in the stake for a while. Our youth program is the best in the stake and the youth going through it are top-notch. We do not have any serious problems with our kids, and they are inclusive of each other and get along nearly perfectly. We do not take all the credit, but we put the best people in position we could and supported them and the youth as a bishopric at every activity including Mutual each week.
Bishop Porter was an extraordinary bishop for being just a common guy. He put his heart and soul in to his calling and honestly did the best he could. He tried mightily to energize our missionary program and reactivate many but we had minimal success. Still, we did what we could to spread the Gospel in this part of the vineyard. Bishop Porter was kind, patient and long-suffering. I never once saw him get upset at anything or anyone. Only a couple times could I detect he was frustrated. He spent countless hours reaching out to the struggling and the poor, especially. He was temple-focused and our ward is well-known at the temple. We strived to always meet our stake assignments in whatever form they took. We were obedient. Our ward is known for its kindness and the way we embrace newcomers. We feel good about all of these things.
My service was enjoyable. I had a much better experience this time around than last when I was only 29, had been a member of the Church for only six years and my leadership experience amounted to several years service as YM president. I had no clue what I was doing or what or how to be a bishop's counselor. And it got off on a very rough note when my dad had a heart attack and died as I was being sustained in sacrament meeting. I did not know how to balance work, church, a young family, and outside interests. The result was much of the burden fell to Mom. I have always regretted that. After a little over a year, I was released when our Young Men's program was in trouble trying to raise funds to go to a distant Church scouting jamboree. I was installed as YM president again to fix that, which we did. But I always regretted I was not more successful, at least in my mind, as a bishop's counselor.
This time around I felt more comfortable. I was older, wiser, more mature, more experienced, the kids were gone, and I was, thus, more relaxed. Staffing organizations and calling people to serve scared me the first time around. This time I merely asked if they would do what we wanted them to do. Nearly everyone accepted and those that couldn't or didn't, I did not pressure but had compansion for. That approach made all the difference for me. Kelly taught me that we are engaged in a marathon, not a sprint. The longer view made setbacks more easy to deal with. The fact I had engaged in marathon racewalking as hobby also made me realize this.
I take a bit of proper pride in being responsible for the organization of each sacrament meeting for the past four years. it was a duty that was never-ending and relentless in that each week it was expected to have a well-organized, thoughtful program of speakers that conveyed an interesting and tmely Gospel message that uplifted, rather than chastized. I feel I did this as well as i could and we received comments often that our sacrment meetings were very reverent and spiritfilled.
I asked Kelly today why he wanted me to serve as his first counselor as we did not know each other particularly well before. We had served together overseeing the Teacher's quorum and I was his home teacher. He said he was impressed with my love for the youth, my ability to teach principles well, my common-sense approach to things, that I balanced his weaknesses (I question this), and I had been recommended by Bishop Burnett who preceded him as I had serve well as his ward clerk for many years. He then prayed about it and felt that he should request I serve with him. I felt both honored and humble at these comments. We had never talked about this before.
The past five years has gone quickly. Both Kelly and I feel that it is time for a change. Our ward struggled for the past 18 months since the transfer of a quarter of our membership to Oregon City wards. We have finally stabilized the organizations and the feelings of loss are finally in the past for most everyone. It has not been easy. We were running like a well-oiled machine when the transfer occurred and we felt like it was a train wreck when it occurred. It tested our faith to a certain extent. But we persevered. It is now time for a new bishop and counselors to carry on as is the norm in the Church.
This time now is especially necessary for me to support Momand help in caring for my mother in her time of failing health. Once again the burden of my absence has fallen on her, and it is time for me to do what I can in this difficult situation of my mom's decline. But I am a true believer of the scripture of Ecclessiastes 3 that there is a time for everything in its due time. It is now time for me to devote time to family. The Church will continue on just fine without me in a ward leadership role. I am not vain in needing to be in charge. I tried to serve well in leadership roles for most of the over 30 years we have lived in the ward. I do not mind taking a bit of break to do other important work.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
We crossed over the river and headed home making a stop at the familiar Bonneville dam. We spent a great deal of time at the fish hatchery watching the seventy-year-old, 600 pound sturgeon in the pond and salmon packed into the returning gates ready to spawn.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
This year I had just 5 boys, younger ones as the older guys in our troop are going to a high adventure camp in Washington. I went because our scoutmaster's wife just had a baby and the other scout leasders that could go are going on the high adventure. Included in our group was a non-member and two kids with disabilites. We went with Troop 400 from Canby 2nd Ward who had 5 young guys go, including only two from their ward, two from Utah who were the nephews of their scoutmaster and one non-member from another troop who missed his summer camp. All the kids meshed instantly in the parking lot before leaving. They were a great group. Steve Langford, the scoutmaster for 400 is great. No problems at all...except about a million yellow jackets. I avoided getting stung but four of our group were not so lucky.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Then we hit the low course which are challenges just off the ground. These required teamwork, physical exertion, balance (my downfall), faith in your teammates, cooperation and mental challenges to figure out the best way to accomplish the task (often without talking or blindfolded, etc.). The leader for each challenge was a different young person each time (adults were to follow, not lead).Low course
High obstacle course
Balancing - about 35 feet up!