Going to church today proved to be interesting....
(Be warned: this post is long but rather funny!!)
Allow me to start this story at the beginning! :) We found out yesterday that the church building we normally meet in had flooded. One of the fire sprinkler pipes froze (they think Thursday night) and then Friday when it warmed up, the pipe broke. Needless to say about 3/4 of the building (keep in mind it is a double chapel) was covered in 1-2" of water. They have brought in an emergency restoration team to dry everything out.
Well, today our whole stake was shipped out to surrounding wards. We were all sent to the double chapels up by Costco. Half of the stake went to the South building and half to the North building. Each ward was then divided in half (we were split alphabetically) between the two chapels in each building.
We arrived to church early because we didn't know how long it would take--and we were told that if the parking lot was full, we would have to park at Costco and walk. That would take some serious time so we left really early. We fortunately found a parking place as someone left which made it so we were about 15-20 minutes early.
We see some of our friends and kind of clump together not sure if we really should be going in the chapel. We were greeted by our Bishop and knew we were in the right place. It was a comfort to see him! So all of us sit together at the back of the chapel. Before the meeting started (I know... I should be more reverent!!) I am turned around talking with a friend and not paying attention to how people are coming in the building. As the meeting is starting, I see two guys come in together and I assume that the ward we are visiting must have missionaries. They turned away from me before I could see their missionary tags. Ok cool... the ward has missionaries.
Well... as the meeting is actually starting, I realize that there are a lot of girls all sitting together. Weird. But I don't really think much about it because I assume that the girls' husbands must be passing the sacrament and they all were just talking before the meeting. One of the announcements was telling everyone where the mother's nursing lounge was. It was in room 109. Ok obviously room 109 is not always used as a nursing lounge but apparently there were way more mothers in that building then the regular nursing lounge could handle so they created another one. No big deal.
Then the counselor presiding (again something weird--he is grey haired. All of our counselors in the married ward come from our ward. I can't figure out why they didn't call members of the married ward we were visiting to be the Bishopric counselors but whatever. I didn't stress it too much!) then starts reading off the announcements. Our hosting ward was having a break-the-fast today. I was SO jealous thinking this was the coolest married ward ever! I was hoping some one in our ward was taking notes of their sweet ward activity and to keep doing it in our married ward too.
Sacrament meeting continues--just like normal. I loved being able to take the Sacrament no matter where we were. It didn't matter that we weren't in our building--the gospel was still the same and I loved it! One interesting thing was our Bishop and Stake President were sitting on the stand. But our Stake President wasn't presiding--the Bishop of the ward hosting us was presiding. It was an interesting thing to watch.
Ok another weird moment. After the Sacrament was over, the guys passing it didn't go sit back with all the girls at the front. Then I saw the girl, who was leading the music, smile at a guy when she walked off the stand and then not sit by him. What on earth?! Why are you flirting with someone who isn't your spouse??? At this point, I still honestly thought that we were in a married student ward, like us. Reasons for my way of thinking: (1) all of the student wards meet on campus, (2) we passed like 15+ churches but obviously none of them were married student wards, (3) the thought of being in a single's ward never crossed my mind.
Well, finally it is time for the sharing of testimonies and the counselor conducting starts off. He is talking about how he loves sharing his testimony and he only gets to every 3 months now. Then he is talking about his mission and how he always shared his testimony then. I don't really remember everything but somewhere along the lines he talks about how grateful he is to be serving in the Single's Ward. WHAT??!!! I practically blurt out (trying to whisper) "We're in a Single's Ward?!?! Well, that explains why no one is sitting together!" The guy next to Casey practically started laughing and he whispered to me "Yeah, we all hate our spouses..." H.O.L.Y. C.O.W. I was SO shocked (not that it mattered but it was completely different then what I had just assumed--and I have NO idea if I was the only one who was floored by this or not but I like to think that others in my ward were just as shocked--though not as vocal as I was. Who knows--maybe I am the only clueless one!)
Don't ask me what other things the counselor talked about--I have no idea. I was just so busy connecting the pieces and completely WEIRD moments and then being amazed at how well all the clues fit together! The counselor sits down. Vrrrrroooooom!!! There goes 1/2 the ward now rushing towards the stand so they can share their testimonies. I am not completely over the shock yet of where we were at and I kind of blurt out again, "Welcome to the Single's Ward!" to Casey. (I like to think I was a little bit quieter with that announcement but who knows.)
So... as we sat there, I was SO impressed by the faith of the testimonies we were listening to. They were such spiritual giants!! It didn't matter that who we were with or what we didn't have in common (marriage and single students) because what we did have in common was far greater!! :) Some of those people shared exactly the things I needed to hear. The guy next to Casey leans over and whispers to us both "Why aren't any of the married people on the stand?" Well, that is a good question--because something dumb happens when you get married and you don't run to the stand any more to share your testimony. I tell him, "The line is WAY too long... The married people don't want to go up there and end up sitting apart from your spouse the entire meeting." I know it sounds lame but I am kind of serious.
I had NO intention of going up and bearing my testimony!!! No way. It wasn't my ward. I'm not going up on the stand back into the meat market by myself. Who knows how much time there will be anyway. Well, my hands start sweating and my heart starts beating hard. Towards the end of the meeting, I knew I had to go up. I don't want to but realize I would be so ungrateful if I didn't. I whisper (serious this time--it was a very quiet whisper) to Casey, "I have to go up!" I step across him and then kind of stumble across the random guy sitting next to Casey. And I walk up. It was a long walk. My Bishop and Stake President (who actually knows me because of my stake calling!) are watching me.
I was the last person to share my testimony. I proceed to explain my shocked feelings about learning what ward we were in. Everyone was laughing. But I didn't go up to be a comic relief. I was there to testify of Christ. (Though the background info definitely emphasized my point!) My testimony today was based on how grateful I am that the gospel is the same! And Heavenly Father loves us all the same--it doesn't matter if you are married or single or anything else! We are ALL His children! And I know that there really is a prophet guiding the church because it is the same thing no matter where you are. I truly am grateful for this!! And the Holy Ghost is the same and can prompt you no matter what stage of life you are in.
It turned out to be a wonderful Sunday and I was truly blessed and greatly spiritually fed! :)
P.S. If any of this doesn't make sense to you, leave a comment, I would love to explain my beliefs! Learn more about what a testimony is or to see the basic beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!!