My first thoughts were of excitement. The last time the ward boundaries changed, about ten years ago, the area to the south had been part of our ward. We were getting our old friends back again! One of my counselors mentioned to me that the closets for storage were bigger there. We would get a full walk in closet for our Relief Society stuff, and not just the half length cupboard we'd had.
I cleared out our cupboard that Tuesday after institute, and piled the stuff in the back of my van for the interim. I gathered up keys to the building and turned them in to the bishop to pass on. I met with my visiting teaching coordinator to make sure that was in order before we needed to add the new sisters.
About a week later (on a Sunday that happened to be a regional conference so we didn't meet as wards) the wards were changed officially in the system. Our ward received 173 new records - 97 of which are women over the age of 18. After meeting with the bishop of the other ward, my bishop provided us with a list of 14 sisters that he wanted us to get involved, and particularly to invite to our ward's Super Saturday activity which we had been planning for months and was scheduled for that coming Saturday. So my counselor and I got busy and drove around to each of those fourteen sisters' homes to deliver a personal invitation to attend our Super Saturday that weekend. Many of the sisters weren't home. However, I did get to meet a few that I didn't know before. Again, I was excited at the prospect of having new talents and new personalities in the ward.
Tuesday evening, the youth met on their new activity night at our new building. I went along to pick up my new building keys and to unload the stuff that had been sitting in the back of my van for a week. The bishop gave me the Relief Society keys that he had so far - two closet keys and two keys to a "Quilting closet". He gave me two "extra" building keys because the official Relief Society building keys hadn't been turned in yet. I went to check out the closet, and it is definitely bigger than the cupboard that we had before. It is a good sized walk-in closet with shelves from ceiling to floor on three sides. It was also still full of stuff. In the boundary realignment, four wards shrunk into three, and we got the closet for the ward that was dissolved... so they didn't need to take their stuff with them. So we "get" it. I piled the stuff from our cupboard onto the floor space in the middle. At some point I need to go back with my counselors and sort out what we want to keep and what we can get rid of.
On Friday, I met with the former Relief Society president from the other ward. She went through the list of sisters and told me a bit about each one that she knew (there were several she didn't know.) She shared with me a bit about their situations and what assistance they had been given in the past, and whether or not they would accept visiting teachers, or serve as visiting teachers. It was after this interview, that I felt like Peter, having taken a few steps on the water, took his eyes off the Savior and noticed the winds and the waves and started to falter. After six months, I finally felt like I was getting a grasp on what I was supposed to be doing, and suddenly, I'm facing new challenges in a relief society that is almost twice as big as it was before - on the rosters anyway. I came away feeling discouraged and overwhelmed.
Our Super Saturday activity went well. Only two of the new sisters came, and each only came for a short time, but we did have some less active sisters and family and friends come to the activity, and there was a good turn out in general. I enjoyed the chance to get to know some of the sisters in the ward better.
Yesterday was our first time meeting together in our new and improved ward, in the new building. I attended ward council in the morning, and one of the things our bishop said struck a chord with me. He reminded us of Joshua and Caleb, when they returned from their spying trip to report on what they saw. While the other spies saw the giants and the challenges of trying to conquer the land, Joshua and Caleb saw the advantages and blessings, and trusted the Lord would help them succeed. I realized that I need to be more like Joshua and Caleb. I need to trust that things that will work out, and that the Lord will guide me in what I need to do to best serve the sisters in my ward.
We arrived for sacrament meeting a little early, and I made a point of introducing myself to unfamiliar faces in the chapel. I saw some of the sisters I had visited earlier in the week, and even got to sit between two of them during Sunday School. I conducted in Relief Society, and before we started the lesson, I had everyone introduce themselves, so we could get to know each other better.
I don't think I'm as discouraged and overwhelmed now as I was on Friday. I still feel like I have a lot to do. I want to visit each of the sisters on our list, but I realize that is going to take some time. I don't have to do it all this week, And I don't have to do it all myself. I need to remember my favorite scripture verse:
"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we standstill, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." D&C 123:17