So, I had an interesting day at church on Sunday. First of all, we stayed for the WHOLE TIME. I can't remember the last time that happened. We usually leave after Sacrament Meeting because TJ's back is hurting.
Let me explain a bit about Mormon church on Sunday. There are 3 parts. First there is Sacrament Meeting. Sacrament refers to the bread and water. So this is what would be comparable to other church's regular Sunday services. We do not have paid clergy, though. And our leaders(a Bishop and 2 Counselors) do not preach. Members are asked each week to give talks. Sometimes the leaders give talks. Once a month we have a testimony meaning where members go up and give their testimonies of God and Christ(and the church, scriptures, prayer, etc). This lasts a little over an hour.
Second we have meetings. Children go to nursery or Primary(which is like Sunday school), teens go to a class(Scripture Study) and adults(who do not teach) go to Gospel Doctrine(Scripture Study) or Gospel Principles(a class designed for people "investigating" the church or who are new and want to learn what we believe). This lasts a little under an hour(except Primary -- they keep going another hour).
Third, we separate. The men go to Priesthood Meeting, teen boys go to Young Men's, teen girls go to Young Women's and the women go to Relief Society. In all of these we discuss talks given by church leaders or different topics. This lasts an hour.
So our Sunday church lasts 3 hours. Long time ago they actually held the meetings during the week, but the church found it was easier to have them all on Sunday.
ANYWAY, back to what I was originally going to talk about....the previous week TJ let me know(as I did not go to church) that the Bishop(that is our leader. Like a pastor) wanted to see us either Wednesday night or Sunday. TJ had to work Wednesday so we had to meet with him Sunday.
Now, usually when the Bishop asks to see you it is either because there is a "concern" or he wants to give you a calling. I thought maybe he wanted to talk to us about why we never stay the whole time or why TJ goes more than me. Because of these reasons I really did not expect he would give me a calling(TJ had one already). Or maybe he just wanted to get to know us since we have never really net with him.
So, we were scheduled to meet with the Bishop at 1pm(church gets out at 12pm). So we kinda had to stay the whole time(it is like a 15-20 minute drive so we were not going home, then coming back). In Relief Society they mentioned that one of our members was starting a program Wednesday night where there would be a meeting then we would go as families to visit inactive members or people who wanted to learn about the church(what the missionaries normally do). They explained that anyone could go. I knew my husband would be part of this as his calling is as a ward missionary(a ward is the church building/area you belong to). I did not think I would like to do this as I am shy. And busy.
God had other plans.
Guess why the Bishop wanted to talk to us? To give us callings!!(callings are when you are asked to serve in some way). Well, to give me one as TJ already had his. Guess what the calling is? Ward Missionary!! Yes, I am now a Ward Missionary with my husband. What this means is that we help people who want to learn more about the church and want to join. Our duties include the Wednesday meetings and visiting people(I just knew I'd end up doing this!), attending Gospel Principles class on Sunday (which gives us good reason to stay past Sacrament Meeting. Also, if investigators are there we have even more motivation to stay the 3rd hour as we escort them to the last meetings -- so they feel more comfortable and have someone to ask questions of. We should probably also invite them to sit with us during Sacrament Meeting, come to think of it) and helping to give missionary discussions (normally a duty of our full time missionaries) where we teach them about our beliefs and the Gospel and invite them to be baptized (and we will probably be attending most baptisms).
I have to admit, this is definitely a calling I needed to have. It will motivate me to get to church every Sunday and stay the whole time, it will help me to strengthen my testimony and inspire me to be dilligent with my scripture reading and praying. Things I have been struggling with. I had actually been thinking that it would probably take a calling to help me get back on track.
Callings are not just given lightly or people chosen just because they don;t have one and a position needs to be filled. When there is a calling that needs someone the leaders pray about it and who they feel would best fit for that service(this is also how leaders are chosen, as well. By prayer and divine inspiration). So I know this calling was meant for me and that Heavenly Father loves me and knows what is best for me.
Ironically, though, Bishop mentioned that he has noticed that we usually come to church and he thanked us for our faithfulness. Um, I know TJ is usually there, but me -- not so much! And we don't stay. But I guess we are there enough :) (Plus we attended both sessions of Stake Conference last time).
Where do you go to church? What is it like? I love learning about different religions and faiths and churches.