I was concerned (and hopeful) on so many levels. I wanted to put on a good face for the LDS Church but did not want to dominate, to blow-away, to super abound. The perception (sometimes correct) that the LDS Church unduly influences everything in UT was something I did NOT want to perpetuate. I wanted to impress the ladies of Christian Women United but I did not want to blow them away.
I wanted my sisters of the Roy 14th ward to meet my sisters of Church Women United but that brought concerns also. I was concerned about taking my 14th ward sisters away from their families for three hours on a Saturday morning; family time is so precious. I feared my sisters on the 14th ward would find the World Day of Prayer program boring or that they would be uncomfortable with the passing of the plate for donations (something we do not do in our worship services). I worried that there would be too few Roy 14th ward sisters, which might give the impression that we don’t care, or too many Roy 14th ward sisters, which might feed into the whole dominance thing again. Ahhhhhhh…………………!!!
Saturday morning I woke up at 1:00 a.m. and World Day of Prayer thoughts roused my mind to the point that I could not sleep so I got up and worked…..which was actually nice as I was able to make a dent in the task list that has been multiplying like cancer lately. I planned to go on an hour bike ride @ 7, shower and prepare myself from 8:00 to 8:30 a.m., and prepare the church building from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at which time the ladies would begin to arrive.
I did not plan on getting a flat tire.
By the time Lance found me to rescue me (which is another manifestation of the Lord’s tender mercies: I did not have a cell phone with me, knocked on a stranger’s door to borrow a phone, gave Lance bad directions, started walking home, realized that Lance was not going to be able to find me because I had given him bad directions, started praying like crazy, was very pleasantly surprised when a car pulled over to offer help, was even more pleasantly surprised to find out the good Samaritan was my brother-in-law Chris, asked Chris to call Lance and tell him where I really was, and, finally, got in the car with Lance and drove home)….As I was saying, by the time Lance found me to rescue me, it was 8:39 a.m. and there was no way I was going to make it to the church to set up by 8:30.
A rushed shower and a cooked pot of rice later I arrived at the church where the heart-filling, Lord-loving tender mercies continued. Members of God’s army arrived and went to work. Lance set up chairs and tables, Sandy took care of signage and tableware, Pyper spread tablecloths and arranged centerpieces, Patti did the paperwork, Emma and Sara stuffed programs.
The ladies from Church Women United began to arrive and the blessings continued to come. Ladies from the Roy 14th ward came and the room filled….filled with bodies and filled with the spirit of love. The donation tub filled with canned food goods, the collection plate filled with money, and my heart filled with joy and gratitude.
My Roy 14th ward sisters, just the right amount of them, came. McKenzie (recently moved from our ward) came back to play the piano, Michelle (who would have much rather spent her morning doing yard work) came and brought warm, homemade bread to share. Janet brought Lurleena and Gabby and Kellie brought support. Joanne, who had the opportunity to do a job that she loves and to earn money that she needs, found someone to take her shift so that she could come support World Day of Prayer.
My Church Women United sisters came too, just the right amount of them. Terri graciously ran the registration table, Doris shared her insights (and photos) about Cuba and about being a rape and domestic violence advocate, Jennie’s incredible voice led us in song, Pam’s passion for CWU inspired us, and Lillie’s love of Christ moved us. There were others there whose names I do not know but whose presence I appreciate.
The meeting went well too—not perfectly but with the perfect amount of humanity to make it real. My Grace and Sara had reading parts as did many others. After the first verse, we spontaneously joined Jennie’s solo, singing the song a second and third time to the accompaniment of maracas and bongos. My favorite part was Lillie’s benediction. She is a woman who knows and loves Christ.
We potlucked afterwards. The food was plentiful—Relief Society women are not the only ones who know how to bring good food and lots of it—as was the conversation. I was so gratified to see sisterhood. There was no “us and them” division, a phenomena commonly seen when two unfamiliar groups mix. Ladies of all faiths sat intermingled at all tables, all eating and laughing together.
Glorious. In the words of my dear friend Tammy (Lewis), it was a great way to “trash” a Saturday! Thank you Heavenly Father for sisterhood and for allowing me to share it with sisters of many faiths!