A little background may be in order…in our church, there is no paid ministry. People are asked to serve in various capacities (“calling”) for a while, and then someone else does it and you do something else. We believe that Heavenly Father directly inspires these decisions as to who serves where and when.
There is organization to these jobs. A hierarchy, if you will. Take the Young Women’s organization, since that’s what I’m writing about today—each congregation (“ward”) has a Young Women’s President and counselors and a secretary who serve with her, along with other advisors and specialists. This organization is replicated at the regional (“stake”) level, and again on a church-wide basis (General YW Board, in the collective). To give you an idea of magnitude, in our area the typical ward has about 30 young women they are responsible for, the stake has 235 young women, and the church overall has …. gosh, no idea, but there are over 14 million church members throughout the world, so you gotta figure a bunch of those are young women between the ages of 12 and 18.
At the ward level, the leaders directly teach, serve, and minister to the young women. At the stake level, the leaders teach and serve the ward YW leaders as well as organize stake-wide activities for the youth. At the general level, the leaders set policy, curriculum, and teach at every level, though on a much more centralized basis—we get to see them through articles, webcasts, and broadcasts. Being a California Mormon, I don’t run into these ladies in the grocery store or anything, so they kind of take on this mythical status in my mind…too much People magazine, I think.
Are you bored? Ok, enough background.
I currently serve as a stake YW President in my area. We recently were visited by one of the General YW Board members, Lori L. Featherstone. I was charged with hosting her for two days, including visiting YW, a focus group, and training. I made sure my car was REAL clean.
I was nervous when I picked her up (mythical status, remember?) However, she put me at ease right away, reporting that she was a “toilet scrubber”, just like me!
[Aside: I failed to admit to her that I, in fact, rarely scrub my own toilets owing to the fact that my husband got me a housekeeper a few years back when I took a short term full time work assignment and then he never had the heart to take it back after the work assignment ended. 7 years ago. Shhhh. Our little secret.]
Anyway, she was darling, and she did forget things in the car and lose her pen. That WAS just like me!
Despite those human foibles, when she was in a home talking to a young woman, she was sheer perfection! She was definitely on the Lord’s errand and I immediately felt that as she met these great girls. The Spirit and love was abundant, as were the tears. I learned so much from her during those visits.
Only one little thing.
I scheduled waaaay too many of them.
In my head, I thought, “teenage girls, meeting with a stranger, 20 minutes, plus 10 minutes for travel equals 30 minutes per visit.”
So the first day I scheduled 3 visits for a 90 minute block of time.
I got a late response to a query I had made 10 days before saying that another girl would in fact be available. I couldn’t say no. OK, the more the merrier, we’ll make it work.
So I had 4 visits for a 90 minute block of time. Which meant that she was ONLY an hour and a half late to her dinner appointment.
I’m sure she had exactly one raisin to eat that evening, because she was scheduled for a focus group across town half an hour after I dropped her off at her dinner location.
Our focus group.
The next day, I thought, would be much better. Four morning visits in 2 hours, but their homes are much closer together. It WAS better. I only made her 1/2 an hour late for lunch.
By the way, my instructions just said “LUNCH” so I dropped her (in the pouring rain) where I was supposed to and went to go find a sandwich and a bathroom before picking her up for the afternoon visits.
Apparently “LUNCH” meant me too! They called me to come on back. I ate lunch with other leaders in my stake, as well as the General Primary (children’s org) President and the General Relief Society (women’s org) Counselor. Elite company and amazing women.
Well, of course they had waited for me to to return to begin lunch, which meant we were all late getting out the door. And of course, I had too many scheduled again in my grand plan. Which meant that we were late finishing once more.
We’d missed our rendezvous time, where she was to meet a driver at her hotel to take her to the next city on her itinerary for the weekend. We called from the car to see what they wanted us to do and we ended up meeting them on the road out of town (hence this picture we took in the wind on the side of the road before they whisked her away! It is OFFICIALLY the worst picture of me ever. Don’t judge).
As we were driving to the meeting place, I fretted because she hadn’t had a chance to freshen up at the hotel before going on to her next round of meetings that would last well into the evening. I rummaged through my purse…
“GUM? It doesn’t replace brushing your teeth, but it’ll do in a pinch.”
“Lipstick? Do you have lipstick with you? A girl needs lipstick! Here, take mine! Will this color work?”
So if you see Sister Featherstone wearing Burt’s Bees watermelon lip shimmer, you’ll know from whence it came!
Epilogue I got home absolutely exhausted. (I don’t know how Sis. Featherstone does it! She still had many hours to got that day. The Lord definitely does make you equal to what He asks.) I checked email. There was an email from the church leader who was coordinating Sister Featherstone’s California visit that says, in part:
“As you meet and visit today please stay on schedule. We have a tight agenda with everything leading up to our meetings in Ventura this evening. Our 3:00pm departure time for the Ventura Stake Center is critical.”
I felt THIS BIG. I hadn’t checked email that morning. My response, in part:
“In my head, my visit schedule would operate just like clock work. However, you must be wondering, ‘Does that woman own a clock that works??’”
He was very kind and later said that Sister Featherstone confirmed our BFF status (my words) and everything worked out just fine.
P.S. I got this cool card in the mail from Sis. F yesterday. I read it four times. She actually IS pretty much a rock star to me.