Because of a late-night baseball game last night, I decided another visit to Newark 1st ward was only appropriate.
I arrived about 20 minutes early, which I figured would more than guarantee me a seat. And it appeared to do so, considering the chapel had perhaps a half dozen people in it at the most. So I took out my scriptures and began hunting for a particular verse in Isaiah that I could not find yesterday. I perused and skipped around while the Young Women practiced their song for Sacrament Meeting, and enjoyed the time I had to myself.
After being approached by a member of the stake high council (whose branch I regularly attend), the Bishop, and an older gentleman who politely informed me I was in his seat (which seemed awful unnecessary to me, since the pew directly in front of us was deserted, but old people are weird about strange things, so I moved down the pew), and the meeting began.
We sang our hymns, took the Sacrament, and the sermons began. After hearing a talk from one of the tallest Young Men I think I've ever seen, we heard from Sister W, a delightful sister whose family I sat near the last time I went to Newark 1st. She was masked by the podium, and we had to wait several seconds for it to be lowered before we could even see the top of her head.
She proceeded to tell us about an incident where prayer and the lessons she learned increased her testimony of the Church. The story bears repeating, of course, because it involved some car keys, a college class, a pair of pink Crocs, and some Skittles.
Brother W had accidentally taken Sister W's car keys, leaving her stranded at her house when she was due to be at her college to take some classes; one of which was a chemistry lab she needed to attend. After calling one of her friends from church to drive her to school (which I imagine must have been quite embarrassing), she arrived for her chem lab only to realize she was wearing her pink pair of Crocs. She had worn them the previous week, and her instructor had informed her that because they have holes in them, she cannot participate in labs if and when she wears them. She had become very distraught; visible in the fact that just retelling the story brought her to tears, and she told us of how she had asked for Heavenly Father's assistance as to what to do.
She then tried to think of a way to plug the holes, hoping it would be a sufficient solution for her professor. She tried dimes, but they were too large to fit into the holes. Her next solution was a bag of Skittles, which instantly instigated a quiet riot of giggling. She described how the Skittles, although they appeared bizarre, had seemingly settled her problem.
(Another reason to hate those horrid chunks of plastic, but this story isn't about my biases. Moving on!)
She then went to meet her lab partner, who couldn't help but question Sister W's odd footwear, at which point Sister W explained the entire hellish morning to her. Her partner then stated she had an extra pair of shoes in her bag if Sister W needed to borrow them. Sister W gladly did so, and then gave us the moral of her amusing, yet stressful experience.
In order to learn from the Holy Spirit, to be forgiven of our sins, to find solace in our Father in Heaven, or any of the many blessings that come through Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, we have to do the very best we can to meet our needs--like plugging the holes in our shoes with a bunch of Skittles--meeting our trials with our best efforts in order to overcome them on our own. Only then will our Heavenly Father answer our prayers and take us the rest of the way.
My initial impression of Newark was that of a very busy ward that somehow seemed impersonal. But today I saw a different side--especially when Brother W made a comment about how the counselor closest to him could have at least raised the podium "2 courtesy inches," and the counselor happily obliged him right when Brother W began to speak, which brought a chuckle from the crowd.
I see now that Newark 1st isn't just a building full of busy people. As they described it themselves, they are a "ward family."
It's good to see that my quirky, lovable Church family exists no matter where my adventures land me on the Sabbath.
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