The two people I met last week came running up to talk to us when we walked into the building...15 minutes early!! They seem to want to tell us more than they want to ask questions yet, which is fine. I'm not sure exactly what I want them to know yet. And I'd rather just listen to them talk about all the things they love about Birmingham and the Leeds Ward. They're pretty proud of this part of the world they live in. Also a good thing.
We decided that our new permanent bench would be on the second row. Even at 9:45 most of the rows in that little chapel were already reserved with people or their stuff. The thing about being new in a ward is that some of us are creatures of habit, especially with the places we like to sit at church. The four of us (McKay was with the other deacons preparing the Sacrament) had just gotten settled in our row and an older couple came and stood next to Craig's shoulder and just waited for awhile. He stood up and introduced himself and they politely, but very directly, said, "Oh we were out of town last week so you must not have realized, but this is where we always sit." We asked if the other end of the row was available and they said, "Absolutely!" and I think we could actually hear them breathe a sigh of relief when we didn't put up a fight about shifting to the other side. :)
The Bishop in this ward looks like he's about 15 years old. I'm assuming he's in his 30s because he has 4 kids and he's been through grad school, but holy cow, he could pass for one of the priests. His wife and family sat behind us in Sacrament and she told me later that she had a hard time keeping her kids from petting my hair. :)
The older couple in front of us who apparently permanently resides in that row which we made a mental note of as well, was very excited to meet us (mostly they were excited about Craig.) They are both converts to the Church (nearly everyone in the ward is) and told Craig all about their lives and their interests and hobbies and how they have had to tone down their lifestyle a little for church. They're probably in their 70s and he has a long ponytail that he tucks into his jacket every week and he used to ride a motorcycle but doesn't now for some reason, hopefully not because he joined the church, but I couldn't quite get everything he was saying because he was mostly talking to Craig. About five minutes into the meeting, he turned around and handed Craig two pictures of a beautiful, hand made chess set that is his pride and joy that he worked on for years. His wife teaches Gospel Doctrine every week and he sits in the front row and says encouraging things while she teaches. They're pretty cute.
One of the counselors in the Bishopric forgot to set up speaking assignments in advance for Sacrament meeting so he and his wife just spoke yesterday. She is a math teacher (or used to be) and he adores her. They both gave awesome talks and I instantly loved them.
There was an amazing musical number by a woman who was about 8 1/2 months pregnant and totally sang the heck out of the song despite the fact that she was 8 1/2 months pregnant! I have no idea how she did that. She was accompanied by that same First Counselor's wife who had just given the talk a few minutes earlier. Their daughter is the chorister for Sacrament and also the 2nd counselor in the RS Presidency.
Many more people came up to talk to me today than last week. They all had something to tell me about their lives or this place or some experience they've had with Germany (because they've all discovered that we have a missionary serving there.) I realized I need to be patient about wanting to tell them things, and I also need to learn how to ask more questions.
This place is not for me. It's for something else. I have no idea what, but I have a feeling these people are going to help me find out.
"And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care." - D&C 12:8