Our ward boundaries just changed. After four years of learning and growing with wonderful people in one area, our family is now going to go to a different ward. We’ll go to a new building, get new teachers, settle the kids in again. But if there is one thing I’m learning more each day it is that when the Lord decides He is going to literally gather together the 12 tribes of Israel, He’s going to get it done in an orderly and perfect way. From my perspective – it’s happening one ward at a time.
Ezek. 37: 16-17 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
From The Family and Eternity By Boyd K Packer, Ensign Feb 1971: “Today we have other organizations in the Church that are working on family ties. We have stakes and missions, wards, branches, and districts. Each is presided over by a priesthood officer. These organizations are temporarily essential; they are not eternal organizations. They can be organized or they can be dissolved. Stakes are often divided and boundaries changed in size and shape, and they may have an entirely different group of people than when they were organized.”
When it comes right down to it, changing wards is inconvenient. This has always been the burden for all who are led by the Lord’s teachings. We’re told we will have opposition when we try to stay righteous. So to avoid murmuring, we have to find a way to rejoice when things aren’t easy.
As difficult as the changes are, we can try to remember that moving ward boundaries is an inspired decision for a growing church and these brief moments of discomfort are regular manageable reminders for us that Jesus can work in our lives. In some ways, the difficulties give us the practice to be more like Jesus. Who said the gathering of Israel was going to be easy – or done for us?
But through the promise of the Atonement, we know our pain is temporary. We know there is a God who loves us and will only give us challenges that we can handle. Isa. 40: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
If we remain obedient, we will be blessed in ways we never considered. I’m reminding myself more and more now to “…think of somebody besides yourself.” My Relief Society President shared this thought recently about when she was in college facing the prospect of finding a suitable husband. During this turning point in her life she was profoundly prompted to get out and serve others – to think of others before herself. Miraculously after acting on that prompting, she knew going on her mission was the right path to where the Lord wanted her to be. Today, she has a wonderful family and four sweet children. How do we do the most good for ourselves? We start with helping others.
There’s no question it’s hard for some of us to knock on a stranger’s door and introduce yourself and then with charity offer to help and then actually be there if they really need you. But, isn’t strengthening that skill something Jesus would do? He did it as a perfect example. And as we approach these latter days, we can be sure He will help us all build that kind of network together. He will bring about a literal gathering of the tribes of Israel. Right now, as you read this He is gathering us together in a way that is not corruptible. I can see it easily on this local level, while I’m changing wards. It’s a way to progress spiritually while getting to know new friends and lifting others from their burdens. We just have to remember to lean on the Lord for renewed strength while we work together to strengthen His church one ward at a time.