So, last Wednesday night, after our meeting of the Bishopric and the Stake President, Doug and were asked to stay for another private meeting. A calling was extended to Doug to serve on the YSA High Council. President Job assured Doug that there had never been any consideration of letting Doug come back to our home ward and that they want to keep him in the YSA as long as they can. Trust me, there were tears of joy! So, through the week, we knew that this change would occur and it was with mixed emotions...hating the thought of the ending of the experiences in the 35th Ward, but excited for the new opportunities to serve in the stake!
Prior to our Sunday meetings, one of the students asked if they could come to our home and practice for the musical number that they were to perform in Sacrament Meeting. They arrived at 11 and practiced until 1:00. It was beautiful. We made some quick bread and juice for them to enjoy when they were done. I love having their beautiful music in our home. The piano, a cello and the voices... wow! It's one of the things I love the most about YSA! I was emotional already at the thought of this meeting where a new bishop would be called. There were lots of hugs and promises to keep in touch all morning and then throughout the day. (How I love Facebook and Instagram!)
Following the administration of the Sacrament, they performed their beautiful musical number to perfection! It was powerful! President Job stood to release the current bishopric and call the new one. (Great men, by the way. Doug knows the new Bishop because he has served on the High Council for the past two years.) Doug was sustained to the High Council. We had to laugh
because the kids and I heard audible "Yes!!" from student behind us.
The students were happy to know that Doug will continue to serve in YSA. The kids in the row behind us were quite vocal about it. Our kids laughed at the quiet "hoorahs"!
Doug was asked to speak first. His testimony is always beautiful. He commented that he has worked so hard to remember each student's name and what they are studying, where they are from. And he's done it! He blows me away! (Actually, as we walked out of President Job's office last week, Doug's first comment was, "How am I going to learn all the names of the entire stake!?") He expressed his love for each of them and said that he's horrified that in the future, he will run into one of them and not remember their name. He cares about "the one". He really does. Doug is not about groups and parties... he's about getting to know the individual. He's a great listener. He also expressed his gratitude for working with Trace/Bishop. I don't think I could count the times that Doug has mentioned that to me and everyone who mentions this bishopric anytime. And his love for me... that part choked me up. In the end, his testimony was of the beauty of the gospel and how living and keeping the commandments will bring us joy that no other thing in life can. I heart this man!
Following the meeting, we were immediately whisked off to the Stake Offices, where Doug was set apart as a member of the High Council. He will be assigned a YSA ward to act as liason from the ward to the stake leaders. He will attend the assigned ward and all meetings and activities, be a part of the ward council, "act as a third member of the bishopric", as President Job described it. He'll also have a stake responsibility/assignment, like building scheduling, athletics (HA!!!!DOUG!?!?!?!?), accounting, activities, who knows? All that is yet determined. He also will speak one Sunday a month in the different wards in the stake once during the year. We will also still do the Family Home Evening dinners monthly for the ward that he is assigned to! This calling will be even more time consuming and demanding, but he will be able get to know more students and work with all of the wards at some level or another. It's exciting! And it's not like we won't have our door open to them all anyway... old ward, new ward, all wards! Happiness!
The students were so happy to know that we will still be around! The goodbyes for us were not as sad because we still we be serving with them. That's exciting! We were given sweet gifts and cards and little thank yous. Seriously, we love these kids!!! They will all be in finals next week and then. most go home for the summer. So, actually, we only missed out on one Sunday with them this school year. When they return, many will be in new wards and all over the place, so we'll still see some of them. A few may even be in the ward that Doug is assigned to! This is a whole world of it's own in the YSA and we love it!
Sunday was a great day. I was happy for our own kids to be there and experience this. I think that sometimes, kids take their parents for granted. It was good for them to see others showing gratitude and love in such beautiful ways to both Doug and I. I think they felt it. When we read scriptures later that night, Doug said, "Do you know how much I love the YSA kids?" They all said, "YES!!" Then, he continued, well, take that and multiply it by 38 billion and I love you even more than that." They beamed.
Life is good! And so are new beginnings.