Sunday, November 4, 2018

Another hundred people just got off of the train

I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons. When possible on Sundays, I discuss some things related to my faith and what I believe. With respect to your own beliefs, I hope this gives you a chance to get to know me and my religion a little better. For previous installments, click here.

When I was in London on study abroad, our group was split up between several area congregations (ward) so as not to overwhelm one with 40 of us. My assignment was in a ward that was an hour and a half away from where we were staying and involved at least two trains and a bus. I had been asked to teach a youth Sunday School class, so I frequently used that time to plan my lessons. It was only for about seven weeks, so it wasn't a terrible inconvenience for long.

For the last two years in Japan, we've been taking the train to church again. Two trains again, but no bus. If we leave our house at exactly 15 minutes after the hour (45 minutes before services start), we arrive about 10 minutes early, which is, in our opinion, right on time. 

Last week, we had almost two hours on multiple trains each way to attend stake (multiple congregations in a larger geographical area) conference. Frequently, they broadcast the meeting to our individual buildings, but sometimes we are requested to gather in person for additional fellowship.

By contrast, while I was growing up in both Utah and Texas, church was rarely more than a five minute drive for regular meetings, sometimes 30 minutes for stake meetings. As an adult in Virginia, maybe it's been closer to 15 minutes. So, 40 minutes or more one way each week has been adjustment, but since attending our church meetings has been a top priority in our marriage, we've made it work. 

Sometimes I miss the easy commute, but I enjoy the time with Blake, talking about our church meetings, or family stuff, or even brainstorming what's going to be fastest to make for lunch we when we get home. Sometimes it's the only train ride(s) we get together all week.  

Of course, church is more than just a weekly meeting. Church should be everywhere all the time, and I really appreciate this relatively new video form our church about that.

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