I remember being taught in Seminary many years ago about a coming time when a family would need to be able to stand on their own feet spiritually and when church wouldn't be able to hold meetings for a time. Well, for our stake it is coming to pass now. Because of the numbers of people in our stake coming down with the swine flu, they have canceled ALL meetings including Girls Camp that was supposed to start today. The Elders are directed to call certain camp leaders if they learn of a need for food. Since there is an abundance of food bought already for camp, they will use it for the needy in the stake.
This weekend we are supposed to be holding a special Stake Conference for the express purpose of sustaining a new Stake Presidency. Now we are awaiting direction from the Area and Seventy church leaders to see if this meeting will be held as planned.
In this time of uncertainty, I know it is important to continue to teach the Gospel to my children. Being the teacher of 6 and 7 year olds at church has been great training to be able to teach my own children at home. Each week I would go to the Church website at lds.org and print the current lesson. I don't like using the manual that was given to me since I can't mark it up and it would get well worn too fast. Since church is canceled, I plan on holding a mini-meeting in our home. I don't look forward to being the main person to do it but at least I will get some help from my husband. Others aren't so lucky. I want to continue to hold prayers, a lesson, singing time and scripture study and I'm not sure what else we can come up with for us. It will have to be tailored so that the older kids will be able to grow while my two-year-old is also learning.
Last week when we got to church, we were told that only sacrament meeting was going to be held because of the swine flu in our stake. So after sacrament, we all slowly went home, lessons and songs already prepared and wating to be used. When we got home, after grabbing lunch and changing clothes, I sat the kids down and gave them the lesson I had prepared for my class at church. It was shortened but be had a lesson! Next time I will try to be more formal about it and we can get dressed in our church clothes for it. This will be interesting, but we can do it and I know that any efforts will be blessed.
The biggest challenge is the uncertainty of how long this will last. How long will we not be able to take the sacrament? How and when are Temple recomends going to get renewed? This will be a struggle for those who aren't used to having access to tithing funds when they can't regularly get them taken out by using the special forms. Mailing them to the Bishop is possible, if you have the forms, but I can see how extra money laying around will be tempting enough for some to forgo paying it. Ah, the sifting of the wheat from the chaff. It can really get personal now, can't it. I don't want to be the chaff that the prophets in the scriptures have long fortold of. Did they see me? Did they see you?
For those of you not in Utah, the swine flu has been increasing in intensity here. Most are mild cases and the activity of this illness is like a moderatly busy flu season- but the real "seasonal" flu is over right now. The CDC is now wanting the doctors to treat all flu symtoms as if it is swine flu. Since the CDC is flooded with samples to be tested, only those who are hospitalized will be fully tested. Everyone else will be given the seasonal "rapid" flu test. It will sometimes come back positive for swine flu but isn't reliable because many who test negative with it, actually do have the illness.
Personally, I'm worried about this winter when the virus may have mutated enough to become more deadly. If you ask me, I would rather get this illness now and build up an immunity to it. Especialy while it is so mild. The problem is if I was to become the host in which the disease decides to mutate into something deadly, I would feel sooooo bad!!!! I guess I'll just wait and see if we get it. Maybe the illness we had a couple of weeks ago was the real deal but it was so mild, that even when we brought one child in to be tested, they said it was only a mild respiratory illness. Well, two weeks later and the "officials" are saying it is more widespread than they thought. Imagine that!
I could go on about some of the things that have bothered me about how ill-prepared we were to stop the spread of this, but really, we're all human. And being such a human that has to work tomorrow- I need to head to bed!! I hope this gives others ideas on how they will handle such a situation of having your main, but not only, source of spiritual uplift- church- being closed for an unannounced period of time. Bless you in your efforts!