Pure Religion

I am a writer. I faithfully write in my journal every evening and I love to email, chat, text, and just write for fun.

But I have never been one to publish my feelings, thoughts, and intents of my heart. As such, I have abstained from blogging for years. But something convinced me to start blogging. Gratitude. We have so much to be thankful for at any time of year, but especially prevalent to me are the blessings we realize and recognize during the holidays.

I am grateful for those who love and give so willingly.

Recently, our Young Single Adult ward put on a Big Band evening for the senior singles in the local family stake. I am the service committee co-chair and we put the event on for the "Day of Service" to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Welfare.

Preparation began several weeks in advance as members of the ward hand-delivered invitations to more than 200 individuals. Members of my service committee called each of those invited to remind them of the activity. We secured our gym for the event, bought decorations, found a live band, and bought the food.

November 5. The day began very cold and snowy. I was very nervous and wondered how many would attend with the weather as it was. We decked out the gym with red, white and blue streamers, old movie and music icon posters, and decorated the tables with records. We had two TVs silently playing "The African Queen" and "Casablanca." Many hands prepared homemade mashed potatoes, turkey, beans, desserts, etc.

In the afternoon, the snow abated and the sky promised hints of blue. At 5 pm, the seniors began to arrive at the church. Several were picked up by ward members, but others just came. They entered the decorated foyer and had their photos taken. They filled out name tags and found seats. Everyone began to socialize and Frank Sinatra's and Buddy Holly's tunes played faintly in the background. In all, we had about 50 seniors attend. After serving up the dinner, we had the Not-So-Big-Band entertain us for an hour with wonderful classics such as "Moon River." People got up and danced or just sat and listened to the music. My grandmother did her best to stand and dance for a while. An elderly gentleman pulled out his iPad and took pictures of everyone walking by. Our younger singles invited the older singles to dance and many of them tore up the dance floor! The compliments for the evening were endless. The older and younger singles had a wonderful time together.

I danced with an elderly gentleman who asked me if I served a mission. I responded I had served in Brazil. He then pulled me over to his friend and introduced me to a brother who was one of the first missionaries who served in Brazil. He served in Joinville, a short two hours away from my beloved Curitiba. He originally taught only Germans in Brazil, but then they had to learn Portuguese to teach the Brazilians. President Faust was his zone leader in one area.

I had expected to come to the evening to serve. But I was filled with gratitude. This man had paved the way for the gospel in Brazil so that many, many years later, I could see the construction and dedication of a temple not far away in Curitiba, Brazil (that services the saints of Joinville). What a blessing.

The scripture James 1:27 passed through my mind throughout the evening "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows [and widowers]."

I am thankful for those who believe in pure religion and for those who allowed us to serve them.