Thursday, September 4, 2008

Callings I've Held

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and since there is no paid ministry therein, each and every member is usually given the opportunity to serve in one capacity or another. Ever since I was a kid, I've pretty much had at least one calling. Thinking back, it was a little difficult to reconstruct the callings that I've had, but I've taken a stab at it here:

-- Deacons Quorum President: I don't remember much about this calling. I was young, dumb, and I think I only had this calling for a few months before I moved on to the teachers quorum.
-- Teachers Quorum 1st Counselor: I don't remember this one, either. It was a long time ago, and I do remember being grumpy that I wasn't named as the president. It's probably because of this attitude that I was never asked to be the Bishop's 1st Assistant (the Priest's Quorum analog of a president) when I became a priest.
-- Home Teacher: When I was a teacher, I was assigned to be the home teaching companion to my father. He took me out faithfully every single month and we went and visited the really old people he'd been assigned to home teach for, well, forever, I think. I really hated it as a youth, but getting into college, I realized that my father had shown me an amazing example of one who does his duty. I now have a powerful testimony of home teaching, even if I do miss visiting with a family for which I am now responsible every few months.
-- Name Extraction Specialist: I was asked to do this in college, and I hated every minute of it. Since it was a self-starter calling, I went over to the church a few times and typed in a few pages of names into the computer, then never went back. I've had guilt about it to this day. If my memory serves, I was called to this calling twice in different years -- and the 2nd time didn't go any better. Ironically, I'm now quite interested in genealogy. This calling no longer exists in favor of being called to be an Indexer.
-- Full-Time Missionary: Yep. Did this. On my own dime (sorta, my parents paid for me). Went to the Texas Dallas Mission (mostly East Texas, really), speaking Texan. It was hard work, the heat and humidity were miserable, and I ate a whole lot of good steak. I met some great people, had respectable success, but I have absolutely no interest in going to "the South" ever again. I love missionary work, and I'm the person I am today because of that experience.
-- Trainer: As a missionary, I was asked to train two new missionaries. In all honesty, the months I spent as a trainer were the best months of my entire mission. I had some wonderful experiences teaching my two "greenies" how to be missionaries, and was grateful for that trust.
-- District Leader: As a missionary, I was eventually named to be a "District Leader" for a group of missionaries. It was mostly just a babysitting job to keep the Elder missionaries out of trouble, to keep the sister missionaries from killing each other, to collect reports every week, and to run meetings.
-- Ward Mission Leader: After I came home from my mission, I was asked to be the Ward Mission Leader in my student ward at Utah State University. I was spectacular at this -- literally baptizing HALF the non-members in my ward! 50%! Truly! Of course, there were only two of them, and the one that got baptized was my roommate who was dating a member girl, but hey ...
-- Elders Quorum Instructor: This calling was one of my all-time favorites. I taught twice a month in Elders Quorum for years. It was the best because the prep time was minimal, the audience always participated, and it was a "Sunday" calling. I did this calling in two different wards.
-- 11-Year-Old Scoutmaster: This calling was hands down the most difficult one for me. Being responsible for a half-dozen kids with varying levels of interest in the scouting program was very challenging. I took over after a deadbeat, so the kids knew nothing and had terrible attitudes about the whole thing, so I had my work cut out for me. I eventually did push the kids so that all of them were "First Class" by the time I was done with them, but I have to admit I wasn't the greatest at that calling. Happily, many of the boys I helped kick-start at that age continued in the scouting program and became Eagle Scouts -- even one who I'd considered "high risk". I'd like to think I had something to do with that, but who knows?
-- Gospel Doctrine Teacher: This calling was a lot of fun. I team-taught with another fellow, so I was again teaching twice a month, but this time to a much larger adult audience in Sunday School. I did this for over three years, teaching all or part of all the books of scripture. I learned so much and when I was finally called into something else, I really missed it.
-- Executive Secretary: This calling is what I'm doing now. My Bishop asked me to do this calling because he knew I was an organized nerd, and something about "feeling it was right". I've been doing it for a few years now, and I have really learned to enjoy it. One thing I discovered is that because of this calling, I now know eeee-verybody in the ward. Really. Everybody. It's weird. I like it.

So, there you have it. Every calling I've had since birth that I can remember. It's a pretty decent list, and I'm sure it'll be twice, if not three or four times, bigger than this by the time my life on Earth is done.

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