What Is a Church Community?

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Hi I'm Jeri

I'm a mother of six children. I'm a retired-military wife. I'm a community volunteer. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I am, first and foremost, a busy mother and grandmother. I have three adult children, one son-in-law, three teenage children, and one adorable grandchild (so far!). I am the wife of a man who served for 20 years in the United States Air Force. We had many adventures, at home and abroad, as a military family. Now we have settled into our own home in a wonderful community, and I love having the opportunity to put down roots! I stay very busy tending my grandson, chaufferring my children, volunteering at their schools, leading the organization for teenage girls at church, serving on the local Community Emergency Response Team, cooking, cleaning, tending my garden, and doing the never-ending laundry.

Why I am a Mormon

I come from a long line of ancestors who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Growing up, I found great joy in the teachings and traditions shared with me by my parents and relatives. As a young woman, I had the opportunity to serve as a missionary for my church, and I found deep satisfaction in sharing the joy found in the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. When I became a military wife and mother, the Church was my lifeline. As we moved from place to place, it was easy within the Church community to find new friends to love, babysitters I could trust, people who would help me and my family in times of need, and in turn, people I could reach out to who needed help--in short, each new place we went, I found an instant extended family within the Church. The most important reason I find to be an active member of this Church is that it is the one place in this troubled world where I know to find peace. As I pray, study the scriptures, and listen to Church leaders, I find the answers to life's difficulties. When I had to send my husband off to war, I found comfort in knowing that, no matter what happened, God had a purpose for it, and our family would be together forever. During those months when I had to parent my frightened children by myself in a foreign country, I felt the peace of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the love of my Church family to buoy me up. Most of all, I have the sure knowledge that my Heavenly Father loves me, my husband, and our children, and is always there for us. Without this knowledge, I honestly don't know how I would be able to live.

How I live my faith

I firmly believe that faith must be active, and we demonstrate it by serving others. Within my community, I work with CERT, the Community Emergency Response Team. I have helped them with such projects as cleaning up after a tornado and assisting at a mass H1N1 flu vaccination. I also volunteer at my children's schools as much as I can. And I spend a LOT of time serving within the Church. I am the president of the Young Women's organization in our local church unit, and I am responsible for the lessons the teenage girls receive each Sunday, as well as helping to plan an activity for them each week. We also coordinate some of those activities with the Young Men. Our purpose is to teach the youth to love the Lord and follow His teachings and serve His children. Many of our activities involve service, such as sorting donations at a homeless shelter, or cleaning up trash around a neighborhood lake. In all my busy-ness giving service within my family, church, and community, I often find the need to refill my own reservoir. I gain great strength through daily prayer and study of the scriptures.

How are the activities of the Mormon missionaries funded?

Missionary work within the Church is very important. We believe that Heavenly Father wants all of His children to have the opportunity to learn the fulness of His gospel. My husband served as a missionary on the Navajo reservation in the United States. I served as a missionary in Germany. Both of us worked hard at various jobs to earn the money to pay our own way on our missions. Through the years, we have made monthly contributions to the general missionary fund of the church to help pay the way for missionaries who come from less-fortunate circumstances, but want to serve the Lord. Currently we have two sons of our own who are serving as missionaries, one in Brazil and one in Kentucky. Because of modern child labor laws and demanding educational programs, it is much more difficult for our children to earn and save money than it was for us when we were young. Our older son was able to save about half of the money for his mission, and his younger brother not as much. So our whole family is sacrificing some of the comforts we would otherwise enjoy in order to pay the way for these two young men to serve. And we have three more children at home looking forward to serving the Lord as missionaries! The blessings and joy we receive from sharing the gospel with our brothers and sisters all over the world is of so much more worth to us than what any money can buy! Show more Show less

What is the Relief Society?

Relief Society is the women's organization within the Church. It is the largest and oldest women's organization in the world. It was founded by a group of women who wanted to give service within the community, then endorsed and improved upon by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Today the Relief Society is multi-faceted. On Sundays the women meet as a group to receive lessons taught by other women in the group that help us build our faith and personal righteousness. Once a month we meet together on an evening or Saturday morning to share in other activities or projects, such as learning new skills, doing crafts, sharing stories, providing service, etc. We also organize to provide meals, child care, and cleaning when there is illness or a new baby within our community. My favorite part of Relief Society is called visiting teaching. I am assigned to go with another woman to visit several other women in our congregation once a month in their homes. We bring a short, spiritual message, but mostly we bring friendship and a listening ear. And as we are in their homes, we often become aware of other needs these women and their families have, and are able to provide some of those needs and report back to our Relief Society leadership, who ensure that other needs are provided for beyond what we can do ourselves. Every woman in the Church has visiting teachers, and I love mine! Most of my dearest friends in life have been found through visiting teaching! Show more Show less