I am grateful for my YSA WARD.
I didn't know how I would feel about being a YSA when I turned eighteen. In fact, I actually hated the idea of going to YSA activities because they scared the living daylights out of me. At these functions, people older than 20 were going to be flouncing around ... and heaven knows that if they were off their mission, they were looking for marriage. I kind of laugh at my naivety, now. I mean, I am in college, where most people are way older than me. These people are looking for marriage HARDCORE. If there was a time to be terrified about being and eighteen year old YSA, this would be it ...
And yet, I feel pretty okay.
One of the fun things about going to a Mormon college is the fact that pretty much everyone is Mormon. We don't always think or do the same things (contrary to popular belief, we have NOT been brainwashed into following our religion) but we do generally get along. There are tons and tons of students here, which means there are tons of YSA wards. Mine is the 50th (and I know for a fact that there are more than 50). To a girl that went to the newly developed 2nd Ward in my area, that was kind of something to get used to.
The first week of church, I just felt so welcome. I've noticed that, with the gospel, that feeling accompanies when you are in the right place at the right time. I randomly went to the temple last night and one of the workers said, "You are welcome here." Emphasis and all. I wanted to run up and hug her. How could she have known that I have been hungry to belong somewhere? In the dressing room, I realized that no matter my circumstances, I ALWAYS need to be worthy to be welcome at the temple ... because it is the LORD'S house. It's way more important than belonging even in my dorm.
Ahem ... random tangent.
So, I felt welcome at church -- but totally anonymous. I mean, there was no way that the Bishop was going to know who I was individually. There was also no way that anyone in the ward besides my friends would know who I was either. I've been pushing myself to be more social and have been pleasantly surprised by the results. I've been attending every church activity that I can think of. I have been getting to know the Bishop and the members of the ward. It has been so fun to experience church in a YSA setting.
I am super grateful for the friendship that everyone in the ward is so willing to give. I am grateful for our bishopric, who serves so patiently and diligently with people that are just starting to figure out what it means to be an adult. I am also grateful for my calling to be a Sunday School teacher. I love the friendships I have made with people in my class and the experiences that I have gotten by just being in front of people and speaking. I love being a YSA. It is sooooo much fun (and definitely not a scary thing)!