Sunday, September 1, 2013

No more strangers…



Last summer we went to the ward campout.  I was optimistic about it.  It was a chance to experience camping at the Oregon coast and to get to know more people in the ward.

The experience did not live up to my hopes.

We arrived just before sundown and it was a chilly and windy 48 degrees.  We were frozen.  We bundled up in everything we had brought with us, but so did everyone else in our ward.  This meant that even if we had known anyone well enough to recognize them, they would have been camouflaged by their coats & hats.  Since we weren’t in a group campground we had no idea which people were  members of our ward and which weren’t.  In the morning we all had breakfast together but it still felt sad and lonely, just emphasizing our isolation and lack of friends.


I did not plan to go back to the ward campout this year.


This summer we made plans to go camping the same weekend of the ward campout with friends while Jason was here with us.  I thought it would be fun to be off with Jason on a campout, fun to spend time with our friends, and I wasn’t sad to that it was the same weekend as the ward campout and gave us a good excuse not to go.  But then at the last minute the friends cancelled on us and the girls wanted to go with the ward and we just changed our plans without ever really thinking about it.


It could not have been more different.


We went a night early this year.  I have come to the opinion over the last few years that a one night campout at this point is too much work to be worth it, so when I heard that the young women were going up together a night early I decided that we would tag along.  Jason & I provided rides for several of the girls in the morning, and Russ, Josh, and Jared came in the convertible after work.

The girls spent the day running around with their friends, setting up their (crowded) tent so that they could all sleep together, playing out on the beach, running through the campsites, having the time of their lives.  Our campsite became the hangout—first young girls, later teenage boys, and often adult ward members sitting around our fire and chatting.


We even sat in the drizzly rain for 3 hrs Friday night around the fire, laughing and talking, enjoying the hot chocolate and the occasional s’more. 

In every way, this campout was different than the one last year, and the whole time I had a scripture from Ephesians running through my head.

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God…

I felt this fellowcitizenship in a new and real way, and I was enormously grateful for it.  Grateful for the gradual change that has occurred in the last year, that even though we miss our old life and our old home and our old friends, we have become a part of this ward and started learning to know and love these people.  Last year it was heartbreaking to watch my lonely girls; this year I was so happy to see them off having fun the whole time, to have all of my kids ask if they could sleep in different tents, to run out of what had seemed like plenty of hot chocolate because we were sharing it with everyone else.  This year I was was just grateful.



  1. Such cool pictures! I've decided that making friends is just one of the hard things in life. Even if you're good at it (you are), it just takes so much time. Moving is so lonely... I'm glad one year made such a difference for you.

  2. I have been thinking of this a lot lately. Coming home from Hawaii was an interesting experience, because we were arriving in the same place, exactly a year later, but so much had changed. When I think about myself a year ago this time- I was like one huge open wound. It wouldn't have mattered if the whole world had shown up on my doorstep wanting to be friends- I was not ready for it then. This year, so many things are different....

  3. If it makes you feel better, I have pretty much hated my first year anywhere. Places that it broke my heart to leave were horrible in the beginning. It takes a while to feel comfortable in your own skin around new people and to really sort out who the kindred spirits are...
    Glad you have started to feel like it is home, but I still wish you lived here.