At Home in a New Ward

We are all hosts and hostesses in our individual wards and branches. It is up to us as Latter-day Saints to welcome newcomers, visitors, and investigators and to treat others with kindness. But sometimes we tend to draw a line of privacy around ourselves, and it can be hard to cross that line and be friendly to strangers. Here are some suggestions for welcoming others into our meetings:

  1. 1.

    We need to regard others as our brothers and sisters and treat them as we would like to be treated. As the Savior said, “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matt. 7:12).

  2. 2.

    When new people come to our wards and branches, we should welcome them, tell them who we are, and try to be helpful and friendly. We need to radiate the happiness we have found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  3. 3.

    Visitors respond to kind, friendly greetings and to being treated with acceptance. Many nonmembers want to know why we treat them so kindly. The answer, of course, is found in the teachings of Jesus: “As I have loved you, … love one another” (John 13:34).

  4. 4.

    Elder Marvin J. Ashton’s counsel applies not only to longstanding friends but also to new acquaintances: “We should lose ourselves in being involved and in being able to take friends from where they are and leave them better” (The Measure of Our Hearts [1991], 114).

We can bless many lives if we resolve to look for opportunities to lift and serve others at church, especially the “strangers … within thy gates” (Deut. 24:14). We can be assured that the Lord will direct us in welcoming and loving his children, that they be “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints” (Eph. 2:19).

[photo] Photograph by John Luke

Some Ideas for Those Who Move

Several years ago my husband received a job promotion, and we moved to another state. During the first few weeks in our new home I was often lonely and depressed.

One day a letter came from my former Relief Society president. She wrote that she, too, had been the new sister in several wards and had always found the transition to be difficult. She shared the following ideas with me:

  1. 1.

    Don’t wait for people sitting next to you to introduce themselves; introduce yourself first!

  2. 2.

    Tell ward members that you’re happy to be in the area and look forward to getting to know them better. A positive attitude draws people to you.

  3. 3.

    Look for someone who needs you.

  4. 4.

    Ask the Relief Society or priesthood quorum leaders for a visiting teaching or home teaching route.

  5. 5.

    Ask the Relief Society or priesthood quorum leaders for the names of ward members who share your interests. Then introduce yourself.

  6. 6.

    Take advantage of this lull in your life to do some of those things you’ve never had time to do before.

  7. 7.

    Don’t forget that you are a child of God and have a lot to offer.

By following these suggestions, I soon became comfortable in my new ward. I will always appreciate my friend’s thoughtfulness in helping to ease my transition.

[photo] Photograph by Greg Frei