When we first moved to Saratoga Springs, our stake (group of church congregations) was divided & we became part of a new stake. The area is growing rapidly and there are lots and lots of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here. That was almost exactly 6 months ago.
Tonight we went to a special meeting where the wards (congregations) in our neighborhood were divided and boundaries realigned to create a new ward. In the less-than-one mile between our house and the girls' school, there are three large wards! Unbelievable!
We are still not used to the size of our ward and how actively everyone participates. You have to arrive at least 20 minutes early to have any chance to sit in a soft seat in the chapel instead of a folding chair in the overflow! The girls' Primary classes each had a minimum of 10 kids- and that was generally only half of the age group. I think a few of the age groups had 3 classes! That is a LOT of kids!
With the boundary change, we gained some great families and we say good bye to some! Luckily, they are all in the same place, but we will miss seeing them at church and activities. While it is sad to change things, I am excited to have a (slightly) smaller ward & Primary. The kids don't know each other well because there are so many kids to meet! The smaller numbers make you pull together to accomplish what needs to be done.
It makes me think back to a few years ago when our beloved Parkwood Ward in Kearns was created when our old stake made two wards out of what had been three. We made great new friends and kept working together to meet our common goals. Dear friends came and went, and we were better for having known them!
One amazing thing about the Church is that it is so much the same no matter where you are in the world. The faces and languages may change, but the Gospel is the same. We are all children of God, working to grow closer to our Heavenly Father and trying to make it through this life in one piece. We sing the same songs, learn the same lessons, read the same scriptures, follow the same prophet. What a blessing it is in my life!
Here's to new friends and the ones that we will never forget!