BETA

What we did: A single member in a residential ward

PARTICIPATE, REACH OUT

I spent a number of years as a single member in residential wards and always felt at home. Here are three suggestions that should work for anyone who wants to feel included:

Participate. Go to all appropriate, applicable meetings. Join the choir, attend homemaking meeting, go to firesides, go to ward and stake temple activities. Sit somewhere other than the back row.

Serve. Accept callings and magnify them. Volunteer to drive. Help set up or clean after activities. Participate in service projects. Do your home teaching or visiting teaching. There are many, many ways to serve that fit each personality and schedule.

Reach out. Realize that you are not alone. Much of the Church adult population is single. There are also many from part-member families, those whose spouses have work or other commitments that prevent them from attending Church, and the many women whose husbands have ward or stake assignments who also sit alone during Church. Be the first to say, "Don't sit alone; come sit with us." — Laurie C. Hansen, San Dimas, Calif.

MORE SIMILARITIES

As a single adult who was baptized as a single adult, I enjoy full participation in my unit's activities. These suggestions may help others feel more comfortable around those who are single. First, recognize that because of the gospel and life experiences, there are more similarities than differences with women in family situations. Second, callings in Primary or Young Women are not meant to be a substitute for a family. My responsibility is to teach and edify them, and my experience as an educator and a scientist and my objectivity as a non-parent enables me to concentrate on lessons and development in ways which are complementary to the parents' roles. Third, enjoy being around couples, and never ever be a cause for others to violate their marriage vows or temple covenants. — Gail P. Dalsky, Burlington, Conn.

SOCIAL FUNCTIONS

My first bishop strongly advised me to attend all ward social functions as well as required meetings. This is something I continue in each new ward. By attending social events as well as meetings, one gets to know not only the other single adults, but also the families in the ward. There are always young children whose grandparents live far away and who could use a grandmotherly person about.

Remember that Heavenly Father loves us individually and not just as part of a family. No place in scripture states we are loved only if part of a traditional family. Naomi and Ruth in the Bible are two single adult females who provide inspiration to me. — Jo Carol Hamilton, Arlington, Texas

COUNT BLESSINGS

Focusing on what you have, rather than what you do not have, is ever possible as you "count your blessings, name them one by one."

Praying for others who are without companions, as well as those whose spouses are not yet members, takes our thoughts off self and blesses us with more of the gift of charity for others.

Remember that our Father's plan is for eternal families, and when we live worthy this blessing will come to pass in this life or the next. No blessing will be denied those who have lived worthy of it.

Service in the Lord's kingdom is usually done on an individual basis. Magnify your callings. — Sharlie Carter, Louisville, Ky.

BEING HAPPY

One cannot let their single status hinder their progress — especially their spiritual progress. I have attended several single adult conferences where I've heard many people bemoan their single status. Unfortunately, it seems to be used as any excuse for not getting involved, staying active, being happy. I have always ascribed to the notion that other people or things cannot make you happy — you've got to make yourself happy.

Consequently, when I attend single adult activities, I go without the expectation of finding that person who will "sweep me off my feet." I go to learn, to meet people, to share with those who hold those same things most dear — the gospel, our testimonies, the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ and that our Heavenly Father loves us both collectively and individually and wants us to be happy and to be the best possible people we can be. — Candace L. Estrada, Vancouver, Wash.

FIRST INVITATION

I have learned over the years that if I wish to be included in someone else's circle, I need to include him or her in mine. This may mean that I have to make the first invitation, but with showing genuine love and interest in others, the close relationships come, and you'll feel as part of the family of God. I am deeply grateful for those brothers and sisters who have accepted me as part of their families. — Mary Banac, Jamesville, N.Y.

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