Unless Iâ€™m carrying boxes, Iâ€™m probably not actually helping anybody. There may be a few other possibilitiesâ€”Iâ€™ve done a bit of one-off paleography and amateur locksmithing as service a few times, and I seem to be a reasonably talented wallpaper remover, but apart from that, thereâ€™s not a whole lot I can do to help people with their problems.
As an elders quorum president, occasionally Iâ€™ll hear that Brother X hasnâ€™t been to church in a while, or that Sister Y is having personal difficulties. People want to know what ideas I have for helping them.
The truth is that I canâ€™t help them. I can assign home teachers to Brother X and make him feel welcome when he comes and look for a chance for him to serve, but if Brother X doesnâ€™t want to come to church, and if he doesnâ€™t want to pick up the phone when I call, thereâ€™s not a lot I can do about it. Heâ€™s an adult, and he has enough experience to know what he should be doing. If he still doesnâ€™t want to come to church, my options are limited.
Likewise, I can assign home teachers to Sister Y and welcome her to church and encourage her to attend regularly, but Iâ€™m not all that good at repairing the effects of disastrous choices made over the space of decades. Sister Y needs to keep receiving the help of competent professionals, and Iâ€™m not one. Talking to me doesnâ€™t help her in the way she needs.
But the Zs, though, are a different matter. Sometimes the Zs are moving to a new town, far from friends and family members. Sometimes they just need to move into a new apartment in town, and the decades spent in their old home have led them to underestimate how much work goes into moving.
I can help the Zs. I only have to get a bunch of healthy adults together for a few hours, carry heavy boxes and furniture, and then Iâ€™m done. If the Zs are really in over their heads, after a few hours Iâ€™ll look for a way to send them off, maybe to pick up snacks and drinks. Then the elders can start ripping the full cupboards off the walls and carrying them and their contents to the moving truck wholesale. By the time the Zs get back, the apartment is bare, one way or another. The Zs had a problem, we helped them, and now the problem is solved. The End.
There are good and bad ways to help people move. Advance preparation and organization are important, and you can expect most people to take responsibility for a lot of things on their own. It hasn’t come up so far, but I won’t let anyone fuss at the elders. If people arenâ€™t satisfied with the job the elders quorum movers are doing, that can best be expressed by saying, â€œThank you for your help, but Iâ€™ll finish the rest on my own.â€ Itâ€™s OK if some quorum members canâ€™t make it. Iâ€™ve recently missed a couple moves myself. More than a few times when weâ€™ve moved in the past, having just one extra guy there to help carry a few thing too heavy for one person was all that we really needed.
But the elders quorum is supposed to help people every so often. Unless the elders are sharing their professional expertiseâ€”which, for most of us, isnâ€™t needed all that frequentlyâ€”or, alternatively, carrying heavy objects, I donâ€™t know how much service weâ€™re actually providing. So please, let me know if youâ€™re moving into my ward, ideally before the Sunday preceding the move. Weâ€™ll work something out.