At Home in a New Ward
January 1994

“At Home in a New Ward,” Ensign, Jan. 1994, 73

At Home in a New Ward

Several years ago my husband received a job promotion, and we moved from our home, family, and loving ward in California to Washington state. During the first few weeks in our new home I was often lonely and depressed. To compound the problem, we were living in a rural area, and I was temporarily without a car. I felt isolated.

One day a letter came from my former Relief Society president, Elaine Fisher. With great sensitivity she wrote that she, too, had been the new sister in several wards over the years and had always found the transition to be difficult. She had noticed that some sisters seemed to assimilate easily into a new ward. She shared some pointers with me:

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

  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. Let people gradually become aware of your talents, but don’t overwhelm them; others can feel intimidated by a multitalented person.

  4. If you’re a person with strong opinions, soften your statements by prefacing them with “It seems to me …” and “I seem to find . …” This way people won’t shy away or get ruffled.

  5. If the neighbors don’t say hello, bake some goodies and deliver them to your neighbors, introducing yourself and your family.

  6. Look for someone who needs you.

  7. Ask the Relief Society president for a visiting teaching route.

  8. Ask the Relief Society president for the names of a few sisters who share your interests—for example, quilting, sewing, or reading. Then call them and introduce yourself.

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

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

By following these suggestions, I soon became comfortable in my new ward. I will always appreciate Elaine’s thoughtfulness in helping to ease my transition.—Patricia Nilssen, Maple Valley, Washington

Photography by Matthew Reier

Illustrated by Dave McDonald

Photography by Matthew Reier; photo electronically composed by Neil Brown