Brandon was convinced I was getting a stake calling. I was convinced he was getting called to something. In fact, I joked with him and said, "Ha! You're going to be called to be a counselor in the Bishopric!" and he replied, "No, way. They just called new counselors less than a year ago!" (Bishop Kim, our Bishop, has been serving for just about 4 1/2 years.)
[I'm going to pause here to explain to those who might not be LDS (Mormon) that our clergy is a lay clergy. That means nobody gets paid in our congregations to help and lead each other. In fact, only our highest general authorities get any kind of living stipend, and millions of members put in dozens of hours every week serving in our church. The Bishop is like the Reverend/Pastor/Priest and is the temporal and spiritual leader of the local congregation, but he is not paid. The Stake leaders are like those who would lead a Diocese --they oversee several congregations, and they are not paid, either. If you have any more questions about it, feel free to ask me, or just go here to learn more!]
So, we arrived Sunday morning to our chapel (which is also the Stake Center, so the Stake offices are there) and Brandon and I went in to meet with President Brown (who has the coolest accent because he's from Liverpool, England!). He immediately told us we were there for Brandon. I grinned and Brandon was surprised. And then he told us that the Bishopric was being reorganized and Brandon had been called to be the 2nd counselor in the Bishopric.
We were truly not expecting that, but I said, "Haha! I told you!" and Brandon just looked like a deer in the headlights. We accepted his calling, and Pres. Brown told us that it was happening that day. "Today??" "Today." We were shocked! Then I left the room, because Brandon had to be interviewed to be ordained to the office of High Priest in order to be set apart in the Bishopric. Up until that point, he was an Elder. (Go here to read more about Priesthood offices and ordination.)
We didn't say a word to my parents or the kids, but I told my parents that it was kind of a big calling and they'd find out in a few minutes.
The Stake President (President Coe) presided at the meeting, and after Bishop Kim had done all the conducting and the Sacrament had been passed, President Coe announced the change in the Bishopric. It was a shock to everyone, but not necessarily a negative thing. Bishop Kim is well loved, and although it's hard to understand him sometimes (he is Korean), he has the greatest love and spirit about him. He's been a wonderful bishop! Our new bishop had been our Ward Mission Leader, and the new Sunday School President (Brother Mack) was called to be the 1st counselor. Both Brother Mack and Brandon were surprised --they weren't even told who the Bishop was going to be (even though he's the one who prayed about and asked to call them as counselors)! Our kids were shocked when Pres. Coe called Brandon's name, and then when Brandon was asked to stand to be sustained by the ward to be ordained as a High Priest. He then took his seat on the stand, and as he walked up there, it hit me that for the next however number of years, I'll be getting the kids ready for church on my own, sitting with them in Sacrament Meeting on my own, and supporting Brandon while he serves our ward members.
Which is why President Brown made sure I was there to accept this calling along with Brandon, because this does not only affect him; not in the least.
After Sacrament Meeting and during Sunday School, the new Bishopric and their wives went into the Bishop's office with President Brown and President Coe. They ordained and set apart the new Bishop, set apart the 1st counselor, and then we were going to maybe hold off on ordaining and setting apart Brandon, maybe try to get his dad to do it? Maybe have my dad do it later that afternoon? But Brandon decided, last second, that it would just be best for all involved to have the Bishop ordain him right then and there. No need to put it off! So, Bishop Ebeling (our new Bishop) ordained him to the office of High Priest, and then President Coe set him apart to his new calling as 2nd counselor.
And it all happened within the course of three hours, from calling to setting apart! Holy cow!
Maybe to others this isn't such a big deal. And truthfully, it's not. All callings are important in the church, and all callings deserve respect and support. But this particular one personally represents an entirely new road in Brandon's and my spiritual journey, and this means a new, slightly different place for him in the Priesthood, since he is no longer an Elder, but a High Priest. It's truly not that different from a service perspective, it's not that different from any other calling, except that he will be spending a lot more time serving our ward family. It also means more support from me, by not complaining when he's needed, by allowing him to serve uninhibited. Truth be told, I'm grateful he's not the Bishop! That's a difficult calling of it's own sort, and I'm grateful he gets to support our Bishop rather than be him at this point. (Knock on wood, let it be years from now, etc. etc. and so forth...)
My cousin mentioned that maybe we were needed out here in PA for more than just Brandon's job --perhaps he was needed for this very purpose. I think she is right. It's still strange to think that he's been called to the Bishopric (of a very capable ward!) after only six months of living here, but we felt very strongly that we were led to be in this ward. This is where we are supposed to be. We know it. And so this calling? Of course we immediately and willingly accepted, even though it might be a struggle.
I love this gospel, dear reader. I love the way God works, the way the Priesthood works, the way callings work, the humility and charity that are personified in those who lead and guide us. Brandon, to me is a great example of how the Lord qualifies who He calls, how He trusts all of us to do good work, even when we feel less than worthy of it. I know Brandon will do a great job, I know this will push him spiritually in a way that will bless not only him, but our entire family.
And for that, I am truly, truly grateful.