Relief Society in need

My Relief Society President is going through a lot right now. Here is what I know about: 1-She just moved. It's from one apartment to the other in the same complex, but it's still a move, and it's almost worse, because nobody gave her much sympathy, because it was only a short distance. A move is a move in my book, and moving bites. 2-She has a very active 2year old and a 4 month old, both boys. And she lives in a 2 bedroom apartment. 3-Her husband just started grad school, and is still working full time. He is gone from approximately 7 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. some nights. Other nights it's earlier, and the only night that he's home, she has Relief Society meeting, so he can watch the kids. Needless to say, they see each other very little, and she has four years of this to look forward to, since it's a part-time master's so he can still work. 4-She is newly diagnosed (yesterday) with Celiac's disease, an antoimmune disease where she cannot eat gluten, and so she thus has to change her entire eating lifestyle. (And get something different to eat for the sacrament, thus calling attention to herself, which she hates.) 5-She's Relief Society President! We have a high need ward. There are many funerals to arrange, lots of welfare needs, and basically just a lot of women to visit and care for. This calling is a time consuming and stressful one, and she is EXCELLENT at it. So, here's my question: when you know of a woman in need, you call the Relief Society President. Who do you call when it IS the Relief Society President? I am her good friend and her visiting teacher to boot, so I think I would be one person to call. I used to be her secretary, but the bishop just released me this week so I can teach gospel doctrine. I told him maybe he should let RS Pres. get adjusted to her apartment and her new diet before making her try to find a new secretary, but he felt strongly about the call, so there you go. (Also, I think she has downplayed her need in front of the bishop.) I have babysat for her on numerous occasions, our boys are the same age and it is not difficult for me to have her boy over. I have fed her dinner. I have listened to her talk. I have loaned her videos that her toddler likes, so she can at least have some sort of break during the day. I have loved doing every one of these things. I don't know what else to do. I want to help her because she needs help and because I love her. So what else can I do for her? She is getting depressed as she thinks of a gluten-free life and four years of seeing her husband sporadically. She has much to do, and she handles it all so beautifully, that sometimes it's easy for people to forget that she has needs.


Anonymous Mark said...

Wiz, I think it is great that you are doing all those things for her, she really needs somebody to help her.

I've known serveral RS presidents and bishops who did their best and succeeded in spite of their own problems. They were struggling healthwise, kids-wise, job-wise, money-wise, even marriage-wise. I'm a little surprised we don't have more of them do a total freakout, considering the burden we put on them.

We need to remember that their needs don't go away just because they have a temporary calling. Again, I'm really glad you are her friend.

9/02/2005 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger drama mama said...

Whoa! Sound pretty young to be a RS pres! She must be an amazing lady! Does the bishop know about her problems?

9/02/2005 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

She's 28, and has been in for just over a year. Very young to be RS pres, but again, she's so good at it, the RS runs so well, and people really do feel cared for and loved.

The bishop does know about her needs, but I don't think he really understands them - does that make sense? It's been a long time since he's been in college, and had young kids, (and he never did grad school) so he doesn't know the time that takes, and he also doesn't realize what Celiac's can do. His heart's in the right place, but I think he's just so focused elsewhere, he's not getting it. Plus, I think she's always telling the bishop that she's OK.

He did release her husband from being scout master.

9/02/2005 06:38:00 PM  
Anonymous danithew said...

Sounds like it is a good time for a relesase from her calling. She has enough going on without the added responsibility.

9/02/2005 06:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Deborah Farmer said...


My husband has Celiac (with attending dairy and soy allergies) and we've found a lot of tricks to make eating not only doable but usually delectable. Though I do not have celiac, I pretty much follow the same diet and have found myself feeling healthier because of it.

If you want a fun way to lift her spirits, visit www.glutenfreemall.com/ and order their chocolate bundt cake, pie crust, or garbanzo bean flour (great for fried chicken) -- then make her a delicious treat that she thought she'd have to give up forever. (My favorite item on the site is the bouillon cubes, since most chicken broth is infused with gluten -- I make a great chicken and rice-noodle soup!)

You're a good friend!

9/02/2005 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...


What a great site! Thanks for sharing. I will totally order stuff for her, and point her in that direction.

I was amazed to see on that site that Celiac's affects 1 in 133, yet only 1 in 4700 is diagnosed. Whoa baby! Isn't there a better diagnosis tool out there? I guess it's because so many people don't have the symptoms, they just live with it and don't know it.

9/02/2005 07:59:00 PM  
Anonymous ESO said...

Obviously, I don't know your friend, so maybe this doesn't apply, but some people going through tough times thrive for having additional responsibility. My RS president had breast cancer this past year and I was amazed at how she just kept on trucking. I think she appreciated having other people's worries to focus on, rather than her own treatment.

If your friend is this sort of person, maybe doing meaningful work for others is preferable to contemplating missing husband or not-so-exciting diet.

But if you think she really is going under, I don't think you would be out of line to express your concerns to the bishop. Tell him what you know and let him mull it over and pray about it. [I fear he would want to justify things to you, but you don't need that as long as he really listens].

Also, what about a party? What if you collected appropriate gluten-free yummy foods recipies, distributed them with party invites, and had a gluten-free party where everyone makes and brings said dish and tastes it. Fun gathering, friend gets yummy food, and everyone eats a bit better than usual.

9/02/2005 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Deborah! You need to be commenting ALL THE TIME, because it is so good to hear from you. And how long have you been married? Drop me a line at hbenn99@aol.com, and we can catch up!

9/02/2005 11:03:00 PM  
Anonymous maren said...

I wish I knew her. I am also a young RS President. I am 26, and was called two weeks after my wedding, when I was still 25. My Grandmother who I loved dearly had just passed away the week before my wedding. My family lives in Utah, my husbands family lives in the Philippines, and we are alone in Brooklyn. Last week I unfortunately had to ask the same question as you "who does the Relief Society President call in need?" when I miscarried my first child. I am willing and grateful to do my calling, but will admit that the weak human heart sometimes wonders why someone like me would be given such a large responsibility.

9/03/2005 07:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Kim Siever said...

"Who do you call when it IS the Relief Society President?"

You could try her counsellors (after all they are there for counselling). Or perhaps, you could tell the stake Relief Society president. Hey, that'd be cool. Could you imagine if the stake Relief Society came to her?

9/03/2005 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

I have several cards which say "life sucks" on the outside and on the inside "well, yours anyway." I've given them to my friend who has cancer and my friend whose son just got charged with molestation.

They got a good laugh. They know I've been there with the tragedy, so they don't feel slighted.

You could make your own.

9/03/2005 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...


I wish you knew her, too. You guys could really help each other, I think. She did say that she would give me up as secretary, but not as her visiting teacher. That's funny, because the main reason I was assigned to teach her was because we saw each other in presidency meeting anyway!

So get a visiting teacher who will come, because 'everybody needs somebody sometime.' And since you decide who visits who, you can basically handpick somebody! Too many times the RS President doesn't think they need that extra contact,(one more thing to schedule!) but I'm now convinced that it's more important than ever.

I am so sorry that you miscarried, that's just horrendous. Don't worry, I won't tell you that it's all a test.:)

And eso, I love the idea of a gluten free party for her. I don't think she'll like the attention, though, but maybe that's just too bad! She gets it anyway! Have to ponder that one........

9/03/2005 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

Who are her friends? Who are her visiting teachers? It sounds to me like you are at least one good friend who is concerned about her and her well-being. Maybe you could mention your worries to a couple of her other good friends or visting teachers. I think sometimes members who are seen as very active and stable members are wrongly assumed to have no needs. But the R.S. organization (and the Church itself) is really set up to connect everyone so we can all support each other. Even a bishop can ask for a blessing from his home teachers, and a R.S. president should be on the receiving end of formal or informal compassionate service when she needs it too. (I have to wonder though: who coordinates the casserole deliveries when the compassionate service leader has a baby? Clearly someone does!)

9/05/2005 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

You could drop by with a casserole, it's lovely when somebody cooks for me.

I made a huge dinner once for our relief society president. Her kids got so excited.

9/06/2005 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an VERY overwhelmed, young (hardly over 30) RS president, I can tell you she might appear to be handling things just fine, but might inwardly be barely holding it together. Being a friend who can anticipate what needs done is such a blessing. Offer to teach a lesson if the teacher doesn't show up. Offer to drive someone to the Bishop's storehouse to fill a food order. Offer to do child care during Enrichment. Offer to make food for a funeral. Offer to take a new member on to your VT list. Offer an idea for Enrichment meeting and carry it out. Offer to lead the music, play the piano or say the prayer in RS. Offer to give an elderly sister a ride to the doctor next time she calls. Offer to be the organizer the next time she's asked to feed the missionaries at zone conference. Offer to play the organ at a funeral for someone you've never met. Offer to visit less active sisters with her or watch her kids so she can do it unencumbered. Offer to go to Ward Council Meeting for her when her kids are sick. Offer to go early and open the building for her on Enrichment night. Offer to be a mentor to a sister trying to get a job/get off welfare/file bankruptcy/apply for SSI/claim back child support/get her son out of jail/deal with collection agencies/plan a funeral so she can call you three times a day instead of her.

Okay, my tone is getting less helpful so I'll stop there. Thanks for being there for this sister.

9/06/2005 07:03:00 PM  
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10/03/2005 02:03:00 PM  
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10/08/2005 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Daisy said...

I found this sight looking for support in my new calling. I am 28 and just moved into my ward in a new city. Two months latter I found I was pregnant with my third child (yeah!) and then was called to be RS Pres. My husband just started Dental school and thus is also never home. All of this would be wonderfuly easy if I felt supported by my counselors--not so much. I even had one of them chew me out last month. Or if I had any friends in this ward. I have only lived here since August and am exspected to know everyone and everything. I have been blessed in so many ways since accepting this calling but still find church very scary and am becoming anti social. This is very unusual for me. So, your question is a great one. Were do I find friends, support or whatever? Going to the Lord has been a lifeline, but sometimes you just need a girl friend.

1/05/2006 06:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt 11:28

10/16/2006 03:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know you posted this a long time ago and hope all is well. I wanted to answer your question of, who to go to for the RS President, for anyone who may come across this blog that is in this situation. Have you thought to pray? Heavnly Father will ALWAYS give you an answer if you ask.

He is a father. Only, he's in Heaven. He feels that sense or need to help his children. He wants to give them what they need. Maybe, in this case it was to help out those around the RS President. Maybe he wanted those, that he knew would be around her, to get on their knees.

I find it so very helpful to pray about everything. I ask him, Which is the best choice. Although the choice I may have chosen was a good one, who do we know that would be able to tell if thats the best choice.

If those around her did get on their knees...maybe he wanted them to learn to listen and recieve answers.

Heavenly Father is a great man. Who I love and look forward to meeting one day. I know the gospel is true. It is my prayer that the members in the church counsel with the lord. It will help make your life so much more easier. Remember, there needs to be balance though. So for all the good that happens, the same will be the evil. Just remember to pray. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

1/09/2008 02:34:00 PM  

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