When on vacation, I’d like to recommend that you make it a practice to attend church. I understand it’s not always possible and may not work for a number of reasons, but if you can do, I think you might be surprised at what it adds to your experience. There are some good reasons to make church part of your vacation experience. Beyond the basic sermon that you can already imagine — it’s the Sabbath day, we need to put the Lord first, He expects us to worship regularly, their are spiritual and other blessings that come through sacrificing our own desires to worship the Lord — I’d like to suggest that attending church is also a wonderful way to experience an intriguing aspect of the local region and its people. In a foreign country, meeting with fellow Latter-day Saints can be especially meaningful, even if you don’t understand the language. Simply showing up at a church service has resulted in some of my favorite moments of international trips, resulting in experiences and memories far more valuable that waiting in line to see some overhyped attraction.
On a trip to a foreign country once, at least one LDS person in a small group was surprised at my desire to catch a local church service on Sunday morning. “Why would anybody want to go to church on vacation?” they wondered. They had limited time in an exotic place and had not yet seen a major attraction in the area and Sunday was their last chance to see something, so they embarked on a trip to a cool resort town instead. I wasn’t in a position to put my foot down, so I felt, and went along with the group. We spent much of that day stuck in traffic due to some kind of holiday while my fellow travelers became stressed about the risk of missing their flight back to the US (they barely made it back to the airport in time). Due to the traffic problem, we were able to spend very little time enjoying the destination. It was a nice place to see, yes, and I’d love to go there again, but I think it would have been more enjoyable to spend the morning in church. I fully understand the desire to do something else with limited time in a foreign country, but sometimes the Lord surprises us and we find that the boring detour becomes the real prime destination after all.