I have been reflecting on my personal testimony a lot lately. What I know to be true with firm conviction. I have been Young Women President, for the 12-18 year old girls at church, for one year this month. First, I cannot believe that one year has already passed, and yet I think “have I made a difference” and “what can I do to be the best president I possibly can.” I don’t know how long I will be asked to serve in this capacity, but I do not want to end my service knowing that I could have served or done more. Ask and ye shall receive, right? These girls, and the youth in general, are great young people. I remember being their age and thinking what I was facing was tough. Things like finding out who you are and what you want to believe.
I had the opportunity to go to youth conference two weekends ago. We called it our marathon weekend. The youth had a Temple trip on Thursday which was a really special experience. Two of my Beehives went for the first time and the youth brought several family file names. One of my leaders did work for her Great-Great- Grandmother.
The next day on Friday evening was the kick-off to youth conference at Red Top Mountain Beach. We had a luau and a pig roast. The youth had fun and it was a good time to meet and mingle.
The next day on Saturday, it was an all-day event. The youth started the day with a service project. The theme for the conference was "No longer a mystery." Before the service project, all with smart phones downloaded an app called Billion Graves. This is an app where there are pictures of gravestones and you can search for names, locations, etc. to assist in family history work where you a. may not know the birth/death of a family member or b. want to know where they were buried, etc. Each group had a route and cemeteries to visit, all around Cobb County. The groups were not necessarily from their own ward so they got the opportunity to meet more youth. In the car, there were ice breaker activities and at the cemetery, the youth and leaders were able to respectfully and reverently take pictures of the gravestones and upload them onto the app. In a 3 hour time frame, we uploaded over 12,000 pictures. It was a solemn experience and quite moving, unexpectedly. Upon arriving back to the church building and feeding our bellies with lunch, we had a series of classes for the youth. After which was dinner, a testimony meeting, and a dance. As I listened to the youth bear their testimonies (7-8 of which were from our own ward, which was special), I was reflecting on my own and what I believed and what I knew at that age. These youth face a lot and it really is quite an opportunity to be able to serve them and hope to make an imprint on their life. During the dance, one of the other YW leaders and I came up with a challenge game, made up of 3 phases. They consisted of challenges to get them dancing. The phases got more challenging and creative as they progressed and the youth had a blast (who am I kidding, so did the leaders!). They were dancing the whole time and having a great time. It’s amazing what candy will do to motivate you and give you incentive to get out of your comfort zone. We told the youth if they liked it that much, to consider it an addition to the dances from here on out. Let the creativity start flowing for more challenges!
For the cherry on top, the Young Women sang “Song of Testimony” the following day in Sacrament Meeting (our Sunday service). I led the girls and I was just filled with the spirit of love as we sang. I couldn’t help but cry as I was so touched and thankful for the testimony that I grew to have and continue to grow. The words of the song are pieces of my own personal testimony as well “I know God lives, I know He loves me, I know He hears me and He answers when I pray. I know His son, is my Redeemer, and that He died for me that I might live eternally one day.”
I love the youth program. I’m so grateful for the leaders that I had growing up and that I can “pay it forward” and be one to the rising generation.