Monday, April 29, 2013

Stake Youth Conference

Oh my goodness!  I am soooo far behind!  We have been insanely busy!  This post is about stake youth conference! We also have been buried with temporary assignments to care for the missionaries in the NW zone of Trinidad, the cars in the mission and apartment concerns and inspections in our zone. I am also now responsible for planning, coordinating with other seniors and preparing food for the missionaries for zone conferences, special visitors etc. If anyone working with youth wants more specific instructions for the activities listed here, find our mission blog for senior missionaries and youth leaders. 
 Friday April 12th was stake youth conference!  We started with sign-in.  Elder Monson was teaching juggling to the early arrivals!  They loved it!  The elders were a big help.We made juggling balls with marbles inside newspaper covered with duct tape. 
See the juggling balls? As soon as they signed in, they were juggling and getting "Stand in Holy Places and be not moved," youth conference shirts. As they gathered, we played soccer, some basketball, and 4-way tug of war. 
When all the youts (their way of saying it) had arrived, we started with a devotional by Peaches and Jason Byng, a young married  couple.  They were fantastic!
After the devotional, we introduced our ice-breaker.  
Dinner followed the dance and then youth were transported to member's homes for the night.
 The next morning started with breakfast, (they all have on their youth conference shirts today) then a devotional featuring testimonies from two outstanding youth; Cameron and Anastasia 
 Station #1 Crossing the filthy river
 We had them cross a raging river together.  The river represents the river of water which Nephi and Lehi beheld. It is described as “the fountain of filthy water which thy father saw; yea, even the river of which he spake; and the depths thereof are the depths of hell.” 
The Saints can accomplish any purpose of the Lord when fully united in righteousness."  Henry B. Eyring   A true friend is somebody who helps you get across the river safely.
 Starting over the first time!
 They loved this activity!
 After rafts washed away, and to make sure everyone was on the river before any could get off, they began carrying some to safety.
 Station #1 part two: We separated into even smaller groups for the Holy Place Sculpture.
 Group planning and discussion time
 Group presentation time
 Sacred scriptures
 The garden of Gethsemane
 The tree of life
 Pleased Holy place sculptors
 At an outdoor wooded area very nearby, we held station #2 Capture the flag

Youts must be vigilant in protecting the flag, just as we diligently protect our spiritual health and well-being from the temptations of the world.  We stand in a Holy Place as we become constant guardians of our virtue, integrity, honesty and purity from the wickedness of the evil one who desires that all become miserable as he is miserable. 

 The yout's in this culture have never heard of, let alone played, capture the flag.  They loved it and the location was perfect since they had plenty of trees and bushes to hide behind!
Our dear mission nurse and close friend, sister Sanner, ran the capture the flag station for us.  She was amazing and the youts loved this station.  One thing we can count on in this life is change.  Here she is just three days ago in the hospital and just over two weeks ago she was running around leading the charge in capture the flag.  She has been diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia and must go home.  We will miss her sooooo much!  Just to remind us of her tenacious character, she walked over to our apartment with her situation very unstable while we were getting in the car to go pick her up at the office and take her to the hospital!  She came here just two weeks before we did, so we believed we would have her companionship for our entire mission.  We are sad to have this change, but will always remember her fun laugh, competent professionalism and amazing spirit in the trials she has faced in her life.  We want to buy land near her in Kansas when we return so we will have some land in Missouri and won't have to walk so far when we are!
 The third and final station was gospel principle Skits, practicing in the morning and presented in the afternoon.  President and Sister Gould, the stake president and his wife, were facilitators for this group.  They did a fabulous job with the discussion points at the end of each skit.  The feedback the kids gave us for this station was that the youts had so much fun preparing, the performances were funny to see, and the discussion and application were spiritual and helpful to them.  Copies of each of the 6 skits are found at the blog site listed at the top of this post. 
 Waiting for the first performance to begin
 Elder Monson has had a hard day driving youts back and forth to capture the flag station!
 The show is on! The Family Law skit.
 The Built on Love skit where one builder builds his home on gospel principles and the other doesn't.
The house built with unsound character traits falls!
Little Missy and the Misfits skit
Pajama Jones skit.  This one, by popular demand, was performed twice!
You can see why!  They were quite the thespians!
Can you tell who the good guy is?  The bad guy???
Here is the whole group as we closed youth conference.  What a wonderful experience!  I had an opportunity that was amazing.  There was a beautiful young woman, 17 years old, brand new member of the church who came up to me and told me she was terrified and wanted to go home.  We had a long conversation during the dance.  She shared how her family of seven lives in one room.  Her Dad is a drug addict, her mom is an alcoholic, and every morning at 5:00 am her parents begin a daily battle throwing things at each other, cursing and screaming while the children huddle in terror.  This young woman joined the church because she felt the spirit confirm there is a better life, that Christ came to show a better way.  She decided to stay and ended up having a great experience at youth conference.  I am so humbled at the burdens these young people carry!!  My heart breaks for them, but I know that they can break the cycle of abuse and terror.  Only the Spirit and the Gospel of Jesus Christ can dispel the darkness in peoples lives.  The message of the gospel is one of hope, support and the triumph of the human spirit through Christ!  I feel so privileged to share this message with a world that desperately needs it!

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