Monday, July 21, 2008

Youth Conference Testimonies

I’m going to detour today from writing about our basic beliefs in the LDS Church because I wanted to share an experience I had over the weekend.
I am currently serving in the Young Women’s organization in my ward and decided I wanted to attend the 4 Stake youth conference this last Friday and Saturday. Though I could only attend a portion because of babysitter issues, I am very thankful I was able to participate.

The conference was held on the old campus of a local college, nestled in the trees and surrounded by the mountains. It’s a beautiful place that’s used for these kinds of events. When I arrived, the youth were involved in different games, including a few water fights. After the games, they all participated in a square dance. It was fun to watch them dance in groups and try to keep up with the steps.
After the dancing, we all had a barbecue and visited for a bit before we started the testimony meeting.

I often shudder at the evil that exists in the world today. It seems as though today’s youth don’t stand a chance against Satan’s subtle, yet powerful, influence. As I sat listening to these testimonies, I was blown away by the strength and the power of these young people.

Young men and women bore amazing testimonies as tears fell down their cheeks. A common theme with these testimonies was missionary work. One young man shared his conversion story. He said one day two young men came to his house and he let them in and pretended to listen to them. At the time he thought they were Catholic missionaries. When they asked to return he agreed, though he wasn’t sure why. When the missionaries returned he decided to listen to them and it changed his life. He found the gospel. He was so grateful for the two young men who didn’t give up on him.

Another visibly emotional young man talked about his oldest brother who served a mission and when he returned handed his name tag to the next oldest brother. When that brother returned from his mission, he handed the name tag to this young man. He said he will serve a mission and when he returns, he’ll hand it to his father who’s never served a mission and ask his dad to plan to serve. Wow—what a powerful testimony to his father.

A young man from South America asked a sister in attendance who was also from South America to translate his testimony in English. After he concluded, she took a few minutes to testify about missionary work. Missionaries found her parents 58 years ago. She bore a strong testimony of how those missionaries have changed so many lives. She also warned the young men to stay away from anything that might prevent them from serving a mission because someone was out there waiting just for them to bring the gospel message. She also counseled the young women to encourage the young men to serve and to never prevent the young men from serving.

Several youth bore testimonies and spoke about how someone in their school class invited them to come to church and taught them about the gospel. It was wonderful to hear about so many youth sharing their testimonies with their classmates and moving the work forward. I marvel at their courage.

I was so impressed by this testimony meeting. The Spirit was so strong and I was touched by how many kids were converts. Despite Satan, people are proclaiming the gospel. It will go forward.

We have the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have something that everyone needs and we must share it. We must prepare our children to share the gospel. We must open our mouths and shout to the world what a wonderful and blessed thing it is to have the gospel. If these kids can do it, so can I.

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Kim Thompson said...

I still remember testimony meetings from girls camp and youth conferences when I was a teenager. There is a reason the Church has these programs--youth's hearts can be touched. As an adult leader, I've felt the spirit at these meetings and realize the impact they can have.

I enjoyed your blog!

Rebecca Talley said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kim--it's always nice to hear from a friend!