Last night I attended a stake youth fireside introducing the Mutual theme for 2010. We saw clips from a video produced by the Church that included a talk by Melvin J. Ballard. I didn't know his great-grandfather was Joseph F. Smith. When Joseph was a young lad he'd been orphaned and life was rough. Elder Ballard said he thought Joseph's leaders probably wondered how to best teach him and keep him in the gospel. There was still hope for this young man and as we all know, he grew to serve as the Prophet and President of the Church. His leaders didn't give up hope and the result was a great leader.
There were also clips of youth all over the world bearing testimony and singing. One such clip was of a large group of youth and the camera zoomed in on a young African man who was singing with such zeal, you could see his love for the gospel all across his face. The message of the gospel is truly for the world. The Savior reaches out to all across this world. We have a worldwide message of hope.
We then heard talks from youth in our stake. I was impressed by the young man who shared the story of going to collect fast offerings from a family that wasn't active. He kept going to collect fast offerings, even when he was told they had none. Because of his willingness to do his duty, that family came nback into activity. I was also impressed by the young man who was on a baseball trip and some of his friends gave him what he thought was an unopened bottle of soda pop. As he grabbed it he had a bad feeling. As soon as it got close to his nose, he realized they had replaced the soda with alcohol--tequila. He refused to drink it even after they strongly encouraged him to do so. Two young men exhibiting the strength and courage to do what was right.
As I watched the video clips, listened to the talks, and watched the youth around me I was struck with the great hope we have in this generation. Yes, the world is a wicked place, but we have strong, immovable, and committed youth who will stand up for the right and defend the truth. We have hope in our future because we have such valiant youth.
I am so proud of our youth and the tough choices they make to keep their standards. I hope I can be supportive and encourage them to stay strong as I fulfill my calling with the young women.
We have no need to fear, we have hope in our youth!