Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We Seek After THESE Things

Last week was our Stake Youth Conference. Three days of activities for youth ages 14-18 that ultimately were meant to draw the kids' hearts to Christ, strengthen their testimonies and develop a sense of unity between them.  There are MANY things that are good, and lovely, and delightful out there for these kinds of events.  We were seeking after all of them!

Thursday night we held a BBQ and pool party. You know what they say, "If you feed them, they will come." It is true.

Brothers Edwards and Cobbley fed the multitudes with burgers and dogs...and a unique item dubbed a "Ham-Dog". I happened to eat toward the end of the cooking and ended up with a triple Ham-Dog. Whoa.

Teenagers...hungry teenagers. You've gotta love them!

Fruit, potato salad and veg on the side. Yumm-OH!

We had an hour at the city pool to ourselves--or so we thought. There was a little group of three or four kids that I didn't recognize. I ask President Pam and other adult leaders if they knew these kids. No one did. Finally Pam asked them which ward they were from and they told us that they were there "for Austin's birthday". But none of them had seen this mysterious Austin. We had heard a rumor that a text was floating to the city's HS population that a pool party was open to the masses--when really, it wasn't! But they didn't seem too concerned that they cheated their way into a private party--which caused us to pay for each of them to play at the pool. Crazy, right?

Then we met again on Friday morning for more activities. Of course, we lived the "If you feed them, they will come" line, once again.

Our fearless cooking crew! They are awesome!

Some of our lovely young women, just waiting for breakfast.

The crowd beginning to fill in. 8 AM on a Friday in June is still early for some people, I guess.

We had 8 stations of activities. Two stations had a double rotation through them, as the game required two teams. All in all the kids rotated 10 times through these stations where they played and worked together and at every point heard a message of love and peace from the scriptures.

Sister Cobbley hosted a station where a game was played from the text of "The Living Christ".

Contestants sat, waiting to help their team, and take their turns.

Steal the Flag took two rotations--but once we moved it to the shade, it was a lot of fun!

Melanie and McKenzie show us their GPS findings at another station.

Bocce Ball in the Park! Go Madison! What a throw!

The Rock Wall gave many of our youth, like Amber, on the left, a real challenge. Not to mention the adult leaders--except Sister Barnes.  Look at her go!!  She could almost fly up that wall!!

A stop indoors was only a cooling off period for a second. Dodge Ball gets heated even in the best of circumstances!

Ah, Lunch! We had Big Sandwiches from WalMart along with some fruit, chips and juice.

Ladies first! What gentlemanly youth leaders we have!

We finished up the day with a few more rotations, so each group got to visit each station. Then we broke up for a bit and met back at the church, cleaned up in our Sunday clothes for a dinner and dance.

No photographic evidence remains from the evening's activities. But it was great! Trust me!

Then Day Three, Saturday, we held a morning side (with doughnuts) at the pavilion near the temple and from there each group left for a service project that lasted all morning. Several groups did clean up at local parks, the rodeo grounds, yard work for elderly neighbors and even laid some sod for a family that couldn't get enough help themselves. Because all these services were offered locally, the blessings were given (and received) by our neighbors and friends. Each group sounded like they had a wonderful experience and felt the Savior's love as they served in His name.

Then Saturday night, we held a closing devotional with messages from our Young Men's leader, President Atkinson, and from President Allred. Plus a special musical number by all the adult leaders of youth--an arrangement by Sister Amy of the Primary hymn, "I Know that My Savior Loves Me", as inspired by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was beautiful and powerful and a joy to be a part of, all for our youth to hear.

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