This year I was asked to be the girls camp director. When we moved here the church asked us to teach the youth Sunday School. Before that I had never worked with the youth before. So I was way excited but also nervous!
I spoke in church on it and I am going to share my talk with a couple of pictures:
There are many parts of my testimony that need strengthening and work. But there are a couple things that I know so well in my heart that I can testify are true. And I can tell you with certainty that when you work hard at your calling—not always perfectly—but when you put the time, sacrifice, work into your calling your life will be blessed.
This year has been a huge year of growth for our business. Earlier in the year we were asked to go to youth conference and it was being held just one or two weeks after opening our first actual location for our business. When we realized youth conference would be so soon after this I knew right away that it was a test and an opportunity for blessings. Tyler and I have learned through our marriage that when we sacrifice and work at our callings and pay our tithing it directly affects the best months of growth in our business. So when I was asked to be the girls camp director I was so excited and also knew it was another opportunity for blessing for my family. This time along with our business being blessed my testimony and my soul was blessed beyond measure. Because of my week at girls camp and being around your girls for a week my family’s lives have been blessed.
I know, that if you are called to be the Laurel President or the Beehive counselor or a visiting teacher or a sunday school teacher. That if you work hard at your calling, that you will be blessed. If you remember to learn to love those you serve, to get to know them, to prepare your meetings or lessons, to pray for guidance on how to help those you serve. That you will be blessed.
Elder Eyring gave a talk once based on a question a man had asked him:
“Not long ago, a young man I did not know approached me in a crowded place. He said quietly but with great intensity: “Elder Eyring, I have just been called as the president of my elders quorum. What advice do you have for me?” I was sure that what he needed to know and to feel I couldn’t give him there, with the people rushing past us. And so I said, “I will give you my counsel in general conference.”
The whole talk is beautiful and gives so much great advice but I wanted to highlight this part:
“You are called to represent the Savior. Your voice to testify becomes the same as His voice, your hands to lift the same as His hands. His work is to bless His Father’s spirit children with the opportunity to choose eternal life. So, your calling is to bless lives. That will be true even in the most ordinary tasks you are assigned and in moments when you might be doing something not apparently connected to your call. Just the way you smile or the way you offer to help someone can build their faith. And should you forget who you are, just the way you speak and the way you behave can destroy faith.
Your call has eternal consequences for others and for you. In the world to come, thousands may call your name blessed, even more than the people you serve here. They will be the ancestors and the descendants of those who chose eternal life because of something you said or did, or even what you were.”
Church callings are important. My children have and will continue to need nursery leaders that love them and make them feel safe and happy and loved at church. My girls have and need primary teachers that bear testimony to them every week. They need to learn things from the lines of the primary songs. One day they will need a group of women that love them as their young women leaders. Your girls have leaders and a very special young women president that really love them. And spend so much time caring for them in young womens. I’m crossing my fingers that one day my four girls get leaders like these leaders and this young womens president. This generation needs it more than ever. Tyler and I are both the type of people that like to handle things ourselves and can be kind of private and not like people too much in our business. And as our girls’ parents we are the most important people to teach them and raise them. But I have learned that with this generation and with this world. That I do need others to help them. They need the strength of those that serve them at church to also make it so them return back Home.
I told the girls this during testimony meeting at camp but I knew for a couple months before being called as the camp leader that I would be called. My mind has a way of prepping me for things I think. So I knew that I needed to get to know those I was going to serve. I would talk to them after teaching them in sunday school, make sure I got to know them. I had tons of them over to babysit in the months leading up to going to camp. Some came to help me with my kids’ birthday parties. One of the bad things about me is that I can take too long to warm up to people. So I would have felt very inadequate and nervous to be the camp director if I had not known all the girls so well. So I’m so glad I received personal revelation and could prep for this.
I’m in the mom stage of making sure everyone is fed and survives. I have one daughter that I have to always be in the same room with or she would seriously hurt herself. So my life right now is to make sure my girls survive each day. So I have a very hard time pulling myself away from that and looking at my girls as a big picture. You know what I can do to help them become strong women and daughters of God. What I should be doing for them towards the big picture.
Girls camp helped me come so close to the savior by showing me what I need to start doing or continue doing and even stop doing with my girls for their eternal salvation. And I was blessed by that because of your 17 daughters. Each of your daughters, all 17 of them, taught me so much about my 4 daughters. Your girls are amazing. I will be a very lucky mom if my girls grow up to be like your daughters. Attending girls camp brought me so close to the savior that my family spiritually will benefit hopefully their entire lives will benefit from my time at girls camp.
I spend so much time making sure that my girls lives are happy. I worry about if they are getting the best math lessons, I drive them all the way to sugarhouse to attend a math school. I talk with the teachers to make sure how they are progressing, if they are incorporating enough stem into their lessons. Asking when they will be starting some computer programming. I do the same thing with their dance and their theatre. And different aspects of their education. Sometimes I can go overboard but I also know I am trying to raise smart, strong, and girls with a nice self esteem and self worth.
But it donned on my during girls camp. Lots of times I get so wrapped up in other things that their spirituality is not getting the same care. I need to be even more wrapped up in how their spirits are doing and their testimonies. Are we studying the scriptures in the right way that really help them, how are our FHE doing, is personal prayer a really deep rooted habit for them? Right now with who are children are, and what their lines ups are in the last generation. Those things need to be the very highest on my to do lists and lists of concerns.
And I will tell you the main thing I learned from them and from your girls that has changed my life….
Right before camp I wanted to do one thing to get away and have some me time before we left. So I met up with two friends of mine for lunch. They are both 10 years older than me. One has 4 girls just like me and another has 3 girls, about half of them teenagers. They are both women I look up to a lot. They told me how some of their oldest girls were getting their patriarchal blessings. And how it was such a rewarding mom moment. That they just sat back and listened to the words of their daughters’ blessing and were in awe. In both blessings their girls were referred to as warriors. Warriors that fought with Micheal at the front lines in the war in heaven. And that are the very strongest who are now warriors here on earth for God. I know that they both were inspired to tell me this because it is something I carried in my heart all through girls camp.
These girls are warriors sent for the last days. Their spirits are strong and shine bright. Being with them taught me how I want to raise my daughters. I’d be so proud if they grew to be like these wonderful 17 girls.
I truly believe *our* small children right now are the very last warriors to be sent down. They are the strongest. And right now since they are still so young Satan is attacking *us* the parents. He doesn’t want our kids growing up in the church. He is fighting so strong to get todays parents of the last warriors of the church to leave.
I have felt him working on me. I will hold strong. I will up my game. I am the mother of four warriors. Even if I don’t understand everything I will hold on until I can meet God. My job is to get everyone home. I’m not going anywhere.
This church IS true, hold strong my friends. The other mothers of warriors. I love you, let’s pray for strength! It’s game time.
It is time to read our scriptures every day and not miss a day. It is time that we have FHE every week. There is no time for forgetting, we have to do it, its time. Right now is the time. What I learned from girls camp is that it is time for me to shape up and get to work. Satan the past few months I can feel is working so horribly strong on me that I have to do all that I can to counteract that. I can’t be lazy with anything.
So the girls and I attended camp at Heber Valley Girls Camp. Which is a very cool place. Cabins with bunks, showers, bathrooms, so clean. I like that kind of camping. I’ve only camped once in the past 10 years so I am glad we went to this camp. Gordon B. Hinckley really wanted to buy land for girls camp, it was really important to him. So the church bought this land and it is dedicated and has tons of missionary couples called to serve on it. There really is such a strong spirit just from the land itself. But one of the main things about the camp that makes it fun is the challenge course. There are 6 different courses I think and our stake was assigned one of them. I went to a training the first day of camp to learn one of the stations really well. So that when it was our ward and another ward’s turn on Thursday that I could lead one of the stations by myself. And other leaders from other wards ran the other stations. The challenge course has 6 or 7 different stations in it from ziplining to my station which was called Shark Island. The youth did this at youth conference with Brother Ekins. It is where you are all standing on a platform and you have to get to another platform. And there is just a rope hanging in the middle that can get you from one platform to another platform. But all the space in between is infested by sharks. So you have to figure out how to get the rope over to your group and then all safely cross over. So since our girls had done it before the exercise took like 5 minutes and we had a lot of time to spare. So we really got to talk to each other for awhile about how that exercise related to the gospel. Like how the first platform was sinking and how you can compare that to the world. That the rope is Christ and the atonement, how the sharks are Satan or our temptation. How the final platform is getting back home to heaven.
But there were two things that I know that I should share with you more in detail and that we ars youth and also as adults really need to remember in our lives.
First is the girls, if they fell in the water, in the shark infested water. They were allowed to try again, to try as many times as they wanted. When we had the lesson after the exercise I taught them that. We have a kind God, we don’t have a God that we fail or stubble or mess up and fall into the waters and he says oh too bad, next person’s turn. Our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother and our brother Jesus and the Holy Ghost want us home so badly. And they are KIND and loving. They let us climb out of the shark waters and try again and again. As members of the church, as brothers and sisters we can help each other come to the surface of the dark murky shark water. But we ourselves have to grab ahold of that rope to grab ahold of the atonement and try again.
The other thing that I loved in this exercise is the spotters. There were 3 girls that got to get a turn to swing across but at times they were allowed to be in the shark water to be a spotter and it didn’t count. The sharks would not get them, I told them that somehow magically they were walking on the water. But these spotters weren’t to touch the person trying to swing across unless it looked like they were going to fall and hurt themselves. And also they at the end when they were swinging into the safety place. Two of them were on both sides to help support their shoulders back and head. And then one at home to grab them by the waist and help them land on the platform.
The spotters in this exercise were just the most special thing to explain. Let me read you a part of this talk by Elder Holland which is called The Ministry of Angels:
“God has used angels as His emissaries in conveying love and concern for His children. Usually such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the whole world. Sometimes the messages are more private. Occasionally the angelic purpose is to warn. But most often it is to comfort, to provide some form of merciful attention, guidance in difficult times.”
We all have spotters in our lives that are our angels. I during a hard time in my life a year year and half ago had my grandmother around me who passed away a couple years ago around me a lot. After she helped me through a hard time in my life, when I was out of the dark. I had the prompting that I needed to take the oldest granddaughter from each of her son’s families out to dinner. I am the oldest cousin on both sides by quite a few years. So these oldest granddaughters some of them are still in high school and some in college. But I just got to know them a bit more and took them to dinner, each separately. Then for Christmas a couple months later I sent them a package. I sent them a print from Annie Henrie who paints because pieces of women with angels helping them in the background. Along with the picture I enclosed this talk and that their grandma wanted them to know that she was their angel and to teach this to their little sisters one day.
A girl in the other ward that was doing the challenge course along with us, her mom passed away not too long ago, when she was 12. She told the group that she could feel her mom so strongly during that challenge course. That she could feel her mom there helping her through these kind of scary parts of the challenge course. Her mom is her angel to help support her.
This church is true and we all have spotters in our lives that love us and want us back home.
Lastly I told the girls that when you swing into the safety platform. When you finally get back home. It is going to be beautiful. you will have arms there waiting just so excited to hold you and hug you and tell you they love you. Your Heavenly Father and Mother, your brother Jesus, the holy ghost, all your ancestors that have helped be your angels, your family members that have passed. It is going to be the best feeling we will ever experience. So when you feel alone or that you want to stray from the path just picture that in your mind, when we get back home.
I want to let you know that our testimony meeting was beautiful, the spirit was so strong. Many of your girls talked about how much they loved their families. You are so important to them. I have a testimony that we, their parents and youth leaders and aunts and uncles and grandmas and grandpas were saved at the last day to be THEIR spotters here on this earth. There is a lot of strength in us that we don’t realize. Right now is the time so be so strong, I know that it is in each of us. I have a testimony that we are loved by many people above. That it is our job to get our families home. That this church will help us hold on strong and get home. I love our church for that.