Standing as a Witness

I have just been called into the Young Women’s Presidency (2nd Counselor) in our ward (non-LDS speak: I have been asked to volunteer my time and talents to be a youth leader to the teenage girls in our congregation at church). This is something that is going to take up a lot of my time and energy. I will be there every week on Sundays with the girls, as well as youth activities that we will do the bulk of planning and preparing for every Tuesday night. I will be at meetings about once a week to meet as a presidency to plan and prepare. I will go to Girls Camp in the summer (the week after next actually) and be involved in Youth Conferences and youth dances and all kinds of activities. This will be a time-consuming non-paying job… and I am so excited to do it.

I will be honest, I’ve been hoping for a calling involving the youth for a long time now. I have always been asked to help out with the little ones (always in the 3-6 age group) at church, except for before I was married and went to a Young Single Adult ward (congregation) in Tampa, FL. During my time there I had a few different callings, but obviously nothing with either children or teens as there weren’t any of those. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved my past 5 years with the little ones, but I am so excited for this new adventure.

I was blessed with some amazing youth leaders as a teen. Ones who showed me love, encouragement, guidance, and been great examples to me. Out of all my experiences at church as a youth, it was my experiences with the leaders that I cherish the most. I didn’t have a really close friend at church who was a girl and around my age. I was kind of shy, especially in my younger teen years, and only certain outgoing individuals were able rub off on me enough to get me to come out of my shell. I had a few friends at school who did this for me. Unfortunately, I didn’t have this type of friend at church so I usually kept mostly to myself there. Many of the other girls were close with each other and I often felt a little excluded. I am better friends with some of them now and know they would have never made me feel that way on purpose and also know it was probably all in my head, but it is how I felt. The point is, I loved my youth leaders. They always made me feel included and important. They were easy to talk to and kind and non-judgemental. I saw them as friends and allies and role models.

I always knew how much time and effort and work they put into the activities they prepared for us and I always believed them when they said they loved us. I believed that they wanted and hoped the best for me and the others. I believed that they prayed for us. I believed that they truly did see me as my best version of myself and believed in my potential.

It is because of them that I am so excited to be a part of the youth program in the church and because of them that I love the program so much. I hope I can measure up to them and be even half as good as they were to me. I already love these girls I will be serving so much and can’t wait to know them better and love them more. I hope they will always know how much I love them the way I always knew how much my leaders loved me. I don’t care that this new calling will be time-consuming; I will still do it. I don’t care that it will be lots of work; I will still love it.

We are daughters of our Heavenly Father,

who loves us, and we love Him.

We will stand as witnesses of God

at all times and in all things, and in all

places, as we strive to live the Young Women values,

which are:

Faith

Divine Nature

Individual Worth

Knowledge

Choice and Accountability

Good Works

Integrity

and Virtue

We believe as we come to accept and act

upon these values, we will be prepared to

strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred

covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple,

and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.

(the LDS Young Women’s Theme)

Here’s to this new adventure! (and the fact that I’m going back to Girl’s Camp this summer, after 8 years! Can’t believe it has been that long!)

-SJ

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