Sunday, June 12, 2011

Especially For Youth

Walking around campus this week has been a bitter sweet experience.

I've seen the sweet little efy kids walking around and it made me long for last summer.

I miss the polos and pizza nights, the lanyards and escorting, but most importantly, I miss the kids.

I never knew what it was to love people you didn't really know until efy. When I found out I was going to be a counselor last summer, I prayed every day that my inadequacies would be made up for, that my weaknesses wouldn't prevent my kids from having the same spiritual experiences I had as a participant. And that's when I started to love those teenagers I had never met, and probably will never even see again.

It was a struggle for me to be around people who don't appreciate efy the way I do. I think this frustration can be summed up through one experience I had as a counselor.

We were at our afternoon meeting with our building counselor when she asked us to go around the room and share our experiences about the first time we'd gained a testimony of the personal relationship we have with Jesus Christ. Most of us in the room related some experience we'd had at efy. It really hit me then. And hard. These were some of the most incredible women I'd ever met. And they had first learned about the Savior's love for them at efy... So, more important than being a support system for the youth, or an example, we were messengers of the Savior. Yes, I know I got paid for it. I know that most students who attend BYU during spring and summer term think all the efy kids floating around can be annoying. But, that doesn't change how I feel, or the truth of the entire program.

I tried to teach about the Savior, and that his centrality in our lives can bring more happiness than we'd ever thought possible.

Sometimes it was hard. It was hard to overcome my shyness and to really let my girls see how much I loved them. It was hard to believe in myself, that I really could teach well. One night, I made my nightly call to the boy I was dating at the time. And I just burst into tears. As a teacher, I felt like a small candle compared to the shining 100 watt bulb brightness of my co-counselors. I paled in comparison to them.

But those hardships drove me to my knees in prayer, to plead that even if my kids wouldn't listen to what I said, that they would listen to the Spirit.

Being an efy counselor has had a major factor in my decision to serve a mission. I had this great moment of realization this week that most major experiences in my life had led up to this culminating point of me serving a mission. The teaching I did, the testimony sharing, but especially the way I learned to love will be invaluable.

Heavenly Father really knows what He's doing, doesn't He?

How you deal with life’s trials is part of the development of your faith. Strength comes when you remember that you have a divine nature, an inheritance of infinite worth. The Lord has reminded you, your children, and your grandchildren that you are lawful heirs, that you have been reserved in heaven for your specific time and place to be born, to grow and become His standard bearers and covenant people. As you walk in the Lord’s path of righteousness, you will be blessed to continue in His goodness and be a light and a savior unto His people.

-Elder Russell M. Nelson (click here)


Brit said...

Hi! I hope you don't find this too strange, longish story short, you live in CP and I am in the first floor ward. I am friends with someone in your ward and saw a post you made on their FB page and remembered you from Hum 250 with Dr. Handley, is this right? This all lead me to your blog - ergh I'm not a stalker I promise...but I enjoyed this post of yours because I had such a similar experience! I did EFY the summer before my mission and I know it was one of the many things that lead me there. You are going to have a great mission when you go I'm really excited for you! Thanks for sharing your story and your testimony.

bekah said...

No, no! it's not creepy at all! Thanks for commenting. It makes me feel good to know that people read what I write rather than it just going out into the internet stratosphere.

Lindsey and Jared said...

I love this picture of you; you are so beautiful! I loved your post. I love you. I can't wait for you to serve a mission. That is all :)