Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Youth Conference

Our ward had Youth Conference a few weeks ago and I am JUST NOW getting around to blogging about it - whoops. I have a few pictures that I took with my phone of our group, but I didn't take many of other people, so use your imagination for that part.

Our theme this year is to "Stand in Holy Places." Friday afternoon, we met up at the pool in our neighborhood and loaded into cars to drive to Oquirrh Mountain Temple to do Baptisms for the Dead. A few people in the ward did some family history and sent us with names of family members we could do the work for. We had over 200 names submitted!!! Unfortunately, there weren't enough youth to do all the names, but we got nearly 90 names baptized and confirmed that day. It was wonderful.

And that was my first time in THAT temple with Jake. He was so tired from working the night before and then not getting any sleep before we all met up, but he was a trooper and didn't whine or anything.

After we were finished at the temple, Jake & the Bishop went to Domino's to go get pizza for everyone and we all met up at a park. We had nearly 20 youth that did baptisms, plus 10 or so more that came afterwards, so that meant a TON of pizza. We also had salad and brownies to go with it that the Bishop's wife brought us all. It was really yummy!

After we were finished eating and cleaned up at the park, we all piled back into the cars and drove to the hotel in downtown Salt Lake where we were going to be staying for the night. Only once we got to the hotel did I realize that Jake left to go home from the park {I thought he was going home a little later} so I didn't get the chance to say good night to him. I felt AWFUL!! But being the awesome husband he is, he told me not to worry about it and to have fun and then he went to sleep.

After we got all checked in at the hotel, we all changed out of our church clothes into either comfy clothes or swimming suits to swim in the hotel indoor pool. After about an hour, we all got in comfy clothes and met up in the conference room in the hotel. Picture this: 30 ish youth, 10 ish leaders, all sprawled throughout the room wearing pajamas, with about 15 GIGANTIC bags of popcorn, a box of granola bars, a HUGE bag of Swedish Fish and a HUGE bag of M&M's. So there is food absolutely EVERYWHERE with kids walking all over trying to get a handful of whatever candy they wanted. We turned on the Joseph Smith movie and for the first  few minutes, it looked like we might be "shushing" kids for the next 90 minutes, but there came a point in the movie where suddenly the Spirit just took over and everyone was staying still and listening and watching the movie.

When the movie was over, there was a good minute or so that no one moved. You could have heard a pin drop. And it was amazing. To think that the Spirit could be felt THAT strongly, in a HOTEL conference room, with a whole bunch of TEENAGERS?! I felt so lucky that I get to work with these amazing kids. The Bishop talked with us about how Joseph Smith had to create Holy Places, and how we could do the same when we are in situations when we can't be in the Temple or at church.

After the movie, we all went to our rooms for the night. For the most part, everyone stayed in their room and we didn't have any drama. I got to room with Laura Barlow, who was also my "partner" for the next days events and I was SOOO excited about that! She used to be my Visiting Teacher and I just love her. We stayed up talking later then we should have, but finally fell asleep.

The next morning, we all met downstairs and had breakfast together and everyone came down in their "team shirts". And Jake was back!! YAY!! Laura & I knew that her daughter Ella was going to be in our group, and she came down in a yellow shirt, so we knew that anyone in a yellow shirt was with us. Everyone else had to wait to see who their leaders were. Lucky us! We all finished eating, checked out and piled in the cars to meet at the base of Ensign Peak for our first activity.

Our group!! Ethan Bigler, Ella Barlow, Kayla Baggerly, Emily Bowers & Ethan Jessop. We called ourselves the Photographic Moisturizers because we were passing around my lotion and we took TONS of pictures with Laura's camera
That wasn't the hardest hike I've ever done by any means, but that was much harder than I thought it was going to be, especially since I do workout. Yeah I was like dying, sucking for air haha. We all made it to the top, and looked at the view for a little bit before Bishop gave a spiritual thought about how Brigham Young saw this peak in a dream and knew that when he saw it, it would mean they'd made it to the right valley. He also hiked to the top when he was sick. Yeah, that'll humble ya a little bit - an old Prophet hiked this hill SICK? And I'm 25 and can barely do it? Dang haha. We also learned that the early pioneers performed temple work at the top of Ensign Peak until the temple was finished. I thought that was AWESOME!
Beautiful view
Monument at the top
Group shot!
Funny picture. Of course!
After we had climbed down the mountain back to the base, everyone had a chance to write in their journals and the leaders got the packets for our "Amazing Race". As soon as we all got the go ahead, we climbed into our car and opened the first task. We needed to go to the Church History Museum and find some different items, including a watch that belonged to John Taylor, a wedding dress, where the Pioneers slept while crossing the ocean, etc.

We got to the Church History Museum a few minutes before it opened, so we walked across the street to Temple Square and took some pictures of the gorgeous flowers and had each of the youth take a few minutes to write in their journals a question they were needing guidance from the Lord on that they could seek an answer to while at Youth Conference. That was totally Laura's idea - AWESOME right?!

And then we got to go in the History Museum. We found our items pretty quick and were able to get out and onto our next site pretty quick.

The wedding dress
Ella & Ethan B pointing to the watch while Kayla & Ethan J point at Joseph & Hyrum's death masks
Standing at the base of Angel Moroni!
Next on the list was the Conference Center. And this was one of the places I was MOST excited about! I LOVE going to the Conference Center, and our task was that we "had" to have a tour. Twist my arm ;)

The tour was amazing. Even thought I've done it before, I still learn new things every time. I love getting to be somewhere that the apostles are when they speak to us. The Spirit is so strong there. And the tour guide was AWESOME!

This picture doesn't do these paintings justice. They were SOO life like!
On the roof of the Conference Center
After we were finished at the Conference Center, we headed over to the Salt Lake cemetery. We found the graves of 4 Prophets and read a short story about them at each site. The pictures aren't the best, but it was really neat. And they have maps to help you find each grave, so it's a LOT easier than I thought it was going to be!

Ella was having fun, I promise!
Gorgeous red tree in the cemetery
After the cemetery, we all met up at Brigham Young park in Salt Lake. I hadn't ever been there before, but I have driven past it hundreds of times. It's at the corner of North Temple and East Temple {?} and there were delicious Smith's subs, chips, fruit and cookies waiting for us there. After we were done eating, we had a stick pulling contest like in the Joseph Smith movie. Jake did AWESOME against the youth - I was SOO proud of him. He totally kicked my butt, no surprise there.

Kyson while stick pulling with his mom Laura
Chris Trainor & Travis Wengreen going at it
Chris won haha. Travis held his own against the Young Men though!!
Jake & Damian going at it!
And then it was back to our "Amazing Race"! Our next destination was the North Visitor's Center on Temple Square. We went downstairs and watched the Prophet and 3 apostles of our choosing bear their testimonies on a video monitor. Seriously, amazing experience. And then we went upstairs to look at the Christus statue, even though it wasn't part of our task. The youth wanted to go up there. They weren't so focused on hurrying that they wanted to just move on. I was so impressed!!

Not the best shot, but this is where you can hear each apostle's testimony. SO neat!
Getting comfy while we listened to each testimony
These kids are amazing!
The next stop was at the South Visitor's Center. We watched a few movies about the Prophet, families & temple work. And Ella got the assignment to sit in every chair in the building. That was REALLY funny watching her sit and stand super fast so that she could sit in as many chairs as possible as fast as she could.

Next was the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. We needed to take 4 different pictures - 1 by Legacy Theater, 1 near the Roof Restaurant with the Temple in the background, 1 by the Joseph Smith Statue and 1 outside making funny faces.

Funny faces outside the Joseph Smith Memorial Building
Next stop was the Family History Center, which happens to be in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building so we were close already! We needed to find the name of an ancestor who needs temple work done. Ella & Laura found someone in their family line who needs to be sealed! WOOT!!

And then, rather than going to our final task, the kids wanted to stay there and keep looking for ancestors. Yes, the youth ASKED to continue doing Family History. Seriously, we have AMAZING youth in our ward!!!

So we missed the stop of going to the Salt Lake Temple and identifying all the symbols outside the temple, but we got to teach the youth about the Family History site so it all worked out. We all met up on Temple Square near the North Visitor's Center and carpooled home to the Stake Center. When we got there, we were greeted with the CUTEST décor EVER!! Seriously, the Bishop's wife did an AMAZING job coordinating everything for this activity!!

Adorable décor with all the colors we had, with our detour/road block papers used as centerpieces
And then the Relief Society President came with Lasagna. MMMMMMM. So we all had Lasagna with garlic bread, salad & cake. It was so yummy!! And then the youth all were awesome and helped take stuff down and we got the cultural hall looking beautiful in no time flat!

It was a wonderful weekend. I am so grateful for the chance I had to go, and that I get to work with these amazing kids each week. And I am grateful that Jake gets to work with them as well, and that he also got to go, even though he is the Secretary.

And to top it all off, I was asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting this past Sunday on my experiences there. I spoke with Ethan Bigler {who was in my group}, Andrew Trainor, McKell Jones & Hannah James {one of my Mia Maids}. Travis Wengreen also spoke as the "rep" for the Young Men - Jake was grateful he wasn't asked to speak haha. Sacrament Meeting went AWESOME - once again, I was so impressed at how well the youth did and the parts that spoke to them the most. I love my calling!!

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