This week, our scripture came from Isaiah 29:13-14.
“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.”
So our group name became: Wise Men!
I had the younger group again this week. This session was also the smallest–only about 250 people. However, I was in a group of 3 counselors: 2 male counselors and me–18 boys and 9 girls. (It was easy to remember my girls’ names this week!)
My co’s and I got along real well–we had the playful yet serious mode about us and we would all switch it off so none of us were the mean counselor.
There was one girl, however, that I was really worried about. I mean, I am not a returned missionary, nor am I a veteran counselor. I am only a 21 year old girl who has never had any spiritual challenges in her life and here was a girl who was a little indifferent about the church. She loved EFY and went last year, was deeply impressed by her previous counselor and decided to come again. This girl was super cute and super talented: she could sing and dance. She was not shy in the least and participated in all the activities, except any that had to do with the spirit.
I pray for my girls by name every night during the week, just so I can help be the best counselor I could be. I wanted to help this girl too, to at least feel the Spirit at least once during the week. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I was nervous. I didn’t know what to do or how to help. So, I asked to be a tool in the Lord’s hands. I knew He loved her dearly and so I asked to be used to help her feel the Spirit…not even to change her entire life, but to just feel the Spirit. I felt an overwhelming warmth. He loved her deeply and from that moment on, I did too. We became quick friends–like I said, she wasn’t shy at all. She seemed to me like a younger sister, so I acted the older, caring sister part.
That seemed to be all she needed. She (and her counselor from last year) both told me bits and pieces of her childhood, which has been something I never had to deal with, nor knew any one who had the challenges and trials she has been through. However, I felt that she loved the idea of a Celestial Family. In our church, we believe that families are eternal and we can be with them after the Resurrection. She has one older sister, so I explained to her that I like to view Jesus Christ as my older brother, and that He cares for us and we are never alone because we have an older brother who is willing to protect us. I kept with that idea the rest of the week in all my devotionals and lessons. I tried getting her to go to all the spiritual activities.
Near the end of the week, I wasn’t sure if I had done anything to help her feel the Spirit. Thursday night during Testimony Meeting, I felt impressed, to write her a letter. I told her how much I loved her and how I have been through some tough times this past year, too. But how I know that Jesus Christ has always been with me. I also bore my testimony about forever families and told her that not only will I always be there for her, but her family will too, as well as Jesus Christ. Then, during the Service Project, she wrote me a thank-you letter. It said:
The coordinators of this session thought it would be hilarious if they put the two counselors with the same name together, so that is how I got my co. (No, his name wasn’t Tanney–that is just my pen name!)
This time, I worked with 16-18 year olds. I did really well and learning all their names on the first day.
Our scripture was Jeremiah 16:16 “Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.” Our name became “They Shall Hunt Them!”
Again, on Monday, we played Family Home Evening games and our session director joined us.
My co and I had a really good connection with each other (I think it is because we have the same name). Because of this, our group was really excited for EFY. This week, I was also partially in charge of the Musical Program, which meant I couldn’t spend lunch or free time with my company because I had to help with practices. I was really nervous about it as well because I am not very musically talented.
Tuesday’s dance was a fun-tastic night. My co-counselor is an insane dancer! So cool! Everyone loved watching him and cheering him on, especially when he challenged our session director to a dance battle!
Wednesday was THE day for us! My co had never not been in the top 3 for the cheer off, so we pushed and pushed our youth to make the best cheer ever and they did not disappoint–we WON!!!
Pizza night was awesome! Again, funny stories, like the night I had to sleep over in Paddington Station in London and my awkward first kiss.
Thursday was the day I was most worried about because of the Musical Program. However, that wasn’t until the evening. During the variety show, I had 3 of my youth participate. One played the piano with a song they wrote. One played guitar with his brother with a song they wrote. Another played the guitar to a famous song. They were all very good. Then came dinner and the moment I was dreading. However, the Musical Program went well and as I was directing, I heard sniffling and crying behind me–we had touched them. My kids came up to me and told me I did a good job. At testimony meeting, a few of the youth me and my co were worried about bore their testimonies and we were glad.
Friday during free time, I took my kids to Hokulia Shaved Ice Shack, owned by a Social Studies Teaching Major friend of mine.
The small is HUGE! You get 3 of 30 flavors, and for $1 extra, you can have a scoop of ice cream in the middle or a snow cap made of sweet cream. The best part, EFY counselors get a free small!!! Once we got our shaved ice, we went to watch our boys play basketball.
At the dance, my girls got me to dance with my co. Then, a few of them shyly did too. Not only was he all my girls’ COW (crush of week), but he was numerous other particpants’ crush as well as other counselor’s crush!
Lockdown went pretty smoothly and my girls bought me a bouquet of flowers.
So this summer, I have dedicated a chapter of my life to being an Especially For Youth Counselor for four different weeks this summer.
Especially For Youth is a Mormon church camp. We do numerous church-related activities such as classes and devotionals, but we also do fun things like competitive games and dances.
I have wanted to be a an EFY counselor since I went for the first time at age 14. The requirement to be a female counselor is to have one year of college behind you and be 21.
|This was our theme for this year.|
Saturday, we said our last goodbyes. But, as I was checking them out of the dorms, I noticed they had heart attacked my door!
|“Work, work, work, GLORY!!!!”|
A friend from work was revealing to me all the reasons he liked me: cute, smart, funny, kind, high moral standards…
Wait. High moral standards? Wow, he noticed that? More than noticing, he cared about it enought to mention it? Wow. That’s why he likes me? Becuase of that little part in my life that I have always taken for granted growing up in my church?
I smiled when he said that last night.
I am still smiling.
I want to take what he said and improve on it. I have been lacking a bit. I could do better in what I say and do. I could do better in my daily scripture reading. I should do better – I will do better.
If that small comment can affect me this much, make me smile and lift my self-esteem? And then take it and improve on it? Who else will notice? How will I feel about myself?
Thank you so much. You don’t know how much those small, plain words meant to me.