Friday, April 24, 2009

Youth Conference

So, last Fall Hannah and I were called to be Youth Conference Adult Leaders. Our youth decided they wanted their theme to be "Building on the Rock of Christ" and we would learn our lessons from the teaching in the Book of Mormon. Well, as we have been planning this over the last 6 months, it's been difficult to see how it was all going to come together, but I can say that it was quite the experience. You see, a lot of what they did was renactment stories from the book of Mormon and then discuss in their "tribes" what they learned. I don't plan on being able to really describe in detail everything that went on. I feel like I'm going to give you about 30 pieces of a 1000 piece puzzle and expect that you'll understand the whole experience, but to sum it all up the youth walked away changed people. They really got to expereince the book of mormon and it has forever changed how they will look at the stories, how it applies to them, and their relationship with the Savior. Anyway, we were really bad at taking pictures of ourselves, but we still wanted to give everyone an idea of what we have been up too, so here are some photos taken by a councilor in our Stake Presidency.
Here is king Benjamin standing on his tower, preaching to the people about love and service. You can begin to see how much they really put into all of this. All of the speeches were pre-recorded and sound systems were spread throughout all of the acerage (1200 acres on a ranch) and powered by generators. We were in the middle of nowhere...with rolling hills and a was beautiful. 

Here is an exmple of the many battles that took place. Each youth had a sword and a shield. They received battle training, and learned war cries of the Maori people. A little barbaric, but hey, it's a big part of any scripture.
Imagine the youths surprise when 100 youth were marching toward 100 other youth in the final and "Big Battle" after a day of off-and-on battle preparation and the one group knealt down and prayed instead of battling. I think it made what the Anti-Nephi-Lehis did very real. Just like in the Book of Mormon, some youth continued with the battle, some dropped their swords along side them.
Here is Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah. YOu can see that they are all sporting mohawks and are sitting here during a discussion being very irreverant. They were acting like jerks all morning, and no one could tell what they were up too, anyway, soon after they went through their "change" and came back and their mohawks were shaved and they were perfect gentleman. The kids loved it.
This is Abinadi. Major pyrotechnics going on here. This was a reenactment going on at night. They did a really good job showing how good Abinidi was, and how sad his ending was. I think we all left with a new appreciation for Abinidi.  
For our part, we were trying to teach the youth the importance of Powerful Prayer. To illustrate this, we invited "guests" from the book of mormon to share their first hand account of how Prayer impacted their life and how the youth could do the same. Our guests included Alma and Amulek, The Brother of Jared, and Enos. Pictured below is Enos. These boys memorized paragraph after paragraph of scripture and did an amazing job. We were so lucky to have them help us.
Sister Dibb, Councilor in the Genreal Young Women Presidency, and daughter of President Monson heard about what we had going on and felt she needed to witness it herself. Lucky for us, she also wanted to participate so this is a picture of her tallking to us about how Prayer impacted her life. She also allowed us to ask her questions about her dad, the Prophet.
Of course, all 200 of us were in full Book of Mormon attire. This is an example of a tribe in their garb.
Here is a close up of a battle. This is more during one of the training sessions.
As the pinnacle, we led the youth by blindfold to a spot in the forrest where they sat and listened to a reccording of the time of the resurrection of christ. They had some great audio and speakers so you could feel the wind and the rain and the earthquakes, and the reader of the text did a great job reading the text of the Christ's visit to America. After all of the build up up the music and the thundering and reading about the darkness and despair, at the point where Christ comes to the people, we moved through the crowd and had them remove their blindfolds, and in front of them was this scene. It's a famous painting of Christ's visit to the America's but instead we had youth leaders stand in place of the paintings characters. I will say they did have a Christ figure too, but only after guidance from Chrurch Leaders. The momment was only 2 minutes long before they covered the scene up, but I doubt it's a 2 minutes any of us will ever forget.
This is Samuel the Lamanite.
This is the one picture Hannah and I took with each other. We spent a lot of time in this dumpy trailer helping with dinner. We have a new appreciation for cooking food for 200+ people.
Hannah will probably be mad at me for posting this picture, but I think she looks so cute. I'm not sure what it was but the whole weekend she had her glasses and then her biblical scarf around her neck and it made her look like a Movie her new name is Holloywood. But she really was looking cute.


Mindy said...

Wow!!! What an awesome experience! Thank you so much for sharing... Lynda told me some of it, and I am amazed... I wish my girls could experience something like that! love you guys!

Kelly said...

looks amazing...and like a lot of hard work

123 checkoutourfamily said...

Wow, what a neat opportunity. I'm glad ya'll posted pics so those of us who weren't there can see what happened. It must have been a lot of hard work but well worth.

Stacy & Nathan Cardon said...

Looks like a lot of work for you guys, but a lot of fun for the kids. I bet the Book of Mormon has a new meaning for them. Good job!

Slyck and Slim said...

I'm so glad you posted pictures of Youth Conference -- from all I've been hearing about how great it was, it was fun to see a bit of it. So glad you guys got the experience! We loved having your girls over to play and they can come any time -- they are both such sweet little ladies!

Brooke said...

Can I just say WOW!! What an incredible experience for you and your youth! I am very interested in the details if you would please share! Where is this location? Are the props and things there, or did you bring them? Do you have an outline of your program? I would appreciate any details!! Thanks for sharing your talents!