Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Summer of Miracles

I have been away from regular internet access for months now. Thus, an absence of blogging. I traveled all over the country to do EFY, the Church's youth program. I worked a week in Denton, two in San Antonio, one in Kentucky, and two in Nauvoo, IL. I had about 60 young men who I worked with between 14 to 18 years old. Some were just starting high school, while at least one may have a mission call by now.

There were several things that stood out all summer. One was that high school (already a dark and depressing place when I was there) has gotten far worse. Another was that these youth are remarkable. Their desire to do good when many around them mock is impressive. And they have a spiritual power that I didn't at their age.

My favorite experience was working for two weeks in Nauvoo. That is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Not just for the temple (which is the most perfect building I have ever seen), but for the Spirit that radiates there.

We walked down Parley Street where the Saints left warm homes in the dead of winter to head west to the mountains. We visited the Old Nauvoo Cemetery where many children of those same families were buried in unmarked graves waiting for the Resurrection Day. We performed baptisms for the dead in the Nauvoo Temple. We visited Carthage Jail where Joseph and Hyrum gave their lives to seal their testimonies with their blood.

EFY gave me a taste of heaven. It is what Zion must feel like. It is hard working with teenagers, but there were so many miracles all summer long. The most amazing part was to see the Spirit work through me. I already enjoy teaching the gospel, but all summer I felt such direct guidance in what and how to teach.

At the end of each week, they talk to the youth one more time about taking the gospel home with them. They had remarkable spiritual experiences all week. But if they only feel those things one week a year, EFY has failed. The purpose of the whole program is to give them tools to feel it all the time.

I will take home a knowledge that God will speak to me. I have never had so many experiences where I knew I was saying exactly what God wanted me to. But for that to happen, I have to be engaged in His work.