Preparing to send in my papers and receive my mission call has really caused me to mull things over these past few weeks. My mind has drifted often to the young women in my ward and stake back home who are so dear to my heart. I have been blessed with the opportunity to watch them grow and mature in numerous settings, and every time I think of them, my heart warms with pride. They are truly amazing young women who are going places. They are everyday missionaries, sharing the Gospel through their actions as well as their words. They inspire me, and make me want to be a better example. They are a source of constant encouragement, whether they realize it or not, and honestly, a very real part of the reason I have decided to serve a mission.
Thinking of these beautiful girls and how I’ve seen them grow (I’ve known some of them since before they were even Beehives), I wanted to write something special just for them. I wanted to share something that has helped me prepare for my mission that some might not expect right away: the Young Women’s program, specifically the Young Women’s values.
The Church has organized programs for LDS youth, which I have been blessed to participate in. The Young Women program is such an amazing organization. Adult women are called as leaders and teachers, and prove to be invaluable in the lives of the young women. Some of the women I love and respect the most were my leaders from when I was participating in the program, and they are still active in my life. Girls in Young Women are given the opportunity to grow in every way, especially spiritually. They are given opportunities to teach and to serve, as well as to take part in enriching activities that are loads of fun and filled with love and laughter. There are three age groups (Beehives, Mia Maids, and Laurels), but they meld together as girls become sisters in the Gospel. It is a world wide program with numerous church-wide activities, including Girls Camp and Young Women’s conferences. It is such a blessing not only to the girls, but to the Church as a whole. You talk to LDS girls my age, and some of their fondest memories and most instructive moments stem from the Young Women’s program.
I have a terrible time memorizing things if they’re not set to music. I’ve only been able to memorize a few scriptures, General Conference quotes, etc., but one thing I’ve managed to memorize and jump to the forefront of my mind is the Young Women theme. For those unfamiliar with the theme, it is essentially an extension of the YW motto: “stand for truth and righteousness.” The Young Women memorize and recite the theme, especially on Sundays, which I have found to be a truly unifying experience. Voices and hearts combine as the theme is said aloud, a sort of promise, support, and source of encouragement for these girls ranging from 12 to 18 years old.
The theme comes to mind in an instant when I need it most, and it has become such a source of comfort and guidance in tough moments, especially the line, “we will stand as witnesses of God in all times, and in all things, and in all places.” As a person who loves literature and art, I appreciate metaphors and analogies. But the things that are most important I prefer to have stated simply, just like that line in the theme. There are no questions as to what we are called upon to do.
This is where the missionary part comes in. As I sit and think about the Young Women’s values, I’ve come to realize how key they are to my own preparation to serve. Each value has been key to my own preparation, and are definitely inherent in missionary work (whether you are serving a full time mission, or are an every day missionary).
The series of upcoming blog posts (which I’ve nicknamed “Hand in Hand”) will focus on how the YW values have helped me to prepare to serve and receive a call, as well as how they pertain overall to missionary work. A lot of it is for me, but mostly I want it to be for ‘my girls.’ Because they inspire and encourage me, and are some of the most wonderful examples of these values. They are part of the reason I want to serve a full-time mission – I want to be an example to them because of the example they first are to me.
So, my little sisters, this series is for you, and I hope you enjoy it, because you most certainly inspired it.