In my church, youth have an opportunity to attend a week-long camp centered around coming closer to Christ. It's called Especially for Youth, or EFY.
I applied to be an EFY counselor clear back in January. I waited and waited for a hiring decision. I prayed and prayed and ended up dropping my summer classes, even though I didn't know if I would be hired. It was one of those "leap of faith" moments. When I came home 2 weeks ago, I still didn't know if I would get to be one or not. Finally I got a call from the hiring office asking if I could come back to Provo 5 days later. I was ecstatic. I could not stop thinking about it. Everything really fell into place and I know that Heavenly Father heard and answered my prayers.
I never went to EFY as a youth so I was really excited to see what it was all about. I was placed in a trio and each of us were in charge of 10 youth. I knew I would have a lot of teaching opportunities, but I didn't realize just how much they would teach me. I also was not prepared for the steady stream of personal revelation I received from God. While I was there, I was offered a job for 2 more weeks. I could not be more excited! I still cannot believe the fact that it is an actual job to help kids feel the Spirit and come closer to Christ.
Throughout the week, I learned some incredible lessons. The whole last day is dedicated to helping the kids "take it home" and apply and share what they learned so I'm trying to do the same.
1. When you give your best to God, His best comes back to you. This applies to pretty much everything, but I saw specific examples of this with regards to my prayers and my scripture study. The more that I put into making my prayers meaningful, the more inspiration I received, especially for the kids I was in charge of. As I prayed for them by name, thoughts would come to my mind about their specific needs and about God's love for them. As I put effort into my scripture study and made a plan beforehand, the amount of revelation I received was overwhelming.
The EFY schedule is very tight and it was easy to make good use of my time, but when I'm not at EFY, I know that I can use my time better. When I give my best to God with regards to how I spend my time, I know that I will be blessed for it.
2. You can't out-dream God. I went into the week with great goals and grand expectations, but God's plans were so much more than mine. I had ideas of what I wanted the kids to learn and experience, but God's wishes and aspirations for them far exceeded mine. I was shown this several times throughout the week, but especially on Thursday, when the youth bore their testimonies. I was a hot mess minus the hot part. I could not stop crying as the Spirit filled that room because of the truths they proclaimed. All my kiddos were exceptional and so far beyond where I was at their age.
3. When the Spirit confirms eternal truths, there is always something to be done about it, an action to be taken. We don't feel the Spirit just to feel it. We feel it so we can act and change and improve, thereby coming closer to Christ. I think that's why we are prompted to share our testimonies so often.
4. Align your life with God's will. The EFY theme for this year comes from 1 Samuel 3:4 when Samuel answers the Lord's call with the words "Here am I." During one of our scripture study times, I encouraged the youth to place a 'w' before the theme, turning the exclamation into a question, "Where am I?" I encouraged them to have a personal inventory with the Lord to determine what changes they needed to make in order to be able to say to the Lord, "Here am I."
This lesson kind of goes along with not being able to out-dream God. Elder Jeffery R. Holland said, "God is eagerly waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can't if you don't pray and He can't if you don't dream. In short, He can't if you don't believe." We need to constantly be making goals that will bring our lives in greater harmony with God's plan for us.
5. Be a "daddy's little girl." The relationship between a father and daughter is a unique one. A daughter wants to go where he dad goes, do what he does, and be what he is. I want that kind of relationship with my Heavenly Father. I want to go where He goes, do what He does, and be what He is. Making that connection made it easier for me to speak openly when I said my prayers. It also helped me feel of the love He has for all His children.
I am so grateful for this job and all that I learned this week! And I can't wait to do it 2 more times!