In February Jeff and I had the opportunity to serve as Youth Conference parents at the same time that Ashley was attending Youth Conference.
Our family consisted of 6 boys and 4 girls.
Our first night we had our opening devotional and then were supposed to draw on a puzzle piece.
Our completed piece (It smudged really easy so the kids just went with it)
Here is our youth conference family.
Maddie was in heaven and loved being pet by all the visitors. She will move from person to person just hoping to get attention.
The first night we heard a great speaker, Dawn Armstrong, who told her life story that was sometimes heart wrenching and yet redemptive. She really connected with a lot of the youth and especially the ones that might feel that they don't fit the mold.
The next day we did rotations and learned things from stress management to dating to communicating with those with special needs since we were going to be hosting a carnival during youth conference.
In this class Dawn taught the youth some dating etiquette tips and so one of our brothers asked one of the sisters on a date...
and then they got to go through a buffet line as he made her plate and then his own. So basically if you participated you got to eat snacks.
Our family with Dawn. She made quite a few fans and 2 especially from our youth conference family.
After the classes we did some activities to simulate that challenges some people face doing something that are easier for the average person. To simulate dyslexia we had to trace a star looking only in a mirror. It was doable but harder than it looks!
Then we had construct the tallest tower we could with straws and tape without being able to talk to each other.
Success...not really, as soon as we let go it fell over.
Next we had an activity at an indoor jumping place.
Meanwhile the whole time it was pouring rain outside.
Niyana's impressive skills!
The was Dawn Armstrong's son Drew that came to attend youth conference with her. He kept getting the high score on the obstacle course.
This is the difference between being young...
and being older...we get injured and make fools of ourselves at trampoline parks, ha ha.
Ashley had fun hanging out with friends.
The next day was the carnival for special needs kids. The youth helped run games, and some had people that they would buddy with and take around to do all the activities
By the end a couple of the guests that were dropped off were having a bit of a hard time and the youth didn't quite know what to do so Jeff and I helped out with them until it was done.
Overall it ended up being a positive experience and a lot of the youth really liked being part of the carnival.
The Youth Conference experience ended up being a good one.
My take away when I look back is how we are often called to serve and do things for others when it isn't convenient but we are often blessed when we do it anyway.
The weekend was not only a sacrifice because it was a holiday weekend I took 2 of my CSETs the day before the conference and I had one of my classes going on during the first night and had to slip out to be on the computer because I couldn't miss it.
When I look at the savior's life I realize that he often served people when it wasn't convenient. He was traveling somewhere else, left the crowd to minister to the one or was tired and wanted a break but then answered the call to help or teach those who reached out to him.
Some updates from Jacob from February...
February 27, 2017
This week has been a pretty great one! Most of our investigators from last week, weren't too interested when we met again, but that's what it's like in the south, many people will listen but not many are ready. So, to counteract that, we need to find a lot! On Friday we got a referral from the missionaries in the mission right above us, since we're on the edge of the mission, for an 18 year old kid. He had briefly met with the missionaries, because his friend is LDS and it interested him. So we were able to teach him the next day, and he came to church the day after! It was pretty great meeting him, and i think he has a lot of potential!
The Exchange was great! but it was also really short. We switched after interviews with president, and the drive was like 2 hours. So i got here with the other companion at about 6, so there wasn’t much time to do much lol. The interviews with president went great! I'm pretty sure he likes me.
The area is actually very beautiful right now. This is what I’ve heard, the short time where the weather is perfect. And since its almost spring the trees are starting to bloom and its really pretty! There's a lot of cherry blossoms out here! There's a big river that flows along the town, and it's pretty cool to see a big body of water again!
It's crazy to think that I'm almost 1/4 of the way done! It's already gone by really fast, but i heard at the 6 month mark, it starts to pick up. Which is both exciting but also not, because i love the mission and I’m gonna miss it when i leave. So right now I’m trying to enjoy it the best i can! I love you all!
Oh! and one more thing. Could you guys send me some more music. There’s this one singer a lot of missionaries listen to, her name is page CXVI. And also could you send some straight motab. Thank you! Love you!
February 20, 2017
Hello Family again!
I got the package! Thank you so much for the shirts and all the letters! My companion also like the chocolates haha. Well this week has been pretty great! So we had a goal to find 7 new investigators this week, which is a pretty big goal. The standard of excellence is finding 3 a week, but we were confident we could achieve it. Especially because our monthly goal was to find 11 and the first 2 weeks here they only found 2 new investigators, so we had to step it up. So the whole week we were working pretty hard, and by Friday we had only found 3. But Saturday was a big day where we found 5 or 6 more people to teach, then 2 more on Sunday! Here in Danville a lot of people will accept return appointments and listen to you, but not all of them are ready yet. So we had to do a lot of separating the wheat from the tares. And to counteract all the tares, we just gotta find tons of people like we did this week! Hopefully we will start boosting the moral of the district then the zone, just like we did in my last area! :D
This ward is great though! They constantly talk about missionary work and how to help the missionaries, and so it makes the work a lot easier when the wards really involved too. And I think they like us! We're getting a lot more dinners now than they were before!
I go on my first exchange in this area tomorrow, and i get to take over the area! I'm really excited to see how ill do, hopefully all will go well. And we also have interviews with the president tomorrow! Which is also great because i love the president and i think he likes me too!
Recently, I’ve been better understanding the simple things. Like the sacrament, and just being a missionary. One thing I didn’t much understand when i came out was my calling as a missionary, but know living it, I see how much of a sacred responsibility it is. Luckily, this mission, i heard is the most obedient mission in the world. We were the pilots to the new 3 key indicators thing, which they started worldwide, but we had been it doing 6 months before that. I'm excited to see where this transfer here in Danville takes me, since I’m already seeing so many amazing things happen already! I love you all so much, And thanks again for those letters, those help more than you know! Have a Great week! Love Ya'll!
And some pictures...