Monday, August 1, 2011

Oh! The Places You Will Go

This past week was the American Fork Hillcrest Stake girl's camp up at Heber Valley Camp. I'm going to reiterate what my bishop, Bishop Pulley, told my ward, the 23rd ward: "Miracles have taken place this week."  Truly the five days of not so camping were so amazing, it's almost impossible to describe to you everything that happened. I guess it doesn't really help that I didn't take ANY pictures, nor did any of my family members who were also there. You'll just have to put on your reading glasses for this one, sorry.

Well, to start, our theme was Oh! The Places You Will Go, and the sub theme was Write Your Own Story. These two themes were so appropriate for our ward, I think. We have five girls leaving us for good because they are graduating. (And it hurts our numbers horribly). They're off to college, though, and so the fact that we spent all of camp centered around how to write our own story and seeing the potential we have. . . the theme was definitely inspired.

This year, we had new camp directors and so they planned and planned and planned! Seriously, we only had about a half an hour of free time, at most, a day. If that, too! It was okay, though, the activities that were planned were so fun and good. I hardly remember being tired, all I know is I was having fun. On the first night, we had a devotional given by Sister Hewitt. She talked to us about the paths we are wanting to take and the decisions we make depending on those paths. She also talked to us about Christ-like attributes we had. At the end of the lesson, she handed out letters our mothers-or fathers-had written to us. My mom wrote mine, and you know, never once have I heard such powerful words come off paper before. I knew this girl's camp was going to be amazing just by that. I also knew it was going to be an emotional one. Seeing as I was already crying on the first night. . . I was done for.

A little side note: Brociouses don't cry; we shake. It's weird, but true. For testimony meetings or spiritual things, we always start to shake instead of cry. So, when you hear about me crying, it's a secret! My shaking reputation cannot, I repeat, cannot be ruined! Thank you. :)

The second day, was a slow starting one. I hadn't gotten any sleep the night before. But, I got up, ate breakfast, and off I went with the ward to the challenge course. Usually, my ward stays together for this, because we are so little, but the 3rd ward was there with us. So we had to split up, because of their large numbers. This turned out to be O.K., though. I was put into a group with Lindsey Durfey, who is one of my close friends. I was also in that group with a girl named Jordann Alldrege. Her and I knew each other before, but we really got to know each other and became closer through the challenge course. The coolest thing that happened there, though, was Sister Mooney, from the 3rd ward, did the big challenge. (You went up a tree trunk, slid over a wire, and got to the eagle's nest where you were hooked onto a zip line) Sister Mooney had something happen to her brain resulting in half of her body not working. So people would think it was impossible for her to do it. It was; alone. But one of the expert helpers was with her the entire way. And she did it! she made it all they way up, over, and down the zip line. It was a testimony to everyone there that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Whatever the struggle is, whether it's physical, mental, or spiritual, there is always someone there to go up the tree trunk, across the wire, and onto the eagle's nest with you, to help you and lift you up when your own strength cannot.

That night was skit night and I was able to sit next to Tiffany Fraughton and Jordann Alldrege. I don't think we watched even one skit. We were busy talking about a girl's favorite subject. Boys. A boy in particular whom I will not share the name of. Most people who are reading, though, can probably guess. Anyway, we laughed the entire time. I mean the entire time. It was fun.

Wednesday night was our fireside night. Sister Brown, Sister Bird, and President Welch came and spoke to us. This is where I can't describe it very well. The spirit was most definitely there that night as we heard about Sister Browns childhood going from home to home, and finally being converted to the gospel, which she soaked up like a sponge. I think we all need to do that. Soak it up. Never think you can get enough, because there's always more things to learn, more things to gain, and more spirit to feel. We heard about Sister Bird's 6 year journey in getting into the Tabernacle Choir. If I took at least one thing from her, which I took a lot more, it's this: Press Forward.

When President Welch got up and spoke, he had his wife Michelle stand up and bear her testimony. Sister Welch has the most amazing spirit about her, and when she was done and President Welch was done, and we were all standing up to do our singing tree, Sister Welch looked at me and smiled. Immediately, this warm, loved feeling came over me and tears sprung up in my eyes. As we sang "Happily Ever After," the teasing tears already in my eyes started coming faster and faster and faster and that warm, loved feeling grew more and more and more. All I could think of was my friends. What a blessing each of them are in my life. Tiff and Jordann the most. The night before, Tiff told me, "Sid, you're, like, one of my best friends." And as I sang this song, I thought of those nights that I would sit on the side of my bed pleading with my Father in Heaven to make all the friend problems go away. When Tiffany told me that the night before, I don't think she realized it, but she truly was the answer to my prayers. The power of prayer is real. I knew with a surety that it was in those short five minutes of singing.

And to end the entire week, Thursday night, at our night devotional, Sister Jones, along with President Welch and the Manuela family presented an award in memory of Jolynn to one of the beautiful girls of the 27th ward. When I went to give Sister Manuela a hug, I thanked her for her amazing spirit. She just looked at me and said, "It's not me, it's just Heavenly Father showing his love through us." Isn't that amazing how He can do that?

After the night devotional, our separate wards had testimony meetings. And this is where the miracles truly happened in our ward. All of us girls were given a candle at the beginning and were told that our testimonies are just us spreading light which is the word of God. As I looked around at the beginning, I saw that none, except a few of the leaders, were lit and everything looked so dark. I just had a thought go through my head saying, "you don't want to be like that; dark. Get up, light your candle, share your light." And I think Sister Hewitt heard my thoughts because she leaned over to me and told me, "Sid, start us off." But right as she told me that, Tiffany got up. That's okay, though. I got up after. And as I think about it, the want and desire to get up and share my testimony first is a testimony in of itself, which is newly developed. It's kind of amazing how much we grow in just a year.

What truly were miracles, though, were three girls in particular. Over this week, we had two girls, who were not active at all, listen to the lessons and feel something. And on Thursday night, those two girls got up and bore their amazing newly found testimonies. The other girl struggles with everything. ADHD, depression, bipolar, dyslexia, etc. She has struggled a lot with friends and with family. Her father abused her while she grew up and just last summer, he left their family. Her depression reigns out the most and because of that, she doesn't handle a lot of her problems in a healthy way. This night, though, when she got up and bore her testimony, she talked about everything. She let the hurt show through, and she dealt with it. Her testimony returned to her and that is amazing. 

Camp was needed for the 23rd ward this year, and every need was met. This gospel is amazing; the spirit is amazing. It really is the true church and I know that because I feel it in my chest with a burning that is completely undeniable. No other church is as happy and loving as this one is. I don't know where I would be without prayer, without my family, without my friends. For five days I was shown my potential, and I am ready to write MY amazing story!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Sid. Girls' Camp is always so amazing!! I am sooo sad I wasn't there. You know, I'm sure amazing things happen at other summer camps, but when all those girls are together, learning about the gospel, that's what brings the miracles Bishop Pulley mentioned. :) It's pretty much the best thing ever.