These last four weeks I have been working as a counselor with EFY (Especially for Youth). This program is a week long experience put on by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to help youth (ages 14-18) come closer to Christ as well as have a whole lot of fun!
Honestly, I came into this EFY experience having just graduated and feeling uncertain about my future decisions. EFY was my only stable certainty. But, now i'm leaving it a completely different woman. I feel changed. Although my actual situation hasn't changed much at all, I am filled with hope, trust, joy, love, and peace.
It's hard to sum up four weeks like i've had, but i'm gonna try:
4 weeks, 2 campuses, 1 broken shoe, 2 broken fans, 1 broken pair of sunglasses
46 beautiful young women I call my own
2 Counselor Polo shirts
1 sun hat
10 Bloody Noses
4 pizza nights, games nights, and talent shows
8 crazy dance fests
3 opportunities to sing
24 days of Cafeteria Food
5 Testimony Meetings
8 Classes attended
24 days waking up at or earlier
2 Firework shows missed
2 Handkerchiefs well-used
I can't put a number to the amount of times I prayed, read my scriptures, bore my testimony, led a line of young boys escorting girls to and from the U of U institute, smiled, laughed, cried, and was way too sweaty. But, honestly the most amazing thing about EFY for me cannot be measured with numbers or events.
Yes, the youth are amazing even amidst their lack of focus and occasional immaturity. They are strong girls and boys going through some very difficult trials with hope and a firmness of faith.
I learned from them all the time, but I also learned with them. In each fireside, class, and activity, I became the participant. I became the youth this program is especially for. In my hoping to bring these kids closer to their savior and to a knowledge that their Heavenly Father loves them, I subsequently found myself applying the atonement in my life like never before. I lost myself these last 4 weeks. My fears and insecurities were gone and I was stripped down to my pure eternal essence. I received answers to prayers, my heart healed, I learned lessons, and I grew "firmer and firmer in the faith".
It isn't a perfect program and I am not here to bear my testimony of EFY. However, I have seen what turning to Christ does for the youth as well as for myself these past four weeks. We change, we grow, we stretch, we enjoy, we discover, and we become.