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Barrigada Stake Youth Conference teach youth that “We can do all things through Christ”

The isles of the sea host the first youth conference since COVID came to the islands

Youth Conference Guam 2023
Youth Conference Guam 2023
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Youth from the Barrigada Guam Stake gather at the Yigo Guam Temple© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Approximately seventy young men and young women from Guam, Saipan, Yap, and Palau, came together to enjoy youth conference in Guam August 4-6, 2023.   The conference began with a Family Search seminar at the Yigo Chapel where they were taught about the Family Search app and learned how to find their family names to take to the temple.  Several of them took the opportunity to get some of their family names printed on temple cards.   Following the seminar, they were divided into smaller groups to do some icebreaker activities to get to know one another.  The youth found new friends and reconnected with old friends from the different islands. 

During the activities on the first day, they went in small groups to the Yigo Guam Temple to perform baptisms for the dead.  This was the highlight of the conference for most of the youth. For some, it was their first time going to the temple. Smiling and putting her hand to her heart, one young woman said: “I felt the Spirit so strong in my heart!”  It was a sacred and special experience for the youth to participate in the gathering of Israel on this side of the veil, especially when the work was for their own family members.  Two couples, who came as youth leaders, were also able to go to the temple for the first time and receive their own endowments and be sealed together for eternity.  It was a special and tender experience for them and all who also came to support them.  They were grateful and felt very blessed to be able to come to the temple and rejoice in the blessing of now having an eternal family. One young woman leader, Sister Carlson, was able to do the work for her grandparents and seal them together as well. 

After breakfast on Saturday morning, they all gathered at the Barrigada Chapel for several seminars.  They learned about body care, missionary preparation, and goal setting.  These classes were both fun and educational at the same time.  Following lunch, they did a roadside cleanup on the highway in front of the church.  It was quite a sight to see nearly seventy teenagers donning yellow vests, carrying black garbage bags, and cleaning the roadside of debris and garbage.  They came back hot and sweaty but were still willing to pose for a group picture!  They returned to the hotel to get some rest before dinner.  A dance was held Saturday evening and included some of the youth doing traditional group island dances. Interspersed in the dancing were games filled with fun and laughter.  Everyone seemed to have a great time.

They were divided into two groups for the Sunday church meetings.  Half of them attended the Barrigada ward and the other half went to Dededo ward in Yigo.  Because it was fast Sunday, several of them bore sweet testimonies about their conference experience.  Later that evening they had a fireside at the Barrigada chapel. The young men and young women’s president (Jan-David Tison and Kitaela Kalima) spoke to the youth about the theme of the conference and bore testimony of knowing that we can truly do all things through Christ.  Brother Tison, quoted from President Nelson from the Worldwide Youth Devotional in 2018, saying: “Using a baseball analogy, we are in the last half of the ninth inning,” President Nelson declared. “Our Heavenly Father and His Son chose you to be on Their team when the game is on the line. This means They know you, they trust you and will help you fulfill your personal mission on this earth.”  Brother Tisan invited the youth to be strengthened through personal prayer and scripture study, by keeping the word of wisdom and living the law of chastity and following the prophet.  He told them that the people of these islands need their worthiness and leadership abilities.  Sister Kalima expressed gratitude to our Savior, Jesus Christ for heading this conference.  It almost didn’t happen.  She said: “The theme of this youth conference has been a light to me throughout this youth conference. This is the Lord’s program.  He will always be there to make up the difference.”  She expressed gratitude to all the youth and their leaders who helped to make the conference a success.  It’s all about being one in Christ.  Wherever you are in your life, whatever struggles you may be facing, remember our theme that ‘you can do all things through Christ’.”  President Buck Jolley, counselor in the stake presidency, shared his story of the example of a young woman when he was younger.  She walked out of a rated ‘R’ movie over at some friend’s house.  Her example, along with others, helped him be prepared to hear the missionaries message several years later.  He told the youth: “You are testifying to those around you, and you may not even know it.” He admonished them to ask Heavenly Father to teach them what they need to know as they move through this life.   

Following the leader’s remarks, the meeting was opened to the youth for them to share their testimonies with each other.  Several of the youth took the opportunity to share their testimony and their love for our Savior, Jesus Christ.  They spoke about their love for the temple and the experience they had doing the baptisms. One young man talked about how much he appreciated this youth conference. He felt like he learned a lot in the different classes. He especially enjoyed the family history class and the importance of temple work in the gathering of Israel.  One young woman from Yap said: “God is real, and Jesus did sacrifice for our sins.  Heavenly Father is with us wherever we go.  I’m so thankful for the temple.”

Daphne Haggerty, a young woman, said that coming to this conference helped her to remember that she’s not alone in this world.  Another young woman bore her testimony about family history work and how it is a blessing in her life.  She enjoyed going to the temple for her family.  Jacob Johnson talked about preparing to go on a mission. He said: “I am grateful for the spirit that I’ve felt here.  I know that the Lord has a plan for us.” Porter Larson said: “I know that if we follow the Prophets and the Spirit, we can find truth and Christ’s redemption.”  One young man said: “The Church is true!  If we try our best, than we’ll be blessed.”

Sister Ozu, a youth leader in the Palau Koror branch bore her testimony saying: “I know that if we put Jesus Christ first in all that we do, things will work out.  I am grateful to have the gospel in my life.” Brother Ian Dela Cruz, a youth chaperone from Tinian, shared his testimony of the gospel and going to the temple for the first time and being sealed to his wife.  He has only been a member of the Church for a year. He said: “After becoming a member of this Church, the greatest blessings have come into my life.  The Holy Spirit was overwhelming in the temple.  I know by prayer and through the Holy Ghost that this Church is true.  I testify that the Book of Mormon is true.”

It was a wonderful youth conference and a great opportunity to feel the Spirit and learn more about Jesus Christ. Several of the youth said: “I’m glad I came.”

Fredivic Nicerio, Barrigada Stake President, also spoke to the youth and shared his testimony.  He expressed his love for the youth and their leaders and said: “You are a child of God…Put God as a priority in your life…be a beacon of light to others…choose what is right.”  We truly can do all things through Christ.  

As Sister Kitaela Kalima, the stake young woman’s president, walked outside with the last load of garbage from cleaning up, the youth expressed their love and appreciation in a way that she will never forget.  It was dark, most of the youth were on the bus ready to return to the hotel, some stood by the bus, but as if it had been rehearsed, they all turned on flashlights or the lights on their phones and waved in unison “goodbye” as if seeming to say, “thank you”.  Their “beacons of light” filled a very tired young woman’s president’s heart with love and joy beyond words.  Tears came to her eyes as she felt their love in this touching gesture.  Yes, she thought, we can do all things through Christ.

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