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YSA Conference Teaches How to Stay on the Path

Around Eighty young single adults and their leaders gather in Guam for a YSA conference

YSA 2023
YSA 2023
YSA from the Micronesia island area come together for a 3-day conference in Guam© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Young Single Adults (YSA) from Palau, Yap, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrae and Guam gather for a three-day conference in Guam.  For some, this was their first time on an airplane!  They all stayed at the Garden Villa Hotel where they had a pool party the first night.  Throughout their stay, they traveled by bus to Barrigada, Yigo and some of the popular tourist sites on Guam. President Fredivic Nicerio, (Barrigada Stake President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) organized the event.  With the help of several willing hands to assist with logistics and YSA leaders, a successful and fun time was enjoyed by all.

They attended seven workshops where they were taught about Self Reliance, Career/Education, Standards of Worthiness, Goal Setting, Family History, Courtship/Marriage, and Religious Education. 

A dance was held in the Barrigada cultural hall on the first night.  There was laughter and smiles enjoyed by everyone.  Several of the leaders did their best to get the single adults to get up off their seats to mingle and get to know each other.  They interspersed the dancing, with various games that provided a lot of fun both for the participants and those who observed from the sides.

YSA Guam 2023
YSA Guam 2023
© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

One of the highlights of the conference was going to the temple Saturday morning.  Four brethren were able to receive their own endowments.  It was a blessing for the YSA to perform baptisms and confirmations for those who have passed through the veil, several of which were for their own family members.  

Prior to attending the temple, President Marlo Lopez and his wife, Memnet, spoke them about the importance of the temple.  Sister Lopez held up a string that represented God’s family. She put together family chains and connected them to the string.  “In the temple,” she said, “Families are sealed together which then seals them all to the family of God through Priesthood authority.”  Sister Kristine & Elder Jeff Rawlings, family search missionaries, shared stories about the importance of FamilySearch program.  Elder Rawlings taught them how to use the computer and their cell phones to research and print family name cards to take to the temple. Some of the YSA’s visited the family search library in the Yigo meeting house where Sister Rawlings helped them to print off family names.   

Saturday afternoon, they loaded the buses and became official tourists of Guam.  They traveled to many popular places around the island and even were able to attend the annual Mango Festival in Hagat. 

A sacrament meeting was held early Sunday morning at the Barrigada chapel where several of the YSA’s shared tender testimonies.  Rian Ande, from Chuuk shared her testimony through a song that she’d written.  Through the song she was able to express her feelings about the Savior, Jesus Christ. It was beautiful and heart-felt.  She sang it in her native language of Chuukese. 

Following a nice lunch on Sunday, everyone was blessed to hear messages from Elder John A. McCune and Elder J. Kimo Esplin, counselors in the Asia North Area Presidency, along with their wives, Sister Debbra McCune & Sister Kaye Esplin. After they spoke, they had a Q&A with each other and then opened it up to the YSA. Sister Esplin said: “I am so grateful for the blessings that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings to me.  It touches every part of my life.”  Elder Esplin spoke about faith and shared a scripture found in Hebrews 11:1. ‘…faith is the [assurance JST] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ He told the YSA: “I hope that you have faith in Jesus Christ and believe in Him.  To be a disciple and faithful follower of Jesus Christ means that you are striving to follow His prophets.  If you want to exercise faith, if you want to show your faith, and have more faith, we need to follow a prophet…Faith is so much more than knowing and believing.  It is doing.  It is following Jesus Christ.  It is the greatest power in my life.”  Sister McCune talked about how we can find true joy by focusing on Jesus Christ.  “The best way to have faith is to kneel down and talk to our Heavenly Father and ask Him what He wants us to do every day.  Opportunities will open up for you. You don’t know what the future has in store for you, but He does.  Just trust Him.  He loves you very much.  If we follow our prophet, President Nelson, we can find true joy because he can lead us to our Savior, Jesus Christ.”  Elder McCune said: “The Lord’s ways are better than our ways.  When we listen to The Lord, He always blesses us.  The more we learn to listen, the more we trust in Him, the more we follow Him, the more revelation He gives us, because then, He begins to trust that we will do what He says.  The covenant path is the course that we follow that takes us from being natural men and women to being like the Savior.”

To encourage them to serve missions, President Masaru Okuda, mission president of the Micronesia Guam Mission, had several of the junior missionaries speak of their experiences and testimonies of serving a mission and how it is blessing their lives.  They invited the YSA to ask questions anonymously by using a QR code that they’d taped to the pews. 

The YSA didn’t have to worry about meals as they were all provided for them.   They ate a variety of food from fast food to a fully catered dinner.

John, from Kosrae, said “I don’t want to go back.  I want to stay.”  He learned a lot from the workshops and is trying to decide what kind of schooling and career he wants to pursue.  Julianna Muun is from Yap.  When asked about her experience at YSA she said: “It’s really good.  I feel really happy to be here.” This was her first time attending something like this. She smiled and continued saying, “I feel like I am learning how to stay on the right path and to continue to come to church.”  She said that she would really encourage others to come to Seminary and Institute because it’s a good place to learn about the gospel. 

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