Friday, August 12, 2011

A youth conference.


Jody and I were invited to teach a workshop at our church (stake) Youth Conference this summer. It was an event for teenagers (ages 14-18) all across the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. We were told to be prepared to teach a workshop three times over the course of an afternoon.  When we arrived, I was surprised to discover that there were over 400 kids in attendance. I thought to myself,  "Now how wonderful is that?  This many kids are willing to take time out of their summer break to come together, fellowship and strengthen their testimonies?" Very impressive...

I will admit, I became a little nervous when I saw the large crowd....I really had no idea there would be this many in attendance. I remember being a sassy teenager myself (my dear friend V- who is also my former young women's leader, can attest to that), so the thought of being in a room full of teenagers like Jennifer Diane was intimidating, to say the least.  You never know what to expect with teenagers and how they are going to react to what you have planned.  The butterflies in my stomach began to leap with great intensity and I felt the hives begin to cover my neck --but my hubby, always the calm in the storm, sensed my nervousness and gently assured me all would be fine. Before we the kids came into our workshop, we said a prayer together that they would be receptive to our message and that our nerves would be calmed.  I immediately began to feel better and a sense of peace washed over me.  I knew that my hubby was right. We were prepared and Heavenly Father would inspire us and help us share the presentation we had put together.


I just love this picture...a sea of enthusiastic {well, most of them} and faithful youth sitting all together in one room.  So awesome!


After the general session speaker, the kids were divided into three large groups and the afternoon workshops began.

The kids quickly came in and took their seats in our workshop.  They were chit-chatting and eating snacks while we walked around the room greeting them and asking how their youth conference experience was going so far.


We started off by having the kids play a game...Let's Make A Deal.  We based it on this 70's tv game show.  Pretty funny!  We selected three contestants in each group to come to the front, wear a funny hat and to play the game.  Jody was the host and I was his assistant...ha--ha! 

Inside each box was a hidden something....each contestant had the choice to pick whatever was behind box #1, 2 or 3....OR, they could take an envelope that Jody was holding that had an undetermined amount of cash in it.  Each time they would select either one of the boxes or the cash envelope, Jody made a point of asking them..."What do you HOPE is inside the envelope or box?"



The kids seemed to really enjoy our game show theme...and the funny thing is most of the kids chose to find out what was inside the boxes instead of choosing the cash.  We were surprised by that. Of course, most of the box prizes were hokey stuff like a paint your own piggy bank, silly puddy, CARS themed pencils and erasers.  One box actually had an iTunes $10 gift card, the kids really liked that one. 



The point of this game was to introduce (in a fun way) the theme of our workshop which was on Hope and Faith. We played this wonderful video for the youth and then shared a good portion of quotes from this talk as well as a few examples from our life on this topic. 

We shared our infertility and adoption story with the kids and how our faith and hope played a great role in this journey--and continues to do so as we hope to grow our family through adoption.  We asked the kids to share their thoughts and feelings on this topic. One of the youth from our ward shared this quote she has always kept in her scriptures she said:

"When you want to talk to God...pray.  When you want Him to talk to your scriptures."   How true this really is! 



I just love the youth of our church!!  I love being around them and feeling of their sweet spirits.  


We had a wonderful time sharing our thoughts and feelings on the topic of Hope and Faith this day with these wonderful youth. The youth conferences that are held each summer around the country (and world for that part) are just a small sampling of numerous programs that our church offers youth.  What a blessing it was for us to be able to participate in this particular youth conference.  

I felt so very fortunate to be able to stand by my handsome, smart, witty "game-show of a host"  husband  and share this fun experience with him.  I love watching him interact with the youth and even moreso, when he shares his powerful testimony of Jesus Christ.  The spirit is so strong in the room when he is able to share his experiences and journey in the Gospel...what an example he is to me.

Initially, we weren't sure if Jody would be able to do the presentation with me because of some conflicts he had with his work schedule, but thankfully, he was able to iron everything out and be there to do the workshop with me.  I would have been a nervous wreck if I had to do this one all by myself with over 4oo teenagers...


I think the two of us make a pretty good team!



  1. y'all are adorable.
    looks like everyone had a blast.


  2. Miss Jenn, How well I remember those Laurel activities with you and all the other girls. It seems like just yesterday and you and Traci were holding my hands while I got my ears pierced. Do you remember that? I succumbed to teen-age peer pressure at the age of ..... I can't remember my age, convenient, no?

    I know the youth loved having your and your hubby as presenters, you are both so inspiring.

  3. Thanks, Hannah!

    V, oh my...I had completely forgotten about the ear piercing event. How funny! Good times with you and the girls I will always cherish. :-)

  4. This looks like it was totally fun and uplifting and went very well! Way to go--you DO make a great team. I would've liked to have been one of the youth in attendance. :)


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