We began Saturday morning the 18th by speaking at a multi-stake YSA Conference. It was held at the Hotel Villa Primavera. It was the last day of their 3 day conference. There were over 600 youth there and it was a wonderful experience. The youth were going to various classes so we had under 100 youth in with us. The youth were very responsive and engaged and listened to us so politely.
President introduced me and then I put an apron on with 3 large pockets that I filled with miniature chocolate candies, and I began by telling them that we wanted to get to know them, and I asked them to stand up to answer our various questions, each time we threw candy and when there were a few returned missionaries who had served in Guadalajara, we cheered gave them handfuls of treats... as we also did for those who had just received their calls and were waiting.
President did the old clothespin dollar bill object lesson. He called a young returned missionary up and had him hold the back half of a clothes pin tight with just his pointer finger and thumb holding the dollar bill tight. Of course, everyone thinks it will be easy, and no big deal, but almost always it falls immediately on the floor. President set him up again, and of course it doesn't take long for your fingers to ache and your grasp just wont hold. His point was, at first we think something we are asked to do will be easy, but often things are harder than they seem. Like a mission. Many young men and young women think a mission is no big deal and they can serve easily with little or no preparation. He then talked about how vital it is that we change our way of thinking and realize that preparing for something so important will bring blessings and lead to greater success and spiritual growth.
Then I got back up and told them that just like we had asked them to stand in answer to some of our get to know you questions, there will be many many times throughout our lives when we will be called upon to stand for something or take a stand.
Standing on your own two feet, standing tall, standing for something, standing for truth and righteousness etc.
I talked about the standard of truth and how this was their opportunity as youth to stand for something honorable and eternal. I told them that God would bless them as they prepared to stand firm in the faith.
President ended with talking about the rich young man in the New Testament who couldn't leave his cell phone to serve a mission. :) He said statistically, that youth today don't have as hard of a time leaving their family or friends as much as they have a hard time leaving their electronics.
It was a wonderful experience. We had youth after youth come up to us afterwards and talk with us and take pictures with us... good grief, what a honor to meet them and be with them for a short time.
After the conference, we began our trip to Manzanilla, making a stop in Tecoman. It is a ward and part of the Colima Stake. We have 4 Elders there and as we pulled into the city we called the Elders who were just finishing their comida,
The Elders came to the church building and opened it for us. It is a beautiful building and they arrived by taxi and showed us around and we were able to visit with them for a while.
We drove on to Cihuatian about an hour from there, where we have 2 Elders,and 2 sisters, One of the Elders has had a bad eye infection and we wanted to see how he was coming along. They both met us at their little house of prayer. As we visited with the sisters who got there first, we walked around the small swelteringly hot and humid tiny building and waiting for the Elders to come also. The assistants went out back and found a very, very old baptismal font, and a very, very large spider.As we visited with the Elders, President Clayton as he always does, looked at the Elders shoes. Both of their shoes were in poor shape. One Elder is going home in one month, and his shoes were in bad shape but he said he would be fine, but the other Elder´s shoes were absolutely falling apart, and he has a year and a half left. The whole heel was flopping, but he insisted he was going to get new shoes. I saw out of the corner of my eye Elder Molina and Elder Wilson talking, and then they went up to this Elder and each put their feet side by side his feet, and then they went over to the car and lifted the back and opened Elder Molina´s suitcase, and he pulled out a bag with shoes in it. He took them over and handed them to this Elder. He put them on and said with such a sweet smile... they fit! President and I had totally lost it and as we looked at sweet Elder Molina with gratitude, he said, as I was packing for this trip, I thought it might rain and if my shoes get wet, I could use a second pair. As we thanked him again once we were back in the car, he said, you know, I never bring two pairs of shoes, I don´t really know why I brought them with me. I am leaving in two weeks and don´t need them and I´m so glad they fit for him. That was it. I don´t think honestly he has thought about it again.We stood in a circle as we have before these past few weeks, in other places we´ve visited; in that small house of prayer and President offered a prayer of gratitude and love and asked the Lord to watch over these precious servants. Our hearts were very full as we had just seen such a sweet act of kindness and a gift given from the heart and received with much gratitude. We dried and dried our eyes and drove to Manzanillo.
Waiting for the Elders to come in meet us at the chapel in Tecoman
Elder Fuimaono showing President the map of their area
President standing on the road... this is what our missionaries are walking on all day long
2 Elders and 2 Sisters serving- I love these sisters, Sister Otazu and
Sister Campbell. They showed us around their small house of prayer.
there are always questions and President is so great to give loving counsel
the assistants found an old baptismal font in the back
and a quiet corner dweller...of course, the sisters were not phased at all
Trying on the shoes. This was actually one of the most tender acts of love I have witnessed here.