Thursday, January 17, 2013

Youth Cultural Celebration

The temple here in Boise was closed for over a year for an extensive renovation and re-opened in November 2012. As part of the re-dedication, it's tradition that the youth in the area put on a cultural celebration. Skye and I had the opportunity to be a part of the practices and attend the actual celebration (which had very limited seating). The whole production was amazing! And, being able to have the Prophet with us and feel of his love and spirit was exciting and peaceful and testimony-building all in one. I was so glad that Skye and I were able to both be a part of this special event because it's hard to describe all that we felt.    

Skye and I were chaperons in charge of a group of youth for the day of the celebration. My good friend, Cathy, snapped this picture of us.
Our youth danced to "In the Mood" and did such a good job. Here is a picture from one of the daytime practices.
They also formed the American flag to "God Bless America" and it was probably my favorite part. I got the chills every time they did this part. 
Skye has basically always served in Young Men's (in our church) since we have been married. I, however, have not served in Young Women's until February 2012. I was called to be the 2nd Counselor in the Stake YW Presidency. It was definitely daunting to receive this call, but I have LOVED working with this group of AMAZING ladies! And, because of this, I get to be part of special events and hang out with some incredible youth whom I love a lot!
Cathy, Celena, Jayne, and me
The only picture I took of me and Skye
The place was packed and we could not contain our excitement as we were waiting for President Monson to arrive. The combination of anticipation for the performances to come and love for the Prophet and the temple seemed to electrify the room with energy. Once the Prophet finally (it seemed like ages, at least) came in, the whole room cheered so loudly. He came in on a golf cart and went to shake hand with some youth who were on the floor for the opening number. We had very explicit orders not to approach the Prophet or try to shake his hand, unless he instigated it. So, when he stopped to say hi and shake hands before taking his seat, everyone was pretty excited. Elder Bednar and his wife also came to be with us. We were excited to see them, as well. Skye pointed out how Elder Bednar quietly and humbly took his seat, while President Monson was greeting the youth. Elder Walker of the Seventy also came and he conducted the celebration. When he started to introduce those in attendance and the night's agenda, he was interrupted every word with outbursts of applauds and cheering from the excited arena. He just kept smiling and chuckling and said, "Now you see why we don't applause in General Conference. We'd never get through it." It was pretty funny. 
And now for a funny story and the talk of our stake after the Youth Cultural Celebration and Temple Dedication weekend. President Monson really enjoyed our youth's segment and got really into it. He was bouncing in his seat and waving his arms and smiling and mouthing words. It all came together after one of our youth, Jennifer, ran off the stage after the performance beaming and saying, "Did you see that? The Prophet had Parker kiss me after the performance. Twice!" I just laughed and couldn't believe it. She explained that President Monson kept pointing to his lips and Parker and pointing to Jennifer until he kissed her on the cheek and then, he said to do it again. And, you have to follow the Prophet. So, the story spread pretty fast and was shared by the Prophet in a few of the Dedicatory sessions on Sunday. But, the best part was that we later found out it was caught on camera...
Parker and Jennifer 

This was not saying "one only", rather it was the "one more!" sign...

A kiss...

And, the salute...

I am so grateful that we have a living prophet on the earth today that leads and guides our church. I know that he is called of God and is His mouthpiece. I love the temple and know my family can be together forever through the ordinances performed in the temple.

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