Singapore Stake Youth Conference 2016

    Singapore Stake Youth Conference 2016

    “Press Forward with a Steadfastness in Christ” - Three youth reflect on Singapore Stake Youth Conference 2016.

    “Press Forward with a Steadfastness in Christ” - Three youth reflect on Singapore Stake Youth Conference 2016.

    In a world that is moving further away from the standards that the church upholds, it is often a struggle for the youth to find those who share the same standards as they do amongst the throng of those who do not. Coming from a school where the only other members of the church present were my sisters and one other person, it was a challenge to find others who shared the same standards that I did. Having the opportunity to spend time with other youth from the church was one of the reasons why I looked forward to attending Youth Conference every year.

    This year, Youth Conference was held at Eagle Ranch, Port Dickson, in Malaysia from 13th to 16th June. Over 80 youths, aged 14 to 18, were in attendance.

    The theme for this year’s Youth Conference was taken from 2 Nephi 31:20:

    “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.”

    “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.”

    The key phrase in this verse is “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ”, and this phrase was the theme for this Youth Conference: To inspire the youth of the Singapore Stake to press forward with a steadfastness in Christ throughout whatever trials they may face.

    The adult leaders did a wonderful job inspiring the youth to press forward through the workshops that were given. I think that their participation in the conference is very important for the youth, because the youth can learn valuable life lessons from the adult leaders, whether it be workshops or during the morning group scripture study.

    One of my favourite parts of Youth Conference is the testimony meeting on the last day, because everyone can listen to the testimonies of those who have been touched by the Spirit during the conference. It is during the testimony meeting that we all learn about each other and inspire each other to continue pressing forward in faith. I developed a testimony this year of how important Youth Conference is for everyone and the significant impact it can make in our lives.

    Youth Conference is special. It is four days of fun and spiritual learning that helps the youth of the Singapore Stake find strength within themselves and through friendship. It was my fourth time attending this year, and I can definitely say that it is an experience that I will never forget.

    Ellice Solomon

    Ellice Solomon

    Every year in the month of June, youth across Singapore Stake gather in our stake centre early in the morning ready to attend a conference. A very special conference. It’s a scary experience as it would be for anyone attending such a conference for the first time. They all come initially worrying whether or not they will fit in. Whether they will make any friends. But by the end of it they wish it will never end. I have yet to meet a single person who regretted coming for Youth Conference. Rather than leaving with the relief of being able to go home, they leave with a tinge of bittersweet.

    “These 4 days weren’t long enough at all.”

    “Could we extend Youth Conference to five days maybe?”

    These were the kinds of things I heard on the last day of Youth Conference. It was so satisfying for me to watch the younger ones so excited for the next Youth Conference, chatting excitedly with their newfound friends – exchanging numbers and arranging meet ups –  just as I had.

    In my opinion Youth Conference is the very best part of our youth program. You meet people of all backgrounds. Different wards. Different cultures. Different ethnicities. But all of the same belief – all children of God.

    It is never easy. Most youth are the only Mormons in their whole school. Some more than others. They feel as if they are fighting alone. Caught up in the challenges of the world around us, they struggle to remember the truly important things in life. This conference acts as a good reminder - that you’re not alone. That there are at least these 80 people just like you. Facing the exact same difficulties – and that we can conquer it together. From the group scripture study to the casual fun with friends, they gain a deeper connection with God and a longing to feel the spirit in them daily as they have for these wonderful four days.

    It was an especially emotional Youth Conference this year – with it being the last Youth Conference for many of us, including myself. It was a feeling I cannot and will not ever forget. The moment Ellice started to speak, the spirit enveloped the room. Within seconds, she was in tears and many followed. It was strange. Although everyone was in tears, it was a good feeling. I can’t really describe it well. I wasn’t sad, but I wasn’t crying for joy either. The only explanation for it was the power of the Holy Ghost. The Sprit had filled the room and every single one of us were feeling it stronger than ever before.

    I am glad to have been given the opportunity to serve with our Church youth leaders alongside Ellice to plan this conference. It has been my utmost privilege to have been able to lead such a wonderful event.

    I can testify of the importance of Youth Conference. It is a rare opportunity to spend four days of your time with people who uplift you. Strengthen you. Inspire you. It is something that should not be missed for the world. If any youth is reading this, I implore you here and now. Do not miss a single Youth Conference. By the end of it, you will never regret coming. I guarantee it.

    Ammon Ng

    Ammon Ng

    Youth Conference is the pinnacle of youth activities that the Singapore Stake organises every year. It has become the highlight of stake youth activities, an event eagerly anticipated by LDS youths around the country, a trip that busy teens don’t mind squeezing into their hectic holiday schedule. Youth Conference is a place where we as Latter-day Saint youth feel welcome, at home and amongst family in a time and place where we seem to be the only ones of our kind in everyday environments, such as our school and work places. At Youth Conference, we play games, attend workshops, bond through various activities like dances and campfires and daily group scripture study. These help us address the challenges we face and help us strengthen our faith in our Heavenly Father and our Saviour Jesus Christ, and our friendships with each other.

    This year, the conference was held in Eagle Ranch Resort, at Port Dickson in Malaysia. This location was, to me and several other older youths, a special place because Youth Conference was held in the same place in 2014. Reliving the memories of good times spent there helped us feel at ease almost instantly and get off to a great start. As a group leader, I was especially attentive to my group members, to make them feel welcome and jovial. Thankfully we were blessed to have amazing group members who participated in all the activities, helping us clinch multiple top spots in many mass activities.

    One in particular was a Night Hunt: in our groups we had to search for glow sticks that were scattered around the compound. Everyone actively searched every nook and cranny, getting a bonus item, and even hiding for ages till we panicked thinking a member was kidnapped (yes, you Jensen!). Thanks to the enthusiasm and energy from our group members we achieved top spot in the game. Another great bonding experience was Capture the Flag the next day. It seemed to bring out the competitive spirit in all of us, which really helped us see the reserved and shy people in a very different light.

    The excellent facilities at the resort allowed us to have an awesome time during our free time playing water polo, frisbee and even basketball. Moments like those are the ones we treasure. That sense of unity and belonging is seldom found anywhere else. Some really good food (pancakes and French toast) gave us memorable chats over meals.

    However, the highlight of the camp came at the end. After an awesome dance night and long talks before bedtime, we had a testimony meeting on the last day. All of our feelings, experiences – everything built up to that period. The presence of the Spirit was so strong, almost tangible, as one after the other, the youth came up to bear their testimony. It was so touching to hear their unique experiences, their struggles, challenges and joy. Almost all who went up to share couldn’t contain their emotions, pouring them out in the form of tears, each one holding a special meaning which words just could not describe. A big take-away I personally had from there was that of Bo’s testimony, how he “felt that he was fighting alone”, against the expectations, temptations and evil influences of the world, but that he “realised that (he) wasn’t alone, (he) had God” and all of us, as youths of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    As I reflect on this experience, it strengthens me, spurs me on to be a better person and live life as the Saviour would want me to. To quote from Dion Ng, “Church camps are always spiritually empowering and helps to build a strong testimony.” Youth Conference has helped me personally, to reassess my priorities in this life and to put God first, knowing He has a plan for all of us.

    I know that this Church is true, and am so thankful for the inspired programme we have in Youth Conference.

    Kyle Ledesma

    Kyle Ledesma