Friday, January 31, 2014

Young Women Mother/Daughter Night

Me with some of the beautiful Young Women and leaders from Branch 3 on Ebeye.
The Young Women (YW) leaders from the Ebeye Branch 3 invited me to come to their Young Women Mother/Daughter night last Friday night.  Of course, they also asked me to be the main speaker!  I was truly excited as I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Young Women.  That was one of the hard things to leave back home when I came on my mission.  I worked with the YW in our Indian Lakes Ward back home and I love working with them.  I loved the leaders and I especially loved my group of Beehives.  I looked forward to this night to mingle with these sweet young ladies and their mothers.

The night began with a short talk from one of the Young Women.  She talked on knowledge and the importance of learning.  Then it was my turn to speak. I first talked about how I loved the YW Theme, expecially about how we are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us.  There is nothing more comforting to me than to know there is a Heavenly Father who loves ME and knows ME.   Here is the complete YW theme: 

We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:
Faith • Divine Nature • Individual Worth • Knowledge • Choice and Accountability • Good Works • Integrity • and Virtue
We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.

Since it was the new year, I chose to talk about the 2014 Mutual Theme for the year:  "Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness," Moroni 10:32.  I talked about each of the eight YW values (in red above), and how they related to Christ and to each of us. To think about that standard, i.e. Faith, and how it can help them come closer to the Savior.

When speaking with an interpreter (thanks, Thelma Ned) you can't go too in-depth about anything, but it was a wonderful time for me to review the Young Women theme and the Mutual theme and to think about all that our Heavenly Father has given to us in order to succeed here on this earth.  I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father who protects and comforts me daily, especially when I am so far from home, friends and family.  I am grateful that I have the ability to talk to him in prayer, and that I know that he listens and answers our prayers.  I know He sent me (and Elder Becker) here to the Marshall Islands to serve Him and to learn from these people.   It is especially heart warming to be among these sweet humble people and to learn from them what it truly is to be like Christ.  They are living examples to me each and every day that I am here. And I am so grateful for this experience.

After I was done talking, all the YW and some of the leaders performed a dance that Sister Mahit had taught them.  She is from the island of Vanuatu.  She taught them all the moves and they did a wonderful job performing for us.  They did an excellent job, and were beautiful and graceful as they went through all the moves.

After that, the mothers all received heart shaped hand-written notes from their daughters.  As the mothers each read their hearts, one by one, at the podium, a Young Women placed a flower in their hair over their ear.  The girls made the flowers out of pipe cleaners, and I even got one, too!  It was very touching to listen to the mothers speak so tenderly about their daughters.  You could feel of their love for one another. 

The night ended with food.  They don't just have refreshments, you get the full meal deal here.  They served up plates of rice, chicken and cole slaw along with cake and punch.

This was our "stage" I had to sit up here, as well as the leaders.  The Young Women on the left was the one who gave the talk. The background was a big blanket they hung up (if you look at it sideways you can make out a picture of a wolf and a couple of eagles).  On top of the blanket they pinned"on letters to spell out "Mothers N' Daughters".
YW  dancing to a song Sister Mahit taught them, from her home of Vanuatu.  They did a beautiful job and looked so beautiful dancing together!  Sister Mahit taught them well!

YW dancing, such graceful dancers!

The Young Women wrote messages on pink hearts and then they handed them out to all the mothers who were there.  They even made a few extras for people, like me, who were there without a daughter.  This is my heart. Rough translation: ""Charity never fail",  Mother, this is one motto that is great. We youth are so happy for you.  If it wasn't for you we wouldn't be here.  Thank you for your advice." (Sister Ned helped me translate this)

After all the hearts were passed out the mothers came up to the podium one by one.  Their daughter, or another YW,  then placed a flower behind their ear.  The mother then read her heart from her daughter.  She then shared some tender thoughts about her daughter and then bore her testimony.  It was very touching and sweet to see the deep love these mothers and daughers have for one another.

Some of the YW, and Sister Ned (2nd from the right) singing a song

Enjoying the food after the program.  They served up full plates of rice, chicken, cole slaw salad, fruit punch and a slice of cake!  A full meal deal!  You never go hungry when they serve food!

Some of the Young Women and their leaders

Mothers and children watching the program.  Even if it's for the mothers and daughters, the other kids come along too!

Some of the Branch 3 mothers and daughters

Some of the beautiful mothers

Sister Loeak and Sister Jesse with their daughters who just left for the mission field this week.  Sister Loeak, left center, will be serving in the Vanuatu Mission (where Sister Mahit is from!), and Sister Jesse, in the yellow, will be heading to Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission.  Both of the girls were serving with the Young Women in the Ward until they left for the Provo MTC this week.  If you are in Salt Lake City, please look for Sister Jesse if you visit temple square!

Me with some of the beautiful Young Women

Me with our current Sister missionaries on Ebeye, Sister Butler and Sister Mahit.  Sister Butler just came a couple of weeks ago (and I love her already! so upbeat, happy, and eager to learn!)  and we just said goodbye to Sister Mahit yesterday as she is heading home to Vanuatu.  We will miss her, but wish her well.

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