Australian Young Single Adults Celebrate the New Year at YSA Conventions
By Lok Yi Chan, Church News and Events
When New Year’s celebrations are broadcast, the world often watches the events in Australia, which is among the first countries to reach January 1. This year, Latter-day Saint young single adults in at least two parts of the country rang in the New Year at YSA Conventions.
Five-day multistake conventions in both Melbourne and Brisbane, Australia, which took place from December 29, 2011, to January 2, 2012, provided an opportunity for young single adults to get to know each other, share their testimonies, and be uplifted.
The Brisbane convention centered on 1 Corinthians 12:31, in which the Apostle Paul invited the Corinthians to excel in their spiritual gifts when he said, “Shew I unto you more excellent ways.”
With this goal in mind, attendees of the convention were encouraged to excel in everything they do.
Arianna Muir, one of the participants and a member of the Eight Mile Plains Australia Stake, said her favorite part of the convention was a workshop in which the class discussed Doctrine and Covenants 88:119: “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.”
“We then changed the word house to the word person, and that really made me look at it from a different perspective,” she said.
“It is always a great experience being able to spend time with my friends in the gospel and being able to meet new people that I know will uphold the same standards as I do,” Sister Muir added. “I always feel like I am away from the world at convention, and I don’t have to worry about anything.”
“Since the days of Adam, the Lord has spoken to His prophets,” Elder Wirthlin said, “and while His message differs according to the specific needs of the time, there is one consistent, never-changing theme: Depart from iniquity and journey to higher ground.”
With the theme “Journey to Higher Ground,” the Melbourne YSA Convention brought together young single adults from several stakes to learn, grow and uplift each other.
Throughout the five days of the event, the convention featured entertainment and sports activities, a service project pulling weeds at the recreational facility where the convention took place, a New Year’s Eve ball, Church meetings on Sunday, workshops, two devotionals, a testimony meeting, and a fireside featuring a message Elder David J. Hoare of the Seventy, who serves in the Pacific Area.
“By the end of it, I feel confident in saying that nobody wanted to leave,” said Quonelia Epa, a member of the Deer Park Australia Stake who attended the convention.
“It leaves you hungry for more of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is awesome,” Sister Epa continued, referring to the convention. “I can say I’ve never felt more of a desire to do better in living the gospel no matter what the circumstances [are] because I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and will bless me. I have seen my life as well as others’ lives be blessed because of these wonderful programs.”