Nationwide Conference in Korea Strengthens Faith of Single Adults and Young Single Adults
“In the midst of your very personal and diverse needs to balance life’s pursuits and challenges against your spirituality, you will come to realize that balance is achievable. The Lord does not require that we do things that cannot be done.” —Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told single adults and young single adults in Korea gathered for a nationwide conference August 11–15 that the Lord would help them achieve balance in their lives.
The conference—held at the Yeoju Joongang Youth Center in Gyeonggi-do, Korea, with the Asia North Area Presidency presiding—focused on one part of the Sermon on the Mount taught by Jesus Christ. The conference theme, “Seek … first the kingdom of God,” was inspired by a message given by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who visited Korea in October 2016. (See related article.)
Most of the devotionals as well as the cultural festival were transmitted live to Korean Saints throughout the nation who were able to join the meeting online. Almost 900 single adults and young single adults who are either Koreans or of Korean descent traveled long distances to attend the conference from all over the world, including the U.S., Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and New Zealand, as well as from all parts of Korea.
The highlight of the conference was the Sunday live devotional broadcast. Elder Stevenson spoke of the time he served as the Asia North Area President and expressed how much he missed the Korean Saints. Elder Stevenson and his wife, Lesa, counseled the Korean young people to keep a gospel perspective and a spiritual balance, promising that the Lord would help and bless them as they strived to do so.
“And of course, in the midst of your very personal and diverse needs to balance life’s pursuits and challenges against your spirituality, you will come to realize that balance is achievable. The Lord does not require that we do things that cannot be done,” Elder Stevenson said. “President Monson always counsels that the Lord will qualify those whom He calls. … Now, this is done in a way that will not just maintain them at status quo, but bless you in both your various life roles and in your spirituality. One of the reasons this is possible is because the Lord is the fulcrum. He is the point of balance. And He has divine interest in each one of you personally as one of His children.”
Elder Robert C. Gay, the new Asia North Area President; Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita, First Counselor; and Elder Yoon Hwan Choi, Second Counselor, shared spiritual experiences they had in their younger days. The example and testimony shared by the Area Presidency inspired and motivated the attendees to learn and reflect on the conference theme and to make personal resolutions.
“What Heavenly Father asks us to do in our lives is to act in faith. And then He can lift our lives. … [The world] doesn’t understand what success is in this life. Don’t measure success in this life by the world and standards of the school you attend or the job you have,” Elder Gay said. “We succeed in life only as we do God’s will and keep the covenants we made with Him before we were to be born, in our premortal life. We are to accomplish what God sent us here to do.”
Sister Lynette Gay compared individual growth to building a house and counseled young people to see and understand their trials in a true perspective. Paraphrasing C. S. Lewis she said, “Imagine yourself as a house you are building. God comes in to help build that house. … [However,] He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage. But He is building a palace. So, maybe seek for understanding why you have to go through these things you go through. Put it in a larger perspective.”
The single adults were divided into groups of about 20 people studying scriptures together and sharing their testimonies at the beginning and end of each day. They also had opportunities to seek and take advice on self-reliance and marriage in many panel discussion sessions.
Sister Suji An, who attended the sessions, said, “Realistic advice and personal experiences from the panel discussions helped me take courage and plan for my future more specifically.”
Brother Keunyoung Hong, who served as a group leader during the conference, observed, “I was deeply impressed as I watched some of my group members change, deciding to serve a mission and progressing during the conference. I learned that my faith could indeed help others strengthen their faith. I really hope that we can meet again and be filled with rejoicing to see each other’s faithfulness in the gospel as Alma and the sons of Mosiah did.”
The Young Adult Cultural Festival on Saturday night received an enthusiastic response, with talented LDS young people presenting a variety show including Nanta, a Korean nonverbal percussion presentation, as well as dance, song, and choir performances. The second part of the festival featured a talk show with two hosts talking about common concerns and solutions interspersed with various musical numbers. At the conclusion, everyone joined in singing the specially composed theme song, united in their commitment to “seek … first the kingdom of God.”
Executive committee chairman Hyunsu Kim, president of the Seoul Dongdaemun Stake, who was responsible for the preparation, planning, and implementation of the conference, said, “We know that we can overcome the world when we seek for, desire, and strive to follow the conference theme in our life. … During the conference, I came to know why Heavenly father has sent this rising generation of single adults in these latter days.”