This is a story of anonymous service. No names will be named, no addresses given. But the youth involved will know who they are and that what they did was worthy of them as Latter-day Saints.
The flood disaster in Sugar City and Rexburg, Idaho, received national news coverage. For months afterwards local news media reported on the cleanup efforts of tens of thousands of volunteer workers. Many of those were Latter-day Saint youth who saw a chance to help—to literally dig in up to their elbows in mud and slime and give aid to a brother in need.
One man in Blackfoot reported that he was terrified when he learned of the coming of the flood. His farm, his family, everything he had spent his life loving lay on the river bank. He couldn’t see how he could save anything. He said that all his neighbors were in the same situation. Before the flood waters reached Blackfoot and without a word to anyone, dozens of youths came in trucks loaded with sand and burlap sacks. For hours the young people filled and piled the bags, hoping to protect the land of the farmers they didn’t even know. They worked without food or rest, and then when all was done, they left. After the flood waters retreated, the youth were back—again without being asked. They spent more hours cleaning up and bailing mud and water. The farmers only knew that they were from a nearby stake—nothing else.
Farther upstream, where the flood waters had swept away fields of grain and herds of livestock without reason or respect, youth could be found in every house left standing. They were there helping friend, stranger, family, neighbor, Mormon, nonmember—without prejudice or pride they crawled into basements and dragged out clothes, food storage, tires, Christmas decorations, and other belongings. They scraped off gluey silt and hung things out to dry. Much of what they tried to save was disappointingly and irretrievably damaged, but they kept going, salvaging what they could.
“The youth kept our spirits high,” one grandmother said. “If it weren’t for them, I think I would have given up.”
“Their cheerfulness and energy were inspiring,” said another. “They seem to have found something good about all this hard, unending work.”
A lot more could be written about the youth of the Idaho flood area. Those who were helped and are being helped have been touched by the examples of youth who know about “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings.”
How many lamingtons does it take to go to Europe? Seventeen-year-old Latter-day Saint Elizabeth Jeffery of Brisbane, Australia, found out it takes about 1,192.
As a violist for the Queensland Youth Orchestra, Elizabeth naturally wanted to accompany the group on its trip to the International Youth Orchestra Festival in Aberdeen, Scotland, especially since it was scheduled for precompetition concerts in Rome and Florence.
But each orchestra member had to raise $400 for the trip, and they decided to do it by selling raffle tickets. Since the Church discourages raffles, Elizabeth decided to earn her money by making and selling lamingtons. Lamingtons, as almost anybody “down under” could tell you, are square pieces of sponge cake dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut, and since Australians love them dearly, Elizabeth was soon in business.
The project soon became a family affair with everyone helping. Dad was especially helpful as he drove Elizabeth around to make the deliveries. One delivery consisted of a dozen lamingtons to Elizabeth’s viola teacher!
Those lamingtons may turn out to have been more than just yummy pastry. In addition to delighting the buyers and sending Elizabeth to Scotland, they will no doubt raise some questions about the Church among other young orchestra members.
The roar of the greasepaint is almost deafening among the young men and women of the Short Hills First Ward, Morristown New Jersey Stake. Of the 16 high school students in the ward, eight had roles in their high school musical productions last spring, including three who won the lead roles at their respective schools.
Jennifer Hughes, the only Mormon at her Maplewood, New Jersey, high school (student body 1,900), was chosen to play Maria Von Trapp in the high school production of the Sound of Music.
At Millburn High School, Mitch Edwards, one of only four Mormons in the student body of 1,030, won the lead role—Billy Crocker—in the production of Anything Goes.
There are only eight Mormons at 1,200-student Summit High School, and yet five Mormons had roles in the Music Man, including Sue Gilman who played Marian the librarian. Also appearing in the Summit production were Betsy Fletcher as the mayor’s daughter, David Fletcher as a traveling anvil salesman, and Carol Richardson and Matt Nickerson who danced and sang in the chorus. As if that weren’t enough, 12-year-old Joel Miller was selected from all the Summit elementary schools to portray Winthrop, the lisping younger brother of Marian.
At New Providence High School, Tricia Benson sang in the chorus of Guys and Dolls.
Four high school plays under simultaneous rehearsal and production kept the 37 teenagers of the Short Hills Ward busy for several weeks just attending each of the plays in which the youth were represented.
Suzanne Sears, a 17-year-old Laurel in the Tualatin Valley Ward, Beaverton Oregon Stake, was named the outstanding senior in home economics in her high school graduating class at Beaverton High School, a school with 2,000 students. Suzanne served as president of her Laurel class, co-chairman of the youth missionary committee, and member of the dance committee. In addition to scholarship and outstanding accomplishments in the field of home economics, she possesses the ability to get along well with others, initiative and dependability, and the desire for personal improvement, leadership, and enthusiastic participation in school activities.