by Denise Wright
What takes at least 20 hours to complete, is as broad and varied as all outdoors or as contained as reading a book, can be tailored to fit a single individual or an entire community, takes place four times in two years, and involves Laurels the world over?
It’s a Young Women value project, and yours can be great! Here are some ideas from young women in the Cape Girardeau Missouri Stake:
For your family:
Compile the life history of an elderly relative.
Organize a workshop for writing life histories.
Make a cross-stitch picture of a temple that has special meaning to you—perhaps the temple where your parents were married.
With other youth:
Organize a volleyball activity for neighboring wards and branches.
Put together a monthly newsletter and activity calendar for the youth in your ward.
Start a stakewide round-robin newsletter complete with photos to be circulated to each unit (set a deadline!) and copies of the finished product to be distributed at youth conference.
Prepare a scrapbook of youth conference or girls’ camp for your ward or stake leaders.
Offer to help your leaders organize Sunday evening firesides. Arrange for a place to meet, someone to speak, and refreshments.
With your ward:
Plan a “This Is Your Life” party for the bishop or branch president.
Help the activities committee organize a ward Christmas party.
Offer to provide prelude and postlude music at your ward for an extended period of time.
Get permission from your bishop to direct a ward talent show. Arrange for refreshments, publicity, and cleanup.
Coordinate an effort for youth in your ward to compile family names for temple work.
Organize a youth choir.
Compile a history of the Young Women program in your ward or branch.
In your community:
Volunteer as a literacy tutor.
Arrange a cleanup day for a downtown street or a public area.
Refurbish and paint picnic tables at a local park.
Volunteer at a local doctor’s office or hospital.
Collect toys and books for a children’s waiting area at a doctor’s office, courthouse, or other public facility.
Plant flowers or other plants at a local park.
Tie quilts with the other Laurels in your class. Donate them to a local hospital.
Why are the youth of the Denton Texas Fourth Ward smiling?
Maybe it’s because they’re on an excursion to the Dallas Temple, a place they all enjoy visiting. Or maybe it’s because some of them are doing baptisms for their own ancestors. But, more than likely, it’s because they met their bishop’s challenge to gather 100 names for baptism—and then some.
A few weeks before the temple trip, the bishop issued the challenge, and the whole ward went to work. By the time the youth arrived at the temple, they had enough names to baptize the equivalent of their entire ward.
Elder L. Lionel Kendrick of the Seventy, who was then the president of the Dallas Temple, said the youth had done something unique in the history of the Dallas Temple. He gave the youth a special blessing.
“It was pretty powerful,” says Merrin McWilliams, 14. “The people who work in the temple have a great privilege. It’s the Lord’s house.”
Many of the youth say they had special feelings and witnesses of the spirit while doing baptisms, especially for members of their own families.
Fifteen-year-old John Searcy was baptized for his great-grandfather.
“I know he was special to my dad since he named me after him,” says John. “I’m glad we did it.”
Meet Amy Richardson and Amy Richardson.
That’s right, these girls are the same age and have the same name. They were introduced when they were both just a few hours old and fighting to stay alive in the University of Utah’s Newborn Intensive Care Center. (Both were born prematurely and suffered complications because of it.) The “Amys” got well and went their separate ways, one Amy living in Woods Cross, Utah, and the other in Murray, Utah.
But they doubled up again for a brief moment last year. It seems they share more than a name. They also share a vision for sharing the gospel and were reunited at the MTC, where they met by accident the night before Amy from Murray left to serve her mission in Latvia. Amy from Woods Cross left a few days later to serve in Dallas, Texas.
During April general conference, four new members were sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy. Elder Merrill J. Bateman was called in November when he was named president of Brigham Young University. Eight new members were also called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
First Quorum of Seventy
Elder Dallas N. Archibald, a native of Logan, Utah, is married to Linda Ritchie Archibald.
Elder Merrill J. Bateman was born in Lehi, Utah, and is married to Marilyn Scholes Bateman.
Elder Bruce C. Hafen is from St. George, Utah. He is married to Marie Kartchner Hafen.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, from Mahrisch-Ostrau, Czechoslovakia, is married to Harriet Reich Uchtdorf.
Second Quorum of Seventy
Elder L. Edward Brown is from Preston, Idaho. He is married to Carol Ewer Brown.
Elder Sheldon F. Child, a native of Syracuse, Utah, is married to Joan Haacke Child.
Elder Quentin L. Cook is from Logan, Utah, and has also lived in California. He is married to Mary Gaddie Cook.
Elder Wm. Rolfe Kerr is from Tremonton, Utah. He is married to Janeil Raybould Kerr.
Elder Dennis E. Simmons is from Beaver Dam, Utah, and has lived in Las Vegas. He is married to Carolyn Thorpe Simmons.
Elder Jerald L. Taylor is from Colonia Dublan, Mexico. He is married to Sharon Willis Taylor.
Elder Francisco J. Viñas is a native of Spain but grew up in Uruguay. He is married to Cristinah Gaminara Viñas.
Elder Richard B. Wirthlin is a native of Salt Lake City and is married to Jeralie Mae Chandler Wirthlin.
While Josh Lowe was slogging through the mud in Novosibirsk, Russia, Nate Barber was en route to the Mexico Chihuahua Mission. Carl Agren was also Russia bound, and Artie Whiting was getting ready to go to the Dominican Republic. Josh and about 50 of his friends are either serving missions, going to college, or serving in the military, which makes life exciting for all of them. But it makes keeping in touch somewhat difficult—missionaries don’t have time to write to 50 of their closest friends every month!
So Josh’s mom, Penny, puts together a newsletter for all the boys (who are all from the Mesa, Arizona, area) and their families. The newsletter—which is called ‘Toros in the Real World’ after their high school mascot—contains letters from the boys, news reports from home, and an inspirational thought or two. A few of the boys who receive and contribute to the newsletter are nonmembers, so it’s also a great missionary tool.
Youth in the Southport Ward, Liverpool England Stake, are participating in a very special service project. They and their families open their homes to young children from the country of Belarus for four weeks every year while they receive treatment for radiation-related medical conditions. Because Belarus is near Chernobyl, the site of a core meltdown at a nuclear plant in April 1986, the children and their families are still feeling the effects of the accident.
While the youth provide love and friendship, and their parents provide a place to stay, the whole ward works to make sure that the children feel loved. They also try to ensure that they feel the Spirit. The Church is quite small in Belarus, so many of the children are unable to attend Church meetings, but they are blessed because of the kindness of others.
The youth of the Southport Ward recently participated in a stake fast day specifically to raise money for these needy children.
When you think of doing family history, you might think of someone with white hair, glasses, and wrinkles. But Seth Hill, a member of the Highland Second Ward, Pocatello Idaho Highland Stake, is working to change that stereotype. Seth is 15 years old and has the largest file of family names in the Idaho Falls Temple. But Seth doesn’t just gather names for temple work; he also constructs histories of the people he researches.
“I love learning about the lives of these people and the way they lived. It’s fun to read their wills and put their histories together,” says Seth.
Seth says that learning about the lives of people who lived a long time ago makes him grateful for the conveniences of living today, but most of all, it has strengthened his testimony of temple work.
“Often, when I’m working on genealogy, I can feel the urgency and the desire of these people to have the work done.”