Surrounded by a crowd of young women, Ariel Liston walked into her bedroom with her eyes closed. Slowly, as she opened her eyes, she lifted her hands to her face and began to cry.
“You guys did this for me? It’s so awesome. Wow! It’s so pretty!”
Ariel, a Mia Maid in the Orchard First Ward, Bountiful Utah Orchard Stake, couldn’t contain her happiness when she saw her “new” room. She loved the bright paint, the curtains, the dresser with her name lovingly stenciled on it, but most of all she was crying because she realized how much the other young women in the ward loved her.
Ariel’s room had needed some work. There were holes in the walls, the carpet was ragged, and she didn’t have a closet to hang her clothes in. Angela Gatherum, a Laurel in the ward, had similar needs in her own bedroom.
Knowing that these two girls needed help, the young women in their ward got together to remodel Ariel’s and Angela’s rooms. On a small budget, they transformed the girls’ bedrooms into beautiful living spaces. They painted, organized, made accessories and art pieces, refinished old furniture rescued from Deseret Industries and ward members, and even tore up flooring (all with parental permission, of course).
Their activity took all day, but their hard work and creativity paid off. When the young women were done, they led the girls into their rooms with their eyes closed.
“It was amazing to see the look on Ariel’s face when she opened her eyes,” says Angela, who helped remodel Ariel’s room. “I loved to see all the girls come together for the sake of serving.”
Elaine Petersen, a Mia Maid, agrees: “Seeing Ariel’s face was priceless. It made me want to do her whole house!”
The girls did a lot of work and were tired and dirty when they were done, but it was worth it. “It didn’t seem like it was work, it was so much fun!” says Katie Mortensen, a Mia Maid.
Melissa Anderson, a Beehive says, “I felt like I had made a difference.”
Not only did the girls learn some valuable decorating and cleaning skills, they also learned about how powerful they can be when they work together for a righteous cause. “This project took all of us to complete it,” says Heidi Anderson, a Laurel. “It wouldn’t have worked as well if we wouldn’t have had everyone there.”
Ariel and Angela got in on the fun, too, as they helped remodel each other’s rooms. They weren’t allowed to go into their own rooms until the other young women were finished. They were so grateful for the help they received in making their rooms more pleasant places to be. “Your surroundings have such a huge effect on the way you feel and act,” says Angela.
She thinks what the young women did for her is amazing. “My room is something I see every day, and so every day I am reminded of all the love and work that went into it on my behalf. It really makes me feel loved.”
Above Ariel’s bed the young women hung a hand-painted sign. It reads, “To every thing there is a season” (Eccl. 3:1). For the young women of the Orchard First Ward, their activity wasn’t just a season to paint, fix, and decorate; it was a season to love, serve, and give.
“Through service to others, we develop a Christlike love and we experience joy. Service teaches patience and long-suffering as well as gentleness, goodness, and faith.”
—Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Presidency of the Seventy, “Living a Christ-Centered Life,” Ensign, Jan. 1999, 10.