Elder Ian S. Ardern, Pacific Area President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wrote the following message after attending, with his wife, Sister Paula Ardern, the 2021 «For the Strength of Youth» conference in Auckland, New Zealand on Thursday 7 January, 2021.
Last Thursday, Sister Ardern and I, accompanied by Auckland based Area Seventy and his wife, Elder and Sister Burgess, joined with over five hundred 14- and 15-year-old youth at the ‘For the Strength of Youth’ (FSY) Conference at King’s College in Auckland.
It was a delightful and insightful evening. We all left with renewed confidence in the youth and what they are contributing and will yet contribute to building the Kingdom of God.
This year the youth from the 12 Auckland Coordinating Council stakes are meeting in two groups with each group spending five days at the conference.
In New Zealand, we have 7,800 youth and at least once in their 14-17 year experience, we strive to have each participate in an FSY experience. The conferences are designed to allow the youth to:
- Strengthen their testimonies of Jesus Christ
- Provide a positive place to study the gospel
- Take part in uplifting devotionals
- Find lasting new friends
- Share testimonies
- Participate in wholesome activities
Our experience with the youth last week was refreshing and reassuring. A musical devotional about the prophet Joseph Smith’s First Vision was beautifully presented. It was followed by a question-and-answer session which was moderated by Brother Darren and Sister Paula Midgley.
I could not help but be grateful to all who have given of their time and talents to organize such a life changing event. I was particularly grateful to see the 80 plus Young Single Adults there who act as counsellors for the youth. Like others, they understand that «when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God,» (The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Mosiah 2:17).
Elder Ian S. Ardern
Pacific Area President
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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