Friday, March 19, 2010

the best of the best!

for the past two and a half years i have worked with the young single adults (ysa's) at church as an institute teacher.  this assignment has led to my falling in love with the best calling in the church, and the most amazing group of young people you could ever meet!  truly the best of the best!

BEST calling - i don't know of a single other calling where people come to your class just because they want to. think of it - every other church class is a scheduled part of sunday church, or seminary, or ym/yw.  in that way, this is unique.  it is also wonderful because class is filled with people who know and love the scriptures. i love that i don't have to say, 'let's see what it says in ezekial about that. ....that's in the old testament, guys, on page...' instead it's 'yah, i love that reference. i also love what paul says in romans about that, right here...' 

i loved teaching seminary - 1- because i love the youth, 2- because i feel passionate about teaching from the scriptures, and 3- in spite of the high price paid to teach on that level every day, immersing myself in the scriptures daily was always accompanied by a personal blessing in return. i actually didn't think i'd ever love another calling more.

but then along came institute!  some things i love about it?  sit back. the list is long! 

first, i don't have to put tons of time into 'entertaining' the class to engage them, like you do in seminary. i happen to love that it's in the evening, during the week (not getting up at 4:30 am is a big plus!) i love that those who come know the scriptures, and have a desire to know them better. i love that they come knowing there will probably be something shared that can benefit them in their personal life. i love their maturity. i will struggle when the day comes for me to teach a class again where i have to ask people to be quiet, and focus on the lesson.  such a drain of teacher energy. i love that i was told to use the spirit as a guide to selecting class topics, rather than a manual (okay, sometimes it adds a ton of pressure, but by and large - seeking, then receiving promptings from the spirit regarding a lesson, especially when i am told who that lesson is meant for...yah, it's a sacred experience, to say the least)  i love that so many of them take notes, that they come expecting something beneficial...and leave ready to apply it.  i love that they share with me when a particular lesson has touched them, or made a difference in their lives - via text, facebook, or e-mail. i love the way they actively participate in class discussion. i am amazed at their spiritual insights. truly amazed.  i appreciate their honesty. we don't do 'sunday school' answers. it's always much deeper and more meaningful than that. and i love that they come expecting to feel the spirit - a kind of preparation in and of itself - and becuase of that, we pretty much always do.

BEST young people - even separate from institute, i feel such a tremendous love for the ysa's.  they are constantly on my mind. so much is on their plates at this stage of their lives. so many decisions. so many options. so many temptations. such willingness to serve. so much self-defining. and so much rides on every decision they make. recently my head has been spinning when i think of their lives, and the many changes that have taken place in their lives in the last two and a half years.  let me summarize: 

since fall 2007...
  • 105 ysa's have attended institute 2 or more times (that's a LOT of people to have in your mind and heart all the time! and believe me, even when they're away, they're on my mind...and in my heart)
  • 78 have consistently attended at least one full semester of institute
  • 11 ysa's have been baptized
  • 16 have returned from missions
  • 3 of those have left for and returned from their missions from our class
  • 6 are currently serving missions
  • 1 currently has a mission call
  • 5 are preparing for missions
  • 4 are engaged
  • 9 have gotten married
  • 1 is expecting her first child
  • 3 are serving in the military
  • 8 have graduated from college
  • 37 are presently pursuing a college education
i love them like they were my own. i think of them day and night. i try to stay up on their lives, wherever they are. i love watching them progress, learn, serve, grow, and move on in life.  and though some feel that growing up is highly over rated, they are doing a beautiful job at it. 

take a look at some of them & tell me you don't wish you were me! they make me smile & fill my life with the BEST!


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