Sunday, April 28, 2013

Youth Conference

Oh, I love these kids so much.  This isn't even the entire group.  There were more on the sides who didn't squish in tight enough to get in the shot.  And there were a few straggler-musicians who weren't in the room for this one.  Think 50+ youth...

I am unbelievably grateful to have been associated with these amazing kids for the past few weeks as we've prepared this Youth Conference choir.  They are remarkable, bright lights and I have loved every second I've spent with them.

Way back in September when I started listening to the Stand in Holy Places CD, I had a vision of what this could sound like if we did it on a ward level.  But then when the assignment became a reality, I realized that the number of boys in our ward did not equal the number of SINGING boys, and I wondered if maybe I had been wrong about my little vision.  

During that first week of preparation for this Stake Youth Conference, I blasted out texts to all my friends with boys begging them to encourage their boys to participate.  I tried to lure them with cookies and the promise of many, many young women who would also be participating.  That first rehearsal, there were a handful of kids, mostly from my ward, who sang without a lot of conviction.  I crossed my fingers in the subsequent weeks and prayed my head off that we would have the numbers we needed (especially boy numbers) to pull this off.  They gradually came, and by the final rehearsal last Sunday, we had about 25 kids which was miraculous in my opinion.

In my prayer on Friday morning, I asked to be able to remember all the little things that I might have forgotten.  I asked to be able to field all the potential questions that would come up at 5:30pm when we started rehearsal.  I asked to be calm and freely gushing with compliments for all the kids who would be there.  I asked for magnification of the little choir-directing talent that I currently have.  And I asked for the numbers.  I had not sent out reminder texts or emails.  I hadn't spoken with any of these kids since the previous Sunday, and in teenager-time, a week is an eternity.  I was a little worried...

And then I hopped up to get going with the rest of the day...and was quickly reminded that I hadn't even been still and quiet long enough to listen for any instruction.  When I got back on my knees, here's what I heard.  "Haunani, I did not just give this vision to you.  I gave it to the leaders who have championed this cause for you.  I gave it to the woman who is accompanying for you.  I gave it to the man who wrote the instrumentalist parts.  I gave it to the musicians.  And I gave it to the youth who will be there to sing.  They didn't show up because you made cookies or because you sent out texts to their parents.  Or even because they love you.  They are there because they had a tiny little vision, too.  And you will have everything you need tonight."  

Amazing, huh?

That's a pretty personal thing to write on this blog, and as I wrote it in my journal, I wondered if it would be too much to share in a very public forum like this.  But, last night, as I listened to several of the youth, including Savannah, share their testimonies about the weekend, I thought that this blog post is what I would have shared had I been asked to get up last night. 

When Heavenly Father gives you a vision, He also gives you the means to achieve it.  Why would we have the desire if there was no way to achieve it?  He would never do that.  I know that for sure after this weekend.  I could not have pulled this off on my own.  I could not have brought together all of those kids without some pretty mountainous divine help.

Our tiny little visions are only a small glimpse of what Heavenly Father has in mind when He sends them.  I saw in my vision, a ward youth choir singing this song for a Sacrament meeting at the very most.  What He intended and what actually happened FAR surpassed anything that my limited experience could conjure up.  How exciting is that?  

I expected 20 kids.  I got 50+.  I hoped to have enough kids to fill the center section of the choir seats in the chapel.  They filled EVERY SINGLE SEAT.  I heard a piano accompanist.  What we performed with was a piano, two flutes, a bassoon, and two basses.  We also had a sweet little Casey who did a sign language interpretation as the choir sang.  And on the final day of Youth Conference, not only did the choir sing, but the ENTIRE congregation of youth sang with us.  500 voices singing this song.  I had no idea it could be this amazing!  

I was not the only person in that building to LAUNCH something great over the weekend.  One little musical number (which became so much more than little) LAUNCHED a whole handful of kids, brought the Spirit to the meeting, and united an entire Stake full of youth. 

I cannot tell you how amazingly humbled I feel to have been allowed to be a part of something so magnificent.  Heavenly Father is totally aware of each one of us.  He knows our needs.  He knows our potential.  And when He brings a few of us together, we are capable of miracles.  

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