My first EFY. It was a big deal. So much so that it takes up 12 pages in my journal- plane ticket to Utah included. 12 pages is a bit too lengthy, so I'm not going to type up the whole thing, but I'll try to make sure I hit on the moments that influenced my testimony the most:
A lot has happened in the past weeks. Both Good & Bad (mostly good). A lot of it has helped change my life....today is August 7 (Sunday) 2005. I'm going to go out of order because I don't want to forget certain parts. I'll start with EFY. It started on Monday (Aug 1). I went with Darci S, Ashley F, Baylee D and Chanel W. Before I forget- the theme was "A more excellent way" and I went to the area program at Weaber State University in Ogden, Utah....The speakers were...really good. They taught me a lot of what I truely did need to know. They were really fun and funny. They really helped me open my eyes to sometihngs I really needed to hear. It really did help me to learn and grow a stronger testimony... well the most unique thing that happened was on tuesday after the dance. We were reading our scriptures after our counselor devotionals. We noticed how beautiful the clouds were. They were red and green and orange and all sorts of colors. Then it slowly began to rain so we started to head over to closing ceremony. By the time we got there it was raining really hard. As we all ran under cover we got word of a tornado warning. (we found out later that the tornado hit down on antalope island and went through the salt lake). Once we got the news, they sent us to the basement. At first it was all comotion, but later that was replaced by hyms. Hyms like 'There is sunshine in my soul today' and 'I am a child of God'. Finally we got word that we could leave...We ran down the stairs, which truely were waterfalls....and although as we drove, the car would slip and be pushed by the river of water I don't think any of us were scared. Everytime it lightninged, the sky would turn bright purple, but how could we be scared? The spirit down in the basement was so strong. And yes, we did make it home safetly. And all was well. In fact, the next day the water was gone and it was a beautiful, very clear day. It was amazing"
I wish I had a video of that experience, but it's a pretty vivid memory for me. It was crazy how fast the weather changed and also amazing how not scary it was.
That wasn't the only amazing spiritual moment at EFY though...
"Well anyway- we had 'Spiritual Day' (Thursday). It was an amazing day. While we were all together in the chapel, we sang the Young Women and Young men medley. It's the song that has the verse 'We are as the army of Heleman: We have been taught in our youth. And we will be the Lord's missionaries to bring the world his truth!' It was amazing! I was literally shaking with the spirit. I never wanted that moment to end. But when it did, we split up into our companies for Testimony meeting. Wow it was amazing. Even I finally got myself to go up in front of them to bare my testimony...Wow, the testimony meeting had a very, very strong spirit!!!"I know I had felt the spirit previous to this experience, but this is the first time I remember feeling it without any question as to what that feeling was. It moved through me like a chill, but a warm one.
That experience was an important one. If I wouldn't have been able to go, I think my life would have been very different. And I almost didn't get to go. I went when I was 13. The cut off date was that you had to be 14 by September 30, which is my birthday.
"...It was-wow-it was sooooooooo cool! I am SO glad I got to go. If I would have been born a couple hours later- I wouldn't have been able to. I am so lucky- I think I was meant to go and it really helped me. It was the greatest ever!"It was one of those experiences that altered my perspective on life. I began to see life a little differently.
"Well anyway, on the plane, I got a windowseat so I got to see out the window. The earth is so beautiful from up there. As we flew above many clouds that were huge, white and beautiful, with a blue sky and the sun shining on them, over the intercom they said that those were storm clouds. It kind of amazed me that down below it was raining and thundering, but up above it was beautiful and sunny. The sun was always there. It reminded me about one of the EFY speakers who spoke about one of his expireiences on the plane. He was sitting next to a scientist who knew a lot about the earth and clouds and he said that clouds are such a simple, beautiful and amazing thing that how could there not be a creater? It also reminds me of how Eienstein said that the more he studied the universe, the more he became to believe in a higher power. I had an awesome time in Utah, especially at EFY. Well-my Utah trip has taken up 11 1/2 pages. It's definately the longest entry yet. And it's taken me a couple days to write about. But I guess I should end now. So TTYL. I'll write again soon.
Shelley (Michelle)"A lot of my life prior to this had taken me up the hill of faith, but this was that point where I was suddenly rock-climbing up. There was a sudden peak in my testimony that I am still very grateful for today.