With great enthusiasm and high expectations, latter-day saint teens await the For The Strength of Youth (FSY) Conference, to be held virtually from July 26th to 30th this year.
The main motivation for these 14- to 18-year-old youth to participate in the conference is the opportunity it gives them to meet youth who live in different Caribbean countries and share the faith, beliefs and values provided by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“At last year's FSY, I had fun with new friends, played, learned about the temple and family history work, and was able to teach others and apply it to my life, which has left me looking forward to this year's conference”, said Rebekah Ramdhanie from Trinidad and Tobago.
Among the FSY teachings that participants highlight are knowing that their lives can be blessed, feeling Heavenly Father's love, maintaining the companionship of the Holy Ghost and teaching others how to do the same, and learning the importance of asking and receiving answers to important questions, such as whether to serve a mission, directly from our Heavenly Father.
Young adults over the age of 18 can serve as counselors to the youth participants, which provides them with the opportunity to remember their own experiences and the lessons they learned as participants. The counselors will assist the youth to grow and learn as they teach the gospel and share their experiences with them.
Counselors aged 18 to 30 years old, are greatly motivated to help the youth obtain their own testimonies and they also look forward to learning from them during the conference. “I believe that young people should participate in the conference because I have seen that it can convert them to the gospel in a way that nothing else can. Being at such a conference, virtual or not, allows us to feel such a strong spirit that it is compared to being in the temple,' Aliah Olmo emphasized.
“As a counselor I learned how to keep the Spirit with me and to help others to do the same. I learned the importance of always seeing we, not just thinking of ourselves, as followers of Jesus Christ,” said Shekendra Valdez Saviñón, from the Dominican Republic.
They believe that this conference teaches young people the importance of spiritual preparation. Constantly inviting the Spirit throughout the week results in a powerful outpouring of the Spirit, allowing participants to bear witness of how the sincere desire to serve the Lord connects them to Heavenly Father in a unique way and causes real changes in their hearts.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the second year in a row the For The Strength of Youth Conference will be held virtually. It will have 3 sessions in the Caribbean Area, one in English, one in Spanish and the other in French.
How young people prepare
Among the main preparation activities reported by the youth of The Church of Jesus Christ in the Caribbean Area are rehearsing songs, prayer, scripture study, and watching General Conferences with the intention of keeping the Spirit with them to help internalize and assimilate everything that is learned.
“As the Conference approaches, I have been praying and striving to keep the commandments of the Lord to remain worthy so that when the day comes, I can have the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Ghost and be able to treasure all the things I learn in FSY. I also strive to pray continually so that the questions or doubts I have can be answered at the conference,” said Josué Colón.
“It is the closest to a mission experience the youth will have. It's certainly where they'll get answers to their questions in an environment where everyone else is getting them too. Apart from that it is a great motivator for those who want to serve a full-time mission,” said Counselor Shekendra.
This counselor says FSY helps young people remember and realize what they want to do as followers of Jesus Christ, and she is excited to recommend this conference: “It's a meaningful activity. I've never seen anyone come out of there and say they wasted their time. I know without a doubt that it will be a great growth opportunity for each of those who participate in this beautiful experience.”