Sunday, August 26, 2012
There is a story in the Book Of Mormon where the prophet Lehi has a dream which has been called 'The Tree of Life'. In his dream people are walking around through life in a mist of darkness, then they find an iron rod. If they hold on to the rod of iron it leads them to the 'Tree of Life' where they can partake of the most amazing fruit imaginable. Along the way there is a large and spacious building where people seem to be having fun, drinking and mocking those who still hold on to the rod. There is a lot of symbolism in this dream. People who find the word of God, the iron rod, and make it to the tree of life partake of Gods love (If you haven't read the story, you should. Click here to read the full story). Several wards and stakes (including the one I belong to) that I know of have taken this story and have put it into action for the Youth of our Church. They are blind folded and put on the 'iron rod' (a rope) and taken through challenges while others are trying to get them to let go of the 'rod'. It really is an amazing experience to see this dream in action and kind of see if you will be one of the ones to make it back to Heavenly Father or fall and go into the 'Spacious Building'. Well at Girls Camp I wanted the girls to have a simular but different experience. I did a lot of praying, reading the scriptures and talking to my husband (who is a therapist and does a lot of roll playing for his job) about what I could do. I felt very impressed to do what I call a 'Circle Rope Course'. This is how we set it up. I took a 70 foot rope and wrapped it around trees just behind our cabins forming a large circle. These were the instructions that I gave the girls: -You have to keep your bindfold on the entire time. -You cannot let go of the rope at any time. -You must be quiet and not speak. -If you have a questions raise your hand. -Find the way out. Simple instructions to something they thought they were doing that they had already done, the 'Tree of Life' rope experience. Once all 24 of the girls and 8 leaders were on the rope I timed everything. It took 5 minutes for the first girl to raise her hand. At that time I went over to her, took her blindfold off, put my finger up to my lips to signal to her to be quiet, and led her to the side of the rope to watch the rest of the girls. It took another 5 minutes for another girl to raise her hand. After that several rasied their hands. After we had been doing this for 35 minutes there were 5 girls left of the rope. At that time I reminded them that if they had any questions to raise their hand. It took another 10 minutes for 4 of those girls to raise their hand. Now there was only one girl on the rope. I felt so strongly to just be patient, not to interfere with what was happening. After 5 minutes of her being on the rope alone (I do not know if she knew that she was alone) I started to remind her every tree she came to, to raise her hand if she had any questions. She would always shake her hand. At one point I was over come with emotion and I couldn't talk. I had asked some women from our stake to help me with this activity. They would come up to me and tell me to stop, but I just didn't feel it was the time. They would go up to her and wishper in her ear, "I thought I saw you raise your hand. Did you have a question?" She just kept shaking her head no. Soon some of the other girls put back on their blindfolds and joined her back on the rope. One of her closest friends started to wisper to her, "Just raise your hand." After we had been doing this activity for just under an hour I felt it was okay to end the activity. I quietly stoped those on the rope and removed their blindfolds one by one. I asked the girls what the rules were, which they were able to repeat back to me. Then I asked the girl who first rose her hand why it took her only 5 minutes to do so. She said that she thought it was like the iron rod experience, but soon she relized that she was going in circles. Then she remember that she needed to find the way out and she wouldn't be able to do that without asking a question, asking for help. The way out was to raise your hand. That symbolized praying and asking Heavenly Father for help. I read to the girls the story in the scriptures when Moses went up to talk with God. God told him that he was His son several times and to worship Him. After that Moses was sent back to earth where Satan told him to worship him and that he was a son of man. Moses then testified that he knew that Satan was nothing compared to God. He did that a couple of times. Then Satan got mad and it was scary for Moses. So Moses called on God and asked for His help and Satan was commanded to leave. Moses did what he could and then asked God for help. At Young Women's camp the girls are taken away from the world up to the mountains where they can feel our Heavenly Father's spirit more often and much easier because they don't have the worldly distractions. They can have amazing experiences and then they have to go back down off the mountain and back into the 'world'. When we are on this earth we need to pray and ask for God's help, for His guidence, for His direction but also make and do things on our own. This rope course was to help the girls to see if they were asking for help too soon or not enough. Maybe they were waiting too long to ask for help with the problems of this life. It was amazing what the girls said about what they got out of the exercize. What I didn't realize was the powerful experience that I would have facilitating it and it was an amazing tender mercy from Heavenly Father. When the girls would not raise their hands, especially the last girl, I couldn't do anything. I could not force them to raise their hand. Even when leaders would ask, "I thought I saw you raise your hand, did you have a question?" They still wouldn't raise their hand! I wanted so many times to just tell them to do it, but I felt like I needed to be patient. You can not force anyone to come to Christ. You can not force someone to get down on their knees to ask for help or get closer to Heavenly Father. I felt a tiny part of what I think Heavenly Father feels. He is ready and willing to help, even wanting desperatly for us to come to Him because he loves us so much. But because of the amazing gift He gave us called 'Free Agency' we are not forced to come unto Him. Oh how I ached for those girls to raise their hand and be done walking around in circles. I imagine Heavenly Father aching for me to stop going in 'circles' here on earth and just ask for help. Ask for the help I need to get out of the ruts I get myself into. What an amazing blessing it was for me to feel that and learn that lesson.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Wow!! I didn't realize how long it had been since my last post. I have had the most amazing past several months. I was called to be the Young Women's Camp Director in my ward. In our church we have youth programs, one for the Young Women and one for the Young Men. The Young Men participate in the Scouting Program. The Young Women have a few programs that our church has made so that they too can have growing experience. One of those programs is Young Women's Camp. This year actually marks 100 years of Young Women going to Young Women's camp. Through out this calling I have had so many different wonderful experiences both with the girls, the leaders, and also with my Heavenly Father. Hopefully over the next few days I can write and tell you some of those amazing tender mercies that I saw the Lord give not only to me but also the amazing girls I had the opportunity to serve. I have a strong testimony that our Heavenly Father calls people to callings and then helps them to accomplish those callings. I am truly blessed!