News Release

Fabulous Youth Event Held in Port Elizabeth

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a special conference for almost 400 youth entitled, "For the Strength of Youth" in Port Elizabeth.

Many sacrifices, including missing a graduation ceremony, were made by counsellors and youth as they prepared to attend the recent “For the Strength of Youth” conference (FSY) at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints organized the conference to provide youth with spiritual experiences, educational workshops, service opportunities, to forge new friendships, and to know that they are a part of something much larger. They left the conference happy and proud they have the gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives.

The 370 dedicated youth between the ages of 14-19 arrived to a tremendous welcoming of enthusiasm and whoops of joy by their 57 Young Single Adult leaders and councillors. The youth travelled from Port Elizabeth, East London and Cape Town to participate in the week-long conference. Leslie and Vanessa Palmer, were the Session Directors for the Cape Coastal FSY Conference.

Several workshops were held during the event, including: Choices We Make, Modern Day Culture, and Physical and Spiritual Heritage.  During a Preach My Gospel activity, the youth were given the opportunity to split into companionships and teach each other the missionary discussions.  Other workshops focused on dating, dress and appearance, entertainment, media, and sexual purity.

The Spirit was felt in abundance when Elder Carl B. Cook, President of the Africa Southeast Area, and his wife, Lynette H. Cook, spoke on “Building the Kingdom of God.”  A spiritual highlight of the conference was hearing the 130-strong voices of the youth choir, followed by testimony meetings.  Testimonies were gained and all in attendance were strengthened with renewed understanding of the simple gospel principles emblazoned upon their hearts and minds, never to be forgotten.

Lisa Sipika, one of the counsellors, shared this experience, “As counsellors, we were told that we would experience and witness miracles. I hadn't anticipated what this meant exactly. The atmosphere was so warm and inviting and as I met my assigned youth, I felt an immediate love for them. The spirit that was at the NMMU campus during the week was unlike anything that I have ever felt before.  The power those kids possess is so great! If that is the calibre of our future leaders, then no doubt the Church is in good hands.”

Lauren Palmer, a youth who attended the conference shared the following thoughts, “My personal experience at FSY is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Because there are not many other Church members at school or work, we make friendships here that last a lifetime.  I participated in the choir - I am not a choir person but I just felt that I should get the full experience.  Standing on the stage and trying not to cry was hard, because the Spirit was so strong as I struggled to sing the words, ‘I know that my Redeemer lives.’ I learned a great deal from each person in my group and especially my incredible roommate and counsellor. They taught me more in one week than I have ever learned in that space of time and I know those relationships are going to last forever. I never thought that I could enjoy so much spiritual intake all at once, but I can tell you now my favourite parts were not in the free time or fun games but in the lessons and meetings.”

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