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I had the awesome opportunity last week to attend Girl's Camp. Last time we talked callings, I was serving in my ward's Young Women's presidency. Then I was released at the end of last summer and called to the Nursery for a few months, which was fun. Then I was called to be in the Stake YW Presidency, so I am back to working with the wonderful youth of the church. And Steve is serving as the ward YM President.
I am excited and happy to be where I am. I love the youth. I love their testimonies, and I love serving with everyone around the stake.
But I was not super-psyched last week about leaving my sweet babies to go to Girls Camp. It's just so hard, as a Mom, to leave young ones, even leaving them with their Dad.
This is a photo that I took as I was leaving. Three out of my four kids were crying, "Don't go, Mommy!!" out of my window as I left.
I was only able to go for two and a half days (camp lasts 6 days) but I did go. I made a choice to "go and do" which was our camp theme this year!
Now I've been to camp as a teacher and as an overnight guest for the last two years in a row, but this was my first chance to come as a stake leader.
When I arrived, I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing.
I knew there were needs. I needed to support our President who was busy making things happen for Camp as well as Youth Conference which is just two weeks away. I needed to support our ward who was a little short on leaders. I needed to help with the Faith Walk, and be leader support for the 4th year girls who's camp I was one of the adult leaders in.
Where to start?
All these directions, but which way to go?
I did the only thing I could think of: "First observe, then serve."
Not long after I arrived, I noticed a sweet girl with tears in her eyes. She was homesick and asking to leave camp early. Other leaders were on the phone with her mother who was trying to convince her to stay. I saw her, and my heart swelled with compassion, because I too was homesick for my babies and had left similar sweet spirits at home with tear-filled eyes.
I hurried over to her, put my arm around her, and said, I'm Sister Christensen, what's your name? She said her name was Charlotte. Of course, I couldn't believe the coincidence. I said, "I have a daughter named Scarlett, who I just left at home crying! Hey, I'm homesick too, but if you stay, I'll stay, and we can help each other."
Charlotte did stay. She cried for another day or so, but something changed on Thursday night. After the Faith Walk, she bore her testimony along with ALL of her other first-year friends, and I knew she wouldn't be begging to leave any longer. Something changed in her, and something change in me.
I suddenly just knew where I was needed. (And I knew that crossing paths with Charlotte was no coincidence.) Through the spirit, I just knew. I was there to help, mentor, love, listen, and serve, and the specifics of that job would be different from moment to moment.
It was such a special experience to see a girl, to really observe her and listen to her, and to find a window of time to say to her the things the Spirit wanted her to know. And I had people who took the time to mentor me at camp as well, sharing their conversion stories with me just for my own nourishment. Sharing the most amazing testimonies of Christ I have ever heard.
I was (and still am) kind of just reliving it all in my own mind when I went to church on Sunday. The first song that we sang in Sacrament meeting was Hymn #130 "Be Thou Humble."
The lyrics are as follows:
I was not expecting these words to pretty much sum up my experience at camp, but they did.
"Be thou humble in thy calling, and the Lord they God shall teach thee To serve his children gladly with a pure and gentle love."
My callings are always teaching me and humbling me. And I have so much to learn, so much humbling to do.
I learned so much at camp, but the most important tutorial was learning for a brief few days what it feels like to "serve His children gladly with a pure and gentle love."
This is the Savior's love, and I will treasure the way it made me feel always.