08 March 2011

Hope for the future

I know some AMAZING teenagers and they give me hope about the world in which we live!

Now these high schoolers (19 of them) act just like normal teenagers in many aspects: they are involved in school, they participate in extra-curricular school activities such as sports and band, they work, they date, they hang out with friends, and once in awhile (just once in awhile), they throw down a bit of attitude (but hey, don't we all!). However, in spite of the similarities they have to your average all-American teen, there is nothing really average about this group of teenagers at all.

You see, these teenagers (and hundreds of others around the world) are striving to live by higher standards than what is necessarily "cool" in the world. They attend church each Sunday, they accept responsibilities of leadership in their youth organizations, they join their families for dinner, they pray regularly, they fast, they pay tithing, they dress modestly, they seek to be morally clean, and they get up before the sun every Monday - Friday so that they can attend a class to study the scriptures and learn about the life, the teachings, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ before school. You see, there is nothing really average about them at all!

You may be wondering how I know this about these high schoolers who range in age from Freshman - Seniors. Well, every morning (Monday - Friday) I wake up, I get dressed, and I leave my house by 5:20 am to teach this early morning scripture study class for high school students that begins at 5:45 am. That's right, I get to join these high schoolers at church each morning before school (wayyyy before school!) to study the scriptures and learn more about the teachings of Jesus Christ.

For all those who know me, this seems a bit ironic, all right - comedic! After all, even though I value the adage, "early to bed, early to rise," I'm not one who actually lives by it! I am much more likely to still be awake at 5:00 am then to be getting up at that time to go somewhere. So I see the humor in me being the one asked to teach this class. But, God works in mysterious ways, and this last year of teaching early morning seminary has proven that to me over and over and over.

I will admit that there are some days when I bring a better A-game to the classroom than others, and there are some days when the students bring a better A-game as well, but it is amazing how blessed we are by the Lord for our efforts to make time each morning to study the gospel. The fact that I am actually able to get up, get there on time (dressed, too!), lead the class, then go on to a full-day of work when I typically don't get enough sleep, is proof of the Lord's hand in this experience. The fact that a group of high schoolers with busy lives can be engaged in great discussions and learning activities that early and that we can feel His Spirit, is proof of His hand as well.

Even though it is really hard to get up when that third alarm goes off, I know that I am blessed for my diligence and obedience and I am the recipient of so many great things because I am teaching this class. First of all, my testimony of Jesus Christ, and my love for Him has been strengthened tremendously. My understanding of His teachings and my knowledge of His sacrifice has grown incredibly. My appreciation for the daily blessings and miracles in my life has increased exponentially and my eyes are opened to the tender mercies given me by my Heavenly Father and my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

I love my Father in Heaven. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I appreciate all that I am blessed with in my life and I love these students that I have the privilege of teaching. They amaze me and they give me hope for the future. After all, the Lord blesses them for their diligence and sacrifice in attending this early morning class, and I know that He is strengthening them so that they can be the great leaders of tomorrow (even if this strengthening has to be done really, really, really early in the morning!).

How awesome is it that I get to be part of that amazing experience (even so early in the morning)!



Online links about the seminary program of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints:

http://seminary.lds.org/

http://seminary.lds.org/mastery/

2 Cheers (not Jeers!):

Lois Brown said...

Love it! I know you are an amazing influence on these youth! Loved seeing the pictures of your class! There really isn't any better calling!

Cathy said...

Say it: "Hey Bishop! Can I teach seminary next year?" :-)

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