The Youth Devotional was held at the Constant Spring Chapel in Kingston, Jamaica on April 29, 2017. In attendance were youths from the Kingston, Jamaica Stake comprising of 8 wards. The Stake President, Andrew Lue, conducted the proceedings and present were all the members of the Stake Presidency, Elder Martinez, Caribbean Area Presidency and his wife, Sister N. Martinez with special guests, Elder Stephen Owen, General Young Men President and his wife Jane Owen.
The first speaker, Elder Martinez, highlighted the concerns that are being shared by the leadership of the church in regards to the rising generation, looking at similarities between the youths and recent converts, who both need a friend, a responsibility and to be nourished by the good word of God. He also compared observing the Sabbath day and the youths, in an effort to support youths to increase their faith in Jesus Christ at home and in the church.
The story of the miracle in Peru was related due to the preparation of the youths. Therefore when the missionaries were asked to leave Peru due to political upheaval, the Stake had to become self-reliant in missionary work. The youths in Peru were able to serve missions in Peru, which contributed to the growth of the church there. Elder Martinez in summation, bore fervent testimony that God loves the youths of today and they are the future leaders of tomorrow.
Elder Stephen Owen started his discussion with the example of the car with loud music that was disrupting the meeting, and how we need to drown out the voice of the world and listen to the still small voice of the Spirit. He held up his smart phone and mentioned that this tool can be a blessing, if used properly, or a distraction. It should be used at the right time, in the right way. For example, no playing of games in the sacrament meeting.
He proceeded to show the Youth Media Video for 2017, asking the youths to identify key things about the video in terms of the questions asked and how revelation was given.
Questions asked from the video included:
· Should I go on a mission?
· Will I be ok after the divorce?
· Will my father come back safe from his military deployment?
Amanda Lue, a young woman, said that she noticed that in asking the questions, the youths also looked for answers in the scriptures.
One young man said that the youths wrote down the answers they received.
A youth leader, Sibthorpe Dennis, said that the questions asked were heartfelt and it is alright to ask God questions that we might not be comfortable asking openly.
Elder Owen indicated that one girl’s response was ‘still waiting’ to show that answers come in the Lords timing and not necessarily ours and we should be patient.
At this point, Elder Owen shared that he knew his wife Jane, from age 12, and they were linked together through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sister Owen encouraged the youths to stand up for the gospel as she shared a story of one of her grandchild facing persecution for being a Mormon. In one incident, he had to stand up to someone who was saying bad things about church. He declared, that he was a Mormon, that what was being said was a lie, and told them the truth, and also that he will not criticize anyone else’s religion.
She encouraged the youths to keep the Word of Wisdom, which is the Lords Law of health, so that the Holy Spirit can be with them, to guide them and influence their lives positively. One story she mentioned was that of a young man who smoked electric cigarette on advisement from a friend, and it exploded inside his mouth causing excessive damage to his face.
She advised the youths to rely on the special gift of repentance as it is a positive principle and this will help us to have the Holy Spirit to guide us.
The devotional ended with the concluding remarks of Elder Owen. The congregation was asked to recite the Fourth Article of Faith :
We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are:
first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance;
third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins;
fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost
He potently asked: Do you know it? Can you teach it?
He encouraged the youths to share the gospel with others, faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. He showed a diagram, illustrating “ Wickedness never was happiness’.
This showed Satan’s plan emphasises selfishness, cheating, lies, steal and uncleanness. The results of which will only cause, no friends, no temple or other blessings, and eventually everlasting unhappiness. Jesus Christ on the other hand, His plan, inspires love, confidence, stability, freedom and ultimately Godhood which leads to Eternal Happiness.
This all stems from our desires. Elder Owen complimented parents who do what they do to be good parents and help their children to be good.
In his final comments, Elder Owen, pleaded with the youths to do what they need to do to have conversion in their lives, for example, attend seminary, take the sacrament worthily, administer the sacrament, family scripture study, personal scripture study and prayer. In this way, conversion will take place.
The devotional concluded with the joyous singing of the hymn: Carry On and the prayer was offered by Brother Odine Peart, a Priest in the Constant Spring Ward.
Members of the Public Relations Council – Far left – President Deans, 1st Councillor in the Mission Presidency, Sister Nannette Barnett, Assistant Director of Media Relations and Sister Nicole Thompson, Director of Public Affairs, Jamaica Elder and Sister Owen – middle – General Young Men President and his wife Jane Owen Elder and Sister Martinez – Caribbean Area Presidency, 2nd Councillor and his wife Sister N. Martinez
Youths and their leaders from the Kingston, Jamaica Stake
Youths and their leaders interacting with Elder and Sister Owen
Far left – Pres. Medley, 2nd Councillor in Stake Presidency, President Andrew Lue, President of the Kingston Jamaica Stake Middle – Elder and Sister Owen, Sister and Elder Martinez Far right – Elder Brown, High Councillor in Stake Presidency with his wife Sister N. Brown