LDS youth help build home for family

It wasn't hard for youth leaders here to draw analogies from a recent stake youth service project.

The theme was "Come unto Christ, the Rock of Our Foundation."The project was to build a house.

And they did their part - some 102 Laurels and priests of the Riverside California West Stake. Under the direction of stake Pres. Leonard D. Southwick and the leadership of three adult couples, the youth spent four days this summer laying the foundation and framing the walls of a home for a needy family through Habitat for Humanity. They were among several local groups taking responsibility for various segments of the project. Later this summer, non-LDS groups will complete the walls and install the plumbing and electrical wiring.

"This was a different activity," said Bill Prosser, Young Men president in the Lake Hills Ward, who, with his wife, Sally, was among the three adult couples directing the project. He was recently released as stake Young Men president. Brother Prosser explained that every two years, the stake's youth hold a "Super Activity," where they take on a major service project. This is the first time they've tried to build a house.

"We worked side by side with the family who will live in the house," said Brother Prosser, who added that families qualifying for Habitat for Humanity homes must contribute 500 hours of their own time. "It was great. They interacted and worked with the kids. We had a fireside one evening, and they came and told the kids how they appreciated the help and were answers to their prayers. It was a moving experience for these young people."

Building the house was, in turn, an answer to fasting and prayer for the adult leaders and youth serving on the stake committee that chose the project. Serving with Brother and Sister Prosser were Dave and Darlene Little, and Dave and Becky Nordstrom. Twelve priests and Laurels sat on the committee. Once the project was selected and cleared by Pres. Southwick in the spring, the youth set about raising the funds for the building materials. They did so, individually, through washing cars, baby-sitting and other temporary or part-time work.

"We did this to build unity, not only ward unity, but also stake unity," Brother Prosser said. He related that the youth framed the walls at his warehouse in Corona, Calif., adjacent to Riverside. A trucking company then voluntarily transported the walls to the building site in nearby Apple Valley. The youth stayed at a campsite nearby.

"We stood all the walls in one day. The second day, we had to square the house up. The kids' response was super. It was over 100 degrees heat in Apple Valley."

Brother Prosser explained that the youth worked some eight hours a day on the house, then returned to their campsite in the evening for swimming and firesides. It was during these firesides that youth leaders drew analogies from the project to the lives of the youth. "Our theme was based on Helaman 5:12. Our theme song was `How Firm a Foundation.' "

There was also a strong lesson learned about enduring to the end, Brother Prosser related. The day before the project was to be completed, they were two to three hours behind schedule. Getting back on schedule would mean giving up their evening activities.

"We asked the youth, What do you want to do?' They made the decision to give up theirwater time' that evening and work."

The next afternoon, the youth stood before "their" fully framed house. They were crying.

And, Brother Prosser added, "they were proud of their calluses." - Julie A. Dockstader

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