'Thank you, Bishop'

Traveling each day from their homes to the church, more than 35 youth of the Ogba Ward, Lagos Nigeria Stake, enjoyed participating in a six-day-long youth camp. The camp, titled "Let no man despise thy youth," was a great way for the youth to grow individually in the gospel, as well as an opportunity to reach out to their friends who aren't members of the Church.

"The beauty of the entire camp is the involvement of the non-member youth who were invited," wrote Biodun Bakare in an e-mail. He serves as the Young Men president in the Ogba Ward. "They really enjoyed and appreciated the entire package."

He said that when the young men and young women first arrived for the camp, they were divided into three groups — the Mormon Battalion, Armies of Helaman and Zion's Camp. It was in these groups that they participated in a daily devotional, workshops and activities.

Although the camp was planned for the youth in the Ogba Ward, it was a way for the young people to be involved in missionary work as they included many of their non-LDS friends. Through participation, relationships were strengthened and friends learned more about the gospel.

The workshops covered a variety of topics including commandments and the basic doctrines of the gospel. In the lessons, topics of faith, the plan of salvation, the law of chastity and the Word of Wisdom were discussed.

A local employment resource center staffer led a workshop on career exploration, teaching the youth how to stay focused and what considerations to look closely at when choosing a career. As part of the career exploration, the youth went on a field trip to the airport. There they saw and touched an airplane — a first for many youth to see an airplane up close. As they visited the airport, staff members answered questions and taught about the qualifications for a career in the aviation industry.

After the camp, many participants expressed appreciation by writing letters to Bishop Richard U.L. Ikpegbu. In the letters, the youth spoke of the great lessons learned and the impact the camp had on their lives.

"I am not a member of your Church, but I was welcomed and the youth showed me love," wrote Anthony Ebahor in his letter to the bishop. "I learned many things like knowing who I am, why I am here on earth and setting goals for myself. ... Thank you Bishop."

Since the conference, six friends of the youth who enrolled in the camp continue to be involved in weekly Mutual activities, are meeting with missionaries and have enrolled and are attending Seminary.

—Marianne Holman

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