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How the Holy Ghost taught a powerful message to youth in Guam — that they are not alone


How the Holy Ghost taught a powerful message to youth in Guam — that they are not alone

YIGO, Guam – Sabrina Nicerio, 13, learned an important truth while participating in a special youth devotional ahead of the Yigo Guam Temple dedication — that she is not alone.

“I felt the Holy Spirit, and I felt so much love and comfort,” she said. “I felt like we are all the same, because so many of the questions that others were asking were the questions that I was asking inside, too.”

Youth from the Yigo Guam Temple district — who live on five islands and who speak numerous languages among them — participated Saturday afternoon, May 21, in a special youth devotional held the day before the Yigo Guam Temple dedication.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, participated in a question-and-answer session and a group discussion with youth from Guam, Palau, Saipan and the Federated States of Micronesia (Yap, Pohnpei, Chuuk and Kosrae).

“I am happier than I can describe to be back in Guam,” Elder Bednar said at the beginning of the meeting.

Elder John A. McCune, a General Authority Seventy and second counselor in the Asia North Area Presidency, conducted the devotional. It was the first meeting held in Guam’s newest chapel, which was built simultaneously with the new temple.

Elder David A. Bednar of Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, talk with youth during a devotional at the meetinghouse at the Yigo Guam Temple site in Yigo, Guam, on Saturday, May 21, 2022.

Elder David A. Bednar of Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, talk with youth during a devotional at the meetinghouse at the Yigo Guam Temple site in Yigo, Guam, on Saturday, May 21, 2022.

Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Youth asked questions both in the chapel and via WhatsApp from other locations.

Three young women and two young men joined the Bednars on stage to ask and answer questions together during the unique devotional. 

“We are not going to give talks,” Elder Bednar said. “The teacher is not the person standing at the pulpit. The ultimate teacher is the Holy Ghost.”

He then invited the youth and others in the devotional to pay attention to the answers given to them by the Holy Ghost, not the words that were spoken in the devotional.

Franchesca Nicerio, 16, said the way Elder Bednar engaged the youth before the devotional even began helped her to pay attention and learn in a way she had not done before.

“I loved how instead of giving a talk, he asked us questions, and we were able to have a conversation with him,” she said.

Read more: Elder Bednar dedicates first temple in Guam, asking members to ‘connect Jesus Christ with the temple’

Follow the Savior to the temple

Elder Bednar asked the youth to consider several questions to start the event. He asked what they had felt when the temple in Guam was announced and what the impact of this temple has been on them individually.

Sister Bednar encouraged the youth to remember that the ordinances of the priesthood performed in the temple provide access to the power of godliness as is taught in Doctrine and Covenants 84:19-20.

The sun sets on the eve of the Yigo Guam Temple dedication in Yigo, Guam, on Saturday, May 21, 2022.

The sun sets on the eve of the Yigo Guam Temple dedication in Yigo, Guam, on Saturday, May 21, 2022.

Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

As Sister Bednar began teaching about power, the electricity went out in the new building. Neither she nor Elder Bednar missed a beat, however, as they continued to teach while others worked to restore power.

“Please always connect the Savior to the word ‘temple,’” he said. “Everything starts with Christ. Then come the covenants and ordinances, and the covenants and ordinances are received in the  temple.”

This teaching stood out as important to Leah Olson, an 18-year-old young woman from the Talafofo Branch. “He taught about always saying ‘Christ’ or ‘Savior’ along with the temple because it is not just a building, it is what is in the building and how the Savior connects to our lives,” she said.

Sister Bednar compared this to the story told by the late-President Boyd K. Packer in his April 2000 general conference message about the merchant who found a perfect pearl and built a box in which to display it.

Unfortunately, people admired the box more than the pearl. She asked the youth not to be so enamored with the edifice of the temple that they lose sight of the pearl that is the Savior and the chance the temple provides to get closer to Him.

“The story teaches us to pay attention to what is inside,” said David Hadley, 16. “With the temple, people are amazed by the building, but they are not paying attention to what is inside. I need to pay attention to what is inside it.”

Read more: Saints celebrate, show gratitude for a temple in Guam through music and dance

The Yigo Guam Temple site in Yigo, Guam, on Friday, May 20, 2022.

The Yigo Guam Temple site in Yigo, Guam, on Friday, May 20, 2022.

Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Become like the Savior

Building on Elder and Sister Bednar’s emphasis on the Savior and His teachings, the first question from the youth came from a young woman wanting to know how to become like Him.  

Elder Bednar was quick to give an answer: “Study what He said. Learn how He lived. Then follow His example.”

He said that when true followers understand how the Savior acted, they begin to “quit focusing on themselves and turn outward.”

Elder Bednar’s focus on the Savior as part of the youth devotional was helpful to many of the youth who shared what touched their hearts after the meeting ended.

“I felt the Spirit so much,” Samantha Nicerio said. “The thing that really stood out to me was how Elder Bednar reminded us that the temple is all about Jesus Christ and how the gospel is all about Jesus Christ.”

Samantha recently received her mission call to serve in the Philippines Angeles Mission and was comforted as she listened to Elder and Sister Bednar. 

“So many people need to hear the gospel, and they need to feel the Savior’s love,” she said. “That is what prompted me to go on a mission.”

Youth wait for a devotional in the meetinghouse at the Yigo Guam Temple site in Yigo, Guam, on Saturday, May 21, 2022.

Youth wait for a devotional in the meetinghouse at the Yigo Guam Temple site in Yigo, Guam, on Saturday, May 21, 2022.

Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Elder and Sister Bednar concluded by sharing their own testimonies with the youth. 

“You have the opportunity and responsibility to be a light,” Sister Bednar said. “Pray to be the light you need to be, and share that light with others.”

Elder Bednar said this generation of youth is not the first to face difficult challenges. But as the generation of this day, today’s Latter-day Saints need to know that simply doing what has always been done will not be sufficient. “Much is required of you and me,” he said. “And we will be blessed to do whatever the Lord intends and needs us to do.”

Elder Bednar finished by leaving a blessing with the youth.

“I bless you that you will come to know who you are and why you are here.”

Additional details of the devotional include: two special musical numbers were presented by youth choirs. One group of youth from Guam sang “Where Can I Turn for Peace” as the opening hymn. The other was a prerecorded song shown on video of youth from the Pohnpeian Stake, who sang “I Am a Child of God” in their native language. Nearly 100 youth on the 130-square-mile island gathered together to watch the devotional together.

The opening prayer was given by Drew Olson. The closing prayer was offered by Charlie Balbastro of the Talisay Ward. Natalie Luke and Laney Campbell of the Talisay Ward were the chorister and organist, respectively.

When asked what it was like to receive answers from the Holy Ghost to his own questions, Drew Olson, 15, described his feelings.

“Relieving,” he said. “Because now I know what to do.”

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