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What I learned from FSY: A young adult counselor shares her experience

‘In my seven weeks as a counselor, I saw time and time again that our Heavenly Father loves us as individuals and will communicate with us in very personal ways’

Over this past summer, as an FSY counselor, I worked with a total of 162 youth on the campuses of Snow College, Utah State University and Brigham Young University in Utah, and Purdue University in Indiana. Each week I was inspired by the incredible youth and the impact this inspired program was having on them. I was reminded that feeling the Spirit changes us, that God speaks to each of us, and that joy is the result of a Christ-centered life.

Feeling the Spirit changes us

One week I had a particularly unruly group of youth. That first day, I looked around and questioned if we would be able to survive the week, let alone have spiritual experiences. I was hopeful that it would get better, but Thursday came around and I had yet to see any change. Then that night during testimony meeting, I watched as every one of those youth stood up and testified of Christ. The Spirit was palpable and there was not a dry eye in the room. This change had nothing to do with what the teachers, session directors, or even I had done. It had everything to do with the Savior. 

Almost all of them shared that it was through spiritual experiences in the scriptures that they came to know the Savior in a very personal way. The following day, I felt like I was working with a whole new group. They were excited to be together, set goals to continue reading the scriptures at home, and even had tearful goodbyes when the time came to leave.

That week taught me change is possible through our Savior and His Atonement. John 17:3 says, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” They had come to know Christ, and that changed everything. 

God speaks to us

One miracle I witnessed happened on a Friday as our session director was giving her closing thoughts. She asked the youth how many of them had received a spiritual impression that week that they needed to serve a mission. I watched teary-eyed as almost all of the 1,100 youth raised their hands. 

Sitting there, I was in awe of the Lord’s capacity and willingness to speak to each of us. Each of the youth had a moment when God spoke to them one on one and gave them the answers they needed. In my seven weeks as a counselor, I saw time and time again that our Heavenly Father loves us as individuals and will communicate with us in very personal ways. All we have to do is turn to Him with open hearts and minds to hear His voice.

Abby Crane, left, is pictured with girls in her company at a For the Strength of Youth conference at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.
Abby Crane, left, is pictured with girls in her company at a For the Strength of Youth conference at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, on June 3, 2022. | Provided by Abby Crane

A Christ-centered life = joy

I returned from my mission two months before FSY started with a determination to continue every habit I had developed during the previous 18 months. But I found it was so easy to get distracted and lose focus on what really mattered. Eventually, I realized I had lost that joy that came so easily as a missionary. It was interesting to see that as soon as I started FSY, it felt like a light turned on and I was happier than ever. 

One day as I was talking to another counselor about this change, she invited me to think about why that was. What about FSY brought so much joy into my life? As I pondered this question, a quote by President Russell M. Nelson came to mind: “The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.”

Everything I did as a counselor was pointing me to the Savior — serving the youth, attending devotionals and classes, testifying and teaching of Christ, interacting with other Spirit-filled people and setting aside time for daily personal study and prayer. I learned that as I am intentional about centering my life on Christ I am able to feel true joy. 

I am so grateful for my summer of FSY. To anyone who is considering joining FSY as a participant or a counselor next year, do it! You won’t regret it. 

— Abby Crane is a member of the Mahogany Ridge Ward, North Logan Utah Stake.

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