Tuesday, November 12, 2013

FANTASTIC NEWS!! HEFY!!

Last winter, a sister in our church congregation in Michigan told me about this wonderful organization called HEFY.  It stands for Humanitarian Experience for Youth.  Much like EFY (Especially for Youth) the youth have a great time growing spiritually and socializing with others of their faith; but they also get to travel to a foreign country to serve the people by building homes and schools.  While they are there, they learn to embrace and love the people and their culture.

The moment this sister told me about it, I cried because the Holy Ghost overwhelmed my whole body.  I knew at that very moment that I HAD to be involved somehow.  For years I had wanted something EXACTLY like this for my own children when they became teenagers. What a wonderful way to prepare to be full-time missionaries and to learn to look beyond themselves and the comforts of their home.  What an eye-opening and heart-opening experience that would be!!

I researched it a bit and then forgot about it for a while.  Then... in June, while we ran our big Ragnar race in Canada, I had this overwhelming feeling to look into being involved with HEFY again.  The next day we went to church in New York.  A sister who was also visiting from another state was there. We got to talking and then she said, "I don't know if you know about this or not... a lot of times people outside of Utah don't hear about things like this... but there is this wonderful organization called HEFY.  Have you heard of it?"

Oh my goodness!  The Holy Spirit rushed through my body once again.  I had just been reminded of it the night before, and now somebody was talking to me about it once again.  I felt overjoyed in my soul.

There was a position called "Trip Leader." That person leads the group of teenagers in the foreign country on the expedition.

To be a Trip Leader, they preferred people who had:
Served a mission:  check-  I served in BOLIVIA!!
Speak a foreign language:  check-  I speak Spanish!
Served as an EFY counselor:  check- It was a LONG time ago, but I was also a speaker!
Served with the youth:  check (I was Young Women President last year!)

They had many other preferences... such as being a bit younger than I am... but I have an active, young soul!!

I applied because the Holy Ghost told me to.  Abe, my husband supported me FULLY.  My parents and in-laws agreed to help with the kids if by chance they accepted an "old" Trip Leader as myself.

There is a pattern in my life when I take a huge step of faith.  Whenever I get a crazy idea and then follow it because the Spirit told me to do it, I do it... but ALWAYS... right after it... Satan tries to make me feel stupid.  Weird, huh...

Well... the moment I applied, I felt stupid.  I thought:  "What am I doing? I have six kids at home.  I can't up and leave them for 2 1/2 weeks!  What if I die and then they don't have their mom because I went on this service expedition?  What if something happens to them, and I can't be there?"

Jackson, my oldest, assured me that he would take charge at home.  He already started planning a schedule for the younger kids' time... "reading for 2 hours, and then board games for 2 hours after that... " :-)

I pulled myself together, remembered that the adversary casts doubt into our minds when we're following the Spirit, and I cast his ugly thoughts away.  I KNEW the Spirit guided me to apply... for whatever reason, and I was going to move forward with faith!!

Just yesterday I received the highly anticipated email.  Yes!!  Yes!! Yes!!  I am crying now with joy as I make the announcement here:

I was accepted as a Trip Leader for the 3rd Session of the BOLIVIA EXPEDITION!!    I AM GOING TO BOLIVIA THIS SUMMER for 2 1/2 weeks!!  I AM GOING BACK TO THE PEOPLE I SERVED ON MY MISSION.  My children are so excited and inspired by all of this.  They wanted me to go so badly that they were running and jumping up and down with me.  Abe and his mom gave me giant hugs.  My mom cheered on the phone with excitement- the emotion intensified when they realized I am being sent to my beloved Bolivia.

God works in many wonderful ways, and I may never know all of HIS marvelous workings.  However, I already feel many of the blessings that will come from this:

I feel that my children will be inspired to do more service in their lives.   I get to work with some amazing youth of our church, and I get to serve the people of my mission 15 years ago.

I am so grateful for such a supportive husband who encourages me to follow the "crazy" ideas that come into my head.  I am especially grateful for the Holy Ghost who spoke the words into my heart.

This is truly a miracle in my life... in fact, my patriarchal blessing (a special priesthood blessing given to me at the age of 14) speaks of such opportunities.  My heart is giving much thanks to God.

For more info about HEFY:  www.hefy.org  (Many of their expeditions are already filled up!)