A continuation from yesterday’s post about the sharing times for Young Women Girls Camp. . .
What was your favorite part of the day?
What is something you learned today?
Was there anything hard to do or unexpected about your day?
I want you to think for a moment about your favorite fairytale. What is it? What do you like most about the story? (give several girls the opportunity to answer)
What do all these stories have in common? (They all must overcome adversity)
Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, has said, “In each of these stories, [the heroines] have to experience sadness and trial before they can reach their “happily ever after.” Think about it. Has there ever been a person who did not have to go through his or her own dark valley of temptation, trial, and sorrow?
“Sandwiched between their “once upon a time” and “happily ever after,” they all had to experience great adversity. Why must all experience sadness and tragedy? Why could we not simply live in bliss and peace, each day filled with wonder, joy, and love?” (Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Your Happily Ever After, May 2010 Ensign)
Ask the girls “Why must we experience adversity?” (give them time to think about and answer the question)
Pres. Uchtdorf taught, “In stories, as in life, adversity teaches us things we cannot learn otherwise. Adversity helps to develop a depth of character that comes in no other way. Our loving Heavenly Father has set us in a world filled with challenges and trials so that we, through opposition, can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy.” (Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Your Happily Ever After, May 2010 Ensign)
Object lesson: Ask for a volunteer. Give her the package labeled “Adversity” and ask her to taste adversity.
What does adversity taste like? (answers could include bitter, nasty, gross, sick. This was a square of 70% cocoa chocolate that was wrapped in foil and then labeled)
Now ask her to taste the package labeled “Eternal Life.” What does eternal life taste like? (answers could include sweet, smooth, good, delicious, etc. This was a square of milk chocolate wrapped in foil and labeled.)
Would we know how sweet eternal life is without first having experienced adversity? In the scriptures we are taught, “And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet.” (D&C 29:39)
As we go from our ‘Once Upon a Time’ to our ‘Happily Ever After’ we will have to wade through trials and adversity. Pres. Uchtdorf continues, “You need to know that you will experience your own adversity. None is exempt. You will suffer, be tempted, and make mistakes. You will learn for yourself what every heroine has learned: through overcoming challenges come growth and strength.
“It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop. . . Enduring adversity is not the only thing you must do to experience a happy life. Let me repeat: how you react to adversity and temptation is a critical factor in whether or not you arrive at your own “happily ever after.” (Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Your Happily Ever After, May 2010 Ensign)
Story: Karola Hilbert was an LDS teenager who lived with her family in Berlin, Germany during WWII. The Hilbert family experienced the same trials and adversity that their countrymen did during the war – the lack of good nutritious food to eat, bombings, raids by cruel Russian soldiers, fearing for their safety constantly, their brothers and father being drafted into the German army.
One experience shared in Karola’s own words will show what types of adversity they had to face.
“Feelings of hopelessness crowded over us in our seemingly endless situation. Day after day we sat in the basement [of our apartment building] listening to bombs crash and devastate the city. First we always heard a high-pitched whistle that grew louder and louder until it culminated in one terrible explosion. The closer the bombs fell, the louder they whistled. The ground shook with each crash, and our nostrils filled with the dusty plaster that sifted down from the ceiling.
“Of course, if the bomb was very close, there was no whistle, only the unexpected violent explosion. Without warning we would be thrown into each other’s arms or across the room.
“During this period in our survival, we asked one special blessing from our Father in Heaven – that when the time came for our part of the city to be destroyed, somehow, we would not be there.
“So far we rarely had air raids on Sundays. It seemed that we were allowed this one day to rest. On Sunday, March 18, 1945, while we were in church as usual, the Sunday School superintendent stood up and opened his mouth to greet the congregation. But the only sound that reached our ears was the penetrating screech of the deadly sirens.
“I watched my mother and sisters, and by the looks on their solemn faces I could tell their thoughts were the same as mine. We all knew without saying a word that this would be the day our neighborhood would be bombed. There wasn’t any other time when all of us were gone away from home all together. I felt so grateful that the Lord had left the choice up to us. We could be either in his house on the Sabbath, or in our own.”
The Hilberts returned to their neighborhood to find that though slightly damaged their apartment building had survived the bombing. The first thing they did upon entering their apartment was to kneel and offer a prayer of thanks to God. (Karola Hilbert Reece, We Were Not Alone
, pg 88-93)
Listen to how Karola and their family reacted to their adversities.
“I could see the protection of my Heavenly Father constantly. Of course we were living in a time and place where we needed his constant care. Keeping our lives in tune with the Spirit was essential. We knew if we always remembered the Lord, he would always remember us and spare us.” (Karola Hilbert Reece, We Were Not Alone
, pg 175)
Pres. Uchtdorf tells us, “How dear you are to the Church. How beloved you are of your Heavenly Father. Though it may seem that you are alone, angels attend you. Though you may feel that no one can understand the depth of your despair, our Savior, Jesus Christ, understands. He suffered more than we can possibly imagine, and He did it for us; He did it for you. You are not alone.” (Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Your Happily Ever After, May 2010 Ensign)
End by bearing your testimony of how the Lord helps us through trials.
Handout: Two chocolates – one dark chocolate, one milk chocolate with a quote from Pres. Uchtdorf.
“The scriptures tell us there must be opposition in all things, for without it we could not discern the sweet from the bitter. Would the marathon runner feel the triumph of finishing the race had she not felt the pain of the hours of pushing against her limits? Would the pianist feel the joy of mastering an intricate sonata without the painstaking hours of practice?“In stories, as in life, adversity teaches us things we cannot learn otherwise. Adversity helps to develop a depth of character that comes in no other way. Our loving Heavenly Father has set us in a world filled with challenges and trials so that we, through opposition, can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy.”