When Alex and I talked about leaving Rexburg, Idaho, we were so excited. We were excited for new adventures and to see where life would take us next. When the day actually came to move out, I was very hesitant. Alex and I had always talked about moving to Arizona to be away from the cold, icy, snowy Idaho, but we never knew it would actually happen. I was comfortable where I was at in my little apartment and surrounded by my friends. We knew where we liked to eat, where the park was, and that had become our home for 4 years and it felt like we were saying goodbye so quickly.
Alex moved down to Arizona about 3 weeks before Eli and I came. I was excited to get down to Arizona and be a family again, but when I got to Arizona all I saw was brown everywhere and I wondered what had I gotten myself into. We left the green mountainous Idaho and came down to the desert. I have never lived in the desert before and so this was going to be an enormous change for me. We arrived in August which happens to be one of the hottest points of the year. I thought I was going to die. This was also our first time in a family ward and it was strange not to have a bunch of college students running around. It was an adjustment.
A couple of weeks into living here, I asked myself, "Why in the world are we here?" It had seemed like everyone else had an established life already and we knew that this was a temporary home for us. Alex still has to apply for a Physician Assistant Program and so I didn't know why we would make ourselves to comfortable when we were only going to be here maybe a year or two.
I hasn't been until the past couple of weeks that I have started to realize that I think I am here to learn. Since we have moved into our ward, I have been involved with the Young Women. When I received this calling, I felt very inadequate. I have worked in the Relief Society but have never had the opportunity to have calling with a younger age group. I felt like I was in middle school all over again. I wonder if they will like me, am I wearing the right outfit, what if I say something dumb....I know it is ridiculous.
I have had the opportunity to work with the youth these past couple of months to get ready for the Gilbert Temple Cultural Celebration. This was such an amazing experience. A once in a lifetime experience actually. I knew it would be fun and amazing, but what I didn't expect is to learn to much from the strength and enthusiasm of our youth. These endured countless hours of dance practice, singing practice, prop making and dress rehearsals. They did this all with smiles on their faces.
Then on the day of the performance, March 1st, 2014, rain was expected. The kids were a little bit bummed, but they were showed up on time and willing to perform. When we arrived to Discovery Park, right next to the temple, at 1:30 pm, the sun was shinning and it looked like the kids were not going to have to worry about their performance for President Monson and President Eyring at 7:00 pm. They practiced, had a full dressed rehearsal, and then at dinner at 5:30 pm, you could see these dark clouds rolling over the area. We were scared that the rain was going to come down while the kids were performing. While we were walking over to the park to be in our spots by 6:30 pm, our greatest fears came true. The rain started to come, and it came down hard! We thought maybe at some point it would stop, maybe when the prophet arrived. The kids were soaked, cold and soaked, but they did not let that dampen their spirits. They had the biggest smiles on their faces and they were so excited to be performing for a prophet of God. Their optimism was radiating.
They performed in the pour rain and were soaked to the bone by the time they were done, but they were happy. They were happy that they were able to stand for what they believed in and have fun while doing it. If I was their age, I probably would have complained that I was cold and wanted to go home and probably would have opted to want to sit in the car. They stood out there for the entire two hours and then walked a mile to get back to the car to leave. Not only does that take physical strength, but mental strength.
I have learned from these youth that I can do anything, just like they did. Before we left, Nettie reminded that kids that "They can do hard things". From seeing them go through this experience, they have taught me that I can do hard things, I can stand up for what I believe in and become a better person every day. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to work with the youth and the chance I have to learn from them. They have so many more trials than I had when I was a youth. They also radiate strength and they are such great example. I am grateful that we are living in Casa Grande and are able to have amazing example around us, not only the youth, but every one that we have come in contact with. I now know that we are supposed to be in Arizona to become stronger individuals and in the end a stronger family unit.
Here are some of my favorite pictures that I have found from this weekend. Enjoy!