Rafting to Learn about Life

Rafting to Learn about Life

News Release

On May 29, 2018, 40 youth ages 12 to 18 and their leaders met at the Petaling Jaya Chapel at 5:30 am. One may ask what caused the youth to “awake and arise”? They were going whitewater rafting in Gopeng on the Kampar River near Ipoh, Malaysia. The event was Youth Conference for the Kuala Lumpur District of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

Once each year, multiple LDS congregations in Malaysia meet for a youth activity to have fun and learn. Adult leaders recognize they must entice the youth with the prospects of adventure, food and friendship to get them up and out, but they also want the activity to provide training for adult life. They want to have them develop skills such as water safety. They want to teach teamwork to accomplish a goal. They want to teach group interpersonal skills with other youth. And they want to teach them how learning about God will help them live a happy and productive life. The activities for this year's adventure were carefully chosen to help the youth learn these and other important skills. Performing them together helped build a social support system with friendship and camaraderie. As some of the youth observed the examples of their leaders and others, they identified ways to meet challenges they were currently facing in their lives.

Upon arrival at the river, the youth were trained in water safety, first on land and then in the water. One young man, Christian, stated, "I wanted to begin rafting immediately, but as we were being trained, I discovered it was not as easy as I thought. I'm glad they taught us and helped us feel comfortable." The youth were given the opportunity to practice skills until their guides were satisfied the youth were competent and would be safe.

Then they loaded into 13 rafts with guides and made the six-kilometer river run. Stretches of exciting rapids punctuated by segments of calm water enabled them to enjoy the river and the beautiful surroundings. Some of the youth who seldom leave the city gained an appreciation for the beauty of nature and the recreation and relaxation it provided them.

After rafting, Elder Leonard Woo, the Area Seventy, spoke to the youth about the four D’s – despair, disappointment, discouragement, and depression. He illustrated how these emotions may come from challenges they faced, and explained how they must be confronted and eliminated to allow the youth to live happy and productive lives. Becoming acquainted with God was a key part of the solution. A young woman, Victoria, stated, "One thing I learned from Elder Woo's instruction is that happiness may be fleeting; however, we can always feel peace in Christ which comes from keeping the commandments."

Then several of the units directed group games with friendly competition, which illustrated the need for teamwork. Activities such as catching a thrown water balloon with a towel required focused cooperation.

Finally, President Tai Tolman of the Kuala Lumpur District spoke about resources that were available to all of the youth to help them find happiness and be successful. He entitled his talk “Staying in the Boat.” The essence of the message was that the youth had been taught in their families, by Church leaders and through associations with exemplary youth the principles of a happy life. Victoria offered, "I enjoyed the white water rafting and the message it carried, which is, we have to pray and read the scriptures every day and attend church every week to stay in the boat (the Church). By doing so, we can find peace in Christ that would anchor us in the gospel amidst all the temptations and wickedness in the world."

Did the youth learn other lessons? Did they enjoy the experience?

Jay, a young man stated, “I learned how to connect with the other youth and how to work together. The messages from leaders were truly inspiring. I can’t wait for next year’s event.”

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