Mormon Newsroom
News Release

European Mormon youth share faith, fun and fellowship

Youth from 16 countries congregated in eleven different sessions held throughout Europe.  Youngsters attending ‘Especially for Youth’ have the opportunity to learn and grow together while attending study classes, spiritual ‘devotionals’ and informal gatherings. Highlights also include dances, a musical programme, games night, service projects, a variety show and good food.

Christian Fingerle, the Church’s pan-European EFY adviser, commented: “2012 is the seventh year in which we experienced this very special youth activity.  Mormon 14-18 year-olds throughout Europe got together this summer in large five-day events with over 4,000 participating across the Continent (including friends from other faiths).  It was all part of the ‘Especially for Youth’ (EFY) programme from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints giving young people an opportunity to develop friendships, reflect on their Christian values and increase knowledge of the scriptures.     

I was particularly impressed how well prepared the youth were, inwardly and outwardly.  It seems as if every year they come more and more ‘ready’. As they got off the coaches or arrived at the sessions, these wonderful young people seemed to come with high expectations that were certainly met.”

EFY is designed to encourage and guide young participants as they strive to “come unto Christ.”  The Mormons’ EFY events are held throughout the world each year and are attended by more than 50,000 youth annually. Sessions are supervised by young adult counsellors between the ages of 20 and 30, who are positive role models for the youth.
From Monday morning when they arrive – greeted by their luggage-carrying counsellors – until the farewell session on late Friday evening, participants have an almost non-stop schedule of activities.  They are never bored!  Not that this is about frantic running from pillar to post – much of it is about standing still, and listening to positive, spiritual feelings.

To announce that the overall objective of a week-long conference for young people is to foster faith in Christ might not seem like a winning formula to some people.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  For almost everyone who attends, leaders and youth alike, it is a deeply moving experience and is also a lot of fun.  Here is just a selection of comments from teenagers across Europe:

“My faith in Christ was strengthened by the lesson about the Lord’s grace, and it changed the relationship that I had with my Saviour” (Young man, France).

“This EFY has been wonderful, I will always remember it.  During this week many aspects of my life changed.  I chose to make important decisions which I know will help me return to my Heavenly Father’s presence. Thanks to EFY I had the opportunity to be close to Christ and He embraced me with his arms”  (Young woman, Spain).                                   
 
“The best week ever!”  (Young man, United Kingdom).

“Almost everything impressed me.  The most amazing thing was the team spirit that I felt, everyone works together”  (EFY participant, not of the Mormon faith)                                                                                                                                                                                              
Parents too were positive:

“I would like to thank you.  Our daughter learned so much and during that week.  She has had experiences that were completely new to her and, most important to me, she learned to trust. All counsellors gave her the feeling that she is special, a daughter of God.  I know what a great responsibility it is and how much work all of you had to do, but somebody was always there to encourage her and who gave her the feeling ‘I am not a project, they really like me’. Never in my life had I felt so much that my daughter was in good hands”  (Parent, Germany).                                                                                                                 

“It is not easy to battle with such a difficult world but the Church helps us, giving us things like EFY, that support our task as single mothers”  (Parent, Spain).

This year’s ‘Especially for Youth’ scriptural theme was ‘Arise and shine forth’ (Doctrine & Covenants 115:5), inspiring young people to take the lead and encourage others to follow principled lives, centred on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
 

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