Hayden turned 12 just in time to participate in this amazing historical event.
Practices for the Gilbert Temple Celebration started before Christmas. We practiced songs. He started learning dances, practicing, singing songs, and praying for help from the Savior. Each week, they practiced 4 or more hours. Then the month before, long practices began. Then Super Saturday, the week before the performance, the kids practiced all together from 6:45am to 10pm. The day was hot. It was loud with over 12,000 youth and another couple thousand of leaders. The sun was beating down, kids became dehydrated, the practices intense, the dirt kicked up and the day had to be cancelled without a full run through after many kids were hospitalized.
Prayers began. Prayers for the dust to calm. For the performance to go forward. As the week progressed, President Monson became ill. Prayers that he would be able to attend, that the dust would be kept at bay and that the performance would go on.
Furthermore, the forecast started to predict rain. Hard rain.
The parents began to pray the rain would hold off until after the performance.
The practices continued. Saturday morning came and the clouds were thick. It was cold and windy but the rains stayed away until 30 minutes before the performance. Then the rains poured down. Hard.
When President Eyring stood to speak, the rains silenced to a light sprinkle so the youth could hear his inspired words. As the performance continued, thru the downpour, thru the hardest Arizona rainstorm I have seen in years, the performance came to life. Smiles stretched across the youths faces, the youth were amazing and preformed to their best ability, that kept going, they continued to do what they had practiced, even in the freezing cold and rain. Nothing could stop them.
Tears swelled inside me as I watched all these amazing youth face the adversity with smiles on their faces. As the winds came, and the rains poured upon them, they stood strong. They danced. They sang. They kept going. They endured.
The youth realized their prayers were answered. They prayed for President Monson to attend. Prayer answered. They prayed for the dust to cease. It wasn't existent. They prayed the performance would go on. Oh how it did.
I thought of a scripture. It talks of all the fiery darts of the adversary being sent. But the winds, and powers of hell could not stop them. I thought of Hayden, my nieces and nephews there, the youth in our ward and all of the amazing youth in our precious Gilbert Temple district. They are strong. They are righteous. They are true disciples of Christ.
These youth have a huge mission in front of them. They have the biggest fight of good and evil that has ever been raged. The adversary is beating at them with all he has. But these precious youth. They are incredibly strong. They know who they are. They stand tall and straight. They are warriors. They are not easily thrown off by winds and rain and adversity. They know their mission and nothing is going to stop them.
I've never been prouder in my life of our youth. They are the choicest of our Heavenly Fathers children. They are here to fight evil and win. During their lives, the rain will beat down and the storms will come. Yet these youth have learned that triumph and glory comes from moving forward and never giving in, even during the storms.
Hayden came home freezing cold, soaking wet, drenched, with a smile stretched from at to ear. He said it was the coldest and wettest best night of his life.
We talked of the miracles, the testimonies the joy and pride of enduring. The way the spirit testified to each of them of their role and worth.
I shared with Hayden my very favorite quote. "Sometimes God calms the storm, but more often he calms his child."
Our God calmed the hearts and souls of each of his precious children that night. He helped them to rise up to the meet the challenges placed before them.
These youth are amazing. Just because they do everything right. Just because they pray. Just because they have faith. Does not mean that life will be easy. That The Lord will take away their problems. The winds and storms come. They come to the righteous. They come to the strong. They come when you are doing everything right. They come. The storms always come.
And these precious youth learned a valuable lesson. The storms cannot stop the righteous. The winds cannot blow so hard that the righteous will fall. The Lords plan. His goodness. His pathway will always be there. Even in the rain and wind and storms of life. And if they continue to walk. They will feel the joy that comes from enduring. They will feel the Spirit whisper words of encouragement and love. And in the end, they will feel and hear the words, "Well Done. Well done my faithful servant. Well done."