The Real Teacher

Alicia Garcia

This article was written as an extra credit assignment and was later submitted to the New Era magazine. It was my seventh week as an EFY counselor. I was mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically exhausted, but I was grateful for every moment. I didn¶t expect to learn from those I was supposed to be teaching. During my last week of EFY, I learned my greatest lesson from a seventeen year-old girl. The first day I met my girls I began the spiel about the rules for EFY, including the dress code and what was expected of them. At the end of my spiel, I ask the girls to share why they are at EFY. The ten new girls gave a variety of answers, but the answer that worried me the most came from Jenny, ³I am here for games night. This is my fifth year and my group always wins Spunity (Spirit/Unity). We are going to win this year.´ As a counselor this attitude worried me because I feared she might not get the full spiritual experience. Through the rest of Monday and Tuesday, Jenny was hard at work motivating the group to win Spunity. Wednesday morning I went to my girls¶ apartment and the feeling in the room was somber. I figured it was seven a.m.; it was a bit early. Before morning devotional, Jenny tells myself and rest of the girls what happened last night. Jenny had taken a challenge I had given them during devotional. The challenge was to pray and not end the prayer until you got an answer. Jenny took the challenge and the result was calling her long time boyfriend, who was a nonmember and breaking up with him. In one night she made a life changing decision and had gained a slightly new perspective and goals in life. After that morning, something seemed to change within her. I watched as she listened to speakers and devotionals that she was taking the gospel in and processing it. Her perspective was changing and she knew what she needed to do but she also knew how hard it would be once she went home. During the banquet on Friday, after they announced the Spunity award (we didn¶t win), Jenny turned to me and said, ³This is the first year I haven¶t won Spunity and I don¶t care. This has been my best week of EFY.´ As a counselor you get many opportunities to witness kids come to EFY and embrace the gospel and you can see them change everyday and everyday

you pray that they keep even a portion that spirit and perspective once they return home. I realized that EFY is an inspired program and that the session directors and EFY staff are all inspired as to what they needed to teach, but the Spirit is the real teacher. As teachers, leaders and counselors in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are merely cheerleaders and instruments in the hands of the Lord.

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