Thursday, September 16, 2010

Elder L. Tom Perry's Revelation Results in Outreach Program for European Young Adults

I discovered a very interesting program that is revitalizing the activation and retention of young people in Europe. I read about it a year ago on  in Denmark but I didn't know the details of the program nor the back story. Apparently it was the brainchild of Elder L. Tom Perry who had a powerful revelation and created the program for the European area of the Church he presides over.

On 21 December 2008 Sister Natalie Arhets explains how the Outreach Program evolved:
I thought I would write a bit about our mission call today. I actually wrote for about an hour the other day and then the pc erased everything. Maybe it had something to do with everything being written in Dutch on my pc. I may have pushed the wrong key.:( Anyway, I think I have most everything switched over to English now.

We thought we would be going on a proselyting mission, but when we got here we were given the real scoop. We are here to open and organize a new program called Outreach. The night after Pres. Hinckley asked Elder L. Tom Perry to come to Central Europe, he (Elder Perry) awoke to what he described as one of the most powerful revelations of his life. It was made known to him that the future strength of the church in Central Europe would be among the age group 18-30, and that is where the missionary success would be achieved..
The Outreach initiative builds on the institute program and provides an enriched and expanded emphasis on young single adults. It is directed by the Stake Pres, Area CES coordinator, and Mission Pres.
Our job will be to set up a Center that will provide a place for young people, members and non-members alike, to congregate, to have FHE, institute classes, activities, games, service projects, etc. It will be a place of studying, of learning gospel principles, and a place where the spirit will be felt. It will be a place where the youth will feel love and will be comfortable. They will learn to be worthy, productive, moral, and useful adults. They will learn to love the Lord and to feel His spirit.
This program began in Germany and has been very, very successful. It is also in several other countries in Central Europe. It will be our job to put this wonderful, inspired work into effect.
Our first priority is to set up the center, set up budget, buy equipment, call staffing and achieve this by working with the Stake Pres, Bishops, Area Instit. director, Miss Pres, and the youth executive committee. Secondly we will be working with the active youth in seeking out the inactive youth, which in each of our 2 wards there are about 400, and inviting them to back into activity. Thirdly we are here to teach the leaders how to lead. In addition to this we will also be doing some proselyting and teaching. Oh what an exciting, marvelous, but also very daunting and scary prospect. We will surely have to rely on the Lord to show us how to get this done. DH will be wonderful in this calling, but I am worried about me. I hope I am up to it. I will have to be doing a lot of praying of that I am sure.

 On Sunday, 29 August 2010 Fred and Miriam Kitchen called to the Romania Bucharest Mission reported:

We have moved out of our home, and our renter is there. We are staying with Amy's family until we go to the MTC. It seems like the first step in leaving on our mission.
 We are working on the language, but feeling like we aren't making enough progress. We plan to get lots of study in the next two months!
This call seems to be coming in increments—a little at a time so that we can be totally overwhelmed. . . gradually. We just received some information about the Moldovan Center for Youth, one of our assignments not previously mentioned. This introduction came with the information:

“The Center for Young Single Adults is the result of a powerful revelation that Elder L. Tom Perry had the night after President Gordon B. Hinckley called him to be over the Central Europe Area. Elder Perry had a dream from which he awoke and said that he had received one of the most powerful revelations of his life. It was made known to him that the success of missionary work and the future strength of the Church in Central Europe here would come from the Young Single Adult aged members.

“Because of this revelation Outreach Centers for YSA are being established throughout Europe. The Center is a place that the young single adults can come to as a refuge from the world”

 Like I said I read about these centers on Sister Belva Wiberg's Wild Mountain Abroad blog last year when I featured her and  her husband Carl as Blog of the Month.  Sister Wilberg gave the most explicit description of how one of these centers actually works in the Odense Demark area.  Belva didn't mention Elder Perry's revelation just what a senior couple does in a center which I found quite fascinating.

A specific program like the Outreach Center shows that the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve are flexible in allowing local and area leaders authority to conduct specific programs that can grow the church in  geographic areas.  I am impressed when someone comes up with something like this. It is good to know apostles like Elder L. Tom Perry receive personal revelation in administering the affairs of the kingdom.  It is a rare find to get such descriptions.  You hear that these things happen but not often the back story.

I always remember in a BYU church history class that David O. McKay did something similar for the Sunday School program.  I know he didn't start Sunday School but he caused it to gain greater importance in the church when he develped uniform curriculum and supervised it for three decades.  The same can be said for L. Tom Perry's Outreach Program there have been programs for young adults through stake and the CES but he set up centers with a senior couple who coordinate with others working with young adults.  You could call it correlation for young adults.

These centers are a great place for them to hang out and get to know each other. One of my pet peeves living outside of the Wasatch Front is that most young people date non-members even when there are members to date.  I had seven daughters and most of the guys in Texas and South Carolina didn't ask them out.  I am glad to see European young adults can come together.

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