Saturday, October 2, 2010

Two LDS Girls From Quincy, Illinois Performed Humanitarian Mini-Missions Under The Auspices Of Alliance For Youth Service This Past Summer

While LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson attempted to further kindle the desire to serve missions during the Saturday morning session of the 180th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, two teenage girls from the Quincy, Illinois area caught that spirit this past summer -- and decided they didn't want to wait until they turned 21 to serve a mission. So they volunteered for humanitarian mini-missions under the auspices of the Alliance for Youth Service.

The Quincy Herald-Whig reports that Sarah Arnold of Liberty High School and Tatiana Holdiman of Quincy High School are best friends who are both Latter-day Saints. They decided they wanted to do something more than the normal service projects around town. So they contacted the Alliance for Youth Service and volunteered. But they were sent to different locations. Both girls raised money for their trips and paid their own way, just like full-time LDS missionaries do.

Sarah Arnold spent two weeks in Brazil, where her team of volunteers rebuilt homes destroyed by mudslides. The group, consisting of five teenage boys, 12 girls and three adult leaders, also painstakingly dug ditches by to help divert water from key housing sites. Tatiana Holdiman was a member of a group that traveled to the Central American country of Belize. The team built an addition onto a school so the children of Corozol could receive government funding to have a computer in the school for the first time.

The girls later got together to compare notes and gave a joint presentation to church members about their experiences. While their mission trips had difficult moments, they characterized them as "fulfilling".

Alliance for Youth Service, based in St. George, Utah, organizes humanitarian missions each year for American youths to developing countries such as Peru, Fiji and Tonga. While it caters specifically to LDS teens, it is not an official organ of the LDS Church, and non-LDS teens are welcome to apply, although they are required to commit to and sign the code of conduct and follow LDS principles and standards. The group also participates in LDS scripture study and Church services. In 2010, more than 300 youths ages 16 to 19 took part in two-week trips. They plan to accommodate up to 450 youths on mission trips in 2011 and are now taking applications. More information on their website.

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