Surrounded by mountains in the Mmamotshwane gorge, a heritage site of Botswana, lies the village of Mogonye. This was the site for the first Young Women’s camp of the Gaborone Botswana Stake, held on the weekend of 19 September 2014. For many of the 84 Young Women and their leaders, it was also their first camping experience, so there was much excitement. The theme for the camp was “Come unto Christ.”
When the Young Women arrived, they had to pitch their tents. As many had never camped before, they had to learn this skill. Sister Thembile Majafe, the Stake Young Women president, said, “Seeing them help each other, lift each other to reach high places, support each other, and lean on one another for strength was symbolic of the many lessons we would learn from them as leaders.”
One of the campers, Sister Celeste, reflected, “I had a wonderful experience when Sister Majafe asked that all the tents face the fire for safety and light. I couldn’t help but think of the account of King Benjamin and the Nephites. The people ‘pitched their tents round about the temple, every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple’ (Mosiah 2: 6). I knew that we would find safety from the light of the fire to help us see in the dark and that there would be a sense of unity when we all faced the same direction. I know that there is peace and joy when I continually face towards the Saviour for guidance and light.”
Some of the activities organised for the girls were learning camp songs, star gazing, and making new friends. The next day they held an early morning devotional around the camp fire. As they emphasized the theme “Come unto Christ,” Pako Tekane (17) expressed her desire to receive His image in her countenance when she said, “People look at me and tell me I look like my mom or I look like my dad, and I’m like what? Really? I don’t see it…. But I really wish that people could see Christ when they look at me.” Sister Majafe encouraged the girls to “'Cleave unto God as He cleaveth unto you' (Jacob 6:5), and to choose the better part by cleaving to that which is good.'
After breakfast, guides led the girls on a 5km hike to the gorge. Olerato (18) remembers, “The journey was so long, so tiring, that along the way the only thing that seemed to matter was reaching the finish point! But then I felt the promptings of the Holy Ghost, looked around and saw the beauty that surrounded me. It struck that sometimes Heavenly Father surrounds us with so much love and beauty, but we’re so swallowed up in worldly goals that we miss out on the spiritual teachings and blessings which He has set right in front of us. If we take time to appreciate each moment and live it according to His will, we will see beyond fatigue and trials, and life becomes the beauty it was meant to be.”
Elder Jacques van Reenen, an Area Seventy, with his wife and the Gaborone stake presidency, visited the Young Women. As they sat on the face of a sloping mass of rock, Elder van Reenen spoke about how all things testify of Christ. Of this experience, Mpho (13) said, “My favourite part of camp was when Elder van Reenen addressed us. It was like the Sermon on the Mount when the Saviour addressed the multitudes.”
As the young women experienced the beauties of nature and the love of the Savior, there was a comforting peace and calm. Latifah (15) said, “When I saw how peaceful nature was, I was overwhelmed with calmness and patience. It taught me that as a young woman, it’s my priority to be obedient and virtuous. Our theme may have been to come unto Christ, but nature really brought Christ to us.”
Excerpted by Collette Burgoyne