|Whitney with her "little sisters" - Girls' Camp 2012|
Whitney loved being part of the Young Women's program. Being the youngest of two girls, Young Women's gave her the opportunity to be a "big sister" to other girls in our ward. She teases them and loves them as any big sister would. The following is a letter she sent to our ward's Young Women, but it contains advice we all can use.
Dear Tuscany Young Women,
How are you?
I recently studied all about the strong women in the scriptures. While I was studying this I thought about how the Lord must have prepared them in their youth in order for them to have such great spiritual experiences. Then I thought about you. How great of an opportunity you have to be prepared by the Lord for something great. Within each of you lies enormous potential and a great influence for good. But, just like these great women of the scriptures, it takes sacrifice and you have to work for it in order to unlock it.
President Gordon B. Hinkley once said, "It is so important that the women of the church stand strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord... We call upon the women of the church to stand together for righteousness."
How great of a call is that?! We must unite ourselves together and we must start today. There is a saying, that big gates move on small hinges. Sisters, even though what you do may seem small, it makes a huge difference. Like Alma said, "It is by small and simple things, great things shall come to pass." Just by the way you dress and groom yourselves, the way you talk, the way you pray, the way you testify, the way you live every day will make the difference. These are your beginnings. This is your day of preparation to unlocking your potential, to becoming the Daughter of God that He knows you to be.
The opportunities that are presented to you each day might never come again. So if you would like to have amazing spiritual experiences like these strong women then you need to seize these opportunities; take that leap of faith. Actively participate in the activities of the church and activities that your leaders prepare for you. Your leaders have been set apart by someone holding the priesthood, the power and authority to act in God's name, for your benefit. They are led by your Father in Heaven to know what you need. Trust in God and His servants. Joyfully live the commandments and the standards that are set before you. And NEVER deny yourself the opportunity to feel the spirit.
This is the time to establish who you are! The choices you make today will affect you for the rest of your life, so firmly establish yourself to be the daughter of God that Heavenly Father knows you are. Live the way that He would have you live. Cling to your loving and understanding Savior, who is Jesus Christ. I promise you that as you do these things you will know of a surety who you are! You will be blessed with wonderful faith building experiences that will mold you. You will have the overwhelming conviction that this gospel and its precepts are true, because it is! But, you can only know it is true by allowing yourself to experience it. Remember, you are first and foremost Daughters of God and your purpose in life is to come close to Him.
It is my prayer that you will remember that and that you will always strive to come closer to Him.
My dear friends, I testify unto you that as you live the Gospel Joyfully you will find true, lasting happiness. I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt because I have experienced it myself. I know that I wouldn't have experienced it without putting in the effort. I know that there is a God and that He loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us so that we may live again and that we my reach our Divine Nature.
"Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of His great power and His mercy, and of his long suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel" - Alma 26:16
There are not enough words to describe my gratitude or explain the great joy I've found through and in my Father in Heaven and in my Savior, friend and Redeemer, even Jesus Christ, the constant comforter which leads and guides me and this gospel. This is true and it is real. I say these things in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.
With lots of love,
Sister Whitney Collins