News Story

‘Bloom Where You Are Planted’: Church Leaders Encourage Sydney Youth

Youth from across Sydney gathered in Hebersham last night to hear from visiting leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Elder Ian S. Ardern, President of the Pacific Area of the Church, with his wife, Sister Paula Ardern, spoke to the teenagers.

They were accompanied by Brother M. Joseph Brough and Sister Emily Brough; and Brother Milton Camargo and Sister Patricia Camargo.

Brother Brough is a member of the Church’s Young Men General Presidency and Brother Camargo is a member of the Church’s Sunday School General Presidency.

Approximately 1200 youth, parents and leaders were in attendance at the devotional.


Elder and Sister Ardern spoke together to the youth. They shared an analogy about lotus lilies, which they had seen during their walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney earlier in the day.

They encouraged the youth to “bloom where you are planted, to make the very best of your circumstances. As you trust in the Lord, He will guide your way.”


They mentioned that lotus seeds were “strong and resilient, and can last for many years.”

The Arderns encouraged the youth to fortify themselves at their weakest point. “If you choose to entertain temptation, it will entertain you in all of the wrong ways.”

Elder and Sister Ardern powerfully related to the youth that “the commandment of greatest importance to you is the one you have the most difficulty with.”

Elder and Sister Ardern showed deep love and concern for the youth as they shared their testimonies of Jesus Christ, the Restoration of the Gospel, and of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Brother Camargo spoke of serving God and those around us “with all our heart, might, mind and strength.”

He encouraged the youth to “know the Lord, study Him, and get to know Him and his Atoning sacrifice,” and to serve with all their minds by studying and getting a good education.

Brother Camargo promised the young people that the Lord would extend their talents beyond their abilities, and use them as a powerful and effective tool for the gathering of Israel.

Sister Camargo also spoke to the young people. She encouraged them to be thoughtful about their clothing choices and to follow the standards as set out in “For the Strength of Youth.”

She also urged them to study the scriptures regularly. “Scripture power,” she said, “will help you overcome temptations.”

Sister Camargo encouraged the youth to prepare to give missionary service.

Brother Brough told a heart-warming story about his 14-year-old daughter during the family’s mission in Guatemala. Their daughter struggled with the restrictions she faced and the lack of sporting opportunities at her school.

After deciding that she should return to the United States to stay with her grandmother, Brother Brough related tenderly that as Sister Brough walked towards their daughter’s room, she saw her reading the Book of Mormon. She felt a strong feeling of reassurance that her daughter was going to be okay.

Brother Brough recounted how his daughter was able to develop a basketball team at her school, and how she was a blessing to her classmates and her school for the rest of their mission.

Brother Brough invited every young man aged 17 to 18 to stand up, and asked them to “do something that will bless you for the rest of your life—make yourselves better looking!”

This received a warm response from the youth when he then expanded by expounding the blessings the young men would receive if they served as missionaries, including finding a wonderful companion.

He said “if you want to be the husband and father you want to be, there is no better training ground than a mission.”

Brother Brough also warned against pornography.

Sister Brough shared the New Testament story of the rich young man who had kept the commandments from his youth, but whom the Lord invited to “sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor.”

She said that represented “a step into greatness” that we could all take as we closely follow the directions of the Lord.

She assured the youth that as they took that step “their happiness would increase.”

An 80-voice youth choir sang the 2020 theme song for young Latter-day Saints the world over, “Go and do.”

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