Mariliana is a spunky, Chilean loving 19-year-old who is preparing to serve a mission. We had a great chat about what she misses about the Young Women’s Program (YWP) and what she learned from it.
Mariliana, tell me how you feel about the Young Women’s Program:
Thinking about YWs made me tear up a little. Oddly enough I was usually torn between loving it and being ready to go to Relief Society. Right off though I honestly loved being in YWs. It was amazing having a group of girls and leaders who shared my same standards. It was tough being the only girl in my school that was a member of the Church. I loved knowing I had people who I could always go to and they would probably know what I was going through.
What did you learn from the YWP?
This program teaches everyone something different and for me it was self-worth and valuing myself. This program taught me it is okay to be different and that our Heavenly Father loves us and made us perfect in His eyes. We aren’t always going to make the best choices but He forgives us and never stops loving us. The program taught me that everything has a time and purpose. When I was just entering YWs my parents were getting a divorce. This was hard for me to understand. The Church teaches that your family is together forever—so why was this happening? But this program and my leaders taught me that this was just a bump in the road and I would someday understand it. They were 110% right, by going through this experience I was able to support someone go through the same event in their life who didn’t have the gospel.
What advice do you have for girls who are struggling to find their place in the YWP?
Take it slow, your time will come. Please don’t rush through the program. Once it’s done you’ll want to relive everything. You will get out what you put in. If you aren’t finding your place suggest activities to the leaders that interest you. You never know, others may be interested in the same things! Speak up and find your voice. I bet everyone wants to hear it.