under the trees

have i told you much about my ward and church?
i don't think i have because there are some things i just don't know how to approach on the blog, and this is one of them.

i grew up in an area with 95% mormon people, i went to a church school, and then i moved to salt lake city--the headquarters of the mormon church. you could say i've always lived among lots of people who share my beliefs. forget the 4 months in italy for now.

when you're surrounded by so many religious people, your wards and church organizations seem to run very smoothly without a significant contribution on your part. well not so here in our townhouse in salt lake.

we live in an interesting neighborhood with lots of diversity and people of different backgrounds (in utah, i'm serious), and there are loads of opportunities to serve your neighbors and spread the gospel. it's awesome!

since we moved here last fall, i've been working with the young women--planning activities with them, teaching lessons on sunday, and getting to know what makes them who they are. in short, it's been my privilege to be their "leader" and learn from them what happiness is and how to find it.

i spent the last week camping with the girls in the mountains where we hiked, canoed, crafted, skitted, goofed off, and slept under the stars. i'm amazed at how much fun i had and how much closer our group is now.

the lake was so relaxing and beautiful. the girls raced each other and tipped each other,
and then had to find a way to get the submerged canoes floating again.

we woke up one morning and packed yogurt and granola for breakfast
and hiked to a beautiful lookout to eat.

leading devotional at the ampitheatre.

a late night cookie eating contest, without hands.

there was a 3-way tie. how boring.

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