“Love Crosses Borders,” New Era, July 2020, 24–29.
What would be a good reason to get up early on a Thursday morning during summer break? For hundreds of youth from Orange County, California, USA, and Tijuana, Mexico, the reason was simple: a youth conference unlike any they’d ever experienced.
That morning, the youth from California boarded buses and crossed the border to gather with the youth in Tijuana. From the moment they got together, the youth from both countries hugged and high-fived each other. Throughout that first day of the conference, they performed baptisms together in the Tijuana Mexico Temple, worked side-by-side at an orphanage, played games together, and enjoyed a makeshift soccer game.
On Friday, the youth, in conjunction with a charitable organization in Mexico, helped build four homes for four deserving families in Tijuana. With hammers, paintbrushes, and sweat, they saw a house take shape through their hard work.
At the end the day, they were able to present the keys to each family, and each home was dedicated to the Lord. Each family was also given a framed quote signed by the youth and leaders that read, “Se necesitan manos para hacer una casa, pero se necesitan corazones para crear un hogar” (“It takes hands to make a house, but it takes hearts to make a home”). The youth and the families were equally blessed through this service.
In the evening, the youth enjoyed teaching one another their customs. One of the highlights for many of the California youth were the beautiful dances the Mexican stakes performed in traditional costumes.
Firesides were also held throughout the conference, translated into Spanish and English.
As the conference concluded on Saturday, the youth gathered for a morning fireside where youth from both countries combined to sing “Come unto Christ.” They sang in both English and Spanish, and many felt that this was the culmination of the entire conference—Latter-day Saint youth coming together, united as one, with the common goal of following their Savior.
The author lives in California, USA.