“Armed” guards welcomed close to 300 Latter-day Saint youth dressed in medieval garb who poured through the gates of a 13th century estate in northeast Switzerland to experience gospel truths, friendship and service together during a medieval-themed festival.
Youth from the St Gallen, Zürich and Bern Switzerland stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had prepared for a year for the Medieval Day festival at the Tobel Manor near Affeltrangen in the Swiss canton of Thurgau. The September 2 activity was the largest youth group gathering to date for the three Austria, German and Swiss stakes.
“I was thrilled to see so many happy faces!” said Sandra Bassler, St Gallen Stake Young Women president. “Many of these youth have never been able to come to one of our national activities.”
Elder Jack N. Gerard, a General Authority Seventy and Second Counselor in the Europe Central Area Presidency, who began serving August 1, reminded youth that the Dark Ages were followed by a period of enlightenment. He encouraged them to seek gospel enlightenment centered on Jesus Christ, just as the Prophet Joseph Smith had “learned for himself.”
“These young people are a bright light in a challenging world,” he said, calling them “the future of the gospel of Jesus Christ in Switzerland.”
Woven throughout the day was the New Testament lesson of the Good Samaritan. A beggar circulated through the crowds asking for help and money that the young people could earn at the market stalls. By day’s end, the beggar had collected more than 300 guilders, demonstrating that the young women and young men took to heart the Savior’s message to help those in need.
Young men and young women ages 11-18 years old participated in more than 30 medieval attractions they had helped prepare. At various market stalls they worked with leather, put together herbal bags and practiced calligraphy. Competitions ranged from archery to stick fighting and knight duels. There was a blacksmith stand, a place for carving shingles and several food stands.
Youth displayed their talents during two one-hour shows that featured skits, dance performances and a medieval band. Acrobats performed to roars of excitement and wild applause from the audience. Thierry Schröder, a young man from the St Gallen Stake, said that “when we have fun, we learn more.”
The day ended with dancing under the stars and fireworks. “I’m grateful that the youth of our church were able to develop their individual talents, learn to work well together, strengthen friendships and experience the joy of serving like the Savior,” said Oliver Bassler, St Gallen Stake high councilor. “What a great day!”
Lynn Winterhalder, a young woman from the Zürich Stake, said, “To go through everything with friends who have the same priorities that I have is one of the greatest things I’ve experienced in my youth.”
Source: The Church of Jesus Christ