News Release


Youth from across Cambodia met together for the largest FSY Conference in Asia.


More than 600 youth and young adult leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered for a first-ever For the Strength of Youth conference in Cambodia on November 7th through 12th, 2022. The five-day conference held in Siem Reap, entitled Trust in The Lord, brought youth together from all different backgrounds in Cambodia to help develop their character, by learning how to make good choices, follow gospel principles, and grow faith in Christ.

Leaders and counselors for the conference watched with anticipation as the FSY conference began. Bolinda Sok, one of the directors for the conference said, “We felt overwhelmed and a great responsibility, but we took courage from the FSY theme, Trust in the Lord. We had faith that He would bless each of the counselors and youth."

As buses arrived at the venue, apprehensive youth were met by enthusiastic young adult counselors with signs, drums, music, and cheers, welcoming them to their first FSY conference, and leading them to the conference entrance.  Participants at the conference engaged in structured settings of early morning devotionals, breakfast, gospel study, and instruction from special speakers. Afternoons were filled with classes, service projects, and activities. The evenings were highlighted with the youth participating in musical presentations, variety shows, and dances. 

The FSY conference was divided into four groups for class instruction which included topics: For the Strength of Youth: A Guide for Making Choices, family history, staying on the covenant path, and sharing the gospel. Small group discussions involved counselors helping mentor youth in setting goals for personal progress, learning how to study the scriptures, and reflecting on what they learned.

Sokessor from the Phnom Penh North Stake said, “As I studied and prayed, I felt so close to God."  She also said, “My counselor taught me how to plan in life.” Vichyiny said, “FSY was a blast! I had so much fun and it helped me gain my own testimony. Going there totally changed my mindset. ‘Trust in the Lord.'”


Elder Kelly Johnson of the Asia Area Presidency of the Church, President Veasna Neang of the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission, and his wife, Chanthy Thol attended and participated in the conference. Elder Johnson and his wife Teressa shared personal experiences and lessons learned about not getting distracted and keeping the focus on the goal of eternal life. Henrietta from the International Branch in Phnom Penh posted that one of her highlights from the conference was hearing Elder and Sister Johnson speak.

Youth were each assigned to a small group with young adult counselors and then two smaller groups were combined to make a company. Each morning the small groups of youth studied scriptures together. When asked what her favorite part of FSY was, one youth stated, “I loved studying the scriptures with my group and I loved the insights my counselor shared with us. She was awesome!”

Nisiay from Phnom Penh said that being a counselor was challenging because some of the youth in her group were not members and wanted to go home the first two days. She watched the group pray together, and give encouragement, support, and kindness to each other. On day three, her group was ready for the morning devotional and shared wonderful spiritual thoughts. “They made my day so beautiful. There are no words to describe how I felt on that day. That evening during reflection time, no one wanted to go home. They had all learned to pray so well. I was grateful to be with them and learned so much from them.”

The companies participated in games, activities, and banner building. The banner building activity was a timed event that united each company together as they designed and painted a large banner that represented themes and concepts they felt were important to their group. There were 22 amazing banners produced, which were presented by each company for everyone to see and then to be judged to determine the top 5 banners.

Dancing and variety shows brought everyone together. Many Khmer cultural dances from different areas of Cambodia were prepared and practiced prior to the conference and then displayed with great skills at the conference for everyone to enjoy. Vocal and pop numbers were also performed highlighting the many talents of the youth.


The success of the FSY conference came from many months of planning and preparations with guidance from Elder and Sister Sudweeks, the Area FSY Specialists.  Young adult counselors were carefully chosen, trained, and prepared for mentoring and guiding the youth during the conference. Programs, speakers, and activities were developed and prepared in a format where youth were taught in an environment where they studied, prayed, participated, and then reflected, as a group and individually on the activities, information, and messages which they learned during each day. FSY directing couple, Bolinda Sok and UK Sophal, taught the FSY leaders and counselors to have faith and courage and to remember that they are sons and daughters of God and are called to help gather the raising generation. Counselors and leaders also fasted and prayed as a group for the success of the conference. 

President Eng, the North Stake president, overseeing the conference, shared that he had two sons that had team members come and visit his sons after the conference because they missed each other. He shared that one of his sons cried so hard on the last day because he didn’t want FSY to end so soon. President Eng said that the conference was a big success, and he will truly continue to support FSY. Eight FSY participants spoke at three different sessions of the North Stake conference sharing their testimonies and experiences of how they have grown and changed and of their desires to serve missions.

After a week of activities, studying, learning, and praying, the youth did not get to know everyone, but they did get to know the Savior, Jesus Christ, and learned to follow His voice as they developed spiritual skills of reading, praying, and reflecting on gospel principles.

At the conclusion of the conference, youth and counselors both expressed their appreciation and love for the new friendships created and the time they spent together. Many shared how they have changed after attending FSY and learning how to study and set goals. Departures came with hugs and tears as they said goodbyes to cherished new friends looking forward to seeing each other at another FSY in 2023.

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