Tuesday, September 20, 2016

October 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

Gethsemane by Bulgrarian Artist Julia Stankova (for more of her artwork JuliaStanokva.com)
The greatest prayer ever given and answered.

Monthly Theme: Prayer Is Reverent Communication between God and Me
Monthly Scripture: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” James 1:5

Week 1 I Can Pray to Heavenly Father.

* Bring in a glass bottle (or jar). A long time ago people stranded on islands, would take glass bottles and write messages on paper. They would then seal the letter in a bottle and throw it out to sea in hopes that what they had to say would be found.
    Do you think this is a very good form of communication? Why or why not? What are some ways we communicate in today's day and age?? Are they good forms of communication, why or why not? What is the only perfect form of communication?? PRAYER!!! No matter where, when, or why... Heavenly Father ALWAYS hears His children's prayers and will answer.
     Have 10-12 plastic bottles with paper that has a question about prayer on it. Have them scattered throughout the room and invite a reverent primary friend to come up and find a bottle and answer the question. If there is time remaining, invite the children to write some things they can pray for this week on a piece of paper. Bring in enough dry, plastic water bottles for them to put their paper in and take home.
     We are never stranded, we are never on a deserted island alone!! Help is always available when we pray to Heavenly Father. He will hear us!! Sing A Child's Prayer (CS pg. 12) to end.

* I love The Friend. It always has such great stories! HERE is a captivating story about a little girl who learned the importance of prayer after facing PIRATES!!!!
     After reading the story, with possibly a patch on your eye and a sword on your belt... invite the children to share their thoughts about the story. Have 2 ship pictures on opposite sides of the room. One picture will have small post its with even numbers 1-10, and the other picture will have post its with odd numbers 1-10. Have a long strip of tape (a plank) to one ship. Have a strip of cloth to tie 2 children's legs together (to make a pirate peg leg/3 legged race type thing). You will need corresponding questions (or scriptures or songs for the whole primary to sing) for the numbers about prayer.
(This is the ship Brooklyn and would have been similar to what the Hudson looked like)

      Invite a reverent friend to walk the plank and choose a number or choose a friend to become a peg-legged pirate and choose a number on the other ship. Then have them answer the question or read a scripture.
       Do we have to shiver our timbers or live in fear, ARGH!!!!??!!!? NO!!! Heavenly Father is always a prayer away and will give us the strength and comfort we need!!

* Prayer Partner Tag. This is NOT a running activity, even though it has the word tag in it!! Also, we want to have the spirit with us in primary, so everyone please be positive and cheerful when you are tapped. Group primary friends in partners. They are going to have 1 minute-ish to share a story from their OWN LIFE about a time they prayed. Go ahead and think carefully about what you want to share. Now tell your partner. Did you feel the spirit when you prayed? Did something special happen? When time is up you are going to say find a new partner by tagging/tapping their shoulder. If someone taps you, sit down. Repeat YOUR story to your new partner (or if you can think of a new one, you can share that too!). Do this about 7 times. Afterwards, have someone reverent share a story FROM ONE OF THEIR PARTNERS that they really liked with the whole primary.
If a child cannot think of a personal experience with prayer, invite them to share one they remember from the scriptures.


Week 2 The scriptures teach me how and when to pray.

* HERE is a link to lds.org that has scripture retellings in an easy to read format. There are many that talk about prayer, you can print out about 5. I would have teachers read one to their class, then switch teachers!!! Rotate the teachers between classes to share the story with the new class. Take about 2 minutes for the teacher to read, if they are done early invite the children & teacher to talk about their favorite stories from the scriptures about people who prayed.

* HERE is a link to lds.org with scripture cut out figures. Print out about 5 of the stories and attach to popsicle sticks (the Rameumpton one is great!!) Divide into groups. Have the children choose a person who can tell about the story. Have other children hold the sticks, what can those people say to add to the story?? Prepare in the groups and then share with the whole primary. If you are able to, maybe set up a puppet theater (A box with a square hole would work) and have the children with the sticks behind it.

* Have a tic-tac-toe square drawn on the board. There should be 9 spaces. In each space write a person from the scriptures that prayed. (For example: Enos, Jesus in Gethsemane, Abish, Alma the Elder, Nephi, etc.) Invite a primary friend to place an X on a story they can tell the primary about and how that scripture story taught us about prayer. Repeat with another player and an O.
    Invite the children to play this game at home for a Family Home Evening!!

Weeks 3 & 4 Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers.

* I LOOOOOOOOOVE THIS Friend story!!! And the reason I love it is because there have been a lot of times I've prayed for something and didn't get what I wanted. But I'm grateful for this, because I know Heavenly Father knows best!! Share the story and do an art project together...
HERE is an easier turtle project for Junior primary
HERE is a more challenging (but VERY doable) turtle project for Senior primary
The projects linked involve watercolors, but you can skip that and just have the children color with crayons or markers. Practice drawing before hand so you know how to instruct the children. Use the chalkboard to show them the steps of the drawing. On the bottom of their art, if they know how to write, invite them to write - Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers!!

HERE is a great sharing time from The Friend. It has step by step pictures on how we can receive answers to prayers then gives many case studies/examples for children to decide what step was used.

* THIS talk is quite powerful and full of good doctrine. He Knows You by Name Sister Elaine Dalton May 2005
     "Did you know that Heavenly Father knows you personally—by name? The scriptures teach us that this is true. When Enos went into the woods to pray, he recorded, “There came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.”  Moses not only prayed but also talked to God face-to-face, and God said to Moses, “I have a work for thee, Moses, my son.” The Lord knew Jacob’s name and changed it to Israel to more accurately reflect his mission on the earth.Similarly, He changed the names of Paul and Abraham and Sarah. In Doctrine and Covenants, section 25, Emma Smith is given a blessing for her comfort and guidance in life. The Lord begins this blessing by saying, “Hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, while I speak unto you, Emma Smith, my daughter.”     
       You may not have heard the Lord call you by name, but He knows each one of you and He knows your name. Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: “I testify to you that God has known you individually … for a long, long time (see D&C 93:23). He has loved you for a long, long time. He not only knows the names of all the stars (see Ps. 147:4; Isa. 40:26); He knows your names and all your heartaches and your joys!"
     In larger primaries, sometimes the children can recognize each other, but don't know everyone's name!! Isn't it amazing that Heavenly Father has so many children and can remember every single one?!?!? Line up 10 children up front. Invite them to share their name and favorite animal or color. Choose a person from the primary who can remember every person up front and what they said. Have a few questions, scriptures, or songs prepared on the topic of prayer. In between each naming round, ask the prepared questions. Is there a superstar that can name everyone in Primary??? Wow!!! End with the quote, "You may not have heard the Lord call you by name, but He knows each one of you and He knows your name." And He will hear and answer your prayers!!!
 
* Sweet Hour of Prayer!!! Read the 2 verses of the song. Or pass out some Hymn books and sing together!!
    Play build a cupcake! Draw some cupcakes at home and cut them into 3 parts- cupcake liner, frosting, cherry or chocolate on top. Here is an easy step by step chart to help.
Have about 4 cupcakes total, 12 pieces in all. On the back of the cupcakes, have questions, scriptures, or songs having to do with prayer. Invite a reverent primary friend up front to choose a part and build a cupcake on the bulletin board (you'll need magnets to hold up the pieces).
    Cupcakes and sweet, and prayer is even sweeter!!! Why?? Because the sweetness of prayer is more than sugar, it's a peace and calm. It's a way to feel happiness, comfort, and joy! Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

September 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

Elder Anderson holds a really special place in my heart. I feel like everything he says resonates bold and true. If you don't remember the amazing and inspiring story of these missionaries pictured above, I highly recommend reading THIS!! I think this talk/wisdom/gift from God is absolutely crucial to understand and apply in Primary callings.

Monthly Theme: The Gospel will be Preached in All The World
Monthly Scripture: “This gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” D&C 133:37

Week 1 The scriptures teach that the gospel will be preached in all the world.

* HERE and HERE are some AMAZING videos put together from lds.org about the gospel in Africa and Asia!! But wait, there's more!! HERE are more videos of different members, in many different parts of the world, and some travels of the apostles!! Look through and see what you'd like to share with the kids! Aren't people around the world beautiful!! God loves ALL His children!!

* President Ezra Taft Benson has said, "You are needed in the service of the Lord today as never before. “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few.” (Luke 10:2.)" May 1984 Ensign Our Commission to Take the Gospel to All the World
    What does harvest mean? How can we labor in the field? Why will the gospel be preached in all the world?
      Have 10-12 questions about missionary work. Divide into groups and give each group a box of straws or toothpicks. After a person from the group answers a question, they have 20 seconds to pick up as many straws or toothpicks... with ONE hand (the other hand behind their back) and put it in a cup. Try to make sure everyone in the group gets a turn to answer a question and pick up straws!
    Was it fun to see how many straws you could get??  D&C 18:15, "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" We do our best to help as many people as we can, but like the scripture says, even if it's just one person who we help, our joy will be great!!!

* Studies have shown the more senses you involve in the learning process, the more concrete the lesson learned will be. Rarely do we get to use the sense of smell in teaching, but today's our lucky day!
     Bring in different spices in a Ziploc bag. Now, when we smell, it's NOT a big sniff, just a little one!! We don't want spices in our nose!! You can have pictures of the place and it's flag on the board for the children to point to when they guess. You can also invite a super helper to very carefully walk around the room holding the bag of spice, so others can smell. ONLY that super helper gets to touch the bag!!!
Oregano - Greece
Onion Powder- Hungary 
Chili Powder- Mexico
Curry Powder- India
Jerk Seasoning- Jamaica
Basil- Italy
Soy Sauce (careful!! don't spill!!)- China
     Choose a primary friend who is sitting quietly, hands to themselves, feet still, eyes up front, and ready to learn! Is everyone in the world the same? Why do you think Heavenly Father created us all different? Do you think He loves all His children? Where are some places you have traveled? What are some delicious foods you enjoy??
     Around the world, our brothers and our sisters enjoy different meals. We have some spices used in cooking and if you'd like to smell them and guess what country, then please raise your hand. I'll ask you a question about missionary work or have you read a scripture, because today we are learning, "The scriptures teach that the gospel will be preached in all the world." (And of course, have about 10-12 questions and scriptures prepared ahead of time about missionary work.)

Week 2 Missionary work blesses everyone.

* Beforehand, have some children do detective work!! They are going to search out and find all about how missionaries have blessed people in their family.
    Bring in a brown trench coat, sunglasses, and a hat. Tell the primary friends that we have some detectives that did some digging this week and are going to share how missionary work blesses their family. Invite them to dress up if they like!
     After a few children who dressed up have shared, hold up a small stone. What happens if we throw this in a pond? There are tiny ripples that spread through the whole pond!! It's the same with missionary work. Missionary work spreads and spreads and spreads!! It blesses everyone!!
     Invite a primary friend to hide the stone. Invite another person to dress up as the detective and leave the room, then come back in once it's hidden. Have them find the stone. How have missionaries blessed your life? Ask the children and write down their thoughts on the chalkboard. Keep on playing and inviting new answers or experiences!!

* Invite a few adults to dress up and come in as special missionary guests- Alma the younger, Ammon, and Paul. ABISH was one too!! Have them speak about 3 minutes to tell their story and encourage others to serve missions. Open it up for any questions that they can answer in character!! Missionary work blessed a lot of ancient people and that blesses us today!!

* HERE is a story about how sharing The Friend with her grandma helped a little girl to be a missionary. The gospel is for both the young and the old!!!
    Bring in enough activities from old Friend magazines to pass out to the primary children. Invite them to do the activity, ask an older child or teacher if they need help!! Give them plenty of time and then ask them to share how they could use the gospel knowledge from that Friend activity to help them be a missionary!!

Week 3 I can prepare now to serve a mission.

* “More of you young men and women will catch this wave as you strive to be worthy of mission calls. You see this as a wave of truth and righteousness. You see your opportunity to be on the crest of that wave.” President Russell M. Nelson, Catch the Wave, April 2013
     Give each child a piece of paper with a surfboard outline. Invite them to design their own gospel surfboard! What are some principles they know are true? How can they prepare to serve a mission? They can draw pictures of that or write it down. Draw a visual on the chalkboard too. What is the crest of the wave??
       Bring in a boogie board if you have one. Invite the primary children to come stand on it and share their work! If there is time see if you can do a human wave (where kids stand up and raise their hands above their head, then sit down and the friend next to them stands up and you go down to the other end of the room- the human wave that people do in stadiums). If that is too difficult have one person give the next person a high five and then that person gives a high five to the next person, etc.

* “Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him.”—President Thomas S. Monson, “Welcome to Conference”  
    When is the time?? NOW!!! Bring in a basket of garden tools and a shade hat. What is the Lord's vineyard? Why do you think Jesus taught in parables?
      Arrange the tools a certain way and invite a primary friend to step out. Take 2 tools away. Invite them to come back in and guess what's missing. We want to serve missions!! How can we prepare?? What do we need to not forget about being a missionary?? Have some questions prepared about preparing for missionary work to ask the children in between each round of the guessing game.
       End with the question, when is the time as President Monson said for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, and to labor in the vineyard?? NOW!!!

* Bring in about 6 Preach My Gospels, you can ask other teachers to bring their copy in and get some from the library. Divide into groups, and put some younger children who can't read with older children.
   Tell the children that this is a very special book that helps missionaries! Have them look through the pictures, have them read a paragraph each- just open the book wherever!!! Have them decide on something to share with the primary as a group about something from Preach My Gospel.
    Invite the children to go home and for scripture study, a couple days this week, read from Preach My Gospel. If you still have time, turn to Chapter 6:How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes? Have the children tell you what the attributes are. List the attributes on the board and invite the children to draw a picture of something they can do to strengthen that quality in themselves!!!

Week 4 I can be a missionary now.

* HERE is a link to an article talking about how family home evening was a missionary tool for some people. Have the children prepare a family home evening, they can write a simple outline (older children can write for younger ones or they can just work together) and then challenge them to be a good missionary NOW and invite someone special to their family home evening!

HERE is a great friend article about a girl who was a missionary on a bus. She told a man about the articles of faith, and he was so impressed he went home, looked up the church and was baptized.
      Have numbers 1 through 13 on the ground. Invite 8 primary friends to come up front and walk AROUND the numbers (if they walk on, the paper will get ruined) while the primary pianist, who is quite possibly the world's most talented piano player!!!!! plays missionary songs. When she stops, the children stop. Can each primary friend fill in the blank, answer a question about that number, or even recite it?? 
        For example, We believe in God the eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in who else?? The Holy Ghost!!
         Article of Faith #8 talks about believing in the Bible and Book of Mormon as far as they.... what? What does translated correctly mean?
      When we know are articles of faith it helps us to be a missionary now, because we know the doctrine!!!

* Invite primary children to act out some case studies having to do with being a missionary, not later... but now!!!
    Case studies are just scenarios. You'll probably have time for 10-12 depending on the actors/actresses! You can even have some simple jackets or hats for them to put on if they like, and a couple props (having to do with the scenario) to use. Here are a few:
- Helen just moved to town with her 3 brothers. She is your new next door neighbor. She seems very shy. How can you help her and be a missionary now?
(One child acts as Helen, the other acts out what they would do to help!)
- Your teacher at school wants to show a PG-13 movie that you have heard has some bad language in it. You don't feel comfortable watching it, but she is your teacher and you really like her.
(One child plays the part of the teacher, the other acts out what they could do to be a missionary now!)
- At the grocery store, an old lady falls down and drops a bag of her food. There really aren't a lot of people in the store and no one seems to notice.
(One child plays the part of the fallen old lady, the other acts out what they would do to be a missionary now!)
   Hopefully through these examples, we can see that missionaries share the gospel AND help! help! help!! They are examples of Christ like love to others. We may not have a badge yet, but we can have one written on our heart like Elder Anderson has said!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas


Monthly Theme: My Body is a Temple of God.
Monthly Scripture: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? … The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” 1 Corinthians 3:16–17


Week 1 My body is a temple.

* Give each child a popsicle stick with a puff ball glue gunned to one end. Invite them to gently tap different places on our body (like elbows, knees, nose, shoulders, eyes, ears...) and think about why they are thankful for that part of their body.
    Have different pictures of temples posted throughout the room. Have a picture of a person cut up into different pieces, with one piece attached to the back of each temple. Invite a primary friend to come up front with their special tapper and tap a temple. Depending on the piece on the back, have them share why that part of the body is important. Our bodies are temples!!
     Throughout the lesson, randomly call out body parts for the kids to tap quickly- head, ears, heart, legs, toes!!!

* LOVE this sharing time by Sister Matsumori found HERE in the Friend.

* Have 5 different stations in the room for groups of children to rotate through. Have an adult at each station: sight, hear, touch, smell, taste. Take about 2 minutes at each station to talk about each sense and have a small demonstration. (And please be sensitive- if there are children who are blind or deaf, talk to parents to get input on how you could make this activity a successful one!)
Sight- bring in different pictures, objects, and a large pair of glasses. What are some things you like to look at? What is the most interesting thing you've ever seen? Take the time to talk about the blind. What would it be like not being able to see? Aren't we grateful for Jesus who will make sure all can see in the Resurrection!
Hear- Have a few different songs to play on a portable device. Ask the children to listen and then express what they feel after they hear that song.
Touch/Feel- Bring in different fabrics. Bring in sandpaper. Bring in something slimy. How important are our hands and skin? What protection does our skin offer us? Have some play dough for each child to build something. Could we create without our hands? (Actually, some do!!) Talk a little about Heavenly Father creating us all just the way we were meant to be in this life.  He loves us and will help us with all we need! Our job is to do the same, love and help where needed!!
Smell- Bring in some scented candles (not lit!) or air fresheners or perfume. You could bring in some spices. Put them in a paper bag and have the children close their eyes while smelling. Then have them guess the scent!
Do all things smell pleasant? There is opposition in all things, poor skunks!!
Taste- Have bite size samples of things to taste. Who here loves to eat?? Why do our bodies need food? What are the best foods for our bodies? Have the children draw a SIMPLE picture of something healthy they love to eat!
     Would we be able to do these things without a body? Nope! Our bodies are temples. They are absolutely amazing!! We need to treat them that way and love them!!

* Bring in different pictures of temples. What do they have in common? Are they all the same? What are some differences?
   Just like temples, our bodies are beautiful. Our bodies are not the same though, just like temples!! And that is the way Heavenly Father created us! What a blessing!!
HERE is a story, that yes, made me cry... from The Friend. It is so important for us to love one another. To love ourselves. Share the story with the children. There is an excellent quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland at the end.
    Have everyone in the room stand up and play a round of compliment tag. Choose 5 primary friends by giving them a compliment, then they tag a person and give them a compliment and sit down in their chair. The person tagged chooses a person standing to give a compliment to, and the last ones tagged who don't have a seat give compliments to the most amazing Primary Pianist ever!!

* HERE is a great article to send the children home to read with families.

Week 2 Dressing modestly shows respect for Heavenly Father and myself.

* From the topic section of lds.org, under modesty, is a great question they ask- “Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord's presence?”
      This is just a personal feeling I got one time after I was in a room for sharing time. A few little girls were wearing dresses (it was 100+ degrees, summer time) that didn't have sleeves. The primary was told that children were breaking a commandment when they wore sleeveless clothes and that they couldn't go to the temple wearing clothes like that.
     I was a little speechless. My feeling is this, we need to teach doctrine and we need to show lots of love. We can read For the Strength of Youth!! Common sense though says parents are buying the clothes of these children and we should just be careful not to hurt the children's feelings. Our job is to help them feel beautiful and confident, not point a finger and shout SINNERS!!! There are many personal opinions, and that's OK, but opinions aren't doctrine! Our job is not to belittle or scare, that will NOT invite the spirit. So I think a great guideline with children on modesty is the question posed above, "Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord's presence?"
     One other thought, if you have multicultural children in your primary be aware that their hair texture & styles are different from that of a white child. We are ALL beautiful how God created us!! Native American boys wear their hair very long, that doesn't mean it's an "extreme". In fact, it's a very inspiring tradition! Black children wear braids, or dreds, or fros.... again, these are not "extremes". Be sensitive!!! Many cultural traditions have been stomped out in history by white men. A huge one being CUT YOUR HAIR, wear it like ours! Why though? God has created us all, just the way we were meant to be. So all I'm saying is just be careful on what you judge "extreme"!!

* " Imagine that you are watching a play. An actor comes on stage dressed as a clown but starts playing the serious part of the lead. You might react by thinking that this is inappropriate—there must be some mistake in the costuming or casting.
      Now think of how inappropriate it is to go out into the world or come to church dressed in clothes that do not represent who you really are in spirit. Our outward appearance and behavior give a message. What message are we sending? Does it reflect that we are children of God?" From Modesty: Reverence for The Lord by Elder Robert D. Hales August 2008
      Have the children talk in pairs about a couple of their favorite pieces of clothing. Why do they like those clothes? Have a fashion show!! Let a few adults know the week before that they will be strutting down the primary room runway... try to focus on neat appearance, clean clothes, clothes you feel comfortable in, and have each person share a scripture or personal experience in regards to modesty. Have a couple teachers in play dress up- giant sunglasses, silly hat, or feather boa. These are perfect for play or holidays, however, do these things reflect fun or respect? There is nothing wrong with fun!! There is just a time and place for everything, right?? Kind of like the quote from Elder Hales!! You can have 2 primary children hold flashlights as they walk and 2 more primary children hold old cameras to pretend like they are taking pictures. Of course, you are the announcer so be upbeat! "Here comes Sister Jones in a lovely ankle length skirt. Her beautiful shirt is a vibrant red, one of her very favorite colors. As she walks down the street in this modest outfit, people turn to notice. She's different. She's covered. She respects her body. But what is most noticeable? That radiant smile!! She is confident that she is a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father."

Week 3 Living the Word of Wisdom shows respect for my body.

* Have 20 plastic cups, with 20 different pictures relating to the word of wisdom. Put 10 pictures on the inside of 10 cups and 10 pictures on the outside of 10 cups. Set up the room with 10 cups facing up and 10 cups facing down. Have some questions to go along with the pictures- for example, picture of lots of candy... is that a good thing to eat on a regular basis? What does sugar do to our body? What does moderation mean?
    Today we're going to learn all about the word of wisdom and how living it shows respect for our bodies. Invite 2 primary friends up front. 1 primary friend is going to try to turn as many cups down as they can while the other friends turns the cups up!! Make a tally on the board (give that job to a child who is a great mathematician and have them sit by the chalkboard, make them feel special!!) for ups and downs, after each round you'll have to count. Give them just 20-30 seconds each round! Then invite them to choose a picture from one of the cups and answer your question. Take pictures off the cups, so for the next round you don't repeat pictures.
    Does that make any sense?? Here's a picture!! (Sometimes teachers play it for PE... so just remind the children that we can have fun, but we need to be reverent at the same time!! Hopefully by only having 2 kids up front it won't get too rowdy!) Also, wow.... there ended up more up cups than down! Fascinating! (It's not about winning! It was just about moving our bodies while we learned today! Thanks for all your help!!)


* Bring in a  LARGE hula hoop. What? Am I crazy? No!! Yes!! Maybe!! Part of the Word of Wisdom is exercising our body to keep it healthy, right??
    Have 5-7 primary friends come up front and join hands to make a circle. Have them think of something that is part of the Word of Wisdom. (Have small pictures to help inspire them if needed!) Using the Hula Hoop, have them pass it around (still holding hands) in the circle... they will have to step through it carefully!! See if the hula hoop can go ALL THE WAY AROUND while the primary sings The Word of Wisdom, Children's Songbook page 154. Great job!! If they didn't make it, no sweat!! We're just here to learn and enjoy the spirit!! Have them share what part they were thinking about in The Word of Wisdom.



Week 4 Reading, watching, and listening to wholesome things keeps my mind clean.

* Before the children come in, have the room semi-disorganized.
     "Everything looks better when there is cleanliness." (May 1996 Ensign President Gordon B. Hinkley "Be Ye Clean")
     Oh what a mess!!! How does it feel to not have our primary room ready? Do you think if someone was visiting they would feel happy seeing these chairs turned over or these pictures crooked?
      Did you know that if we don't read, watch, and listen to good things... our minds become messy! Our minds would be cluttered with junk!! But when we do what's right- when we read, watch, and listen to wholesome things... it keeps our minds clean!!
      Take a minute and have the children clean up the room. “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord” D&C 133:5 Break into partners or small groups and come up with a list of things that are good to read, watch and listen to! Share with the entire primary after a few minutes.

* Bring in an UNO game (if you have one!). Invite one primary friend up front to draw from the deck:
Yellow- Name something wholesome to read
Red- Name something wholesome to watch
Green- Name something wholesome to listen to
Blue- Give someone in primary a compliment
Action card- Whole primary make a statue pose and hold it for 10 seconds
You can write it on the board too so you don't forget what color is what.
      “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; …" Isaiah 1:16

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter Book Review

 
I love free things. And when I saw this in the mail I was pretty giddy because I knew I could relax poolside and soak in the sunshine while reading sunshine. Kristi's books are always clean, witty, funny, happy, light yet insightful and meaningful.
 
She brings religion into her books and it's nothing forceful or melodramatic. I feel like it's always just right to lighten the soul and make me reflect on my relationship with Heavenly Father.
 
This book is about a Lady Georgina Hawthorne who seems to be quite the snob. She is uppity and on the prowl for a husband, but not just any husband. Only the finest breeding and dollar of course. However, as we continue on, things aren't exactly as they seem. She has a secret and you can see the reasoning of why she is the way she is.
 
Colin McCrae, as the book says, "is the man who is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere." He is a very successful business man with no London family ties. Very crisp, smart, and down to earth.
 
Stop. I know you know where this is going. And that's the thing, there is enough of a surprise to make the book enjoyable, but it is pretty predictable. I enjoy that. I enjoy a nicely wrapped package, because we don't get that in real life.
 
So, pick it up at the library or buy it!! It is that good!!

Do you enjoy free things too but feel like couponing doesn't make sense? This is simple. I mean it. I had to drop out of Calculus at BYU, but this really is easy. See HERE for more information!!

Friday, July 1, 2016

July 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

Reno Nevada Temple (from lds.org)

Monthly Theme: The Temple is a House of God
Monthly Scripture: “Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally” “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” paragraph 3

Week 1 God has commanded His people to build temples.

* The temple is a place where Heavenly Father can teach, guide, and bless us. What else do we know about temples? See if you can brainstorm a list of 25 temple facts- write them on the chalkboard. Need help? Prepare scriptures, quotes to hand out to groups and give them a couple minutes to read. Come back to your brainstorm!
     Have the children use a piece of paper to brainstorm a design for the temple. Imagine they were in charge of the building plans, what would it look like? Have them share and end with your testimony of temples.

* Have 2 children come up front and shake hands. Have them introduce and MEET each other, "Hi, I'm Mary." or "Hello, I'm Jake." Have a few sets of children shake hands and do this. On the last set have them hold up their joined hands.
      "Temples are the most sacred place on earth-a place where earth and heaven meet." (Gospel Topics Temple, LDS.org) Temples are like the joined hands that connect heaven and earth. Just like you can feel the other persons hand right now, so when you go to the temple you can feel heaven- peace and happiness that is very deep.
      Have a  very small laminated picture of a temple that could fit in the palm of a child's hand. Invite 5 children up front to hold out their hands in a fist. Send one child out of the room. Put the picture in one of the 5 children's hand. Invite the primary friend back in the room to shake hands with the person they think has the picture. Have questions, scriptures, and songs prepared to ask/read/or sing in between each round of your heaven meets earth game! Yes, that means that the 5 friends up there are heavenly!!

* HERE is an excellent sharing time from The Friend, ready to go.

*  Have a large picture of a temple cut into squares. On the back of the squares have questions, scriptures, and songs about how God has commanded us to build temples. Invite a child to choose a square, answer the question, then build the temple on the chalkboard up front. (Like a puzzle activity)
     Bring in some play dough for each child to build a temple if there is time leftover.

Week 2 Families are blessed through sacred temple ordinances.

* "As I think of temples, my thoughts turn to the many blessings we receive therein. As we enter through the doors of the temple, we leave behind us the distractions and confusion of the world. Inside this sacred sanctuary, we find beauty and order. There is rest for our souls and a respite from the cares of our lives." President Monson (April 2015 General Conference Blessings of the Temple)
     Have a picture of a temple with a cut by the door, so that it opens when bended. What are the words President Monson used to describe the blessings of the temple? (Beauty, Order, rest, respite, chance to not be distracted or confused) Write down the words on a popsicle stick and invite a child to come up front and read the words and place them through the temple door.
     Depending on the number of your primary, prepare about 5-10 popsicle sticks per primary friend. On the popsicle stick you will write 2 words to describe the blessings of temples, one on each end. (I would stick to about 8 words total- peace, happiness, beauty, order, rest, eternal life, knowledge, comfort) After you pass out the popsicle sticks, have them get in small groups and play dominoes with their popsicle sticks. They match words then build off the word that wasn't used on the popsicle stick and go in a circle taking turns. First person to run out of sticks get's the luck award! (What's the luck award? You saying they got the luck award. Everyone who plays and learns and has fun with good manners is a winner!)
       Families are blessed through sacred temple covenants!

* TEMPLE Showdown!!! Bring in a good 20-30 pictures of temples that children might recognize. Invite 2 children up front, standing facing each other, and have them tap (NOT BANG) the table when you show a picture of the temple IF THEY CAN NAME THAT TEMPLE!
    Assure the children that this is difficult seeing as there are over 140 temples on earth! You could even do a round with teachers, try to stump them! In between each round, have questions, songs, and scriptures to read about the temple for the children. (And when I say songs, the whole primary sings a song about temples)

* Invite a family who was sealed in the temple to share a little bit about how it has blessed their family. Have them show some pictures of their special day and bear testimony.

* In the October 2000 Friend (HERE is the link) Rachelle F.A. Dow writes a beautiful poem entitled What Lasts?:
 
"Ice cream melts,
Flowers wilt,
The leaves of autumn fall.
Sunsets fade,
Seasons change,
And children don’t stay small.
Balloons pop,
Snowfalls stop—
Do summers last? Never!
Weekends fly,
Today will die,
But …
FAMILIES
ARE
FOREVER!"
 
I would gather pictures to illustrate this WONDERFUL poem (ice cream, flower, leaves, sunset... etc.) and then have a picture of a temple on the back. Let a child pick one picture from the poem, then turn over the picture and answer a question or read a scripture or have the primary sing a song- having to do with temples and forever families.
Some examples of questions might include:
Has The Lord commanded that temples be built always, or just in latter days? Can you name some people that built temples in ancient times? (Nephi, Solomon, Children of Israel)
What do we need to do in our families to be worthy to go to the temple?
How can we prepare now to go to the temple?
What are some feelings you have when you are at the temple grounds?
Why do you think people wear white inside the temple?
What is something you would like to do with your forever family in the resurrection?

Week 3 The pioneers worked hard and sacrificed to build temples.

* HERE is an excellent read from The Friend on modern day pioneers and how they sacrifice too to build temples! There is a temple matching to a map activity too.

* President Hinckley said, “Whether you are among the posterity of the pioneers or whether you were baptized only yesterday, each is the beneficiary of their great undertaking.” True to the Faith Ensign, May 1997
    
 
I took a little car and added some popsicle sticks, paper, and string to make a portable wagon. Have different stations for the children to drive the wagon to and learn about the pioneers and all they did to help us have temples!
 
* Railroad Spelling Bee- HERE is an article from The Friend with some games pioneer children played. Play a round of the game and then have the children gather around you on the floor while you tell a short pioneer story of sacrifice and faith (with a picture) in a pioneer bonnet.
 
* I once saw another ward do a really neat idea where they turned off the lights and had a paper campfire with paper wooden logs. They invited the children to sit round the fire and shared stories of the pioneers and sang pioneer songs. It was very reverent and looked like a wonderful learning opportunity! 
 
* HERE is a fun step by step instruction from The Friend on how to draw pioneer pictures. Pass out some paper to the children. Find 3 stories on pioneer sacrifice, (HERE, HERE this one is a little graphic for little children, HERE are a few GREAT VIDEOS from lds.org media library). Teach them how to draw 1 pioneer pictures (practice at home first if you think you need to!) and then share with them the story of sacrifice. If there is time leftover you can make these fun treats found HERE. (Marshmallow wagons!)
 
* For senior primary, handout THIS worksheet and see who can get the most right!! Just like the wagon got the pioneers to the west, the pioneers got us to the temple through their sacrifice to build them!!
 
Week 4 I can prepare to be worthy to go to the temple.

* Start off your lesson with the following quote, "Preparation also includes qualification for a temple recommend. Our Redeemer requires that His temples be protected from desecration. No unclean thing may enter His hallowed house.Yet anyone is welcome who prepares well. Each person applying for a recommend will be interviewed by a judge in Israel—the bishop—and by a stake president. They hold keys of priesthood authority and the responsibility to help us know when our preparation and timing are appropriate to enter the temple. Their interviews will assess several vital issues. They will ask if we obey the law of tithing, if we keep the Word of Wisdom, and if we sustain the authorities of the Church. They will ask if we are honest, if we are morally clean, and if we honor the power of procreation as a sacred trust from our Creator.
      Why are these issues so crucial? Because they are spiritual separators. They help to determine if we truly live as children of the covenant." Elder Russel M. Nelson Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings April 2001 General Conference
      Play a game of 2 choices. It's a walking game, so everyone will need to use quiet feet and silent mouths. It's pretty simple, you name 2 things and the primary friends move to the side of the room that they choose. For example blue on left, red on right. After about 10 choices, have the children sit down in their seats. Have the children talk about what are good choices to prepare for the temple with their primary friend seated next to them. After a minute, have a few children share what they talked about.
       Close with just having the children raise their hand on the choice they think is best as you go back to the quote you read. These are choices an apostle and prophet of God has told us to help us if we want to go to the temple.
Pay Tithing, Buy a Boat
Follow Word of Wisdom, Smoke Cigarettes
Tell stories that aren't true, Be Honest
Make fun of our leaders and teachers, Help and Support our Bishop
Choose Light, Choose Darkness

* "I pray that each of us will honor the Savior and make any necessary changes to see ourselves in His sacred temples." Elder Quentin L. Cook See Yourself in the Temple April 2016 General Conference
      Bring in 2 large mirrors if you can and a picture of the temple. Face the mirrors so that when a child looks in it they will see a going on forever image. Invite the wonderful primary pianist to play I love to see the temple as you quietly invite a primary friend to hold the temple picture and look in the mirror. Have a few children do this! After the music stops, ask the children how they felt. We will be resurrected and live forever, we are all guaranteed that when we came to earth to be tested and get a body. But eternal life with Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother, Jesus & our loved ones is something we must work and prepare for!! As we prepare for the temple, we prepare for eternal life.
      Have slips of paper with things children can act out to prepare for the temple. Temple Prep Charades! Just remember, no shouting out answers, please raise hands if you know!!

* HERE is a beautiful visual of temple rooms (from The Friend) and what we do inside. Is the temple secret?? NO!! It's sacred. What do the children think this means?
     Play 4 corners, and in each corner have a different temple picture. As reverent music is played, children use their quiet feet to choose a temple/corner. When the music stops, they must be in a corner or they have to sit down. You can draw a name of the temple out of the bag, those primary friends in that corner must sit down. When you are down to about 10 children, ask them to name something they can do to prepare to go to the temple. Continue with the game and keep playing until only one person is left!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

4th of July Singing Time or LDS Family Home Evening

Jingo is like Bingo, but involves more thinking! Here is a game of Patriotic Jingo I created with clue cards at the bottom. There are 10 different boards, so you could even use as a singing time game and give each class a board. Of course, you'll need some sort of marker to put on the squares.
All clues are based off scriptures, songs and church magazine quotes.
Like all things on this blog, please do not use for commercial or monetary gain.

Also, images were either found off lds.org or a google search for patriotic clip art.

To print, just move your mouse over the right hand corner of the jingo and there will be a box with an arrow (pop out box). If you click on that it will take you to a page where you can print!

(I posted this a couple years ago and am just reposting!)
 

Monday, May 30, 2016

June 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

This is a picture from last year when my daughter Maria got baptized.

Monthly Theme: The First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel Make It Possible for Me to Live with God Again.
Monthly Scripture: “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:4).

Week 1 Faith in Jesus Christ leads us to love Him, trust Him, and keep His commandments.

* "As we increase in faith, we also must increase in faithfulness...if our faith does not change the way we live—if our beliefs do not influence our daily decisions—our religion is vain, and our faith, if not dead, is certainly not well and is in danger of eventually flat lining. Obedience is the lifeblood of faith. It is by obedience that we gather light into our souls." By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf General Conference April 2016 He Will Place You on His Shoulders
     Bring in some small clothes, even a baby shirt. Does it makes sense that when we grow we have to get bigger clothes? Try putting on the baby shirt... it doesn't even fit on my arm!! As our faith grows, so do the good things we need to do!
      Make a layer book for each child. Grab 2 pieces of paper, layer them, then fold and staple.
This picture shows several layers, you wont need that many. On the first layer, have the children write FAITH and draw a picture to illustrate what faith means to them. On the 2nd layer write LOVE HIM and draw a picture to illustrate why the children love their Savior. On the 3rd layer write TRUST HIM and have them draw a picture about why they trust Jesus. On the 4th layer have them write KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS and draw something they can do this week to really show their commitment to goodness. It would really help if you had an example to show the children of this layer book and what you drew inside!
       Did the pages/layers in your book get bigger? Repeat the quote from President Uchtdorf, "As we increase in faith, we also must increase in faithfulness..."

* "Most of you are familiar with Alice in Lewis Carroll’s classic novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. You will remember that she comes to a crossroads with two paths before her, each stretching onward but in opposite directions. As she contemplates which way to turn, she is confronted by the Cheshire Cat, of whom Alice asks, “Which path shall I follow?” The cat answers, “That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.”1
Unlike Alice, we know where we want to go, and it does matter which way we go, for the path we follow in this life leads to our destination in the next life. May we choose to build up within ourselves a great and powerful faith which will be our most effective defense against the designs of the adversary—a real faith, the kind of faith which will sustain us and will bolster our desire to choose the right. Without such faith, we go nowhere. With it, we can accomplish our goals." President Monson General Conference April 2016 Choices
       Have a path to a table set with a nice tea and a couple crazy hats. We know our path and where we want to go! And today our path leads to learning more about faith! Invite a primary friend to start on the path and state where they want to go - eternal life with Heavenly Father! They walk the path and sit down to tea (of course decaffeinated and don't forget to pretend pour it!!), wear a hat and get to answer a question about faith. Prepare 10-12 questions and have 2 scriptures to read about faith also! Have 3 paper Cheshire Cats hidden in the room. If someone can find one, remind them that the Chesire Cat says it's not important what path you take... wrong! What are some things we should avoid that don't help our faith??
(Yaya Christina and my Christina.... we're so Greek... these were the most fun hats to make!! I had to share.)
 
* Lds.org topic helps says, "Having faith in Jesus Christ means relying completely on Him—trusting in His infinite power, intelligence, and love. It includes believing His teachings. It means believing that even though we do not understand all things, He does. Because He has experienced all our pains, afflictions, and infirmities, He knows how to help us rise above our daily difficulties (see Alma 7:11-12; D&C 122:8). He has “overcome the world” (John 16:33) and prepared the way for us to receive eternal life. He is always ready to help us as we remember His plea: “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36)."
      Bring in a blindfold and ask for a volunteer. Do they trust you? Set up a mini obstacle course. Guide the primary friend by the hand, talk to them when they get to an obstacle and help them through it. Would this have been pretty easy to do blindfolded without my help? Faith in Jesus means relying completely on Him!!
        Have about 10 pictures of people from magazines cut out with paper thought bubbles coming from their heads and a ? in each bubble. “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36)." Invent 10 different scenarios/short situations for each person. Invite a primary friend to come up front and choose a person. Read their scenario and ask the primary child how that person can be faithful! For example- Sara just had a really long day at school. 2 of her friends got in an argument and wanted her to choose a side and choose who she liked more. Sara had a bad feeling.... what could Sara do to show faith? A response could be- First off, Sara doesn't know what will happen. She has to trust Heavenly Father that He will help her. She can say a prayer, she can tell her friends that she doesn't want to choose... Jesus loved everyone and so can she!
  
Week 2 Repentance brings forgiveness.

* “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.And I will remember [them] no more." Jeremiah 31:34
     HERE is some really interesting information with GREAT VISUALS!!! I would have 6-7 red pieces of paper covering white pieces of paper throughout the room. Invite a child to take off the red paper, read an interesting fact from the article, then crumple the red paper and throw it away.
     Repeat the scripture often throughout the lesson and try to help the children memorize it by leaving out words here and there or having them fill in the blank as you say it. Are the red papers gone? Yes!! And our sins or mistakes (if we are younger than 8) can be too when we repent or prepare for repentance by saying sorry!!

* Bring in 5 paper bags with a couple simple costumes and props to tell the story for the following: Alma the Younger repents (Mosiah 27), Saul repents (Acts 9), Enos repents (Enos), The Anti-Nephi-Lehies (Alma 23-24), Jonah repents (Jonah 2).
     Do the children know these stories? Have them break into groups and prepare a short skit to present the scripture story of repentance. They must use all the items in the bag. Just in case the children aren't familiar or can't remember the story, type up 2 paragraphs to summarize and put that into the bag too. After 5 minutes, have the children present their story to the entire primary.

* HERE is a link to the FHE Resource book. If you scroll down there is a 5 question True or False test that would be a great introduction activity to your lesson. Children can stand on their right foot if they think the answer is True or left foot if they think the answer is false.
     Break into small groups of 3-4 primary friends and give each group a scripture on repentance. Have them read it and come up with a true/false question for the entire primary, then share.

* "In my youth I learned an important lesson about how our actions may limit our freedom. One day my father assigned me to varnish a wooden floor. I made the choice to begin at the door and work my way into the room. When I was almost finished, I realized I had left myself no way to get out. There was no window or door on the other side. I had literally painted myself into a corner. I had no place to go. I was stuck.
     Whenever we disobey, we spiritually paint ourselves into a corner and are captive to our choices. Though we are spiritually stuck, there is always a way back. Like repentance, turning around and walking across a newly varnished floor means more work—a lot of resanding and refinishing! Returning to the Lord isn’t easy, but it is worth it." Elder Robert D. Hales November 2010 Ensign Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life
       Play a game of 4 corners, label each corner with a color. Bring a bag with 4 small pieces of paper to match the colors of each corner. Draw a color from the bag and all the children in that corner are out. In between each round have questions (8-10), scriptures (2-3), or songs (2-3) on repentance for a child to answer or read. Songs of course are sung by the entire primary. You might not get to all the questions or scriptures, that's OK! It's better to be over prepared than under prepared!

Week 3 When I am baptized, I make a covenant with God.

* HERE is a great board game from The Friend on our baptismal covenant!

* Camp Covenant!! Write it on the chalkboard!! Bring in some camping supplies and have a reverent child come up and choose to learn more about baptismal covenants today at Camp Covenant!!
lantern (Please read Mosiah 18:8, emphasize LIGHT)
cast iron pot (How can we develop strong testimonies to prepare for baptism and help us afterwards?)
tent (Fill in the blank. Baptism is the gate that helps us to enter this shelter of The Lord...)
sleeping bag (Use the sleeping bag to demonstrate immersion)
backpack (What does it mean to bear one another's burdens that they may be light?)
mosquito repellent (How does keeping our covenants repel sin?)
marshmallow roasting stick (Sometimes we are a lone marshmallow in the fire. What does the covenant to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all places mean?)
matches (What does Heavenly Father promise us once we are baptized and confirmed? Please read Matthew 3:11)
hiking boots (Why was Jesus baptized and how can we follow Him?)
hat (Using your beautiful mind and brain, come up with 10 ways to comfort a person who needs comfort!)
picture of the mountains ( Sometimes it can be very peaceful when we camp in the mountains. What can we do to bring peace or mourn with a person who is mourning?)
      Mark 1:4 "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." We might not have been exactly in the wilderness camping today, but hopefully we were able to feel the Holy Ghost (a feeling of happiness or calm or peace) while talking about baptism and covenants! Challenge the children to go somewhere in nature this and pray about something they can do to keep their baptism covenant this week.

* HERE are some good ideas from The Friend. I like the one about inviting a priesthood holder to come in as John the Baptist (with the permission of the Bishop).

* I Like My Birthdays (CS 104) is a great song!! The first verse is pretty easy to learn:
Have 2 birthday hats for children to wear on I like my birthdays every one
Have a party horn blower toy for a child to blow on the word JOY only!! in the phrase Each brings a greater joy to me
Have 2 children come up and hold up 8 fingers for the phrase But I can't wait until I'm 8
Have a child hold up a picture of Baptism on the phrase For then I'll be baptized you see -and have the child point to their eye on the word see
    After you've gone through the song a couple times, have an undecorated  REAL birthday cake. Have 10-12 questions/scriptures (Not each, TOTAL!) about baptismal covenants for the children to answer/read. After the child answers have them add some frosting to the cake. Once it's completely frosted, children who come up can add sprinkles. Have the missionaries come in and give them the cake and sing I Like My Birthdays for them!

Week 4 The Holy Ghost comforts and guides me.

* Have you ever heard about a breathing buddy? How does it feel when we take nice deep breaths? Bring in about 10 small stuffed animals. When you lie down on your back, you place your breathing buddy on your stomach and breath in and out... really noticing you buddy going up or down.
       Have 10 questions about the Holy Ghost attached to the breathing buddies. Invite a primary friend to come up and choose a breathing buddy. The Holy Ghost can give us comfort, calm, and peace. He's just like a breathing buddy- helping us stay focused, ready, and aware. After the primary friend answers the question, invite them to put the breathing buddy on their tummy and take 3 deep breaths. The primary can also do this in their chairs!
       "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." Job 33:4

* Bring in a snow globe. Ask a child to come up front and shake it. Sometimes we feel angry, or sad, or afraid. We feel like there is a snowstorm inside of us. Will this storm last forever? Will the snow keep on falling and the wind never stop? What happened in our snow globe?
      The Holy Ghost can comfort and guide us. When we feel shaken up (shake the snow globe), He can be there for us to help us settle down and be at peace no matter what the situation. Has anyone had a time when the Holy Ghost has comforted them?
     Make some snow water bottles during sharing time. Save up some of your plastic water bottles, bring in a funnel and let the children add 1 tablespoon of glitter to it and a little bit of baby oil. (Try it out at home first!! HERE is one that uses glitter glue) Have some adults on hand to help out. For those that are finished, have them look up scriptures about the Holy Ghost or act out the story of when Jesus calmed the storm.
      "He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still." Psalms 107:29

* After a long day, I love to change into my jammies and cozy socks! They are so comfortable and help me to relax. Does anyone else feel the same way? The Holy Ghost helps to give us comfort and guide us. He helps us to be calm and is there for us during and after a long day!! Hide some jammies and socks around the room. Invite a primary child to go and find an item. Have short stories attached where the Holy Ghost gave comfort or guidance.
      "For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody." Isaiah 51:3

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sacrament Meeting Talk Jan. 2016


In January I was asked to give a talk. Since this blog is like my "small plates", I hope you don't mind me posting it even though it's not primary related.

          My dearest friends, I am so grateful to be here this Sabbath Day with you. To worship, to give thanks, to learn of Christ, and to be one in the gospel together. I’m grateful for the messages that have been spoken and pray that the spirit will be with me as I share my thoughts.
          When I was 7 years old, it was the end of swim practice and time to enjoy a few minutes to relax. At Oppio pool, there was a high dive. I had never been on it before but I saw people jumping and laughing afterwards. I climbed rung after rung. Up and up I went, it seemed pretty high. As I got to the top, I had to take a couple quick breaths. I was up here. 2 choices - I could either climb down, or jump. I walked up to the edge, took a deep breath, and decided, no… I did have another option. While the phrase, like a boss hadn’t been invented yet, that was indeed my 3rd choice. I could do a graceful swan dive, head first like a boss. I would own it. I’m very blessed I didn’t break my neck and instead just belly flopped. Now... one might think that this experience turned me off the high dive- however, the magic of childhood made the experience a rush that was to be enjoyed. To this day, I would still jump off! If you paid me $20.
          What is courage? We have all had moments in our lives when we’ve had to take a stand. When our belief, conviction, and strength were taxed. Sometimes, courage is just facing the day and making it through. Courage comes in all shapes and forms. Courage comes in words, in actions, in thought and attitude. Today I will be talking about courage to believe. And I’m going to focus on 4 words that Elder Holland has said in an April 2013 Conference Address, “Lord, I believe.” They really are profound words and I love them, “Hope on. Journey On.”
          Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Do you believe that God is the eternal Father? Not just the eternal Father, but your loving Father? Do you have a personal relationship with Him? When you address Him in prayers, do you speak with Him or at Him? Do you feel that He listens to you? I know God lives and I know that He loves us. I testify that He is real. I felt overwhelmed yesterday morning. I felt so sad. I was staring straight ahead on my front porch, listening to each breath I took, and the cold seemed to seep deep into me. The branches were bare on the trees all around me. Dogs were barking and seemed so angry at each other. A bird sat at the top of a tree, all alone, so very alone. And then, I looked even farther up. There was a huge cloud with 2 puffy eyes and a very sad frown. As it moved ever so slowly, that frown… you guessed it, did not stay. It turned itself right up again and smiled that frown away. Some might scoff at me. Some might say it’s a coincidence or that I’m delusional. But I see Heavenly Father’s hand in my life. I see His love for me in the clouds, in close parking spots, in little old women who stop to tell my children they are beautiful at WinCo, and in so many other aspects of my life. What is the greatest proof to you that God is real? Go home, write it down!
          From lds.org it says, “The word hope is sometimes misunderstood. In our everyday language, the word often has a hint of uncertainty. For example, we may say that we hope for a change in the weather or a visit from a friend. In the language of the gospel, however, the word hope is sure, unwavering, and active. The principle of hope extends into the eternities, but it also can sustain us through the everyday challenges of life. “Happy is he,” said the Psalmist, “that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146:5). With hope, we can find joy in life. We can “have patience, and bear with … afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions” (Alma 34:41).”
          Elder Holland said from his talk, “A 14-year-old boy recently said to me a little hesitantly, “Brother Holland, I can’t say yet that I know the Church is true, but I believe it is.” I hugged that boy until his eyes bulged out. I told him with all the fervor of my soul that belief is a precious word, an even more precious act, and he need never apologize for “only believing.” I told him that Christ Himself said, “Be not afraid, only believe,” a phrase which, by the way, carried young Gordon B. Hinckley into the mission field. I told this boy that belief was always the first step toward conviction and that the definitive articles of our collective faith forcefully reiterate the phrase “We believe.”
          Courage to believe is having hope. Hope On. What do you know to be true? What do you want from this life? Have hope and believe. Phillipians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Whether we are just starting in our belief, discovering truth, or whether we know and are firm, we must have hope to press forward.
          Journey On. One time, when Christina was 3 years old, we were waiting for our order of pretzels and cheese at The Claim Jumper. It was taking a while and the waitress came over to tell us it would be 5 more minutes until they were done. Christina very sweetly said to the waitress, “Your 5 minutes is up.” Patience. Isn’t patience one of the absolute worst lessons we have to learn about!?!?! The DMV? Don’t even get me started on it with children under 3. The fact that we don’t have robots to cook and clean yet? Yeah. Hollywood lied!!! Imagine that!!
          On a more serious note, does this journey of life ever seem a little long? I really don’t like waiting to hold my dearest baby Joe again, to feel him breath and have his warmth again. I really don’t like having to wait to put my hand on my mother’s face and see her shining eyes again. I don’t like struggling though obstacles, and waiting for that time when I can rest. I hope I don’t come off as whining and complaining. I’m not. The veil is thin and I feel those I love close by. There’s just something so important about our bodies though and physical touch. I’m simply saying, patience to journey on is hard. Enduring isn’t a walk in the park.
          President Monson says, “What does it mean to endure? I love this definition: to withstand with courage. Courage may be necessary for you to believe; it will at times be necessary as you obey. It will most certainly be required as you endure until that day when you will leave this mortal existence.”
          The Savior promised, “Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.” It might be that we have to take life breath by breath, moment by moment, day by day. Whatever our situation, whatever we face, whatever comes our way- God loves us. He loves you. He will not leave you. He is merciful and good. He is all powerful. Your belief, your knowledge, your willingness to do His will and His almighty arm will be what helps you to endure. Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
          We are not alone. Do not expect perfection from yourself right this very second, but do the best you can. There are angels, many that the eye cannot see, that are with us at this very moment. They are on the errand of The Lord, to help His children. We can journey on and know that there is heavenly help guiding and directing us. There are angels that we can see too! Look around. Look at the faces of those by your side, behind you, in front of you, next to you. These are some of God’s finest angels. You are not alone. There are so many here willing to help, to cook you meal after meal, to listen, to cry with you, to give you a hug, to call upon the very powers of heaven and bless you, to give you encouragement. We are mortal, but we do the best we can. We journey on together. If this beautiful journey ever seems overwhelming, when we wonder how to move on, when we seem stuck, I repeat “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee;
          Rung by rung, we courageously climb the ladder of our high dive. We obey God’s commandments, we pray, we read our scriptures over and over again, we have family home evening, we help and give service, we are baptized, we serve missions, we get married in the temple, we hope, we believe, we repent often, we are kind, and we endure. And then the moment comes when we reach the top. We never know when we’ll reach the top and be called to jump. But we don’t have to be scared. We can have confidence through Christ our Savior. He has died for us. He has lived for us. He lives for us still. We hoped on and we journey on. We can own it. When we jump off that high dive, we are uninhibited and liberated. We feel the wind, we feel the freedom, we are truly happy because our hope is a reality. We don’t belly flop, we slice through that water sharp and clear. We have done our part, we were brave, we were valiant and God looks to welcome us with a clean towel and open arms.
          I bear my testimony that hope is the attitude that will keep us strong and stalwart in this life. I know that if we have the courage to believe, that that belief and hope brings us to action. As we endure to the end and make our daily choices, I know that if we remember Christ and do as He did, all will be well in the end. I bear testimony that God the Father is real. He loves us dearly for we are His children. Glory be to His name forever and to His Son, Jesus Christ, in whose sacred name I close, Amen.