Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mother's Day

I was asked to give a talk in Relief Society on Sunday. It was a busy day and a wonderful day!!

By Marci Oleszkiewicz
 
      My dearest sisters, it is such a privilege to be able to speak to you this day. I have prayed that the spirit will direct me in what I should say and that we can be edified together.
      In the Book of Matthew Chapter 12: 46-50, it says, "While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his breathren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
     There can be no doubt of the love Jesus felt for His mother. His first miracle to turn water into wine was at the request of His beloved mother. From the Liahona (March 2015), “ Jesus Christ said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come” (John 2:4). In Joseph Smith’s inspired rendering of this verse, the Savior asks Mary what she wants Him to do and promises to do it. The title woman may sound harsh and disrespectful to a modern reader; however, its use here by the Savior was likely meant to convey the opposite meaning. One scholar explains, “‘Woman,’ or, rather, ‘Lady,’ is in Greek a title of respect, used even in addressing queens.” It was as though He said to His mother, “My lady, whatsoever you ask of me in faith, I will grant it unto you.” Of the very few words He spoke dying on the cross, one matter was that of making sure His mother was taken care of. How can the Savior have spoken of others and compared them to His very own mother?
      And yet, "He seeth not as a man seeth." [1]. So often it is easiest to love those closest to us. Yet the Savior of man gave His life for not just his mother, earthly father and brethren, He gave it for all. There is an eternal family and we can be part of it with Heavenly Father at the head. How does it make you feel to hear the words of our Lord Himself as He says that whosoever will do the will of The Father is the same as the chosen and blessed Mary herself? A virgin most beautiful and fair above all others[2]… “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
     Today is a day to honor mothers. What a glorious gift and opportunity! We all have different backgrounds. We all have different experiences. Whatever our current circumstance is, Elder Ballard in April 2010 conference said, “all women have within their divine nature both the inherent talent and the stewardship to mother…”[3] Today I’d like to remind us that whatever situation we find ourselves in, we are women of faith. We are disciples of Christ.  We have a divine spark inside us. (I was getting teary eyed at this point, so I eloquently added in: Actually, you aren’t sparks, you’re flamers. Giant bonfires lighting me daily. Because who doesn’t want to be called a flamer on Mother’s Day, right?)
     President Joseph F. Smith said: “It is not for you to be led by the women of the world; it is for you to lead the … women of the world, in everything that is praise-worthy, everything that is God-like, everything that is uplifting and … purifying to the children of men” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 184).
     What are we doing in our lives to help with the uplifting and purifying of the children of men? How are we aligning our lives and choices with the will of The Father? Again I quote Elder Ballard, “There is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman.”
     When I was in 6th grade it was the Renaissance fair at school. I wanted a costume that would be unique and stand out. My mother and I spent a lot of time on it, her more so than me. We've never been good at sewing. She took me to the copy shop, the fabric shop... to this day if you were to ask anyone about that fair, my costume would be the thing that they remembered! I was a full fledged dragon with a 3 foot head, gold shimmering neck, and huge faux-leather body.
       My Yaya is my get out of jail free card. She has helped me and given me so much, in fact our air conditioning just broke and she was the one who made it so I didn’t have to worry in the slightest. I was in an MRI machine and her words were what gave me comfort…. She told me of the many times she was in an MRI for 3 different brain tumors… just pray. Say your prayers and it will pass by. I said my prayers, and it did.
      We have the example of many righteous women around us. Their sacrifice, their devotion, their endurance. I could easily tell you many stories of those sitting right here and all they have done to inspire me to be a better person. You all are a reflection of Christ. We are to lead the women of the world. We are to uplift and strengthen. On this day, let us celebrate what is in each woman… goodness. Love!!! Let us commit ourselves to choosing what is right. To making and keeping covenants. To praying to know what God would have us do, then doing it. Ralph Waldo Emerson is believed to have said, “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say” (see Ralph Keyes, The Quote Verifier [2006], 56).
    I’m so very grateful for my children. They will be singing We’ll bring the World His truth. As is mentioned in the song, the armies of Helaman were taught in their youth. Alma 56: 47-48 says, “Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.  And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.”  
            Let us be women of strong faith. Women who are true disciples of Christ. I want my daughters to know that I do not doubt.  I bear my testimony that I know God lives. He will be there for us in our greatest triumphs and our darkest moments. He loves us dearly. He is mindful of us and His angels are with us at this very moment keeping watch.  I know He has a plan for each of us. I know that He gave His Only Begotten as a sacrifice for all, that all might return to Him. I know that Jesus Christ is our very best friend. I bear testimony that we have a sacred responsibility to stand as witnesses of our Savior. I know that each woman is a beloved daughter of God, and as such has great power to do brilliant things in this life and in the next to come.
     In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, April 20, 2015

May 2015 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

The Invitation by Jenedy Paige
For more information about this artist click HERE

Monthly Theme: Principles ad Ordinances of the Gospel Lead Me to Jesus Christ.
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 My faith in Jesus Christ is strengthened when I obey.

* We know what is right. We know the things we can do to show obedience and return to Heavenly Father. THIS is a story about a horse who was not obedient. It's a little sad what happens to him... warning!! Share the story with the primary children.
     2 Nephi 2:27 "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself."
    Because the horse would not be obedient, what did he end up choosing?
     Have 3 pictures of beautiful strong horses. On the chalkboard draw 3 lines horizontal with 15 notches vertical on each line for the horses to move according to a roll of the die. Which horse will be first?? Can we get them all to the finish by working as a team?? (Magnets work better than tape for moving!!)
     Make about 20 index cards with scriptures, questions, and/or songs about faith and obedience. Let a child come up front, choose a card and answer the question. If they get it right, they can roll a die and choose a horse to move forward that many notches.
     Have a handout for them to take home, fill out, and color. It can be a picture of a horse. On the bottom can be the words, I will show obedience this week by _____________________ and my faith will be strengthened! If you want to adapt this idea for Family Home Evening, HERE is a link on how to draw a horse.

* Have a small obstacle course. Bring in a blindfold. Have one child give directions for the other child to get through the course blindfolded.
     Our faith is strengthened when we are obedient and listen to the word of God! We will make it as long as we listen and do what is right! You can rearrange the course a few times and repeat. Have some questions for the children to answer before you switch up the obstacle course. They could include:
What is faith?
Who are some examples of people who were obedient in the scriptures? What about some examples of people who were NOT obedient in the scriptures?
What are some things we can do to show obedience?
Can you share an example of a time in your life when you were blessed for listening and following the commandments?
Why is it important to have a strong faith?

* HERE is a great link from The Friend. It has 5 examples from The Book of Mormon of people who were obedient. Bring in some SIMPLE dress up costumes. Invite a few children up front to put on the clothes and stand reverently holding a sign with the name of the person they are dressed up as. You'll be giving some clues (Read the lettered clue from The Friend) and will call on a reverent friend to share who they think it is. How was the faith of that person from the scriptures strengthened by their obedience? How were they blessed?
     You might have time for another round! Make up 3-4 more clues for some modern day examples of obedience and bring in dress up for those. Dress up could be as simple as a hat or a scarf with gloves!

* I really like THIS story from April 2002 General Conference. To paraphrase, a man and his family went out fishing in the ocean on a beautiful sunny day. Out of nowhere, an 8 foot tall wave crashed into the boat! Their uncle was slammed out of the boat. Fortunately, they were able to rescue him. But where did this wave come? It was a thing called a sneaker wave. 5 people had died that very same day because of that very same wave.
    Elder Schultz says, "As we make our way through this life’s journey, we must continually be on guard and watch for those things which are deceptive and not what they appear to be. If we are not careful, the sneaker waves in life can be as deadly as those in the ocean.
      One of the sneaky ploys of the adversary is to have us believe that unquestioning obedience to the principles and commandments of God is blind obedience. His goal is to have us believe that we should be following our own worldly ways and selfish ambitions. This he does by persuading us that “blindly” following the prophets and obeying the commandments is not thinking for ourselves. He teaches that it is not intelligent to do something just because we are told to do so by a living prophet or by prophets who speak to us from the scriptures.
      Our unquestioning obedience to the Lord’s commandments is not blind obedience."
     Have 3 spray bottles filled with water. Have all the primary children close their eyes. NO PEEKING!!! Choose 3 friends to spray a sneaker wave on another primary friend's HAND. Then have them come up front. Whoever was sprayed can stand up to answer a question about faith/obedience and guess who sprayed them. If they guess right, then they can be the next sneaker wave.
     Bear testimony that there will be times in life when sneaker waves will come. If we are obedient and faithful, we will be safe!!

Week 2 I can repent.

* Invite 5 friends up front. They are going to choose an action to do for the person next to them to follow. They will say, "I can..... can you?" They will each have to repeat the action from the people in front of them, so the fifth person will be busy! After the 5th person adds their action, have the entire primary do all the actions together! (It's nice to get up and move around!!)
    Some friends were able to do the actions, some maybe weren't. Some people can jump rope, some can't. Some people can build bridges, others can swim, even some others can run a mile in 6 minutes. One thing that EVERYONE 8 years old and older can do is REPENT!!!! If we're under 8 we can definitely practice for when we are older by saying sorry for our mistakes!!!
     Play a few rounds of "I can.... can you?" You're looking for reverent friends who can come up front to help! Friends that are listening, participating, keeping hands to self, and not talking so that the spirit can be felt. In between each round have questions about the repentance process. What do we have to do to repent? For your final round, have a picture of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Bear your personal witness of The Atonement.

* I always love the visual demonstration of putting a really old/dirty penny completely into a small cup of ketchup. After letting it sit for 5-10 minutes, you can take it out and wipe it off and it will be shiny and like new. Practice this though before you do it in primary!
    I don't want any of the children to misunderstand this quote. Obedience is very important, but just doing good things would never be enough in life. The Atonement of Christ should be at the center of our lives. President Uchtdorf from our last general conference said, "Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience; it is purchased by the blood of the Son of God. Thinking that we can trade our good works for salvation is like buying a plane ticket and then supposing we own the airline. Or thinking that after paying rent for our home, we now hold title to the entire planet earth."  (The Gift of Grace)
     We must repent!!! But repentance is only possible because of the love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for us!!!

* Have a child stand on one side of the room. Have a trash can all the way on the other side of the room. Can they toss a piece of trash into the garbage?
  President Thomas S. Monson has taught, “One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the joy of trying again, for no failure ever need be final....
     Who among us cannot remember moments of failure?
One such moment came to me as a young basketball player. The game was close—hotly contested—when the coach called me from the bench to run a key play. For some reason which I shall never understand, I took the pass and dribbled the ball right through the opposing team. I jumped high toward the basket; and, as the basketball left my fingertips, I came to the abrupt realization that I was shooting for the wrong basket. I offered the shortest prayer I have ever spoken: “Dear Father, don’t let that ball go in.” My prayer was answered, but my ordeal was just beginning. I heard a loud cheer erupt from the adoring fans: “We want Monson, we want Monson, we want Monson … OUT!” The coach obliged.” (The Will Within,” Ensign, May 1987)
    Let the friend try again a little closer until they make it! We can repent!!! When we make a mistake, it's not the end. We can try again!! Have each class come up with 3 True/False questions about repentance and write them down. Invite a primary friend to toss a piece of trash into the garbage, but first have them answer one of the true/false questions.
   End with a final thought from President Monson's above mentioned talk, “Change for the better can come to all." Repentance is a gift from God. We don't ever need to think that if we make a mistake, that's it. Bear testimony that you know we can repent.

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

* What is a covenant? Good insight HERE. (Bible Dictionary)

* "Baptism symbolizes our birth into the kingdom of God. It is a pivotal event in our eternal progress. Just as we cannot have mortal life without physical birth, so we cannot enter the kingdom of God except by being born of the water and of the Spirit (see John 3:5). Thus it is very important to thoroughly understand the covenant of baptism." (From Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual)
    Bring in a couple birthday presents, a birthday hat, a mini-piƱata, a mini birthday cake, a balloon, a party favor bag.... (about 10 items) Make a nice little display on your front table of birthday things you can think of!
   Say the following words, "You've had a birthday, shout hooray! When you were baptized, at age 8! Born of water and spirit too, you made a promise, it's true!" ( I AM NOT SUGGESTING IN ANY WAY TO HAVE YOUR PRIMARY CHANGE THE WORDS TO THE SONG AND SING IT. I'm merely trying to illustrate in a different way what the above quote talks about.)
     Have questions, scriptures, and songs about baptism and the baptismal covenant on the different birthday items. Have a reverent child come up front and choose a birthday item and answer the question. Just as our birthdays are special days, our Baptismal day is one of extreme importance. It's the day we are born into the kingdom of God! End with singing, I Like My Birthdays (Children's Songbook pg. 104)

* See if you can gather about 7-8 pictures of people that were baptized in your ward when they were children, e.g. the bishop, the primary pianist. It will take some work and preparation beforehand! Ask them to briefly tell a little bit about what they remember from their baptism. Share that with the children, and have them guess who said it and what picture matches! Have other questions and scriptures prepared for children to answer/read before you give the next hint! Ask if a child who was recently baptized would be willing to share a little bit about their special day and a picture too!

* HERE is a great story from The Friend with a Covenant Keeper certificate! After you talk about baptism and the covenants associated with it, spend some time to make cards for anyone that may be mourning or need a lift!
 
Week 4 When I am confirmed I receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

* Share this quote from conference with the children, " Years ago I listened to a radio interview of a young doctor who worked in a hospital in the Navajo Nation. He told of an experience he had one night when an old Native American man with long braided hair came into the emergency room. The young doctor took his clipboard, approached the man, and said, “How can I help you?” The old man looked straight ahead and said nothing. The doctor, feeling somewhat impatient, tried again. “I cannot help you if you don’t speak to me,” he said. “Tell me why you have come to the hospital.”
     The old man then looked at him and said, “Do you dance?” As the young doctor pondered the strange question, it occurred to him that perhaps his patient was a tribal medicine man who, according to ancient tribal customs, sought to heal the sick through song and dance rather than through prescribing medication.
     “No,” said the doctor, “I don’t dance. Do you dance?” The old man nodded yes. Then the doctor asked, “Could you teach me to dance?”
The old man’s response has for many years caused me much reflection. “I can teach you to dance,” he said, “but you have to hear the music.”
      Sometimes in our homes, we successfully teach the dance steps but are not as successful in helping our family members to hear the music. And as the old medicine man well knew, it is hard to dance without music. Dancing without music is awkward and unfulfilling—even embarrassing. Have you ever tried it?
       In section 8 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord taught Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, “Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart” (verse 2). We learn the dance steps with our minds, but we hear the music with our hearts. The dance steps of the gospel are the things we do; the music of the gospel is the joyful spiritual feeling that comes from the Holy Ghost." (From The Music of the Gospel by Elder Wilford Anderson)
     Time to learn some dance moves!!! Have a paper bag with pieces of paper including simple dance steps you can teach or do WITHOUT MUSIC!!- grapevine, cha cha, waltz, animal dance move (e.g. how would an elephant dance?), disco, twist, freeze dance, moonwalking, Charleston, robot, running man, sprinkler.....
ONLY DO THIS ACTIVITY IF THE CHILDREN ARE ABLE TO CALM DOWN QUICKLY!!! If you have a really reverent group that can handle this and have fun great, if not, DON'T do it!! This could easily get out of control if you don't have good behavior management. With that said, it would be a great family home evening!!
      In between choosing dance moves, have questions, scriptures, and songs about the Holy Ghost.
     REPEAT OFTEN through the lesson "The dance steps of the gospel are the things we do; the music of the gospel is the joyful spiritual feeling that comes from the Holy Ghost."
 
* Bring in about 3 gifts that you have received in your life that are very special to you. Show the children and share the stories behind them. But there is one gift that is the most special you have been given. It's not a gift you can see. It is one that helps you daily and a gift that helps you feel peaceful and happy. Can the primary children guess what that gift is?
     Invite the children to write down or draw a picture of a time they have felt the Holy Ghost. For little Sunbeams and CTR 4 children... have them draw a picture of happy people. The Holy Ghost can help us feel happy. Teachers can help them write a sentence about what their picture is.
     Take all these papers and put into a box. Wrap or add a bow. Give it to the missionaries to share with a person they are teaching. We know that when we are confirmed, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!!!
     Don't forget to talk about what it means to receive!! The Holy Ghost is never something that is forced on us, we must be willing to invite Him into our lives!
 
* HERE is a very simple matching game that children could do in small groups from The Liahona.
 
* Sometimes it's good to just get moving around. Have 4 stations in the room. At each station, invite a member to share a personal story of how the Holy Ghost has helped them. (You will need the Bishop's approval beforehand) Divide into groups and rotate stations every 2 1/2 minutes. Gather together and invite any children to share an experience of how the Holy Ghost has helped them, or some feelings they have felt because of the Holy Ghost. Bear testimony that when we are confirmed, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

April 2015 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

The First Vision, by Kenneth Riley found on lds.org media library

Monthly Theme: Jesus Christ Restored the Fulness of the Gospel Through Joseph Smith.
Monthly Scripture: “We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church” Articles of Faith 1:6
 
Week 1 Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith.

* HERE is a Joseph Smith shoe-box panorama children can make. You'll need shoe boxes! (From The Friend Jan. 2001)

* HERE is an activity where children can make paper puppets of the First Vision. You'll need to print on heavy paper and have brass fasteners. (From The Friend March 2008)

* HERE is a WONDERFUL read aloud of The First Vision. You be the narrator, assign a child the part of Joseph. Give him the words ahead of time so maybe he can memorize!!! Have a simple costume and a few props. You could even assign someone to read the scripture James 1:5. You could print off the papers for children to read at night 2 times this upcoming week. Challenge them to pray to gain the knowledge that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and really did see Heavenly Father and Jesus.

*HERE is The Restoration video. It is such a beautiful video!! However, keep in mind it is 19 minutes long. At the 10 min. 30ish second mark we start with Joseph reading James 1:5, FYI.

* "Joseph Smith’s testimony of seeing the Father and Son towers like the arching trees of that sacred setting." Elder Richard L. Anderson April 1996 Ensign
    How many of us have been camping in an area with lots of trees? Is it pretty peaceful? Who has a favorite tree they like to climb in? Trees are beautiful. In one grove of trees, a sacred experience happened. Brainstorm some ideas of all the truth that came from The First Vision... have a couple children write down the ideas from primary friends on the chalkboard.
     Heavenly Father and Jesus are 2 separate individuals. God still speaks to man. Jesus Christ lives. Heavenly Father knows us by name. We need to listen to Jesus. Heavenly Father will protect us from evil and He is the most powerful. Heavenly Father answers prayers.
    We have a few kids who really love origami in Senior Primary! Bring in some paper and have them write down something about the first vision that is sacred or important to them. Then teach them how to make a simple origami tree. Directions HERE.

* How many of us have done Elder Anderson's challenge from last general conference?
1. "Find scriptures in the Book of Mormon that you feel and know are absolutely true. Then share them with family and friends in family home evening."
2. "Read the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith...(HERE).... Read it often. Consider recording the testimony of Joseph Smith in your own voice, listening to it regularly, and sharing it with friends. Listening to the Prophet’s testimony in your own voice will help bring the witness you seek."
     I really love his visual of how if something happens in an airplane, we have to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before we help the person next to us. Similarly, we must be firm in our knowledge and testimony of Joseph Smith! Elder Anderson says, "There will be family members and friends who will need your help. Now is the time to adjust your own spiritual oxygen mask so that you are prepared to help others who are seeking the truth." HERE is the full talk! It's excellent!

Week 2 Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God.

* THIS is a must read to prepare for this week!! Did you know that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon in 63 working days?

* Have a blow dryer unplugged and invite a child to press the on button. What happens? Now plug it in and get the power going. What happens? And so it is by the power of God that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon.

* Elder Boyd K. Packer shared this story, "A 15-year-old son of a mission president attended high school with very few members of the Church.
     One day the class was given a true-or-false test. Matthew was confident that he knew the answers to all except for question 15. It read, “Joseph Smith, the alleged Mormon prophet, wrote the Book of Mormon. True or false?”
     He could not answer it either way, so being a clever teenager, he rewrote the question. He crossed out the word alleged (definition of alleged: said, without proof, to have taken place) and replaced the word wrote with translated. It then read, “Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, translated the Book of Mormon.” He marked it true and handed it in.
     The next day the teacher sternly asked why he had changed the question. He smiled and said, “Because Joseph Smith did not write the Book of Mormon, he translated it, and he was not an alleged prophet, he was a prophet.” He was then invited to tell the class how he knew that." (From The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, General Conference Oct. 2001)
      Do we know that Joseph Smith TRANSLATED the Book of Mormon, not wrote it?? The Book of Mormon is a miracle and we love to read it! Have each primary class come up with 2 questions about the Book of Mormon. It can be questions about stories or teachings, whatever they like! Have the missionaries come in and invite the children to quiz the missionaries!!
     Thank the missionaries for being good sports! The most important knowledge we can have about the Book of Mormon is knowing that it is true. Invite the missionaries to briefly share their testimony.
 
* Invite about 10 people in who speak a different language. See if they can bring in a Book of Mormon written in another language. Ask them beforehand to say "The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ". If children would like they can try to repeat! What did all these wonderful people say? The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ! Pass around the Book of Mormons very carefully!! Take a look at the different languages and ways people write.
     Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God!!
HERE is an EXCELLENT video to show!! If you still have time have a couple Book of Mormon facts written in code (first letter switched with last). See if the primary can figure them out!
Here are a few facts:
 The Book of Mormon was first published in English in New York in 1830
Eht kooB fo NormoM saw tirsf dublishep ni Hnglise ni WeN KorY ni 0831
     In 1851 the Book of Mormon was translated into Danish, its first translation to a non-English language.
    Ni 1851 eht KooB fo NormoM saw dranslateT onti HanisD sti tirsf nranslatiot ot a hon-englisn eanguagl 
     3 men saw and 8 men handled the plates... they give their witness at the beginning of the Book of Mormon
     3 nem was dna 8 nem dandleh eht slatep.... yhet eivg rheit sitnesw ta eht geginninb fo eht Koob fo NormoM


Weeks 3 & 4 Jesus Christ restored the gospel through Joseph Smith.

Recycled from Previous Posts:

* HERE is an excellent resource from The Friend. It talks about a mom and child restoring a piece of furniture. There is a puzzle activity included that you could attach questions, scriptures, and songs to about The Restoration. You could put pieces under primary friends' chairs. Have primary friends try to put the puzzle together one piece at a time as they come to the front and answer the question on back. (Or scripture...etc.)

* HERE is a ready to use sharing time!! It is called "Partial Pictures". Have the children look up the scripture and match it to the picture. You can always show them the complete picture after!
Some questions to go along with the #'d pictures:
1.What priesthood did Peter, James, and John restore?
How does the Melchizedek priesthood bless our lives?
2. Sing An Angel Came to Joseph Smith (CS #86 )
Why do you think Heavenly Father sent the angel Moroni to Joseph?
What would you do if an angel came to you? Can you think of any scripture stories where an angel came to deliver a message from Heavenly Father?
3. How does it make you feel to know that God appeared to a young boy?
Why do you think Joseph Smith was chosen to help restore the church?
(Look carefully at that question, why do "you"- this isn't about being right or wrong, encourage the children to really think about things and value their answers!)
What did Heavenly Father say to Joseph?
4. What temple did Elijah appear to Joseph?
What did Elijah restore to Joseph and Oliver?
Sing The Hearts of The Children ( CS #92)
5. Read James 1:5
What are things we can do to gain wisdom?
Can anyone give ideas or tips on how to make scripture study meaningful?
6. What are some of your favorite stories from The Book of Mormon?
Why do you read The Book of Mormon?
What knowledge did The Book of Mormon restore?

* Invite a primary friend to the front. Ask them if you are standing in front of them. Are they sure? Well, that isn't the only thing we can be sure of!! Elder Holland in our last conference said, "I bear witness of that gospel and that Church, with a particular witness of restored priesthood keys which unlock the power and efficacy of saving ordinances. I am more certain that those keys have been restored and that those ordinances are once again available through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than I am certain I stand before you at this pulpit and you sit before me in this conference." (The Cost & Blessings of Discipleship, April 2014, such a great talk!!)
     Time to play... Are you sure?? Have about 20 statements, either fact or fiction/true or false, in regards to The Church being restored!! Make sure to have plenty of visuals to go along with statements. Have a child come up front and draw a statement from a bag. Then have the primary stand up if they are sure the statement is right!
Some sample statements:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized April 6, 1830. (true)
Joseph Smith had a vision of only an angel. (FALSE!!! He saw God the Father and Jesus)
Why is this so important to know??
The Aaronic Priesthood was restored by John the Baptist. (True)
Could you be baptized if this hadn't have happened?? Read D&C 22:2
     It's OK if we aren't sure about some things in life. But if we seek, we will find. Bear testimony! I am sure that God the Father lives and that He loves us. I am sure as the keyboard I type on that Christ is my best friend. The Gospel is restored!!

* What does the dictionary define restored as? Ask a child to come and help you demonstrate. Give them a book or a toy. Now have them give it back and return it to you. Key words: "Give back and Return". Now have the child hold a picture of the earth. Have a sign that says "TRUTH". Have the child with the earth picture hold the truth sign, then you take it away. (Apostasy!!) Return the truth or restore it back.
 * Joseph Smith and The Restoration Jeopardy!!
Categories and ?'s :
He was  a child too!!
100 When Joseph was small (7 years old) he had to have surgery on this part of his body. He wouldn't drink alcohol to ease the pain and held his father's hand while enduring the hurt. His leg
200 What month was Joseph Smith born? December (right before Christmas, the 23rd!)
300 How many brothers and sisters did Joseph have? 10
400 What was the name of Joseph's mother? Lucy
500 True or False: Joseph had to work hard as a child on the family farm. True!

The Early Church
100 Sing the 6th Article of Faith Song
200 After the church was organized on April 6, a miracle happened! The Prophet Joseph met a man named Newel who was possessed of a devil. Acting on Newel's faith as well as his own, Joseph cast out the devil in this name? Jesus Christ
300 At the first conference of the church, the sustained leaders by doing what we do today. What do we do? We raise our right hand to the square in support.
400 Emma Smith, Joseph's wife was called "An Elect Lady" of the Lord. She was commanded to do something special and put together this book. A hint: It's often green! The first hymn book.
500 True or False: When Brigham Young was introduced to the church he immediately joined. False!! He studied and pondered the church for 2 years before joining.

Truth Restored!100 Read 2 Nephi 3:24
200 True or False: The church started in 1830. False!! The church started with Adam and was restored many times, including the last dispensation with Joseph Smith.
300 Sing the Priesthood is Restored (CS pg. 89)
400 Name a witness of the Book of Mormon. Answers can include the 8 witnesses from the beginning of the Book of Mormon, to prophets to even children who have a testimony it's true.
500 True or False: All truth has been revealed!! False: Much truth has been revealed, but there is a lot more that is yet to come!

Final Jeopardy Question: What is something you've learned about Joseph Smith or the Restoration?

Friday, February 27, 2015

THE PERFECT SUBSTITUTE INCENTIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Who here by raise of hands has ever had a phone call or two (or 6) on Sunday morning saying that the teacher can't teach primary that day?

Substituting and Primary go hand in hand. And how do we make sure that we give a good lesson even without proper preparation?We say a couple prayers and have faith!

Another thing I have found is keeping the kids involved and motivated for a final activity. Usually it's art!!! What can we draw to reinforce part of the day's lesson?

Disclaimer: I am not an artist. The extent of my capabilities are sticks and circles with smiley faces.

Whatever my artistic handicaps may be, I still realize that children LOVE TO CREATE! When they are engaged they learn better. So that's where this BRILLIANT AMAZING FABULOUS AWESOME WOW WOW WOW website comes in:

 
 
Rob is a BYU grad (Rise and shout!!!!!!!) and shares the most easy to follow tutorials for drawing. His kids do a great job too!! You can scour his site for ideas.
 
I matched a couple of friend articles with Rob's tutorials for quick reference... for "those" Sunday mornings!! Or even for a fun Family Home Evening!!!
Just click on the links.
 
Topic Compassion: Harry, the Helper Rabbit (Friend Aug. 1997) & Rabbit Tutorial
 
Topic General Conference:
Quote from President Hinckley- " While we were at lunch, we sat with a man who is now a grandfather who said that his little four-year-old grandson came to him the other day and said, “Grandpa, why do the hummingbirds hum?” Grandpa said, “I don’t know. Why?” The little boy said, “Because they don’t know the words.”
       It is unlikely that we will remember very many of the words that we’ve heard during the meetings of this conference. But I hope that we shall be able to “hum” the spirit of this conference and that we shall carry with us a great feeling of uplift because of our participation together. It has been a glorious time. The Spirit of the Lord has been with us. We have every reason to be grateful. We have been refreshed in our testimonies and strengthened in our faith." Let Us Go Forward & Hummingbird Tutorial
 
 
Topic Love/Protection:
 
Topic Lost Sheep:
Finding the Sheep (Friend Feb. 2007) & Lamb Tutorial
 
Topic Temptations:
Beware the Wolves (New Era July 2012) & Wolf Tutorial
 
Topic Clean Speech:
 
 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

March 2015 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Gospel Art Picture: Jonah
I love the story of Jonah. I'm grateful that he was human and made mistakes. I'm also grateful for the lesson in mercy and compassion taught by his story. So often we are quick to think that God punishes, but in reality He loves us. His patience outstretches ours!
 
Monthly Theme: God Speaks through Prophets.
Monthly Scripture: “He spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began” Luke 1:70

Week 1 Prophets are called by God.

* Have 10-16 children come up front. Have a few pieces of paper. Tell the children you are going to give them a task. They need to divide into 2 teams with equal number of people, make 4 paper airplanes and then toss the airplanes across the room 1 time.
   It will probably be a little chaotic. Especially with junior primary! Give it a minute. It might get a little loud. See if anyone takes charge among the children. Go ahead and interrupt the children and ask the following questions. Does it help when there is someone there to lead, guide, and direct? What is it like when there is no one to turn to for instruction?
   Now assign one child to divide the groups. Have that child also decide who will make the paper airplanes and who will fly them.
   How would our church be if we didn't have a prophet to tell us the will of The Lord? Prophets are called of God! They are good men who were chosen before the world was to help guide us back to Heavenly Father.
     “And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born” Abr. 3:23
     Divide into groups or classes and give them a prophet. Let that group come up with 5 hints for the rest of primary to guess who their prophet was! Then have them come up and share their hints! Remember, we call on primary friends who are good listeners and raising their hands!

* "All leaders in the Lord’s Church are called by proper authority. No prophet or any other leader in this Church, for that matter, has ever called himself or herself. No prophet has ever been elected. The Lord made that clear when He said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you.” (John 15:16) You and I do not “vote” on Church leaders at any level. We do, though, have the privilege of sustaining them."
(From General Conference October 2014 Sustaining the Prophets by Elder Russell M. Nelson)
     Another couple words for sustain is help or assist. Have we ever thought about what we could do to help or assist the prophets? Have a ballot box up front. Like Elder Russell M. Nelson said, we do NOT vote for or choose our prophet! God chooses them. However, we can make choices to help them! Can anyone think of some things the prophets have said we should do? Brainstorm a few ideas and write them on the chalk board. Have children take a piece of paper to make their choice! They can illustrate and write what they are going to do this week to sustain the prophet! Have them cast their choice in the ballot box. If there is time, share a few papers that were put in the box.

* Stay in the Boat and Hold On! By Elder M. Russell Ballard is a must read! The following is a picture of the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon.
He says, "At the beginning of the trip, one of the experienced river guides reviewed important safety instructions, emphasizing three rules that would ensure the group’s safe travel through the rapids. “Rule number one: stay in the boat! Rule number two: always wear a life jacket! Rule number three: always hold on with both hands!” He then said again, with even more emphasis, “Above all, remember rule number one: stay in the boat!”
   This adventure reminds me of our mortal journey. Most of us experience periods in our lives where the tranquil waters of life are appreciated. At other times, we encounter white-water rapids...."
   Who here would want to jump off the boat into the dangerous water? In life, the boat is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elder Ballard also says, "Along with rule number one as I’ve applied it, remember rules two and three: always wear a life jacket, and hold on with both hands. The words of the Lord are found in the scriptures and the teachings of the apostles and prophets. They provide us counsel and direction that, when followed, will act like a spiritual life jacket and will help us know how to hold on with both hands."
    Build a boat!!! (You can use 4-6 chairs, 2 oars, 2 life jackets... or you could go all out and bring in a little blow up raft, I bet the kids would love that!) Have children answer questions, scriptures and sing songs about prophets. Each time they do something add something to the boat up front! If there is still time, have a child come up front and sit in the boat. Have them tell our primary friends about their favorite prophet!

Recycled from previous posts:
* When a phone rings, what can you do? You can answer or ignore. Have someone (like the bishop) call you on your cell phone and have a child answer. What would have happened if you ignored the call? Heavenly Father doesn’t use cell phones to call His prophets, He uses His voice, the Holy Ghost and sometimes angels! The Lord called many prophets to leave what they were doing and then follow him.
    Have a presidency member outside the primary room door. Throughout primary, have them call your cell phone and let a child answer. They will give the child hints about a certain prophet. Have the child share the hints with the primary and then guess what prophet the call is about!
 
* “Calling On…” This is a game of finishing the story. Children will pass around a cell phone. You start off the story of a prophet by saying (for example) "Nephi was a prophet called of God.... then pass the cell phone to another child and have them add whatever they know about that prophet. They pass it on to another friend who can add and so on. No one should have the phone for more than 30 seconds, thus giving lots of children the chance to participate. Ask the children what prophets they would like to talk about! Have a GAK close by!
 
* Learn the 5th Article of Faith song SPARKLE style. This is for SENIOR PRIMARY. To play sparkle each person will have to say one word in the article of faith, if they don’t know the word, then they are out. Then the last person says, SPARKLE (they get to still stay in)! You keep on going until everyone is out except for 2 people, then they are the article of faith sparkle stars!!
     Have the article of faith posted on the board and let them practice a couple of times with the words up. Go to each child up and down each row. Then take it down!! Have the children stand, if they can’t think of a word they sit and are out. So first child says, We… second child says believe… 3rd child says that… 4th child says a… 5th child says Bubba Gump, he/she got it wrong so they sit and the 6th child says man… If other children shout out, they have to sit. Always encourage good listening and good manners.
 
Week 2 Prophets testify of Jesus Christ.

* "My dear brothers and sisters, if the Restoration did anything, it shattered the age-old myth that God had stopped talking to His children. Nothing could be further from the truth. A prophet has stood at the head of God’s Church in all dispensations, from Adam to the present day. Prophets testify of Jesus Christ—of His divinity and of His earthly mission and ministry."
(From General Conference October 2014 Sustaining the Prophets by Elder Russell M. Nelson)
     You'll need 2 trays of THIS recipe. I've never tried it. So I don't know if it works or how it tastes. And, as I always must, I do not advocate the sugaring up of children. However, I just don't see how bringing in real glass and shattering that would be safe. If anyone has any other ideas, please share! I really do love this visual idea!
     Show the children the smooth sheet of candy. What does it mean to shatter? Break apart! Many people say that God does not speak to men. Prophets are not real. They build a smooth lie.... but we know the truth! Prophets testify of Jesus Christ. God lives! He speaks to men!Have a few children come up front to shatter the candy.
     When Jesus and Heavenly Father spoke to Joseph Smith it showed us the truth in the scripture, "For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?" Mormon 9:9. Prophets testify of Jesus Christ. God lives! He speaks to us today!

* HERE is a wonderful article from The Friend (Special Witnesses April 1994) Choose 15 good readers!! Have primary friends divide into pairs or small groups and station them at each of the readers. Have primary friends count how many times Jesus, or other names having to do with Him, are said when the quote is read. Have the groups rotate 4 times. The children will only hear 4 quotes... the point is, Prophets testify of Jesus Christ!
    HERE is a more recent gathering of quotes, but I do feel like some of the words would be hard for a Sunbeam to understand. Pray! Pick and choose!
Now have about 6-8 pictures of the different prophets and their names written largely on strips of paper. Have speaking bubbles (like the ones in cartoons) with the prophet’s quote about Christ. Have the children match the names and responses of the prophets up front on the chalkboard.

* HERE is a Reader's Theater I wrote a while back. For Senior Primary!

Week 3 There is safety in following the prophet.

* See above in Week 1 about the boat idea!!!

* Prophet Safety Jeopardy
Personal opinion: I never (yes…never) had competitions in Primary. I never did teams or boys vs. girls. I always had the primary work as a family of friends, getting as many points as we could all together. The world has too many divisions. I’m for being unified and working together. But to each his own, just food for thought.
 
Categories and questions:
Warning!!! Danger up ahead!!!
100 This prophet warned the people and they didn’t listen. He and his family were kept safe in an ark while the earth was completely flooded.
200 Read Mosiah 17:9-10 Abinadi warned this evil King, but was stilled burned by fire. He sealed his testimony with his own blood.
300 How does following the word of wisdom, revelation given to Joseph Smith, keep us from danger?
400 Jacob warned the Nephites of “… every kind of sin, telling them the awful consequences of them.” (Jacob 3:12) Name 3 sins and the results that can happen from making those bad choices.

Hear my Words, Learn of Christ
100 Sing Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus (CS p.36)
200 Show GAK The Prophet Isaiah Foretells Christ’s Birth. Who is this prophet?
300 Spencer W. Kimball said this quote. Fill in the blank “ The ……… prophets, from Adam to Malachi are testifying of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ was the God of the ………, and it was He who conversed with Abraham and Moses.” (Ensign, May 1977, p.76) (Answer: Old Testament)
400 What does the prophet Nephi teach you about Christ? (Encourage Senior Primary to find actual scriptures!)

Stay on the Path
100 This prophet saw a strait and narrow path leading to the tree of life. Who is the prophet or prophets and what can you do to stay on the path?
200 Sing We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet (Hymns p.19)
300 Read Mosiah 2:36-37 What can we do to have the Holy Ghost with us to guide us in wisdom’s paths?
400 DOUBLE JEOPARDY! DOUBLE POINTS!!! Name your favorite prophet and something that prophet has taught you to keep you safe.

Buckle Up with Modern Day Apostles
100 President Eyring has said, “Now, here is my counsel to children. The Lord gave you a commandment with a promise: “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” It is the only one of the Ten Commandments with a promise.”(Ensign Nov. 2009 p.72) How can you show honor to your parents or adults in your life?
200 Show a picture of the first presidency. Name these 3 men.
300 Where do we read the words of modern day apostles?
400 Sing last verse of Follow the Prophet. (CS p. 111)

Final Jeopardy Category: Safety in Following the Prophets
Final Jeopardy Question: What is something you learned today and/or can bear testimony of?
 
* Bring in an umbrella stroller with a seat belt. Have a demonstration where a stuffed animal is placed inside without the safety belt and pushed. Try again with the safety belt on. Prophets keep us safe by securing us in the knowledge that Christ lives and strapping us in the strength of His revelations. Make a very small and simple obstacle course for a child to push the stroller through.
    Have a few questions, scriptures, and songs prepared on how there is safety in following the prophet. Have a child come up front to answer a question or read a scripture. Then let them buckle the bear and push them through the obstacle course.

Week 4 God speaks through prophets.

* Bring in 4 pictures, 2 copies of each picture. Have the children match the pictures. Are the matches the same? Read D&C 1:38, “What I the Lord have spoken I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, IT IS THE SAME.” Now have a sign “voice of the Lord” and “voice of my servants”… according to the scripture are these 2 a match and the same?
   You could easily make this into a memory/matching game with pictures of the prophets. When they make a match the primary friend could share something about that prophet and what they have taught us to bring us closer to Heavenly Father.

* Ask for a volunteer. Whisper something into the child’s ear and then have them tell it to the primary. Invite another child to come up and do the same. Just as you spoke through your primary friends, God speaks through prophets.
    Read Jeremiah 1:5-7, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak."
* HERE is a great sharing time from The Friend. There is an activity where the children can match a scripture to the prophet. You could have a strip of paper with one of the picture from the article on it. Make the strip into a headband. Have 10 children put on the headbands.
     Give 10 groups 1 of the scriptures. Have them look it up and decide who the scripture is talking about.
      For Senior Primary you could make it harder by putting the headbands on the children without them seeing. Then they have to ask questions to figure out what prophet is on their headband. After they figure it out, have a child read the corresponding scripture.

* "The Lord’s house is a house of order, and we need never be deceived about where to look for answers to our questions or uncertain about which voice to follow." (Oct. 2014 General Conference Live According to the Words of the Prophets Sister Carol McConkie Great read for preparation this week!)
     We know that we can trust the voice of the prophet! God speaks through prophets! We're going to play a game. Name that voice! Have a table and a table cloth so you can hide 2 or 3 children behind it. Have questions about prophets or statements for 1 child to read behind the table. Have the primary guess who's voice it was! Then have another child answer the question.
    To make it even harder for senior primary, have a child leave the room. Then they won't know who was called up front!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

February 2015 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Head of Christ by Franz von Stuck 1890

Monthly Theme: Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.
Monthly Scripture: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” John 3:16

Week 1 Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.

* HERE is an excellent flannel board resource from The Friend about Jesus as our Good Shepherd. It's a really good visual of how a shepherd will save his sheep because he loves them. (You could also have the children color this resource and tape to popsicle sticks to tell the story at home.)
     Play find the flock. Have 8-10 little paper sheep hidden throughout the room. On the paper sheep have questions, songs, and scriptures having to do with Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. A really good song to include is Little Lambs So White and Fair CS 58!

* Mark 4:36- 41 tells the beautiful story of one of Christ's greatest miracles. Line up a few chairs up front and make a pretend boat. You can bring in a sheet for water to lie beside the chairs, and a couple of paddles... you could even make a drawing of a boat out of some cardboard to lean against the chairs. (Costco has FREE cardboard between their paper towels that is big and sturdy!) Invite a few children into the boat and one child to hold (not act out, just hold) the picture of Christ calming the waves (Stilling the Storm, by Ted Henninger GAK 214). Read the scripture passage.
     Just as Jesus saved those on the boat, He has saved all of us! How does this story make you feel? Now that the sea is all calm, let's go fishing!!
Invite a primary friend to enter the boat and use a fishing line to try to hook a fish. (MAGNETS!!! Magnets on the end of the fishing pole, magnets on the back of the fish) On the fish, have questions, songs, and scriptures having to do with Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer!
Questions could include:
What does Redeemer mean?
Why was Jesus the only one who could save us? (Acts 4:12)
What did Jesus do to help us return to Heavenly Father?
How does it make you feel to think about the great love Jesus has for you that He would lay down His own life for you?
Older children could sing from the hymn book Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer (#103)
     HERE is a great coloring page that would make a good handout to take home. Have the children think of 5 things they can do this week to show their love for Jesus, their Savior and Redeemer. As they do that thing, they can color that number on the picture!

* Mark 2:1-5 tells the story of Jesus saving a man who had the palsy. In general conference, a whole talk was devoted to the importance of us helping Jesus to save and rescue others, Rescue in Unity by Elder Chi Hong Wong. I really like this visual, and think it would be great if 4 children could demonstrate with a make shift bed (perhaps a piece of cardboard with 4 strings??that you would have to make and try beforehand at home to make sure it works!) and a stuffed animal.
     "This rescue assignment needed everyone working together. At the crucial moment, it would take careful coordination to lower the man with palsy from the roof. The four people would have to work in unity and in harmony. There could not be any discord among the four. They would have to lower the man with palsy at the same pace. If someone released the rope faster than the other three, the man would fall out of his bed. He could not hold on by himself due to his weakened condition.
In order to assist the Savior, we have to work together in unity and in harmony. Everyone, every position, and every calling is important. We have to be united in our Lord Jesus Christ.... 
     Jesus Christ loves us all and has the power to save and heal, both physically and spiritually. When we assist Him in His mission of saving souls, we too will be rescued in the process."
Break into groups and have them come up with 4 ways/examples of how Jesus has helped save us and others and something we can do to help rescue others and bring them to The Savior! Give them a couple minutes to discuss. Then invite 4 from each group to come up front, demonstrate working together to lower the bed and share their answers!

Weeks 2 & 3 Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind may be saved.

** It was brought to my attention kindly that I made a mistake! I'm so sorry! Please just adapt this idea as you see fit. You could have the cub scout still share his belt loop which is a preparation for the merit badges they'll be earning in scouting.
       Is there a boy in Primary who sometimes needs a little extra love? Prepare in advance for that boy to bring in his belt loop badges from cub scouts this week. Have him show the primary all the badges and share a couple that were his favorite. What did he have to do to earn badges? Make sure to thank him for his help! In Scouting boys earn Merit badges. What does merit mean?? The dictionary says, "The quality of being particularly good or worthy."
     Elder Richard G. Scott has said, "Jesus Christ possessed merits that no other child of Heavenly Father could possibly have. He was a God, Jehovah, before His birth in Bethlehem. His Father not only gave Him His spirit body, but Jesus was His Only Begotten Son in the flesh. Our Master lived a perfect, sinless life and therefore was free from the demands of justice. He was and is perfect in every attribute, including love, compassion, patience, obedience, forgiveness, and humility. His mercy pays our debt to justice when we repent and obey Him. Even with our best efforts to obey His teachings we will still fall short, yet because of His grace we will be saved “after all we can do.”
     Go back to your special friend. He was pretty accomplished and had a great belt loop! Even though he is extremely wonderful and good, could he save you? Could I save you? Could our beautiful pianist save you? Could you save yourself? Repeat the quoted phrase, "Jesus Christ possessed merits that no other child of Heavenly Father could possibly have."
     Have the children design a merit badge, it could be a simple circular piece of paper. Have crayons or colored pencils. Be as creative as you like! The merit badge is something Jesus did for us or others. Brainstorm some ideas with the children. If you need a couple more, badges could include- healing, miracles, kindness, charity and love, obedience, Atonement, humble, teaching, faithful, good friend, stilling the waters, resurrection. Have the children share.
     Bear testimony that through Jesus Christ and the atonement, all mankind may be saved. He was the only one with the merits who could do so. And He did so because He loves us!

* HERE is a really good coloring page. I really like the word definitions on the side! If you hide #s 1-6 on the bottom of 6 different chairs, you could invite the 6 different children to come up, one at a time, to read the definition (or say it in their own words) and then color the corresponding numbers on the picture. HERE is the song for the 3rd Article of Faith. After each child comes up to color, children wearing that coloring can stand while you sing the song! Yes, you'll sing it 6 times and Yes!! You'll have it memorized by the time you're done!!

* HERE is a puzzle from The Friend with a really good explanation of The Atonement.

* Mystery word! Have 2 children come up front. One will need to know how to write (if not, they can whisper the mystery word to you and you can write it) Ask one child to close their eyes and hold out their hand. Write a mystery word from the 3rd Article of Faith on their hand with your pointer finger. Then have the person who was holding out their hand guess the word.
     Play this game a few times and in between turns, have pictures from the final days of The Savior's life. Talk about each picture and what it had to do with The Atonement.

* HERE is a really amazing video. It has the actual Garden of Gethsemane! Some of the words might be a little hard for a 3 year old to understand, but the spirit is strong and they will feel it if you choose to show this!

* From our last General Conference the following words stick out to me-  
      "Qualifying for exaltation is like entering another country. We must each obtain our spiritual passport. We do not set the requirements, but, individually, we must meet all of them. The plan of salvation contains all of the doctrines, laws, commandments, and ordinances needed for all to qualify for exaltation.2 Then, “through the Atonement of [Jesus] Christ, all mankind may be saved." (The Book by Elder Allan F. Packer)
  I think it's important to note the word MAY. It doesn't state WILL. The word MAY means that it's possible but it's not a for sure. Divide into groups and have them come up with something we need to do to prepare for exaltation. Have them design a stamp (color on a piece of paper) to put into a primary passport! After everyone shares, have a picture of Jesus and put the passport by Jesus. No matter what, the only reason we even have a chance at exaltation is because of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
     Challenge the children to do something this week to add to their spiritual passport. They can draw a picture of it and share and add their stamp next week!
     Bear testimony that we can prepare now to meet God again. Jesus Christ loves us and through Him we can be saved.

Week 4 Jesus Christ was resurrected, and I will be too.

* HERE (The Empty Tomb April 1988) is an excellent talk just to read to prepare for the week's lesson. I really love President Gordon B. Hinkley! Such beautiful words.

HERE is another great talk. You'll definitely feel the spirit if you read!!

* Some questions to think about or ask the children as part of the lesson:
The resurrection unites (puts together) the spirit with what? (the body)
When we are resurrected, will the spirit and body ever be divided again? (no)
Who was the first to be resurrected? (Jesus....Others had been brought back from death, but were restored to mortality (Mark 5: 22-43; Luke 7: 11-17; John 11: 1-45), whereas a resurrection means to become immortal, without blood, yet with a body of flesh and bone. )
Who saw Jesus after He was resurrected? (Many people! Mary, other women, the apostles, the righteous in the America's, Joseph Smith)
Do we have to see Jesus to know that He has been resurrected? (NO!!!)
What did Jesus eat after He was resurrected? (Fish and Honeycomb)
When we are resurrected, will it be at the same time? (no 1 Cor. 15:23)
Where do we go after we are resurrected? (The Kingdoms of the 3 degrees of Glory)
What will our bodies be like when we are resurrected? (First, it depends on the age in which we died. Babies will come back as babies. But President Spencer W. Kimball said, “I am sure that if we can imagine ourselves at our very best, physically, mentally, spiritually, that is the way we will come back.”)
How can we gain a testimony that Jesus was resurrected?
How does it make you feel to know that Jesus lives and we can too?

From Previous Posts

* This idea is from Sister Elizabeth Ricks (April 2007 Friend) "Display three shoe boxes, and ask the children to raise their hands if they like to try on new shoes. Explain that you want them to imagine trying on some other people’s shoes, but more important you want them to imagine what it would be like to actually be that person. One by one, take out a pair of shoes from each box. (You can also display pictures or drawings of shoes.) Show a pair of boots to represent the soldiers who guarded Jesus’s tomb. Use detail to tell the story in such a way that the children can imagine being there when Jesus Christ was laid in the tomb. Next, use a pair of sandals to tell the story of Mary Magdalene. Ask the children how it might have felt to have been at the garden tomb when the resurrected Savior appeared. Last, show a pair of shoes that children in your area commonly wear. Ask how it feels to be a member of the Church and to have the knowledge that you will be resurrected because of the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ."
       Sing “Did Jesus Really Live Again?”‍ (p. 64), and bear testimony that the Easter story is the most glorious story in the world. Testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died and was resurrected.

* Have a picture of a sign "Dead End". What does this mean? Have a plastic toy bulldozer. How is Jesus Christ like a bulldozer? To some it may seem like when we die, there is no where else to go. But we know that there is more beyond the grave and Jesus has cleared the way because of His atonement and resurrection! Have the bulldozer run over the dead end sign!

* Have a teacher or another adult come to the front to help. Tie their hands together. What does that feel like? Can they do as many things with their hands tied? Mosiah 15:20 "But behold, the bands of death shall be broken, and the Son reigneth, and hath power over the dead; therefore, he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead." Cut the string. The teacher's hand is free now. How does that feel?
How does it feel to know that we aren't tied down to sickness, pain, and sorrow that comes from this earth life? Can you feel the spirit bearing truth, it's a peaceful happy feeling, that we are free! We will live again!!

* A wonderful idea from Cheryl Esplin, Jesus Christ Is My Savior,” Friend, Apr 2009, 10–12 "Beforehand and with approval of the bishop or branch president, invite a member who has experienced the death of a loved one to bear testimony of what the Resurrection means to him or her.
     Put the following GAK pictures in a pile in the following order with 227 on top: GAK 227 (Jesus Praying in Gethsemane), GAK 228 (The Betrayal of Jesus), GAK 230 (The Crucifixion), GAK 231 (Burial of Jesus), GAK 233 (Mary and the Resurrected Lord), GAK 234 (Jesus Shows His Wounds), and GAK 316 (Jesus Teaching in the Western Hemisphere).
     While the pianist plays “Beautiful Savior” (pp. 62–63), have the children pass around a small stone. Tell them it is symbolic of the stone rolled in front of the opening of Christ’s tomb. When the music stops, have the child holding the stone take the picture from the top of the pile and tell about it or choose someone to help. Continue for each picture, pausing after GAK 234 to sing the second verse of “On a Golden Springtime” (p. 88) and to read Luke 24:39 in unison.
     Have the children feel their hands to help them understand that after Jesus was resurrected, the Apostles could feel His hands just as the children can feel their own hands. Continue with the rest of the pictures. Teach that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, everyone who has ever lived on the earth will be resurrected. Have the invited guest bear testimony. Sing “Did Jesus Really Live Again?” (p. 64). At the end of the third verse, have the children stand when singing the words “Oh yes! And so shall I!”

* Bring in a few balloons filled with helium.
Alma 11:41 "...For behold, the day cometh that all shall rise from the dead and stand before God, and be judged according to their works."
Have questions, scriptures, and songs having to do with the resurrection on the ends of the balloons that are all along the ceiling. (Do NOT do this activity unless you can still reach the balloons!!)