Sunday, December 28, 2008

Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas for January 2009

Diagram from Lesson 1: The Temple Teaches about the Great Plan of Salvation,” Endowed from on High: Temple Preparation Seminar Teacher’s Manual, 1

I am a spirit child of Heavenly Father.
“All of you are children of the most High” (Psalm 82:6).

Week 1 Heavenly Father loves me and has a plan for me.

* Have a small box of Lincoln logs. Invite a child to come up and build a house. Ask them questions like, why don’t you put the green roof sticks on the bottom? Why do you put long logs on the bottom and shorter ones on the side? How will you make room for windows? How long will it take you to finish? Thank the child and ask if anyone has ever built a real home or knows what goes into building a real home? Show a picture of a real house. Do they just stop by home depot with $100 and window shop for things that look good or do you think they make a list of supplies they need? When you build a real home do you need a plan? What is a plan? What is Heavenly Father’s plan for me?At the end of the lesson, come back to the idea that you are grateful Heavenly Father took the time to carefully think out each piece of our lives (hold up Lincoln logs). He didn’t throw us together and hope for the best, but He perfectly designed (hold up a picture of the real home) a plan that would bring us happiness.

* Invite a child to come up that can read. Have 6 strips of paper of things they need to do. For example brush teeth, do homework, help neighbor mow lawn, play a board game with my sister, put away dishes/finish chores, spend time with Fish the family dog. Ask them how they would plan their day and to put the paper in the order they would feel is best for the day. Why wouldn’t they help their neighbor mow the lawn at the end of the day when it’s dark? Why would they do homework before playing? Is it good to have a plan for your day, why? What about having a plan for life? What might that include? Hold up a diagram of the plan of salvation and ask, who’s plan do you think this could be?
At the end of the lesson, come back to the idea that we can make plans to help our day go smoother. Heavenly Father has created the ultimate plan that gives happiness to each day and we should follow it with all our hearts.

*Bring in a 3-D book and pair of 3-D glasses. Ask a child to come up and look at the book and tell them what they see. Now put on the glasses. Is that pretty cool?
President Eyring has said:
“You can think of the plan of salvation as a set of eyes (hold up the 3-D glasses) that allow you to see what the natural eye does not see” (Mission Presidents’ Seminar, June 2000, 2). Is it pretty exciting to know where we have come from, where we are going and what our purpose here on earth is? The plan of salvation helps us see life as the happy and wonderful thing it is!
On the same note, with a little variation: Bring in a pair of glasses. Have a child come up and put them on for 5 seconds. Can they see? Is it blurry? Is it clear?“Some of us at one time or another let the pressures of life or the false teachings of men cloud our vision, but when we see with clarity, the difference between the plan of God and that of Satan is unmistakable” (Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov. 1981, 11)

*Margaret Lifferth in the January 2005 Friend had a wonderful sharing time idea. There is a visual with key words about Heavenly Fathers plan. You can cut these out and put on the black board. Write the scriptures on the board also. Start by looking up Moses 1:39. Then look up the scriptures and match them to the key words of the different parts of Heavenly Father’s plan.

“We lived in heaven with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ before we were born.
(See Abr. 3:22–26)
An earth was created.
(See Moses 2:1–3:3)
Adam and Eve and the Fall were a part of Heavenly Father’s plan.
(See Moses 4:6–5:12)
Jesus Christ came to earth. He is our Savior; He overcame the Fall. Because of Him, we can live again.
(See Abr. 3:27–28)
Coming to a family is part of Heavenly Father’s plan.
(See paragraphs 1–4 of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102.)
I would just put up the whole proclamation, they should have these in the library.
We will all die, and because of Jesus Christ, we will all be resurrected.
(See Alma 11:42–45)
When we follow the example of Jesus Christ, we can inherit the celestial kingdom.
(See D&C 76:50–70)”

* Thomas S. Monson, “Which Road Will You Travel?,” Ensign, Mar 1991, 2

Have copies of this talk for the SENIOR sharing time. Divide them into groups. Highlight different parts of the talk for them to read and discuss. Then have 1 child come up to summarize what they read or read a quote that the group enjoyed.

* From the D&C and Church History Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, 19: The Plan of Salvation, Purpose, 105

" Display the small pieces of the picture that you have brought to class, but do not display the picture.Tell class members that these small pieces are part of a bigger picture. Invite them to briefly guess what is in the picture. Then display the picture, putting the small pieces in place.
Point out that although the small pieces are important, they would have little meaning if they were not part of the big picture. Explain that experiences we have, decisions we make, and truths we learn are like small pieces of a big picture. They have less meaning if they are not put in the context of a bigger picture: the plan of salvation. A knowledge of the plan of salvation can help us make righteous decisions, find joy in mortality, and prepare for eternal life. This lesson discusses the plan of salvation.

The plan of salvation is “one of heaven’s best gifts to mankind.”
Write on the chalkboard Heavenly Father’s Plan of ___________________.

Ask class members to complete the phrase. Encourage them to think of as many answers from the scriptures as they can. Write their responses on the chalkboard. After a minute or two, share any of the following answers that they have not mentioned:
Salvation (Alma 24:14; Alma 42:5; Moses 6:62)
Restoration (Alma 41:2)
Happiness (Alma 42:8, Alma 42:16)
Mercy (Alma 42:15, Alma 42:31)
Redemption (Jacob 6:8; Alma 12:25–33)

• What do these words teach about Heavenly Father’s plan?
• The prophet Alma referred to Heavenly Father’s plan as “the great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8). How can the plan of salvation bring us happiness?

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “The great plan of salvation…be regarded as one of heaven’s best gifts to mankind” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 68). What can we do to give the plan of salvation “our strict attention”?"

Song Helps for "I lived in Heaven" (CS pg.4)

Image courtesy creative commons license on flickr.com by Moriza May 2006

**Bring in an egg and a picture of a chicken. Ask the children, what came first the chicken or the egg? There are a lot of confusing questions in life. While we don’t have the answers to all of life’s questions that make you go huh? We do have some ideas thanks to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The earth has billions of people on it, do you think those billions of people ever wonder where they came from or what their purpose is? Well we know. We lived with Heavenly Father before we came to earth and this song helps us remember the important things that happened there.

** Ask if anyone has ever lived in more than one place. Can you have more than one home? We had a home before we came to earth. What do you think it was like? How was that home different from the one you have now? Let’s learn a little more about that very special home through this song.

Verse 1
I lived in heaven a long time ago it is true
Lived there and loved there with people I know so did you
Then Heavenly Father created a beautiful plan
All about earth and eternal salvation for man.

Verse 2
Father said He needed someone who had enough love
To give His life so we all could return there above
There was another who sought for the honor divine
Jesus said Father send me and the glory be thine.

Verse 3
Jesus was chosen and as the Messiah He came
Conquering evil and death through His glorious name
Giving us hope of a wonderful life yet to be
Home in that heaven where Father is waiting for me.

Using 3 pieces of poster board (1 for each verse) draw an outline of a house on each piece.On verse one within the house you can have pictures to represent the lines for example a watch, a family photo of a deceased ancestor, blueprint, earth with 2 happy people holding hands. Same for verses 2 and 3. You can add GAK pictures also because of the size of poster board.

**Have a large packing box that is flat. Is moving a lot of work? What do you have to do when you move from one home to another? Explain that we’re going to learn a song about a different home that we had and lived at. A place we can’t really remember to well! As the children learn the words to the song they can come up and fold the box, add tape, packing materials, etc. Have a large heart to represent the love that was present in the pre-existence our first home. You can add other things to help remember lines. As they learn the song you can seal the box, if they need help re-open.

**A clever idea from: Vicki F. Matsumori, “Sharing Time: I Know God’s Plan,” Friend, Jun 2003, 33

" Song presentation: Use questions to help teach “I Lived in Heaven” (p. 4). Make a number of cards with one of the following words written on them: Who, What, When, and Where. Have the children pass the cards down the rows while the pianist plays the first line of the song. When the pianist stops playing, have the children who are holding the cards keep them. Ask them to listen while you sing, and to think of a question starting with the word they are holding that can be answered by the first line of the song.

Sing the first line, have the children with the cards ask their questions, and have the entire Primary sing the answer. E.g., “Who lived in heaven?” (“I lived in heaven.”) “What did I do?” (“I lived in heaven.”) “When did I live in heaven?” (“I lived in heaven a long time ago.”) “Where did I live?” (“I lived in heaven.”)

Repeat the process for each line, but have the children holding the cards with questions that are being answered stand and sing the answer. If a card question was not asked (line 2 probably would not have a When question, for instance), those holding that card would not stand.For the second and third verses, remove the When cards and substitute Why cards. The children with them might ask, “Why did Jesus give His life?” (“so we all could return there above”). Or, “Why was Jesus chosen?” (to conquer “evil and death through his glorious name”)."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More December 2008 Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

WEEK 4 Because I know that I am a child of God and that Jesus Christ is my Savior, I will . . .

* Bring up a couple chairs to the front. Have a picture of a family and put out a little rug. Make it a cozy setting. Explain to the children that we are having a pretend family home evening. You have 2 friends from school who wanted to come to FHE. They aren't members. The lesson you are going to be giving is " Because I know that I am a child of God and that Jesus Christ is my Savior, I will . . ." Have them split into small groups and come up with a 2 minute thought and scripture that they can present in front of the primary.

* For the Senior Sharing Time ONLY. In Preach my gospel, page 126 there is an attribute activity. Start off by reading Doctrine and Covenants 58:26-28, "For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward." Explain that we are all children of God,

* Have 2 cans in the front labeled WILL and WON'T. Also have a bag. Give the children some strips of paper. Have them write things they will do and things they won't do because they know they are children of Heavenly Father and that Jesus is our Savior. (Teachers or older children can help younger children by writing for them) Have them put all their strips of paper in the bag. Have a child come up and choose a strip of paper when everyone is done. Read the strip EXCEPT for the word will or won't. Have the primary then decide if it's something we will do or won't do and put into the correct can accordingly.

* Bring a back pack and introduce it as your new year's back pack. Have 2009 taped to it. All year you've been learning in primary that we are children of God and that Jesus is our Savior. You've packed a bag for the new year with lots of things you could do. Now you need the primary children's help to decide what is the most important things to take and actually DO in the new year. (You can have things inside like a video game, scriptures, a picture of someone praying, tickets to a basketball game on a Sunday, a dustpan to help clean the church, a pass along card, a picture of the temple, a picture of a couch potato, a modest dress... etc.) Ask the children what are other things they can do?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

December 2008 Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

GAK 201

December Theme: I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and His restored gospel.
December Scripture: "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies." 2 Nephi 25:26

Week 1 The prophets foretold Jesus Christ would come to earth.

* Have a nativity displayed. Tape a small scripture or question to each piece of the nativity regarding what the prophets prophesied of Jesus' birth. Let the children come up and pick a piece. You could also tape on some Christmas songs.

* Draw a large clock on the blackboard. At the top of the clock on the 12 hide a picture of Christ's birth- put a piece of paper over it with a ? mark. (GAK 201) Have 11 scriptures and questions based on what prophets have foretold about "the time" having to do when Jesus Christ would come to earth.

For example:
1.What is prophecy?
“For prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:19–21
Put up a picture of a mouth

2. Who does God speak to us through?
"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7
Put up a picture of Pres. Monson

3. Who did Nephi see after the Tree of Life?
Virgin Mary
Etc. Now work in questions and visuals having to do with Christ and His earthly birth

* Bring in a farmers almanac or a picture of it.
"Weather prediction has always been a major feature of the Farmers’ Almanac. The Almanac Publishing Company claims readers of the Farmers’ Almanac have attributed an 80 to 85 percent accuracy rate to the publication’s annual forecasts. Scientific studies of these claims have shown them to be false. On average the Almanac's predictions are no better than chance.
Predictions for each edition are made as far as two years in advance. The Farmers’ Almanac publishers are highly secretive about the method used to make its predictions, only stating publicly that it is a “top secret mathematical and astronomical formula, that relies on sunspot activity, tidal action, planetary position and many other factors.” The identity of the Farmers’ Almanac weather forecaster is also a secret. The Almanac’s forecaster is referred to by the pseudonym “Caleb Weatherbee.” (This info is courtesy Wikipedia)

Would it be nice to know the weather every single day? Why? We will never know what the weather will bring but we have something that is a lot more exact and 100% accurate... that is the messages of the prophets.

"There isn’t any other way in this world that we can know the mind and the will of the Lord as intelligently and assuredly as we can know it through the holy prophets."
LeGrand Richards, “Prophets and Prophecy,” Ensign, Nov 1975, 50

And from Adam, they have all testified of one thing. What is that one thing? Jesus Christ.
“And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:19–21

* Make a reverent music video of Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus - #36 Children's Songbook. Divide the primary into different groups. Assign them lines in the song to draw pictures of. Play Christmas music while they work and make sure the children know to be softer than the music. Attach the pictures together with tape to make a rollerbox. Have the kids sing while you move it. On the bottom of the box you could put BYU TV. (Go blue!)

On that same thought pattern, you could assign different scriptures of prophets who foretold the coming of Christ and ask the groups to put together roller box pictures of the story and come up to tell it. So basically the materials you'll need are scriptures, crayons, plenty of paper, tape, some paper towel rolls and a cardboard box with a hole cut out in front... perhaps some paperclips too to hold the rolls on the side.

Week 2 The prophecies were fulfilled. Jesus Christ was born and the righteous rejoiced.
* Have 2 children come up. Ask one to be the sun and the other the earth. Ask them to show the primary what happens in space between these 2 things. (The earth child will walk in a circle around the sun) Read Helaman 12:15 "And thus, according to his word the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun. "
Next have a child come up as a great lake. Ask them to show what happens during a drought. (They should crumble to the ground) Read Helaman 12: 16 And behold, also, if he say unto the waters of the great deep—Be thou dried up—it is done."
Have another child come up and ask them to stand by the light switch. Have them turn off the light and then show us the first thing God did that we see in the scriptures. (Turn on the light.)
Read Genesis 1:3 "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."
What our Father and Elder Brother Jesus say is truth and will always come to pass. Alma 37:16 reads "...For God is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words." Prophets foretold of Jesus Christ being born and His birth happened as sure as there is light, as sure as we move around the sun, as sure as water dries up in the summer.
* Make a graph of Christmas hymns. Sing the songs and have children put up smiley faces for the number of times you can count the song referencing joy, happiness and rejoicing.
* Make a Samuel the Lamanite matching game. For example on one card you could have Samuel prophesied Helaman 13:6 "the Lord Jesus Christ, who surely shall come into the world, and shall suffer many things and shall be slain for his people. " - the matching card would then be a picture of the nativity.
On another card Samuel prophesied Helaman 13: 9 "And four hundred years shall not pass away before I will cause that they shall be smitten; yea, I will visit them with the sword and with famine and with pestilence." - the matching card could be a picture of Moroni burying the plates as he witnessed the destruction of his people.
Opinionated tid-bit: For the Junior primary about 6 matches (12 cards) is more than sufficient for a 15 minute period of time. Too many cards, too many choices and nothing gets matched! Also, I NEVER divide the primary into teams. (Disclaimer: I'm not saying it's wrong to do so!!! AGAIN Personal OPINION!!!) The reason I do not divide is because of that, it's a division and on principle I think being united is better than being divided. Working together as a primary to achieve a goal promotes unity and discourages unneeded competition in God's house. Just think about it. Mull it over.
Week 3 Jesus Christ restored His gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
* Make a timeline of events that happened during the restoration. Have children draw out pictures (out of a bag) and properly sequence them on the chalkboard. I would start the events at the time Jesus Christ walked on earth, died and was resurrected. You could end with a current picture of the first presidency or a local temple. The following are events and dates found from Church History in the Fullness of Times Manuel (Religion 341 through 343):
34-100 AD Apostles lead New Testament church
60-70 Peter and Paul martyred
Apostasy
1620 Pilgrims arrive in Plymouth
Jan. 24 1796 Joseph Smith Sr. marries Lucy Mack
1812-13 7 year old Joseph Smith suffered complications from typhoid fever and was operated on
(He didn't use any alcohol to numb the pain)
Spring 1820 14 year old Joseph saw the Father and the Son in the sacred grove
Sept 21-22 1823 First appearances of Moroni to Joseph Smith
May 1829 John the baptist restored the Aaronic priesthood
May-June 1829 Peter, James and John restored the Melchizedek Priesthood
Fall 1829-Winter 1830 Book of Mormon Printed in Palmyra
1836 1st Temple dedicated Kirtland Ohio where priesthood keys were restored
1844 Joseph and Hyrum died martyrs in Carthage
* Have a picture of the Savior and Joseph Smith within a venn diagram on the board. Make sure the section for similarities in the middle is larger than the differences section. Ask the children to come up with as many similarities and differences as they can between Jesus and Joseph. Emphasize how Jesus is our Savior, we worship Heavenly Father and Him ONLY. But we highly reverence our beloved prophet Joseph because he helped bring back the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ask the children what they know and can share about Joseph Smith. Have the children write thank you notes to Joseph Smith. Ask them to name specifics. ("Because he was nice" is not specific, ask "how was he nice", "He spent a lot of time translating the plates" Voila.) We obviously can't give these notes to Joseph Smith but the children can take them home and put them in a journal. Encourage the children to pray and take time that night to feel the spirit bear witness that Joseph Smith did indeed restore the gospel of Christ.

Monday, November 3, 2008

November 2008 Sharing Time Helps for Week 3

For weeks 1,2 and 4 scroll on down folks!
Week 3 Heavenly Father loves all His children.

Here are a couple Reader's Theatres I've written. But before, some tips for a smooth experience:
* choose your readers carefully!!!!, remember most Sunbeams can't read so don't get upset if you hand them the part and they're holding it upside down looking at you oddly
* Have plenty of scripts!! At least one for each part. Highlight the parts according to each script so it's easier for the children to follow and know when they're speaking.
* Give them a few minutes to look over their part, sing some songs while doing so.
* Bring in SIMPLE props or costumes. I was thinking round circles of paper with cotton balls glued on to make a little sheep hat? Just go easy, you want their attention focused on the message and doctrine of the play
* Have a script for yourself to follow to help prompt. Be familiar with it so you can direct the children in what they need to do, especially the non-speaking parts.
* Pace yourself. You only have 15ish minutes, don't try to squeeze too much in too little time.
* Ask the review questions after the play
* Some preventative preparation: Pray, pray, pray... and pray some more that it will go smoothly and that the spirit will be there (throughout the week before)
On a side note, all quoted items are from the scriptures, hymnbook, prophets themselves and referenced at the end. So what Joseph Smith says is what he's actually said before and same with President Monson.

Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd
By Sofia Lykes
Parts:
Narrator 1 and 2
Shepherd
Sheep 1 and 2
Nonspeaking- 4 or 5 other sheep, 2 friends/neighbors, 1 person posed as mountain dividing shepherd from sheep??
Narrator 1: Dear to the heart of the Shepherd, Dear are the sheep of his fold; Dear is the love that he gives them, Dearer than silver or gold.

Shepherd: Hmmmmmmm…. Would I rather have a million dollars or my sheep? That’s easy!! My precious sheep. I love them so!!

Narrator 1: Dear to the heart of the Shepherd, Dear are his “other” lost sheep;Over the mountains he follows, Over the waters so deep.

Sheep 1: Baaaaa. What does dear to the heart mean? You keep saying it over and over and over? Baaaa.

Narrator 1: Dear to the heart means that the Shepherd loves his sheep very much.

Shepherd: I love them so much I’d follow them over the high mountains and deep waters.

Sheep 1: Baaaaa. Well, what if the mountain was steep and dangerous and the water freezing cold. Would you follow and search for me then?

Shepherd: Luke Chapter 15 verses 4 through 7 answers your question perfectly. Come closer little sheep and we will read it together.

Narrator 2: “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.”

Narrator 1: And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

Sheep 2: Baaa. That’s really deep.

Shepherd: See, the Good Shepherd is seeking, Seeking the lambs that are lost,Bringing them in with rejoicing, Saved at such infinite cost.

Questions to ponder/ask: What infinite cost were we all bought with? What does this play teach us about God’s love for all His children? How can we be under-shepherds?
References: Dear to the Heart of the Children Hymn 221

Heavenly Father's Love Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
By Sofia Lykes

Parts:
Narrator 1 and 2
Joseph Smith
President Monson
Non speaking-3 Mob members, Hyrum Smith, John Taylor, Willard Richards

Narrator 1: Sometimes I wish I could have lived in ancient Egypt. I wish I could have seen Moses part the red sea. Heavenly Father must have loved them a lot to make such a miracle happen.

Narrator 2: I know! That would have been awesome!

Joseph Smith: “Souls are as precious in the sight of God as they ever were.”

Narrator 1: But I’ve never had a huge miracle in my life before.

Narrator 2: Hey, Joseph Smith is right! Remember the scripture 1 Ne. 10: 18 “ For he (Heavenly Father) is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” We may not have walls of water around us, but we can see the miracle of God’s love around us!

President Monson: "I think one of the sweetest lessons taught by the Prophet, and yet one of the saddest, occurred close to the time of his death. He was required to leave his plan and vision of the Rocky Mountains and give himself up to face a court of supposed justice. These are his words:”

Joseph Smith: “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer's morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men' (D&C 135:4).”

President Monson: “There was to be one great final lesson before his mortal life ended. He was incarcerated in Carthage Jail with his brother Hyrum, with John Taylor, and with Willard Richards. The angry mob stormed the jail; they came up the stairway, blasphemous in their cursing, heavily armed, and began to fire at will. Hyrum was hit and died. John Taylor took several balls of fire within his bosom. The Prophet Joseph, with his pistol in hand, was attempting to defend his life and that of his brethren, and yet he could tell from the pounding on the door that this mob would storm that door and would kill John Taylor and Willard Richards in an attempt to kill him.
And so his last great act here upon the earth was to leave the door and lead Willard Richards to safety, throw the gun on the floor, and go to the window, that they might see him, that the attention of this ruthless mob might be focused upon him rather than the others. Joseph Smith gave his life. Willard Richards was spared, and John Taylor recovered from his wounds.
Narrator 2: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught us love--by example.

Narrator 1: Joseph Smith knew the importance and truth of God’s love for each one of us.

President Monson: “With all the strength of my soul I testify that our Heavenly Father loves each one of us. He hears the prayers of humble hearts; He hears our cries for help. . . . His Son, our Savior and Redeemer, speaks to each of us today: 'Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him' (Revelation 3:20).
"Will we listen for that knock? Will we hear that voice? Will we open that door to the Lord, that we may receive the help He is so ready to provide? I pray that we will."
Questions to ponder/ask: If God loves us, why do bad things sometimes happen still? What has happened in my life to know Heavenly Father loves me?

References:
Thomas S. Monson, "Mrs. Patton--the Story Continues," Ensign, Nov. 2007, 24
Thomas S. Monson, "By Example," New Era, Dec. 2005, 8
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith P. 76-77

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Miscellaneous Finds on Gratitude

The church website has THE BEST resources!! In case you don't have the time, here are some links to stories, FHE's, Friend Articles on Gratitude.

31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Lesson Ideas, Gratitude, 192

"I am overwhelmed with feelings of thanksgiving. I feel so richly blessed of the Lord. I think no man has been blessed so richly as I have been blessed. I cannot understand it..." Gordon B. Hinkley
Want more, click here.

Elizabeth Ricks, “Two Little Words,” Friend, Nov 2007, 14–16
* Gratitude Journal Idea included

Pat Graham, “Sharing Time: Gratitude for God’s Creations,” Friend, Jul 1984, 37
* Pioneers who gave thanks

Margaret Lifferth, “Sharing Time: I Am Grateful for Many Things,” Friend, Dec 2005, 17
* When you scroll down, look at the Sharing Time Ideas 1 and 4, excellent!!

Elizabeth Ricks, “Sharing Time: Magnificent Promises,” Friend, Nov 2006, 14–16
* WOW! WOW! WOW! Thanks Sister Ricks!!

William Schlegl, “Thankfulness,” Friend, Nov 2008, 21
* A fun brain teaser for a primary newsletter.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

November 2008 Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Worth of a Soul by Liz Lemmon Swindle (for purchase off of LDSart.com)
NOVEMBER THEME
I am thankful to know that we are all children of God.
“Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things”
(D&C 59:7).

Week 1 "I am thankful to be a beloved child of God."

* Make a poster board picture of a well. To be "beloved" is to be deeply loved. Here is my thought and I don't know if I'm explaining it really well. At carnivals they have the go fish game where a child will take a fishing pole and throw it over a wall to get a prize. So if you get a small bucket, attach a string and throw it over the picture of the well then they can get little hearts with various scriptures, songs and questions about gratitude as an activity for sharing time.
John 4:14 "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

* Have about 5 adults come in and say something they are thankful for in a different language and the words I am a child of God. Sing I am a child of God and try to learn it in a different language. Also sing Children All Over the World. Have those 5 adults stay if possible and divide into groups. Rotate to the different adults and have the children say things they are grateful for and the adults teach them how to say it in that different language.
Psalms 19: 3,"There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard."

* 1 John 4:11 "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." Divide the chalkboard into 3 sections with the titles 1.Heavenly Father loves me because: 2.I love Heavenly Father because: 3.So I will do: Brainstorm all the ideas you can think of. Have children help write ideas on the chalkboard, draw pictures for the younger children and then count all the blessings named. Sing count your many blessings. Then challenge the children to go and do good things out of gratitude to their Heavenly Father.

* This idea might be a little off the wall, bear with me. Is there someone in your branch that knows how to knit? Invite them in, with all their knitting tools. Mosiah 18: 21, "And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another." Have the children answer questions on gratitude, read scriptures, say nice things about each other... and as they do so, have the knitter make 2 notches for each answer (or more if it's really a good answer) Have a completed scarf or blanket to show the children. Emphasize again that when we have our hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another, great things will happen and marvelous miracles will occur. Heavenly Father loves us and we show our gratitude to Him by loving others.

Week 2 I am thankful for my body. I know my body is a temple.

* Have a piece of paper with an outline of a body on it for each child. Bring in a sheet of 10 stickers for each child. Put them into small groups of 4 or 5 with a teacher to help guide. They will choose 10 different (appropriate) parts of their body to put stickers on. Then they go around in the circle and take off one sticker at a time saying why they are grateful for that part of the body and match it to the part on the body paper they have. Then have a couple people share their answers with the whole primary. The Family Proclamation states: "All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny."

* Special Witness by Elder David A. Bednar is exceptional!!! Have a picture of a local temple (if possible, or any temple will do) and a handheld mirror. Have 4 word strips with the words:
What We Take into Our Temple
What We Put on Our Temple
What We Do to Our Temple
What We Do with Our Temple
Make small pictures to correspond to the answers given by Elder Bednar. Have the children match and discuss where the pictures belong- under the picture of the temple or by the mirror, which shows our own temple. For senior sharing time have them find scriptures with the Topical Guide to correspond to the lesson.

* My Body is a Temple Friend Magazine May 2002 pg. 18 is FABULOUS!!!! You could even use it as an attention getter (at the start of the lesson to focus everyone on the topic) by making the little body builder and saying things you are thankful for, about or because of your body, while he lifts the weight. Have the children practice flexing their gratitude muscles by saying things they are thankful for also once the little man is made!!

Week 3 Heavenly Father loves all of His children.

*See HERE for a couple reader's theatres.

Week 4 I can show respect and kindness to all of God’s children.

* Invite 2 children up to the front. Blindfold one and ask him to take the hand of the other. Tell the blindfolded child to lead the other one across the room.

D&C 19:40-41 "Or canst thou run about longer as a blind guide? Or canst thou be humble and meek, and conduct thyself wisely before me? Yea, come unto me thy Savior. Amen." What does this scripture mean to the children? Talk about being an "example".

* Have a child come to the front and write with his toes his name on a piece of paper. Have another child come up and try to write their name with a pen in their mouth (please be careful... thank you law suits...) The point: We are grateful for our arms and hands! Every part of our body was carefully designed. Not everyone has a body that works perfectly though. Why? Sing CS 140 I'll Walk With You. We are all children of God. Make a small slide show or power point with different pictures of children to the music of I'm trying to be like Jesus.

* Dramatize the following with the children: ( I would make little signs like "leper" or "palsy" for the diseased, have simple sheets to put on angel and Jesus and a blue blanket for the water) John 5: 4-9, "4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath."
Do we put our needs before others? How can we be like the angel and move the water for others? We can help heal in many different ways by showing respect and kindness.

* Have 3 ziploc bags full of jelly beans or smarties (I personally would do smarties, because you are what you eat!), different amounts in each bag though. Give them to 3 different children (Choose the children wisely). Explain that the children could keep the bags all for themselves or they could share with everyone. Brigham Young and other church leaders helped to establish the "United Order" (See Church History in the Fullness of Times Manuel pg. 402-404) Elder Cannon said this order would bring in a time, "When there shall be no rich and no poor among the Latter-day Saints, when wealth will not be a temptation; when every man will love his neighbor as he does himself; when every man and woman will labor for the good of all as much as for self"" (Church History in the Fullness of Times Manuel pg. 402) We may not be asked to start up the United Order again right now and give everything we have, but we should look for EVERY MOMENT when we can show kindness and respect to all of God's children. (D&C 92, 104)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? The Iron Rod!!


I love FamilyFun Magazine!! At the end of the magazine is the Try This Now Section and this month's feature is "Pour Water Sideways".

Quote,
"You can defy gravity with this aqua-batic stunt. What to do:
Wet a length of yarn (ours measures about 3 feet) and tie it to the handle of a liquid measuring cup. Fill the cup approximately two-thirds full of water. Position the yarn over the spout, then place the loose end in a drinking glass. Hold the measuring cup about 1 1/2 feet from the glass and use your free hand to pull the yarn taut over the center of the glass, as shown. Beginning slowly (you may spill a little), pour the water along the yarn. When the water begins "stikcing", you can pout it more quickly. Make this trick even more drip defying by using a longer piece of yarn to see how far you can pour with no spills.
Why it Works: Water molecules like to stick together. In physics, this is called cohesion. By soaking the yarn first, you create a liquid surface for the stream of water to cling to."


I think this is a fantastic visual of how we need to cling and hold to the iron rod. First, take the measuring cup and pour it (without the string, up in the air like in the picture), the water goes all over. Then do this trick and we see how we can reach the cup or the tree of life by the word of God!! Love it!!!

1 Nephi 8: 19-20, 24, 30

19 And I beheld a rod of iron, and it extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood.
20 And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world.
24 And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.
30 But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.

1 Ne. 11: 25
25 And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.

Friday, September 26, 2008

You Are My Sunshine

Tomorrow is Sister C's baptism and I was asked to give a talk on the Holy Ghost. I post this for my own records but also because it can EASILY be adapted to a great Family Home Evening or possible sharing time. Should you write your own talks? Yes!! How else do you expect to get closer to Heavenly Father. But at the same time, these are some wonderful modern day revelations given that can greatly bless and enrich your life, so please enjoy.

What to do:
I made a posterboard of a giant sun with a picture of Christ and 2 little children in the middle. I then made 6 storm clouds to cover the sun and on the back of each cloud was a question (correspondingly found below). I started off with a quote from President Henry B. Eyring and also closed with a quote from him adding of course my own personal testimony. I was going to have Sister C (Who is 8 years old) take off the clouds and help answer the questions with me adding additional information from the prophets and scriptures.

Henry B. Eyring (Because He first Loved Us p.4), “The truth of most worth is to know God our Heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus Christ and Their plan for us to have eternal life with Them in families. When God communicates that priceless truth to us, He does it by the Spirit of Truth. We have to ask for it in prayer. Then He sends us a small part of that truth by the Spirit. It comes to our hearts and minds. It feels good, like the light from the sun shining through the clouds on a dark day.”

The Storm Delayed by Ms.Kathleen June 13, 2007

1. Who is the 3rd member of the Godhead?
"The holy ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a Spirit, in the form of a man… The Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit, and has a spirit body ONLY. He mission is to bear witness of the Father and the Son and of all truth." Joseph Fielding Smith Doctrines of Salvation 1:38
2. What are some things the Holy Ghost does?
Comforter
Sanctifier- “He is also a cleansing agent… we can pray for the Holy Ghost to be our companion with assurance He will come. When we ask in faith, a change can come in our natures.” Henry B Eyring Because He first Loved Us p.149
Teacher
Revelator
3. Can you have the Holy Ghost with you any time and any place?
"This Comforter is, by his influence, to be a CONSTANT companion to every baptized person, and to administer unto the members of the Church by revelation and guidance, knowledge of the truth that they may walk in its light." Joseph Fielding Smith Answers to Gospel Questions 2:149-150
BUT “Sin in any form offends the Holy Ghost. You must not do anything or go anywhere that offends the Spirit. You cannot afford that risk.” Henry B. Eyring Because He first Loved Us p.177
4. What invites the Holy Ghost to be close to us?
Prayer, Scripture study, doing good!!
Henry B. Eyring Because He first Loved Us p.15 “Whatever invites the Holy Ghost to be your companion will bring you greater wisdom and greater ability to obey God.”
5. What does Moroni 10:5 say?
6. Who is the Holy Spirit of Promise?

“The Holy Spirit of Promise is the Holy Ghost who places the stamp of approval upon every ordinance: baptism, confirmation, ordination, marriage. The promise is that the blessings will be received through faithfulness… Every ordinances is sealed with a promise of a reward based on faithfulness. The Holy Spirit withdraws the stamp of approval where covenants are broken.” Smith Doctrines of Salvation 1:45

Henry B. Eyring Because He first Loved Us p.150 You, sweet Sister C and all of us, “Must choose to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The words of confirmation into the Church are an invitation: “Receive the Holy Ghost.” And that choice must be made not once, but every day, every hour, every minute.”

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

October 2008 Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

This photo is symbolic of the love and service that went into my Christina's 4th Birthday. My middle name is not Wiltons. But I gave it my all... And really, isn't that all that matters!

Week 1
I will serve God by doing things on the Sabbath that will help me feel close to Heavenly Father and Jesus.

** Play a game of Sabbath Day Charades. The children can come up and choose paper with activities to act out. The children will have to decide if that activity keeps the sabbath day holy or not. Activities to act out can include (these were taken from a primary manual):
"Write letters to missionaries, Make cards of appreciation for family members, Write in your journal, Play or listen to sacred music, Study the scriptures, Read or tell a scripture story to a younger brother or sister, Visit relatives, Give a family home evening lesson, Work on your Gospel in Action award, Visit someone who is ill or lonely, Play quiet games with your brothers and sisters, read from your baby journal or family history, Look at family photographs"
going swimming, playing basketball games, doing chores, watching lots and lots of TV, shopping at the grocery store, taking a 4 hour nap, etc.

** Bring in an ice pack and a hot pack. Have the kids feel the difference. The things we choose to do on the sabbath can either make us feel warm and close to Heavenly Father or cold and distant from Him. Hide a bunch of word paper strips around the room. As the child gets close to an activity say "warmer, warmer", as they are further away say "colder, colder". The paper strips can include activities that are appropriate for Sunday or Sabbath scriptures!

** Make a long hand held scroll. Invite a child to come up. Like you are reading from the scroll, tell them to untie/ unbuckle their shoe with one hand. If they can't do it, they have broken the sabbath. Ask another to come up, tell them another primary child has a cut on their hand "accidentally" drop a band aid on the floor. Once they put the band aid on, tell them they have broken the sabbath. Is that really breaking the Sabbath? NO! Yet some people believed this a long time ago. What is the real law? Read Matthew 12:12, Exodus 20:8–11, D&C 59:10-13 Toss the scroll into the garbage!

Week 2
I can serve Heavenly Father by serving others.
** Have a box with miscellaneous objects inside (scriptures, garden shovel, fork, toy, sweater, book, drinking straw, envelope, shoe, etc.). Have children come up and choose an item then decide how they could use that item to serve someone. See how many different ideas you can get with each item. Have a scripture or song attached to some of the items to do after they have thought about a way to serve.

** Have the children make up a short poem to read to the Relief Society or Elders Quorum on service. Then have them sing a song like "I'm trying to Be Like Jesus" for them. No better way to learn about service than doing it!

** Have the children draw pictures and write letters to some widows or sick people in the ward. Have them come up with some scriptures on service to add to the envelope.

** Bring in a toy train- the type where you can add a car and build on the train to make it longer. As the children answer questions on service, read scriptures and sing- link a car. Watch it grow. When all the cars are on, have a child drive it to a picture of Christ. Service links us together and brings us closer to Jesus and Heavenly Father. Have paper with the words, "We choo-choo-choose to serve others! Challenge them to take the paper home and fill it up as a family with activities they will do to help others.

Week 3
The prophets and apostles teach me how to serve.

** Bring in a pocketbook or daily organizer.(Or you could just have a large paper that says "Schedule" with all the daytime and evening hours on it) Have a picture of the First Presidency. Have the children fill in what they think the prophets and apostles do in a day. Most of all, they are special witnesses of Christ. See here for some great quotes. What a true and priceless service to all of us they give as they bear such strong testimony of Our Savior.

** "The Lord revealed why “he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets.” It is “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (Eph. 4:11–13).
The ministry of the Apostles—the Presidency and the Twelve—therefore is to bring us to a unity of the faith. "Boyd K. Packer, “Special Witness: The Shield of Faith,” Friend, Jul 2003, 39

Have about 8 questions and 3-4 songs on service. As children answer the questions and sing nicely, invite one child up to the front. Then invite another to come up and hold that persons hand... and so on, forming a unified chain. Reemphasize that the prophets serve by "Perfecting, work and edifying" and in so doing, help unify us and make us stronger in the faith!!

** Linda Sherwood, “What Would the Prophets Want Me to Do?,” Friend, Sep 1999, 36 wrote a FANTASTIC WONDERFUL AND AMAZING article that could easily be tied into this weeks theme. Make little pictures to post on the board that go along with each question and story. Post a picture of the prophets mentioned. Have the kids try to match the question to the prophet who answered it. Also ask in each case how the prophet taught us service.

Week 4
Because others serve me, I too want to serve.

** Drop Everything and Come Running. Tell this story. Bring in a runners headband, armband and book bag. Make up some case studies (about 8) and put them on index cards. Also have some songs on service on different index cards and put everything into the backpack. Let a child come up, put on the headband, etc. and choose an index card. They will have to answer how they would serve the person, drop the backpack and walk-quickly (This is church, during a FHE would be different and they could run) across the room. Time how long it takes to walk across the room. Do this with all 8 children and see if as a primary you can drop everything and come help in under two minutes total.

** Mosiah 2:17, 19 "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!"
Write thank you notes to someone special who has helped you. Then add something you would like to do for them on it and do it!!
(Little ones can draw pictures, have teachers help add words like who has helped them, how, and what they want to do for the person)

** Rom. 12: 1, " I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

Have large pieces of butcher paper. Have the children lie down and trace each other on the paper. Have them label different parts of the body with ways they can serve. (For example, hands can tie shoes for a little brother, eyes can watch out for children at school who are lonely, ears can be good listeners to mom and dad, etc.)

** Check Yo' Attitude. Have different role play situations for the children to act out. The children will have to come up with the wrong attitude and right attitude towards service scenario.
For example: Your best friend needs to do chores before she can come play. What can you do to not help or help?
Your friend's dad is very sick and is in the hospital. What can you do to not help or help?
Have some come up and share with the whole primary.
Alma 30: 8-9, "For thus saith the scripture: Choose ye this day, whom ye will serve. Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege; or rather, if he believed in God it was his privilege to serve him..."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wouldn't it be lovely?

(Stunning Image by Meena Kadri, in regards to her own picture she says, "These children live in the slum at Manek Chowk. I watched the older one helping the youngsters do their homework while stuck in traffic on my scooter. I stopped and spent a while with their family who live in a low lean-to shelter on the edge of the street. Warm people." I found this on Flickr.com)

I was thinking to myself recently about Primary Activity Days. Wouldn't it be nice to have an after school homework party?

We could invite the Young Men and Young Womens. Have different tables set up- math, spelling, reading etc., everyone working together to help out on school work. Healthy snacks could be readily available to boost those brain muscles- broccoli and ranch, carrots, celery. Delicious juice!

Then as children finish homework, they could work on real homework. Activities that will bring them closer to Heavenly Father. Puzzles, worksheets, games, art, writing missionary letters, reading in pairs the scriptures...

I love the scriptures. Love them. Love them!

I came across John 4:31-34. It was deeply profound to me.
" In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.
But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."

What a powerful and perfect God we worship. His glory is evidenced by the divine example of His Son, Jesus Christ. Do we understand the importance of the Father's work? Are we doing everything we can to do the will of Him on high?

I was also struck by my readings in the Doctrine and Covenants. The phrase "I have chosen" that our Savior often says stood out to me. Whenever we played soccer in elementary school, I was usually chosen first if not the team captain. (I say this not to brag- because believe me, I was not world cup material!) However, I always felt this big responsibility to score big or work hard to make sure everyone got the ball since I was chosen at the beginning. Our Elder Brother, our Redeemer has chosen us to care and teach His little ones. I share this because it truly is a humbling thought. And when we are humble we're ripe for the whisperings of the spirit.

So, this post is a little scattered. Sorry. But I pray that God will bless you and keep you. I don't know you, but I really do love you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Possible Sacrament Meeting Program "Finales"

At the end of a year's worth of hard work what can we do to conclude. What could be the finale?

I hesitate to use the word reward. I think it can have connotations like here's your cookie, good job. Because really, the reward for all the hard work, singing, practicing is knowing and feeling closer to Heavenly Father and Our Redeemer.

The last two weeks we have been practicing especially hard for our program. What I did was have a "fruit of the spirit" party... or an apple party if you will (during the 3rd hour of church). The things they will be teaching during the program will inspire people, their righteous examples will help others closer to Christ. This is part of what the "fruit of the spirit" is. A couple children were given scriptures from John 15 (Vs. 5 and 16) We BRIEFLY discussed the scriptures and that was that. We went outside, munched our apples and enjoyed fresh air for about 15 minutes. It was wonderful!! (Of course I had to preface my expectations before we went outside. Should we dogpile? Should we be making any loud pterodactyl type noises? Do we play by moving cars? Can we have fun though and get some energy out? Yes!)

Also, I always take the last 2 or 3 minutes of closing exercises or the sharing time to let them give each other compliments. They can compliment whoever in the primary for whatever. This is rewarding beyond words. It builds unity and love.We had a boy tell a sunbeam that he was really proud that the sunbeam memorized his talk. That sunbeam was so happy he could fly!

Other ideas (as in an appreciation gift)

* Crowns with a note "You are children of the Most High. Sons and Daughters of a King. A royally good job was done on our Sacrament Meeting Program, thank you!!"

* Wooden Rulers with a note " Matt 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." This ruler is to remind you of the hard work,diligence, and faithfulness you have put into our Sacrament Meeting Program. Thank you!!

*Bottle of Water (with a paper well note) "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. John 4:14" You have given the best water one could possibly ask for during our Sacrament Meeting Program. You have borne testimony of our Savior. Thank you for the wonderful examples you are!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In Greece they "Shhhh" the goats

(Image Courtesy Essjay is Happy in NZ Aug. 2005, found on flickr.com)
My mother is a teacher. A great teacher. A great mother. She is also Greek. Perhaps a great Greek? One thing my mother always told me is, "In Greece they shush/ "shhhhhh" the goats."

How can we maintain an atmosphere of reverence in primary... without "shhhh"-ing? After all, the children are not "cachikis" (goat in greek) and primary doesn't need to sound like a leaky faucet.

* Sing a song. Or sing a song. Did I mention sing a song?

*Quiet Signals. Let the children know when you give the signal, you expect attention and calm. For example say Give me 5 and hold up your hand. (Ask the children to hold up their hand and 5 fingers) Another example, using your hand cup your ear. (When they see you do this, they need put their hand to their ear... listening is important!!) Move on quickly. There's no need to chastise.

* Stand by a picture of the Savior, pointing to Him and quietly wait. (No more than 30 seconds, just enough to quickly get back to what you are doing with the primary's full attention)

* Touch your knees, your toes, your eyes and your nose. (whisper this and have them follow suit)

*Look at the ceiling, look at the floor, look at the door, look at Helen's shoe, smile at your neighbor, look at the picture of Christ. (speak this as quickly as you can and have them follow suit)

* Have the picture of Jesus stilling the storm (GAK 214) on a popsicle stick. Hold it up, you say peace, they say be still. Smile. Move on.

* Hold up a mirror. When it's quiet say "Can you see His image in your countenance?" I think so, thank you.

One reason we come to church is to learn about Heavenly Father and Jesus. To get closer to them. We need to PRAY beforehand that Primary will be uplifting and that the spirit may be felt. With God all things are possible. Be confident because the Lord is by our side when we are doing the things He asks.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

September 2008 Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

(Image courtesy Don2G April 2005 found on flickr.com)

This is a continuation post. (Idea's for weeks 1 and 2 can be found here)

Week 3 Heavenly Father knows me. He will answer my prayers in ways that are best for me.

** Have a child come up to the front of the room. Ask them where they would like to go, anywhere in the room! Take them by the hand, take them where they want to go. Invite another child to do the same but this time take them to a picture of Christ up in the room.

Read quote by President Hinckley, " The Lord has said, ‘Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers’ (D&C 112:10). What a tremendous promise is given in this statement. If we are without conceit and pride and arrogance, if we are humble and obedient, then the Lord will lead us by the hand and answer our prayers. What greater thing could we ask for? There is nothing to compare with this."

Invite yet one other child and this time lead him to the chalkboard. At the chalkboard have a picture of a child praying (GAK 605) and the lesson's theme written covered by a large piece of paper. Have the child remove the paper.

** Is there a doctor in your ward or branch? Invite them in for a quick 5 minutes. Have a child come up and tell the doctor how to do brain surgery. Hmmmm… that’s tricky. Have another child come up and tell the doctor what medicine he should give a person with the flu. Ask the doctor how long he went to school. How long has he been a doctor? Ask the children if he probably knows more about being a doctor than they do. So it is with Heavenly Father. We should never tell Heavenly Father what to do. We must always ask politely, with reverence and be open to however He sees fit to answer our prayers.

** Divide the children into groups of 3 or 4. Ask them to find out some interesting things about each other. Then have them come up to the front, introduce each other and say one thing they learned about each other. Ask them if they know each other better now? After everyone has shared, ask them if they think they know someone in the room really well... perhaps a brother knows his younger brother really well.

How do you get to know a person? You need to talk to them and spend time with them. Heavenly Father has done this and knows each one of us better than we know ourselves!! When we talk and spend time praying to Him, He will answer our prayers in ways that are best for us.

Read Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

** Feeling ambitious?? Need a change of pace?? Bring in some shoe boxes (or you could use sturdy paper plates), paper, scissors, glue sticks, crayons… the works. Have the children make dioramas (a 3-D display work of art) of a place they can pray to Heavenly Father. Challenge them to go to this place and give sincere, humble prayer and see what happens! Bear testimony that Heavenly Father knows them and will answer their prayers in ways that are best for them.
TIPS
-Give a 5 minute warning when you want to end the activity. Then again give a 1 minute warning. Now everyone has 10 seconds to put their box under their chair and show me what a reverent person looks like. I don’t need anyone to count, just look at my fingers and listen to my voice.
-Scrap patrol, if some children finish early have them go on scrap patrol with small garbage cans to help clean up.
-Have some pre-cut and drawn things for the sunbeams to glue to boxes, like windows, trees, bed, chairs, people-trace a small cookie cutter person, table… (And remember for it to be 3-D diorama style these things will need small tabs to be folded on and glued)
-Say this at the beginning, say it during the middle and end - Let the children know IF THEY DON’T FINISH IT’S OK!! I’m sure working on it at home would greatly please Heavenly Father as you will be keeping the Sabbath Day holy thinking about the wonderful blessing of prayer!!
-Have soft piano music in the background and remind the children to keep voices low enough to where we can hear the beautiful music.
-Have all the adults walking around and helping. Hold up boxes while others are working and compliment. Keep your compliments specific (E.G. Tim’s prayer box is very colorful! I can see all the colors of the rainbows, isn’t that beautiful! Vs. This is a nice box. Another example- Gayle has been working and concentrating so hard on her prayer box. You can definitely tell, look at all the details she put on the blanket. What dedication! Vs. Isn’t this a pretty blanket?) When you compliment in this way you are showing the children you really care and that you are willing to give proper attention to their diligence.
-Ask the bishop if you could display the boxes in his office for a week or two. As the children take the challenge seriously they can report back to him on Sunday and talk about what happened, he can then give them their prayer box back. But PLEASE make this just an option for the children, some will more than likely want to take their box home, never force anybody!!


Week 4 Answers to my prayers come from Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost, the scriptures, and others.

** Also, another answer to prayers is described in Gospel Principles, "Often God gives us the power to help answer our own prayers. As we pray for help, we should do all we can to bring about the things we desire. (p. 44)

** Have a panel of children. Give them each a name; Enos, Daniel (Daniel 6:1-23), Zenos (Alma 33:3-6), Nephi (1 Nephi 17:7-8), Brother of Jared (Ether 3), Moses (Moses 1), Joseph Smith (D&C 122). Let the children look up scriptures related to that person and let the other children come up with questions to find out who these people are. Try to work in questions like, what did you pray for? how were your prayers answered? what did you see during your prayer? did you hear a voice during or after your prayer? After each prophet is discovered talk about how their prayers were answered.

** Have a talented singer from your ward or branch come in and start off the lesson by singing Joseph Smith's First Prayer (Hymn Book page 26).

On a table up front have a variety (that means at least 20 different things) of pictures, scriptures written on paper, stories about Joseph from the friend magazine. Do your research, you will be blessed! (Start by searching the friend magazine using key words Joseph Smith Prayer, look in the topical guide, try the institute manual Church History in the Fullness of Times) Have the children divided into small groups of 4-5. On the blackboard put: How was Joseph Smith's prayers answered. Give the children 7-10 minutes and some chalk. As they find answers invite them up to the blackboard to write down what they think. For younger children have them have an adult help or they can draw a small picture. Put a teacher with each group and have a rule where only 4 people can be at the chalkboard at a time.

With the remaining time have the children then talk about what they learned or found out. Did Joseph have any experiences where his prayers were answered by the holy ghost, scriptures or other people?

** There are 2 parables in the New Testament where Jesus Himself teaches about prayer.

The Friend at Midnight (Luke 11:5-8) and The Selfish Judge (Luke 18:1-8)

Have the children write down an experience they have had with prayer and how it was answered- was it by the holy ghost, scriptures or other people?? The younger ones can draw pictures. Put together a modern day parable book and then read it to the children. If they can't remember examples in their own life, have a couple back up experiences in your life or other's lives that you can talk about and have them write down or draw. Give the book to a new convert or to the missionaries who are teaching someone.

** Have an envelope. I just received my power bill. How will I pay it? Explain that I can mail back payment, pay on the computer, go to the power plant and pay it. Take a vote, how would the children pay the bill? It's nice to have choices.

Have a stuffed dog. I need to take my dog for a walk. I could walk down the street, take him to the marina or I could take him to the park. Take a vote, how where would the children take the dog. It's nice to have choices.

Have a picture of someone praying. This person is saying a prayer. How does Heavenly Father answer prayers? Heavenly Father has choices too when it comes to answering prayers. He can answer them with the Holy Ghost, scriptures or through other people.

Have different case studies/examples/short stories of people and prayer. Give the children a piece of paper folded in thirds with a drawing of scriptures, people and the word Holy Ghost on each third. As you tell each case study, have them decide how the prayer was answered and show you by folding the paper to the answer they think.

For a few stories see here, here, here, and here. A case study could include, Mary was very nervous about a math test coming up. She knew all her multiplication facts except for 9 times 9. She said many prayers, but to her it didn't seem like it did any good. She still always forgot the answer. That night at FHE they studied D&C 81. It talked about the mansions Heavenly Father has prepared for us. It really touched her heart. Then all of a sudden, she knew the answer. 9 times 9 was 81!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

FHE Words of Isaiah (For 4ish and Younger)

( Image Courtesy Nick in Exsilio 1/3/07 Isaiah 6.1: "I have seen the Lord seated on a [high] throne." The Cross. Basilica di S. Clemente, Rome. 12th cent.)
Theme: 2 Nephi 15:20 "Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
Opening Prayer
Optional Songs
Choose the Right Way (Children's Songbook page 160)
Dare to Do Right (Children's Songbook page 158)
Activity:
Have a picture of a dog (with a foot kicking it), garbage (litter), a tree (with paint on it/graffiti), a sad faced little girl, and an alcohol advertisement. Tape them to the wall.
Have a picture of the scriptures, the temple, Jesus, a child praying, and a cat (with a hand petting it). Tape to the opposite wall.
Have 5 frowny faces and 5 smiley faces. Have the children decide what things are good and what things are bad and to match with the frowny/smiley faces. When they have matched everything, say "No. You're wrong. It's good to kick dogs! It's good to be mean to mother earth! Are scriptures really that great?" Take down all the faces. Put the frowny on the good and the smiley on the bad. (If you feel uncomfortable doing this, use a puppet like "Mixed-Up Mikey or Confused Courtney" to be the antagonist)
Hopefully the children will protest! With hands on your cheeks, say oh no!! What have I done!! Maybe I need a scripture to help me.
Scripture:
2 Nephi 15:20
There are people in the world that call good things bad, and bad things good. We never listen to those silly and WRONG voices! We listen to the scriptures and our prophets! Fix all the pictures and frowny/smiley faces.
Activity:
Turn off the lights and say I'm sure glad the lights are on. Turn on the light and say, where is everyone? I can't see it's so dark in here!!
Activity:
Have unsweetened (bitter chocolate) and milk chocolate. Read the scripture again and emphasize sweet and bitter. Tell them they are going to eat something sweet and give them the bitter. What a terrible thing to do!!
Read 2 more short scriptures while everyone is munching.
Moro. 7: 14 (14, 18)
Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.
1 Jn. 1: 6
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.
Make point clear, bear testimony: There is good and bad in the world, we must never mix these things up!! We must know the difference between good and bad, Heavenly Father will always help us to do so!!
Closing Prayer
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Theme: 2 Nephi 15: 13 "Therefore, my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge."
Opening Prayer
Song
Fun to Do (Children's Songbook page 253b) With actions like reading a book, walking to school, learning at church (point to head then make chapel with hands)
Activity:
Gather up as many stuffed animals as possible. Put them in a box and make bars on it. Read 2 Nephi 15:13. Explain that our little friends don't know anything. They need to learn things so they can get out of captivity! As a family draw questions from a hat then good answers free the stuffed friends.
What color is the sun?
What does a fireman do?
Who created the earth?
Can you name 2 noises you would hear on a farm?
What is the first book in the Book of Mormon?
Who is our prophet today?
What does rain do?
What do plants need to grow?
Can you name 2 things you wear in the winter?
Who is your hero?
What are some nice things you can do to help mommy?
Does Jesus really live? Was He really resurrected?
What is a library?
What is your favorite song, can we sing it?
What do trains do?

After all the friends are free, have some jewels or a hand drawn treasure chest and read the following Proverbs 8:10-11 "Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it."
Make point clear, bear testimony: We need to learn things! What we know helps us to be free! What we know is more precious than gold! Jesus Christ is our Savior, this is the most important thing I know.
Closing Prayer
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