Friday, November 25, 2011

December 2011 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

(L'Innocence by William-Adolphe Bouguereau 1893)

Monthly Theme: The Scriptures Teach Me about the Savior’s Birth and Second Coming.
Monthly Scripture: “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” Matthew 16:27.

Week 1 Prophets prophesied about the birth of Jesus Christ.

* HERE is an "Advent Calendar: Prophecies of Christ’s Coming,” NewEra, Dec 2008, 21–25. It'd be a great handout for the children to take home to families.

* Numbers 24:17 "I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob..." Who was the prophet Balaam, from the Old Testament, prophesying would be born? Who was that Star?? Jesus!!
Have 10 different glow in the dark stars throughout the room. Turn off the lights and invite one Primary friend to choose one. Turn on the light. Have scriptures, songs and questions having to do with this week's theme attached to the stars. (OR you could just put up these STARS)

* HERE is a talk, This Shall Be a Sign unto You By Whitney Hinckley (Liahona Dec. 2011) that has prophecies and the fulfillment of it. You could easily make this into a matching game or you could give classes a prophecy or fulfillment and have them walk around the room to find the match. Then they come up front to share.
* I love love love.... love love love... love love love... love times infinity all the people that put together fun stuff on to help me teach my children. God bless you whoever you are. HERE is a link to Book of Mormon stories with visuals and audio. Chapter 40 & 41 show Samuel prophesying Christ's birth and the signs fulfilled about his birth. If you have internet or can download these, it'd be great to show the kids. Each segment is about 3 minutes. HERE is the Old Testament link, Chapter 47 is Prophets tell about Jesus.

* HERE is an excellent shadow box idea from The Friend.

* HERE is a mobile children can make from The Friend about different prophecies.

Week 2 Jesus Christ was born.

* When was Jesus born? December 25? Write down different dates... take a vote, then quote the following:

After summarizing the opinions of various scholars in the matter of Christ’s birthday, Elder James E. Talmage compares their conclusions with modern revelation and then affirms: “We believe that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea, April 6, B.C. 1.” ( Jesus the Christ, p. 104.) Of this President Harold B. Lee declared:  “This is the annual conference of the Church. April 6, 1973, is a particularly significant date because it commemorates not only the anniversary of the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this dispensation, but also the anniversary of the birth of the Savior, our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. [Quoted D&C 20:1 ]” ( CR, Apr. 1973, p. 4.)

Also, a more recent quote from Elder Russell M. Nelson, "We commemorate His humble birth at this time of year, even though we know it did not occur in December but in April." (Christ the Savior is Born, Ensign, Dec. 2006)

* Bring in simple costumes to act out the story of the nativity.

* Divide into groups and give each group a nativity. Let them tell the story of the nativity with the figurines in each group.

* Let the children make paper bag puppets to take home with different people from the nativity story to share at a Family Home Evening.

* Whisper in a child's ear to go to the corner and tap his nose 15 times, then sit down. Do it discreetly. Make small talk with the Primary and see how their week was. Did anyone notice what our primary friend did in the corner while we were talking? It's kind of hard to see things if it's in the corner!!

"“This thing was not done in a corner,” Paul said of Christ's ministry and the restoration of the gospel in the meridian of time. (Acts 26:26.) Indeed, the witnesses of the Savior’s birth were many and various."

Divide the primary into 12 groups. Give each group one of the witnesses found in THIS TALK, Twelve Witnesses of Christ’s Birth By Joseph Fielding McConkie (Ensign Dec.1990) Groups can make a picture of their person. After a few minutes have them share with the whole primary who their witness to Jesus' birth was and what they learned.

*“The Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay” (Mosiah 3:5). Using playdough, have children create the nativity in each of their classes.* HERE is a simple Christmas matching game from The Friend.

* HERE is an excellent idea from The Friend by Sister Elizabeth Ricks. It includes visuals and scriptures.

Week 3 Jesus Christ will someday return to the earth.

* HERE is a very cool sharing time from The Friend having to do with the parable of the 10 Virgins.

* HERE is a visual children can make of how they can be prepared when Jesus comes again.(The Friend Dec. 2001)

* Draw pictures of what the Millennium will be like!! I personally would draw myself and Jesus eating chocolate ice cream bars on the back of an elephant with rainbows and stars lighting up the sky!

* Awesome idea from Sister Sydney Reynolds:
"To learn more about what life will be like in the Millennium, when Christ returns to earth to reign for a thousand years, choose 2 children to role-play TV news anchor persons, and assign each class to choose a “field reporter” to report the class’s findings on the following subjects in the scriptures: • animals / Isa. 11:6–9; Hosea 2:18 • people / Isa. 54:heading, 3; Micah 4:4; D&C 63:50–51 • nations, government / Micah 4:1–3; Jer. 31:33; D&C 29:11 • miscellaneous—time of His coming / Matt. 24:36, 44; Zion and the return of the city of Enoch / D&C 45:66, 71; Moses 7:62–64. Have the anchor persons make up questions for each field reporter to tell what his/her class learned about their subject. Tell the children that we do not know exactly when the Savior will come, but we must be preparing to meet Him (see Matt. 25:1–13). Sing “When He Comes Again” (CS, pp. 82–83) and discuss what the things are that we need to do to “be ready there.” (Dec. 1999 Friend)

* Lesson 43: Jesus Christ Will Come Again Primary 2: Choose the Right A, (1995), 235–39 supposedly has a "Jesus Will Come Again" board game. The link, found HERE, doesn't have it, but I'd be interested in seeing that!!

* Divide into groups and make "Welcome Back" signs. Give each group a scripture about Jesus Christ returning to the earth and have them illustrate or write thoughts. Have them share their work with the Primary.

Week 4 To prepare for the 2nd Coming, I will follow Jesus Christ.

*For a FHE discussion: My girls love Disney's The Lion King. In the movie there is a song called "Be Prepared". Scar, the villain, is gathering an army of hyenas and telling them to "Be Prepared" to take over the kingdom. Scar repeatedly tries to get Simba to make bad choices (What are they?), choices specifically against what his father has told him. Like Scar, Satan and his fallen angels are always ready, always preparing to tempt us and try to get us to make bad choices. We know that they are nothing compared to our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ. D&C 38:30-31 says, "But if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.And that ye might escape the power of the enemy, and be gathered unto me a righteous people, without spot and blameless"

What can we do to prepare? Discuss as a family!

* Play "Honey I love you". A friend stands up front and their job is to NOT SMILE for anything!! Another primary friend will come up to them and try to make them laugh by saying "Honey, I love you" in some sort of funny voice. The friend standing has to reply WITHOUT smiling, "Honey, I love you too... but I still won't smile." Is it hard to stand up here when someone is trying to get you to do something else?

We live in a world that is quick to get us to move from our values. We live in a world that is evil and full of bad things happening. The 2nd coming is close, however, our prophet has said, "be not troubled, but, “stand … in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come” (D&C 87:8). Holy men stand in holy places and these holy places include our temples, our chapels, our homes, and the stakes of Zion, which are, as the Lord declares, “for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth” (D&C 115:6)." (Great Day of the Lord by President Ezra Taft Benson May Ensign 1982)

Our silly game is fun. When it comes to life however, we must never give in to those who would move us! Jesus Christ will come again and when He does, we will be standing in holy places!!

* What is “the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (D&C 2:1)? What does great mean? What about dreadful? Write the 2 words on the chalkboard. In between have a picture of the Savior. Elder Spencer V. Jones, of the Seventy, said, "We may have a tendency to overlook the “great” and accentuate the “dreadful." We do, however, have control over whether we personally will be prepared for the day when the Savior comes again. Our daily decisions will determine whether that day is “great” or “dreadful.” (Messages from the Doctrine and Covenants: Finding Hope in the Second Coming June Ensign 2005) Brainstorm ideas of decisions people make and write them under great or dreadful, depending on their consequence... For example, reading scriptures would be written under great.

(RECYCLED IDEAS from previous posts)

* Have a child come up and hold a rock. Ask the primary what will happen if the child drops the rock? It falls. Have another child come up and demonstrate. There are things we know without any question that are going happen. Just like we are certain and know Jesus will come again.

* Learn the 10th Article of Faith song.Give the children popsicle sticks to learn the melody and move it up or down as they sing. Challenge a child to come up and be a dictionary. Have them hold a dictionary. Ask them the meaning of words in this article of faith that are big. Display GAK 238 The 2nd Coming and have the children share what they think it will be like when Jesus comes again.

* Show the video segment of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin from Special Witnesses of Christ. Have a nativity with scriptures, songs and questions attached about when Jesus will come again. The first time He came was amazing and so the second time will be!!

* Interesting Fact: “The Lord deals with this people as a tender parent with a child, communicating light and intelligence and the knowledge of his ways as they can bear it. The inhabitants of the earth are asleep; they know no the day of their visitation. The Lord hath set the bow in the cloud for a sign that while it shall be seen, seed time and harvest, summer and winter shall not fail; but when it shall disappear, woe to that generation, for behold the end cometh quickly.” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith Compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.305)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Young Women in Excellence Talk: Spiritual Bonfires of Testimony

I was supposed to speak at Young Women in Excellence night... I was all prepared, however 15 minutes before I was supposed to be there, we had a family emergency and I ended up not being able to go because we were at Urgent Care. All is well now, but I feel really bad. Anyways, just thought I'd post what I wrote for the occasion... because Elder Wirthlin is awesome and has wonderful insight.

I wanted to start off by saying thank you for the honor of speaking tonight. I haven’t been in Young Women's or had a calling in it for 12 years, but my love for the program is strong. You are a rare group of girls, beautiful and radiant. While I don’t know you all on an individual basis, I look at you and see pure, virtuous young ladies making a huge impact in this world and am humbled to be before you. I’ve prayed every night to know what needs to be said and I pray right now that the spirit will guide us and edify us... and that I wont bore the snot out of you.

The theme for tonight is the "purse-suit of happiness". I love that because happiness isn’t just going to hit you on the head one day. It’s something you have to actively seek for. Happiness comes in many shapes and forms. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin wrote a book entitled Finding Peace in our Lives and I wanted to share with you thoughts from it, specifically the chapter Spiritual Bonfires of Testimony. Because I know that true happiness is having a testimony of God the Father and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Before I do so, I’ll give you a brief background of my experience from Young Women's. We had a small group of girls, so much so that there was usually me, maybe another girl and my best friend who wasn’t a member at mutual activities. I wish I could say I was mature enough to go to activities because I had a deep desire to learn and better myself, but in all honesty it was to watch the guys play basketball after. My leaders loved me but I’m pretty sure I was super annoying to them because I’d always try to ask them off the wall questions. For example, one leader worked at a mental institution and I remember trying to get her to talk about the people there and if she worried they’d ever break out and find her. We were in the car for 20 minutes together and by the end she put her hand on my shoulder, thoroughly patient yet glad to get rid of me and said, Goodnight Sofia. Goodnight. I’m sure you are all wiser than I was. All your leaders speak very very highly of you.

I loved Girl’s Camp. It was a time to learn, feel the spirit and just enjoy life. My best friend that I mentioned would come and I’m grateful because I’m hoping those were the seeds planted that will be sown later on in life. One year we were camp mail women and we wore pink kimonos everywhere walking with wooden canes from Tijuana. Young Women’s is an inspired organization that is there to help us have happy memories. Not only that, but it can be a safety for us to help us through the drama of middle school and highschool. I held on to Young Womens. I went to church, I went to mutual. I attended seminary. I made a lot of mistakes and was far from perfect but Young Women’s and Personal Progress helped me build upon my testimony. Others from my laurel class didn’t see the value in it and 3 chose alternate lifestyles, 1 went to BYU met a non-member and married him and fell away from the church and 1 other just went inactive. I don’t know all the details of the younger girls but out of a group of 20, me and a girl named Ronnie stayed active. It’s pretty sad statistics and I wonder what happened. But at the same time I don’t. In two words, wolves happened.

Elder Wirthlin tells of large packs of quote “wolves that roamed the countryside of Ukraine many years ago. It made travel very dangerous. The wolf packs were fearless. They were not intimidated by people or by any of the weapons available at that time. The only thing that seemed to frighten them was fire. Consequently, travelers who found themselves away from cities developed the practice of burning a large bonfire and keeping it burning through the night. As long as the fire burned brightly, the wolves stayed away. But if the fire burned out, the wolves would move in for an attack. Travelers understood that building and maintaining a bonfire was not just a matter of convenience or comfort; it was a matter of survival.”

We obviously don’t have to look far to see wolves all around us. They are on shirts, bumper stickers, hats, cups, license plates... you name it.
So what is the moral of the story and the point of my ramblings? Don’t go to UNR, go to BYU.... goooooooooooooo cougars!! UNR may pay our bills, but I’ll always prefer my alma mater. (**Sidenote dear readers, our local university has the mascot of wolf pack as pictured and my husband works there as an administrator)

All joking aside. Elder Wirthlin mentions some pretty vivid scriptures “1 Peter 5:8 describes our, “adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, that walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” The Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb.” D&C 122:6.”

The name of the program tonight is Young Women in Excellence, and you can tell. Because you step outside of this room and you see females who parade their bodies as trash. We live in Nevada, so we get an extra dosage of visuals that are nothing short of horrific, yet so sad. You step outside this room and hear girls with mouths that need to be duck-taped for the good of society and decency of the human race. You step outside this room and there are girls having babies, unwed, unskilled, uneducated and unprepared for the consequence of their choice. You step outside this room and you take a big breath and thank the Lord that He is the Lord and that you don’t have His job. It seems overwhelming that there are so many willing to run with the pack and be led captive into misery. However, you take one step in this room and you can breath. You take one look around and here, here are Young Women in Excellence. Here are the Young Women, the leaders, the examples, the virtue and goodness that make the rest of us have hope. And why are you excellent? Because of your light.

Happiness is having the bonfire of a testimony. Perhaps it may be just a small one, perhaps it is a raging inferno ready to burn the desert we live in down... either way, we can always add fuel to our testimony and make it stronger.

Our dear apostle Elder Wirthlin suggests “3 ways that will fan the flame of personal testimony as a protection against the wolves of evil that are prowling all around us to threaten our spiritual security. First, our testimonies must be built upon a solid foundation of faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ.” Can anyone recite from memory Helaman 5:12? “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”

I was never a cheerleader, I was too self conscious of my thighs and not willing to work out. With that said, I still would rather watch cheerleaders than a football game. Something about guys in spandex who grunt and bash heads has no relevance to me. So back to cheerleaders.... when I think of cheerleaders making a pyramid formation, they always put the more robust girls on the bottom? Why? Obviously the waifs aren’t going to be able to support everyone. So it is with the Big Man upstairs, they don’t call Him the Big Man for nothing. He is all wise, all capable and ready to support us in all our righteous endeavors.

The second idea to fan the flame of personal testimony is, “We must repent humbly and sincerely.” I love the analogy Elder Wirthlin makes,“Anything that does not draw us closer to God takes us away from him.”

And the last idea he mentions is this, “Third, we must follow the example of the Savior.” How can we have a testimony of someone we don’t follow? We’re not asked to turn water into wine or atone for the sins of the world. 1 John 2: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” John continues on in Chapter 3 “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

What is the day the widow’s husband died? Leave a plant on her doorstep with a card that says, today is a hard day, but know you are loved more than words can say. Smile and wave at the car next to you. Say hello to people you don’t know at church. Post Ghandi quotes on facebook about making the world a better place.

The pursuit of happiness is consistently striving to gain a testimony of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. And today’s as good a day as any to decide what you know to be true. A testimony isn’t thanking people, a testimony is BAM... The Lord lives, I know this is true. We need to be ready to bear testimony at anytime. Be confident in the knowledge you’ve gained.

What is our happily ever after if we do so? Mosiah 2:41 “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.” Never ending happiness!! Cha Ching!!

I’d like to close with this Luis Vuiton purse. It’s worth I’m sure some money. My Aunt gave it to me when I was a young woman. I loved it because my Aunt gave it to me but I've never used it because I'm happy with my $3 clearance purse from Target. Recently we had a garage sale and I wanted to sell it because frankly, I never use it. I wanted $20 and this lady cruises up in her Landrover and says she’ll give me $5. This purse is worth so much more. Forget that. I want you all to know that your testimonies are worth more than you can ever ever ever possibly imagine! You are all precious daughters of God. Wolves will try to sell you short and undermine your worth... but you are so much more. You are God’s instruments to usher in the 2nd coming of the Lord. Know your Lord and be confident in your testimony.

I bear my personal witness the Jesus Christ lives. He is our very best friend. He is with us to support us and bear us up in our weakest moments. He will never fail us. He is our source of true joy. Heavenly Father is our Father. We are His children. He wants us to be like Him and has provided a perfect plan for this to happen. I love and worship the Father and the Son and testify that They are mighty to save and all powerful. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thanksgiving FHE's

Now that the month is almost over... maybe I should post some Thanksgiving FHE ideas.... ugh, real slick Sofia. Thanks.

This is one of my absolute favorites because I really get to see what my children have learned Gospel wise and what some of their favorite scripture stories of the moment are. Click HERE for the FHE.

This is a picture of our outcome this year. I just hot glued a scrap of fabric to the poster board to make a tablecloth. The girls also created a fancy centerpiece out of their magazine findings. I love that my 4 year old cut out corn and said, "This is the sheaves of corn that Pharaoh dreamed about and Joseph figured out what it meant."

Another fantastic one was counting our blessings. We filled up an entire poster board (Thank you 2 for $1 at the Dollar Store) with 104 different things we were thankful for. Star Wars, Snape and Nipple Latches were just a few of our many things we're thankful for.

For more gratitude ideas, just click on gratitude on my sidebar.

And if you're just looking for a fun Turkey Art Project here are a few:
The girls picked a few "feathers" from Wal-Mart paint section and cut slits on the sides to make them more textured.

This was crayon and watercolor. First they draw the shape of the turkey with a black sharpie.

Um, greatest wings ever. This makes me smile everyday. $1 store bandaids make feathers and of course, turkeys need long hair like Rapunzel. Third eyes? I don't know where that comes from.

Draw an outline of a turkey, let the kiddos cover with painters tape on the line, then marble roll!! It kind of looks like a sun, but if you look closely you'll see feet and a waddle.