Sunday, May 24, 2015

June 2015 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Celestial Fireworks Hubble Space Telescope Image

Monthly Theme: The Holy Ghost Testifies of the Truth of All Things
Monthly Scripture: “By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” Moroni 10:5

Week 1 The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead.

* Make a memory match game, but with a twist. Make it all over the room instead of having everything up front. Have some papers on the backs of chairs, some on the floor, some on the walls, one on the piano, one on Sister Lovely's church bag....
     Some things that could go on your matches could be:
- a picture of Jesus & Heavenly Father appearing to Joseph Smith, Who is the third member of the Godhead? What did Joseph Smith's first vision teach us about the Godhead?
- a picture of the angel Moroni, "By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things"
- a picture of a hand, What type of body does the Holy Ghost have? (Hint: D&C 130:22)
- a picture of Adam, How long has the Holy Ghost been on earth to help guide men? (Hint: 1 Nephi 19:10)
- a picture of a baptism, When does one receive the gift of the Holy Ghost?
(Remember, the power of the Holy Ghost anyone can experience, but the gift comes after baptism.)
- a picture of fire, "For those who receive this gift, the Holy Ghost acts as a cleansing agent to purify them and sanctify them from all sin. Thus it is often spoken of as “fire”." (From the Bible Dictionary)
- a picture from Jesus' mortal ministry, Was the Holy Ghost working among the Jews on earth when Jesus was on earth? This is a tricky one!
"For some reason not fully explained in the scriptures, the Holy Ghost did not operate in the fulness among the Jews during the years of Jesus’ mortal sojourn. Statements to the effect that the Holy Ghost did not come until after Jesus was resurrected must of necessity refer to that particular dispensation only, for it is abundantly clear that the Holy Ghost was operative in earlier dispensations.Furthermore, it has reference only to the gift of the Holy Ghost not being present, since the power of the Holy Ghost was operative during the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus; otherwise no one would have received a testimony of the truths that these men   taught. " (Again Bible Dictionary)
- a picture of a brain, What does the Holy Ghost know? D&C 35:19 says, "All things."
- a picture of a number 5, What are some other names for the Holy Ghost?
Holy Spirit, Spirit of God, Spirit of the Lord, Comforter, and Spirit.
    You can make the matches just pictures, or a picture and then the question..... just go with what the spirit tells you!

* HERE is an excellent link to The Godhead, a sharing time from The Friend. I like the idea at the bottom of having 3 groups sing the 3 different songs (I Know My Father Lives, He Sent His Son, The Holy Ghost) and asking what they learned from those songs about that member of The Godhead. The mosaic would also be a great activity to take home!

* Invite 3 children up front who really love to play soccer. Have a soccer ball. Invite the 3 children to work together to score a goal (you can be the goalie). What are some of the different positions in soccer? Forward, goalie, defenders..... they are all separate people, but one in purpose! Just like the Godhead! The Godhead is unified/one in their purposes and goal of helping man achieve happiness and eternal life, but they are separate and distinct individuals. Break into 3 groups and sit in a circle. Have 3 soccer balls with 5-6 questions attached on them. Each ball's questions/scriptures should focus on a member of The Godhead.
   After a few minutes invite a child from each group up front to share something about that member of The Godhead.
   Bear testimony that The Godhead works as a team to help us. They love us very much!

* Good information about spirits to know:
"Remind the young men that a spirit looks like a body and is composed of matter....Explain that before Jesus Christ was born on earth, he had a spirit only. Before he was born, he appeared to the brother of Jared. The brother of Jared was surprised he could see the Savior. Jesus Christ showed his spirit, which looked like the physical body he would receive on earth. Ether 3:6–17" (From Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3 Lesson 1)

Week 2 The Holy Ghost speaks in a still, small voice.

* " I want to see men and women breathe the Holy Ghost in every breath of their lives, living constantly in the light of God’s countenance." President Brigham Young (Teachings of Brigham Young, Chapter 4)
    Take a minute to focus on our breathing. Have the children take a few deep breaths. Have them picture themselves under a giant oak tree, with sunlight coming through. Have them take their pointer finger and close off one nostril while they breath in, then switch their finger to their other nostril while they breath out.
     Does everyone feel peaceful right now? What do you think Brigham Young meant by that quote (there is no right or wrong answer!!)? Today in sharing time we are going to use still, small voices... which means we'll have to be extra reverent to be able to hear!!
     Have about 10 different pictures of things that are loud. A drum, a microphone, a lion, lightning/thunder.... on the back have questions, scriptures, or songs about the Holy Ghost. Once they have answered, have them put a large X over the picture.... because how does the Holy Ghost speak? In a still, small voice!
      Take a few more deep breaths. Repeat the Brigham Young quote. End the lesson by bearing testimony that we need to make sure we take the time to feel the Holy Ghost! Sometimes we really need to slow and down and listen... and breath!! He will speak to us in a still, small voice.

* 1 Kings 19:9-12 Have a few primary friends act out this story while you read. Have simple costumes: prophet robe and head covering, a few fans for the wind, a few rocks for the earthquake, a red & a yellow bandana to wave for fire. Have Elijah go under a table (his cave, you could even bring in a tablecloth to cover the back and sides) while you read.
     Sing Listen, Listen (CS 107). Have some small papers with questions or information about the Holy Ghost on them in a jar. Invite a reverent person to come to Elijah's cave and sit inside and read a paper from the jar. Or HERE is an easy fill in the blank activity from The Friend.

* HERE is a story about a little boy who listened to the still, small voice. You can read it or tell it in your own words to the children.
      Dig out a ball of white yarn. Create a primary spider web by having the children share something they know about the Holy Ghost, holding the yarn, then tossing the ball to another friend who can share something else about the Holy Ghost. The kids might need prompting, so have some questions or scripture stories in mind to help them move things along. Don't forget to have anyone share any personal experiences!!
    At the end, remind the boys and girls how the Holy Ghost can speak to us through a still, small voice... just like the boy in the story who didn't run into the spider's web!

HERE is an excellent read for the week's lesson!! It has some great descriptions about how the Holy Ghost feels and EXCELLENT suggestions on how we can help our children hear the still, small voice!!! It's a MUST READ to prepare!!!

Week 3 The Holy Ghost can guide and protect us.

* To go along with the sharing time outline, my thoughts are the adults could dress SIMPLY as characters from The Book of Mormon who were guided or protected by the Holy Ghost. They would act in character, tell their story, and answer any questions from the children. Divide the children into groups. With 4-5 adults, you'd have about 2 minutes at each person. The adult would have to tell their story 4-5 times.
   Some ideas for people are Nephi (when he was able to get the brass plates 1 Nephi 4:6), Abish (the spirit guided her to tell the people what was going on with Ammon, the king, and queen Alma 19), Aminadab (he was in prison and saw Nephi & Lehi's face shine. He also witnessed the still, small voice Helaman 5:30), Aaron (son of Mosiah, guided by the spirit to the king of the Lamanites, the father of Lamoni. Helped to convert him Alma 22:1), Samuel the Lamanite (taught the word of The Lord and was protected from the stones and arrows, Helaman 16:2)
* HERE is a story (scroll down almost to the end) about personal protection from the life of Elder Oaks. I don't know if I'd share it in primary, but I would definitely share it in Family Home Evening. To quote him, "Just as I was about to make my move, I had a unique experience. I did not see anything or hear anything, but I knew something. I knew what would happen."

* If it is pouring rain outside, what will protect us from getting wet? An umbrella! Have an umbrella and choose a reverent child to come up front and choose a paper raindrop. HERE is a myriad of things President Woodruff went through as he was protected from death, put them on the paper raindrops.
     There are some excellent discussion questions at the end! He still had to endure many hardships, but his life was protected. The Holy Ghost can guide and protect us. Have a paper with an umbrella on it for the children to color and decorate. Have them write things they know to be true about The Holy Ghost.

* HERE is a story about a primary leader who was guided and protected by the Holy Ghost.
     Have about 10-12 paper fires. Bring in a toy fire truck. Sister Esplin says, "I know I had Heavenly Father’s help in knowing what I needed to do to put out the fire that day." The Holy Ghost can help us!! On the paper fires put questions, songs, scriptures having to do with the Holy Ghost. Let a child drive the truck to a fire and answer the question.
     When we are worthy, the Holy Ghost will help to put out our fires and problems. Make a goal to do something this week that will help invite the spirit to be felt!

Week 4 By the power of the Holy Ghost, we may know the truth of all things.

* HERE is an excellent poem from The Friend that would make a good handout.

* D&C 91:4 "Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth."
     Make bookmarks with this scripture on it!
* Break into groups and read the following. For younger children, teachers can read:
President Uchtdorf has said, "It was less than a century ago that most astronomers assumed that our Milky Way galaxy was the only galaxy in the universe.They supposed all that lay beyond our galaxy was an immense nothingness, an infinite void—empty, cold, and devoid of stars, light, and life. As telescopes became more sophisticated—including telescopes that could be launched into space—astronomers began to grasp a spectacular, almost incomprehensible truth: the universe is mind-bogglingly bigger than anyone had previously believed, and the heavens are filled with numberless galaxies, unimaginably far away from us, each containing hundreds of billions of stars.
     Scientists were struggling to understand the breadth of the universe until instruments became sophisticated enough to gather in greater light so they could understand a more complete truth.
     The Apostle Paul taught a parallel principle regarding spiritual knowledge. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God,” he wrote to the Corinthians, “for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” In other words, if you want to recognize spiritual truth, you have to use the right instruments...
     I offer you my personal witness that spiritual truth will fill your heart and bring light to your spirit. It will reveal to you pure intelligence with wonderful joy and heavenly peace. I have experienced this for myself by the power of the Holy Ghost.
     If you seek God’s truth, that which now may appear dim, out of focus, and distant will gradually be revealed and clarified and become close to your heart by the light of God’s grace. Glorious spiritual vistas, unimaginable to the human eye, will be revealed to you." (Oct. 2014 General Conference Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth)
   The Holy Ghost is the telescope that helps us to see all the stars! It helps us to know the truth of all things! Bring in some pictures of other galaxies, nebulas.... how does it make you feel to know that God has given you a way to know truth?
    Bring in some yellow paper stars. Let the children write down some things they know to be true on them. Have them put in a box and share a few! Challenge the children to take 2-5 minutes on a warm night and look up into the stars. What truth will the Holy Ghost tell them as they look up??
* Jacob 4:13 "For the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls..."
   Play a game called, TELL THE TRUTH! Invite each child to write down something TRUE about themselves, with their name on the back. Younger children will need help writing down their idea. Put all the TRUTHS in a small bag. Draw out a couple truths and have the primary children guess who that truth is about.
    In between each round of the game/drawing out truths, have questions and scriptures about the Holy Ghost for the children to answer or read. At the very end, share your truth. My truth is that I know the Holy Ghost will help us know the truth of all things. He is our special friend! He will help, guide, and comfort us!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mother's Day

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

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