Wednesday, October 23

FHE - "Come, Join With Us"

Week two of this new effort was a smashing success! And not necessarily the part I prepared, more so because of Ryan's contribution and testimony! I love my husband! I love preparing lessons and feel like I'm just beginning to learn how to teach my children by the Spirit. There's hope!

When Easton was just a baby, I struggled to feel like I knew enough to know "how" to teach him. Years of teaching from the Primary Manuals has helped me tremendously. I used to let myself feel inadequate because I hadn't served a full time mission for the study time and teaching/leadership training and experience. And while I do still hanker now and then for that, I feel like I am now really stepping in to what Ryan, I, and the Lord are partnering to do in my family. A mission would not have necessarily had me teaching children directly. Would I have loved the opportunity to study the gospel for hours each day and benefited from it greatly? YES! But do I need to be mandated by a program to do this? NO! My friend who is investigating the church has been waking up at 5:30 each morning to read at least two chapters of the Book of Mormon. It's on us to take what we've been given. The Lord is using what I've put in over the years and magnifying it in moments I had yesterday preparing and giving this lesson. I'm enjoying this golden season we're in as a family - they are so eager to learn from me and Ryan.

There was so much that could be covered in President Uchtdorf's talk, "Come, Join with us." It was so fabulous on so many fronts! However, for FHE, I chose to focus on the first part of his talk with our kids. Last year Easton and I did a class presentation on our LDS cultural identity. I felt very strongly as I do now, that my membership in the church is two fold - to learn and to serve - from my alma mater BYU's motto "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve." And as President Uchtdorf said, the "treasured blessings" of my membership have indeed brought "peace and purpose."

Here's the outline I prepared for myself and my simple "visual aids":

First we watched the story President Uchtdorf shared about the man in a great hall with all the religions of the world. He meets and talks with a couple who are Mormons and asks them about our church. This clip takes 2:18. Not the easiest for the kids to watch, but as the lesson progressed, they had indeed listened while they wiggled.

"Why would anyone join such a church?" (As I mentioned above, we have a neighbor who has been bringing her two kids to church and meeting with the missionaries with us for almost a year now so this is somewhat on their radar.)

1) This is the Savior's Church. 
I wanted to focus on "God loves us, gives us Gifts." The pictures were there to prompt their focus on familiar concepts and encourage their participation.

     God loves us, He gives us Gifts

  • Gift: God speaks to humans, the Church was restored by Jesus Christ himself - image: First Vision
  • Gift: Priesthood power and authority, helps us feel His Presence - images: sacrament, baptism, confirmation, family, temple
  • Gift: the gift of the Holy Ghost - image: Confirmation
  • Gift: scriptures - image: boy reading scriptures

2) Ours is "An Active Faith."

“Believing in God is commendable, but most people want to do more than listen to inspirational sermons . . . They want to put their faith into practice.”
As we went along with God's gifts to us above, I tried to reinforce how we show our love for God, our gifts to Him. In short, how we show gratitude for His gifts to us. I loved the participation I got from the kids on this. 
  • We attend church each week where they participate by being reverent in meetings and classes - soaking up knowledge and feeling the Spirit like sponges, they ask and answer questions, give talks, prayers and scriptures by assignment, and sing; We listen to General Conference; hold FHE as a family. Ryan and I both serve in callings at church so we talked about what we do a little. I forgot to mention visiting and home teaching and other things the kids see me do like taking meals or watching kids for friends in need.
  • We make covenants - practice by taking the sacrament each week, baptism, temple endowment, temple marriage
  • We try hard to listen to the Holy Ghost and choose the right
  • We make it a priority to read the scriptures and live what we learn     
3) Treasured Blessings of being a member of this Church.

“Our daily walk with Jesus Christ leads to peace and purpose in this life and profound joy and eternal salvation in the world to come.”

  • "Avoid pitfalls, sorrows and regrets of life" – drugs, alcohol, bad friends or places (distractions from who we are and why we are here)
  • Find great treasures of knowledge – scriptures, gospel talks, good friends
  • Find healing here – friendship with others, gospel teaching. Example: the video message, notes, and quilt the kids participated in at Primary for a bishopric member who is undergoing cancer treatment.
  • Find forgiveness, liberty, and rest – sacrament, meeting with bishop, receiving service.

When I finished, Ryan asked the kids,"Is the Church perfect?" They were unsure how to respond. Then he asked, "Is everyone at church perfect?" "Are mom and dad perfect?" It led to a fun quick discussion about how we're all trying to become perfect but we'll all make mistakes. But the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. And our leaders are inspired how to lead the church, like we can be. We are blessed by our membership in the Church. McKay wanted to practice bearing his testimony. 

After the kids practiced bearing their testimonies of the gospel, Ryan bore a very moving testimony of some very sacred experiences he has had where he faced really hard trials because people he loved weren't perfect. He shared how in the midst of facing really hard personal trials - answers, direction and peace came while praying or reading the scriptures or through others God placed in his life. He has felt the love of our Heavenly Father and he described it to us. It was beautiful. It's what I saw in him on our second date as he had shared some of those experiences with me over Potbelly's sandwiches and shakes. He has a very personal relationship with God. And our children and I felt that last night. It was magical. In doing so, he was able to cover the elements of the President Uchtdorf's talk that I hadn't prepared to cover. It was powerful. 

This morning, I could still feel our home under the same influence of the Holy Ghost as the kids were kind to one another on what is usually the chaotic commotion of getting ready for school. I remembered to snag pictures of them enjoying each other before shooing the big kids out the door. I love my family!