Sacred Grove


Thursday, April 25, 2013

YW Leadership Training on the new Curriculum

I was asked to talk to the YW Board in our ward about how I have utilized Teaching No Greater call and Preach My Gospel in the class room.  Here is the lesson that I prepared.  

Hand out worksheet and pencils
Eat 1 piece of wacky cake in front of everyone, without any to share and describe what it tastes like.   

Talk about learning for ourselves.  Wouldn’t you rather taste the Wacky Cake for yourself rather than watch me eat it and listen to me describe how awesome it is?  How do you know what it tastes like unless you taste it for yourself?  The same is true with the gospel.  The youth need to learn for themselves.  Rather than hearing all of our experiences and the things that we know each week.  They need to find out for themselves by sharing their experiences and finding the answers to their questions themselves.  One week, the youth asked me if the devil had angels.  I said great question.  We then opened our scriptures to the topical guide to angels, of the devil.  As usually happens in my class, they ask these hard questions at the end.  We looked at it for a minute, and then I assigned the girl who had asked the question to research it using only the scriptures and conference talks to share with us next week what she had learned.  My husband later advised me that all of would be acceptable material for them to study and find their own answer.  During the week, I sent her a conference talk that talked about angels and included angels of the devil.  So, I helped her find some answers and then she came to class and shared what she had learned.  Not only did she learn for herself, but she also shared it with the class.  She learned how to find answers to her questions and was given time and an opportunity to study and find the answer. 
I would like you to each take a few minutes and write a response to the question on the top of the paper I gave each of you at the beginning.  Everyone should write something and be prepared to share what they have written.  Think of a Teacher who has touched your life, or a lesson that has touched your life.  It could be recent.  It could be a few years ago, it could be years ago in Young Women’s.  Take a few minutes and write what you learned.  How it affected your life.  And, what the teacher did to teach that.  Be prepared for us to go around the room and have everyone share what they have written.
Give them a minute or two.  See if they are ready.  Go around the room and have them share according to time.  Have someone write on the board the things that are shared.  Let's talk about the benefits of the activity we just did.  First, I gave you time to ponder the question.  How many of you thought of an immediate response to the question?  How many of you needed a few minutes to think about it?  How many of you were given greater insights and understanding as you had a few minutes to ponder and write?  When we ask sincere questions, we want the spirit to have time to teach the youth.  So, we need to allow some quiet time.  The class is for each of the youth.  I have journals in my class and I often ask a question at the beginning of the class so that the spirit can speak to each of the youth and then they can be ready to share.  Many times, I prepare experiences that go along with my questions, but by the time they have each shared, it is unnecessary, so I just skip my experiences. 
These ideas can be found in a valuable resource, Teaching, No Greater call.  It is prepared to be a course of study.  So, I can’t cover all of the ideas found in this book.  If you look through them, you will find ways to teach, ways to reach our youth, and what to focus on.  We did an object lesson or attention getter today with the cake, and invited diligent learning through the writing and sharing.  There are so many more ideas for effective teaching.  And if you want more, the church has provided amazing website, the Mormon Channel at Youtube, and search Teaching No Greater Call, there are 30 episodes that come up.  I personally love Elder Bednar’s two videos, which are 15 and 16.  I listen to these sound episodes while I sew, clean house, etc.  They are phenomenal.  They are about 30 minutes long.  Just enough time to listen to something and ponder it.  Then, I take what I learn from that and use it in my classroom.  If time, share, (It talks about how you may have kids who are video game players.  That is their love.  That is what they like to do all the time.  How do you reach those kids?  He talks about how you may reach them every few classes.  I actually have a few in my class.  I can clearly remember one Sunday as I was pondering what I had learned from Elder Bednar and what I could do to reach these two youth.  In the middle of class, the Spirit whispered, have these two get together and prepare a game to go with the lesson.  I don’t do games all the time.  Every once in a while.  I was in awe as I saw what they learned in preparation for the next class.  I sent them e-mails, I called them, and I texted their moms.  It was a lot of work.  Truthfully, having the youth help with the lesson is more work than doing it all myself.  I never know what they youth will do in preparation.  Will it take 5 minutes or the whole class?  But, when I do let them take over, the youth who is preparing is learning far more than I could ever teach them.  I have to let go of knowing how much to prepare, so I just always over prepare.  )
Another activity the youth love is role playing.  I asked my daughter what she felt would make her church classes better, and she said role playing.  It gives them time to practice teaching.  It helps them ask each other hard questions.  Then, realize they know more than they think.  I pause them and tell them how great they are doing.  This gives them confidence.  It gives them time to realize that they know more than they think they do.  Often they ask questions they don’t know the answer to.  I will stop and we will look it up in the scriptures, and then I will know what they need to study more for the next time. 
The other tool the I was asked me to talk about today is Preach my Gospel.  Let’s say I am teaching a lesson on the Apostasy.  I would look it up in Preach my Gospel and study the scriptures that go with it, and then bring it to class.  Then, when the youth ask questions, I can find it in Preach my Gospel, find the scriptures, and we can study there.  When we were studying the Plan of Salvation, I was following the guidelines and outlines and discovered that they didn’t have a great background of the entire plan of salvation.  So, I studied it in Preach my Gospel, and we went through the Plan of Salvation, making a chart on the board and using the scriptures to thoroughly understand what the Plan of Salvation is. 
President Gibson of the YM general Presidency recently shared what he saw as an ideal Teachers Quorum class.  I am paraphrasing, so this is not a quote from him.  The Teacher's Quorum President got up and shared with his quorum that the lesson for the day was on the Atonement.  He studied it that morning and before he turned the time over to the adviser, whom had been invited to teach the lesson for the day, he wanted to talk about what he had studied about the atonement.  What then ensued was a 30 minuted discussion on the atonement, led and conducted by the youth.  With a few minutes left.  He turned the time over to the adviser, requesting time be left for President Gibson.  The adviser asked one question, "What does the atonement mean to you?"  Then, the class shared their answers.  The time was then turned over to President Gibson, who asked the leaders what the youth's answers meant to them.  That is the way the new curriculum is to be utilized.  Amazing.  
I have loved following the outlines that church has provided from Come Follow Me.  I love hearing what the youth have to say.  I love watching what they are learning for themselves.  I love that they are asking questions and figuring it out for themselves.  I know that they are preparing to serve missions early.  I know that they are preparing to share with those around them.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  

Baptism Talk

Here is the talk I gave at my sons baptism.  

Today is a very important day for you.  How are you feeling?  Are you excited?  I am so excited for both of you.  This is a very important day.  One in which I hope you will remember forever. 
In primary this year, you are learning about choices.  You are each making a very important choice today.  Today, as in the days of Jesus, there are certain principles and ordinances of the gospel that we must learn and obey. Those are big words, huh?  A principle is a true belief or teaching. An ordinance is a ceremony. The 4th article of faith says, we believe that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are first faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, second repentance, Third baptism by immersion for a remission of sins and fourth the laying on of hands for the gift of the holy ghost.  So, we have faith and repentance, which are principles.  Then, we have Baptism which is the first ordinance of the gospel. One of the instructions Jesus gave His Apostles, found in Matthew 28:19-20 was, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” 
Jesus was baptized, wasn’t he?  Even though He was perfect, He chose to be baptized to set a perfect example for us.  You are following in His footsteps by being baptized. 
A long time ago, you made your first “big” choice or step in leaving our Father in Heaven and coming to Earth with the intention of returning to Him someday.  (Show first foot step)
Today your baptism is another “big” choice/step on your path back to your Heavenly Father.  (Place footstep far away)  Now, do you think you can make the jump in one try?
It would be kind of hard wouldn’t it? Do you think a few baby steps in between would help? Of course, you didn’t come to earth and get baptized right away, you have had several years/ baby steps to help you along the way and prepare you to make this choice. Steps such as: learning to pray, love your family, scripture study, primary, faith, honesty, going to church and learning to obey your parents. With these baby steps do you think you can make it to your baptism now?
Each of these steps has prepared you to make the choice to be baptized today. 
When we are baptized we make a covenant.  Do you know what a covenant is?  That’s right, it is a promise that you make with our Father in Heaven. 
Do you know what you are promising today? 
Alma taught “Behold, here are the waters of Mormon. … And now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, … what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?” (Mosiah 18:8, 10). The people clapped their hands for joy and said it was their desire to be baptized. Alma baptized them in the Waters of Mormon. (See Mosiah 18:7–17.)
1.      You are promising to take upon you the name of Christ.  When you are born, you are given at least 2 names.  Your first name is the name that others call you and your last name talks about the family that you belong to.  Just like you want to be a good example of a Lopez or a McMillan or Blythe, you want to be a good example of our Savior.  When others find out what your last name is, you want them to know that you are being honest and kind and doing what is right.  When you take the Savior’s name upon you as you are today, you want others to know that you following the Savior and that you are living a life like the Savior. 
2.      You also promise that you will keep His commandments.  You will try to do all that He asks of you. 
3.      You are also promising to Always remember the Savior.  You want to think of Him each day and remember what He has taught each of us. 
4.      Finally, you are promising to help others.  When Jesus was on the earth, He went around and served others a lot, didn’t He?  He helped them to feel better when they were sick, He taught them the gospel, and He loved them.  By following in His footsteps, you can serve and help others each day. 
When we are baptized and keep our promises, we get some neat promises from the Lord. 
They are,
1. He will Forgive our sins.  When we make mistakes, as we all do.  We can repent and be forgiven.  It is such a blessing to know that we can be as clean as you are today throughout the rest of your life by repenting and renewing our covenants when we take the sacrament.  When we prepare to take the sacrament, we have an opportunity to think of the week we had and ponder on the good choices and bad choices we made. Then we can ask forgiveness for the things that we did wrong and repent. In the sacrament prayers, if you listen, you will hear the same three covenants you will make today. Heavenly Father helps us in so many ways and he will always be there to help you remember your covenants.
2. He will bless us with His Spirit more abundantly or more often. 
3. He will give us daily guidance and the help of the Holy Ghost which Bro. Mardo will talk about soon.
4. Finally, we will be able to return to live with him and with our families as long as we keep all of our promises. 
I can still remember the day that I was baptized.  What I remember most of all was how I felt as I came out.  I felt the spirit and I remember feeling so clean.  I am so happy for the 2 of you and for the step you are making to draw closer to our Father in Heaven.  Bear testimony.  

Holy Ghost Talk at Baptism

This is the talk I gave at a recent baptism on the Holy Ghost. 

I get to talk about the gift that you are about to receive.  It is a very special gift.  Do you like to receive gifts?  They are fun, huh?  Sometimes you get gifts that you play with for a while and then you outgrow it or it gets broken, or you finish it.  This gift that you are about to receive is one that you will never outgrow, it will never break, and you can have it with you forever.  It is the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

Each of us is born with the Light of Christ.  Throughout our lives, that light helps us to know right from wrong and inspires men who listen to do good.  The Holy Ghost can speak through the light of Christ that lives in each of us.  Once we are baptized we can receive the Holy Ghost as a constant companion. 

The Holy Ghost is the 3rd member of the God Head. Do you know who the other two are? That is right; they are Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost is different because he is a spirit and does not have a body. This enables Him to speak to our spirits.  He works in perfect unity with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  Do you remember learning about when Jesus Christ was baptized and the Holy Ghost descended upon Him as a dove. 

After we are baptized, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands by a priesthood holder.

Heavenly Father gives us this gift because he loves us and he wants us to know how important we are to him. He is proud of us and wants us to have a constant companion to help us here on Earth.

Before you are baptized, you can feel the Power of the Holy Ghost from time to time and through that influence you receive a testimony of the truth, but it won’t stay with you unless you are baptized.

After you are baptized, you receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost as your constant companion and He can help you in many ways as long as you live righteously and keep the promises you make today when you are baptized.

The Holy Ghost works as many roles in our lives.  They are as followed. 

1-     He is a Guide. Just as the sun rises and sheds light on the world so that we can see in what would otherwise be dark. It guides us to where we want to go or it can help us to find things. The Holy Ghost will guide us when we are lost or confused. He helps us to find the answers to our prayers when we have questions; He is there for us to let us know if we are choosing the right or wrong way and guides us to choose the right.

2-     He is also a comforter. This is like a blanket. When you were a baby, your mom or dad would comfort you when you cried with a blanket, a pacifier, or their soft musical voices. The Holy Ghost is also called the Comforter. Sometimes, we can be sad, alone, scared, or nervous and we might not know what to do, but the whisperings of the still small voice can calm your fears and give you peace. He fills our hearts with hope and perfect love. The Holy Ghost is your comforter.

3-     He is also a testifier.  As you grow and listen to you teachers and study the scriptures, your testimony of this gospel will grow too. The Holy Ghost testifies to you that Jesus is our Savior. That God lives and that this is the restored church. In D&C section 9 vs. 8 it states:  
But, behold, I say unto you, that you must astudy it out in your bmind; then you must cask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your dbosom shall eburn within you; therefore, you shall ffeel that it is right. “

It is through the Holy Ghost that we know with a surety of the truth of this gospel. He is there to give us that burning knowledge that Christ lives and that he loves us. 

4-     He also gives us impressions throughout our lives.  Sometimes we have little thoughts or ideas of something that we can do.  These are called impressions.  When we walk in the sand, we leave behind footprints, or impressions of our feet.  That is how the Holy Ghost speaks to us.  Leaving little impressions in our hearts and our minds.  We have all lost something at one time or another.  Recently we could not find a library book.  It was due and we needed to return it to the library.  We had all looked for it.  We had said a little prayer, and then the Spirit told me to look under my bed.  There is was.  It was a small thought or impression that helped me to find the book.  The more we listen to and follow what the Spirit tells us, the easier it is for us to hear the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. 
5-     After we are baptized and confirmed, we are responsible for all the choices we make. We take daily steps to follow the Savior and to listen to the Holy Ghost.  Most of the time we work really hard to make the right choices, but sometimes we might make a bad choice. At that point we are given the opportunity to repent and be clean again. The Holy Ghost can help us want to repent and will guide us through the steps of repentance.

6-     Finally I would like to talk about how the Holy Ghost helps us remember to Choose the Right.  We often wear a CTR ring.  Notice how it is round and doesn’t have an end? If you think about how it never ends, think of how the Holy Ghost can always be our companion or friend.  He will always be by our side as long as we are choosing the right. Remember that the Holy Ghost is your friend and your companion. He wants to you to live a righteous life so that you may return to your Father in Heaven.

I know God lives, I know he loves each of us and is so very pleased with the choice that you have made to be baptized today and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. He wants you to have a constant companion, a guide, a testimony, and receive the comfort that the Holy Ghost can provide you. Listen to His still small voice and feel the Spirit guide you through out your life.