Sunday, October 20, 2013

October Sharing Time - Week 4

My motto when it comes to sharing time is to make it simple and spiritual.  I like to use the outline as much as possible for ideas and this week is no exception.  In fact, the reason I'm mentioning it is because this week, I'm loving pretty much every idea from the outline.

One thing I would change would be the order, I'd wait and do the object lesson at the end when you give the kids a chance to take turns sharing personal examples of how they can share the gospel.  If you are really attached to using the food coloring first, I'd suggest using fresh water for the wrap up sharing at the end, because watching those first drops slowly turn the whole solution a new color is the most fun.

I found an amazing talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard called Pure Testimony that relates perfectly to this weeks sharing time.  I'd start by quoting Elder Ballard when he said, "Having a testimony is not enough.  In fact, when we are truly converted, we cannot be restrained from testifying."

Ask the kids what this means?  Do any of them feel this way?  Is it ever hard to bear your testimony?  Are you ever not sure about some parts of what you think should be your testimony?

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm pretty sure I have a lot of work to do on the "truly converted" front.  Unfortunately, I can be restrained.  I'm slightly terrified of talking spontaneously in front of people (as opposed to a planned, researched and practiced lesson or talk).

Although, I do find hope in this story Elder Ballard shared about President Brigham Young talking about a missionary with a large group of people,

"According to President Young, this particular elder "never had been able to say that he knew Joseph [Smith] was a Prophet."  He would have preferred to just say a prayer and leave, but the circumstances made that impossible.  So he started to speak, and "as soon as he got 'Joseph' out, 'is a Prophet'; and from that his tongue was loosened, and he continued talking until near sundown." 

This missionary was afraid and not even sure about his testimony.  Did that stop him?!  Astoundingly no.  He decided to share his testimony anyway, using his faith to take a step into the dark and was blessed with light.  "His tongue was loosened" and he was able to talk.

Even though the story doesn't say, I'm certain this missionary's testimony grew and was strengthened that day.  This same thing can happen for each of us as we gather our courage and our faith to testify to those around us.  I hope that one day I can say I cannot be restrained from testifying in all circumstances (especially the unplanned ones).

After talking about how important it is to share our testimonies, ask what are the most important parts of a testimony?

This is the point in which I slightly disagree with the outline.  I believe that having a testimony that our church has the full restored gospel (and thus is the one fully true church) is tied to and a part of having a testimony of Joseph Smith.  I also believe that one of the most important and life changing parts to a testimony is the knowledge that we are each loved and known by our Heavenly Father (no matter what!).

In that same wonderful talk, Elder Ballard said, "Although we can have testimonies of many things as members of the Church, there are basic truths we need to constantly teach one another and share with those not of our faith.  Testify God is our Father and Jesus is the Christ.  The plan of salvation is centered on the Savior's atonement.  Joseph Smith restored the fullness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Book of Mormon is evidence that our testimony is true."

So, I mixed a little Sharing Time Outline with a little Elder Ballard and this is what I came up with:

1. God is our Father.  He loves every single one of His children.  As my youngest son Josh said, "He even loves pirates."  This knowledge affects every decision and gives the courage to Choose The Right.

2. Jesus is our Savior.  Heavenly Father's plan provided a personal Savior.  One who KNOWS every single thing we've gone through and will go through.  One who loves us so much he was willing to feel our every hurt and suffer for our every mistake.  What a fantastic gift!

3. Joseph Smith restored the fullness of the gospel.  He truly saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, he prayed about and received the framework for our church line upon line, truth upon truth.  This is another great point when talking about testimonies, they do not happen overnight.  We do not know everything all at once, Joseph certainly didn't.  We all need to remember to take one step at a time.

4. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.  Reading, studying and living the principles found in it bring joy, peace and eternal life with our Heavenly Father.

5. We continue to receive revelation through a living prophet.  It is such a comfort to know that we have a prophet today!  One who can speak with God and receive revelation for the entire church.  He uplifts us, warns us and teaches us what is most important for our day.

I do like the idea of using pictures, having the kids draw them out one at a time and talking about what each picture teaches us about the basic building blocks of our testimonies.

After going over the building blocks you feel are the most important for your primary, use the rest of your time to get ideas of how/where/when we can share our testimonies.

I feel strongly that there is a difference between being thankful and truly sharing our testimonies.  It's wonderful when children get up to share about all the lovely parts of their lives they are so very thankful for, but I also think they can do more...that we can do more.

"Clear declaration of truth makes a difference in people's lives.  That is what changes hearts.  That is what the Holy Ghost can confirm in the hearts of God's children."  Challenge them to testify more often.  Challenge them to pray for opportunities to share what they've learned and, as they do, they're testimonies will grow even stronger.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...