As an LDS seminary teacher, I am always looking for fresh ways to share the gospel with my class. In an effort to record what I have done (for future years), and to share with others, I've begun this blog. Hopefully it may be of help to more than just myself! Feel free to email this blog to others.
Today and yesterday we studied the impact of the gospel in our lives, especially as seen through the eyes of Ammon. He and his brethren had finished some rigorous years of preaching to their enemies, the Lamanites. Having been imprisoned and also having experienced many other forms of abuse, one might think that they would have desisted in their efforts. Not so. And why not?
It all boils down to having a true change of heart. And experiencing that can be a bit foreign to one who is new to incorporating Christ's teachings into their heart. Rather like visiting a foreign land.
So what activity did we do so that the kids bring this home to their own hearts? We made Spiritual Brochures.
Each student had the opportunity to review Alma 26 and to ponder on its impact in their personal lives. Then, with their blank "spiritual brochure," they filled in each section. The sections were:
* FRONT FLAP: "Title" (with sketched picture)
* INSIDE LEFT FLAP: "Individuals" referenced in the chapter (with sketched picture)
* OUTSIDE RIGHT FLAP: "Favorite Verses" (with sketched picture)
* INSIDE MIDDLE: "Map"
* INSIDE RIGHT FLAP: "History" (with sketched picture)
* OUTSIDE MIDDLE: "My Personal Testimony"
We also began with an activity where I asked someone to pretend they were my four-year-old, Stephen. Stephen, in our last family home evening, had played a game we made up called, "Are Your Listening Ears On?" He came to the front of the room and then received a series of assignments asking him to do certain activities (which he all did quite well). We then discussed as a family how Heavenly Father has a series of assignments for us to do, also. And the only way to show Him our listening ears are on is through our literal actions.
So I repeated this activity today with the class, asking for a volunteer to be little Stephen. Shelby was a great volunteer. She came to the front of the class and did everything I asked of her: to shake Taylor's hand, to turn around three times, to go over to turn the light off and on, and then to sit down. Everyone gave her a round of applause when she was through. It was a light-hearted moment and led perfectly into the next segment I wanted to address, which was living the gospel is more than just giving answers in our Sunday School class. We need to actually LIVE those answers every day of the week (and repent when we mess up!).
Ammon and his brothers not only knew it was important to do missionary work - they actually DID missionary work. We read as a class several scriptures, ending with Alma 26:22 and those beautiful promises. We then looked at Matthew 25:40 where we read: "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
We discussed what this meant. Many easily gave the answer, "Service." But I wanted them to dig deeper. I mentioned an individual in Sacrament meeting who just last Sunday shared about a family who had left the church in another state. They left because their kids were being tormented and teased by kids in the ward. That family left the church, because they didn't feel their kids were safe. So as a class we read one more time Matthew 25:40.
We finished by discussing that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not one of lip-action, but of full-body action, of being shepherds for the Lord's sheep. Just as Shelby, in portraying little 4-yr-old Stephen, had successfully followed a series of requests, so too can we follow the Lord's requests and live the gospel fully by caring for one another, even for our enemies like Ammon did for the Lamanites.
It may feel at first like we're visiting another country when we first try to apply gospel teachings in our lives, for the world's teachings are so contrary to what we know Christ to have taught. Thus we need guides to help us in that "foreign land" of gospel citizenship. Those guides are the scriptures, the prophets, our parents, the Bishop, etc. And as we heed their counsel, we will enjoy our new citizenship in Christ's kingdom.
The spiritual brochure we finished today seemed to help round all that out.
just another early-morning-seminary-teacher mom! :0)