Thursday, July 31, 2014

To Be a Pioneer (CS p. 218)

What do you think of when you hear the word "pioneer"?
Do you think of pushing handcarts?
Leaving family and friends to go to a distant land?
Walking thousands of miles?

What would you say if I told you that YOU can be a pioneer?
Would you have to do those things too?

Let's sing the first verse (with actions for younger kids):
     You don't have to push a handcart (pretend to push)
     Leave your family dear (wave goodbye)
     Or walk a thousand miles or more (walk in place)
     To be a pioneer!

The things the pioneers did aren't as important as the inner qualities they possessed that helped them to do those things.  What character traits did they have?  (Optional: you can tell some pioneer stories that illustrate these characteristics: courage, faith, hard work)

Let's sing the second verse
     You DO need to have great courage (fist over your heart)
     Faith to conquer fear (pointer finger at side of head, then throw away the fear)
     And work with might (show your muscles) for a cause that's right (pump right fist into the air)
     To be a pioneer!

Discussion:  (use specific examples personalized to their stage of life)
When would you need to have great courage?

"In order for us to make the correct decisions, courage is needed -- the courage to say no when we should, the courage to say yes when that is appropriate, the courage to do the right thing because it is right... Inner courage also includes doing the right thing even though we may be afraid, defending our beliefs at the risk of being ridiculed, and maintaining those beliefs even when threatened with a loss of friends or of social status." -- Thomas S Monson (Ensign May 2014)

How does faith conquer fear? (see D&C 6:36; 68:6)

Is there a cause that you are willing to work hard in defending?

Quote by M. Russell Ballard (Oct 2008): "The Lord isn’t asking us to load up a handcart; He’s asking us to fortify our faith. He isn’t asking us to walk across a continent; He’s asking us to walk across the street to visit our neighbor. He isn’t asking us to give all of our worldly possessions to build a temple; He’s asking us to give of our means and our time despite the pressures of modern living to continue to build temples and then to attend regularly the temples already built. He isn’t asking us to die a martyr’s death; He’s asking us to live a disciple’s life."

Bear testimony that we CAN be pioneers in courage, faith, and standing for what is right.

Learn the "we are marching" descant.  Then sing the verses and descant together.  This is a really fun activity.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Seek the Lord Early (CS p.108)

Have you ever played hide and seek?
What does the "seeker" do?
What would happen if the seeker decided to just lay down on the couch and take a nap?
Would the "hider" ever be found?
Seeking is an action word; it requires you to DO something.

This is a song about you being a seeker.  Listen to the first line.  Who are you seeking? (The Lord)  When should you seek Him? (early in your life/ in your youth)

Now as you listen to the song, listen for the things that YOU need to do as a seeker.  (If you have pre-readers, you can use pictures rather than writing out a list. Then use those pictures to help sing the song.)
         Search the scriptures
         Fervent prayer (fervent means really wanting to know and communicate with Heavenly Father)
         Obey the living prophet
         Keep the commandments

If you do these things, the Lord promises three things.  Listen for the Lord's promises.
      He will help me to know the truth (through the Holy Ghost)
      His love will abound (abound means there is so much, it can't be contained)
      He will be found

Remember that the Lord isn't trying to be tricky.  He WANTS to be found.  He's just waiting for you to do the seeking .

Other ideas for discussion:
---Why is it important to seek the Lord EARLY while in your YOUTH?  Can you think of examples of youths in the scriptures? (Samuel, Nephi, Joseph Smith)  Did they follow this same pattern?

---What does it mean to "find" the Lord?  Joseph Smith found Him in a very literal and physical sense.  But that is not usually how He is found.  How can the Lord be found in your life?

---Why is obedience included as an important part of seeking?

End with a personal experience of a time when you were seeking and were able to experience the Lord's promised blessings.  You can also include a time when you weren't actively seeking (figuratively sleeping on the couch) and the blessings you missed out on.  Bear your testimony of this doctrine.

Sing the song again and afterwards point out the Spirit testifying that what you sang is true.

Optional: You can play this game to practice the song.  Choose a "seeker" to leave the room for a moment.  Have another person hide a small picture of Jesus (pass-along card size) somewhere in the room.  When the seeker returns, begin singing the song.  Sing louder as the seeker gets closer to the hiding spot; sing softer if the seeker gets further away.  Keep singing until the picture is found, then choose a new seeker to play again.