Tuesday, 22 March 2011

April Sharing Time 2011

Week One
We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel” [Articles of faith 1:3]

Needs and resources: Flannel board and characters, [unfortunately I don't have access to a scanner to digitalise illustrations I have drawn for this, however, I found these from previous Friend magazines. Hope that helps]. 'Chosen' letters and images to be backed-up, handout badges and “I lived in Heaven” keys and poster doors 12, and 3, all to be mounted and cut with appropriate illustration behind door face. 

Lesson: I will firstly count the children and teachers attending off, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, . . . so that each is assigned a number 1, 2, or 3 Then I'll have those with the numbers one and two take a seat one side of the room and those with the number 3 go to the other side of the room.

My introduction for this Junior Sharing Time will start with a flannel board story. I will tell it, being sure to include the following points:
1. In our pre-mortal life you and I were spirit children and lived with our Heavenly parents.
2. Jesus was the first born spirit child of Heavenly Father so He is the older brother of our spirits.
3. Lucifer, who we know as Satan, was also a spirit child of Heavenly Father.
4. Heavenly Father called a meeting for all his spirit children. At this meeting he explained his plan for us to become like Him. He told us that he wanted us to go to earth to get a physical body, so that we could one day become like Him. He explained that on earth we would be tested to see if we would keep His commandments.
5. At this meeting Heavenly Father also explained that on earth we would all make mistakes and we would all die. Heavenly Father needed someone to be a Saviour, to suffer for our mistakes and sins, and to die for us so that we could be resurrected.
6. Lucifer wanted to save everyone by taking away their freedom to choose, which would have made it impossible for us to make mistakes or be righteous. Lucifer also wanted all the honour and glory to be his and not Heavenly Fathers.
7. Because He loved us, Jesus volunteered to be our Saviour. He wanted to follow Heavenly Father’s plan and give the glory to Heavenly Father.
8. Heavenly Father chose Jesus to be our Saviour. Lucifer was angry and rebelled against Heavenly Father.
9. Heavenly Father’s spirit children had to decide whether to follow Jesus or Lucifer.
10. One-third of Heavenly Father’s spirit children chose to follow Lucifer, and they were all cast out of heaven. Lucifer became Satan, and the spirits who followed him became evil spirits, who try to get us to do wrong things. These spirits who followed Satan did not receive physical bodies.
11. All the spirits who chose Heavenly Father’s plan and followed Jesus in the pre-mortal life have been or will be born on earth with physical bodies of flesh and blood.

Write on the board “Jesus Christ was _____________ to be our Saviour.” Have the letters c, h, o, s, e, and n scattered around the room [these letters will be backed to illustrations of Jesus Christ ministry as our Saviour]. Let the children discuss the picture and reveal the letter. Then unscramble the letters to complete the sentence. Invite a child to read Moses 4:2 to check their answer.

There were no “I'm not sure, or I don't knows” in the war in heaven. Everyone took a side wither with Christ or with Satan. Each of us had our agency there to choose. I will explain that the scriptures tell us that 1/3 of the host of Heaven chose to follow Satan, and 2/3 chose to follow Jesus, at this point I will have the children and teachers look across the room at each other and ask themselves if they think it was easy to battle against friends and family members.
I'll then ask them who did they think they chose in the pre-mortal life? How do they know that?

I'll then lead a small discussion about their memories as a baby. Can they remember the first time they had a bath? Can anyone remember the first time they ate mashed banana? Can anyone remember choosing Christ in our pre-mortal life? Explaining that just as we can't remember those things we did as a baby, doesn't mean that they didn't happen. Our pre-mortal life is like that too, just because we don't remember it doesn't mean it didn't happen. And it did happen. We know through prophets and scripture that those who chose to follow Jesus Christ in that life, were allowed to come to earth and gain a body.

I'll then animatedly ask: Who has got a body? Who lives on Earth? WOW! Look at you all. We all chose Jesus Christ to be our Saviour. As I make this exclamation I will place a badge on each child that says “I chose Jesus Christ.” And commend them for their wonderful, righteous choice.

I'll then present the class with an oversized set of keys, asking what they think the keys might be for, or too. I will explain that these keys are for these doors, drawing their attention to the poster door display. I will explain that each door has a question that needs to be unlocked, and that each key has a phrase on it, but only one is the correct phrase and key for a door. To work out which is correct I'll ask the class to listen with care to the words that they sing as I accompany “I Lived in Heaven” [CS, 4].

We'll then sing the first verse of the song to discover the answer. We will also discuss some other things we learnt from that verse by having a child select the correct key and match it to the right door. In doing so the door will be opened to reveal an illustration of the answer and other points brought out of the songs verse. This activity will be repeated with the other verses and questions.

I will conclude this activity with my testimony that Jesus Christ is indeed our Saviour and that we did truly live in Heaven with our Father before coming to earth. And that the way only sure way to return to Him is by making that same choice again, [drawing their attention back to their badges]. To choose to follow Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Week Two
Jesus Christ is the perfect example for me."

Needs and resources: A take-home board game pack made up for each child consisting of colour dice, game boardtokenscharacter pieces and instructionsClassroom previously set up as a larger version of the board game - for this I am just placing large spot cards around the room as they appear on the board, and I have made larger tokens [JesusCTR and a wrong choice], to be backed to the same coloured card and just placed card side up in the middle of the room/board. Also a large fun sized coloured dot dice – again remember to match the colours you used on your 'floor board'.

Lesson: I will be following the Primary Outline for the opening of our Junior Sharing Time by singing "Do as I'm doing" (CS, 276) and ask the children to follow me as I do several simple actions, such as clapping hands, stretching arms above your head, or marching in place.

I'll then ask: “What were you doing?”
I'll then explain: That to do as someone else is doing is to follow their example.
I'll follow this up by asking the children to name some things they have learned by following someone's example (for example, how to make a bed or play a game).

I'll then draw their attention to the display on the board, "Jesus Christ is the perfect example for me." I will testify that Christ was the only person who has lived on the earth who has set a perfect example for us to follow.

Today, we are all going to get to practise following Jesus Christ's example by playing on the board game you can see on the floor.

To Play:
  • The youngest player begins by standing on the start spot and rolling the colour spot dice.
  • They then choose a colour spot card from the middle of the board that matches the spot colour shown on the dice.
  • If the reverse of the spot card chosen shows a perfect example of our Saviour and the player can give an example by saying "Jesus is my perfect example because he.......", this player can then move their character to the next colour spot of that colour on the game board.
  • If the underside of the card chosen shows a CTR shield, the player then has to apply an example of Jesus to a 'real-time' situation of their own. By saying “I can follow Jesus by doing.......” Likewise this player can then move their character to the next colour spot of that colour on the game board.
  • If the underside of the card chosen shows a crying child, our representation of a wrong choice, the player says “Oh no, Jesus said love everyone” and they remain where they are.
  • The colour spot card is then either discarded [if you made lots], or mixed back into the centre of the board.
  • Play then moves to the next player.
  • Play continues until a player reaches the 'finish' colour spot by rolling the correct colour of the finish spot and avoiding picking up the wrong choice tokens.

At the end of our time I will give each child a game board of their own to take home and encourage them to share the game and what they have learnt with their family. 

Week Three
Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ all mankind may be saved."

Needs and resources: Labels for demonstration, food colouring and a dropper, two tall glasses with figures of a girl and boy drawn on, bleech, large jug of water - preferably glass too, an image of Christ in Gethsemane, hair brush, examples of wrong choices folded and placed inside a small container – I'm using a basket.

Lesson: I will show the children the two glasses and explain that each represents their body – the glass is the physical person. For our spirits to gain a body, our spirits had to leave Heavenly Father and come to live on earth. While I explain this I will pour water to fill the images on the glasses. The water represents our spirits, we lived with Heavenly Father, clean and pure. We came to earth and gain a body both, are clean and pure because they are free from sin.

But watch what happens when we choose to make a wrong choice and choose to sin.
I'll then have a child select a wrong choice from the basket, read it out, and then using a dropper have them add food colouring to their glass [boy glass for boys, girl glass for girls].

I'll point out how the food colouring spreads throughout the water and makes it no longer clean. I'll have someone read Alma 11:37 and explain that when we sin, our spirits become unclean, like this water.

At this point I'll draw their attention back to the large jug of water and ask what would happen if I were to pour this unclean water back into this jug? 
Would you like the drinking water in the jug to be unclean too?
Heavenly Father has said no unclean thing can enter Heaven. What are we going to do? We have made mistakes, and the wrong choices have made us unclean. How can we ever get back to our Father in Heaven if we are unclean?

At this point I'll take out a hair brush and ask one of our teachers to brush hair, with the stipulation that they cannot bend their elbows. This is quite a hilarious sight to see them trying to comb hair with straight arms. Then I'll give the same brush to a seated neighbour and again with only straight arms, have the child brush the teaches hair. It is possible for this to happen.
I will explain that there are things we cannot do for ourselves, another person must do it for us.

I'll then bring their attention to a picture of Christ in Gethsemane. And hand out their own picture handout of the same image, while explaining that we cannot cleanse our spirits of the sins and mistakes we make by ourselves, but Jesus Christ has done it for us. I will testify that one way the Atonement of Jesus Christ saves us is that it saves us from sin. I will explain that when we choose to repent, the Atonement cleanses us from sin and we are forgiven.

Then while explaining the steps of repentance [1. Recognise, 2. Repent, 3. Restitution, 4. Resolve], I will have a child add a few drops of liquid bleach for each step, then finally stirring to make the water in the glasses clean again.

Because of Jesus Christ's love for you and of His willingness to pay the price for our sins, when we choose to repent we can be cleansed, forgiven and able to return to our Heavenly Father.  

Week Four
Jesus Christ was resurrected, I will be too."

As this week falls on Easter Sunday, I thought I'd try to make it something special for the children, something that would invite the spirit and given them an opportunity to feel of the importance and bring Christ into their Easter celebrations this season, seeing for a moment beyond the chocolate to it's true meaning and reality.

I have in advanced asked several adults and one young woman to come this particular week to our combined sharing time in character. And prepare themselves in such a way that they can share the story of their characters witness of Christ's death and resurrection, and testimony to the reality of his life's purpose.

I have been fortunate enough to have the following characters prepared to witness to the children:
Mary the mother of Jesus,
The apostle Peter (see John 20:2-10),
Mary from the tomb (see John 20:11-18),
The apostle Thomas (see John 20:24-29),
A young Nephite who was blessed as a child by Jesus. (see 3 Nephi 11:8-17).

At the end of this presentation I am considering preparing gingerbread biscuits in the shape of eggs each decorated with jelly beans and attaching the following poem:

Red is for the blood He gave.
Green is for the grass He made.
Yellow is for the sun so bright.
Orange is for the edge of night.
Black is for the sins we make.
White is for the grace He gave.
Purple is for His hour of sorrow.
Pink is for our new tomorrow.

An egg full of jelly beans, Colourful and Sweet
Is a prayer, a promise, A loved one's treat!!

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