Saturday, October 22, 2016

Flip Charts - Christmas, Easter, and More

I found some flip charts I don't even remember making so I thought I'd list all of my flip charts in one place ... as I find/remember them :)

It's been a while since I made a flip chart. Any requests? I'm thinking about making a new one for Christmas.

If I Listen with My Heart - flip chart and mini books

If the Savior Stood Beside Me - flip chart

Sleep Little Jesus

Follow the Prophet

Family History - I Am Doing It

An Angel Came to Joseph Smith

I Think When I Read that Sweet Story of Old

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Planning Singing Time Before and After the Primary Program!

Before the Program
Since it's October, I want to share one of the first "pre-Program" activities I ever prepared to help identify what the children needed to work on for each song. You can read about it here.

After the Program
I'm a big fan of a low-prep-time Singing Time on the day of the Primary Program. Preparing for the program is stressful enough! Our chorister this Sunday played Spin the Chair for Singing Time, which is where you use tape to create a bunch of lines in the ground that look like pie wedges. Put the child in an office chair in the middle of the wedge, spin the chair, and wherever their feet point indicates which song they'll sing. The actual songs in the wedges are from the children's favorite selections. I love having a "children's choice" singing time and singing all of their favorite songs.

We had a special post-program Sunday today which I shared here. From the perspective of the chorister, you could just as easily re-write a song like the one we sang to the chorister and pianist for the children, or the Primary Presidency, or the teachers, etc! I once read about a Singing Time where the class made up more verses to the song about prophets, so instead of "Adam was a prophet," they sang, "President Monson was a prophet," etc.

My favorite go-to low-prep Singing Time was always "Snow Storm!"
This is so easy to prepare - the children write their favorite songs on a piece of paper, wad it up into a ball, and throw it to the front of the room. That's it! Well, I give a little more detail about how I do it here, but you get the picture. The kids LOVE this activity and I used to do it only once a year so it was special and fun.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Child's Prayer (and other songs - optional) Song Review

Hello Old Friends,

It's been a long while, but I'm subbing for our Primary chorister tomorrow so I thought I'd share my plans. Our chorister wants to spend more time learning "A Child's Prayer" better so I'm going to pull out some old review techniques I have done in the past that were effective and fun. Junior and Senior will have different versions.

Of course, you can do all the activities I have below as a song review and have them draw to see which song they will work on next. Personally, I plan to primarily focus on "A Child's Prayer" because that is what our chorister feels like we need to work on most. They "lost" some practice time preparing to sing in sacrament for Father's Day. By the way, if any of you are struggling with leading the children in this duet, the best thing I ever did was to have another leader (with music ability) come up and lead the second verse for the duet. It works great, and that's how we did it in the program several years ago. Also, it was fun because I deliberately looked for a man to lead the other part, who had children in primary. The kids ate it up, especially when so many of the people they see at the front of the room in primary are women.

Junior Primary

1. The old counting trick (that makes them listen really carefully to the words)
This works best at the start of a practice to get their attention. I usually do this when I am first introducing a song but there's nothing wrong with using this trick a little later in the practice! I'm going to ask them to sing the song with me and count how many times they sing the word "pray" or "prayer." Then hold up their fingers to show how many times they counted it. That gets us to sing and listen to the song once. I think I will do this separately with the first verse vs. the second vs. Other versions of this activity are having children do certain activities when they sing certain words, or hold a picture of someone praying when they sing "pray/prayer," etc. ... but this Sunday I want them to count. I think for the little Sunbeams I might even say a sentence to help them practice because I know counting isn't necessarily their thing yet :)

2. Echo Game
This is one of my favorite games to play and I know the kids haven't done it in three years, which means that many of the kids in Junior Primary have never done it before. I first did this in 2012 while
preparing for Mother's Day. All you have to do is divide the room either in half, thirds, or quarters and have them stand in the corners of the room with their teachers. We have enough children in our Primary (about 40 in Junior and 40 in Senior) that we can use all four corners. I'll sing one line of the song with the pianist, then each corner takes turns echoing the song. It is a great way to work on repetition with a method that entertains the children! You just have to prep the pianist so she knows she is playing each line four times before she move onto the next line (something I always fail to do - we have talented pianists who are good sports, ha).

3. Singing Elephant

I might pull out my old singing elephant and have them sing it again. If you don't have a singing elephant, skip to the next one because most of these activities require almost zero prep time. It's a good opportunity for kids to participate at the front of the room. If you don't have time to make a singing elephant, I have giant glasses from the dollar store that I use to look for "super singers" that come up to the front of the room, sing the next song with me, and look for the next "super singer."

4. Follow the Leader
I had completely forgotten about this one and just stumbled on it on accident. I guess this is why I kept a blog while I was primary chorister :) I'll do this depending on how the kids are behaving.

Senior Primary

Bells! I am going to have the children sing this song with bells. I had starting preparing this song to sing with bells in the past but realized I never finished because this song is a bit more difficult than some of the other songs that we have done with bells. However, the Primary children in Senior Primary really should know this song from having sung it only three years ago in the Primary Program so I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and try this song with bells.

If you own bells, just write the notes up on the chalkboard, and then, here's the important thing - point to the notes as the children sing so they know when to ring their bells. It's a lot easier for them to be confident and keep up if you point to the note that shows them that it's their turn to ring the bell.

If you don't have bells, then, go to my back-up activities for Senior.

My plan is to sing this song at least 3 or 4 times so that every child and possibly even the teachers will have an opportunity to play the bells.

1. Echo Game
All of my primary kids love this game so I hope to have time to do it in Senior Primary and Junior Primary. However, if we play the bells several times, I'll switch to a different primary song to do the Echo Game

2. One Word Singing or One Line Singing
This is actually pretty hard for the kids to do but it makes them THINK (and giggle a little) so I love to pull this out once in a great while. They have to sing the review song but each child just sings ONE word of the song. The pianist needs to play a little more slowly for this to work. Or, I'm thinking about having each class sing one line of the song only. The other version of this is hot potato, where everyone sings, but where the potato lands is where the music stops and the child has to say the next word in the song. I like hot potato but I think the first two versions are less stressful and more fun for the kids because they are on high alert, but they know when to expect to have to be called on (because shy kids get stressed so I want to be considerate of pushing them, but not too much).

3. Beat It Out
I'm not planning to do this one Sunday because the first two activities should use up all of my time. However, the kids enjoy beating out the song and it's always a good back-up. I'll show them one rhythm, we'll sing with it (lap, clap, tap, or something), and then I'll show them another one. And then one side will do one, while the other side does the other. I remember, this was the activity that my oldest primary boys that were too cool tended to really enjoy and perk up to do ...

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

If I Listen with My Heart - flip chart and mini books

"If I Listen with My Heart," by Sally DeFord was one of the first songs I learned as a new Primary chorister. Since this song, which is the January Primary theme song, is not as readily available (it is not in the Children's Songbook), I thought it would be fun to make mini books that you can fold and share with the children.

I made two versions. Version 1 allows the children to color in the pictures. These pictures are from the LDS Coloring Pages online. I love how it states, "Line art allows children to express creativity while learning gospel principles." This is exactly why I wanted to make a coloring book version of the mini pages. The second version is full color and probably more appealing for the older children that are not as interested in coloring anymore.

Both versions are included in this document. Mouse over and click on the down arrow to download.

HOW TO FOLD THE MINI-BOOK - Instructions in a previous blog post here.

These mini books use artwork with copyright by the LDS church and, as stated with the artwork and on the mini-book, are for personal, church-related, noncommercial use.

Here is the flip chart that matches the images used in the mini book:

Have fun teaching this song!

One thought - we are so busy being fun and creative that sometimes, it's a novelty to go back to the tried and true method of putting a flip chart up on the chalkboard (one verse so it's not too overwhelming), and flipping over one page at a time until they have memorized the verse. So, if you're coming out of a busy holiday, relax, and put the flip chart up on the board. You can toss a fuzzy ball to see which child decides which page to flip over, just to keep it interesting.

Also, as I've learned at various training sessions, don't forget that three times is the charm. So, sing the song to them once, have them sing the song with the words in front of them twice - and then start trying to memorize.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The New Apostles - Fun Post-Conference Singing Time Activity

Singing Time would be such a great opportunity to introduce the three new apostles, especially after the Primary Program as kind of a fun, different activity.

This is fairly easy to plan and has a lot of flexibility. You can combine with Sharing Time (talk to your Presidency) or break this up into several weeks! You need:

1. Print out pictures of each of the 15 apostles, which includes the three in the First Presidency and the 12 Apostles. You can find the pictures in the links.

2. Thumbtacks or magnets to post the pictures on the board.

3. A quote for each apostle from our last General Conference.

4. Labels of each of the names of the apostles.

There are so many fun ways to play this game, for example:

Option #1
Print two of every picture, with the name already labelled on each picture. Turn the pictures around so that the children can't see them. Once a child matches two pictures, tell them a little bit about the apostle (use the above links to learn about them). Now they get to pick a song to sing since they made the match, and a fun way to sing the song, of course. Or, it could be that whomever made the match gets to choose any fun Primary song. Some children have a hard time when put on the spot though, so I'd make a "menu" for them.

Option #2
Match a name with picture.  Print out each individual's name and put those up on the board as well, on the side of the board, where children will match the names to the faces. Again ... Now they get to pick a song to sing since they made the match, and a fun way to sing the song, of course.

Option #3
Match a quote with a picture. When they make a match, they sing the associated song (hidden on the back side, or they can draw from a jar). Add details about each apostle as a hint if they can't figure out which apostle is the correct match.

Option #4
Follow the activity I created for Prophet Bingo back in 2013.

Quotes from conference. I wouldn't use the whole quote, but you can describe it as a hint, and just pick out one short sentence from each apostle:

Quote from October 2015 General Conference
President Thomas S. Monson
Recently, as I have been reading and pondering the scriptures, two passages in particular have stayed with me. Both are familiar to us. The first is from the Sermon on the Mount: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”1 The second scripture is one which came to my mind as I pondered the meaning of the first. It is from the Apostle Paul’s Epistle to Timothy: “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”2
I believe the second scripture explains, in great part, how we can accomplish the first. We become examples of the believers by living the gospel of Jesus Christ in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. As we do so, our lights will shine for others to see.
...It is often difficult to be different and to stand alone in a crowd. It is natural to fear what others might think or say. Comforting are the words of the psalm: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”7 As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions.
To illustrate, I share with you the touching words of a favorite poem I first read many years ago:
I met a stranger in the night
Whose lamp had ceased to shine.
I paused and let him light
His lamp from mine.
A tempest sprang up later on
And shook the world about.
And when the wind was gone
My lamp was out!
But back to me the stranger came—
His lamp was glowing fine!
He held the precious flame
And lighted mine!8
My brothers and sisters, our opportunities to shine surround us each day, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. As we follow the example of the Savior, ours will be the opportunity to be a light in the lives of others, whether they be our own family members and friends, our co-workers, mere acquaintances, or total strangers.
President Henry B. Eyring
The companionship of the Holy Ghost makes what is good more attractive and temptation less compelling. That alone should be enough to make us determined to qualify for the Spirit to be with us always.
Just as the Holy Ghost strengthens us against evil, He also gives us the power to discern truth from falsehood. The truth that matters most is verified only by revelation from God. Our human reason and the use of our physical senses will not be enough. We live in a time when even the wisest will be hard-pressed to distinguish truth from clever deception.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
And the quilt was stunning—the stitches were perfect, the colors vibrant, and the design intricate. And at the center of it all was a single word that triumphantly echoed the theme of her lesson: “Simplify.”
Brothers and sisters, living the gospel doesn’t need to be complicated.
… Sometimes we feel discouraged because we are not “more” of something—more spiritual, respected, intelligent, healthy, rich, friendly, or capable. Naturally, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve. God created us to grow and progress. But remember, our weaknesses can help us to be humble and turn us to Christ, who will “make weak things become strong.”4Satan, on the other hand, uses our weaknesses to the point that we are discouraged from even trying.

… Gideon saw himself as a poor farmer, the least of his father’s house. But God saw him as a mighty man of valor.5
When Samuel chose Saul to be king, Saul tried to talk him out of it. Saul was from one of the smallest tribes of the house of Israel. How could he be king?6 But God saw him as “a choice young man.”7
Even the great prophet Moses felt so overwhelmed and discouraged at one point that he wanted to give up and die.8 But God did not give up on Moses.
My dear brothers and sisters, if we look at ourselves only through our mortal eyes, we may not see ourselves as good enough. But our Heavenly Father sees us as who we truly are and who we can become. He sees us as His sons and daughters, as beings of eternal light with everlasting potential and with a divine destiny.9
President Russell M. Nelson
Through their husbands’ final hours and continuing to the present day, these stalwart women have shown the strength and courage that covenant-keeping women always demonstrate.2 It would be impossible to measure the influence that such women have, not only on families but also on the Lord’s Church, as wives, mothers, and grandmothers; as sisters and aunts; as teachers and leaders; and especially as exemplars and devout defenders of the faith.3
This has been true in every gospel dispensation since the days of Adam and Eve. Yet the women of this dispensation are distinct from the women of any other because this dispensation is distinct from any other.4This distinction brings both privileges and responsibilities.
Thirty-six years ago, in 1979, President Spencer W. Kimball made a profound prophecy about the impact that covenant-keeping women would have on the future of the Lord’s Church. He prophesied: “Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.”5
My dear sisters, you who are our vital associates during this winding-up scene, the day that President Kimball foresaw is today. You are the women he foresaw! Your virtue, light, love, knowledge, courage, character, faith, and righteous lives will draw good women of the world, along with their families, to the Church in unprecedented numbers!6
We, your brethren, need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices. The kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them, women who can speak with the power and authority of God!7
My dear sisters, whatever your calling, whatever your circumstances, we need your impressions, your insights, and your inspiration. We need you to speak up and speak out in ward and stake councils. We need each married sister to speak as “a contributing and fullpartner”10 as you unite with your husband in governing your family. Married or single, you sisters possess distinctive capabilities and special intuition you have received as gifts from God. We brethren cannot duplicate your unique influence.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Our Savior experienced and suffered the fulness of all mortal challenges “according to the flesh” so He could know “according to the flesh” how to “succor [which means to give relief or aid to] his people according to their infirmities.” He therefore knows our struggles, our heartaches, our temptations, and our suffering, for He willingly experienced them all as an essential part of His Atonement. And because of this, His Atonement empowers Him to succor us—to give us the strength to bear it all.

And so we see that because of His Atonement, the Savior has the power to succor—to help—every mortal pain and affliction. Sometimes His power heals an infirmity, but the scriptures and our experiences teach that sometimes He succors or helps by giving us the strength or patience to endure our infirmities.4

Because of His atoning experience in mortality, our Savior is able to comfort, heal, and strengthen all men and women everywhere, but I believe He does so only for those who seek Him and ask for His help.

… Our Savior’s Atonement does more than assure us of immortality by a universal resurrection and give us the opportunity to be cleansed from sin by repentance and baptism. His Atonement also provides the opportunity to call upon Him who has experienced all of our mortal infirmities to give us the strength to bear the burdens of mortality. He knows of our anguish, and He is there for us. Like the good Samaritan, when He finds us wounded at the wayside, He will bind up our wounds and care for us (see Luke 10:34). The healing and strengthening power of Jesus Christ and His Atonement is for all of us who will ask. I testify of that as I also testify of our Savior, who makes it all possible.

Elder M. Russell Ballard
some of my family and others were listening and have asked me this question: “What’s in the Old Ship Zion that we should hang on to?” I reminded them of what President Brigham Young said: “We are on the old ship Zion. … [God] is at the helm and will stay there. … He dictates, guides and directs. If the people will have implicit confidence in their God, never forsake their covenants nor their God, He will guide us right.”2
And make no mistake about it: the Lord directs His Church through living prophets and apostles. This is the way He has always done His work. Indeed, the Savior taught, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me.”3 We cannot separate Christ from His servants. Without His first Apostles, we would not have an eyewitness account of many of His teachings, His ministry, His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, and His death on the cross. Without their testimonies, we would not have an apostolic witness of the empty tomb and the Resurrection.
… Looking for human weakness in others is rather easy. However, we make a serious mistake by noticing only the human nature of one another and then failing to see God’s hand working through those He has called.
Focusing on how the Lord inspires His chosen leaders and how He moves the Saints to do remarkable and extraordinary things despite their humanity is one way that we hold on to the gospel of Jesus Christ and stay safely aboard the Old Ship Zion.
… Now, as we ponder just these few truths that exist within the Old Ship Zion, let us stay on board and remember that, by definition, a ship is a vehicle, and the purpose of a vehicle is to take us to a destination.
Our ship’s destination is the full blessings of the gospel, the kingdom of heaven, the celestial glory, and the presence of God!
God’s plan is in place. He is at the helm, and His great and powerful ship flows toward salvation and exaltation. Remember that we cannot get there by jumping out of the boat and trying to swim there by ourselves.
Elder Robert D. Hales
As a pilot in the air force, I learned this principle: never deliberately fly into a thunderstorm. (I won’t tell you how I found that out.) Instead, fly around it, take another route, or wait for the storm to clear before landing.
Beloved young adult brothers and sisters, I want to help you “fly right” in the gathering storms of the last days. You are the pilots. You are responsible to think about the consequences of every choice you make. Ask yourself, “If I make this choice, what is the worst thing that could happen?” Your righteous choices will keep you from getting off course.
Think of it: If you choose not to take a drink of alcohol, you will not become an alcoholic! If you never choose to go into debt, you will avoid the possibility of bankruptcy!
… One of the purposes of the scriptures is to show us how righteous people respond to temptation and evil. In short, they avoid it! Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife.3Lehi took his family and left Jerusalem.4 Mary and Joseph fled into Egypt to escape Herod’s wicked plot.5 In every instance, Heavenly Father warned these believers. Similarly, He will help us know whether to fight, flee, or go with the flow of our unfolding circumstances. He will speak to us through prayer, and when we pray, we will have the Holy Ghost, who will guide us. We have the scriptures, the teachings of living prophets, patriarchal blessings, the counsel of inspired parents, priesthood and auxiliary leaders, and, above all, the still, small voice of the Spirit.
The Lord will always keep His promise: “I will lead you along.”6 The only question is, will we let ourselves be led? Will we hear His voice and the voice of His servants?
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
I have wept over the courage, integrity, and determination of this young man and his family to work things out and to help him keep his faith. He knows he owes much to many, but he knows he owes the most to two messianic figures in his life, two who bore him and carried him, labored with him and delivered him—his Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and his determined, redemptive, absolutely saintly mother.
… To all of our mothers everywhere, past, present, or future, I say, “Thank you. Thank you for giving birth, for shaping souls, for forming character, and for demonstrating the pure love of Christ.” To Mother Eve, to Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel, to Mary of Nazareth, and to a Mother in Heaven, I say, “Thank you for your crucial role in fulfilling the purposes of eternity.” To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle—and all will—I say, “Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are. In fact, you are saviors on Mount Zion,13 and like the Master you follow, your love ‘never faileth.’14 ” I can pay no higher tribute to anyone. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Elder David A. Bednar
Near the end of their conversation, Mr. Wallace remarked, “There are those who say, ‘This is a gerontocracy. This is a church run by old men.’”
President Hinckley responded cheerfully and without hesitation, “Isn’t it wonderful to have a man of maturity at the head, a man of judgment who isn’t blown about by every wind of doctrine?” (broadcast on Apr. 7, 1996).
… At one point I asked Elder Hales, “You have been a successful husband, father, athlete, pilot, business executive, and Church leader. What lessons have you learned as you have grown older and been constrained by decreased physical capacity?”
Elder Hales paused for a moment and responded, “When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most.”
… The limitations that are the natural consequence of advancing age can in fact become remarkable sources of spiritual learning and insight. The very factors many may believe limit the effectiveness of these servants can become some of their greatest strengths. Physical restrictions can expand vision. Limited stamina can clarify priorities. Inability to do many things can direct focus to a few things of greatest importance.
… You and I are blessed to learn from the benedictory teachings and testimonies of latter-day prophets and apostles. The names today are not Nephi, Jacob, and Moroni—but President Faust, President Hinckley, Elder Wirthlin, Elder Perry, President Packer, and Elder Scott.

[Then goes on to give amazing quotes from each of these leaders.]

… May we hear and heed the eternal truths taught by the Lord’s authorized representatives. As we do so, I promise our faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will be fortified, and we will receive spiritual guidance and protection for our specific circumstances and needs.

Elder Quentin L. Cook
One of the local Church leaders emphasized that missionaries serving in that area needed to be “shipshape and Bristol fashion.”

… At one time Bristol was the second busiest port in the United Kingdom. It had a very high tidal range of 43 feet (13 m), the second highest in the world. At low tide when the water receded, the old ships would hit bottom and fall on their sides, and if the ships were not well built, they would be damaged. In addition, everything that was not carefully stowed away or tied down would be thrown in a chaotic fashion and ruined or spoiled.5 After I understood what that phrase meant, it was clear that this leader was telling us that, as missionaries, we must be righteous, follow rules, and be prepared for difficult situations.
This same challenge is applicable to each of us. I would describe being “shipshape and Bristol fashion” as being temple worthy—in good times and in bad times.
My dear brothers and sisters, life is not easy, nor was it meant to be. It is a time of testing and trial. Like the old ships in Bristol Harbor, there will be times when the tide goes out and it seems as if everything in this world keeping us afloat disappears. We may hit the bottom and even be tipped over on our sides. Amid such trials, I promise you that living and maintaining temple-worthy lives will hold together all that really matters.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Joined in faith, we teach and edify one another and strive to approach the full measure of discipleship, “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” We strive to help one another come to “the knowledge of the Son of God,”13 until that day when “they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, … saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord.”14
In the Church we not only learn divine doctrine; we also experience its application. As the body of Christ, the members of the Church minister to one another in the reality of day-to-day life. All of us are imperfect; we may offend and be offended. We often test one another with our personal idiosyncrasies. In the body of Christ, we have to go beyond concepts and exalted words and have a real “hands-on” experience as we learn to “live together in love.”15
This religion is not concerned only with self; rather, we are all called to serve. We are the eyes, hands, head, feet, and other members of the body of Christ, and even “those members … which seem to be more feeble, are necessary.”16 We need these callings, and we need to serve.
… Without the capabilities of His Church in place, the Savior’s commission to take the gospel to all the world could not be realized.25 There would not be the apostolic keys, the structure, the financial means, and the devotion and sacrifice of thousands upon thousands of missionaries needed to carry out the work. Remember, “this Gospel of the Kingdom [must] be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.”26
… The final reason I will mention for the Lord to have established His Church is the most unique—the Church is, after all, the kingdom of God on the earth.
As The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was being established in the 1830s, the Lord said to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Lift up your hearts and rejoice, for unto you the kingdom, or in other words, the keys of the church have been given.”28
Elder Neil L. Andersen
Using our mind without our heart will not bring spiritual answers. “The things of God knoweth no man, but [through] the Spirit of God.”14 And to help us, Jesus promised us “another Comforter” and called Him “even the Spirit of truth.”15
Faith never demands an answer to every question but seeks the assurance and courage to move forward, sometimes acknowledging, “I don’t know everything, but I do know enough to continue on the path of discipleship.”16
… Although your beginning fire of faith may be small, righteous choices bring greater confidence in God, and your faith grows. The difficulties of mortality blow against you, and evil forces lurk in the darkness, hoping to extinguish your faith. But as you continue to make good choices, trust in God, and follow His Son, the Lord sends increased light and knowledge, and your faith becomes settled and unwavering.

[Story of Elder Openshaw’s faith as he lost his parents while he was on his mission)

Elder Ronald A. Rasband
A few days ago I had the great privilege to meet with the First Presidency and receive this call from our dear prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I want to witness to all of you of the strength and love President Monson had as he said to me, “This call comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I am overwhelmed and shaken to my very core to consider the import and significance of those words so tenderly spoken by our loving prophet. President Monson, President Eyring, President Uchtdorf, I love you and will serve the Lord and you with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength.

Now, if I could leave one small message with you today, it would be this: the Lord has said, “Love one another; as I have loved you.”2 I’m conīŦdent that there is no choice, sin, or mistake that you or anyone else can make that will change His love for you or for them. That does not mean He excuses or condones sinful conduct—I’m sure He does not—but it does mean we are to reach out to our fellowman in love to invite, persuade, serve, and rescue. Jesus Christ looked past people’s ethnicity, rank, and circumstances in order to teach them this profound truth.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson
Then, within a few moments, President Monson described that acting on the will of the Lord, he was extending a call to the Quorum of the Twelve to me. He asked me if I would accept this call, to which, following what I am sure was a very undignified audible gasp, in complete shock, I responded affirmatively. And then, before I could even verbalize a tsunami of indescribable emotion, most of which were feelings of inadequacy, President Monson kindly reached out to me, describing how he was called many years ago as an Apostle by President David O. McKay, at which time he too felt inadequate. He calmly instructed me, “Bishop Stevenson, the Lord will qualify those whom He calls.” These soothing words of a prophet have been a source of peace, a calm in a storm of painful self-examination and tender feelings in the ensuing agonizing hours which have passed day and night since then.

… As I agonized over my inadequacies this week, I received a distinct impression which both chastened and comforted me: to focus not on what I can’t do but rather on what I can do. I can testify of the plain and precious truths of the gospel.
These are the words which I have shared hundreds of times with both those who belong to the Church and many who are not members: “God is our [loving] Heavenly Father. We are His children. … He weeps with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right. He wants to communicate with us, and we can communicate with Him through sincere prayer. …

Elder Dale G. Renlund

In 1986 a young man named Chad developed heart failure and received a heart transplant. He did very well for a decade and a half. Chad did all he could to stay healthy and live as normal a life as possible. He served a mission, worked, and was a devoted son to his parents. The last few years of his life, though, were challenging, and he was in and out of the hospital frequently.
… In that moment, I saw Chad through his mother’s and father’s eyes. I saw the great hopes and expectations they had had for him, the desire they had had that he would live just a little bit longer and a little bit better. With this realization, I began to weep. In an ironic reversal of roles and in an act of kindness I will never forget, Chad’s parents comforted me.
I now realize that in the Church, to effectively serve others we must see them through a parent’s eyes, through Heavenly Father’s eyes. Only then can we begin to comprehend the true worth of a soul. Only then can we sense the love that Heavenly Father has for all of His children. Only then can we sense the Savior’s caring concern for them. We cannot completely fulfill our covenant obligation to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort unless we see them through God’s eyes.3 This expanded perspective will open our hearts to the disappointments, fears, and heartaches of others. But Heavenly Father will aid and comfort us, just as Chad’s parents comforted me years ago. We need to have eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that know and feel if we are to accomplish the rescue so frequently encouraged by President Thomas S. Monson.4
Only when we see through Heavenly Father’s eyes can we be filled with “the pure love of Christ.”5 Every day we should plead with God for this love. Mormon admonished, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.”6