Family Home Evening Lesson
I HELP TO BLESS OTHERS WHEN I SHARE THE GOSPEL.
Purpose: Help family members learn how to share the blessings of the gospel with others.
Song: Called To Serve (Hymns, 249; CS, 174)
Scripture: Doctrine and Covenants 18:15
And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
1. Bring to family home evening an envelope, crayon, slip of paper, and pencil for each family member. Also bring two large sheets of paper.
2. Prepare an envelope in which there is a slip of paper with the following scripture written on it: “If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7). Write on the outside of the envelope “Our Heavenly Father’s Gift.”
Ask family members to think of a family or friend’s name that they would, (pretend), love to give a great gift to.
The activity should help the family focus on some of the nonmembers or less active members they know.
After several names have been mentioned, decide together on a family or person to whom your family would like to give a gift.
Give each family member an envelope, and ask him to use a crayon to draw a ribbon on the envelope, making it look like a present. On each envelope have him print the name of the family that has been chosen.
Next, have each family member write on a slip of paper what he feels would be the greatest gift he could give to the other family. Have him place the slip in the envelope. Collect the envelopes, and read and discuss the responses.
It will be interesting to see what the suggested gifts are. Perhaps some will be material things. Comment on how much fun it would be to give such gifts. Some gifts may be spiritual. Point out how much more lasting such gifts are.
In conclusion, show the envelope marked “Our Heavenly Father’s Gift.” Have the family pretend that Heavenly Father has named the gift he would offer and placed it in the envelope. Open the envelope and read:
“If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7).
Winning Their Hearts
• Why do we want to give these gifts of the gospel to the family we chose? (So that they can have eternal life.)
• How can we help them to truly desire the gospel? (By allowing them to see the teachings of the gospel in our lives.)
• What must we do before this family can be taught the gospel? (Win their hearts.)
Story - Ammon Goes on a Mission
Ammon had gone into the Lamanite country to serve a mission for the Church. He became a servant to King Lamoni so that he might seek opportunities to teach the gospel to the Lamanite people. One of Ammon’s duties was to tend the flocks of King Lamoni.
One day some wicked men scattered the flocks. Ammon, upon seeing the scattered flocks and observing the fear of the other servants, recognized his opportunity to teach the gospel.
The servants wept because of fear they would be killed. When Ammon saw this, his heart filled with joy. He said, “I will show forth my power unto these my fellow-servants, or the power which is in me, in restoring these flocks unto the king, that I may win the hearts of these my fellow-servants that I may lead them to believe in my words” (Alma 17:29).
Then, acting under the inspiration of the Lord, Ammon encouraged the servants to stop their weeping, to gather the flocks once more. When this was done, the same wicked men came again to scatter the flocks. Ammon said: “Encircle the flocks round about that they flee not; and I go and contend with these men who do scatter our flocks” (Alma 17:33).
The servants obeyed Ammon. Ammon then went to the watering place to protect the servants and the flocks from the wicked men who delighted in killing.
At first they fought with slings and stones. Ammon, in mighty power from the Lord, threw his stones among the wicked men and killed six of them. Not one of the wicked men was able to hit Ammon, so they threw down their slings and stones and came toward Ammon with clubs. As they came near him, Ammon raised his sword and cut off the arms of the wicked men who raised their clubs against him. Ammon was able to defend himself, the servants, and King Lamoni’s flocks.
After the battle was over, the servants ran to the king and excitedly told their story of how Ammon had saved the king’s [flocks]. King Lamoni sent for Ammon. He could not understand how Ammon, a Nephite, could be so loyal to the Lamanite people when the Nephites and Lamanites had been bitter enemies for many years.
Ammon had been faithful in his duties as a servant. Because of this he was able to teach King Lamoni, his household, and his court the gospel. He was able to do this because he had first won their hearts with his love, friendship, and example.
Ammon who wanted to give the gift of the gospel to the Lamanites.
Ammon understood that he would first have to do something to make them want to receive the gospel.
Why was Ammon able to teach the gospel to the Lamanites?
How do we win their hearts? (We must become their friends.)
What is the first gift we must offer? (Love.)
Explain that our Heavenly Father really does offer the glorious gift of eternal life to all of his children.
• What must his children do to have this gift? (Accept his gospel, be baptized into his Church, live his commandments, and be married for time and all eternity.)
Point out that each person has to do something to accept the gift. He has to do something for himself to earn eternal life.
• Can our family offer the gift of eternal life to the family we have chosen to present a gift to? Why not?
• What can we give?
Redistribute the envelopes, and ask each person to write on it some blessing that the chosen family would receive if our family could help them become members of the Church. You might make a chart of these blessings as they are mentioned. Some of these things might be included:
1. A true knowledge that God is our Heavenly Father.
2. A prophet to guide us.
3. Opportunities for service to others.
4. Sunday School.
5. Relief Society.
6. Temple marriage and sealings.
7. The full gospel of Jesus Christ.
9. The Book of Mormon.
10. Spiritual growth.
11. The priesthood.
12. Family home evenings.
13. Opportunity to become a family forever.
• Which of these gifts do you feel we could give first? (Answers may include family home evening, Primary, Relief Society, Sunday School, a recreational activity.)
Talk about how these gifts could be offered. Summarize by stating that if we could give the chosen family the opportunity to become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we would give them the opportunity to enjoy all these gifts on the list plus many more.
We can share the gospel only as people are willing to receive, a little now and more later. Sometimes a little of the gospel principles now will open their hearts for more later on. Acts of interest and kindness will win their hearts. We must let them see us live the gospel and know we are their friends, then we are better able to share the gospel.
Planning to Give the Gift
Pray about the family or friend, asking the Lord to help you approach them at the right time and in the right way. Do those things that you can do sincerely.
As you plan the activities, pray about your plan, and then get started. When you have won the hearts of your friends, give them the opportunity to hear about the gospel. Remain friends whether or not they accept the gospel.
Winning Their Hearts by Example
There have been instances when a person has been turned away from the gospel truths because of the actions of some of the members of the Church. We can win hearts and teach the gospel if we ourselves are good examples of believers.
1. Are you always careful to be honest and fair?
2. Is there anything you could do to make your home and yard more tidy and thus make the neighborhood more beautiful?
3. Are you always obedient to parents, teachers, and Church leaders?
4. Are you considerate of your neighbors?
5. Are you careful not to gossip or talk about other people? Do you try to say something good about a person who is being talked about negatively in your presence?
6. Are you always courteous?
7. Are you careful about obeying the law?
8. Do you always keep your word?
Winning Their Hearts with Friendship
Accept people for what they are and who they are. Acknowledge from the beginning that life-styles differ, but all are children of our Heavenly Father and need to have the blessings of the gospel. Remain their friend even though they may not accept the gospel at the present time.
1. Is there a nonmember family in your neighborhood with whom you are not well acquainted? Could you pay them a short visit, and tell them you would like to know them better and perhaps invite them to a dinner at a future date?
2. Could you chat with your neighbors about gardening, exchange produce or recipes, in an effort to become more neighborly and to win their hearts?
3. Do you have a nonmember friend you could invite to go with you to Primary, a fireside, or an activity night at Church such as a play, road show, carnival, seminary function, or ball game?
4. Could you be a friend to persons at school or work who seem left out? Invite them to eat lunch with you, write a complimentary note to them, or express appreciation for them.
5. Could you make an opportunity to refer to a Church event in your conversations with nonmembers? For example, “I started learning to crochet in Primary yesterday,” or “We are learning to make tie quilts in Relief Society next week.” Follow with an invitation to have them join you. 6. Is there a new family moving into your area? Acquaint them with the location of the school, the grocery store, and the location of churches in your area; and perhaps tell them of neighborhood customs and group activities of common interest to all.
7. If the opportunity arises, could you explain the family home evening program to your nonmember friends? Is it possible to have them share a family home evening with you and your family?
8. Could you sponsor a “getting-to-know-you” party to welcome people into the neighborhood or to get to know a family or individual with whom you are not well acquainted?
You might also want to tell the following stories:
It was Sunday morning. Judy and Dwight were getting ready for church. There was a knock on the door. Judy ran to open it. Her friends Rachel and Wally were there and wanted to know if she could play. Judy said, “No, it’s Sunday, and I’m going to Primary. I don’t want to miss it.”
“What’s Primary?” asked Rachel.
• How would you have answered Rachel? (Allow time for answers.)
“Why do you like Primary?” Wally asked.
• What would you say to Wally?
Continue the story:
Then Judy said, “Why don’t you ask your parents if you can go with us?”
“We will,” said Rachel and Wally, and they ran home.
• Do you think the parents of Wally and Rachel would let them go? (Sometimes parents say yes, and sometimes they say no. But it doesn’t hurt to ask.)
Mary and Mrs. Johnson
“Mommy,” Mary asked as she came in the house, “who lives in the big house down the street? We don’t ever see anyone there.”
Mother replied, “An older lady. Her name is Mrs. Johnson. She isn’t able to get around very well so she stays at home a lot. Would you like to meet her?”
“I don’t know,” said Mary. “Is she nice?”
“Oh, yes,” said mother, “and she loves children. Maybe we could make some cookies to take to her.”
The next day Mary helped her mother make some cookies. They took them down the street to Mrs. Johnson’s house. Mary was excited to give the cookies to Mrs. Johnson. When Mrs. Johnson answered the door, she had a sad, tired look on her face, but she started to smile when Mary gave her the cookies.
“Oh, thank you,” said Mrs. Johnson. “These look delicious. Did you help make them?”
“Yes,” said Mary.
The next day Mary was walking down the sidewalk, and Mrs. Johnson was sitting on her porch. Mary waved, and Mrs. Johnson called for her to come. Mary skipped over to where Mrs. Johnson was sitting. Mrs. Johnson again thanked her for the cookies. Then she told Mary some stories about when she was a little girl. Mary loved to listen to her. Each day she would go to see Mrs. Johnson, often taking some pictures she had colored and some fresh peas or corn from the garden. Mary soon grew to love Mrs. Johnson, and Mrs. Johnson loved to have Mary come. They talked about many things.
Then one day Mary asked Mrs. Johnson to come to family home evening at her house. The whole family planned a special night. They had a good time. Mrs. Johnson felt so good to be involved, and Mary had a new friend.
• How was Mary a missionary? (She showed love and kindness for a neighbor. She invited Mrs. Johnson to family home evening.)
• Is there someone who lives by us that we could show love for?
Explain that all through our lives, we should tell people about the Church. Sometimes they will listen and sometimes they won’t. But we should always try to give them the great gift of happiness and kindness. They can be good friends.
“Lesson Twenty-six: Sharing Our Blessings,” Family Home Evening Resource Book, (1997),109