A couple of weeks ago, my wife invited me to come do a Sharing Time presentation on Preparing for a Mission in our ward’s Primary. The concept was simple, the lesson was easy to put together, and the Sharing Time presentation went great. Here’s the activity description from the Church Primary manual:
“Tell the children that Heavenly Father wants the gospel to be preached in all the world and they can prepare now to be missionaries. In a container, place objects that will remind the children of ways they can prepare to serve a mission, such as scriptures, Sunday shoes, a tithing slip, and a paper heart. Have a child choose an object from the container and share how doing what it represents can help them prepare to be missionaries.” From: October: The Mission of the Church Is to Invite All to Come unto Christ, 2010 Outline for Sharing Time.
So I gathered a bunch of missionary-related items (shown in the picture), packed them in a suitcase and brought them to Primary that day. I asked the children to come up, one by one, and pull an item out of the suitcase. Then I asked the child what that item had to do with missionary work, or how that item could help them to prepare now to be a missionary. Here are a list of the items, and their relation to missionary work and mission preparation:
- A Frying Pan: This is a reminder that missionaries need to be able to cook for themselves. Young people can start now learning to cook by helping their mom or dad make dinner.
- An Alarm Clock: Missionaries have a strict schedule they keep, including going to bed by 10:30 and being up by 6:30. An alarm clock is a must have. And young people can start now to learn to follow the Lord’s counsel in D&C 88: 124, “retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.”
- A Missionary Badge: The missionary name tag symbolizes how missionaries are representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. Young people can start now to learn to keep their baptismal and sacramental covenants to take upon them the name of Christ.
- A Piggy Bank: The LDS mission cost for young men and women in the United States is $400 a month which comes to about $10,000 for a two-year mission. It’s never too early for young people to start saving as much money as they can for their mission.
- The Scriptures: Missionaries teach the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ from the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Young people can start now reading the scriptures individually and with their families. By doing so they will be more familiar with the scriptures and they will be better prepared missionaries.
- Shoes: Missionaries need to be prepared to walk…a lot. These shoes are a reminder to young people to stay healthy and strong and to keep the word or wisdom so they can “run and not be weary… walk and not faint.” (D&C 89:20)
- A Hymn Book: Missionaries sing hymns a lot of times at the beginning of discussions, in order to bring the Spirit. Young children can begin early to know and appreciate the hymns of the Church. “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me.” (D&C 25:12)
- Painting of Jesus Christ: As missionaries “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ… that our [investigators] may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26) Missionaries must have a firm testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ and young people can begin to develop that now through scripture study, prayer, and participation in Church activities.
- A Photo of the Temple: Missionaries baptize people in order to get them started on the strait and narrow path that leads to eternal life. One of the next major spiritual steps, one that brings even more joy to missionaries, is to see converts go to the temple to receive those ordinances. Young people can begin now to learn about the temple and set goals to go inside one day.
- A Friend Magazine: Church magazines are a great resource for building faith and learning the gospel, which will aid in mission preparation. All young people should have access to read Church magazines.
Of course the items you choose when you do this lesson may be different than these. You could bring letters, a sewing kit, a picture of a baptism, etc. The possibilities are almost endless.