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Teaching Relief Society from a Conference Talk

If you are here, you have likely been called to teach Relief Society on a 2nd or 3rd Sunday. This has only been my calling for a few months, so in no ways do I consider myself an expert. I have however come up with a system that works for me, and have created multiple graphic organizers for specific talks I have been assigned. Each of these organizers can be found in the exclusive digital resource Living on Lemon Lane Library. All you need to do is subscribe for access

The majority of my adult life in the church has been ironically spent in Young Women’s. YW will forever hold a special place in my heart, as will the new Come Follow Me curriculum. With a degree in teaching I see so much overlap, and inspiration with how the lessons are organized and instructed to be given. Teaching in the Savior’s Way

Though sad to leave my post in Young Women’s I was excited for my calling to be in Relief Society. This was a new feeling. Relief Society and Visiting Teaching had always felt disconnected with an added sense of guilt an even a bit of dread. Much of this created in my own head, stemming from my own insecurities. The idea of Visiting Teaching terrified me. I was willing, just clueless. I remember pleading to a Relief Society President when I was first married to partner me with someone that could take me under their wings and show me the ropes.

When they made the announcement that there would no longer be visiting teaching and instead Ministering…. and that Young Women would be stepping into the role… tears streamed down my face. Every bit of me pulsed with conviction that our Savior Jesus Christ is at the helm. When the call was extended to teach in Relief Society I was excited.

As my first week approached to teach, I quickly realized that teaching  from someone else’s talk posed a few difficulties that I didn’t foresee. In the Youth’s Come Follow Me curriculum you are given a topic or question to teach and supported with multiple addresses, questions, and suggestions for how to deliver the message and lead the discussion. If you are reading this now, you have likely discovered that you are given the specific talk, and a small paragraph of direction and suggestions. I hope the following will help you as you prepare.

Tips for Teaching Second and Third Sundays. 

  1. If you haven’t already, take the time to read and ponder Teaching in the Savior’s Way, as well as reading through the introduction of the Come Follow Me curriculum given to Elder’s Quorum and Relief Society. You can access both through the links above.
  2. Study and listen to your assigned Conference Talk. You can find your assigned talk through the church’s website, the Mormon Channel, and even Youtube. I try to listen to the assigned talk multiple times before actually sitting down to prepare the lesson. Listen while you drive, go for a walk, exercise, clean the house…etc. While you listen think of questions that could be used in a discussion. The more familiar you become with the address the better.
  3. As you go about your week pray for guidance and direction, as well as to have your attention brought to experiences or scriptures that relate. You may even find that you have had an experience that feels specific to what you will be teaching on.
  4. Prior to your lesson find a way to encourage members of the class to read the talk you will be discussing. “Leaders and teachers should find ways to encourage members to read the selected message in advance and come prepared to share gospel truths and ideas about how to act on them.” This invitation can be given through e-mail, text, facebook groups, or at the end of a Sunday Lesson.
  5. It is helpful to print off the talk. I wait until I am familiar with the order and main idea of the talk before printing. This time as I read through the printed pages I like to separate the talk into natural breaks, topics, stories, ideas. Writing the topic or a title for each section in the margin. As I read I also highlight key takeaways, questions posed, any call to action, “an answer to a question, an inspiring passage, or an example of a principle.” I also write down any questions I think of in the margin next to the text it relates to. This can also be done digitally through google docs or Word documents.  If you choose to do this digitally, I suggest you copy and paste the entire talk into a google document. Once copied, highlight the talk again>right click>remove formatting. This will allow you to format the text to your liking without ending up with 25+ pages of material!
  6. Hidden Gems: The next thing I like to do is go through the references listed at the end of the talk. ***This is best done online. Pull up the talk through the church’s website, scroll to the bottom, and then expand the references section.Here you can find the inspiration to much of the address.
    1. Let me give an example of a hidden gem I came across recently. As I was preparing to teach “Young Women in the Work” by Bonnie Oscarson I noticed a random reference note attached to the beautiful phrase as shown in the picture. Notice that tiny little reference 5… When I clicked on it I was lead to this scripture that isn’t even mentioned in Sister Oscarson’s talk. (Matthew 10: 39) 39 aHe that findeth his life shall blose it: and he that closeth his dlife for my sake shall find it.       In Teaching in the Savior’s Way we are encouraged to use the scriptures and use them often. “at every opportunity, inspire those you teach to turn to the word of God for guidance, answers to questions, and support.”  The reference list is the perfect place to start your search for scriptures and latter day scripture to guide your discussion.
  7. Ponder and pray for inspired questions. Inspired questions lead to inspired discussion. Hopefully at this point you have already thought of a few questions that can be posed. Remember in that small paragraph you are given from the Come Follow Me there should be at least 2 questions, and that’s a start 😉. Also I have found it helpful when thinking of questions to search for teaching helps or suggestions. Chicken Scratch and Sniff is a site I look to often! Below are some of the basic questions I use. Many have lead to meaningful discussions:
    1. How does this relate to you or your life
    2. How do we apply this princible
    3. What changes are you prompted to make in your own life after reading/discussing this?
    4. Do you have a scripture or scripture story that comes to mind?
    5. Have you had an experience in your own life that illustrates this?
    6. Why is this relevant to the topic/gospel?
    7. Going forward what changes will you strive to make?
    8. What can we learn from this?
  8. Decide how you are going to deliver the material. I always try to have at least one additional method besides the teacher reading and the class responding.
    1. My go to is video clips. After sectioning the talk off in to topics, I watch the video and assign the segment of time on the video to each topic. That way I can share and pause the pieces easily without having to search. Less that 3 minute video segments are ideal but I have gone upwards to 5 if it stays focused. If you are wanting to use a video segment that is 5 minutes or longer, consider pausing it to discuss what has been said or asking a question to be discussed. The simplest way I have used video clips is ON MY PHONE through the TV. All you need is an HDMI cord that connects your phone to the TV from the library. The TV then displays whatever is shown or playing on your phone. You can purchase one through Amazon, or encourage your ward to purchase one that can be kept in the library! ****When using video clips consider prefacing each clip with something the class should be listening for. This allows students to be more focused and attentive with purpose.
    2. Other options to consider would be breaking the class into small groups 3-5 people per group in my experience is about right. Assign a topic, section, question, or scriptures to each group as well as an objective. When everyone is finished they will be teaching the class, summarizing, answering a question… You will want to plan your time for this appropriately and may need to support some of the groups. This is a great way to get everyone involved and talking, while taking the pressure away of participating in front of the entire class.
    3. Are there materials you could bring, display, or play that would add to the lesson. Besides video clips, consider a piece of music, graphic organizer, a poem, a picture… In my Small and Simple things lesson, at the end of the class I passed around an i-pad with examples of Pointillism Art and asked the members to come up with a correlation between the two. What was said was far more beautiful and inspired than what I would have come up with on my own. In another lesson I displayed a painting of the Vision of The Tree of Life, (I was able to do this DIGITALLY, through my phone, using the HDMI cord. Using my phone allowed me to zoom in on details being discussed!) The majority of the lesson ended up in a beautiful discussion about details the sisters noticed and how it related to our lives, this all stemmed from a simple question, and a simple, yet beautiful picture.
    4. The following two come from my experience as a school teacher.
      1. Socratic method: Each member of the class is given a slip or slips of paper and asked to participate in a discussion. When they participate they can put a slip of paper on the floor or in a community pile. The hope is that at the end of the lesson no one will have a slip left.
      2. Gallery Walk: This is extremely flexible. Basically you post things around the room, and ask member to walk around to each one and respond or reflect. This can be done with quotes, pictures, questions, a combination of all of these… You can place posters with a quote and a question and each member will write their response on the poster. You can either give them a total amount of time to pace themselves, or you can give an allotted amount of time at each poster and have them rotate after each interval. At the end of the respond and reflect you could then assign a poster to a small group and give them the assignment of reading through, and then summarizing the thoughts for the rest of the group.
      3. Technology: I haven’t yet but I am hoping to find a way to incorporate a few of my favorite teaching tools like plickers or, kahoot
  9. Consider the order you will deliver the message. Do not feel bound to chronological. Remember you organized the talk into sections. Decide what is the overall message you want members to walk away with and prioritize your lesson based off of that. As you organize consider stories, experiences, questions, and methods of delivery.
  10. Testify and Call to Action… The most important part of the lesson. What truths will you testify of to close your lesson, what will the members be inspired to do? Invite them to change, give them something to work on, to do, to take away from the lesson that they can apply and immediately start working on in the coming week. This can be an invitation to act as an individual that they decide upon personally or an invitation to act as a group. Either way this is where conversion takes place, this is the purpose of the lesson. ***Pay attention to the talk you have been assigned most of the time there is if not one, but many calls to action, or an invitation to act.
    1. Remember we have been asked to come back and reflect each week on the previous lesson. Here is where we would discuss the invitations to act, what they brought about, feelings experienced, here again we testify. “Share experiences with acting on impressions and invitations received in previous priesthood or Relief Society meetings (led by a presidency member).

I hope these thoughts were helpful as you plan and prepare your next lesson. Make sure to check out the Exclusive Digital Library where you can download Graphic Organizers that I create specific to the talk assigned.

A Few Teaching Tips from a School Teacher

  • Expectations are Everything. If you wish a class would participate more…. tell them. If you wish people would stop distracting from your lesson by visiting or looking at a device….tell them. At the beginning of each lesson I make sure to stress how much their contribution is needed. There is a responsibility on the teacher to prepare, invite, and guide. Often we forget about the responsibility of the student to participate, think, and to ponder. Remember you can not hold someone to an expectation if they don’t know what the expectation is. List your expectations to the entire class at the beginning, then facilitate an atmosphere conducive to your expectations.
  • Guide on the Side not a Sage on the Stage: 

    “Don’t try to dazzle everyone with how brilliant you are. Dazzle them with how brilliant the gospel is. Don’t worry about the location of the lost tribes or the Three Nephites. Worry a little more about the location of your student, what’s going on in his heart, what’s going on in her soul, the hunger, sometimes the near-desperate spiritual needs of our people. Teach them. And, above all, testify to them. Love them. Bear your witness from the depths of your soul. It will be the most important thing you say to them in the entire hour, and it may save someone’s spiritual life.”

    Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

  • Inspired Questions lead to Inspired Discussion: Steer clear of questions that can be answered by a simple yes, or no, or very important….. Exp: How important is _________ in our lives? Answer: Very important🤦‍♀️
  • Don’t be afraid of silence: It’s ok to have an uncomfortable silence, even if you are dying on the inside… Stand confident. Give it some time. Ask the question again, rephrase it if you can. Some of the best responses will come from a good awkward silence. Worst case scenario, assign the question to someone and say we will come back to it and discuss. Have everyone turn to a neighbor and discuss it with them, next asking a partnership to share what as discussed. You can even ask a partnership to share their thoughts before the discussion so they know they have a responsibility to fulfill.
  • Stay on Track: Sometimes you might have a member of the class that dominates the discussion, or loves to share stories that aren’t pertinent to the discussion (especially with the youth) 
    • A teaching tactic you can try with a student dominating or distracting from the discussion is a neighbor turn and talk. Have everyone turn to their neighbor and share their thoughts, if time allows ask if anyones neighbor had a thought worth sharing. This typically encourages other members of the class to participate, while still validating the person’s need to be heard.
    • If you have a student that distracts from the lesson with remarks that are off the wall, intended for laughs, or meant to discuss the location of the 3 Nephites, it might be helpful to remind or revisit what you are listing as your expectations at the beginning of the class. What is the purpose of everyone’s attendance. List the purpose, and ask for participation focused on that purpose.

If you are searching for a little reading material about teaching, you might be interested in reading Teaching and Learning in the Church by Elder Jeffery R. Holland. This was given in 2007 prior to the new Teaching in the Savior’s way and you can see much correlation between the two.

I would love to hear any tips, or ideas that you have used in your own lesson or plan to use! What has worked well for you?

 

BIG NEWS: Check out my story for more information, trust me you don’t want to miss this! .
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I love the Drawn In videos because of their focus on APPLICATION. Instead of just a retelling of the story, David takes it a step further by exploring why the story is important, what we can learn from it, and even further by giving examples of scenarios of where the principles taught can be applied in your children’s life today. Truly @davidbowmanart has a gift for bringing the scriptures and their importance to life. .
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If you’re interested make sure to check out the FREE Sample videos available on his website, (I link it each week on the blog) Also don’t forget to check out my story for some EXCITING news that’s only available to you for the next TWO WEEKS! #gogogo
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“The influence of your personal testimonies is ever so far-reaching. The Lord instructed: “The testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you” (D&C 62:3). He also cautioned us: “With some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man” (D&C 60:2). You never know when your turn will come to comply with the admonition of Peter to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15).”
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Thomas S. Monson
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I’ve complied my FAVORITE inexpensive gift ideas for Father’s Day and created FREE printables for you to complete the gift! These are perfect and practical for the men in your life, and work great as a gift for the entire ward! -
What did your Ward do for Father’s Day this year?
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“I know the love of God. It is one of the very few things I do know with absolute certainty. I think suffering on this earth is an indication of God’s trust, God’s love. I think it is an indication that God does not want us to be simply obedient children playing forever under his hand, but wants us able to become more like himself. In order to do that we have to know reality. We have to be real ourselves and not dependent on externals. If we are to be like God, we cannot live forever in fear that we may meet something that will scare us or that will hurt us. We have to be able, as he is able, to meet what comes of others’ agency, and of living in a lawful universe that allows creation of a habitable planet only when it allows also the difficulties that come in natural operations of such a planet.”
-Francine R. Bennion
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“Now all this suffering might indeed be unfair if everything ended at death, but it doesn’t. Life is not like a one-act play. It has three acts. We had a past act, when we were in the premortal existence; and now we have a present act, which is mortality; and we will have a future act, when we return to God. … We were sent into mortality to be tested and tried [see Abraham 3:25]. … “Our past and present sufferings cannot, as Paul said, ‘be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us’ [Romans 8:18] in the eternities. ‘For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory.’ [D&C 58:4.] So tribulation is useful in the sense that it is helpful to get into the celestial kingdom”
-James E. Faust
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Reflecting on Father’s Day... it’s incredible to me that the Supreme Creator of the Universe chooses to be addressed as “Father”...
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. “Father’ is the noblest title a man can be given. It is more than a biological role. It signifies a patriarch, a leader, an exemplar, a confidant, a teacher, a hero, a friend and, ultimately, a perfect being.” Robert L. Backman
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For whatever reason, I’ve had this false idea in my mind that when you are on the Lord’s errand, a path paved in smooth simplicity would be laid out before you… This simply isn’t the case. Consider Nephi’s path and the bumps and stumbling blocks placed in his way… Consider Abinadi and his ultimate sacrifice of meekness and obedience… Consider Joseph Smith and the reestablishment of the early Church… Now consider Alma the younger and his dealings with Ammoniahah… Looking ahead, look what happens to Amulek once he finally decides to “Know” the Gospel.

It’s so interesting to me that when the angel is sent to Alma to lift him up and send him back to Ammoniahah a key detail that in my mind would have eased Alma’s mind is left out. Notice how the angel made no mention of Amulek. There is no mention of comfort that someone has been prepared for you, and is waiting for you. Instead, Alma acts “speedily” not knowing what he will do, ACTING in faith, hoping that the Lord will provide a way.
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To me this illustrates the idea of the Lord’s hand cautiously guiding us even when we can’t see it. I’ve seen this concept in my own life, however, it isn’t until I have the hindsight of the future to look back and realize his hand was there all along. There is something to choosing to act on our own. Heading in the right direction, even though we don’t know how we will be delivered, having faith that we WILL be delivered.
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“Each of us also carries a load. Our individual load is comprised of demands and opportunities, obligations and privileges, afflictions and blessings, and options and constraints. Two guiding questions can be helpful as we periodically and prayerfully assess our load... [...]Sometimes we mistakenly may believe that happiness is the absence of a load. But bearing a load is a necessary and essential part of the plan of happiness... [...] Not only does the Atonement of Jesus Christ overcome the effects of the Fall of Adam and make possible the remission of our individual sins and transgressions, but His Atonement also enables us to do good and become better in ways that stretch far beyond our mortal capacities. Most of us know that when we do things wrong and need help to overcome the effects of sin in our lives, the Savior has made it possible for us to become clean through His redeeming power. But do we also understand that the Atonement is for faithful men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully? I wonder if we fail to fully acknowledge this strengthening aspect of the Atonement in our lives and mistakenly believe we must carry our load all alone—through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline and with our obviously limited capacities.” Excerpts from Bear Your Burdens with Ease, -Bednar ...

With there being a focus on Missionary work this week for Come Follow Me, and the fact that it isn’t always rosy… I thought a good addition to the lesson would be to write a letter to a missionary. Maybe this is a family member, a ward member, or someone new entirely, but a message from home can be an easy way to show support for those serving in the mission field. To help with this activity I created a fun and editable missionary letter template. The template should simplify the writing process and take the guesswork out of what to write. You can either type directly onto the slide, and print or email. Or you can begin by printing a hard copy and writing directly onto the page.

Use this with your family, your students, the primary, or young men| young women! This works great as a zoom call activity or fun activity at home! I’ve also included a link to inkablinka.com where Kristin has uploaded some awesome printables going over missionary letter dos and donts!
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Highlighting one of my most treasured scriptures this week. President Bednar said it best: “Thus, the Savior has suffered not just for our sins and iniquities—but also for our physical pains and anguish, our weaknesses and shortcomings, our fears and frustrations, our disappointments and discouragement, our regrets and remorse, our despair and desperation, the injustices and inequities we experience, and the emotional distresses that beset us. There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. In a moment of weakness we may cry out, “No one knows what it is like. No one understands.” But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens. And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice (see Alma 34:14), He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power. Indeed, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.” ...

To help you with your study this week, I’ve created a printable with all of the questions posed in chapter 5. (Around 50!) For me, this gives me something concrete, that I can hold, look at, and mark up. You will notice that many of the questions aren’t as simple as a yes and no, similar to many of the questions asked in Come Follow Me. I’ve left a space next to each question for you to use as you wish. Yes, it could be a place for a checkmark, but the more I grow, the more I learn that this is not a checklist Gospel. Rather, it’s growth, progression, and all about movement whether that be forward or backward. I wonder if you may even choose to “check” one of the questions that you choose to further study, ponder, or focus on for the week.
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I’d love to hear how you use this personal inventory, and any takeaways you have. Don’t forget to share this post with a friend!
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Recently I was asked to share my thoughts on the Come Follow Me program during the past few months for the LDS Website in the UK. @churchofjesuschrist -
Frankly speaking the invitation made me a little sick. My biggest fear is that it would seem like we were the perfect little family with the perfect little program in place, complete with cutouts and crafts, deep discussions and daily reflection....
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This couldn't be more from the truth. Yes, I do a weekly round up of ideas and resources for Come Follow Me that I publish on my website, but that doesn't mean that it always happens within my own home. When it does happen it typically looks like a bedtime story, or a video played while the kids eat lunch... When it does happen I often fall asleep while trying to catch up on last week’s reading... Most of all, when it does happen, I notice a difference within my home. This program is divinely inspired, the simple timing of everything amplifies it's divine origin to me. -
Art by @_thecoloramber one of the most beautiful illustrations of a family I've ever laid eyes on. Words fall short on this piece. It's my absolute favorite.
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You can read the article here:
https://uk.churchofjesuschrist.org/come-follow-me-during-lockdown?lang=eng-gb
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This quote stopped me in my tracks... Make sure to head to the website for this week’s Round up of FREE Come Follow Me Resources! This week’s lesson is based on @comefollowmefamily AWESOME idea to use bubbles and balloons to teach about pride. AND @davidbowmanart released another FREE Sample video from his Drawn In, Come Follow Me monthly subscription that I know you are going to LOVE! His videos are wonderful and go beyond just a retelling of the story by diving deep into application in a language the whole family can enjoy! This is the ONLY paid subscription I use for #comefollowme Head to the website now for all of this, a coupon code, and MORE! -
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What are your takeaways from Come Follow Me this week? Do me a favor and spread the love by sharing this post or tagging a friend in the comments!
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By now we all know I love all things Lemon... Lemonade is not exception. ESPECIALLY a good tart Lemonade like @chickfila Did you know you could buy it by the Gallon??? Stay tuned... FREE Father’s Day Printable Gift Tags and a list of well received/ inexpensive gift ideas to accompany them! Whether your looking to outfit the entire ward, or just a thoughtful gift for a few of your favorite men, this post will highlight some fun ideas! -
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COMMENT BELOW: What are some of your favorite inexpensive gift ideas for #fathersday
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“And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God” (Mosiah 27:25–26).
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”Conversion is a process, not an event. Conversion comes as a result of righteous efforts to follow the Savior. These efforts include exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting of sin, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end in faith. Although conversion is miraculous and life changing, it is a quiet miracle. Angelic visitations and other spectacular occurrences do not bring conversion. Even Alma, who saw an angel, became converted only after he “fasted and prayed many days” for a witness of the truth (Alma 5:46). And Paul, who saw the resurrected Savior, taught that “no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost” (1 Corinthians 12:3).”
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Excerpt from LDS.org
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”Our behavior is nothing more than a reflection of the depth of our conversion to Jesus Christ." Ed J. Pinegar
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What has your behavior shown today of your conversion to Jesus Christ?
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Let’s talk FATHER’S Day... I’m getting ready to add a post on my favorite inexpensive gift ideas for #fathersday along with FREE & Thoughtful printables to complete the gift. So help me out... what are your FAVORITE ideas for budget friendly, visiting teaching friendly, give every man in the ward friendly GIFT IDEAS???
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Comment Below 💛🍋💛🍋
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This week in #comefollowme has me thinking a lot about the ripple effects of our choices. Consider the #rippleeffects of your Covenants. What about the ripple effect of Abinadi’s brave stand, or the ripples caused by Alma’s conversion. What choices are you making today, what ripple effect will they have tomorrow? ...

“What is the source of such moral and spiritual power, and how do we obtain it? The source is God. Our access to that power is through our covenants with Him. A covenant is an agreement between God and man, an accord whose terms are set by God (see Bible Dictionary, “Covenant,” 651). In these divine agreements, God binds Himself to sustain, sanctify, and exalt us in return for our commitment to serve Him and keep His commandments.”
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Head to the website to see this week’s round up of FREE, featured #comefollowme resources.
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