Preparing for Sunday Each Day

One year when my children were quite young, I was trying to cope with a new schedule for sacrament meeting, a newborn baby, two preschool daughters, and a preschool son. At the time my husband worked on Sundays, so I was left alone to handle my four children during Church meetings. I did my best to prepare for the Sabbath as well as I could by laying out clothes the night before and packing a bag with special quiet activities and books. While the preparation helped, I still felt frazzled and frustrated at the end of each sacrament meeting.

I felt desperate and discouraged, and I was about to give up when I decided to take my problem to the Lord. After I fasted and knelt in earnest, heartfelt prayer, the sweetest feeling came over me. The Spirit of the Holy Ghost whispered that my efforts in going to church each week were not in vain—that my most important duty at that time was to teach my children that church is where we should be on Sunday, even if I never remembered a word of a talk or lesson.

Then an idea came to mind: we could have “quiet time” at home every weekday at about the same time the sacrament meeting was held. I talked to the children about my idea, then rearranged our daily schedule so that most days we could be at home at that time. At the appointed time, I set a 15-minute timer, then played some soft classical music. We all sat on the couch, folded our arms, and listened to the music. After a few minutes, I would let them quietly play with the items usually reserved for Sunday.

The children eagerly looked forward to “quiet time” each day. If the children became noisy, I gently removed the items they had been playing with, put a finger to my lips in a silent “shh,” then returned the toys when they were quiet again.

After two weeks of doing this daily, I was amazed at the change in church. During the passing of the sacrament, my little children sat quietly, and I was able to worship and feel peaceful. I was deeply grateful for those few moments each Sunday. They were enough to give me the spiritual nourishment I needed to be able to be happy the rest of the day.

And during the week, I began to look forward each day to “quiet time” as much as the children did and often used it as a time to read from the Ensign or the scriptures. We were careful to keep it consistently to 15 minutes because their attention spans were short. At the end of each year, when our meeting time changed, we rescheduled a new quiet time, and within a few weeks our children adjusted to the change.

I’m very thankful to a loving Heavenly Father who taught me how to cope during those years of teaching young children to be reverent. He truly understands our needs and helps us with our problems if we do our best and go to Him in prayer.Diane Nilsson Bielefeldt, Mesa, Arizona

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth M. Whittaker

Bridging the Confidence Gap

Sometimes when I sense a “missionary moment” with a friend or neighbor, I feel unsure of what to say. Although I’d like to launch right into an explanation of gospel beliefs, I often lack the confidence to do so. To help bridge this confidence gap, I’ve found the following ideas helpful.

  • As Church members, we can pray for the full-time missionaries and for ability to share the gospel ourselves.

  • We can look for the many opportunities available to share the gospel and pray to become more sensitive to them.

  • We can ask for discernment and clearheadedness that we may know how to respond to inquiries about our beliefs.

  • It helps to practice expressing testimonies both at home and at church during fast and testimony meetings. Once we become comfortable sharing our feelings, it won’t seem so difficult to share them with friends.

  • We can allow visitors to our homes to see the things that bring us happiness and joy and let them know the seeds of such good feelings lie in gospel living.

  • While we have a responsibility to share our testimonies, we needn’t worry about teaching discussions; the stake and full-time missionaries will do that.

  • We can answer questions simply and focus on what we believe, not on what we don’t believe. If we don’t know the answer to a question or are unsure of how to give a clear explanation, we can admit it and offer to find out.

While at times we may feel anxious about sharing the gospel, finding missionary moments comes more naturally as we focus on our love for others and our desire to share the gospel message with them.Julie B. Morra, Loveland, Ohio

Jobs: Lost and Found

Knowing my current work assignment might be ending, I started a job search several months before it was to end, something I never thought I’d have to do. As a result of my efforts to find new employment, I have learned several important steps that can make a job search go more smoothly.

  • Don’t take your present job for granted. Because of rapidly changing world conditions and new technology, work opportunities are less stable than they were in the recent past. Keep your résumé updated.

  • Prepare for the unexpected. Discuss with your spouse what a job loss might do to your circumstances and decide how you might meet such challenges. How much of a financial reserve do you have? How well prepared is your year’s supply of food and clothing? What expenses could be immediately cut from your budget? The plan that my wife and I created some time ago gave us both peace of mind as we faced potential changes in the workplace. Make sure your home is kept in reasonably good repair in case you need to rent or sell it quickly. When circumstances become unsettled, needed home repairs can become a burden if they have been deferred.

  • Improve your chances of staying employed. Learn ways to increase your value to your employer. Maintain cordial business relationships. Take advantage of employee training, workshops, and your company’s educational reimbursement program, if available. I completed my master’s degree over a period of five years on a program of company reimbursement. Attending numerous professional seminars also helped keep my skills polished and up-to-date.

  • Hold yourself responsible for finding work. If it appears that a change of job is coming, register with an employment agency. However, don’t relax just because you have enlisted help. You have the most to gain from getting a good job and should spend much more time and effort looking for work than an agency is likely to do. I also learned that a friend of mine found that many larger companies now advertise employment openings on the Internet. He was able to send a résumé over the Internet and receive quick replies, sometimes overnight, to his queries.

  • Create a plan. Decide what steps you can take to look for new employment. Keep a current list of people you might contact about finding work. After receiving news of the possible changes at my workplace, I set a goal to initiate at least one contact each week while I was still with the company. I called friends, former employers, and other people I didn’t know personally but who I heard might have job openings.

  • Keep a positive outlook. Don’t be unduly upset by rumors—even though most of them may turn out to be true. Focus on what you can do today to prepare, not on worrying about what might happen tomorrow. Worrying about uncontrollable matters wastes valuable time and energy.

  • Keep your spiritual reserves high. Pay your tithing faithfully, and make scripture reading and prayer a priority. During difficult weeks of uncertainty, I took walks on my lunch hour and often felt the comfort of the Spirit that all would be well with my family no matter what the company did.

The news finally came that my plant was being closed. Within a short time due in part to the efforts extended, I was offered a job in Vancouver, Canada. I also learned for myself that “if ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30).Douglas R. King, Federal Way, Washington

[illustrations] Illustrated by Joe Flores

Family Home Evening on the Road

When our family goes on vacation, we continue to hold family home evening. In order to have some of the same resources with us that we enjoy at home, we make photocopies of one or two lessons from the Family Home Evening Resource Book and take them with us. The lessons give us almost everything we need, so preparation is simple.

When we visit friends or relatives who are not members of the Church, not only do we have a fun family home evening experience with them, but we also have an opportunity to say, “The Church publishes a really good resource book that can benefit you and help you teach values to your children.”John VanDenBerghe, Lincoln, Nebraska

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth M. Whittaker