Do you know any missionaries? Have you ever thought you might like to be a missionary? Did you know that you can be a missionary now? The best missionaries love the Lord, and they love other people. When we love others, we want to share with them our greatest treasure—the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We can learn in the Book of Mormon how Ammon became a great missionary (see Alma 17–20). He and his brothers wanted to share the gospel with those who had never heard it. Their father was King Mosiah, and the Nephites expected one of the brothers to be king after him. However, each one said that he wanted to be a missionary more than he wanted to be king.
Ammon traveled to the land of King Lamoni, a Lamanite, and volunteered to be the king’s servant. He tended the king’s flocks, he fought the king’s enemies, and he ended up teaching the gospel to the king and his people. When the king and queen understood Ammon’s message that Jesus Christ would come and redeem them from sin, they were very happy. The scriptures tell us they were overwhelmed with joy. Ammon, too, was overcome with joy. He learned that the Lord welcomes everyone who repents and believes in Him.
The Apostle Peter knew that the gospel could help sinners become righteous. But he needed to learn that the gospel is for all people. Peter was a Jew and thought that it was “unclean,” or wrong, to keep company with someone who was not a Jew. Cornelius was a centurion (army officer) for Rome, the nation that conquered the Jews. He was a good man who prayed often and wanted to do what was right. An angel told Cornelius to send for Peter to come and tell him what God wanted him to do. Then God gave Peter a vision in Simon the tanner’s house to help the Apostle understand that he should not call any person unclean.
Three times Peter saw this vision before he was prepared in his heart to teach Cornelius about Jesus Christ. When Peter taught Cornelius, the centurion believed him, and the Holy Spirit was poured out on all those who were there. What great joy everyone felt! Peter learned that the Lord loves and accepts people from every nation. (See Acts 10.)
We can be like Ammon and Peter. We can be missionaries right now by living the gospel and showing love to others. We are missionaries when we share our testimony that Heavenly Father loves all His children. Heavenly Father wants you and me to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all His children.
Carefully remove page 15 from the magazine and mount it on lightweight cardboard. Cut out the backdrop scenes and fold them along the dotted lines. Cut out the figures and glue them to Popsicle sticks. Use the scenes and the figures to tell the story of Peter and Cornelius in family home evening.
(Note: CS = Children’s Songbook)
1. To help the children memorize Romans 1:16 [Rom. 1:16], repeat the scripture several times, stopping to let a child say the next word or phrase. Then have another child add a word or phrase. Continue alternating your recitation with the children’s until they are doing most of the reciting. To apply the scripture to their lives, print some situations (see below) on pieces of paper and ask them to dramatize the responses they would make as good missionaries. Read each situation to the whole Primary and select children to dramatize the response to it, or give one situation to each class and let it prepare a dramatization. Possible situations: being a good neighbor, including a newcomer in a game or in a circle of friends, helping a younger child avoid a dangerous situation, being honest in a store or in the classroom, encouraging others to avoid things that are bad for our bodies or minds, inviting a friend to a church or Primary activity.
2. With the approval of the bishop/branch president, invite a few returned missionaries to share their mission experiences, especially the joy they felt when people listened to and accepted the gospel message. Also encourage them to share ways they saw children aid the missionary work (such as by being good examples or by inviting friends to come to a church or Primary activity). Give each child a pencil and pieces of paper to write short messages or draw pictures on for the missionaries now serving from your area. Sing “I Want to Be a Missionary Now” (CS, p. 168) or “The Things I Do” (CS, pp. 170–171).
3. Coordinate with the music leader and pianist to play the “Whose Story Is This?” game. In large letters, print the following names (without the references) on separate pieces of paper: Enoch (Moses 7:18–19, 62); Jonah (Jonah 1–3); Ammon (Alma 17–19; 26:8–13); Paul (Acts 26:1–2, 22–29); Alma (Alma 8:8–34). On the back of each name, write the title of a song about missionary work that is familiar to your Primary (see the CS Topics index—Missionary Work). Post the names on the chalkboard. Without using his name, briefly tell the story of each of these great missionaries, using pictures from the library (optional). After each story, ask, “Whose story is this?” Select someone who guesses correctly to come up and turn over the name; then sing the song listed on the back. Continue until all the names have been done. You could have one or two children practice leading the music for some of the songs—an opportunity they might have on a mission or elsewhere as they serve in the Church!
4. Use Acts 10 as a script to tell the story of Peter and Cornelius. A narrator could read the majority of the story from the scriptures. Also assign parts for Peter, Cornelius, Cornelius’s servants (2 or 3), Peter’s friends (2), and an angel. There are two scenes: Cornelius’s house and Simon the tanner’s house, where Peter is staying. Use simple costumes or name tags. Younger children might act out the scenes as the narrator tells the story; older children could share the dramatization with the younger Primary. Ask the children what Peter learned from this experience. Help them realize that this was the first time Peter understood that the gospel was for all people and not just for the Jews. Tell them that we have been asked to carry the gospel to all people. Sing “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” (CS, pp. 172–173).
5. “The worth of souls is great,” and the Lord has told us that our joy will be great if we bring even one soul unto Him (see D&C 18:10, 15–16). Display missionary pictures and badges, maps, language books, etc. In advance, invite several children to share a personal missionary experience from their family. It could be part of a letter from a missionary sibling, the story of an ancestor’s conversion, or their own family’s encounter with the missionaries. All of us are members of the Church because of a missionary. Help the children understand that because we love others, we want to share with them our greatest treasure, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whether or not people accept that message, we continue to be good missionaries by following Jesus’ teaching to love our neighbors. Sing a favorite missionary song such as “The Church of Jesus Christ” (CS, p. 77).
6. For younger children, show a globe or map of the world and indicate where they live. Talk about Heavenly Father’s children who live in other places of the world and about some of the places where missionaries are called to preach the gospel. Help them understand that Heavenly Father wants all His children to learn about Jesus Christ and His gospel. That is why missionaries are called to serve all over the world. In advance, and with permission from the bishop/branch president, ask a returned missionary to tell about the other missionaries he/she met in the Missionary Training Center and to show the children on the map where those missionaries were called to serve. Ask him/her to tell very simply what was taught to an investigator of the Church. Have the children sit in a circle. Gently toss a beanbag to a child, ask him/her to tell one thing he/she could tell someone who was not a member of the Church about the gospel, and have that child toss the beanbag to someone else who has not had a turn. Continue playing until everyone has had a turn.
7. For additional resources on missionaries, see the following: Primary 5 manual, Lesson 29, pp. 159–165 (note: Enrichment Activity #1) and, for younger children, Primary 2 manual, Lesson 11, pp. 50–54. See also from the Friend: “Enoch,” Dec. 1994, pp. 48–IBC; “Using the Articles of Faith,” Jan. 1995, IFC; “Alma and Amulek,” Aug. 1996, pp. 48–IBC; “Jessica, Brother Law, and the Book of Mormon,” Oct. 1996, pp. 18–19; “How Do You Become a Missionary?” Nov. 1997, p. 30.