Have you ever been just a little bit afraid of the dark? Have you ever been in a place that was so dark that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, even with your eyes wide open? If you’ve ever been afraid of the dark, or been in a deep, dark cave, then you know how welcome a ray of light can be. Even a small light makes a big difference in a dark place.
Jesus Christ taught those who followed Him that they were “the light of the world.” He said that you don’t light candles and put them under baskets. When you light a candle, you put it on a candlestick so that it gives light to everyone in the room. He told us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (See Matt. 5:14–16.)
What does that mean? It means that if you are a good example, if you “let your light shine,” then when other people see your good example, they will know that you love Heavenly Father and they, too, will want to honor Him.
How can you let your light shine? One way is by keeping the commandments and choosing the right. When we are honest, when we keep the Sabbath holy, when we are kind, we are letting our lights shine. When we obey the Word of Wisdom, when we dress modestly, when we use the names of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ reverently, we are letting our lights shine. Each small light makes a big difference!
There is another way we can let our lights shine. Elder Henry B. Eyring’s friends call him “Hal.” He told a story in general conference about a friend he once worked with. His friend was a good person who loved his family. Elder Eyring never told his friend about the gospel and how families can be together forever. One day, he heard that his friend had died. Elder Eyring said that he sometimes wonders if he will meet his friend in heaven and his friend will say, “Hal, you knew—why didn’t you tell me?” Now Elder Eyring shares his testimony with people all over the world. When we share what we know about the gospel with others, we are letting our lights shine.
We can be good examples. We can share our testimonies with others. We can be missionaries now and invite our friends to Primary and to Primary activities. Blessings will come to others and our faith in Jesus Christ will grow when we let our lights shine.
Instructions: To make a double-puzzle family home evening game, mount page 36 on heavy paper. Fold in half on the vertical straight line, and glue the backs together. When the glue is dry, cut out the puzzle pieces on the heavy lines and put them into a small container. Have a family member take a puzzle piece from the container and pantomime (act out without using words or noises) what is shown on the small-picture side of it that we can do to share the gospel. Let others guess what it is, then show the picture and post the puzzle piece, candle-side up. Repeat till the puzzle is finished. Remember, each good thing we do helps our light shine.
Let Your Light Shine
Keep the Sabbath holy
Share my testimony
Invite friends to Primary activities
Be kind to others
Let my light shine by …
(Draw a picture of another way you can share the gospel.)
(Note: CS = Children’s Songbook)
1. Work with the music leader to prepare this “Sing-a-Story” (see Sharing Time Resource Manual, pp. 26–27). Briefly discuss missionary work with the children (e.g., do any have siblings serving missions?, were any taught by missionaries?, are any preparing now to go on a full-time mission someday?), and make the point that we all can be missionaries now. Sing “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” (CS, pp. 172–173). Retell “We Believe” (Friend, Nov. 1995, pp. 44–46). Ask, “What will we teach the world?” Have the children choose and sing one or two of the Articles of Faith songs (CS, pp. 122–133). Ask, “How will we testify to people and help them understand?” Invite some children to stand in pairs like missionary companions and sing “I Know My Father Lives” (CS, p. 5). Share a story of the importance of not only being a good example but also “opening our mouths” and telling our friends what we know about the gospel. The next song tells something very important—an investigator must hear the whisperings of the Spirit to know that the gospel is true. Sing “The Holy Ghost” (CS, p. 105). When the investigator feels the witness of the Holy Ghost, he or she will want to be baptized. Sing “When Jesus Christ Was Baptized” (CS, p. 102, both verses). Ask if any of the children have been to a baptism, a very happy time. Missionaries have big smiles on their faces when they are wearing their white baptismal clothes. Sing “The Church of Jesus Christ” (CS, p. 77). We can all proclaim His truth. Share the story “Sandy’s Missionary Chart” (Friend, Oct. 1998, pp. 36–37). Explain that sometimes people move away from those they teach, and missionaries return home. How will new converts remain faithful? How will we remain faithful? One very good way is expressed in “The Iron Rod” (Hymns, no. 274). Have the children sing it, then bear your witness that the Lord will bless us as we share the gospel and hold on to the iron rod.
2. Recently Church members have been counseled to not have children pretend to receive callings as full-time missionaries or wear pretend missionary name tags. However, preparing for full-time missions and being “member missionaries” is encouraged. Have a large world map or a globe available. Have a few children come up and choose a place where they might someday serve a mission. Ask what they might need to learn about their mission locales? What preparations might they need to make to serve a mission anywhere? (learn another language, to cook, to work hard, to talk to people, to be kind, to sew a button and mend a rip, to wash clothes, to lead music, to conduct a meeting, to offer prayers, to tell the Joseph Smith story, to know what we believe [the Articles of Faith], to know the Book of Mormon, to bear testimony). Let each class choose a few things they think will be important and present one to the rest of Primary by pantomime, reciting, singing a song, role-playing, etc. (1 minute each). A “Right Here, Right Now” class should be last and should include the things we should all be doing every day to be good examples and to share our testimonies and invite friends to Church meetings and activities. Conclude by singing “The Things I Do” (CS, pp. 170–171) and sharing your feelings about the missionary work we do by example and by calling.
3. Jesus called His Apostles to be “fishers of men,” or, in other words, missionaries. Many stories in the scriptures are about fish. These stories teach us about more than fish. They teach us about the gospel and about the power of God. Make a simple fishpond (a piece of blue paper cut like a pond to put on the floor). Put cutout fish of different sizes and shapes and colors, each with a paper clip on its nose, “in” the pond. On the back of each fish, write the title of a scripture story about fish or fishers and its reference and, in advance, assign a teacher to tell the story (e.g., • Jonah and the Great Fish / Jonah 1–2 • Feeding the Five Thousand / Mark 6:33–44 • The Tribute Coin / Matt. 17:24–27 • Calling the Apostles / Matt. 4:18–22 • “I Go a Fishing” / John 21:3–6 • Broiled Fish and Honeycomb / Luke 24:36–43). Make a fishing pole from a stick, a string, and a magnet. When a child pulls a fish from the pond, have the assigned teacher tell that story. Ask the child what we can learn about the gospel or the power of the Lord from the story, and then have him/her post the fish after it is caught. Help the children recognize the good things they are learning about the gospel from these scripture stories. Point to the various colors and sizes of fish and explain that we are now “casting wide the gospel net” and that the gospel is for “every nation, kindred, tongue, and people,” for young and old, rich and poor, people of all colors and in all places in the world. Just as fishermen love to fish, we find joy when we are “fishers of men” and share the gospel. Sing “I Want to Be a Missionary Now” (CS, p. 168).
4. Help the children understand 1 Tim. 4:12. Explain that even children can be good examples. Recall together scripture stories in which young people were good examples: Samuel listened to the Lord, Jesus taught and listened in the temple, Daniel and his friends did not drink the king’s wine. Tell the story “My ‘Buddy,’ My Friend” (Friend, Oct. 1998, pp. 40–41), about a girl who agreed to befriend a learning-disabled girl and came to love her. (Or choose another story from the Trying to Be Like Jesus Christ section of the Friend.) We need to always live to be worthy to go to the temple and to serve a mission. Post a My Gospel Standards chart, or each individual standard (Friend, Feb. 1997, p. 9). Assemble pictures or objects that illustrate each Gospel Standard. Have the children draw a picture or an object from a bag/box, and match it to the appropriate standard. Ask questions to help them explain something about their own experience with that standard. Read the whole Gospel Standard as each match is made. Possible objects: • a picture of a baptism • a broken plate or cookie jar (honesty) • a valentine or bandage (kindness) • a modest article of clothing • a good book or video tape • a CD or tape of good music • the words bad words in a barred circle • a picture of a cigarette in a barred circle • a picture of a church or a set of scriptures or a journal • the CTR symbol • a picture of a temple, a missionary, and/or a bride and groom. You might have more than one object per standard, depending on time. Sing “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus” (CS, pp. 78–79), “I Will Follow God’s Plan” (CS, pp. 164–165), or “I Love to See the Temple” (CS, p. 95). You might work with the music leader for this Sharing Time and sing a Primary song for many of the standards as the matches are made. Possible songs, all from the CS: “When Jesus Christ Was Baptized” (p. 102, v. 2), “Stand for the Right” (p. 159), “Kindness Begins with Me” (p. 145), “Hum Your Favorite Hymn” (p. 152), “I Want to Be Reverent” (p. 28), “For Health and Strength” (p. 21), “When I Go to Church” (p. 157), “Choose the Right Way” (pp. 160–161).
5. For younger children, tell of good examples you have seen in your ward/branch among the children. Or use the story of George and how he was a good example, even at age five: The happy, sunshine child of the neighborhood, George wanted more than anything to be a missionary. He took flowers to shut-ins, ran errands, visited the lonely, raked leaves, and always said hello to everyone on his street as he passed their homes. One day his parents learned what a powerful missionary he was. A neighbor came to see them and said that he and his family wanted to know more about the things that made George such a happy, helpful boy. Talk to the children about ways they can be good examples and share the gospel with others. As you sing “Shine On” (CS, p. 144), pass a cut-out paper sun. When the music stops, the child holding the sun tells how he/she can be a good example (by going to church, being kind, helping Mother, telling the truth, inviting friends to Primary, etc.) or tells something he/she knows about the gospel (I love my family, my family love me, I like to hear President Hinckley, I love the stories in the Book of Mormon, etc.). You might make a large picture-frame sun that you could put around a child’s face as he tells what he could do or what he knows. If a child has trouble thinking of something, you can say, “I especially appreciate (child’s name)’s example when he (smiles, sings in Primary, helps put away chairs, is reverent, etc.).” Tell the children that missionaries let their light shine by being good examples and by sharing the light of the gospel. Sing “Seek the Lord Early” (CS, p. 108) or “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” (CS, p. 169).
6. Other Friend resources on missionary work and being an example: Sharing Time (Oct. 1998, pp. 14–15, 43; July 1999, pp. 12–14; and Sep. 1999, p. 35—Ideas 3, 4); Trying to Be Like Jesus Christ (see the table of contents in each issue, starting Sep. 1996); “They Spoke to Us” (June 1998, p. 11); Friend to Friend (May 1998, pp. 6–7); and “Missionary Roll Call” (Apr. 1998, p. 23).