Lesson 30: Strengthening Testimony through Service

Young Women Manual 2, (1993), 112–15


Objective

Each young woman will recognize that she can strengthen her testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ through service.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Bring paper and pencils for each class member.

  2. 2.

    Read and study Mosiah 2.

  3. 3.

    Assign class members to read or tell the stories of young women finding joy in serving others. You may want to use stories about service given by young women from your area.

  4. 4.

    Assign young women to present any scriptures, stories, or quotations you wish.

Suggested Lesson Development

We Serve the Savior by Serving Mankind

Scripture reading and discussion

Have the class members turn to Mosiah 2 in preparation for reading several verses together. Explain that King Benjamin told his people how he had served them while acting as their king. You may wish to ask several young women to read the verses.

Read verse 11, and discuss how King Benjamin served his people.

Read verses 12 and 14. Discuss King Benjamin’s reasons for not requiring gold and silver of his people. Have the class discuss whether they would like to be ruled by a man like King Benjamin.

Read verses 16 and 17, and discuss what it means to serve God.

Read verse 18, and discuss the example set by King Benjamin.

Read verses 19 through 21, and discuss how the young women could apply the ideas in their lives.

Quotation

Read the following statement from President Spencer W. Kimball, and discuss it with the young women. Help them to see the meaning of President Kimball’s words in their own lives.

“It is by serving that we learn how to serve. When we are engaged in the service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective. When we concern ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves! In the midst of the miracle of serving, there is the promise of Jesus, that by losing ourselves, we find ourselves!

“Not only do we ‘find’ ourselves in terms of acknowledging guidance in our lives but, the more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our soul. We become more significant individuals as we serve others. We become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it is easier to find ourselves because there is more of us to find.

“George McDonald observed that ‘it is by loving and not by being loved that one can come nearest to the soul of another.’ Of course, we all need to be loved, but we must be giving and not always receiving if we want to have wholeness in our lives and a reinforced sense of purpose.

“Sometimes the solution is not to change our circumstance but to change our attitude about that circumstance; difficulties are often opportunities for service. …

“God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom. The people of the Church need each other’s strength, support, and leadership in a community of believers as an enclave of disciples. In the Doctrine and Covenants we read about how important it is to ‘succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.’ (D&C 81:5.) So often our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane help with mundane tasks—but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and from small but deliberate deeds.

“As the contrasts between the ways of the world and the ways of God become sharpened by circumstance, the faith of the members of the Church will be tried even more severely. One of the most vital things we can do is to express our testimonies through service, which will, in turn, produce spiritual growth, greater commitment, and a greater capacity to keep the commandments” (“There Is Purpose in Life,” New Era, Sept. 1974, pp. 4–5).

Quotation

Read the following quotation from Elder L. Tom Perry, and discuss its relevance to the young women of your class.

“I am certain that the Lord is pleased with the youth of the Church today. You have been saved to come forth to the earth at this important time. He is counting on you to build his kingdom here. He has educated you, trained you, and equipped you better than any other generation. Now surely, he expects you to perform. …

“May the Lord continue to strengthen you and to bless you with faith and the desire to serve him as he would command you. Do it with all the enthusiasm your souls can muster, and I promise you great joy which comes only as a result of service in our Father in heaven’s kingdom” (in Conference Report, Buenos Aires Area Conference 1975, p. 39).

We Can Serve Others in Many Ways

Quotation

Read the following quotation from President Spencer W. Kimball:

“If you were to select just two or three individuals in your life who have been most influential, what specifically did they do that was most helpful to you at critical or important times in your life? On reflecting for a few moments, you are apt to conclude that such a person really cared for you, that he or she took time for you, that he or she taught you something you needed to know. Reflect now upon your performance, as I do on my own, as to whether or not we now embody in our own ministry those same basic attributes. It is less likely in stirring through one’s memories that someone will be remembered because that individual was particularly influential because of a technique. Most often someone has served and helped us by giving us love and understanding, by taking time to assist us, and by showing us the way through the light of his own example. I cannot stress enough, therefore, the importance of our doing these same things for those who now depend upon us, just as we have depended upon others to serve us in the past” (“There Is Purpose in Life,” p. 5).

Writing activity

Give a pencil and paper to each young woman. Have them reflect upon their own lives and identify the two or three individuals who have influenced them the most. Call on young women to tell about one of the people on their lists. Point out how service made these people important in their lives.

Instruct the young women to write on their papers the three words family, church, and friends. Point out that the family is the smallest and most important unit in the Church. Have the young women list under each word several ways in which they can be of service to people in that category. Allow three to four minutes to complete the activity, and invite class members to share some of their service ideas.

True Service Brings Joy

Story

Read, or invite one of the young women to read, the following stories about young women giving service. You may want to tell stories about service given by young women from your area. Ask the young women to identify how the testimonies of these young women were strengthened by service.

“Some years ago near the close of day something happened in the lives of a group of wonderful young … girls. Prior to that afternoon, hours had been spent in cookie making, trying new recipes, program planning, writing new songs, friendship building, and lots and lots of chatting—as I recall, much more chatting than listening. Any observer would agree that was an active activity, but one might also ask, what of the principle being taught?

“On the designated day all the plans for delivery of the cookies and presentations of the program were carried out as scheduled amid bubbling laughter, gaiety, and the enthusiasm of youth, everyone wanting to be a part of the action. The only flaw in the plan was that several good-sized bags of cookies were left when all the appointments had been filled. Now the question was, what to do with the extra cookies? And several suggestions came at once, ‘We could eat them or take them to the Explorers or sell them.’

“Then the voice of the class president, overriding the rest in a more thoughtful tone, said, ‘I know what. Let’s see if there’s an old folks home where grandpas live. They wouldn’t have any cookies.’ A call was made, an immediate appointment arranged, and a group of young girls stood at the front door of a large rest home a little less enthusiastic now about what had seemed like a great idea. The door was opened, and each girl tried awkwardly to push behind the one in front so as not to be first. There was a moment of strain with many thinking, ‘Why did we come?’ Three of the girls quickly unloaded the sacks of cookies on the old table, which appeared to be the only piece of furniture in the room other than the beds and wheelchairs occupied by the patients.

“As the girls began singing one of the songs they had prepared in rather hushed tones and with the sweetness of youth, one or two shoulders were raised from a slumped position that had appeared to be permanent. A few patients in wheelchairs were being pushed closer by other patients. The girls continued their songs, gaining a little more courage as the warm response was evident.

“At that moment a miracle was taking place. The countenances were gradually but surely changing on the faces of the aged. Expressions were changing and eyes filling with tears as the youths began a different song. This time the others hummed a familiar tune while a foreign exchange student sang the words in German. Only then did a tired bent body slumped on the side of the bed visible through the doorway of an adjoining room raise his head and, in tone soft but audible, join in the words of his native tongue.

“Heads were turned, eyes filled with tears, hearts were touched, and lives were changed. A few quiet words of appreciation were expressed, and a different group of young girls walked almost reverently down the steps of that old building. Oh, the thoughts that were shared by each during the trip home! One in an inquiring tone asked, ‘What happened? I’ve never felt like this before.’ And another said, almost in a whisper, ‘When can we do it again?’ My girls and I experienced that day the message spoken of by John, ‘If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.’ (John 7:17.) For that moment we were living a principle in a Christ-like way, and we all thirsted for more.

“When you are in the service of your fellowmen, you are in the service of your God. We were in His service, and we felt His nearness” (Ardeth G. Kapp, “My Girls Taught Me a Principle of the Gospel,” Remarkable Stories from the Lives of Latter-day Saint Women, comp. Leon Hartshorn, 2 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973–75], 2:125–27).

Story

The building of the Jordan River Temple involved the young women of the Utah Draper Stake in six months of loving and joyful service for the temple. For several months before the opening of the temple, the young women and their leaders were busily engaged in making toys and other items for the temple’s youth center and nursery. They made a doll house complete with furniture and dolls; a little table and four chairs; a painted cradle; many storybooks, quiet books, and puzzles; several bags of finished building blocks; many stuffed animals and dolls; and many lovely quilts, pillows, and receiving blankets.

The many hours of working together did much to strengthen friendships, to help the young women make new friends, and to help the young women discover and develop talents that sometimes they were not even aware they had.

“It was really fun,” the young women all agreed. “We had so many spiritual experiences, too,” said one participant. “I’ll never forget the night we presented our ‘gifts of love’ to the matron of the temple. … The presidency of the temple were there, and the speakers shared their beautiful experiences and testimony of temple ordinances. It was so inspirational.”

  • How has service strengthened your testimony?

Conclusion

Poem and discussion

Read the following poem to the young women, and invite them to reflect on the words:

Supposing today were your last day on earth,
The last mile of the journey you’ve trod;
After all of your struggles, how much are you worth,
How much can you take home to God?
Don’t count as possessions your silver and gold,
Tomorrow you leave these behind,
And all that is yours to have and to hold
Is the service you’ve given mankind.

(Anonymous, as quoted by David O. McKay, Treasures of Life [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1962], pp. 395–96.)

  • What possessions can you take back to your Father in Heaven?

  • If this were your last day on earth, what could you take home to God?

Testimony

Share your testimony of the value of service. You may want to relate an experience you have had with receiving or giving service.

Suggested Activity

You may want to use this lesson to develop a service activity for the young women.