The young women of the Chennai Second Branch, Chennai India District, wanted to encourage branch members to hold family home evening. It didn’t take them long to come up with a simple but practical idea. They made family home evening wheels: charts with a spinner to keep track of assignments like saying prayers, giving the lesson, and preparing a “sweet.”
The paper wheels were simple but colorful. They were assembled at a Young Women activity at the meetinghouse one night, each one personalized with photos of the family it was made for. Two of the young women, Sushmitha Santhosh Kumar, 15, and her sister Sujeetha, 14, were especially excited when they learned that as new members of the Church, they and their family would receive the first wheel.
“After Mutual we went as a group to their apartment and presented the wheel to their father,” says Daisy Daniel, 16. “The whole family seemed pleased.” The family had already talked about family home evening with the full-time missionaries, and the wheel gave them an added incentive to follow up on what they had learned.
The young women also made enough wheels to give one to each of the families of the Primary children in the branch. Then they made additional wheels for the full-time missionaries to give to new converts.
“Many of us in the branch are new members, and we aren’t used to holding family home evening,” Daisy says. “But I have a testimony that family home evening will help children and parents to pull together, and I hope that whenever these families see the family home evening wheel, they will think, ‘OK, our Church members love us, and they gave us this reminder, so let’s have our family home evening.’” She predicts that soon family home evening will be a weekly event for many people in the branch.
One Good Service Leads to Another
The family home evening wheels are just one of several service projects these young women have completed. In an effort to help a widow from the branch feel a little less lonely, the young women decorated a basket and filled it with lots of short, happy handwritten notes. “No one is there to take care of her,” Daisy says. “So we wanted to remind her that members of the branch are thinking about her.” The young women delivered the basket in person and explained that she could read a note each day to bring a smile to her face.
The basket of notes inspired another idea. The young women decided to write letters of appreciation to each other. “Each of us is writing a beautiful letter to each of the others,” explains Monisha Kalai Selvam, 13.
Long Live Family Home Evening!
Through these and other activities, the young women of the Chennai Second Branch are learning that even simple acts of service can bring people closer to the Savior. It may be that branch members will long remember the family home evening wheels because so many received them and are using them already. But even if the wheels are a temporary reminder, that’s all right too.
“Anyone can make their own wheel or chart or just sit down with pencil and paper and make plans,” Daisy says. “We just know that family home evening is important for everyone, and we wanted to help make it happen.”
Scriptures Help Too
Scriptures are a great part of family home evening too—just ask the young men of the Chennai Second Branch. When they heard about the growing interest in family home evening in their branch, they decided to look for scriptures that could, with parents’ guidance, be used in lessons. Here are some they recommend:
Karthikeyan Venkatesan, 18, says Alma 32:21, 28 are great scriptures for a lesson about faith. “Alma compares the word of God to a seed, so it’s easy to talk about seeds and how they grow,” he says. “This scripture has helped me to increase my faith, so I can bear testimony of it to others.”
His 16-year-old brother, Meganathan, turns to Alma 36:3, a scripture that teaches about trust. “Alma says that if you put your trust in God, He will help you,” Meganathan says. “We should put our trust in Heavenly Father. There is nothing too big for God; He can help you with any problem.”
Daniel Stephen, 15, reads 3 Nephi 18:20 and says it could be used in a lesson about prayer. “I like that scripture because it says that whatever you ask the Father for, in Jesus Christ’s name, that is right, you will receive it. Don’t ask for bad things or foolish things; ask for good things. If you’re following the Spirit, that will help you to know what to ask for.”
Young Men president Bharath Raj Ramesh Babu, 19, says he would use 1 Nephi 19:9 in a lesson about Jesus Christ. “This scripture says the world will judge Christ to be nothing but that He will be kind and long-suffering toward them. He showed love toward everyone, no matter what they did to Him, and that has taught me to be kinder.”
There are, of course, many scriptures that can be used as part of a family home evening lesson. Talk it over with your family. Which scriptures would you use?
Has your family had a great family home evening based on a scripture? Tell us about it via firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform.”
First Presidency letter, Feb. 11, 1999; see Ensign, June 1999, 80.
Photographs by Richard M. Romney