Sunday, January 8, 2012

Four or Five Hours of Work for 15 Minutes of Hopeful Benefit

Someone asked me a few months ago how much time I spend on my lessons each week for my Laurels class.  I replied at least 4-5 hours, sometimes more, depending on the lesson.  That's just reading the lesson, planning out how I want to present it, finding the right video or picture, sometimes creating a handout, or such, but mostly preparing exactly what I want to cover.  They then commented about how they spend about 30 minutes or so for their lessons.  It really made me it really worth it to spend that much time on a lesson that is over and done with so quickly?

Today's lesson was really the kicker to that question.  We've had some changes in Young Women lately which meant testimony time at the beginning and then Q&A from the girls, so I only ended up with about 15 minutes for my lesson that I'd spent at least 4 hours preparing for last night.  It was on Jesus Christ, Our Savior and the importance of the Atonement in our lives.  I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to get across to the girls the important things that I felt they needed to know from the lesson in such a short amount of time.

I pray every time I teach these girls that they will feel the Spirit touch their hearts and minds somehow - that they will feel the Savior's love for them, that they will feel my love for them, and that they will follow the commandments and make wise choices in their lives.  I prayed this time that I would be able to get across to them in just 15 minutes, what the Savior did for us and that because of the Atonement, we can return to be with Him someday, that we do not need to feel alone in our trials in this life, that He is with us.  It was a short lesson, but so worth it.  I had the YW President read the following account by Orson F. Whitney:

“Then came a marvelous manifestation, an admonition from a higher Source, one impossible to ignore. It was a dream, or a vision in a dream, as I lay upon my bed in the little town of Columbia, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I seemed to be in the Garden of Gethsemane, a witness of the Savior’s agony. I saw Him as plainly as ever I have seen anyone. Standing behind a tree in the foreground, I beheld Jesus, with Peter, James and John, as they came through a little wicket gate at my right. Leaving the three Apostles there, after telling them to kneel and pray, the Son of God passed over to the other side, where He also knelt and prayed. It was the same prayer with which all Bible readers are familiar: ‘Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.’
“As He prayed the tears streamed down his face, which was toward me. I was so moved at the sight that I also wept, out of pure sympathy. My whole heart went out to him; I loved him with all my soul, and longed to be with him as I longed for nothing else.
I then shared a few more thoughts with them and then we watched this video of the talk President Holland gave a couple of years ago during General Conference that fell on Easter and is one of my most absolute favorite talks EVER:

I was crying as it finished up.  I could feel the Spirit very strongly and I think the girls did too.  Their body language and demeanor had changed from their normal passive to more reverent and humble.  I bore my testimony and closed the class with prayer.  I've begun a new habit with the girls - I give each one of them a meaningful hug as they leave class - if they are interested - to let them know I love them and I wish them a good week.  Today was the first day ALL of them opted for a hug.  I was so pleasantly surprised.  I walked out of the church today with a feeling that maybe, just maybe, something I said, did, or showed touched their hearts and will help them along their journey in this life.  So, I guess the time I spent preparing yesterday, really was all worth it even though I only got 15 minutes to share it.

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