The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Advocate

The July 2014 Visiting Teaching message is about Jesus Christ being our Advocate with the Father. I love the following quote:

Of Christ as our Advocate, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “It is of great significance to me, that I may at any moment and in any circumstance approach through prayer the throne of grace, that my Heavenly Father will hear my petition, that my Advocate, him who did no sin, whose blood was shed, will plead my cause.

This message feels deeply spiritual, and I hesitate to add my silly visual aid to it, but here it is, since I enjoyed putting it together and someone else might as well.

I made some pom poms out of plastic grocery bags and a red tablecloth that I had leftover from another project. The pom poms are a nod to the upcoming 4th of July holiday, as well symbolic of the Savior being on our side – “cheering” us on – and pleading our cause before the Father.

I used 4 plastic bags and a comparable length of table cloth for 2 pom poms. Begin by cutting the handles off the bags.

Alternate the white and red plastic, and staple the bottoms and tops together. Then cut down the center so you can make 2 poms out of this.

Cut towards the stapled end of the plastic in 1/2″ lengths. Wrap a wooden skewer or dowel rod in blue painters tape, then wrap the stapled end of the plastic around the stick, securing as you go with tape.

Secure the pom pom to the stick with painters tape, then tie on the printed message, folded in thirds. You can download the message here.

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Minister Visiting Teaching Message

The Visiting Teaching Message for June reads about how we are disciples of Jesus Christ as we minister to others. Taking inspiration from the following quote, I made a decoder and bookmark that is meant to illustrate how we need to first observe, and then serve:

Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, taught: “With practice, each of us can become more like the Savior as we serve God’s children. To help us better [minister to] one another, I would like to suggest four words to remember: ‘First observe, then serve.’ … As we do so, we are keeping covenants, and our service, like President Monson’s, will be evidence of our discipleship.”

One side of the bookmark is filled with dots of color that don’t look like much  until we look closer (with the decoder tag) and clearly observe what is written upon it. It is the same with how we perceive the needs of those around us – unless we don our spiritual glasses and look for opportunities to serve we may not recognize the soul crying out for help, the brother or sister in need of comfort or assistance.

The back side of the bookmark has the quote from Sister Burton, a discussion question, and the following poem (written by myself):

We cannot serve without seeing first the need that someone holds.
Through prayer and Christlike vision we can serve with love thats bold.
Discernment is a gift that allows opportunity to act
to bless and do for others as we’ve promised in covenant.

The decoder tag represents our making an effort to notice the needs of those around us – to observe with Christlike love and interest the lives that we cross every day. It’s also like prayer, which enhances our ability to recognize opportunities to serve others, and gives us courage to step out of our comfort zones to bless lives and rescue souls.

To make this bookmark you will need the following:

  • white cardstock
  • color printer
  • red cellophane
  • string
  • hole punch
  • scissors
  • glue stick

You can download the free printable here.

I also made an alternative “scrambled message” in the following languages:

French

Spanish

Portuguese

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Mother Daughter Personal Progress Night

We had a great activity with our young women and their mothers recently – a Personal Progress Pajama Night. A couple weeks before our activity we printed out these sleeping mask invites (a free printable found here).

The back of the mask had our event information on it. It takes some trial and error to get the back and front matched up – I try measuring things, but it seems like things work better for me to print the front, then place on a lightbox or sunny window with the information cut and taped to the back to make sure things match up properly. Once the info on the back is where it needs to be, I run the rest through the copy machine.

Our plans for the evening were to begin with a fun game, do some personal progress journal doodling while enjoying refreshments from a bed-themed table, then a simple craft was available for anyone who finished early. We spread out blankets on the floor, and everyone came with pillow to sit or lay on. There were a couple games we were thinking of playing. The first was to have a pancake-flipping relay race, but we instead went with our second idea, which was to play the “Lap Game”. You can download a printable version of it here

This was a lot of fun, and got the moms and daughters all laughing and talking. We went through all the questions, and let whoever made it back to their original seat punch our personal progress board for prizes. You can see our punch board here - although this time we covered the cups in gold tissue paper because our value of the month was Virtue. It looked beeyoutiful!

Our next activity was to do some doodling. I purchased the Red Headed Hostess’ Personal Progress doodle journal, and made copies of a few favorite pages for the girls and moms to doodle. We posted all the finished pages on a bulletin board, then had everyone vote for their favorite pages. Each girl had 3 post-it “votes” that they stuck on their favorites. The two pages with the most votes got prizes – a bouquet of pretty colored pens for future scripture study or personal progress doodling!

Throughout the evening everyone was free to get cookies and milk from our refreshment table made up to look like a bed.

Some favorites were the S’more Cookies and sugar cookies that were cut into shapes of girls in pajamas holding teddy bears.

It was so much fun making these girl cookies with hair – Each hairstyle was unique and fun. I pushed cookie dough through a potato ricer to make the hair, then carefully placed it on the girl cutouts before baking.

Finally, we had this very simple craft set up in the back of the room – clothespins with mod podge and gold glitter. They clipped their finished clothespins on a piece of cardstock with a scripture about virtue printed on it. You can find that printable, along with the back of our invite here.

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Goblet of Gratitude

This is the Visiting Teaching message I’ll be sharing with my sisters in May – a goblet of gratitude – based on President Uchtodorf’s General Conference talk, “Grateful in any Circumstances”.

I found some cheap (but wonderfully bedazzled ;) ) goblets at the thrift store to hold the drops of insights President Uchtdorf shared about how to approach and cultivate deeply spiritual gratitude in our lives.

I threw some chocolate in there as well – because – yum! The clothespin that holds the card to the lip of the goblet is glitterized with mod podge and iridescent stars. You can download my printable here.

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Fishers of Men Leadership Training

We had a wonderful Young Women class presidency leadership training recently. We began with discussing class presidency responsibilities (found here), and how to use an agenda (found here), then talked about being “Fishers of Men” after watching this video.

We then wrote down qualities of good fishermen, and related those qualities to being good “Fishers of Men”. Some of the responses are following:

  • patient (we can be patient with one another)
  • not afraid of getting wet or dirty (getting out of comfort zone)
  • feed their families and friends (serve others)
  • know where and when to find fish (knowledge, skills)
  • endure to the end  (don’t give up)
  • peaceful (no contention)
  • early riser (sacrifice – sometimes we have to give up chatting with our best friends to fellowship someone new)
  • faithful (they believe the fish will bite, and we can believe Christ will help us do His work)

We gave each young woman a fisherman’s hat and explained that a good fisherman uses many tools to be successful. After placing various fishing gear on the table in front of them, the girls were challenged to take one or two items and explain how each thing could be related to being fishers of men in their classes. After each explanation the girls would attach the item to their hats.

Fishing line (A tangled piece of fishing line on a pin): taking action – casting a line is making a commitment and following through (being dependable and accountable)

Hook (I decided the real hooks were too dangerous, so used Christmas ornament hooks!):  connect with one another – sticking close, being friends, being firmly attached to a testimony of Christ

Bobber (attach with pin): helps keep the hook at the proper depth, moves the line where it’s difficult for fisherman to go – meetings and agendas help us assess where we are and where we need to be, help us catch the difficult to find fish

Lure (attach with pin): fun activities, genuine friendliness

Tackle box (attach small lidded box with sticky-backed Velcro): personal righteousness, prayer – scripture study, keep commandments

Net (piece of tulle): working together to catch many fish – safety net to each other to help make good decisions

Worms (attach with safety pin):  being brave, stepping outside of comfort zone

We finished with the following quote:

Elder Robert D. Hales, of the Quorum of the Twelve, mentioned that “the call to be a Christian can seem demanding, even overwhelming.” Even though we have all experienced this, we need not be afraid or think we are inadequate. “The Savior has promised that he will make us equal to his work. ‘Follow me,’ He said, ‘And I will make you fishers of men’ (Matthew 4:19). As we follow him, he blesses us with gifts, talents and the strength to do his will, allowing us to go beyond our comfort zones and do things we’ve never before thought possible. This may mean sharing the gospel with neighbors, rescuing those who are spiritually lost, (leaving your comfort zone and talking with someone you don’t know well, trying to befriend someone older or younger than you,) enduring misunderstandings or suffering affliction. It means preparing ourselves to answer his call by  saying, ‘I’ll go where you want me to go; I’ll say what you want me to say; I’ll do what you want me to do; I’ll be what you want me to be.’”

Refreshments could include a chocolate fondue with fruit, bread and gummy worms, or something savory like Spinach dip with pretzel rods and giant Goldfish crackers!

You can download a printable version of this leadership training here.

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Christ the Redeemer visiting teaching aid

The April 2014 visiting teaching message is about Christ being our Savior and Redeemer. It includes the following quotes which I incorporated into a card:

Among the most significant of Jesus Christ’s descriptive titles is Redeemer,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Redeem means to pay off an obligation or a debt.Redeem can also mean to rescue or set free as by paying a ransom. … Each of these meanings suggests different facets of the great Redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ through His Atonement, which includes, in the words of the dictionary, ‘to deliver from sin and its penalties, as by a sacrifice made for the sinner.’”1

Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, said: “Heavenly Father … sent His Only Begotten and perfect Son to suffer for our sins, our heartaches, and all that seems unfair in our own individual lives.

The “bars” on the front of the card are meant to imply that sin, heartache and things that seem unfair in our lives can in a sense, “imprison” us, and that through the redemptive power of Christ’s atonement, we can be rescued or set free.

You can download the free printable here, which includes instructions on card assembly.

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Womens Conference and Togetherness

Here is a last minute printable for the General Women’s Meeting. I’ve printed them up and will be putting them on the table settings at our pre-broadcast social. The quotes come from this page at lds.org where general women auxiliary leaders commented on the reasoning behind combining the Young Women, Relief Society and 8 & up Primary girls for the latest broadcast. I found it really interesting, and helped me to appreciate the rationale behind the combined meeting. You can download my printable here.

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Jesus Christ – Light of the World – lightcatcher

The March 2014 Visiting Teaching Message is about Jesus Christ being the Light of the World, how we can gain a testimony of that, and how that testimony helps us and those around us.

The visiting teaching aid I’ve made to go with this message is a light catcher. This sun is symbolic of the Light of Christ. The tissue paper represents your choices to live more like the Savior. Each choice strengthens your testimony, and helps you to know that Christ is the Light of the World. The completed light catcher represents you as you reflect to others the Light of Christ in your life.

To make the light catcher, cut out the center of the sun and place clear contact paper behind the opening. Cut or tear pieces of colored tissue paper, then press onto contact paper. Hang in window.

You can download this free printable here.

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Blueberry Lime Coconut Pie

This has a been a long, cold winter in Michigan. We’ve been dreaming of green grass, warm breezes and anything that is not covered in snow! This pie reminds me of Michigan summers and the blueberries we pick every year. I unearthed some frozen berries and made this yesterday, and wanted to save the recipe for the next time we need some blueberry lovin’ from the oven.

Blueberry Lime Coconut Pie

9″ Pie crust
1/3 cup plus 1 TBSP shortening
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 to 3 TBSP cold water
Cut shortening into flour. Mix in salt. Stir in water with fork just until mixture forms a round ball. Chill dough in fridge while mixing rest of pie.

Coconut topping
2 TBSP melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Melt butter and cool slightly. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla to melted butter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and coconut. Add the melted butter mixture and combine well. Transfer mixture to the refrigerator for half an hour to set.

Filling:
4 TBSP butter
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 egg yolks
zest and juice of 1 lime
1/2 c coconut
3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch

Preheat oven to 350F.

Soften butter, and mix with the confectioner’s sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, until incorporated, and then add the lime zest and coconut. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss blueberries, lime juice, sugar, and cornstarch, and let sit 5 minutes.

While berries are macerating, roll out chilled dough on a floured counter or wax paper. Transfer to your pie plate. Press the crust into the bottom and edges of the pan.

Spread the coconut filling evenly across the bottom of the pie. Top with the blueberries and their juices. Remove the topping from the fridge and use a fork to break it into small pieces. Scatter these pieces over the top of the pie. Bake the pie for 40-45 minutes, until crust and topping is golden brown and berries are bubbling.

 

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General Women’s Meeting Invitation

The general women’s meeting of the Church is to be broadcast Saturday, March 29, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. mountain daylight time. We have been working to coordinate this event in our ward, to make it a special occasion for the girls, young women and Relief Society sisters ages 8 & up. We will have a potluck dinner just before the broadcast and some traditional crafts to enjoy while chatting before the broadcast begins.

Our theme for the evening is “traditions”, since this broadcast could be the beginning of a wonderful family, ward and (even) worldwide tradition.

Our invite opens to reveal pockets that include a recipe card with instructions to bring a favorite family dish, its recipe and a tradition or memory the dish represents. There is also a tag reminder of the date, time and significance of the broadcast.

The recipe card is printed on paper folded in half to make a tent which can be placed next to the dish at the potluck. On the back side is a place to jot down why the recipe is special.

Other ideas for the evening were to decorate tables with old family pictures, and vintage globes or maps. We will have copies of paper dolls on the tables along with crayons and scissors for the young and young at heart. We may have a rock-painting station in the room where sisters can paint rocks with hearts to take home with them and then place outside in random places as surprises for others to come across. There will also be a quilt set up to tie.

You can download the invitation, recipe card, tag and potluck signup sheet here. You will need to open them in a graphics program to enter your own time and place information.

UPDATE: Here is another printable with quotes from General Women Auxiliary leaders about why RS, YW and 8 & up Primary girls are meeting together.

(I originally found the free recipe card download here.)

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