Thursday, March 16, 2006

3 Nephi 19 - Bookmarks of Faith

[student created artwork]

Today we covered 3 Nephi 19. First, we briefly did as the manual suggested, by exploring the first three verses of chapter 19 - with the people laboring through the night and spreading the word the He had come and would return again the next day!

Then one by one, I assigned a verse to each student from verses 4 through 15. They were to read their assigned verse and be ready to tell the class what happened in the verse.

After a minute of silent reading, we went from one side of the classroom to the other, with each student sharing the event of their verse. It was neat to feel the tempo change as the students read verse by verse right up until the Savior appeared to the Nephites.

At this point, I passed out the suggested scripture blocks from the manual to four teams:

Team A: 3 Nephi 19:16-18, 24-26, 30; 21:1
Team B: 3 Nephi 19:19-23
Team C: 3 Nephi 19:27-29
Team D: 3 Nephi 19:31-36

They prepared answers to the suggested questions in the teacher's manual (found in the first column on page 232).

They took about five minutes researching those questions. But before I allowed them to share, we discussed the importance of the five statements found on page 231 in the manual (listed under the heading in the second column).

I also read the quote from President Ezra Taft Benson on advancing in holiness and that the most potent way to do that was through prayer.

Then the students shared what they learned in their team research. And at the end of it all, I shared 1 Nephi 2:16:
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father;...

I had them mark this scripture and then I shared with them in the final moments of class, that Nephi was essentially their contemporary. That although we don't know his age exactly, we do know that he was the youngest of his brothers and young enough that Laman and Lemual still were not married.

Regardless of his precise age, Nephi tells us that he was exceedingly young. And even so, being that young, he had been visited of the Lord. I asked the youth in our classroom today to ponder why. I bore testimony as to the power of prayer.

And I have to comment - never have I felt the spirit in our classroom like I did today! I literally felt as if I were standing in the temple. The Lord wants us to pray to him! What an absolutely powerful witness I received of that today, while working with the youth in their research of 3 Nephi 19.

To top it all off, I then passed out materials for them to make a scripture bookmark for them to remember the moment by. Their instructions were to either record 1 Nephi 2:16 on their bookmark, or to find a verse from today's study on prayer and to create a representation of that verse on their bookmark.

I couldn't believe how excited the kids were to do this - even the boys! They really seemed to get into it, and particularly liked the ribbons I had for them to decorate the bookmark with. More importantly, in getting to know these kids, later when I was gathering up their materials and placing their bookmarks in their scriptures, I was touched how each of them truly had found a reference that seemed especially fashioned for them.

What a blessing.

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just another early-morning-seminary-teacher mom