‘Letters from Home’ Evening

    “‘Letters from Home’ Evening,” Ensign, Dec. 1990, 58

    “Letters from Home” Evening

    The year was coming to an end, and many members of our college branch were leaving the area for various reasons. I was serving as a family home evening group leader at the time, and I had grown to love the members of my group. I wanted our last meeting together to be memorable, so I pondered and prayed about what to teach. I felt inspired to base my lesson on our importance as members of heavenly and earthly families. As I prepared, I came up with an idea: Why not have each person’s parents write a letter to him or her?

    Because time was short, I quickly gathered the home addresses of the members of our group, wrote letters to each person’s parents, and asked them to send me a baby photo of their son or daughter and a letter expressing their feelings about him or her.

    At our final home evening, I posted baby pictures of the group members and asked everyone to guess who was who. Then we discussed our importance as members of our heavenly family and how much our heavenly parents loved and missed us and wanted us to so live that we could return to them.

    Next we discussed our importance as members of an earthly family and how our earthly families are similar to our heavenly family. I gave each group member the letter I had received from his or her parents. Puzzled looks changed to smiles and tears as everyone silently read his or her letter. We closed the lesson by singing “I Am a Child of God.”

    Afterward, many of the group members expressed their gratitude for the lesson. One girl embraced me and, with tears in her eyes, related that she and her parents had had a misunderstanding and had not spoken for some time. The letter was the first communication she and her parents had had in more than a year. Her parents had expressed their sorrow about the misunderstanding and their desire to become close to her again.

    Others in the group expressed their joy at being reminded that they were not alone in their trials, but had two sets of loving parents—one earthly and one heavenly. Still others told of how they would record in their journals their thoughts and feelings, and some mentioned that they would always keep their letters to remind them of their heavenly and earthly birthrights.

    It was a memorable night for everyone.—Paula Berensen, Price, Utah

    Ed. note: Paula was killed in an automobile accident while this article was being prepared for publication.

    Photography by Philip S. Shurtleff; props by Luann Walkenhorst