“Sharing Time: Let Your Light Shine,” Friend, Oct. 2000, 42
Eleven-year-old Mitchell won an international art contest about saving the rain forest. His prize was a trip to the rain forest in Brazil for himself and his mother. During his visit to Brazil, he saw many interesting insects and animals, unusual plants, and giant trees. While there, he climbed a very high tower and heard the echo of his voice as he sang out over the tall trees.
When he returned from the trip, Mitchell and his mother attended a dinner for those who had participated in the contest. Someone who had heard him sing in the rain forest invited him to sing for those gathered at the dinner. “Oh no!” he said. He felt shy in front of all those people.
During the dinner, when the people learned that he and his family were “Mormons,” they began to ask questions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Mormons aren’t Christians, are they?” someone asked. Mitchell’s mother quickly assured their new friends that Mormons are indeed Christians. But some people did not seem to believe her.
When Mitchell heard their questions, he whispered to his mother that he had changed his mind—he would like to sing for them. He stood and sang, “I feel my Savior’s love In all the world around me. His spirit warms my soul Through ev’rything I see. He knows I will follow him, Give all my life to him. I feel my Savior’s love, The love he freely gives me.”*
When the beautiful song ended, no one in the room doubted that Mitchell loved the Savior, Jesus Christ, and that Mormons are, indeed, Christians. Mitchell had sung his testimony. He had let his light shine.
Even while you are young, you can let your light shine. You can have faith in Jesus Christ. You can pray to Heavenly Father. You can help your family. You can share the gospel by being a friend to others. You might even sing your testimony, as Mitchell did! As you let your light shine, you are keeping your baptismal covenant.
Mount the game board (pages 42–43) and cards (page 43) on heavy paper or poster board. Cut out the cards and place them facedown beside the game board. Use old buttons, large seeds, or pebbles as markers. The object of the game is to “bring a friend to the light.” As you play it, you will discover many important ways in which you can let your light shine, be a friend, and share the gospel with others.
To play: Each player puts a marker for himself, and a second one for a “pretend friend,” on the Start square. (You could even choose a name for your pretend friend.) Mix the cards well and place them facedown in a pile next to the game board. The first player draws a card, reads it aloud, then moves both his and his friend’s markers the number of spaces indicated on the card. If a player lands on a small Light, he moves both markers ahead one more space. Continue, taking turns. The first player to reach the large Light continues to take his turn, helping the other players until all players and their pretend friends reach the large Light.
When you are not playing the game, practice actually doing the good things you learn in the game, and let your light shine wherever you go. Make new cards for your game as you think of other ways to let your light shine.
You do not gossip or talk about others. Move AHEAD 3 spaces.
You invite some new children to play with you. Move AHEAD 2 spaces.
You take a gift to your new neighbors. Move AHEAD 2 spaces.
You see someone being left out and invite her or him to eat lunch with you. Move AHEAD 3 spaces.
You don’t speak up when someone else is blamed for something you did. Move BACK 4 spaces.
You say you will be at a friend’s at 4:00. You are there promptly. Move AHEAD 3 spaces.
You cut in line at the playground. Move BACK 3 spaces.
You say something good about someone when others are being unkind. Move AHEAD 3 spaces.
You help an elderly neighbor. Move AHEAD 4 spaces.
You invite a friend to a Primary activity. Move AHEAD 2 spaces.
When someone does well at school, you compliment him or her. Move AHEAD 3 spaces.
You borrow a toy from your friend and don’t return it. Move BACK 3 spaces.
You leave your toys where people can stumble over them. Move BACK 2 spaces.
You are team captain and include someone who is seldom chosen. Move AHEAD 3 spaces.
You play loud music and disturb the neighbors. Move BACK 4 spaces.
You join your family in inviting another family for a family home evening on Saturday night. Move AHEAD 2 spaces.
You tell your friend about a ward or branch activity and invite her or him to attend. Move AHEAD 2 spaces.
You and your family help with a neighborhood cleanup project. Move AHEAD 3 spaces.
You help your family keep your home and yard clean. Move AHEAD 2 spaces.
You remember to say please and thank you. Move AHEAD 2 spaces.
You throw candy wrappers out the bus window. Move BACK 3 spaces.
You make plans to play with a friend. Another friend calls. You play with her or him instead. Move BACK 2 spaces.
Note: CS = Children’s Songbook; GAK = Gospel Art Kit
1. Select messages by our prophets from the most recent conference and discuss them with the children, helping them to connect each prophet with his message. Invite the children to suggest ways they can follow the counsel given. Make a matching game by using individual pictures of the current First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. On separate pieces of paper, write the topic each one spoke about at the recent conference. Place the pictures and the topics facedown on the floor in random order. Let the children take turns matching the prophet with his message. When a match is made, have the child tell one thing he can do to follow the prophet’s counsel. Sing songs such as “Prophets Then and Now” (Friend, Oct. 1998, p. 38). See “Prophets” in the CS Topics index for additional songs.
2. Beforehand, teach “A Young Man Prepared” (CS, pp. 166–167) to the older boys and have them sing it to introduce a Sharing Time on honoring the priesthood. Also beforehand, ask four or five members of the ward/branch to share their experiences and feelings about the priesthood (see “Stations” in Teaching, No Greater Call, revised edition, p. 179): A returned missionary might share one experience he had on his mission in using the priesthood to bless others; an older priesthood leader might share his feelings about holding and honoring the priesthood; a sister might tell how she honors the priesthood bearer in her home, or has been served by one holding the priesthood; a member of the bishopric/branch presidency might share his feelings about serving in that calling; a priest might tell about his feelings in serving at the sacrament table or in baptizing someone. Divide the children into groups and have them move from station to station. Have the pianist play “A Young Man Prepared” as they move. When all are gathered together again, ask what they have learned. Emphasize that receiving the priesthood means receiving a call to serve. Sing “Called to Serve” (CS, pp. 174–175).
3. For a “sharing the gospel” Sharing Time, sing “The Things I Do” (CS, pp. 170–171). Tell the story and show the illustration of “Sandy’s Missionary Chart” (Friend, Oct. 1998, pp. 36–37). Ask the children to suggest things they can do to be missionaries. Include things such as being honest, keeping the yard clean and tidy, being kind and thoughtful to neighbors, befriending those who are left out, inviting friends to attend Primary with you, etc. As each idea is suggested, have the children become a “living picture” by posing to depict that thing. Let them choose songs from the CS that correlate with each suggestion. Remind them that every one of us is a member of the Church because of some missionary. Suggest that they ask their parents how the first member of the Church in their families learned about the Church. Conclude with your testimony, and sing “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” (CS, pp. 172–173).
4. Have a “lead the music” Sharing Time by helping the children learn how to conduct a Primary song or a hymn (see CS, pp. 300–301). Begin with a very familiar song. As they gain confidence, select another song that uses the same beat pattern. Help the children understand that each skill or talent they develop will help them be a light to others. Have someone in the ward/branch who has developed musical skills tell how his/her talents have helped him/her obey the commandments or share the gospel with others. Explain that we can share and teach the gospel through music. Throughout the coming months, invite various children to lead the singing occasionally, preparing them beforehand so that they will have a successful experience. As boys and girls move into the Young Men and Young Women programs, they may be called on to lead hymns, and you can help them be prepared.
5. For younger children: From the CS, sing “Do As I’m Doing” (p. 276), “I Have Two Ears” (p. 269), “A Smile Is like the Sunshine” (p. 267), “Be Happy!” (p. 265). Use pictures from the GAK, or those that accompany the Primary manuals, of things they can do to be “shining lights” as they obey the commandments, follow the prophet, honor the priesthood, and share the gospel. Tell “Five-Year-Old Teacher” (Friend, Oct. 1998, p. 28). Bear your testimony that even young children can share the gospel, honor the priesthood, and keep the commandments. If you are aware of children in your Primary whom you could use as examples, please do. Let them know that you see their shining lights. Encourage the children to share the gospel and their testimonies with their families.
6. Additional Friend resources: “I Can Be a Missionary Now” (Oct. 1998, pp. 14–15, 43), including Sharing Time Ideas, Friend to Friend (Oct. 1998, pp. 6–7), and “What Can I Do to Be a Missionary?” (Nov. 1984, p. 40).