Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!, by Russell M. Nelson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Children are interesting creatures. When you need them to clean up something or do a chore, they cannot hear anything you say, but when you think they're not listening, the can surprise you by repeating something back to you (sometimes something you wish you hadn't said!).

We recently gathered around the computer for family night and watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional (link). My four-yr-old was lounging in my lap, staring off at something in the room that wasn't the screen. Right when I was wondering if he was listening, he said, "Christmas, Christmas!" in a very cute way. He had heard the speaker say "Christmas," and was doing something adorable in response. For the rest of the broadcast, whenever he heard someone say "Christmas," which happened many times, he would chime in with "Christmas, Christmas!"

He was listening.

When we watched general conference as a family, we moved the computer out of our bedroom into the family room so we wouldn't start feeling claustrophobic. Knowing that it was going to be four two-hour sessions, we prepared stations and activities for the children. Here's a picture:

I admit that my reasons for this setup were mostly selfish: I thought that if I could keep them engaged in something, then it would be easier for me to watch conference. If they were in the same room, I reasoned, they might learn something, even if they were coloring, quietly playing, or building whatever it is that they oldest was building in the picture! Elder Nelson's address was at least an hour into the first session of conference, and I wondered if my selfish intentions were fully working. I knew I was enjoying conference, but I wondered if the children were getting anything from it.

His remarks seemed addressed to those new to the Church, those who were returning to the Church after some time away, as well as to old-timers in the Church. The focus of his talk was missionaries and missionary service. In emphasizing that missionaries don't just go door-to-door, Elder Nelson repeated one phrase eight times—once after each point:

Ask the missionaries! They can help you!

As you've probably already guessed, right as I was wondering if my children were at least partially listening to conference as they quietly entertained themselves, my eight-yr-old son started repeating the "Ask the missionaries! They can help you!" line with Elder Nelson!

They were listening!

And in case you're wondering what missionaries can help with, here's a brief list:

Missionaries can help with:

  1. getting started on family history research
  2. returning to church
  3. overcoming addiction and living a healthy life
  4. filling emptiness in life and finding purpose
  5. strengthening marriages and families
  6. understanding the scriptures better
  7. finding how to help those in need
  8. learning about God's plan for you

So, if you're like my children—ready to listen, that is—then ask the missionaries! They can help you!

0 thoughts