Visiting Teaching, Faith and Virtue Value Experiences

I am so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing young women, a marvelous relief society and fantastic leadership at church.  

As part of my month of March my goal is to get to know my visiting teaching companion and actually get out there to see the sisters on my route.  I’m a tad bit nervous because I’ve only experienced visiting teaching a handful of times and I honestly have no idea what to expect or even how to begin.

I guess the first thing to do is snag Sister R and pray about heading out to see the women on our route as soon as my schedule switches over.  If I don’t mention it again over the next few posts, won’t one of you call me out on it and make sure we’re holding eachother accountable?  I have reminders on my calander at home and at work and on my phone, but at the same time I am absolutely terrified.

Why am I terrified?  Well, it’s hard for me to put myself out there.  I’m a bit more shy than people thinkI am.  Also known as I get nervous in social situations.  Worse, I am horrible with names and faces.  Luckily, after a bit of prayer, I finally have a visiting teaching companion so once I have my schedule flip flopped, we should be able to sync up with the ladies on our route.

I’m honestly looking forward to getting to know my companion and the sisters that we’ve been asked to visit and hope that we can make an impact on each others lives.  I have some great examples of Latter-Day Saint women in my life, but I would love to meet more and have more that are an active part of my life.

I’m also working on some of my value experiences for my own personal progress.  I can’t necessarily expect the young ladies in our ward to go through personal progress with me as a coach if I haven’t done it myself, or if I’m not working on my own at the same time they are.

I am sad though that I don’t have my own mother guiding me through this.  I spent some time talking with my sister today and she indicated that my mother’s drinking has become more of a problem since the last time I’ve seen her.  It is definitely heart breaking, but I know I will find the courage, after a lot of prayer, to approach my mom about personal progress and ask her to go through it with me, I just need one of those sober moments which are far and few in between.

Now, away from the things that cause me a bit of anxiety and the struggles wiht my family, which you will all hear a bit about over time and on to the value experiences I have started working on.

I’ve chosen the first experience in both Faith and Virtue as my diving in points.

If you aren’t a member or haven’t seen the current Personal Progress Value Experiences, I figured I should share. So here we go!

Faith Experience One:
The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Learn about faith from the scriptures and living prophets. Read Hebrews 11Alma 32:17–43Ether 12:6–22; and Joseph Smith—History 1:11–20. Read two general conference talks on faith. Exercise your own faith by establishing a habit of prayer in your life. Begin by regularly saying your morning and evening prayers. After three weeks of following this pattern, discuss with a parent or leader what you have learned about faith and how daily personal prayer has strengthened your faith. In your journal express your feelings about faith and prayer.

Virtue Experience One:
Virtue is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards. It includes chastity and purity. The power to create mortal life is an exalted power God has given His children. He has commanded that this power be used only between a man and a woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Study the meaning and importance of chastity and virtue by reading Moroni 9:9Jacob 2:28“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”; and the section on sexual purity in For the Strength of Youth. Also read Article of Faith number thirteen and Proverbs 31:10–31. In your journal write the promised blessings of being sexually clean and pure and your commitment to be chaste.

Over the next couple days while I’m wrapping up my lesson prep, I’ll not only be sharing more about Grace!!! but also writing about these two value experiences.  I’ve already finished the Virtue Experience, but because of how close to home this one hit, I have a bit of blogging to do about it.

Who knows, maybe I’ll be done chewing through those thoughts tonight.

Have a blessed day!

Grace again? It’ll pop up a few more times!

I know I’ve been talking about grace a lot, but it is my focus for another few days.  I think that by the time I’ve actually stood up before our young women that I’ll be able to teach the class cold without my notes and just go where the spirit leads.

Thats the way I like teaching and like to give talks.  I always have a plan and always want to be ready with handouts or teaching tools that I may be led to because sometimes the Spirit will hijack my lessons and lead me in a different direction that my class needs to go.

In the case of my class, I want these young women to know how important grace is.  I’m not considering grace as only a part of the atonement or a part of the plan of salvation, but also as a part of our ability to heal and our ability to not just live but thrive!

Wow!  Just wow. 

So getting ready for Sunday, which is only four more days away isn’t a scary thing, but I do have a little bit of a case of nerves.  While I’ve taught most of the girls in my class on a regular basis, there are a few that I haven’t met yet and it will be the first time presenting a lesson with our Young Women’s leadership team being present.  While I’ve given a talk in which all but two of our leadership were present, it’s definitely a huge change.

Here are the questions I answered yesterday:

  • What is grace?
  • What will we receive because of grace?
  • Why do we need grace?
  • How can we use grace in our every day lives?

I also took a look at a number of scriptures about grace including the five from the ‘What is grace?‘ lesson outline:

 For by grace are ye saved through faithand that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

 Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecyand having all these witnesses we obtain hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.
 Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weaknessthat we may know that it is by his graceand his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.

32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
 33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sinsthat ye become holywithout spot.

What have I learned from delving into thses scriptures?  Well, I have a few points of interest:

  1. by grace we are saved through the power of faith
  2. after all that we can do, (good, bad, serving our fellow men and women), grace is able to save us
  3. through our identity in Christ our faith is strengthened adn we can accomplish anything
  4. grace can help us find our perfection through our identity in Christ

Not too bad of a start for this journey in grace.

The next step in getting ready for this lesson was to find a number of talks and resources that addressed the topic of grace and the ‘after all we can do’ prase found in 2 Nephi 25:23.

Yesterday, I posted about a few talks that I had found that include:

The lesson outlien itself also includes In the strength of the Lord which was given by Elder David A. Bednar in the October 2004 General Conference.

From this talk, we’re able to take away one of the most amazing bits of information about grace that I’ve ever heard or seen in print.  “Grace is strenth and an enabling power…”

I keep going back to that thought which is a theme which also occurred in the October 23, 2001 BYU Devotional which also answered an amazing question about the journey of life and what it is a amazing roll grace plays in it.

The framework for my message today is a statement by President David O. McKay. He summarized the overarching purpose of the gospel of the Savior in these terms: “The purpose of the gospel is . . . to make bad men good and good men better, and to change human nature” (from the film Every Member a Missionary, as acknowledged by Franklin D. Richards, CR, October 1965, 136–37; see also Brigham Young, JD 8:130 [22 July 1860]).

Thus the journey of a lifetime is to progress from bad to good to better and to experience the mighty change of heart–and to have our fallen natures changed.

Thats right, make bad men good and good men better through the power of the atonement with grace as it’s enabling power.

WOW!  I like wow moments and this one was very much a paradigm shift.  I don’t know about you, but with that right there, I get the chills.

Grace is the divine means to help and to strengthen and guide us through our darkest times.

For some of us, our darkest moments are ones where our lives are endangered, face a personal tragedy or struggling with the pain of depression which may come seasonally, as a result of imbalance in our brains or after facing our past.

I can’t even begin to tell you which of the circumstances are the worse, but when it comes down to it, it isn’t up to me to decide which is the worse.  In the end, it also isn’t up to us to decide if someone elses journey is harder than our own.

What is important is to know that no matter what our struggle is that we have grace to strengthen us.  Additionally, we can reach out to those around us that may be struggling to support and love on each other.

I know it isn’t always easy, but often we hear the promptings of spirit and feel that nudge to reach out to someone that may need us.