Preparing for a Mission
Sharing the Gospel Now
Ammon – A Mighty Missionary
• Items needed: several wrapped treats, a plate or platter for the treats, tape, marbles (or some other small, heavy items), a few small vegetables, a Kleenex, a large rubber band, a large clear vase or jar, 26 inches of cord or twine, a small piece of thick cloth, several four inch square pieces of paper, and some thick thread.
• Print and cut out the activity visual aids. Tape each gospel blessing card to a wrapped treat.
• Tape the pictures of the sheep to the inside of the large clear vase. Separate the two layers of a Kleenex sheet. Cover the top opening of the vase with one layer of the Kleenex. Put a large rubber band around the Kleenex to secure it. The Kleenex should be stretched tight across the opening of the vase.
• Print the scripture story visual aids. Cut the pages in half, and number the back of each page to help keep them in the correct order. (The scripture story visuals come from chapter twenty-three of Book of Mormon Stories.)
• Make an example slingshot. Cut two, thirteen inch pieces of cord or twine. Cut out a piece of thick cloth 1¾ inches by 4 inches. Put one inch of the cord on top of one end of the fabric. Gather the fabric around the cord end and tightly wrap a piece of tape around it. Wrap thick thread around the tape several times and tie it off. Do the same with the other piece of cord and the other end of the fabric. The fabric should form a pocket when you are done. Also make several paper balls by tightly crumpling 4 inch square pieces of paper. Try out the slingshot by using the instructions found in the lesson.
Show the children the treat you brought. Point out how wonderful and mouth watering it looks. Take a bite and describe the texture and flavor; tell them how delicious it is. Ask the children how they would feel if you ate the treat in front of them and didn’t share.
Show the treats with the gospel blessing labels attached. Explain to the children that the labeled treats represent the many blessings they enjoy because they are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Read the labels to the children. Ask if it would be fair or right if we kept the blessings of the gospel to ourselves and didn’t share with anyone else.
• Tell the children that you brought treats to share with each of them. Ask how that makes them feel. Inform the children that in today’s lesson they will learn of the joy experienced by the Lamanites when a missionary named Ammon shared the gospel with them.
Ammon was one of the sons of Mosiah. The sons of Mosiah desired to share the joy of redemption they had found in the gospel. They had sinned much in their youth. They had felt the sorrow and suffering that occurs when someone realizes the awfulness of their sins. They wanted to go on a mission and teach repentance to the Lamanites because they could not bear the thought of any human soul suffering the consequences of sin.
• If you were given the choice between serving a mission to a people who regarded you as their enemy or becoming a king with great power and honor, which would you choose? Mosiah was king of the Nephites and his sons were the heirs to the throne, but the sons of Mosiah gave up the throne to serve a mission to the Lamanites. Mosiah’s sons were taking on a very difficult task. The Lamanites were a wild and ferocious people, and they hated the Nephites.
Before leaving on their mission, the sons of Mosiah prepared diligently. They searched the scriptures, fasted, and prayed.
• Why did they search the scriptures, fast, and pray to prepare for their mission? (To help the children learn the answer to this question have them do the following role play activity.)
Role Play Activity
Choose a child to pretend to be an investigator, and give that child the list of questions they will ask. Have the other children take turns pretending to be missionary companions responding to the investigator’s questions. When they are done, ask the children if it was hard to answer the questions.
• How can someone gain the knowledge to answer those kinds of questions? Missionaries must study the scriptures to gain a knowledge and understanding of the gospel, and they must fast and pray for divine help in teaching and testifying about those gospel precepts.
The sons of Mosiah had searched the scriptures, fasted, and prayed so they could effectively teach the gospel with the Spirit and bring the Lamanites to a knowledge of the truth.
Tell the following story using the pictures from chapter twenty-three of Book of Mormon Stories as visual aids. (Optional activity: Put the pictures on the board in random order and have the children choose a picture that depicts what happens next after each story part is told.)
When the sons of Mosiah arrived in the land of the Lamanites they separated and went to different parts of the land.
One of the sons, whose name was Ammon, went to the land of Ishmael. As he entered the land of Ishmael the Lamanites took him, bound him, and carried him before their king to decide whether he should be killed, imprisoned, or thrown out of their land. The king’s name was Lamoni.
Ammon told the king he wanted to dwell among the Lamanites. King Lamoni was so pleased with Ammon that he offered Ammon one of his daughters as a wife. Ammon declined the generous offer and said he would be the king’s servant. The king assigned him to help watch the flocks.
As Ammon and the other servants were driving the flocks to water, thieving Lamanites scattered the king’s flocks to plunder them. The servants were afraid. They said the king would kill them because the flocks were scattered and lost. They were so afraid they wept.
• In Alma 17:29 it says that Ammon’s heart swelled with joy when he saw the fears of the servants. Why do you think he felt that way? Ammon was looking for an opportunity to win the hearts of the servants and show them the power of God.
Ammon convinced the servants to search for the flocks and gather them back together. After they had gathered the flocks, the wicked Lamanites sought to scatter them again because they delighted in the destruction of others. Ammon told the servants to watch the flocks and that he would go and contend with the evil, trouble causing Lamanites.
The wicked Lamanites did not fear him. They thought one of their men could easily slay Ammon. Ammon began to cast stones at them with his sling.
• How does a sling work? Show the children the example sling you made. Demonstrate how to use it by holding one string firmly in your fist. Hold the other string in the same hand between your thumb and index finger. Put a paper ball in the pouch of the sling. Whirl the sling around your head and let go of the string between your thumb and index finger. Hold the other string tightly. Let a few of the class members try and throw a paper ball at a target. Ask them if it was difficult. (Teaching the Scripture Readers pg.75)
Ammon was probably very practiced at using a sling, but he also had the power of God with him. Ammon cast the stones with so much power and accuracy that he killed several of the evil Lamanites who were maliciously trying to destroy him and his companions.
The wicked Lamanites were astonished at Ammon’s power, but they were also angry because he had slain some of their companions They tried to throw stones at Ammon. They could not hit him because he was under the Lord’s protection, so they attacked him with their clubs. With his sword, Ammon smote off the arm of every man that lifted his club to smite him. The wicked Lamanites ran away in fear.
The servants told the king what had happened, and they showed him the arms that had been smitten off by Ammon. When the king learned of the faithfulness of Ammon in preserving his flocks, and had heard of his great power in contending against those who sought to slay him, he was astonished. The king thought Alma was more than a man, that he must be the Great Spirit.
Lamoni asked the servants where Ammon was. When Lamoni heard that Ammon was carrying out his orders to prepare the horses and chariots, he was even more astonished because of the faithfulness and diligence of Ammon.
When Ammon finished preparing the horses and chariots, he went to the king to ask what the king desired him to do next. The king did not answer him. Ammon, being filled with the Spirit of God, perceived the thoughts of the king. He asked the king why he was marveling at the deeds he had done. King Lamoni was astonished even more because Ammon could discern his thoughts.
King Lamoni asked Ammon if he was the Great Spirit. Ammon told him he was not, that he was just a man. Lamoni wanted to know by what power Ammon was able to do the things he had done.
Ammon taught Lamoni of God and told him that the Lord had given him the power to contend with the wicked Lamanites. Ammon also taught Lamoni many other things about God and about the words of God found in the scriptures. The king believed his words, and he cried unto the Lord for mercy and forgiveness.
• Would the king have listened to Ammon’s message if Ammon had tried to teach him the first time they had met? Why not? The king didn’t know Ammon then. He might not have trusted or believed the message because he didn’t know what Ammon’s intentions were.
• Why did the king believe Ammon after seeing his actions? Through Ammon’s actions the king got to know that Ammon sincerely cared about his welfare and the welfare of his servants. He came to trust Ammon.
When the king cried to the Lord for mercy, he fell to the earth as if he were dead. Lamoni lay as if he were dead for two days and nights. His wife and children mourned over him.
The servants were about to take his body to be buried, but Lamoni’s wife did not believe that her husband was dead. She sent for Ammon. Ammon told the queen that the king was not dead, and that on the next day he would rise.
The next day Lamoni rose according to the words of Ammon. The king said, “Blessed be the name of God.” Then he told the queen that he had seen the redeemer. He was filled with great joy.
Lamoni taught his people about Jesus Christ and God. Many who heard his words were converted. Those who believed were baptized and they became a righteous people.
The Savior once told his disciples, “Feed my sheep”, which means to teach the people and feed them spiritual food. While Ammon was on his mission to the Lamanites, not only did he feed and take care of the king’s flocks he also fed the people of the land spiritually.
• Remind the children of the treats at the beginning of the lesson, and ask if they remember what the treats represent. (The gospel blessings) Explain to the children that the Lord has asked us to share the gospel with others and help feed his children spiritual food so they can enjoy the blessings of the gospel too.
• Do you have to be an adult before you can be a missionary? Latter day prophets have told us that every person in the church should be a missionary. We should all share the gospel with the people we know and associate with.
Show the container with the sheep inside it. Point out the Kleenex, and explain that it represents the barrier that people put up against things they don’t trust or understand. Put some vegetables onto the Kleenex, and tell the children the vegetables represent the gospel, which is food for our spirits.
Tell the children they are going to do an activity where they will share ways to help feed Heavenly Father’s children. Remind the children of Ammon’s example and how he showed the king that he cared and that he could be trusted. Have the children think of ways they can show neighbors and friends that they care about them and that they are trustworthy. Also have the children think of ways they can be good examples of gospel standards. Have them take turns telling their ideas and then putting a marble or other weighted item on the Kleenex. (Eventually the barrier will break and the food will pour out.) (If the items you chose aren’t very heavy, have the children put several on the Kleenex each time they give an answer. Experiment with this activity before teaching the lesson.)
Explain to the children that each of our actions makes an impression, and when people realize they can trust us and that we care about them, then the barriers will come down and a way will open for us to share with them the spiritual food of the gospel.
Weekly Reading Assignment Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week: Alma 17:19-39, Alma 18:8-43 and Alma 19:1-36
Why Share the Gospel – Activity
• Items needed: A gift bag or gift box, paper and pencils, scriptures
Show the family the gift bag/box. Hand out a paper and pencil to each person. Have the family members write down what they think would be the greatest gift they could give to someone. Collect the papers and put them in the gift bag/box. Pull out one response at a time, and read and discuss the responses. (Make sure to point out the positive of each person’s response, such as fun, needed, useful, long lasting, etc)
Have the family look up and read D&C 14:7 – “If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.”
God has given us many wonderful things on this earth, but according to this scripture the gift of eternal life is better than anything we could ever receive on earth. Eternal life (or exaltation) is to live in God’s presence and live the kind of life He has.
We can not give someone eternal life, but we can share something with others that will help them get on the path towards gaining eternal life.
• What do you think that is? The gospel (The gospel is all the doctrines, laws, and ordinances needed to gain eternal life.)
Why Share the Gospel – Scripture Story and Object Lesson
Scripture Story – Apostasy and Restoration
(Teach the following story using the pictures from Doctrine and Covenants Stories as visual aids. Read the following corresponding text as you show the pictures to the family.)
#1) The gospel has been on the earth since the time of Adam, whenever there has been a righteous man who has authority to administer in God’s name, and a people who are willing to listen to and accept the gospel.
#2) When people reject and rebel against the commandments of God, they are in a state of apostasy (a turning away from truth). They lose the blessings of divine guidance and authority. This happened several times during the Old Testament time period. Another time period apostasy occurred was after the Savior was resurrected.
#3) After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the apostles continued to teach people about Jesus and his gospel. Many people joined the church, but soon apostasy began to creep into the church. Some of the people began to turn away from the truth and teach false ideas based on their old religious beliefs.
#4) During this time period, there was also persecution going on from outside the church. Many church members were persecuted and killed because of their beliefs. One by one the apostles were all killed by these persecutors. After the apostles died, the priesthood keys and authority were no longer on the earth. Because of the wicked state of the people, they were not restored to the earth at that time. Without prophets and apostles to lead and guide, more and more error crept into church doctrine. Knowledge and understanding about many important doctrines were lost, including the knowledge of the purpose of life.
#5) Ordinances were also changed. Baptisms began to be preformed on babies instead of waiting until a child had grown to the age of accountability. Baptisms also began to be done by sprinkling water instead of by immersion. Because of the changes to doctrine and ordinances, and the loss of priesthood keys and authority, the true church was no longer on the earth.
Show the family the chocolate cake ingredients you gathered. Tell them you don’t have the recipe, but it doesn’t matter because you think you can remember how to do it. Tell them you also want to make a few changes and add some things to the cake that you think will make it taste better. Mix ingredients in random amounts, and add a few of the extra items. Ask the family if they think your concoction will make a delicious chocolate cake? Why not? Without the right ingredients and recipe, the end result won’t be as hoped for.
Tell the family that just as the cake needed the correct ingredients, it is also necessary for a church to consist of the correct components, which includes correct doctrines and ordinances, and power and authority from God.
#6) When Joseph Smith was young, he noticed how the different churches interpreted the same things in different ways. He wanted to know which of all the teachings and churches were correct.
#7) As he prayed for an answer, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. The restoration process then began. Joseph Smith, who had been chosen for this responsiblity because of his faithfulness in the preexistence, helped restore the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth once again. Because of the restoration we now have vital truths, knowledge, and the true priesthood authority that had been lost.