Monday, July 25, 2016

Pioneer Day

I wish I had taken pictures of Primary yesterday! We had a blast!

I removed all the chairs and laid out blankets on the floor. In the middle, I made a "campfire" with kindling and colored tissue paper. I had a small flashlight for the center but it didn't make enough of an effect to be worth it so I decided to save the battery and skip it.

We started with a sister in our ward sharing a story about her grandmother who crossed the plains in a covered wagon as a young girl. She made a small covered wagon out of match boxes for each of the kids. Inside the match box she placed a quarter because in her home town during the pioneer day parade each year, they would give quarters to all the children in the parade. At the end she told the kids that we can still be pioneers today.

It was a great transition for me to explain that we were going to be pioneers. We talked about how hard pioneers had to work. We would work like them to make our own butter. I got little plastic containers with lids from the ice cream place I work a couple days. We filled it half way with whipping cream and a pinch of salt. The kids were to shake their containers during sharing time and after 5-10 minutes, the cream turns to butter. We then ate the butter with homemade bread.

As the kids were shaking I went around to each "wagon" (blanket of kids) and had a child pick out of my basket. The papers they picked from had different activities and pioneer stories on them. One of the activities was hunting (that was always my favorite part of The Oregon Trail game). I had cut out clip art of bison, elk, bears, squirrels and rabbits. On the back of the animals was a song. Some songs were just for fun, some were pioneer songs and some for our program. The kids would hunt by shooting the animals taped to the board with a nerf gun.

The pioneer stories included that of the girls and the snakes, the little boy who got stuck in the molasses barrel and the Sweetwater crossing. I had planned on showing clips of the movie 17 Miracles but rather than waste time trying to fix technical difficulties (the internet router wasn't working and my phone didn't want to work! Ugh!), I just told the stories. Some I had printed and read to them.

Senior primary chose the story of the Sweetwater crossing. I had a large metal pan filled with cold water and ice. The kids took turns standing in the ice water. One lasted as long as a minute, others just a 10 seconds, some wanted to stay in the water so I started a 30 second time limit so all the kids that wanted a turn could have one.

I totally had a spiritual moment during this portion. I had been feeling discouraged in my calling. I look at the work others due and feel inadequate. I feel like I am not creative enough, fun enough, spiritual enough, organized enough. I don't plan ahead enough. But as I dried the feet of the primary children I couldn't help but think of my Savior and the time He washed the feet of the apostles. I was reminded of His love and service to them. In that moment I realized that I am enough. I love genuinely love these children and I am doing the best that I can to serve them. That is what I have been called to do and I am doing it. Not every activity and lesson needs to be perfectly pintrest worthy! If the kids are learning and feeling the spirit then it is enough.

After the water, I was able to share some of the heavier stories for senior primary. The mood changed in the room. We were having fun and laughing most of the time but they were so attentive and respectful as I talked of the sacrifice, the starvation and death that the saints faced. The spirit was strong in the room and there were many teary eyes. I closed with my gratitude for the pioneers and for their example of faith. I bore my testimony that we can be pioneers today for our family. We need to exercise the faith that the early saints had as we face our challenges today.