Monday, April 5, 2010

Two Surprise Visitors Last Sunday

Even though the title tells you I’m talking about Sunday visitors, I need to start with last Saturday. Last Saturday we finally had our primary activity that we in the primary presidency were planning for and thinking about (even with a big problem thrown in there that we got worked out) for some time. Our new primary president came up with the idea for the activity on her own, based on an article in the Friend called An Activity Day Invitation . (Elisa did a family home evening lesson using that story quite a while ago and it’s a great one to help motivate children and see how they can be missionaries.)

Our primary president started out with an interactive story about a child who invited another child to come back to church since he hadn’t seen him in a while. I wasn’t able to pay much attention to the story since Sabrina was not in a good mood that morning and wouldn’t stop complaining and wanting me to solve her “problems”. Her attitude that morning while we were setting up was not good. She complained that it wasn’t fun to help me set up and the activity wasn’t going to be fun and why don’t I quit my calling so I can do fun things with her…
But the story was a wonderful introduction to the activity. Following the story in the primary room, we moved to the cultural hall to make cards for children who are either inactive or investigating the church.
The kids had a lot of fun drawing and writing and many took it pretty seriously since they knew these were going to children as an invitation to come to primary.
After time to make cards, all the children were divided into groups. Each group went with a very kind and helpful adult (thanks to all our helpers!) to a different child’s home for an unannounced quick visit to say hello and “We miss you. Hope you come to primary on Sunday.” The children were the speakers, but the adults were given the assignment to take a photo of the primary children along with the child they were visiting. We are making copies of them so that we can put one copy up in the primary room to remind out children of their missionary work, and send one copy to the child to help them remember they are loved. Even though we live in Utah, our Spanish ward has larger boundaries than other wards, but certainly nothing like in other states. Everyone was back within 30 minutes.
While they were gone, we prepared a lunch for the kids and when they came back they ate and got a bag of Easter treats and we were done. It seemed to go well and we were so glad to have all the adults who agreed to help actually come and help. So much support from the parents and other adults in the ward!

Okay so skip to Sunday morning. I am sitting in the chapel before sacrament meeting starts. Alex is helping to prepare the sacrament and my girls are sitting next to me. I’m on the end of the pew and I hear a gentleman behind me say, “Good morning” a couple of times in English. As he comes to my pew, he says the same to me and shakes my hand, then shakes my daughters’ hands. As soon as I saw him, I knew he was a general authority that I had seen speak at general conference, but didn’t remember his name. So when he walked up to the stand, I pulled out a paper that I had with the general authorities that I was using that day in my sharing time. I told the girls to look for him because I knew he’d be there, but I couldn’t remember his name. Of course, I knew he wasn’t an apostle since I know them. Then I needed to go talk to some ladies. When I got back to the seat, the girls had looked through almost all of the first two quorums of the seventy without luck. Then Robin was passing by and said hello so I asked him who he was. “He’s Jay E. Jensen.” I immediately recognized the name and knew I should have known him. I showed the girls his picture in the chart. Since he’s in the Presidency of the Seventy and they started at the bottom of the page, they were just about there when Robin told me.
Then the primary president, who was sitting behind me, said, “Look, Sister X is here!” (I won’t use her name.) Her daughter was one of the children that the primary went to visit and my daughters just happened to be in the group that visited her. We hadn’t seen her or her daughter at church in a while so it was great to see them. So hopefully instead of just being a visitor, she will be coming often.

Everyone continued to come into the chapel and then the counselor in the Bishopric who was conducting stood up and started the meeting. When he announced that Elder Jensen was there, there was an audible gasp from several people. I found out later that at least some people thought he might be there to make an announcement or some kind of big change. But the testimony meeting continued.

Sister X got up and bore her testimony, thanking the primary children for their visit and saying that the visit and the cards touched her so much that she knew she had to come to church. Sometimes children can do things that adults can’t. And of course, all of us involved in the activity were just so glad that the children could see such an immediate response to their work and love and that at least one family was positively affected by the visit.

Toward the end of the meeting, when there were 5 people still on the stand waiting for their turn to share their testimony, the counselor got up and said that Elder Jensen would like the remaining time to speak with us. As it turned out, Elder Jensen is over the Spanish-speaking units (branches and wards) as part of his responsibilities and when he doesn’t have specific assignments, he likes to visit the different units and he felt he should visit ours. Aren’t we special? He gave a nice message. The part that stayed with me the most is that he mentioned that sometimes we focus on Christ and not as much on the Father when we should give equal focus to them both. While it is true that Christ is our Savior and the head of the church, our Heavenly Father is our Father, full of love for each of us. He is the one who created the plan because He wants us back to live with Him. All gifts and blessings are from Him.

It was nice to have both surprises last Sunday and then to have a wonderful general conference this weekend. So many beautiful talks that helped my heart and mind be focused on the true meaning of Easter. And such wonderful music (Good job, Geraldine!) throughout the sessions. I was also grateful to spend time with many in my family and to have good food. And now that I have finally shared this post that I was going to share last week, but didn’t, I have 5 recipes and several “thought” posts, as well as family photos to somehow post---and a GIVEAWAY that is a long time in the works and will be this week. So stay tuned…


  1. Oh this post had me teary!
    What a neat thing you did with the primary!
    You never know when your going to effect someones life.. and I thought this was so awesome!

    How cool that Elder/President Jensen came to your ward! Such a cool thing!

    Grateful you had a fabulous weekend! I did also.. and I know what you mean about conference.. my cup runneth over!

  2. That is such a great activity. It sounds like it was truly inspired. It is wounderful how Gods plans work out.

  3. your post is wonderful. filled to the brim with exciting blessings!!! amazing the variety of instruments the Lord uses us as in order to further build & lift the Kingdom. =) out of the mouths of babes, right? testimony of that statement's truth right there in your own ward. how rewarding! and a general authority's visit is always a fantastic boost in life! love it.
    have a marvelous week. ;)

  4. The Primary activity was truly a success if it brought one person out to church!

    How wonderful to have a general authority visit your ward! That doesn't happen very often, especially outside of Salt Lake City!

    Looking forward to your next posts!

  5. Love the activity and what a great way to get the children involved in missionary work! And a positive ending to it also that was easily seen by the primary children. Love the fact that Elder Jensen spoke about our Heavenly Father and how he should have equal focus as the Savior. I think it is so important to remember Him always. Loved your post!

  6. That's a wonderful idea for a Primary activity! It was successful in so many ways. It brought someone out, it gave the children the opportunity to be missionaries to their friends and people in the ward, it helped them feel love for the Savior and Heavenly Father, and it showed them that they really matter, among other influences it had on them. Wow. I love this post!