Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Treasures of the Heart

Last week, the young women at church had a special program we put on annually called "New Beginnings". The purpose of the event is to teach the young women and their parents about the young women organization and to welcome the new 12 year olds. I thought I'd share this here in case any of the other youth leaders need an idea for a very fun and spiritual event!

The girls started preparing for the program the week before New Beginnings. I had some really cute pictures of the girls, but I didn't feel right about posting them, (you never know), but I think this one is ok. Anyway, so we had a Pajama Personal Progress Picnic Party... where they worked on personal progress together, decorated their treasure boxes and they each brought something that started with "p" to snack on.

They came up with the following snacks for our picnic... pears, peanut butter popcorn, peanuts, popsicles, peanut-butter cups, pumpkin seeds, and PICKLES! ha ha! The girls all had a great time decorating their treasure boxes in preparation for the special night.

So for the program, we started with the opening exercises where the girls recited the young women theme, and the leaders gave a brief overview of the organization. (The entire organization of the church simply amazes me, it is obviously inspired by God because it's so brilliant!) Then each girl found her decorated treasure box, and went on a treasure hunt around the building by following the map on the back of the program. Each of the leaders were in a different room that they had decorated with the value she presented. The leaders read a little treasure talk, and gave the girls the corresponding token to add to their treasure boxes. By the way, I cannot take credit for this idea... I found most of this stuff on an lds yw site. (I am soo not that creative!)

Here are little excerpts from the treasure talks given by the leaders...

"One treasure that we can take with us is, FAITH - "I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me and I will have FAITH in his eternal plan which centers in Jesus Christ, my Savior." A grain of mustard seed is the small token which will remind us to seek for the treasure of FAITH in Jesus Christ and in his eternal plan. "(Alma 32: 27-28).

A second treasure which will guide us in our lives is knowledge of our DIVINE NATURE"I have inherited divine qualities which I will strive to develop." The token to remind us of our divine nature is a piece of coal, a diamond in the rough, rich with possibility.


A third treasure we need to succeed in life is a knowledge of our INDIVIDUAL WORTH. "I am of infinite worth with my own divine mission which I will strive to fulfill." "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." This "diamond" will remind us that each child of God has priceless worth.


A "pearl of great price" which we can take with us is KNOWLEDGE. "I will continually seek opportunities for learning and growth." As we are told in Matthew, we cannot take our earthly treasures with us when we die. Money, clothes, cars, and other possessions do not last forever. But in the Doctrine and Covenants, we learn that whatever knowledge we gain, we CAN take with us. "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection." (D&C130:18) Take with you the pearl of knowledge. It will bless your life.


A precious gift we have already been given by our Heavenly Father is our agency, our ability to choose. With this gift of CHOICE comes responsibility or ACCOUNTABILITY for the choices we make. "I will remain free by choosing good over evil and will accept responsibility for my choices." As you wear this CTR ring, look at it often. It will remind you that choosing well protects you and keeps you free.


One of the treasures that can add richness to our lives is service to others. 3 Nephi 12:16 "Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your GOOD WORKS and glorify your Father who is in Heaven." "I will nurture others and build the kingdom through righteous service." This little candle is to remind us to let our little light shine like the light of Christ so that others will come to know Him.


Another special treasure that we will add to our treasure box is INTEGRITY. "I will have the moral courage to make my actions consistent with my knowledge of right and wrong." This little rock is a token to remind us to build our lives on the rock of Jesus Christ and stay true to the faith, to have integrity.


The newest treasure added to our treasure boxes of values is VIRTUE. “One virtuous young woman led by the Spirit can change the world.” A heart is your symbol for VIRTUE. Treasure the purity of your body and spirit. Virtue is the center of purity, just as the heart is the center of our body and soul.

It was a very special night. I hope the girls felt the spirit confirm to them the significance of these values, and I hope that they will treasure their treasure boxes for years to come. I know that if they incorporate these values into their lives, they will continue to develop Christ-like attributes and they will experience TRUE and lasting joy in this life. Life will still be challenging, but they will have the spiritual strength to get through all that life throws at them. I sure love each one of these girls. They are phenomenal young women. Many of them are really struggling... and it breaks my heart, but my counselors and I will continue to pray for each of them. We will never stop believing in them. We have confidence that they will make it through these trying years because they have strong and valiant spirits. :)

Check out this cake one of my counselors made!!!! Isn't it amazing?!!! If anyone wants to try to make this, you can find instructions here. She did such an awesome job! Way to go, Monica! I could not have put this night together without the help of my amazing counselors, secretary, advisors, and our personal progress leader. Each of them is just wonderful, and they really helped make the program a success.

Although the program was for the girls, it was a nice reminder for all of us to "Lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven" Matthew 6:20. It reminded me to evaluate how I spend my time and energy. I try to regularly ask myself a few questions, and try to make changes when necessary. Am I neglecting the most important things (which aren't really things) in this life? Am I nurturing my most precious relationships? Am I seeking learning, and spiritual growth? It's so easy to let the things of this world distract us and crowd out what is really important in this life. This quote really inspires me to keep trying to put first things first...
"We no longer have the luxury of spending our energy on anything that doesn't lead us and our families to Christ. In the days ahead, a casual commitment to Christ will not carry us through. The time has come for each of us to stand tall, and then, in doing so, to stand together." ~ Sheri Dew
I know that if we choose to forsake the "treasures" of the world, and seek for things of a better, we will feel true joy and we will eventually earn the eternal treasures in heaven that have been promised to us.


Melisa said...

Wow! That looks great! I am so impressed! Ours is next week...

Jill said...

You do some wonderful activities, Nicole! This one is definitely another winner! I know those girls learned a lot. Great job! :o)


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