Sunday, March 29, 2009

Two (2) Things


Nooooooo, not THEM. Though they are distinctly cute. I always wanted twins just so I could dress them up as Thing 1 and Thing 2. (Okay. I wanted twins UNTIL I HAD CHILDREN. Now I just think all mothers of twins are saints. And I'm glad I'm not saint material.)

Anywho. Two things. Sunday-ish Things, it being the Sabbath and all.

Thing one.
This week I went to a CES training meeting - that stands for Church Education System. It is for all the seminary and institute teachers - essentially gospel, scripture based classes for teenagers and young adults. (Including my Marriage Prep class. Good stuff, people.)

This is Sergio. He is THE most incredible teacher in the world. (Sorry folks, he's here in Brazil. You lose.) He teaches with such power, such faith. He has us laughing one minute and crying the next.
I've been to Teacher Improvement meetings plenty of times, but for some reason this week's training really hit home. He drilled into us that GOOD teachers let the students teach. GOOD teachers let the Spirit teach. GOOD teachers leave the students thinking, "I felt the Spirit so strongly today," rather than, "she's a really good teacher." GOOD teachers don't teach at all.
And one of the secrets to inviting the Spirit is to ask good questions.
We learned that there are three types of GOOD questions:
1) Questions that force the students to look up the answer (in other words, questions that have no obvious answer, nor simply yes/no)
2) Questions that cause the students to reflect and ponder
3) Questions that cause the students to apply a principle to their life
I really loved that last one. So instead of, "Why do we need prophets?" (rote, by-the-book answer) we ask, "When have you already felt that President Monson is a prophet of God?" (causes the student to think about his/her life personally.) It is when the STUDENTS bear testimony that the Spirit thrives.
Before attending the training, Sergio asked us to prepare a 5-8 minute lesson on a few verses in Mark - about Jesus curing the blind man. I (of course) procrastinated, so I had to wake up early the day of the training to prepare. I was proud of the results. I really studied those five verses. I learned a lot. And I was eager to share it.
But Sergio never asked us to show our "homework."
And I was annoyed - after I went through all that trouble, I didn't use it.
Or so I thought.
The truth is - I came to realize that THAT is how we should truly study the scriptures. As if we were giving a lesson on it. I took those five little verses and thought up enough questions to keep me pondering and looking up answers for almost an hour. I got more out of a mere 1/4 of a chapter than I often did in my daily reading.
Cool.
So Thing 2 - this is Daniela and my teeth. Daniela and her husband Rodrigo were sealed in the Campinas temple yesterday for all eternity.
They've come a long way. A few years ago, they were living together - but more for convenience than for love. They drank. They smoked. They fought. They hit. They were seperated more often than they were together. They have two children, but had much to learn by way of parenting.
Witness the gospel changing lives.
Now they are legally married. They hold hands. They speak softly to their children. They love one another. They bear testimony of a living Christ who heals and cures and purifies and perfects.
I got to accompany Daniela yesterday. I was so honored. It was an awesome thing to watch her cry as blessings were poured upon her head and as she made sacred covenants.
I love the temple. It hurts me when people make that sacred place out to be something ugly, vulgar or unnatural. It is a beautiful place. I feel the Lord there. It is a sacred place. A place where I start to feel like the Becky He wants me to be.

So keep going to the temple, Daniela and Rodrigo. Return to that place as often as your life permits. Make it the center of your purpose on this earth. It is where the fluff falls away and our perspectives become clear again. It is there we gain greater understanding of who and why we are. It is there we concentrate on the most important things - on the Lord, on our families, and on love.

Not bad for a couple of things, if I do say so myself.

26 comments:

Jocelyn Christensen said...

Very nice "Things". Congratulations to the temple-goers! What blessings the Lord has for those who humbly follow him...no matter what our lives were like before...

Melissa P said...

That is such a neat blessing for your friends. We have neighbors that are preparing for the Temple too. It is amazing to see the changes in them. I have to say you are very pretty. Your message on teaching was great too.

Brittany Ann said...

What an incredible experience to be able to go to the temple with your friend. And also, to go to a class where you learned so much. I had never thought about studying the scriptures that way, but it's true! Thanks.

The Prices said...

That's awesome. I wish everyone could just see how wonderful their lives could be if they would partake in those same blessings. BTW, I really like you :) (I know that's random).

elesa said...

Ooh, very helpful. I've been feeling kind of stuck with my Sunday School class. Thanks!

Melonie said...

Those are two WONDERFUL things, says I. :-)

I have other thoughts but I just can't even share 'em right now.... they are all muddled up as I look at these pics. Oh, happy DAY!

Jennie said...

Yeah!! Congrats to your friends! I remember the day my husband and I were sealed and it was the most wonderful day ever!

Deb said...

I hope I go to the temple someday...

Rocketgirl said...

What a fabulous, helpful entry!!! Thank you for posting the CES stuff, I am incredibly jealous of your super teacher. And congrats to your friends!! Such a wonderful Sunday pick-me-up, thank you!!!

Kazzy said...

Awesome post. Thank you so much. I love teaching, and I am sure Sergio was very inspiring.

Greta news about your friends going to the temple. Lives really can change. Terrific!

Stephanie said...

I love when you talk about the church in Brazil! It gets me so excited and I am so comforted to know that such a HUGE part of my life will be very similar in Brazil!

Sidnei and I want to get sealed in Campinas!!! Sidnei is a new memeber of the church and we are SO excited to be able to have this opportunity to be sealed for time and all eternity! I can not WAIT for him to get home so he can start the ball rolling and we can get to the temple!

gina said...

I love that you were able to see the value in your preparation, rather than just grumble about not getting to "use" it. You have a very positive perspective.

Melanie J said...

The principle your teacher taught has been hard for me to learn. I'm a good public speaker and it was easy to hold my students' attention by sheer force of personality when I taught school. But in church, if I pull out a dazzling array of teacher tools or deliver a dazzling, I have learned that I fail. I have to make a conscious effort to put away every tool, trick, and charm I have, to subdube my natural talent for speaking and wholly channel the spirit to find out what it is I'm meant to say. I think when I am able to fight my natural tendencies and do that, my talks and lessons are far less flashy and infintely better. It's been counterintuitive to take away all the things that make me an effective speaker and trainer in other setting, but I've grown more and learned humility (sometimes) by trying to focus soley on being an instrument in the Lord's hands.

gigi said...

Love the Temple and Love CES! I spent 10 years out of a 13 year period teaching Early Morning Seminary. First year I taught I had 28 active youth. The last year I taught I had 16 youth. I always learned more than they did, but I loved it sooooo much!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I liked Melanie J's comment because I too have had to come to terms with the same things. This year (I teach for EFY), I submitted a talk outline where I basically say nothing. Well, not nothing, but where the conversation/work is mostly born by the youth. It makes me so nervous to think about it and give up that control, but I know that the greatest potential for impact is when they make the discoveries themselves. I'll have to let you know how it goes...

rad6 said...

Wow, thanks for sharing. What a beautiful story about Daniela and her husband and their change of life because of the gospel. Amazing. I love to hear that. We have a couple like that in our ward. I love hearing their testimony each month.
Also loved your comments on you training experience. I just have to say that CES instructors are AMAZING. I teach seminary, and sometimes I tell people that the best part is being able to be taught by so many amazing people all the time. Love IT!!!

LisAway said...

I love both thing one AND thing two! :) I really miss the temple. we haven't been for a long time. Far too long. (We went weekly in Provo and then moved to Poland where the nearest one is 11 hours away)

Also, my husband made had a video on youtube called Who Is Blind in case you want to watch it. :)

lizzy-loo said...

as always thanks for sharing. what a wonderful opportunity it is for us to learn. i try to learn something everyday. somedays this is hard as you feel you are just keeping your head above water, but it is always great to partake of someones wisdom and then be able to apply it to yourself. yeah for rodrigo and daniela!! amazing how the gospel can change your life.

trublubyu said...

i love this gospel! aren't we so blessed?

Kimberly said...

For some reason I'm having a good cry instead of coming up with a comment. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

Kiera said...

What a great day. Love your notes about teaching. My husband always worries over his GD lessons, but every week ends with a heartfelt testimony. It's definately what I (and I'm sure others) remember most from any lesson.

wonder woman said...

Sorry, that last one was from me. I'm at a friend's house. :o)

Tamra Watson said...

Now you know the power of Presidente Antunes...I got to hear from that awesome guy for 15 months

Motherboard said...

The spirit is incredible! I totally needed to read this today. I have been so discouraged with my Sunday School class. I know that I am a good teacher/public speaker... But sometimes I just want to hide in the corner, in the fetal position, rocking back and forth-sucking my thumb... this post reminded me what it was that I have been forgetting to do... LET THE KIDS TEACH.

Thanks lady-jane. You rock.

Shelley said...

Thanks for sharing!! That was very touching and it made me want to make my scripture study better.

Shooting Starchild said...

Thank you for your posts! I teach the 14-15 year olds in my ward and even though I have experience teaching the gospel, I'm definitely need to sharpen up my skills.