Thirty-third Ward Primary
History for 2005 - to be submitted annually to the Church for History records
To kick off this year’s theme and greet our children with their teachers we celebrated together December 30th with an activity at the church. As the children arrived we drew silhouettes of their face, side profile. Later we cut them out and with a mirrored image of their profile and created images of them looking at themselves. We asked the children to write, draw or color things that would best represent who they are. We expressed to them that their Heavenly Father knows them well, loves them, and knows their potential to become like Him. The children’s art was then hung in the primary room all year and we referred often to them during our lessons. The children had an activity introducing them to a better understanding of the gospel principles and the importance of living them as part of God’s plan for each of us. We talked a great deal with the children all year about his plan for each of them and how living the gospel standards daily brings us closer to Him.
This years theme was beautifully created and we really felt of His love for us and for the children as we taught them more about the plan of salvation, His individual plan for each of us, that we indeed are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, and that he desires for us to return to live with him someday. We really loved teaching the children the simple messages of the primary song, “I am a child of God”. Using the fourth verse, …”his promises are sure, celestial glory shall be mine, if I will but endure”. We expressed His love for each of them and that he knows of our struggles and trial, that as we endure he surely promises that we can be with him eternally. That is his plan and that was the testimony that we bore often to the children.
Our primary had many changes during the year. We began the year with Stacie Lawrence, President, Nicole Bennion, First Counselor, Jill Newby, Second Counselor, and a new secretary, Liz Holt. Liz had taught in the nursery and most recently been teacher of our 6-7 year old CTR class. Jill Newby had formally been our secretary for two years. Nicole has served for three years as a counselor, prior to that she taught our 4-5 year old CTR’s with her husband, Peter. Stacie Lawrence has been president for six years, serving as a nursery leader and sunbeam teacher for four years prior to that.
We had a change as follows within our presidency this year. Liz Holt moved in August and we called our new secretary, Angie Anger in October. Angie and her husband were new to the ward this year. They have a daughter, Emelia, who is in nursery.
Our teachers have included, Mark and Ashley Gurling - Nursery, Dave and Terri Thompson - Nursery, Justin and Nicole Myers - Nursery, Grant and Kate Johnson - Sunbeams, Scott and Stacie Webber – 4-5 year old CTR class. The Webber family moved this year after living in our ward for over 10 years. They and their children, Nikolas, Jake, and Levi, moved to Arizona. Staci had been a counselor in primary prior to teaching. Scott had been the Scout Master. Joseph and Angela Adams took the 4-5 year old class, and will continue serving in the Nursery for 2006. Our CTR 5-6 class began with Cole and Kelli Richins, with the news of expecting a baby and they needed to be released Dan and Caitlin Creer were called. Kevin and Christy Horn were called to help with our little Cody and eventually took on teaching the class when the Creers moved. The Horns moved shortly afterward and Jared and Alison Forsythe took teaching this class. Because of the extreme changes this year we have chosen to keep the Forsythes teaching this class for 2006. Karl and Holly Christiansen taught our baptism children this year. The class began with Jake Webber being baptized in March, Storm Speakman in August and finally Isabelle Richards in December. Each baptism brought wonderful opportunities in primary to remind all of the children, teachers, and leaders of our covenants with Heavenly Father, His promises to us and His plan for us. We enjoyed teaching in a variety of ways this first step in returning to live with Him. Karl and Holly have been serving in primary for 3 years as well. They began in Nursery, served as Sunbeam teachers, our 7-8 year old class and this year as our Valiant Girls teachers. Teaching our 8-9 year olds was Jeremy and Sarah Richards. They also have been serving in primary for 3 years. They began as Nursery teachers, taught our Valiant 9-11 year olds. They moved from our ward into a home this year. Sister Jeanine Pace was teaching our 9-11 year old kids early this year. When she was called to be a Relief Society Counselor, Brian and Heather Coleman began teaching our oldest class. Brian and Heather continue with us this year, with our Sunbeams, a challenge to change gears which they accepted with excitement. In our ward we seem to constantly have many changes and orientation opportunities with young couples who willingly serve in their early married years while gaining education. As leaders we enjoy each opportunity to meet with and visit quarterly our teachers. They enrich our lives and will go on to do great service within the church.
Our biggest change in primary this year was releasing Sister Becky Lee Reynolds as our primary pianist. Sister Reynolds has served as pianist in our primary for over 17 years, a record I am sure. She was a primary teachers, counselor, and leader for years before that. My husband can remember her has a teacher when he was a boy over 30 years ago. She is surely missed by us all, a faithful and dependable servant. Sister Reynolds wrote music that is in the Children’s Songbook. She would write music to our scriptures every year which always added to our teaching the children to love the scriptures. We are delighted to have Sister Becky Poulsen playing the piano now. As our chorister we began the year with Heather Harper. Heather previously served in the Nursery. She served with us for 8 months as chorister. Sister Stacy Smith was called to serve with Heather Harper as chorister. She was with us through the primary Sacrament program. When she was released we called Brother and Sister Spencer and Leslie Abdo. They bring a wonderful spirit to primary and desire to help the children gain a love and understanding of music. We are blessed by wonderful music leaders who help to bring the spirit in teaching principles of the gospel to the primary children.
We began in January with the baptism of Clarissa Lawrence. Clarissa was the first of our children to not be baptized at temple square. She was sad but found within herself the desire to be baptized regardless of missing that wonderful opportunity that she had witnessed by so many of her friends. She had looked forward to going to temple square for this beautiful occasion “her whole life”. We were thankful that she found a greater desire to be baptized “no matter where”. Our boy scouts participated in their Pinewood Derby during January. We have had wonderful scout leaders this year. Albert Aguilar and his wife Helen began as cub leaders. When Helen was called to Relief Society, Albert took on being the Scout Assistant Cub Master. Later this year he took on the role of Cub Master. Our activity day girls have participated in many wonderful activities building their testimonies and setting goals with their leader Joellen Wells. When Joellen and her family moved to Albuquerque this year, Rachel Solis took over as Activity Day leader.
February was filled with activities in Scouting and Activity Days for the girls. As leaders we met often to discuss the children and upcoming activities. When we meet as leaders we try to follow the Five Points, Prayer, Scripture, Gospel Principle, Music, and Testimony. Each time we meet we feel closer to each other and realize Heavenly Fathers hand in all that we do. We are thankful for inspired leaders helping us to watch over these little ones. We invited our parents to come to primary during Sunday School to participate in Sharing Time with their children. During this sharing time we taught them what our year’s theme was and how we would be using it to teach the children to understand Heavenly Fathers plan for each of us. This was my most favorite sharing time this year. I enjoyed using a tapestry to show how we can not see the beauty of the plan from the underside. We must realize that as we live our lives and struggle through trials, that we only see one side. We must trust Heavenly Father and his knowledge of us in learning from our experiences to someday comprehend the beauty of this life and our experiences. In turning over the tapestry the children and parents could see the beauty in contrast to the other side filled with unusual looking stitches. These unusual stitches indeed created a masterpiece. I had the children make a paper tapestry, which unveiled a message to them. When they had completed their paper tapestry it said their names and ….am a child of God. Each of them seemed to enjoy doing this activity with their parents. We sent home bookmarks we made with some embroidery threads and simple paper with the following poem.
My life is but a weaveing,
Between the Lord and me,
I cannot choose the colors,
He worketh steadily.
Oft time He weaveth sorrow,
But I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper,
And I the underside.
Not till the loom is silent,
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas,
And explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful,
In the weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver,
In the pattern He has planned.
It is always enjoyable to present to parents what we teach their children in primary, to give them information and offer assistance for strengthening their homes and families. It also gives them opportunity to meet teachers and feel our love for their children.
March is our month for Inservice for our teachers. We have enjoyed our inservices this year with Sister Becky Derrick. She always comes very prepared to inspire and teach us to lead and influence the lives of these young children. A few of the things we have learned this year include loving the children as the Savior does, reaching out to less active children and families, using the scriptures to teach with every lesson, inviting the spirit to teach through planning and preparing ourselves to be open to the spirit. Inservice is always a great opportunity which we enjoy learning more about our teachers and sharing ourselves with them. We try to meet with our teachers each quarter prior to Inservice to hear of their needs and to ask how we can better serve them.
April was time for our next primary activity and for preparing to plant our primary pumpkin patch again. This was our primary’s second attempt at planning a garden together. We taught on faith and had the children plant pumpkin seeds in cups to take home and care for. We sang again the primary song, “the Prophet said to plant a Garden”. We then waited a few weeks for the seeds to grow and the ground to be prepared. The children then had opportunities over a couple of weeks to meet me in the garden and plant their pumpkin seeds in the ground. We added corn and beans to the soil. The garden this year was a maze. The children could choose where in the maze to plant their seeds. If they were to get lost in the maze, they only had to “choose the right” to find their way out. We planted seeds for the children who don’t as often come to primary, and for our bishopric. The children then could serve others by weeding and watering their plants. We used the sign up method for families to take turns tending to the garden throughout the summer. We have a wonderful couple, Grant and JoAnn Warner who tends to the garden and who are daily helping the children and leaders as they share the responsibility. This couple does not attend church however they touch the lives of our children and leaders through their kindness and service to us in the garden. If any of the plants died, the Warner’s would replace them. They also maintained the weeds. The young men and young women also did service projects this year and helped to weed the garden. While they were there serving they helped to tend others gardens as well. The children had a successful garden experience. We grew around 40 pumpkins, the Bishops was the biggest. We also grew a great many other vegetables, which were donated to the Relief Society one Sunday during harvest time. Many gardeners, including the Warner’s donated much of their harvest to the primary to give to the Relief Society. We had a beautiful variety of fruit and vegetables to share. The children were really excited to see all the vegetables and fruits on the giving table that Sunday. One older lady came up to one of our 10-year old boys and said, “young man, are you one of the children that grew the garden?” He replied, “Yes.” She said, “This is the finest produce I have ever seen from a home garden. Thank you very much.” The garden is one of the greatest opportunities we have in our primary to work with our children and include so many ward members, even very inactive members participate. In October as we practiced for the Primary Program, we had the children pick numbers from a hat and then search the garden for their pumpkins. We had enough pumpkins to deliver to all the inactive children as well.
The summertime came filled with many activities, our ward camp-out, the Day’s of 47 Children’s Parade, and much time in the garden. In August we had a primary activity. Part of the activity was spent weeding. Other activities included messages from our teachers revolving around the plan of salvation, and making cookies and cards to deliver to our inactive children. We walked the cookies and cards to the children so that they could meet some of their primary friends.
In October for the Primary Activity, two of our 9-11 year olds asked to help plan the activity for part of their Faith in God goals. They made the flyer, planned two games, ordered the Halloween donuts for the treat and purchased milk, which later they turned in the receipt for reimbursement. They also called the teachers to remind them to call the children in their class. This was a fun opportunity to enjoy working with these two children.
During November the children were asked to prepare to sing two songs for the Christmas celebrations this year. Away in a Manger and a Pioneer song were chosen. The Ward celebration was held in December, and was a dinner with a program in the chapel. The feeling was wonderful as we learned and enjoyed reflecting on the life of our beloved Prophet Joseph, and the birth and celebration of our Savior.
During these final two months we had opportunities to share testimony through our sharing times and music and finished the year feeling that these children understand the great plan of salvation and that their Heavenly Father knows and loves each of them. We as leaders are so very thankful to serve in the primary. We are thrilled about the new theme and opportunity to teach the children to “trust their Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ. Their promises are sure.” We believe that these are inspired themes that enrich not only the children but us as teachers and leaders.
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