Yesterday at church, I went to Primary. A family that has been coming to our Thursday night “ABC Class” came to CHURCH! WOO! But, after Sacrament Meeting, the parents were having a hard time getting their three small kids to go to Primary. So my companion and I went on emergency member splits: she went with our other friends to the gospel principles class and Relief Society, and I went with the small children to Primary where we sang songs, colored, and played hide-n-seek. The mom of the family and her member friend were there, too, and so we were able to talk about the importance of the gospel for families and particularly how coming to church can bless them.
In the first hour of Primary, we sang “Our Primary Colors,” “‘Give,’ Said the Little Stream,” and “My Heavenly Father Loves Me,” and I gave an astounding performance of “I Am a Child of God” in English. All of my Primary teachers would be horrified to know that I had to make up the last phrase of the song because I couldn’t remember. Instead of “teach me all that I must do to live with him someday,” I sang, “teach me all that I must do to return safely. But that’s ok, they didn’t know. All the years of working to not make faces when I messed up while playing the horn paid off, and no one was the wiser.
Our lesson was about Heavenly Father and Christ’s love for all of us. Pretty simple, everyone was under the age of five, so we didn’t break out the scriptures or anything elaborate. At one point the teacher asked one of the little girls if God loves her. She answered with a resounding, “yes!” When the teacher asked how she knew, she said she knew because her mother told her so, she heard her mother expressing love to Heavenly Father in prayers, and she said when she prayed, she knew God loved her. Whoa. I wanted to hug that girl and take her to all my lessons with investigators who struggle with prayer.
Every day on my mission, as I’ve practiced to become a better teacher, I’ve learned that we are all small children at heart. Everyone loves a good visual or a good object lesson. Everyone needs to be taught simply. Everyone needs a review of the basics and what happened last time. But there is still something special and precious about teaching a child that adults, people who’ve experienced and learned so much, have to work for: a pure desire to learn and to grow, a hope for better things. That little girl’s mom taught her that God lives, He knows her, and He loves her. Who wouldn’t hope for that? A supreme creator, one greater than heaven and earth, knows her. Knows you and me. Cares about everything from our stubbed toes and favorite song on the radio to our greatest heartbreaks and successes. She was taught that if she prayed, she could know for herself. So she does! She’s no master of words and I wouldn’t use “eloquent” or “refined” to describe her closing prayer, but I would use “humble,” “patient,” and “full of love” (Mosiah 3:19). These are traits I’m working on every day, sometimes successfully, and sometimes not so much. But I was reminded that if I just stick to the basics, with our investigators, members, and myself, everything else can fall into place. I felt kind of silly, especially when I couldn’t understand why I was “it” for forever and a half during hide-n-seek (maybe something got lost in translation…), but I was so grateful for that time to be around those innocent little souls. I think all missionaries should have to go to primary every once in a while, just so we can remember what it’s all about! The pure and unadulterated joy of the gospel! The knowledge that our Heavenly Father loves us!
Don’t worry, I won’t forget. I went home and hung up my crayon coloring sheet that says, “하나님께서는 나를 사랑하십니다! ” Or in other words, “Heavenly Father loves me!” on the fridge.