I'm on the VERGE. . . of many things.  Alzheimer’s, menopause, loose skin disease.  I’m also on the verge of being an empty-nester before being a grandma.  This is not sitting well with me.  In one year my 17 year old will be submitting his mission papers and my almost 16 year old will be a senior in High School.  To top it off, the past few months I’ve been suffering from Mother’s Remorse.  But now I have a plan :).   It’s called “I’ve really tried over the past 27 years but just in case that isn’t enough I'm stepping it up on our Last Two,” or “Stepping It Up” for short.  Often our Last Two look at me in utter astonishment . . . they’ll get over it. 

Isn’t that what it’s all about . . . the “hastening of the work?”  Stepping it up?  Our children must be stronger, smarter, wiser than we were. They need to be more aware, more obedient, and more in-tune.  Our children need to know what the Plan of Happiness and the power of the Atonement mean for them personally. They need to know that they can access the atoning power every day.  And they need to be ready to take this knowledge to the world. 

We need to teach them.

Part of my “Stepping It Up” plan is to take “the home is the new MTC” to a higher level through family scripture study (FSS) and FHE. In January our family began reading The Book of Mormon Made Easier, by gospel scholar, David J Ridges.  Our FSS was less than amazing, and this study guide has proved to be a wonderful solution.  Along with the complete text of the Book of Mormon, it includes in-the-verse notes and additional insights and commentary from Brother Ridges.  And it’s working for our teenagers who no long groan when they are called to FSS. 

Another part of the plan is to use FHE to improve our sharing the gospel (STG) skills. When our last missionary returned home in July of 2011, the summer of 2015 seemed very far away.   My handmade Teach My Gospel Missionary Cards got buried deep in a cupboard and forgotten about.  I unburied them the first of the year.  My parents, who have served four missions and worked with many missionaries, said “Melanie, you need to share this resource with all the families out there who are preparing missionaries.”   So I spruced them up a bit and put them on-line.  Here is how we are using them in FHE.

First, we read letters from family members currently serving full time missions.   We are blessed to have cousins serving in Canada, Arizona, and Japan.  Their mothers forward their letters to us (thank you).  All three happen to be excellent letter writers.  I fear my future missionary will fall short in this area.  One-word response from him are protocol. And honestly, the thought of hearing only this from him for two whole years makes me want to keep him home.  I am hoping this letter reading activity will rub off on him.  What’s more, our missionary cousins are passionate about what they are doing.  They have t up weeks and down weeks, but they are happy and growing in their love for the gospel and their fellowmen.  What a glorious thing.

Next, we pick a lesson set, such as The Restoration, from our Teach My Gospel Missionary Training Cards  and distribute the cards evenly amongst our family members.  We  take 2-3 minutes to study the back of our cards, considering both the principles and a personal example/testimony of the concept.  Then we take turns presenting the cards in order to each other. It’s harder than you think, but we are getting better at it.   By the end of FHE we’ve each had the opportunity to gain confidence in teaching gospel principles and to share personal experiences. And when we're ready, we’ll take turns giving the lessons all the way through.  By the time our next missionary enters the MTC, he’ll be  confident in sharing gospel principles  and more able to focus on the Spirit, learning the language, and other important lessons from the MTC. 

I came across another FHE mission-prep resource this morning.  It is www.preparetoteach.com, a website put together by Alex, an impressive  returned missionary with a young family and a deep desire to provide clean, educational resources  that help pre-missionaries and their families hasten the work. There are hundreds of videos and resources on the site.  It’s a simple way to learn about the states and countries around the world where missionaries serve and actually hear from Elders and Sisters who have served in there.    

We'd love to hear about things you are doing to  hasten the work in your own homes.  Please share.