For our Young Women activity on Wednesday we did an activity based on the article Growing Your Testimony, in the February 2013 New Era. There is a great picture of a testimony tree, and the minute I saw it I knew I had to do something with it.
I started out with a little picture of a seed. It looked kind of like a bean. We discussed what happens when you plant a seed and nourish it. We discussed the idea that our wonderful, smart God made it so you can plant a seed and know what you are going to grow. You can't plant an apple seed and get an avocado. You don't get corn from bean seeds. We likened it to testimony. You can't get a testimony by planting seeds of rebellion. You can't get a good crop if you sow wild seeds.
I put up a piece of brown paper and a few of the girls read word-strips and glued them onto the "foundation." This is like planting a tree in good soil. Then one of the girls came up and drew in branches of the tree. We talked about the blossoms being the very beginning of good fruit, and sang "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree."
Then we discussed the role of leaves, which is to nourish the tree and protect the fruit, shading it from the sun and hiding it from birds and insects. Without the leaves, the fruit would wither away and die.
I passed out the green leaves, each of which had a couple of scriptures written on the back. The girls looked up the verses and wrote the main topic on the front of each leaf. When they finished one, they got to get up, glue it on the tree, and then do another until they were all gone. A couple of the girls thought it looked a little bare and drew on some extra leaves. These I incorporated later in the activity.
After the tree was all leafy, we took a group picture in front of it. The girls sat down again, and we went around the room, asking each to identify one gospel principle on a leaf and tell what it means. I told them they know their stuff, and they are able to explain things to their friends.
All this took about 30 minutes, leaving us with a little while to go, so I asked them to help me label the new leaves with tools--the programs and accessories that help them to live the gospel principles. We came up with Seminary, Leaders, Personal Progress program, New Era magazine, For the Strength of Youth booklet, and others.
I honestly can't say how they liked it, except that two girls told me that it meant a lot and helped them learn some things. I hope their testimonies will grow strong and bright and beautiful like our Testimony Tree.