At first glance, "The Trek Continues!" by Elder M. Russell Ballard is all about pioneers. However, upon closer examination you realize it's about our journey back to Heavenly Father. The pioneers are only one of the great examples we can learn from and follow on the path back.
How are we staying on the right path, and what are we exercising our faith in with each footstep forward?
- How does learning about our ancestors help the rising generation?
- How do we keep ourselves from being deceived?
- How are you helping build a sense of community around you?
- How many of you pray for missionary experiences? Have you had an experience sharing testimony with others who are not members of our church?
- What might we lose if we leave our ties to the pioneers behind?
- How does the Relief Society or Priesthood Quorums help provide spiritual and temporal well-being?
- How can we embrace those on the trek no matter where they are?
From the Church, "To begin a discussion about Elder Ballard’s message, you could invite someone to share an experience when they had a destination but discovered they were on the wrong route. How do examples like these relate to our personal 'trek' back to Heavenly Father? Members could then search for counsel and warnings that Elder Ballard gives that can help us know if we are headed in the right direction in our own lives. Give members time to ponder their own paths and to discuss ways we can help and encourage others in their “trek” back to Heavenly Father."
These are my ideas. My hope is that reading my thoughts will be a springboard to finding the right plans for your class. Remember you are leading a discussion, not teaching a lesson so you may only need one of these ideas.
- This talk begins with stories of early Mormon pioneers who came to the Salt Lake Valley. Ask people in advance to share stories of ancestors who made the trek to Utah or share personal stories of your own ancestors who made the trek.
- Have a musical number of Faith in Every Footstep then discuss what we have faith in as we take steps towards our Heavenly Father. There is this video from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as well.
- You can review the words of Faith in Every Footstep instead of a musical number, tying the words back into Elder Ballard's points.
- You can compare the pioneers to the first few steps on a set of stairs. Without them we can't get to where we need to go as easily and are missing something important.
- You can even talk about journaling in this lesson as we have the stories of the pioneers because people took time to write it down. Make journaling work for you.
- Use my foot cutouts to write down quotes and phrases for your class to read then place them on the board or floor making a pathway.
- Discuss where your footsteps took you this week. What things did your class do specifically with their feet recently? Then tie it back into Elder Ballard's words like "What is your final destination?" and the quote included in the handouts, "We must be careful where our footsteps in life take us." Did the footsteps we took that week take us closer or further away?
- How did the pioneers deal with rough times? What can we learn from them as they tackled these difficult experiences?
- What are some ways Satan tries to deceive us today? Discuss for a bit then review the bullet points from Elder Ballard's talk.
- Discuss Elder Ballard's point of how the pioneers were independent and self-reliant but also had a great sense of community. How can we build that kind of community? This is a great way to tie in the importance of the new first Sunday lessons as well.