Thursday, May 22, 2014

Armor of God Dodge Ball

The Beehive class (Young Women, 12 and 13 years old) in our ward were in charge of the weekly evening mutual activity Wednesday night. It was for all young women AND young men ages 12-18. I always get a little nervous when I am responsible for this combined activity. Coming up with an idea is always the hardest for me. Well in March I woke up one Sunday morning after having a dream. In the dream I had been at a youth activity, and as I got out of bed I thought, "That could work!" It evolved over the last couple of months, but I consider last night a success. 

Here's how we did it.

I created a matching game. I used these images from to create the special matches. I found other similar images (free coloring pages online) of other activities like hiking, fishing, dancing, TV, computer, homework, mp3 player etc. and created similar cards for them. In total there were fifteen matches. 

We assigned each youth a number from 1-6 and each group was given a set of the matching game. (Our groups had four to six youth in them, and that seemed to work out well.) They mixed things up, spread them out and played the game just like any other matching game (though we did cut out the rule of getting another turn if you got a match. Play just moved from one person to the next.)

When all of the groups were finished we gathered everyone together to hand out armor. They called the people forward that had earned one of the special matches above, gave them the "armor" and explained what benefit it would have in the upcoming dodge ball game. One person in each group earned each piece of armor. Youth could earn more than one piece of armor (if they got more than one of the six important matches), and many youth didn't earn any pieces of the armor. 

Helmet of Salvation (bandana, tied around head) - If the dodge ball hit them in the head they would not be eliminated from the game.

Breastplate of Righteousness (t shirt) - You can get hit in the torso without being eliminated from the game.

Sword of the Spirit (Plastic bat) - Gives you two hits before you are out. Turn in bat after 1st hit, then leave game after 2nd.

Shield of Truth (Cookie sheets) - If the ball hits the cookie sheet, you are not out

Loins girt with truth  (long strip of cloth tied like a sash around waist) - Protects from your waist to your knees

Feet shod with preparation of the gospel of peace (bandana tied around ankle) - Protects BOTH legs from the knees down (shins, ankles and feet)

This items were simple to gather and were essentially free. And they worked well during the actual dodge ball games. We put three groups onto each side of the gym and they formed the two teams for dodge ball.

The adults were referees as the youth played dodge ball. It was played like a normal game, though we didn't use the rule about catching a ball that was thrown is a way to eliminate someone on the other side. It was fun to see how the youth benefited from the "armor" they had earned. It was also nice that not everyone had armor. It provided good contrast and helped in teaching the lesson we were hoping to teach.

After the dodge ball game had gone on for a while, most people were out. We stopped the game and gathered around for a moment to talk about what we had done/learned. Here are the questions we used and some scriptures and quotations that we found applied.

 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

How did the armor affect our dodge ball game?

What would our game have been like if everyone had all of the armor?

How can the Armor of God help us each day?

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

What can we do to put on the whole armor of God?

Staying on the gospel path of covenants, commandments, and ordinances protects us and prepares us to do God’s work in this world. When we obey the Word of Wisdom, our agency is protected from addictions to substances like alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. As we pay our tithing, study the scriptures, receive baptism and confirmation, live for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, partake of the sacrament worthily, obey the law of chastity, prepare for and receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, and make sacred covenants in the temple, then we are prepared to serve.

Brothers and sisters, because I know from my own experiences, and those of my husband, I must testify of the blessings of daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening. These are the very practices that help take away stress, give direction to our lives, and add protection to our homes. Then, if pornography or other challenges do strike our families, we can petition the Lord for help and expect great guidance from the Spirit, knowing that we have done what our Father has asked us to do.

I think the youth had a great time. It was sure fun to watch them play, and to have there be some important meaning behind the activity too. I was struck (again) by how the best ways to protect ourselves and our families from the evil influences of the world are not new things, but rather the small and simple things we are taught to do from the time we are very young. Sometimes we might disregrad pryaer or scritpure study because it may not seem to make much difference at the moment, but by daily participating in these habits of personal righteousness we are strengthening our armor little by little. 

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