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Cover image via Gospel Media Library.

It began like any other day, but it was a day that would change our family. He was found in the garage, dragged there by the cats. He was traumatized, scared, and still blind from birth because he was a newborn. He was found and handed from person to person because no one knew or wanted to deal with him.  Death was imminent and a sure thing, so why bother? Someone even suggested placing him in the woods so the hawks could snatch him and kill him quickly. No one wanted to take responsibility.

 That is until my son was approached. My son is a tender-hearted lover of all things furry. And although I have forbidden any more pets at present, he brought him home, hoping that if I saw the poor, pitiful state of this tiny creature, I would have compassion. And I did. And so began the vigil over this pocket-sized, newborn, helpless lagomorph.

First of course, he needed a name. Since he had a mark on his forehead I suggested ‘Hare-y Potter’.  My son proposed ‘Milk’. And so ‘Hare-y Milk Potter’ was formally introduced to the rest of the family. After all the ooh-ing and ah-ing, we got to work.  After all, an infant bunny doesn’t feed itself.

We bought special milk for infant animals, small pipettes to deliver the liquid nourishment, and gathered linens and blankets to keep him warm. We found a box and a microwavable heating pad in the shape of an owl. It was furry and could mimic a mama rabbit in weight and warmth. We even contacted a retired vet friend for advice.

The main objectives were to keep him warm, cuddle with him, and feed him every few hours. By mid-morning of his first day with us, ‘Milk’ finally opened his eyes. Since infant rabbits open their eyes at about ten days, we figured that was his age.

Feeding him was tedious.  The tiny pipette had to be gently forced into his mouth and the liquid pain-stakingly slowly dripped onto his lips and into his mouth.  At first, he was given water, because he was so dehydrated. Two pipettes of water, and then one of the special milk. It took patience, encouragement, diligence and perseverance. I was impressed with my children’s gentle kindness. By the afternoon, he was more perky and enlivened. 

The entire day he was held and kept warm continuously by one of my children. He slept, a lot. Which is perfect for a growing bunny. One daughter found that ‘Milk’ especially liked when she wore a pair of rabbit hair gloves. Everybody had a chance to cuddle, feed and invest some love. Their generous efforts were making a difference. By the evening he had the strength to move around, even climbing out of his box at one point. It was delightful to watch his energy and animation develop.

Someone watched him every minute.  If the person holding ‘Milk’ had to attend to other duties, he would be passed on to another willing nurturer. None of this was orchestrated by me and it was a joy to watch my children step up and take this fragile creature under their wings. My son chose to stay with ‘Milk’ all night, getting up to feed and cuddle with him throughout the night. When I came down in the morning, this is what I found:

If you look close you can see ‘Milk’ snuggled into my son’s neck–see the white make on his forehead? ‘Milk’ loved to burrow down. He would climb into the crook of your arm, snuggle on your chest or neck, or burrow under the owl heating pad. 

After another full day of loving he began to eat eagerly and without prompting to open his mouth. After an evening meal he was sleeping cocooned in my daughter’s hands. A friend was visiting and wanted to see him so the kids gently nudged him to wake him up. It was a total surprise and shock when he wouldn’t awaken. No warning, no sign of deterioration. He had just died. It was an extremely somber evening.

In my evening prayers I wept a little.  I wept for Hare-y Milk Potter, who brought joy and enthusiasm into our home. I cried for my gentle giant (he is 6’7”) of a son who lovingly initiated the care of this frail creature. I shed some tears for my daughter, who held ‘Milk’ as he passed from this life. And I mourned for my other daughter as she sensitively mourned the loss of a new friend. But I am grateful that this little, frail, fragile, abandoned creature was loved and thrived his last two days of life. God loves all his creations.

I am impressed with my children’s Christ-like love for a tiny animal that may not have been significant to the world, but who was significant to our family for a couple of days. I am encouraged as I watched each of them minister in their own way. I believe the lessons of the scriptures and Jesus have sunk into their hearts.  And even if they don’t realize it, they have become more like Jesus as they have loved unconditionally. I think they are better for having known and loved this sweet creature. Hare-y Milk Potter, rest in peace.

This week’s lesson is about ministering.  Our family is learning about this in a roundabout way, but the experience drives home the importance of ministering without condition or judgement.  We do it because we can. Paul was a great example of ministering to everyone and anyone who would listen to him. He continually helped others and then witnessed to them of God’s love by teaching them of Jesus Christ and His resurrection and atonement. His acts teach us what our acts should be.  Little by little and step by step we can become more like him and like Jesus Christ.

We continue to struggle with consistency and motivating study in our Come, Follow Me program.  We decided, as a family, to drop our family study of the Book of Mormon. We will each read it on our own. But we need to focus on the New Testament in our family study time as we strive to follow the prophet’s counsel. I think we were trying to do too much. So we have been reading a chapter or two each night.  We have each person pick something to share after reading. It can be something they learned or didn’t know before, or something that inspired them, or even some impression they had while reading. It has been better and interesting as they have shared different points of view. I am sure tonight we will share some bittersweet feelings and thoughts about our adventure ministering to ‘Milk’.

Lesson Enhancements:

Use one or more of these ideas for lesson enrichment. 

Image obtained July 10, 2019 from https://bibletalk.tv/pauls-journey-to-rome

Acts 22

Paul recounts his conversion and sees Jesus in a vision
Calls upon his privileges as a roman citizen

–What privileges did Paul as a Roman citizen?  Check out these sources to understand more about Roman citizen benefits.

Conversion of St. Paul by Jason Jenicke

Acts 23

Paul is smitten at Ananais’ order
The Lord appears again to Paul
40 Jews plot his death
Delivered to Felix the governor

–Ideas for lessons with young children:

Image obtained July 10, 2019 from jesusisthegoodnews.blogspot.com
  • Or here is another from craftingthewordofgod.com

This one had templates for fists that are chained together.  It could easily be applied to Paul, Christ, Abinidai, or any other imprisoned person.

Acts 24

Paul accused of sedition
Answers in defense of his life and doctrine
Teaches Felix righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come

–Brittanhy Valdez did some research about Paul and shares 19 Surprising Facts About Paul, Apostle of Christ, published 23 March, 2018.  Some of her beliefs differ about what our duty is to receive eternal life, but the information about Paul is interesting.

—Want to know a little bit more about Feliz the Governor?  Check out ‘Felix, An Unscrupulous Governor’ Posted on 7 February, 2015 by Carolyn

Acts 25

Paul goes before Festus and appeals unto Caesar
Agrippa desires to hear Paul

Image taken on July 10, 2019 from https://christianpublishinghouse.co/2018/02/15/christian-apologetic-evangelism-persuading-others-to-accept-biblical-truths/

Acts 26

Paul tells his story of former life as a Pharisee persecuting the saints
Testifies of appearance of Jesus while on the road to Damascus
Agrippa is almost persuaded to be a Christian

–A site with a plethora of ideas for lessons and crafts about Paul and his experiences.

‘Apostle Paul Bible Crafts and Activities for Sunday School’ accessed July 9, 2019

http://induced.info/?s=Apostle+Paul+Bible+Crafts+and+Activities+for+Sunday+School

Acts 27

Paul’s perilous voyage and journey to Rome
He is comforted by an angel
Uses the gift of seership and they are shipwrecked

Image Published by https://yesterdaysprophecy.com/the-loss-of-hope/  Rhonda Ballance on 3 November, 2017

Acts 28

Paul is unharmed by viper’s bite
Heals the sick in Melita
Preaches in Rome–first to Jews and then to Gentiles

Paul bitten by the Viper on the isle of Malta by Cornelis Troost, 18th century.

–If you were to pick one key verse from the Book of Acts to describe the entire book, which scripture would you choose?

–What is your personal take away from the Book of Acts?  How about from these assigned chapters?

Videos:

  • Jesus visits Paul in prison-lds video

Be of Good Cheer-The Lord comforts Paul (1:32)

  • Jesus Film Project.  This is a great site for videos of Paul’s story–the entire book of

Acts is broken down into short video clips. For our reading this week the videos start with this link: Pauls the Roman Citizen (1:42)–

https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/book-of-acts.html/paul-the-roman-citizen/english.html

All together there are 14 videos that coincide with this week’s readings. You may have to click the “More Videos” button for more of them to pop up.  The ‘Paul Before Agrippa’ clip is powerful as Paul bears testimony of Jesus Christ.

  • Paul a Chosen vessel (11:24)–LDS video

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media-library/video/2012-06-1980-paul-a-chosen-vessel?lang=eng

  • Paul’s Shipwreck (3:00) from ‘Teaching Kids About Jesus’ published 11 January 2014.

This is a good video for young children, and it includes the snake bite experience.

  • Here is a PowerPoint about some of this week’s chapters.  It is an older presentation,

but still has a great message with the corresponding stories and can add to your discussions this week.  It also has links to other videos and General conference talks. It is taken from fashionsbylydia.com. 

http://fashionsbylynda.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Lesson-98-Paul-Travels-to-Rome-Acts-27-28.pdf