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A behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming Friend to Friend for children


Surrounded by cameras and a boom mic in her office, Primary General President Camille N. Johnson reads through her part of the script for the upcoming Friend to Friend event on Saturday, Feb. 19. 

“Hi, friends!” she exclaims, waving to the invisible child hosts that will be on the other side of the camera. “It’s great to be with you.” 

She finishes her lines in English and moves on to Spanish — a language she learned as a mission leader in Peru. “Hola, amigos!” she says.

Then she begins reading her lines in Portuguese. This part will take much longer. “Oi, amigos!” she begins.

For the next hour, President Johnson goes through nearly every word of her script in Portuguese and rewrites it with sounds she can pronounce. She practices until the Portuguese-language specialist sitting nearby gives a thumbs up. 

“If I had waited until I was proficient in Spanish to speak to my missionaries in Peru, I would have wasted precious opportunities to express my love and testimony,” President Johnson told the Church News during a break in her recording in December. “It’s the same here. It’s not perfect, but I’m doing my best. I relish this opportunity to speak to the children in their language.” 

Primary General President Camille N. Johnson pretends to knock during a recording of the Friend to Friend broadcast in her office in the Relief Society Building. The Friend to Friend will be available in English, Spanish and Portuguese beginning Feb. 19, 2022.

Primary General President Camille N. Johnson pretends to knock during a recording of the Friend to Friend broadcast in her office in the Relief Society Building. The Friend to Friend will be available in English, Spanish and Portuguese beginning Feb. 19, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The second Face to Face-style event of its kind hosted by children, this Friend to Friend will originate in English, Spanish and Portuguese and last about 20 minutes in length. Interactive activities and videos will focus on the covenant path — specifically baptism, the Holy Ghost and the sacrament. 

Sister Susan H. Porter, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, and Sister Amy A. Wright, second counselor, recorded their parts in the Motion Picture Studio in Provo, Utah, and a studio in Salt Lake City with children who will be participating. 

Sister Porter said during her recording: “The challenge in speaking Spanish and Portuguese is trying not to say just one word at a time, but to try to say it in a meaningful way. It won’t be perfect, but we hope the children recognize we’re trying.”

Sister Wright added: “As an expression of love, it is important to us that the children hear our voices and not the voice of a translator. In addition, we also want the children to see that the Lord truly loves effort, and that He will consecrate our efforts as we strive to bless the lives of others.”  

More resources for children

In the 10 months the Primary general presidency has been serving together so far, President Johnson said they have received hundreds of letters from children worldwide about last year’s inaugural Friend to Friend. “We want more!” they say. 

“We’re so excited to give them more and to invite the Spirit to teach them of the opportunity they have to enter and walk the covenant path back to their Heavenly Father,” President Johnson said. 

Segments of the Friend to Friend event are filmed at the Motion Pictures Studio in Provo, Utah, on Dec. 14, 2021. The Friend to Friend will be broadcast Feb. 19, 2022.

Segments of the Friend to Friend event are filmed at the Motion Pictures Studio in Provo, Utah, on Dec. 14, 2021. The Friend to Friend will be broadcast Feb. 19, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In the first Friend to Friend, one of the activities was teaching children how to draw a child praying. Sister Porter and Sister Wright later saw those drawings on the sidewalks in their neighborhoods. During the event, children also learned how to make pictures from the Savior’s life out of rocks. It was evident that children loved it, Sister Porter and Sister Wright said. 

The February Friend to Friend will be one of three Friend to Friend events this year. The other two are scheduled for July 16 and Nov. 5.

Similar to the 2021 broadcast, the three Friend to Friend events this year will be made of shorter segments designed to be resources for parents and Primary leaders to use over and over again. 

This style of event models what Sister Porter said the Primary general presidency hopes Primary leaders and parents can accomplish at church and at home — engage, not merely entertain.

“The children are hosting it,” Sister Porter said. “The children are the crew. The children are directing the questions. They’re very involved, and in a fun way, we’re learning the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Sister Wright said she is most excited for the Friend to Friend because it will unite children all over the world. “Together, they will learn about Jesus Christ through the scriptures, music, animation, activities, and, most specifically, what it means to accept His invitation to ‘Come, Follow Me.’” 

Navigating the covenant path

In addition to participation from the Primary general presidency, February’s Friend to Friend will include two native-speaking child hosts in each of the English, Spanish and Portuguese broadcasts, as well as a child “explorer.” The explorer will “navigate” a trail representing the covenant path.  

Sister Amy A. Wright, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, is pictured with the three native-speaking “explorers” for the English, Spanish and Portuguese broadcasts of the Friend to Friend. The Friend to Friend will be available online beginning Feb. 19, 2022.

Sister Amy A. Wright, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, is pictured with the three native-speaking “explorers” for the English, Spanish and Portuguese broadcasts of the Friend to Friend. The Friend to Friend will be available online beginning Feb. 19, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Sister Wright said the presidency’s hope is that children will see the Savior in each part of the event. “When we teach about the covenant path, we should always begin with the Savior. As early as 8 years of age, our precious children can be bound to the Savior through sacred ordinances and covenants. 

“They then have the opportunity to renew the covenants they made at baptism every single Sunday as they participate in the holy ordinance of the sacrament,” Sister Wright continued. “All of this is in preparation for further ordinances and covenants that are found only in the House of the Lord.” 

Progressing along the covenant path takes effort and practice, Sister Porter pointed out. During the Friend to Friend, she will demonstrate learning a song on the piano. “That’s why they’ll have me in on the piano — so I can make lots of mistakes. It’s a path of learning,” she said.

Sister Susan H. Porter, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, plays the piano during the Spanish broadcast of the Friend to Friend. The Friend to Friend will be available Feb. 19, 2022.

Sister Susan H. Porter, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, plays the piano during the Spanish broadcast of the Friend to Friend. The Friend to Friend will be available Feb. 19, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

She, too, hopes the event will help children worldwide feel united amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

“There are still children around the world that cannot attend Primary,” Sister Porter said. “There are still children who can’t attend school. Children have been really isolated for a long time. I think this is a way to help bring them together and help them feel that they are loved by the Savior, they are known, and they are important.”

The Friend to Friend broadcast will be available on ChurchofJesusChrist.org beginning Feb. 19 at 10 a.m. MST in American Sign Language (ASL), Cantonese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.  

Additionally, the event will be available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese on Gospel for Kids YouTube and Latter-day Saints Channel.

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