Monday, April 21, 2014

"Happy [Easter], Harry!"--Hermione Granger

Fun fact: Hermione actually said "Happy Christmas, Harry!", but since right now isn't quite that time of year I had to revise the statement :) But, you could say that this is THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR, since without Easter, we wouldn't have Christmas. Boom. :)
This past week has been awesome. I've had a chance to really reflect on the power of the Savior in our lives. For instance: This past weekend we had the chance to set up another one of the family history booths. It was in a much slower mall than last time's experience, but that's okay. We were able to have our booth there for two days; on the morning of the second day, during my Personal Study, I had a chance to reflect on the Atonement as I finished reading the Gospel of John. I then took a moment to look at one of my little photo albums (I've got three or four of them) that contained pictures of my family in it. 
The Atonement is that enabling power that binds families together for time and for all eternity. The sacrifice of our Savior is the salvation for siblings, spouses, parents, children, ancestors, and descendants. Easter is a time for remembering these things. Over here in Kuching, people seem to be more focused on celebrating Good Friday--they'll go to church for the one and only time of the year, maybe drink some communion wine, sing a few hymns in Latin, and then go along their merry way. One of the senior sisters here mentioned something that really brought to my mind the place that Good Friday has in our beliefs and where emphasis truly should be placed. She said something to the effect of: "Mormons do celebrate Good Friday. We celebrate it every Sunday when we partake of the Sacrament."
How true that is! Easter, my friends, is a time to keep in remembrance the sacred sacrifice of the Son of God. But Easter is also a time of holy rejoicing, of celestial joy, of comfort and peace. At Easter our focus should be less on the cross and more on the empty tomb; less on the garments that were gambled for, and more on the clean white clothes neatly folded within Joseph of Arimathea's sepulcher. HE LIVES, and while He lives, we can do nothing but sing and shout with the armies of heaven! HE LIVES, and because He lives, we can be with our loved ones, our family members, our departed kindred, for the eternities. HE LIVES, and since He lives, we can be cleansed from any weakness or wickedness that besets us. HE LIVES! It surely is the most joyous of messages in this world; the good news, the glad tidings of great joy, the grand amen to all of His marvelous works of creation. 
I took one of my little photo albums with me to the booth this past weekend. When they asked why family history was important, and why should we be doing it, I told them: "Hold on one second--here's my family history. Take a look and see." As they flipped through the pictures and commented on how pretty my sisters are, I couldn't help but feel that the Spirit was softening their hearts in some degree. Everything we talk and teach and preach about can be referred back to Christ, especially our families. Because of Him, I can live with my family forever. Because of Him, I'm not lost in a state of despair. Because of Him, I can see and be with my brother again--and that, my friends, will be the sweetest gift that He can give me. God so loved the world that He sent His Only Begotten Son, and because of that, we never have to walk alone. We never have to be afraid. As we like to say in Chinese: Buyao pa, zhiyao xin :)
Hope that you've all had a tremendous Easter!
Elder Mitchell :)

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