I’m not sure if everyone got the chance to see the video “Because of Him” on easter.mormon.org. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. It is a fantastic video.
We had Zone Conference last week. It felt like it had been forever since our last Zone Conference. The last one was only three hours because all the members of the stake were invited (and apparently they didn’t want to give up their entire Saturday). I love President Tew, our mission president. He is an inspired man. If there is a man who has the image of God engraven upon their countenance, it is him.
After Zone Conference (when our cars were inspected) the office elder over cars gave us a huge list of repairs (tires changed/aligned, elecrical issues, etc) that needed to be completed, and we had to spend most of our Saturday doing that, although we talked to a lot of people at the mechanic, so I guess it wasn’t a total waste.
On Sunday we had the opportunity to go to THREE Easter services. It was simultaneously immensely spiritual and tiring. Especially since the first started at 6:00 AM. It was called the Sunrise Service and was held at Rose Hills, the largest cemetery in The United States. Rose Hills is essentially an entire mountainside and you can see all the way to Catalina Island from the hillside. It was a beautiful setting for a church service. We attended it because it is put on by the Whittier Interfaith Council, of which our stake president, President Powell, is an active participant. This year he was asked to give the Easter Sermon, the first member of the church in 62 years to be asked to do so. It was fantastic. There was no doubt for any of the 1000+ in attendance at the end of his talk that “Mormons” believe in Jesus Christ. Also, Cathy Warner, the member we live with, spoke as the mayor at the beginning. She said this one of two opportunities she will get as mayor to talk at all about God, so she used the opportunity to the fullest.
Then we had the Santa Gertrudes family ward (where all of the speakers were awesome youth speakers) and Mar Vista Singles Ward. I love the Mar Vista Ward. Beside the incredible musical talent in the ward, the talks were fantastic. A girl in the ward gave a talk about the crucifixion. She is a biology major and went very in depth with what happens to the human body during crucifixion and how that knowledge helps her to relate to her Savior and our Savior. I learned I would prefer almost any death over crucifixion.
This past week we did a lot of service. One for a man who was going to get sued by the homeowner of his residence if he didn’t complete a landscaping project that he had to postpone because of a shoulder injury and another for an older guy in our ward who, according to his wife, won’t admit to himself that he is getting to old to be building a shed alone in his backyard (I love him, but she’s right). During service I finally got a sunburn on my mission. I’m amazed at how incredibly long that took. I mean, it’s sunny every day. I’ve discovered it is actually quite possible stay pasty white, even in Southern California.
I loved my birthday yesterday because it was just like every other day where I have the opportunity to serve the Lord. Plus, it was bookended by Easter before and a temple trip today!
I love the temple. Somehow, four zones were scheduled to attend the same session, so the rooms were packed (at least with elders). And for anyone that has been to the LA temple, it takes a lot of people to pack those rooms. Only three more months until I get to go to the temple again!
Judy is getting baptized this Saturday. I am so excited for her. I’ve learned (through a lot of prayer) that Judy needs: support, constant reminder of the truths we have taught, and prayers from us to continue progressing (now and after baptism). None of those things are mind-blowing or revolutionary, but we were struggling with knowing how to help her retain and apply what we have taught since she has short-term memory loss. And no, Dad, I don’t have short term memory loss ;). Not officially. Although it would be a great excuse for everything I forget.
Dad: For me, I remember a few times where the spirit testified to me as a kid that Jesus is The Christ, but especially I remember when we would sit as a family upstairs in the family room in Rexburg and talk about the scriptures. And what we learned in church. And one of us would teach a lesson. I remember you sitting in that chair and the rest of us sitting on the couch (or sometimes the floor) and I knew I felt the spirit undeniably teach that the things we talked about were true. I think those are my ealiest memories of knowing truth because I felt it. In the past few weeks, I have had a lot of opportunity to think about the eternal nature of families, whether at the home of a member whose husband died that morning or at the subsequent funeral or while preparing a lesson for a Preach My Gospel class or teaching the Plan of Salvation or going to the temple. But I know that even during the painful suffering that comes with the loss of a family member, there is also the comforting truth of the resurrection and of eternal families. I will pray for them.
Mom: Just you and Grandma for Easter? Tell Dad he needs to come home at least once a month! I hope you at least know that even if there aren’t many bodies at home, that is where our hearts are.
Grandma Mooney: Thank you for the birthday wishes! I’m glad you got to celebrate yours as well with some sisters from church. You have a few more years to celebrate than I do. This is the first year I can remember where I haven’t made Easter Eggs at home or done some sort of Easter Egg hunt.
Lacey: For a few short months, all six of us kids will be in the same decade of life. We are all in our twenties. It’s crazy to think that one of us (and I’m not pointing any fingers) will break out of their twenties soon. I didn’t know Mesa had a pageant! I’m not quite sure how you could fit that much into an hour. That’s literally over 5000 years of history.
Kimmie: I was randomly asked to sing in the choir in our singles ward. It had been a while since I sang in choir. It was a nice relief. I think my companion would have rather had his teeth pulled with a shovel, though, so he didn’t sing with us. I’m jealous that you are still playing your flute. I miss french horn. 😦 Did you take your flute on your mission?
Isaac: I hope someday I can go to Washington DC. Are the cherry trees in bloom or is that already over? It is amazing how during certain seasons we feel such a strong pull toward Jesus Christ. I guess the goal is to keep that permanent so we can always feel the spirit in the ways we do around Christmas and Easter and other times of the year.
Ryan: Those pictures look awesome!!! Is it cloudy often in Hong Kong? I miss nature a lot. It’s a good thing this work is so true or it wouldn’t be worth it living in a concrete jungle for two years. The most nature I’ve seen so far is the cemetery we were at on Sunday… which is a cemetery. Not exactly natural, but at least green.
Tyler: I love how Japanese that farm looked: the cow, the starving dog statues. And I have to admit, I am a little envious that you have something like that in your mission boundaries. The only farm we have is Knott’s Berry Farm.
I promise pictures next week. This week I couldn’t find my usb converter.
I love everyone! Fique Firme!