Sunday, 10 April 2016

Springtime in Utah

We have experienced a beautiful spring here in Utah. The weather has been what the Utahns call a "typical spring." Abundant sunshine and warm temperatures for several days, then snow and rain for a couple days. The contrast is dramatic. Having never experienced such contrast, the kids think it's fun. Their friends keep telling them..."wait till next week when we get real thunder and lighting storms." On our preparation day yesterday we got one last day of spring skiing in. It The weather changes keep us on our toes and the blossoms and annual flowers coming up help us move forward in faith. It makes me think of how steady the weather at home in California has always been. 70-80 degrees and sunny over 300 days a year. I will never take for granted the blessing of Southern California weather. It really is unique in the world. I under appreciated the regular and steady sunshine and warmth of our home. I hope we all appreciate and express gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the circumstances in which we live, whatever they may be. 

The last several weeks of our spring has provided a fruitful spiritual renewal as well. In January we visited the Provo City Center Temple open house. The restored building which is now an ordinance house maintains its original beauty; however, the added rooms that provide saving ordinances for us and our ancestors provide an even deeper connection to our brothers and sisters in this world and in the next world.  Through Gods holy temples, He is uniting the entire family of Adam and Eve. 
Our tour of the temple was wonderful, but it paled in comparison to the dedication ceremony that occurred March 20th.  Several speakers including temple presidency counselors and their wives, Elder Larry Wilson and Apostle Ballard spoke about the sacrifice of the pioneers to build that edifice and the temple "rising from the ashes" as the building had previously been burned by fire. It was a spiritual feast. All of the congregations in Utah were able to participate in the temple dedication. There were no other meetings scheduled during that Sunday. Even sacrament meeting, our most sacred weekly ordinance was suspended one week for the temple dedication. Everything in the temple leads us to a greater understanding of Jesus. Elder Oaks of the quorum of the twelve apostles gave the dedicatory prayer. The spirit was abundant.   The words at times sounded as if "they were the sounds of the rushing of great waters." God was present. I love the 150 temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 

March 27th was Easter Sunday. For the 3 weeks leading up to Easter, our mission shared the #hallelujah video - find new life. The video enlightened our minds about the real expanse of the Saviors atonement that can save us from our sins, save us from death and bind our families with us together for eternity. There will not be a "sting of death" because the Savior has overcome it. We hid eggs and Easter baskets, we played games and we listened to scriptures about Jesus. It was a great family day.  

Last week was the 186th General conference of our church. We listened to Apostles and Prophets speak about how to be better husbands and fathers. How to hold family councils. How to understand the purpose of our lives, where we came from, why we are here and where are we going after this life. We learned how to be more humble, obedient, strong and powerful. We learned how to tackle adversity not by asking why me? Rather, what can I learn, who can I help? How can I trust more deeply? We learned that we need to love and find ways to serve the 60 million refugees in this world. That Jesus commission to "love they neighbor as thyself" is a commandment very much still in force. Jesus lives! He sacrificed to help us. We love and miss you all!