I know, my Easter message is late...But you will have to excuse me. I have been staying up late trying to translate some talks for general conference. It has been an amazing experience and I have enjoyed it. Conference was great, and if you have not watched it, I encourage you to. We are so blessed to have such amazing church leaders and such inspired messages.
I am spending a few days with my friend Emily and her family for Easter. Today we had an amazing BBQ هش ونش so it was just like the old days at home. We had Hummus, baqdonsiya and baba Ghanoosh, and other salads and amazing BBQ meat. Emily's sisters came over and it was so nice to spend time with them (made me miss my sisters--Samar and Suhair). The kids had fun hunting for eggs.
We dyed some eggs yesterday. We have also been making Ma'amoul (Easter Cookies) for the last 3 days. for those of you that don't know what Ma'amoul is, it is a kind of cookies we make at Easter time. They look like the crown of thorns and also like the tomb round stone to remind us of the Savior's resurrection. They are stuffed, so they take quite a while to make. Sadly, the first time we did them, we got the wrong kind of flour. It said Semolina, but apparently سميد is not Semolina, but Farina. Good to know in case I ever decide to make Ma'amoul. So they did not taste right. The second time when we finally got the right kind, the yeast we used was not good, so they all got ruined (melted!! I have never seen anything like it). Well, we got a few good ones, but not enough. Anyway, I am done with making Ma'amoul for a while!
I had one mission reunion on Friday and have another one on Monday (with only a small group). It was nice to see the young missionaries on Friday, especially this Elder from Germany. His faith always inspired me. "God will provide", he would always say. And he used his faith to perform miracles. Elder LaMazza, it was nice to see you and meet your wife. (sorry the picture is fuzzy)
To end this short message, I would like to say something about Easter. I want to encourage you to watch this short 2-minute video. I know each of us can take two minutes to watch something about the true message of Easter.
Watch Video Because He Lives
Sometimes Easter gets ignored, or covered with Easter bunnies, and colored eggs, but that is not what Easter is about. Actually even though we celebrate Christmas in a more elaborate way, Easter is the more important holiday. Without Easter and without Christ's atonement, all will be lost. We will have no hope of ever returning back to Heavenly Father...but we can, because of Him. Because a Savior was willing to carry our load, take our sins upon Him and die for us. Then He broke all chains and set us free from death by rising out of the tomb on the third day. Because He lives, we all will live once again...Because He lives, I can see my father again, and my uncle and my grandparents and everyone I love who has passed away.
But, He gave us more than the gift of life after death...He gave us the gift of life NOW...because of Him we can find happiness and joy in this life. He helps us, lifts us, strengthens us and gives us peace. Because of Him our burdens can be light. Because of Him we can overcome all things.
One of my favorite testimonies of the Savior was given by the prophet Joseph Smith when He said:
"And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father" (D&C 76: 22-23)
I add my testimony to that of Joseph Smith and of other prophets. I testify that our Savior Jesus Christ lives, for I too have seen Him. He is my Savior and my king, He is my redeemer and Lord. I love Him with all my heart and hope to be worthy to stand before Him at the last day.
I sometimes have to watch while someone dear to me goes through difficult times and is abused. That is so hard for me and pierces me deep in the heart...but it helps me better understand how a Father watched as His Son went through the most excruciating pain, suffering and death. That Father allowed it because He loved me and you. He allowed it because it was necessary so you and I don't suffer..."For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
May we all come unto Christ and let Him add color to our lives.