April 12, 2009

Latest Adventures and Then Some

So many different things have happened in the past two weeks! Now that I am on spring break I actually have a bit of time to post about it! First off, Scott gave me a fantastic 22nd birthday celebration. He stayed up late decorating the house, baking a cake, and finding a place to hide his present: a new bike. Then, he got up super early with me and cooked breakfast. What a sweetheart!
A week ago was General Conference and we got to go to Salt Lake for one of the sessions! (General Conference is held twice a year, and is an opportunity to hear counsel from the prophet and other church leaders.) I have only been once, and this was Scott's first time. We didn't have tickets, but stood outside with a sign, as countless others do. We ended up sitting separately (but on ground level!) and it was still great. Scott really got a kick out of all the anti-Mormon protesters around Temple Square.This weekend, Scott's friend John came from Australia to visit. It was great because he got to experience an "American Easter." They don't dye eggs in Australia, and they don't have white eggs there either! We had fun decorating eggs and eating all the scrumptious candy the Easter Bunny/our parents sent. Scott just finished editing his good friend's engagement pictures. (They both served in the Brisbane Australia Mission at the same time.) The pictures are so cool looking, I just had to post some on the blog...Now as a last note I just have to tell about the amazing Sunday school lesson we had yesterday. So, we get to Sunday school to find out no one had prepared the lesson, so the guy conducting timidly asked if anyone would volunteer to teach it. One man stood up to the task, I'll just call him Jack. We started by reading The Living Christ, a one page document giving the testimony of Christ by the living prophet and apostles. Then Jack continued to tell about how a person comes to gain a testimony of Christ. He did this by sharing his own personal journey toward a testimony of Christ. Allow me to share his story... (With pictures too, I might add!)

Part 1: Jesus Christ as Wallpaper
Jack grew up in a home where the name of Jesus Christ was spoken often. Meaning, if you accidentally dropped something on your foot, Christ's name is what you would angrily yell. If the car breaks down, it was reason to once again, shout Christ's name. To Jack, Christ was a bad neighbor you could blame for everything. It might also be relevant to note that at age 6 Jack saw his first murder and by the time he was 14 he had gone through 7 divorces.Part 2: Jesus the Story
While growing up, occasionally Jack's parents would take him to church. Jack learned all the bible stories, include stories about Jesus. Jesus feeds thousands. Jesus heals the sick. Jesus walks on water. Jesus turns water into wine. To Jack, these stories about Jesus were no different than the other bible stories. Jonas and the Whale. David and Goliath. They were just stories.
Part 3: Jesus the Hypocrite
Throughout his teen years Jack began to really think about the doctrine of Jesus and not just the stories. If Jesus really lived and he really loved all the children, then why were so many born without knowledge of Him or born into places of poverty and abuse?
Part 4: Finding Answers to Questions
Jack wanted answers to these tough questions, but could anyone give them to him? No. That was, not until a friend said, "Hey, why don't you meet with my church's missionaries." What the heck, thought Jack, so he did. He asked these missionaries the same hard questions he asked others. But these guys were different. If they didn't know, they said so. Sometimes they would say, I'll get back to you on that. And, more often than not, they had an answers for his questions.
Part 5: The Epiphany
Jack's epiphany came when the missionaries taught about Baptism for the Dead. They taught about how God knows all of his children will not have the opportunity to hear and accept the Gospel while on Earth. But, in order to be a member in Christ's Church, you must be baptized. So, living members can go to temples and be baptized on behalf of deceased persons. Then, those persons have the opportunity to accept or deny the baptism done for them. God has temples because he loves all his children and wants them all to have the opportunity to learn about Christ.
Part 6: We are all Sinners
Jack was baptized at age 17 and soon thereafter kicked out of his home. His father was a devout adulterer and didn't want anything to do with the Latter-day Saint faith. So Jack moved out and started a new life. He was excited about his religion and about being made clean of all past sins through baptism. However, he was not prepared for what would happen six months later. At that time, Jack sinned again.
Part 7: Understanding Christ's Atonement
Jack went to see his bishop to ask what to do now. He thought the bishop would probably kick him out of the church. But of course, that is not what happened. We are not perfect. Everyone sins. The bishop lovingly taught Jack about the atonement. It was at this point in Jack's life that he came to understand what the atonement really was. In Gethsemane, Christ literally suffered the pains of ALL the sins of ALL the people that had ever lived and ever would live. Not only this, but he suffered ALL the other pains and sorrows that everyone would face. The pain of a man's debilitating health condition. He suffered that. The pain of a mother watching her child die. He suffered that. Emotional, physical, all of it, he suffered for us. Every three seconds a child dies from poverty somewhere in the world. That adds up to ten million children dying each year. Not only did Christ suffer their pains, but he knew them each by name. He did this so that we don't have to. He did this so that in our hour of suffering, we can turn to him for comfort. He alone knows exactly what each one of us is going through. That is the miracle of the atonement. As we repent and strive to do better, Christ's suffering for us is not in vain. Christ is real. The atonement is real. To find out for yourself, just start with a prayer. God will answer our prayers.
If you made it to the end of that story, I appreciate your reading it and I hope it made you think. I really do know those things are true. Have a wonderful day!
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Courtney said...

this was wonderful!! i bet it was a fabulous lesson.
Happy birthday by the way. I didn't know we were close to the same age. I will turn 22 in december. I am sad we are not neighbors otherwise i would have made those cupcake balls for you. ha ha but good luck they are super easy. Just bake any cake. Let it cool. crumble it all up into a large bowl. Then add a tub of frosting. Mix together. Then roll the clay like texture into balls. Put in freezer while you melt a few candy bars. Dip on half in lay on a pan with foil or wax paper. Then put in freezer till chocolate hardens. Take them out and dip the other side in. Put back on the tray with the harden side down. Shake a little bit of sprinkles on them and let it harden again. I keep them in the freezer so the chocolate doesn't melt. I put them inside plastic eggs when i delivered them. I hope they turn out good for you. I made them the cheap way. You can make them all fancy at my friends website though. Have a good week teacher!

Stacy and Richard Dean said...

Love it. Love the pics, love the story, love you guys! And facebook did not tell me that it was your birthday so happy birthday becca! Scott put some time into all that, that's awesome! Anyways, you look happy and pretty as always. Miss you guys and hope life is heading down amazing paths for you.

Leanna said...

Happ late birthday! It looks like some exciting stuff has been going on! That's so cool that you had an Aussie come visit--we did, too! Lance served in Perth, and a woman he knew from there came by the other day and surprised him! I had no idea they don't die Easter eggs, though!

And that was a wonderful lesson--thanks for sharing!

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