Monday, April 6, 2015

April 6, 2015-- Email #76

April 6, 2015
Bagabag, Philippines


Don't let the Spanish fool you. I don't know a lick of it. I do know, however, that this last week stands as one of importance for all of us. Semana Santa, the Passion, or Holy Week! And as the Philippines does every year, they went all out, including many parts of the country holding live crucifixion ceremonies. That's right -- live, as in volunteers are scourged, carry a cross to the top of a hill, have real nails driven into their hands and feet... The whole shebang. A literal spin on Luke 9:23... How great it is that we have living Prophets and Apostles, receiving revelation from the very same Christ who rose from the dead nearly 2000 years ago, leading the same Church He established on earth as restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith. We don't need to worry about going astray from what God really wants for us, or risk being led by doctrines with forms of Godliness but no power therein. It is here. This is the truth. It shows up and turns out over and over again, never failing me, always drawing me nearer to Jesus of Nazareth, who is indeed the Christ. How much more have we reason to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord, than we, the members of His Church, under His guidance in the last days? 

The particular testimony that I've enjoyed this week was prompted from my remembering a primary song, called "Easter Hosanna". The story from which the lyrics are derived is described in the introduction of the Book of Mormon as "the crowning event" of the record. We had the unique opportunity to share this message (3 Nephi 11:13-17) with investigators, contacts, and members alike, and I can still feel of its divine power even now:

And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying: Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world. And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come. And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying: Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.

I remember previous times in my life where I've shouted for joy. Whether it was a BYU game, or a rock concert, or when one of us siblings was performing, we can all relate to the feeling we get when we're so excited, so drawn into the experience and the success of those performing, we can't help but shout it out for all to hear. However, all of these experiences can't come even remotely close to the joy we felt when we heard of the Plan of Salvation for the first time in the pre-existence, or when Christ was born, or when He rose from the dead on the third day, or when these chosen few people were able to witness the resurrected Christ in the flesh. I'm confident we were there among the angels during all of those great events. 

The computer is malfunctioning now so I have to cut it short. Too bad! Next week. I know the things which I shared are true. This is such an excellent week to celebrate our Lord. After all the testimonies which have been given of Him, truly the best and simplest is that He lives. He still lives and guides us and loves us today. I leave this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Kocherhans 

 With the Orprecio family, and their furry friends (The rabbits, that is).

Father and Son reunited, riding wooden elephants as usual (FHE). Accompanied by Elder Mago.

 Sunrise in Bagabag, outside the apartment.

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