Wednesday, April 8, 2009

From Mom: March 6, 2009

Dear Elder Hoopes,

What a great day it is and so important because this is the day the church was restored in 1830, the day that Jesus was born, and the day that He atoned for us!!! A day to remember. Well, Conference was amazing. What wonderful messages for the world. I noticed that the overall theme seemed to be that adversity is here to stay, but we can be filled with peace, and even joy, because of the gospel. Pres. Monson said: "It would be easy to become discouraged and cynical about the future - or even fearful of what might come - if we allowed ourselves to dwell only on that which is wrong in the world and in our lives. Today, however, I'd like us to turn our thoughts and our attitudes away from the troubles around us and to focus instead on our blessings as members of the Church. The Apostle Paul declared, "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7).

None of us makes it through this life without problems and challenges - and sometimes tragedies and misfortunes. After all, in large part we are here to learn and grow from such events in our lives. We know that there are times
when we will suffer, when we will grieve, and when we will be saddened. However, we are told: "Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25). The history of the Church in this, the
dispensation of the fulness of times, is replete with the experiences of those who have struggled and yet who have remained steadfast and of good cheer as they have made the Gospel of Jesus Christ the center of their
lives. This attitude is what will pull us through whatever comes our way. It will not remove our troubles from us but rather will enable us to face our challenges, to meet them head on and to emerge victorious." The story he
recounted, with tears coursing down his cheeks, of the sister and her 4 children who were refugees after the 2nd World War, will always stand as a memorial to her of her great faith.

I gave my seminary kids the "Conference Challenge" which is to take your questions and concerns, write them down, then listen as they are answered one by one in conference. We had been talking about the fruits of the
spirit, and the fruits of the flesh, in Galatians, and one of the kids asked if many obese people wouldn't get to heaven because they were living with out-of-control appetites. So I had been pondering that, and then Brother
Hales opened the conference with:

"In seeking to overcome debt and addictive behaviors, we should remember that addiction is the craving of the natural man and it can never be satisfied. It is insatiable as an appetite. When we are addicted, we seek those worldly possessions or physical pleasures that seem to entice us. But as children of God, our deepest hunger, and what we should be seeking for, is what God alone can provide; His love, His sense of worth, His security, His confidence, His hope in the future, and assurance His love brings, which brings us eternal joy." Bro Hales specifically mentioned food addictions as well. Food addictions are particularly hard to control, because we all need food, we just need to eat enough with enough variety to keep us healthy and vibrant, but then stop there. Many Mormons are keeping the "don'ts" of the word of wisdom, but breaking the "dos", including me, at times.

Elder Holland's talk on the Atonement was amazing: "Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone we do not have to do so...My
other plea at Easter time is that these scenes of Christ's lonely sacrifice, laced with moments of denial, abandonment, and at least once, outright betrayal, must never be reenacted by us. He has walked alone once. May I ask that never again will He have to confront sin without our aid and assistance, that never again will He find unresponsive onlookers when he sees you and me along His Via Dolorosa in our present day. This Easter week and always, may we stand by Jesus Christ 'at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death' (Mosiah 18:9), for surely that is how He stood by us when it was unto death and when He had to stand entirely alone."

I could hear all the 53,000 full time missionaries cheering during Elder Perry's admonition to warn our neighbors! I could go on and on, but you don't have time to read all my notes. If we could all take to heart the counsel we received over the weekend, the gospel will spread like wildfire because the world we see what it is to be a disciple of Christ. We can't be sideline disciples. (Uchtdorf)

Hope you got the Easter package. We're doing great. I'm almost over my cold that I came down with on Wednesday. Rachel took her ACT test Saturday, prom next Saturday. Hilde sends her love.(Woof)

Have a wonderful Easter!

Love, Mom

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