Making Easter Meaningful
Easter, with its traditions like hunting eggs, wearing new clothes, and eating holiday foods, is a time of the year everyone looks forward to. But Easter is more than just a collection of traditions and fun. It is the time when we commemorate the most sacred and significant religious event in all the world’s history, the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Here are some ideas to help make your Easter Sunday more meaningful:
Make an “arrangement” with the Easter Bunny to come and hide eggs the day before Easter, so that Sunday is a day to concentrate on the spiritual aspects of the holiday.
Make a commitment to read scriptures about the Savior every day the month before Easter, particularly the Gospels and 3 Nephi. [3 Ne.]
With the approval of your bishop and ward music director prepare an appropriate musical number with your Young Women class or priesthood quorum to be presented on Easter Sunday in sacrament meeting.
Ask your parents to hold a special family testimony meeting on Easter Sunday.
Watch the sunrise on Easter morning. Think about the beauty of the Earth and the sacrifices of its Creator.
During the sacrament, make a concerted effort to worship the Savior and Heavenly Father.
Make a list of the ways the Atonement affects your life. Put the list in your journal and review it often.
Prepare a family home evening lesson on the atonement of the Savior and give it the week before Easter.
Give each member of your family a small picture of the Savior on Easter morning. Write a small note or your favorite scripture on the back.
Read conference addresses given by General Authorities on the life of the Savior.
Make sure your clothes are clean and ironed for church the day before Easter, so that Sunday morning will be calm and peaceful at your house.
Check out a video from your meetinghouse library that contains the gospel of Luke. The New Media Bible Series gives a particularly good account.
During each day of the week preceding Easter, read about what Christ did that day.
Instead of buying new clothes for Easter, give some of your money to someone who can really use it—a needy family or a local charity.
Memorize a new scripture about the life of the Savior.
Building a Future
Josh Escobedo of Pioche, Nevada, likes to build things. Working with his father throughout his life, Josh learned carpentry and roofing skills that would help him win awards and a college scholarship.
When Josh’s father passed away last year, Josh was glad he had stuck with his dad during the long, hot hours building and constructing homes and other structures. Not only had Josh acquired carpentry skills; he learned a lot about life.
“When I used to work with my father, I never thought I was learning much. It seemed like a drag at first. Later, I realized he just wanted to teach me how to work,” says Josh.
Josh also learned something else from his father—how to be a good example. At a Vocational Industrial Clubs of America competition in Washington, D.C., Josh had lots of opportunities to show others how strong his convictions are.
“My friend and I were with some of the other guys, and we ordered soft drinks. One by one, all of the other guys ordered that, too. I felt good because I was an influence that night,” says Josh.
Now preparing to leave for a mission, Josh is glad for all the challenges and trials he has faced, saying they have made him stronger. Part of that strength is Josh’s strong testimony.
“I love the Lord and what he does for me,” says Josh. “I’m glad I’ve read the Book of Mormon and for the strong foundation and example it gives.”
Alaskans under Cover
The girls in Alaska are making a lot of quilts these days.
Recently, the young women of the Fairbanks Alaska First Ward each quilted a blanket for the local women’s center. There is a tradition there of giving handmade quilts to women who suffer the loss of a child.
Meanwhile, in the Palmer Second Ward in the Wasilla Alaska Stake, the young women were busy making quilts for the California earthquake victims. Members of the Relief Society helped the girls put together 18 quilts in three hours. Laurel Patience Pierce spear-headed the project.
That’s a lot of warmth spread around by young women from the icy North.
Super Seminary Student
David Fogarty, a 16-year-old seminary student from Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia, won this award for excellence in Scripture Mastery. David and his 13 seminary classmates are a small group, but as their teacher, Jan Smith, says, “They are all hundred-percenters!”
David, a convert to the Church, has been a member for seven years, and has a strong testimony of the gospel and of seminary attendance.
“Seminary is cool when you have a great teacher like we have, and it is a great start to any day. My sister and I really miss it during the school holidays,” says David.
This is a group that takes family togetherness seriously. Not only do Jared, Justin, and Janalee Humphreys attend school classes together (they’re triplets), but they are also involved with the seminary council at Dixie High School in St. George, Utah.
Some siblings might balk at so much togetherness, but this trio thrives on it.
“The best thing about seminary council is not only that it brings us closer to the people in our school, but it brings us together, too,” says Jared. The calling carries a lot of responsibility—and a lot of fun.
“This is a great council,” says Justin. “I’m really proud to be on it. It’s just fun to be with all these great people.”
Janalee, who plans to go to college in the fall, will be the lone triplet left in Utah after September. Both boys will be serving missions by then.
“This experience will really strengthen our testimonies,” she says, “and it helps us support each other.”
Sock It to ’Em
Socks. They seem such a trivial thing that most of us don’t think about them—unless we run out before wash day! For people who are homeless, however, a clean pair of socks can provide badly needed warmth and protection.
Youth and leaders from the Hewwood Ward in the Bennion Utah East Stake, needed a service project. Their local homeless shelter needed socks. So the youth got to work soliciting donations of new and gently used socks.
“I was surprised how many people helped us,” says Laurel president Christie Ballard. “It was really neat to see the face of the lady at the homeless shelter when we presented our donation.
All together, the group donated 1,122 pairs of socks. Whew!
Administrators at the shelter were shocked and overwhelmed at the work performed by the youth.
“We’ve never received a gift of this size or quality before,” said one administrator.
This Church Stands Tall
Remember the May 1992 Mormonad? It depicted a basketball player, quite a bit shorter than his teammates, holding the MVP trophy. The coverline read, “Don’t Sell Yourself Short.”
Well, Ty Church hasn’t.
At about the time he posed for that Mormonad, Ty, at only five-feet-two inches tall, broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore on the Olympus High School varsity basketball team in Salt Lake City. During his three years as a starter, Ty never missed a game, and was instrumental in the Titans’s successful 1993–94 hoop season. As a senior, Ty was the second leading scorer in the state tournament, he broke a Utah high school record by scoring 21 points in the first quarter of a game, and he helped Olympus to a second-place state finish. But now the basketball heroics have been put aside for a couple of years.
These days, Ty is known as Elder Church. After graduating from both high school and seminary, he became a full-time missionary last September. With an eight-week stay in the MTC behind him, Elder Church, 19, is now serving in the Czech Republic Prague Mission.
This Group Has It All Together
Moving to a new place is never easy, but moves overseas can be especially difficult. Kristine Murrow wasn’t sure what she would find when she moved to Landstuhl, Germany, where her father is filling a military assignment.
But as soon as she contacted LDS youth in the area, “I was immediately welcomed, accepted, and brought into the close-knit group. Because we are stationed overseas, people move in and out all the time and no one is ever left out,” says Kristine.
Kristine also discovered that many of the LDS kids in Germany, like other areas of the world, set high standards of excellence in academics, drama, sports, and student council.
“I was astounded that people were involved in so many activities and still had time for Church activities,” she says. “Even early-morning seminary is looked on as a blessing and a joy to attend.”
For Kristine, the move to Germany was one in which she learned about love, friendship, and support. “Because of the love I have been offered here, I have learned the value of true friendship,” says Kristine.
One Happy Camper
Anyone who’s ever been to girls’ camp knows that it’s a lot of fun but also a lot of hard work. For Kelsey Mack of the Safford Arizona Fifth Ward, Safford Arizona Stake, mental and physical handicaps made the challenge of camping even greater.
When Kelsey decided she wanted to go to camp, her mom went to the youth leaders and asked if it would be a possibility. Much to her delight, all the leaders agreed to make it happen. Even more important, the girls rallied around Kelsey and really made her feel a part of all the camp activities.
After five days of crafts, outdoor skills, and other standard camp activities (many of which were tailored to fit Kelsey’s needs) Kelsey returned home happy and excited.
“You know, those girls really love me,” says Kelsey.