2018
He Is Risen!
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He Is Risen!

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are very familiar with the words that Jesus is the Son of God. His birth, life, death, and Resurrection; everything was done as part of God’s great plan of salvation. We need to follow Him in order to return back to our Father in Heaven. Sometimes we take these words for granted because we are used to hearing them repeatedly, and we forget to envisage that IT is THE best part of HIS plan. But remembering God’s plan and Jesus’s Resurrection each day is as important as we’ve heard it the first time and how excited we were. The importance of this reality can be very well understood when we live in a diversified environment. India is one of such places. It is notable for its religious diversity with Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, and Jainism among the nation’s major religions. Almost all the members of our Church in India are converted from other communities, including me. I am Sandeep Swarna from a family of four; father, mother, sister, and me.

I was born Christian and did prayers and attended church every week. However, I could not imagine the love of God and Jesus’s great sacrifice until I came across one incident. This was on January 11, 2006, when I was 22 years old. All our families were gathering to commemorate the first death anniversary of my grandfather. So I was busy arranging things necessary for the families who would be attending the event. I had no sleep for almost three days. Still, I was assigned to bring the priest from another town to solemnize the event with a gospel message and prayer. Despite my tiredness, I had agreed to bring him.

In the snowy cold winter season, I got ready after showering early in the morning. I started driving but felt drowsy. I saw one town at a distance and thought that I could make it there and have tea. However, my eyes were so heavy that unconsciously I closed my eyes. Within a fraction of seconds, my high-speed car hit a tree beside the road. My snoozy eyes could see the car colliding with the tree. After a few minutes, I opened my eyes and found that I had had a major accident. I immediately stopped the running, smoky car engine. I found that the front glass was smashed and had fallen into pieces on me. But not even a single fragment of it pierced my body. I was thankful to God for that. Later, I discovered blood flowing from my mouth. I cupped my hands to get it and threw it out the window. But I realized it was not going to stop so I kept a big cloth in my mouth to overcome the blood loss. My legs were stuck underneath. While I was trying to get them free, my right leg got dislocated at femur (thigh bone) joint. So, I could not move. As it had happened early in the morning, and I could hardly find people to help. After a little while, I found someone and asked for help, but he was scared and ran away. Later, two people came and helped me get out of the car.

The car was totally crushed at the front side. It became completely useless. Eventually, people started surrounding me. Everyone was amazed at what had happened and wondering that I was still alive! I took someone’s mobile as mine was lost during mishap and phoned my father to explain the situation and urged him to take me to the hospital. My father was very much grieved when he saw me lying on the road. However, so great was God’s comfort upon me that I was able to recover very fast and started walking again in just one-and-a-half months.

That day, I was reminded of God’s gentle love when I heard the words from Psalms 119:50:

“This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.”

He truly protected me. Whenever I recall that situation, I would try to speculate how Heavenly Father must have been suffering while His beloved Son was crucified on the cross! How great was the pain Jesus bore for all of us to prepare a path so that we could all return back to our heavenly home! My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for Him and Heavenly Father and Their unconditional love. My soul rejoices whenever I think of the truth that JESUS IS RISEN and that His divine role is successfully accomplished.

As time passed, I inclined more towards God. I was diligent in reading the scriptures, attending church, and doing prayers. However, my fiancé, who was a recent convert, requested that I visit the Mormon Church. With lots of struggles in my life as well as being a longtime investigator, I finally became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Later, we got married in the Hong Kong China Temple. Today, I am blessed with a happy family with a wife and two beautiful children.

We always try our best to follow the teachings of the Church. My parents used to observe us. After a while, I invited my parents to come to church with us. Following many discussions, my mother became a member of the Church.

Every time, I truly feel that He is alive and watching over us. As Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy said in April 2016 general conference, scriptures and latter-day revelations demonstrate that Christ is living. He said, “The Resurrection of the Savior proves that He is the Son of God and that what He taught is real. ‘He is risen, as he said.’ There could be no stronger proof of His divinity than Him coming forth from the grave with an immortal body.

“We know of witnesses to the Resurrection in New Testament times. In addition to the women and men we read about in the Gospels, the New Testament assures us that hundreds actually saw the resurrected Lord. And the Book of Mormon tells of many hundreds more: ‘The multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, . . . and [they] 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.’ . . .

“To those ancient witnesses are added witnesses in the latter days. In fact, in the opening scene of this dispensation, Joseph Smith saw the resurrected Savior with the Father. Living prophets and apostles have testified of the reality of the resurrected, living Christ. So we may say, ‘We also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.’ And each of us can be part of a cloud of witnesses who know through the power of the Holy Ghost that what we celebrate on Easter actually happened—that the Resurrection is real” (“And There Shall Be No More Death,” Liahona, May 2016, 122).

Also, my wife shared one incident that helped her testimony. She had to write a government entrance test on a Sunday. She said that she went to the exam center along with her colleagues. They insisted on visiting one temple before attending exam. She accompanied them. She saw people coming to the temple elegantly dressed with things needed for worship their God. Everybody was following a queue to worship. But the security as well as the priests there were not giving time, not even a minute, to stand and pray. When she was watching all these things, each and every second she was reminded of God’s plan for each of His children and how Jesus is crucial in the plan. She mentioned that every second she was seeing this she was feeling the living nature of our Lord Jesus Christ. These people reminded her of what the Lord uttered in His mortal ministry as written in Matthew 9:37:

“Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.”

Even though she was away from church that Sunday, she heartily felt the Holy Spirit witnessing her that Jesus is risen. He is the living Christ for all mankind. This testimony made the foundation of our faith even stronger.

I would like to accentuate that remembering that Jesus is the living Christ each day is as important now as it was when we knew at the very beginning.

I sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles’ testimony about the living Christ:

“We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.

“He rose from the grave to ‘become the firstfruits of them that slept’ (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His ‘other sheep’ (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised ‘dispensation of the fulness of times’ (Ephesians 1:10).”

In the name of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world, amen.