Friendship with Christ

    Area message


    Some years ago while I was serving as an Area Seventy we lost a dear friend who served as the Relief Society President in our stake when I was serving as the Stake President.

    The energy and strong faith of this sister was evident everywhere she went as she blessed the sisters in our Stake by helping them to see the importance of living the gospel.

    Then one day she was diagnosed with liver cancer and was told that recovery from this type of cancer would be very difficult. Her family and the entire stake were devastated and over the next many months countless prayers were offered on her behalf. Then after more than two years of treatment, she found out she was cured. It was a miracle.

    However, just a few months later the cancer came back, this time effecting her pancreas. The doctors tried everything possible but with no positive results.

    Several months went past and then one morning while I was traveling in my car her husband called me and asked me if I could come to see them since he felt his wife did not have much time left. I immediately turned the car around and drove to their home.

    While there I visited with their sons. The youngest son was in his room where he sat quietly not understanding what was happening. The oldest son understood the situation and was taking good care of his mother in her final hours. As she lay on her bed in the living room I noticed that there was not much left of this once so energetic sister. After some time she noticed me. She opened her eyes and smiled at me and inquired about my family. Then later she silently took her journey into the spirit world.

    Before she died She had asked me to speak at her funeral and to help lowering her body into the grave (Belgium Tradition).

    I will never forget standing there with the end of one of the four rope ends in my hands looking into a dark hole in the ground and slowly lowering the casket. There were so many thoughts in my mind and some of them were frightening like “What if there were no resurrection?” “What if this were the end?” Without the resurrection there is no hope and no meaning to this life. All would be lost and the sting of death would have no end.

    The most glorious message we can ever share with anyone is that the tomb was empty on the third day. Yes He is risen and He prepared the way for all God’s children to rise again; to have their spirit and body reunited and to never be taken apart again.

    In Matt 28:6 we read: “He is not here, for He is risen” Alma explains to his son in Alma 40:23 that the soul shall be restored to the body and that every limb and joint shall be restored and even a hair of the head shall not be lost. I testify that He lives and that we are preparing the world for His second coming when He will return with all the hosts of heaven. That is the glorious message of Easter.