Hola a todos!
This week was incredible and very wild here in Spain, especially since it was Holy Week here, or Semana Santa. For those who don't know, Semana Santa is celebrated here in Spain to commemorate the last week of Jesus's life. Every day in the afternoon, crowds of people gather in the streets to watch large "pasos" pass by. Pasos are like really heavy floats carried by 50 people that depict events from the Passion of Christ i.e. Him being scourged, carrying the cross, being captured by the Roman soldiers, etc. There is also always float of the Virgin Mary included with the pasos. It's a really cool experience to watch and see the ways that the Catholics celebrate Holy Week here. I'll include some pictures of the pasos. Along with the pasos are crowds of people dressed in long robes and tall hoods that cover their faces. I'm not sure exactly why these people wear these costumes, but they definitely look...interesting to say the least. But it was beautiful to see and a wonderful way to celebrate Easter.
With Easter and all happening, I've done a lot of pondering this week and specifically about one phrase in particular: "He lives!" By itself, it's a pretty nice phrase. It's a super great thing to put in an Instagram bio, to say a lot around Easter, and even to close out an email from a missionary. (hee hee) It's very catchy, easy to remember, and means a lot to many Christians. But this week I tried to focus on what it meant to ME personally that He lives.
I thought about what my life would be like if that phrase wasn't true, if He didn't live again. I almost can't comprehend it because everything would just be so meaningless. The Bible wouldn't be true. The Book of Mormon wouldn't be true. We could never be reunited with our bodies again. We would never see our families and loved ones. We wouldn't be able to return to live with our Father in Heaven again.
We couldn't change and we couldn't grow. We would be stuck eternally. We wouldn't have purpose. Our lives would ultimately be pointless.
But thankfully, wonderfully, and truthfully He lives.
It couldn't be any other way.
I asked another elder what he thought of the phrase, "He lives." He said, for him, "He lives" is a promise. It is a promise from God that, because Christ lives, we will live again too. We can overcome all sin, pain, suffering, and weakness. That's not just any promise. That's a promise from God to us. He did not leave us here to suffer, but to overcome the suffering, not to be weak, but to strengthen the weak places. Because Christ lives, we are never without hope.
Because He lives, we have faith.
Because He lives we have purpose.
Because He lives, we have love.
In the words of a beloved hymn:
He lives, my kind, wise heav’nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives, I’ll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”
And with that,
¡El Libro de Mormón es verdadero!
"And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection. But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ."
• Us with some houses in Algeciras
• The weird hood people. If somebody knows a little more about these, let me know. I'm very curious
• El Paso de la Virgen
• Some fresh fruit that we picked from a tree. In Spanish, they're called nísperos, but in English they're called loquats
• Quick picture with Míriam, a good friend of my Aunt Connie who happened to be in Algeciras. Hi Míriam! And thank you Aunt Connie! We had a wonderful time.
• Rock of Gibraltar going OFF
• Another pic with the weird hood people