I meant to write about some of the Easter traditions over here last week but I forgot so I will fill you in today.
The biggest Easter tradition in England is to eat big chocolate eggs! The majority of eggs are a little bit bigger than a fist and just about any candy or chocolate company makes their own chocolate eggs. Most of them come in a box with a mug with the brand name on it and a bag of whatever candy the egg is made out of. Like this:
All my mission I have wondered why all the mugs in the flats have different types of candy on them and I figured it out as soon as I saw one of these in a store. Members in the ward gave us a few eggs and mugs so we got to take part in the tradition. Decorating hard-boiled eggs isn't something many people do and they mostly just focus on chocolate and candy, the chocolate over here is so much better that I don't really blame them! It's sad for me to say but I don't think I will be able to enjoy a Hershey's bar in the same way anymore.
Easter was a good time to talk about the gospel and share it with people on the street and everywhere we went. The usual reply we got when we asked people "What does Easter mean to you?" was "Chocolate" so a lot of people have forgotten about or never learned about Christ's atonement and how it is significant to them in their lives. It was wonderful to talk about the Atonement and teach people about it but it was sad to see so many people who refused to belief or couldn't possibly see how it could be relevant to them. Whether or not people believe the reality is that He does live and that the Atonement has more significance in their lives and everyone's life than they can even understand.
This Easter has been unique because I've never been on a mission in England during Easter before (obviously) but more importantly because I understand the necessity and infinite grace that is extended to all of the Atonement. It sounds cliche to say Easter is to remember that Jesus died for us but is so much more than that. I've learned to rely on the Atonement more than I ever have before and my understanding of it continues to grow. While some choose to reject it, it is there and is the enabling grace that we all need to continue in this life and have any hope of returning to the Father in the next life. Whatever trust you have in the Atonement I challenge you to increase it. You will grow closer to the Savior and you will feel His love more in your life.
General Conference on a mission is a really special experience. I've never paid attention during Conference like I have on my mission because I didn't appreciate as much the significance of having a prophet to lead, guide, and speak to us as President Monson does so well. My testimony that he is indeed a prophet and receives revelation and direction from the Lord for us has been firmly established on my mission. Though things happened during conference that aren't really worth mentioning I know that he is the only one on the Earth authorized by the Lord to lead and preside over His church in this day and you know it as well. All of the talks were uplifting and a lot can be learned from them, I know they have helped me already and will continue to.
Time is short because we spent P-day a little differently today but I love you all and pray that you will all receive the help and strength that you need to be happy in your lives now. Whatever may be happening the grace of Jesus Christ can lighten your burdens and give you hope for the future.