NORTH COUNTY — This Sunday, April 17, churches up and down the valley will fill up with families, eager to celebrate Easter, a Christian holiday that celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a very significant date on the Christian calendar.
The Gazette-Tribune asked some local clergy to tell us why Easter is important to them.
Father LutaKome Nsubug of the Immaculate Conception and Holy Rosary Catholic Churches said Easter is the story of hope.
“With Easter, we celebrate the fact that Jesus is alive. The fact he is alive makes every aspect of our lives today, have hope,” said Nsubug
Nsubug said due to the suffering in our own lives and the world around us, we can lose hope and question the existence of God.
“We can look at what’s going on in our personal lives, in terms of personal loss, such as the Covid situation, people have lost family members, jobs, and the list goes on. We can look at what’s going on in the world today, in Ukraine for example. Those are situations where we can see there is so much pain and suffering in our world. When we celebrate Easter, the fact that Jesus Christ is alive, he is alive, that is what gives us hope,” said Nsubug.
Nsubug said hope helps us overcome the hardships in the world.
“Whatever you are going through in life, I know we don’t understand God’s ways, but now, more than ever, it’s really important to cling to him,” said Nsubug.
Pastor Ron Wise of the Tonasket Free Methodist Church, who has pastored since 1986, said the story of Easter is God’s story.
“It’s a story of his sovereignty and his love. There are certain things that we love. Every human being has something they love, whether it’s themselves, the love of family, or the love of country. Most of the time we love what is pure and innocent and we love what reciprocates that love back to us,” said Wise.
Wise said he himself has experienced transformation that is undeniable.
“I came from a non-Christian background and an abusive family situation. My life was pretty self destructive. God transformed me. I see that recreated through the life of the church. That’s what God does, he doesn’t just reform us, clean us up, but he transforms us, from the inside out,” said Wise.
As a child, Wise said Easter was just another day and was not celebrated in his childhood home. The year 1979 was when all of that changed for him.
“It was my first Easter Sunday, I was in church, because I wanted to be,” said Wise.
Wise said prior to this experience, church as a child, was just a place to go to escape the chaos of a broken home and a place to find comfort.
“To just get out of the house, I would go to church,” said Wise.
Wise said he was bold as a child and sang loudly and remembers people turning to look at him and smiling.
“I don’t think it was because they were being blessed but because I was probably singing off key,” said Wise.
An old grange building in Oroville, was the place Pastor Randy McCallister, of Valley Christian Fellowship, recalled his favorite Easter being held.
“The greatest Easter miracle was my daughter Jessica being healed of Cystic Fibrosis at a healing and communion service one Easter evening of 1994,” said McCallister.
According to McCallister, the Easter story is a sacrificial love story, which no other story can compare, or come close to.
“I don’t know if we can ever learn to love like that,” said McCallister.
One Easter, McCallister, said he believes he saw a type of sacrificial love demonstrated when a member in his church was dying of cancer .
“That Easter at church, I saw him encouraging others to stay faithful until the end,” said McCallister.
McCallister said sacrificial love is supernatural and something to be credited to only God, not us.
Pastor George Conkle of Crossroads Meeting Place Foursquare Church said resurrection life is available to him everyday.
“It helps me through trials, it helps me through troubles,” said Conkle.
Conkle said Easter reminds him of how much God has overcome death itself.
Conkle has spent 18 years in Tonasket as a pastor and has seen many people overcome various challenges.
“I’ve seen people set free of all sorts of addictions, drugs, alcohol, and sexual addictions. I’ve been witness to people’s relationships being restored. That resurrection life has impacted people’s marriages and family dynamics. I’ve seen people unable to forgive others, not only forgive, but also be able receive God’s forgiveness and their hearts were softened,” said Conkle.
Conkle said if everything else has failed, God will not.
“If you’ve tried everything else, why not try Jesus this Sunday?,” asked Conkle.