Kelsey Brunner, Deseret News
Ryan Chidester, left, and Eric Morgan, residents of The Other Side Academy, move a dresser into the Darling family's newly constructed home in Lehi on Tuesday, July 18, 2017.

To the Christian world, Easter brings with it a renewed hope in a brilliant morning of redemption. Hundreds of millions of followers celebrate on Sunday how the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ over two millennia ago ensure that darkness gives way to light, death is overcome with life and sin can be swept away by mercy and forgiveness. The road to redemption runs directly to and through Easter morning.

History is filled with stories of the countless travelers who have journeyed on that road to redemption. The prodigal son, the young child trying to buy an expensive present for a parent with pennies, the executive who gains the world but loses his soul, the mother who squanders her family to addiction — all need someone to mercifully step in to help. Those who step forward to foster and facilitate redemption for struggling individuals are truly earth-bound angels.

One organization driving redemption is The Other Side Academy. It is a self-sustained nonprofit organization that provides vocational training for those trapped on the street or perpetually in and out of the prison system. The academy is designed to end the cycle of homelessness, criminal recidivism and addiction by developing vocational and life-skills in its students. It has forged a critical road to redemption and created a path to upward mobility. Students are empowered to re-enter their communities, then thrive and serve others as contributing citizens.

On a cold winter morning a few months ago, The Other Side Academy held a graduation for one of its students. The ceremony started inside the old mayor’s mansion where the academy is housed. Stories of the long, hard journey were told. Redemption for this student included herculean efforts from his wife and family, friends, religious leaders and fellow students at the academy. Each did something for the student that the student could not do for himself.

Then the door to the outside was opened and everyone stepped out into what was still a dark, cold dawn. The student walked to “the other side” over a small bridge and into the outstretched arms of all those who had helped, including his father, who had patiently, but actively, waited for his son’s redemptive return. The sun emerged from the dark clouds and a brilliant morning came on the road to redemption.

To the family of this young man, it was the epitome of Easter morning. What was lost had been found, what was dead was alive again and what had been sold for a “mess of pottage” had been miraculously redeemed.

There are countless examples of such redemption and redemptive acts all around us. Those who lift their neighbor, comfort the sick, feed and clothe the homeless, administer to the depressed or lonely, serve the mentally ill or visit those in prison — all are types and models of redemptive influence.

In our homes and communities, moments of redemption create a place for new beginnings and fresh starts. Redemption is part of what ensures that forgiveness will be granted, that suffering will cease and that hope will usher in a new day.

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To Christians around the world, ultimate redemption comes in and through the risen Lord. Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said, “As disciples of Jesus Christ, we ought to do all we can to redeem others from suffering and burdens. Even so, our greatest redemptive service will be to lead them to Christ. Without his redemption from death and from sin, we have only a gospel of social justice. That may provide some help and reconciliation in the present, but it has no power to draw down from heaven perfect justice and infinite mercy. Ultimate redemption is in Jesus Christ and in him alone.”

As we do for others what they cannot do for themselves and as we look to the example of Jesus, we will view our fellow travelers on the road to redemption in a new light. We will learn that no matter how dark or difficult the trial, no matter how dim or lonely the road, no matter how discouraging or depressing the seemingly never-ending night of sorrow may be — just as on that first Easter — a brilliant morning of redemption will come.