Thursday, August 29, 2013

From August 26, 2013: A Juicy Two Days

Hello from Arizona!  It hasn't been all that hot thus far, or so I'm told.  90's and it's a celebration.

Clearly my P-day is Monday.  I'm in Phoenix and I'm on a bike.  Field work is... well, I'm not sure.  It's been a bizarre couple of days.  It's great, but it's somehow far different than I expected. I'll try to put my finger on it for the next couple of days. 
I hope you got the Email of me with the President of the mission.  The man is great.  I didn't get to see him for too long but what I did see was very impressive.  My companion is Elder W., though with transfers coming up this week, who knows who my companion may be next.  He's a good guy with a good heart and a desire to do well.  He says he's not my trainer because I'm a visa waiter so my trainer is somewhere in Brazil. But he may as well be because I'm learning a lot. 
The field is bringing back the identity crisis that is inevitable in missionary work in finding who you are as a missionary but still as yourself.  Fear not though, I'm adjusting.  As you know, I love situations in which I know nothing.  And this is certainly one of them.  I have none of the information or means by which to get around, I don't know the people, and I don't know how TO know these things.  But I'm trying and learning, so hopefully it will come with time. 

We had a great experience with a less active family a couple nights back where we started teaching and then the patriarch of the home took over and started bearing his testimony and teaching his children in front of us.  It was a great experience, great to watch this father bear testimony to his children.  It's striking me how important it is to teach the children.  For each parent to know how to teach and be committed to teaching their children and for each child to know what their parents know and think about the gospel.  I know it's so important that your children know you have a testimony of Christ and His gospel and  hear it often, that they are taught how to develop a testimony for themselves and recognize that they NEED their own testimony, as well as to know how to recognize the Spirit.

That's another thing I've been realizing.  How everyone NEEDS this gospel.  How it's not a fanciful thing we pass around and would be happy if people found.  It's something everyone NEEDS.  And I have the opportunity to bring it to them.  Such a blessing.

Leaving the MTC (Missionary Training Center in Provo) was difficult in some ways.  I do miss my District because I had just grown so close to all of them.  We had a final testimony meeting that was among the most spiritual experiences of my life.  But I was also grateful for the opportunity to come here and apply some of what I learned.  

But more than anything today, I want to talk about worth.  As always, I apologize for how scattered this letter is.  Maybe if any of you see a Waffle House Restaurant, you can get it "smothered and chunked" as well. ha!

More than anything, what we do in this life is determined by how we define ourselves and thus what we choose to build our self-worth on.  I guess you could see our self-worth as our personal foundation.  If our self-worth is based on personal accomplishment, being the smartest person in the room, being better at something, how much money we have, how much power, what our title is, etc., it's all worthless in the end.  There will always be someone smarter, always someone better, always someone with a better title and more money.  Or, if by some miracle we do make it to the top, then what?  Then we jealously guard it and despise others, losing charity and humility and all other Christ-like attributes. 

If, however, we decide that our self worth is based on being a child of God and following the example of Jesus Christ, we can rise to heights we never dreamed of before.  When we see that as our worth, we recognize the worth of others at the same time.  Since we are worth it because we are children of God, that means they are worth it too, no matter who they are.  And charity isn't just an act, then, it becomes instead a way of being and becoming, a way of seeing others, which way is the same way as God sees them.  

And seeing them that way takes nothing away from us.  In fact, it reaffirms our own position as children of God when we see all others in that same context--the context of the plan of salvation and the children of a loving Heavenly Father.

Life is hard.  It just is. People can be annoying and frustrating and everything else.  But when we see them as children of God--something perhaps they do not see themselves as--everything changes for the better. 

So this week,  change your perspective and try to see everyone in the context of the plan of salvation and as the children of God that they are.  Your worth is exactly the same as everyone else's and that worth comes from God.  You ARE worth it BECAUSE HE says you are. 

I'd also recommend PMG (Preach My Gospel book) chapter 6 to all of you.  Pick a Christ-like attribute to work on this week and hit it hard.  I promise you it will change your life if you let it. 
I love you all.  Be good and work hard, I'm trying to do the same.

Elder Molinaro   

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