Saturday, September 28, 2013

From September 16, 2013: Too Many Nitrates

An Arizona Dust Storm
Dear All,
My companion, Elder B., is a super-great guy, and we are on the same page with getting everything to move forward in this area of Arizona.  More sweat is the answer to most of the problems we encounter.  Work harder, longer, faster, smarter, more efficiently, more boldly, and just BETTER.  And so that is what we are trying to do.  Justin's mobile area book idea was inspired, and I have taken that to heart.  You may never believe this, but I color code things now.  I raise other missionary's eyebrows with my dedication to color coding.  And as I am getting more sleep than ever before in my life, guess what is happening?!  I'm finding I remember names, addresses, locations, and happenings. Turns out I have a memory after all.

We went to the Mesa temple.  That was cool, seeing as how the temple is the best place ever.  You all gotta go.  Because I can't because I'm doing other things right now and I'd just spend all day every day there.  But you gotta go.  
Today let's talk about perspective.  Everyone take a deep breath and then let it out and examine your life this week with the filter of how God sees your life.  How does God see the bills and the paperwork and the distractions and the stresses and you running around trying to figure out how to get everything done?  Probably not with the frantic and frenetic eyes in which we see such things.  Probably with an eye to the gospel and how most of what consumes our time is distraction instead of significance.  So with a perspective of the gospel, go through your life and sift all your stresses into categories of distraction and significance.  Or all your activities, if you have the nerve for it.  You may be surprised to find that mostly everything is a distraction instead of a thing of eternal significance.

That's something I learned this week.  Our lives as missionaries revolve around these people who we meet and teach and talk to and bear testimony to.  That's who we are and what we do.  Their world does not revolve around us but ours revolves around them.  And there's an interesting concept: who we are and what we do.  What's the difference?  Well, who we are is children of God.  And what we do should be influenced by that divine identity and not vice versa.  As we UNDERSTAND that identity, we come to put what we do to match who we are and not define ourselves by what we do.  There's a big difference.  Perspective, perspective.
This week we witnessed some serious miracles.  Saturday was basically Christmas.  There was a lesson, a new investigator, a less-active who wanted to be taught, or a cool conversation around every corner.   We were talking to a guy on the street and another man walks up and says "Hi, are you the missionaries?"  And we said "Yeahhhhhhhhh" and he says, "Great, I'm looking for spiritual guidance and I thought the Mormons might be able to help me.  When can we meet?"  Then seriously around the next corner we met a woman who asked where the church is.  She thinks she is Mormon but has never been baptized. We knocked on the doors of less-active members and they let us in and we taught and invited and all the rest. Like not even fair.  It was that good.  There was another day this week where we were going to the doors of all less-actives in one of our quadrants, and we walk up to one and the man is outside and he inquires, "Are you looking for us?"  and we reply, "Yes..." and he says, "Good, we've been praying for you to come; we want to get back to church."  My companion and I just look at each other like "YOU'RE DREAMING HE JUST SAID THAT TOO?"  And then we proceeded to meet a part-member family who I've already grown to love.

So some very cool happenings this week.  Some disappointments and flaking and sweat and a neck injury for my companion and his healing and some slammed doors and asking people if they had time for Jesus Christ and them saying "No" and getting cussed at and thinking we had found a dead guy at the side of the road (he was fine just passed out drunk) and baptisms postponed and me inviting someone to be baptized and him completely ignoring it.  I have serious tan lines (think watch) and there's just like so much stuff and everything is a blur and gosh, your mail is awesome and I ramble in my letters but you say they are coherent so like there's that.

And now for the lesson, I guess.  First off, people focus on baptism way too much.  Focus on covenants because it's not like baptism is THE covenant, it's just the FIRST covenant.  Second, Preach my Gospel is the second most correct of any book on earth and a missionary can get closer to God and His purpose by reading it than by any other book.  Also, let us turn to 1 Nephi 12:18 -- What divides the righteous and the wicked?  A gulf, which is the justice of God.  It also references the Messiah (mercy) and the Holy Ghost (truth).  These three principles (justice, mercy, and truth) are the three components of the law.  So the law separates the righteous from the wicked.  This is logical, because as the Bible Dictionary tells us that "sin is lawlessness." 
But let's get back to my favorite point, which I beat to death, which is that in this war there is NO MIDDLE GROUND.  In this vision, there is literally no middle ground between the righteous and wicked, it's a gulf. An expanse without ground.  Quite literally, there is no middle ground.  There is the side of those who acknowledge the law and the side of those who do not.  And any who are seeking that middle ground find a rupture in the Earth because there literally is no ground there.  And this rupture is a gulf.  And what words are almost always associated with "gulf" in the scriptures?  Misery and endless woe.  See 1 Nephi 15:28-31.
You are either on the side of the Messiah or the world, and the law (think commandments, ALL OF THEM), divides the two.  Whether you believe in the law divides the two.  Because even those who have wandered from the straight and narrow path know there is law, they just choose not to follow it.  And who stays on the right side AND the right path?  Those who CLING to the word of God, which is what sets forth the law.  So the ones in the great and spacious building, without foundations, deny the very existence of the law (see relative morality).    Those on the other side know and recognize that there is a law.  Now, if after reading all these letters and the Book of Mormon, you still deny there is a law, I simply do not understand you.  But let's focus on being on the correct side of this gulf.  Those who seek middle ground from this side first let go of the law (stop studying scriptures, praying, going to church), and then they fall into forbidden paths (sin).

Seeking middle ground will NEVER bring happiness.  Study out the implications of what divides the righteous and wicked and what seeking middle ground leads to.  You might be enlightened by what you find.
Well my friends, I now leave you.    I am well and getting even happier every day.  Depending on how you look at things (see above musings on "paths and gulfs"), I'm either out here doing the best or most evil work in the world.  So for goodness sakes pick a side.  Amen.
Paz Fora,
Elder Molinaro

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