Sunday, January 12, 2014

From December 16, 2013

So "B" got baptized this Saturday!  She is the girlfriend of a member of our ward but she lives two missions over.  We sent the referral in (for local missionaries to her area to teach her) and after a month of no one contacting her and her coming to church for 4 weeks, we began teaching her.  She was a miracle investigator, the kind who has the spiritual gift to believe on the words of others.  She is a fantastic representation of how the church is supposed to work:  A fellowshipper brings her to church, missionaries teach, the fellowshipper baptizes her, she grows in the church forever and ever, amen.  So we taught her all of the lessons (in creative ways I might add.  We taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ in Primary song format).  And then, in the process of seeking a boundary exception, she was whisked away to a new ward and new missionaries nearer to her home.  It was all coordinated through the stakes and mission presidents and worked out just how it should have.  We got permission to go to the baptism, which was 2 missions over in the Gilbert mission, and it was a fantastic experience.  She was so prepared and it was perfect. 
We also have still been teaching "T", which is awesome.  He is another super-prepared investigator who is in journalism here at ASU.  He chews through reading assignments and he's just awesome.  Strangely, his best friend is a member of the church and has been preparing him.

"L" is also on a baptismal date.  Her best friend is a Latter-day Saint and is on a mission right now.

There is a common theme here that is readily apparent to anyone "with ears to hear," borrowing the Savior's catchphrase.  People who are actually baptized and remain active come through members of the church.  Through you.  So I ask, which of your friends do you love enough to save?
But back to the week.  So apart from the baptism, this week kind of died.  It was finals week for our investigators, members, and less-actives, which means that we were ready, but few were willing.  And then they all left town.   I did have a chance to coordinate logistics for rides to get people to the temple and back and that was a blast.  I really do miss logistical puzzles, though now that I think of it my whole life is a logistical puzzle at the moment.  So basically all our lessons fell through this week and then people got out of Dodge.  That's just the simple way of putting it. Many of our investigators are traveling, so we are working on finding some more this week and tightening up some things.  I acquired a neat little way of talking to people where I walk up to them and ask for their opinion on whether or not white chocolate is chocolate and then lead it into a gospel discussion.  Don't ask me how, it just kind of works. Elder S. and I are keeping count.  So far Phoenix doesn't think white chocolate is chocolate.  Blessed city that it is.  
And on Friday we all went to the temple as a mission.  That was super cool.  Oh, my goodness I miss the temple so much and I'm so jealous you all get to go whenever you want!  I vote every time we are together as a family we make it a tradition to go at least once.  Because it's that important.  And you can just get so much revelation in such a short time frame and you just want to run out of the temple and call to everyone you see "Why do you, seeing, see not, and hearing, hear not!?!"  DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!  Because really for the longest time I didn't have any clue at all.  Well, I still really don't but the difference is that now I really WANT to.

I'm still me.  There are good days and bad days.  Mostly good days.  And the bad days are not inherently bad, they are just less good because of the agency of others or my own imperfection or a confluence of unfortunate events.  But I'm learning slowly to laugh about it and move on. 
Other occurrences worth sharing:
* Found out we are going to have ELDER HOLLAND (one of the 12 apostles from our church) COME AND SPEAK TO US.  January 11th.  Oh, can't wait.

* Got to "B's" baptism (picture 45 minute drive) in 20 minutes.  Our member thought we might be late and he likes his car.  Brilliant combination.  My name was on the program as "Elder Molinerosion". 

* Singing a hymn in Portuguese at our Zone Conference tomorrow so wish me luck.  'Cause my Portuguese died a slow and painful death recently.

* Went to the temple lights.  It's super-packed and beautiful!  

* Wore short sleeves all week cause you know it's 67 degrees here. 
* I get to skype you for 40 minutes on Christmas!  Still working out the details.  More to come next week.

Seek after spiritual gifts!

Elder Molinaro

From December 9, 2013: Miracle Whip

The week was a week of miracles.  There's so much going on.  The progress record is two, stapled pages both of which are front and back.  So, my life is chaos and I love the challenge of it.  It's like people are finding us instead of vice versa at the moment.  That's something I realize more and more.  That every baptism is a team effort and that more often than not success comes DESPITE you as a missionary instead of because of you. 
Case in point.  The story of "T".   So, "T" is the man.  He walked into church last week and was like "Hey, I wanna learn!  I have a friend who has taught me a lot about it, so what's the procedure?" And we peeled ourselves off the floor and set up a time with him.  We went to teach him and he was ready with questions about what he needs to change about his life to be Mormon.  The guy is a total stud and is so prepared.  He chews through chapters of the Book of Mormon and sends back questions and commentary.  He's basically what you wish everyone in the world was: utterly prepared.  And it is because of his friend that "T" turned to the church when he needed it.  So anyway, we are being taught the first lesson by "T" at his table on the sidewalk when this girl walks up and says "Hey, do you minister around here often?"    We reply "Well, yes" and she responds with "Well, I live here now and I don't know where to go to church.  I got baptized a year ago but then fell away."  And we say "Sit down."  So now we are teaching her, too.  
So then we go to "W's" to teach him and he says "I just don't feel the fire" and we reply "Well then, share the gospel!"  He queries "With who?" and then his roommate walks in and we all stare at him and he goes "What?"  So now we have another Brazilian to teach!
I could go on and on.  And in fact, I will go on and on.  The next day, we go contacting on a college campus and this girl calls "Hey Elders!"   She's ANOTHER less-active member who isn't sure where to go to church and wants to be taught.  AND then, there's a guy who we contacted walking around an apartment complex.  He wasn't wearing a shirt and so we asked why.  And like the gospel.  One thing led to another and now we are teaching him, too. 

We also made pens last P-Day.  There's a member who makes pen and he had us over to make them.  It's sweet.  We also put "L" on a baptismal date FINALLY.  We had to monologue about how knowing the will of God and not doing it is a sin for a while, but it turned out right in the end.  Other news: "B's" baptism is this week, and "J" might be going to Mexico, "M" might have moved, but everything is awesome.  Haha I can't even begin to describe what all is acontecendo here but may I just say that the church is true and God's timing is perfect.
This week is going to be insanity.  We are organizing a trip to the temple lights x2, we have ZTM (Zone Training Meeting), a mission temple trip, and it's everyone's finals week, and "B's" baptism (into a different ward...long story) is on Saturday "Far, far away on Judea's Plains" and people are going home for the holidays and I love being once more swept away in the chaos of useful and pursuant existence.  
Which brings us to a fascinating gospel theme.  Identity.  I think I have discoursed on it here before but allow me a moment to express, once more, how essential it is.  If only we could grasp our identity.  Who we are and what it is exactly what that means.  The great commandment is to live up to who you are.  To do that, you must know yourself.  And you come to know yourself by knowing the Father, which comes through knowing the Son.  So around this Christmas time, come to know the Son and live up to who you are, because the fact is that you are so very special to Him.  And more than you wanting a relationship with him, He wants a better relationship with you.  So allow Him to have what He wants!

We also had stake conference this week.  It was out of our mission, but we got permission to go and it was so good and so uplifting.  The young single adult leadership is an all-star cast.  The thing that was said that was most powerful though to me, though, was about the temple.  It was "Consider what an acceptable sacrifice of temple worship is for you, and then do it."  How amazing is that?  It can't be done without setting a goal, committing, and then doing, so that's my invitation to you as the new year approaches.  Decide what an acceptable sacrifice in temple worship is for you and then do it!
There are so many blessings that only come through the temple.  So go and claim them!

Work hard pray hard!
Elder Molinaro