Sunday, February 23, 2014

From February 3, 2014: Brace Yourselves

Soooooooooooooooo.  Hi everyone!
'Twas a good week, strong and brave and true.  And yet, I figured out my new favorite word of the week.  And that word is "crutching."  Now crutching is more of an art form than a sport, but it can be considered both.  I did a lot of crutching this week.  It all started on Tuesday.  We were on splits (where the missionary companionship "splits" up for the evening and each of those Elders goes to teach with another set of missionaries who also split up for a few hours.  In that way, they learn from a new companion and can meet additional people) and we had Elder Sw. and I with a member and Elder Sh. and another Elder with him. 
Elder Sw. and I got home first.  We realized we did not have keys.  And then, as the intelligent people we are, we set about problem solving.  Noting the open door into our apartment which opens onto the balcony of our apartment on the second floor, we determined that Elder Sw. could hoist me up and, using my newly found arm strength, I could pull myself onto the balcony and from there have access to the apartment.  He hoisted.  For a glorious moment I ascended, reaching up as towards the clouds that I might grasp the balcony and win admittance into the glorious home above.  I'm not as tall as I thought, and I did not reach the balcony.  I began to descend.  Gravity, having taken hold on me, next took it's revenge.  The Trainer became the "Sprainer."  Groaning and laughing at the same time, we sat there for a second.  We then looked at each other and got the spare key from it's place, letting ourselves into the apartment.  Face palm.
So that's how I sprained my ankle this week.  Luckily, it didn't slow us down too much, and I've been crutching ever since.  It's healing up really well.  All your prayers are helping, so thank you!  We've taught almost 100 lessons in the past 3 weeks combined so it's going pretty well here.  Getting people to church is always the hard part but the most rewarding part, too.

What to say about this week.  I thought a lot this week about personal relationships with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and how that relationship a lot of the time is a measure of our happiness.  We all chose to put one relationship above all others in our lives.  The most oft-misprioritized relationship is that with the self.  If you are doing everything to serve yourself, you will never ever, ever be happy worlds without end because all your efforts will be misdirected.  When you put your relationship with others first, you have happiness for a season, but eventually someone lets you down or something happens and that happiness is gone.  When you put your trust, though, in God and choose to have a relationship with Christ, you are choosing to focus on and put trust in someone who will never ever, ever let you down. 
People are fallible.  We all mess up.  So why not put your trust in the Being who will never ever, ever fail you?  Deut 31:6 instructs us that He will never fail or forsake us, and I have a personal testimony that that is true.  Other people let us down.  Sometimes we are scared to let them get to close to us.  But with Christ we have the assurance that we will never be left alone. 
A thought question for you: what do you think Christ thinks of you? 

Ponder on that for a moment.  Do you think He thinks of you at all?  He does.  We find in the Book of Mormon discourses on how we will never be forgotten of Him because He has engraven us upon the very palms of His hands.  We are His.  And the sooner we accept and begin to try to live up to that fact, the better.  He does think of us.  And it's fondly.
I'll leave you to ponder on that question, but if you're having trouble answering it, look at a picture of Christ for a minute and think about what He would say to you if it was really Him looking at you and being with you.  What would you say to Him?  And is that how you want it to be?
That relationship is more formative and eternal than anything else.  Develop it.  Work at it.  If you haven't yet, start it.  Because it will make a world of difference in the end. 
I'm doing well.  I love Arizona.  I love the people and the craziness.   I love the ups and the downs and the paperwork and the sweat from crutching down 36th street, and the people who drive up to jeer and end up giving us their phone number and address.  I love the taunts and the people who find 18 year olds in a shirts and ties threatening enough to invite us to stay away from their families.  It's the scriptures, it's the fulfilled and fulfilling prophecies, it's the underlying plan, and it's the slowly removing the scales of darkness from my own eyes.  It's the work, it's the glory.   And it's only the beginning.

Elder Molinaro

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