BETA

To magnify his calling

"For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods . . . and the magnifying their calling. . . ." (D&C 84:33.)

Justin's cerebral palsy - something he's lived with since birth - limits his physical ability. He spends most of his waking hours in a motorized wheelchair. Some who watch him race through the neighborhood in his "cruiser" might think there are a few too many horses in that motor.

But that's Justin. Full speed ahead.

"He's over at our house constantly," said a gentle neighbor whose physical size is literally four or five times that of Justin. "We asked him the other day about the worn tires on his wheelchair. `People don't realize, these are my legs,' Justin told us.

"He goes everywhere. He's kind of the message center through the village. Not much happens without Justin knowing about it - and he spreads the word.

"And I've never - ever - heard him complain."

Justin's slight build and small frame belie his age.

So, a few weeks ago, when ward members watched him maneuver his wheelchair through the chapel - sacrament tray atop his chair-mounted serving tray - they were just a little surprised.

But terribly pleased.

"He was excited. He really wanted to pass the sacrament. He was really looking forward to it," said Justin's mother.

"Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel. . . ." (Ezek. 3:17.)

"As Justin approached the age of 12, we wanted to do everything possible to allow him to be fully involved," said Justin's insightful bishop. "We wanted him to be able to magnify his calling in the priesthood."

But for Justin, passing the sacrament presented some unusual challenges.

"We asked the Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidencies to ensure that Justin was trained and fully involved."

Because of the unusual circumstances, the first assistant in the priests quorum presidency arranged for some midweek training in passing the sacrament. That allowed Justin and the other deacons to work out details so on Sunday the sacrament could be passed in the proper spirit of reverence.

"And again, verily I say unto you, the duty of a president over the office of a deacon is to preside over twelve deacons, to sit in council with them, and to teach them their duty, edifying one another, as it is given according to the covenants." (D&C 107:85.)

"Everybody helped in the training," recalls Justin's quorum president. "The training was the same as with other deacons - yet it was different."

How?

"Well, his wheelchair can't go up stairs, so we changed our assignments so he doesn't have to go up on the stand. But it didn't feel any different. I guess we just treated him like anybody else."

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel. . . ." (Philip. 1:3-5.)

"We like to make sure Justin doesn't feel left out," a fellow quorum member said. "When we play basketball, he likes to be the ref."

"Sometimes when we play softball, he runs around the bases in his wheelchair," offered another.

"I feel sorry for him sometimes because he can't play basketball like the rest of us. But he tries to make the best of it," observed another.

"Whenever he's here, he feels a part of what we're doing.

"I guess I sort of take it for granted that I can walk. Justin helps me be thankful for what I have."

"And ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters. . . ." (Deut. 12:12.)

"The first time he passed the sacrament, he just beamed," exclaimed his mother. "He was so excited. He was thrilled. He beamed from head to toe.

"He's taken it upon himself to see that he performs his duties."

To magnify his calling.

Sorry, no more articles available