The Saratov Approach (2013)

saratov-approachTwo missionaries in Russia are kidnapped and held for ransom by someone who appears to be a lost member of ‘N Sync.


Some have argued over how to pronounce this title, so I’m just going to end the debate right now. There are four acceptable ways to pronounce the title:

  • The “SA-ra-tov” Approach
  • The “Sa-RA-tov” Approach
  • The “Sa-ra-TOV” Approach
  • The Other Side of Heaven, Part II

Use any of those pronunciations and people should know what movie you’re talking about.

By the way, this film is actually based on a true story. And you know it’s true because it has Bill Clinton in it, who, as we all know, is the very embodiment of truth.

OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: I once had a gun pulled on me when I was a missionary in Louisiana. All we did was knock, and this thug-looking guy swung open the door with a revolver in his hand, paused, and said, “Sorry, I thought you were somebody else” and invited us inside. Yeah, that 45-minute visit with a gun sitting on the coffee table wasn’t awkward at all.

The experience of these two missionaries in Russia reminds me of something taught earlier this year by David A. Bednar (whom we are hearing from today at General Conference):

mormon missionaries russia movie“As we are yoked with [Jesus Christ] through sacred covenants and receive the enabling power of His Atonement in our lives, we increasingly will seek to understand and live according to His will. We also will pray for the strength to learn from, change, or accept our circumstances rather than praying relentlessly for God to change our circumstances according to our will.”

Faith in God, therefore, must also include faith in God’s will. So when the heartfelt prayers for what we desire seem to go unanswered, it is not because God is non-existent or indifferent to our needs, but because He has something better in mind — something that will lead us to the place, or make us the person, that He intended all along.

The Lord is not our slave. We are His. And He will strengthen His prayerful servants who exercise faith with patience.

And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.” — Mosiah 24:15


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