Monday, September 21, 2015

"Gangster" French, Charity, and More Pics!

Hi everybody!!!

Okay. Um. I know I've said this before. And I will probably say it again. A lot. But.


I just LOVE my mission. The people have finally started to open up to me, and I actually understand what they're saying! Sort of! I really only get like 30% of what they say. But hey, that's not bad for having been here for just over a month! :P These people are just the best people on the planet. The French has this strange sound to it... called Quebecois... and I'm actually beginning to like it. I feel like a French speaking gangster! :P We actually have this really cool French member here in our branch, Brother Denis ("duh-nee") who we visit each Friday and read the Book of Mormon out loud with while he corrects our French pronunciation. It's super helpful, and he's the greatest!

We've had some... interesting experiences. We had a meeting in Montreal this week. I was on exchanges in Victoriaville with Elder Bird (he's one of the elders I was in the MTC with, he's the greatest!) and the meeting was at 9 AM Thursday morning. Since Montreal is about 3 hours of driving (with traffic) from Victoriaville and we had to be an hour early to the meeting, Elder Bird and I had to wake up at about 4:30 in the morning so we could leave on time. Only to find out when we arrived in Montreal that the meeting was actually at 10 AM. So we took a 30 minute power nap with Elder Boscan and Elder Herring in the car (Elder Herring is Elder Bird's regular companion) and then went to a bakery down the street. First of all... French croissants are AMAZING. While we were eating our croissants, a Quebecois man walked by us on his way out the door. Elder Herring smiled and said "hello!" The Quebecois man immediately turned on us and started yelling at us and flipping us off. Elder Herring said, "Okay, have a nice day!" when the man finished with his schpeel about how evil we are, and then the man walked outside, turned in the window and looked me in the eye. He threw up both hands with his middle fingers up and mouthed a very profane word. It was an enlightening experience for me to realize that some people, no matter what religion they are in, don't quite understand what it means to be a Christian. If we believe in Christ, if we tell others that we believe He is the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind, then we have the responsibility to act as He would, no matter who we are speaking with or what their beliefs are. It is alright to believe different things; that is a part of life, a beautiful liberty we have today. But... charity goes so much farther than simply loving those who believe like we do. We've been asked to love our enemies, to bless them that curse us. So... I guess that's one of the biggest challenges I'm going to face. Considering... I have definitely been cursed quite a bit. :P

On that note, I would like to talk about charity a bit. Charity has been described as "the pure love of Christ." In a talk given by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve, he spoke on the character of Christ, on His tendency to "look outward when the natural tendency in all of us is to look inward." I would encourage any of you to search the life of Christ for examples of this, because they are numerous, and I don't have enough time to list them adequately. But our perfect example, our Redeemer, lived a life in which He was ignored, rejected, cursed at, spit on, denied, betrayed, and crucified. And yet He was willing to give every last drop of blood, every tear He ever cried, in order to allow us the possibility to repent of our sins and come unto Him. He laid down His life for every person who ever has lived, who lives today, and who ever will live. And yet we excuse ourselves from forgiving and loving those around us.
"What she did was unforgivable."'
"I can't trust him anymore."
"She's not putting any effort into fixing things, so why should I?"
I would present something I've learned about charity that I hadn't truly realized before. Charity is a willingness to love those around us, no matter who they are, or what they've done or are doing, even in the midst of our own trials. If a man could kneel in a garden of olive trees and shed drops of blood for you and I, who inevitably sin and fall short of His requirement to "be ye therefore perfect," then how much more need have we to love and forgive and put effort into serving those around us who fall short of our own manufactured expectations of them?
I invite all of you to work this week with me on our charity. Apologize to someone you've offended. Forgive someone who's offended you. Serve that neighbor who's treated you badly. This is His work and His glory. After His parable of the Good Samaritan, He extended the call to His disciples as well in times of old as today; "Go, and do thou likewise."

I love and miss each and every one of you. I feel your love and prayers and am thankful for the lessons I've learned from you. Never give up on yourself or on others! Life is too short, and eternity is too precious! En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber
 We visited Mont Arthabaska, just southeast of Victoriaville.
 My exchange with Elder Bird. Super fun! Two greenies taking on the town!
 Left to right: Javier, Jose Luis, Elder Boscan, Daniella, Brianna, Itza, Nathan, and Camila. Camila is an investigator, and JL, Daniella, Brianna and Itza are all members of the Lucero family. They're the greatest members ever! :)

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