Monday, February 1, 2016

My First Transfer...SO Sad to Leave! Here I Come Downtown Quebec City!

Hi guys!

I'm dead.

I'm really, really dead.

I'm seriously just... dead.

So... I have been transferred. In two days, I am supposed to board a bus to go to downtown Quebec City, where I will be serving with Elder Peery. I have been unable to sleep for the past two nights. It's like I'm leaving home all over again. I've grown to love the people in Victoriaville so much; the thought of living in a large city (with the accompanying TERRIBLE traffic) almost drives me to tears. I'm... just... I don't know how to react. I'm going to miss everyone so much. The good news is that I will be remaining in the same stake (for those of you who aren't LDS, that means a group of congregations who all meet together twice a year), so when we have stake conferences, I will be seeing the members from Victoriaville. So at least there's that. And I will still be able to go on exchanges with Elder Gutierrez. So... life goes on. I guess this is the mission. I know this call comes from the Lord, and so I will fulfil it to the best of my ability, knowing He will carry me to greater heights than I can reach on my own.

Normally, I would place something funny into this letter. Well. I'm actually going completely insane and am struggling just to focus with all of the stress I have right now; so humor is (amazingly) not on the forefront of my mind at this current point in time. I guess if you would like something to laugh at, picture my face when I heard I was being transferred. I don't think my jaw has come up from the floor since (which makes eating a struggle). But... yeah. The state of my mind is pretty hilarious, you could say.

I'm just freaking out.

To finish, I would like to share an experience I had this week.

For those of you who know me pretty well, you know that I am a very critical person; mostly of myself. I tend to get down on myself when things aren't going my way, and I start to blame all of the problems surrounding me on my own imperfections. (Do not do this. This is not smart. Just for the record.)

Well, I don't know if anybody back home knows this, but the culture of Quebec is very standoffish towards religions in general, due to some events in its history related to religion. We have been threatened, yelled at, insulted, ignored, flipped off, and had doors slammed in our faces more times than I can even begin to count. Multiple people have looked me in the eyes as I testified of the Savior and told me that I shouldn't be here, that I should be back in the United States at school, learning how the world actually works and keeping my faith to myself.

As I have been prone to do, I began to blame all of these struggles on myself. I got pretty low. I had some nights where I would come home and just want to hit something, and other nights where I just wanted to sit in the corner and ignore everything for a while. I was pretty darn depressed. I was certain that if I could just be better, everything would magically start going my way. No, I wasn't expecting people to come by the thousands, begging to be baptized. But I was very, very, very low in my self-esteem and self-confidence.

I talked to my mission president.

I would like to share with all of you what he shared with me.

Perfection is a very strong word. It is a state of being, a state of completion in which we, by definition, can be no better. And when we expect this of ourselves, we will never live up to that standard. Because perfection is the end goal. And it is quite a long staircase to get there.

The work and glory of our Heavenly Father is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. The term "bring to pass" does not denote an instant change, as in "let there be light." Not at all. And when the Savior said, "Be ye therefore perfect," He was describing a process, not a flip of a switch. That is why He included the word "therefore." The "therefore" was referring to His teachings in His Sermon on the Mount, which had preceded His final statement in Matthew 5:48. It is through TRYING, through our own EFFORT to live His gospel, and through the marvelous gift of repentance through the perfect Atonement of Jesus Christ that we can stay on that path that eventually leads to perfection. Of course we're imperfect! That's part of life, that's being human!

So find the balance. Don't place the bar so low that you don't have to stretch to reach it; but don't place it so high that the achievement is impossible. The Lord desires progress toward perfection from us; not the state itself; not yet.

"Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given; for verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts."

Doctrine and Covenants 46:9

I love the Lord. I will strive to give Him everything I have, and when I fail, I will use the incredible gift of His Atonement to help me back onto the path to perfection. I love our Father in Heaven, and I will testify of Him and His Son to anyone who will listen, and even those who won't.

En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber
The Furlano family! They invited us to lunch to see me off to Quebec. I'm gonna miss them a lot. They're the best! :)

 He's just the cutest kid ever. I'm gonna miss Esteban.
 Quebec sunsets... pas pire.

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