Monday, April 4, 2016

Staci! LOVED Conference. The Earth Runs on Charity - the Pure Love of Christ. Don't EVER Give Up!

Hey everyone! :)

So, it's been a pretty great week. A little bit of a rough start, but after the first couple days, things really started looking up and I've had a pretty good time.

I guess I should start off by saying that I made Heath Cake on Tuesday for my birthday (a little late, but ca va). And... it's almost gone. My companion and I have seriously flown through that cake like it was nothing. It's really a little sad because with every bite we were adding another mile of running in our heads to our exercises... once the temperature finally reaches above freezing. Okay Canada, we get it! It's cold! Can we go back to non-glacial climates now? It's April! :P But seriously. It has dropped back below freezing this week and I am rather upset.

Hahaha. So... last week the mission office decided to give us a new truck to replace our car. It is a white 2016 Chevy Colorado (happy birthday to me! :P). And we've been debating what to name her. We brought the issue to our district after district meeting (that's where a small group of missionaries from the same area, or "district", meet each week), and we decided on a pretty good name. After going through several very unsuitable names (Shanaynay was mentioned, as well as Shaniqua and Jessica/Jessiqua), we managed to all come to the conclusion that we were going to name her Staci, with an "i." Staci has treated us well, although we've had our arguments. It is not uncommon for us to hit an unseen pothole and start yelling, "STACI! Why didn't you warn us?"

We're easily entertained.

I gotta say, I loved General Conference. I loved it so much. The talks were all amazing. I especially liked those given by Elder David A. Bednar and Elder M. Russell Ballard in the Saturday Afternoon Session, as well as that given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in the Sunday Afternoon Session. All in all, I'd say Elder Holland's was my favorite. But I want to talk about the biggest overarching message I felt this General Conference. And that message was love.

Love is an interesting word. We use it so easily, and yet true, unshakable, perfect love is one of the hardest things on this earth to obtain for ourselves. This kind of love is referred to in the scriptures as "charity." In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Mormon states in a letter to his son Moroni,

"And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail— but charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him." (Moroni 7:45-47)

Do you want to know what the universe runs on? What the reason for our very being on the earth is? It's this. It's charity. The pure love of Christ, possessed by both Him and our Father in Heaven. We were placed here on Earth because Heavenly Father loves us enough to let us leave His side for a time, so we can learn and grow and become more like Him. The reason behind everything He does is charity. It's His nature, His character, His most defining characteristic. He gave everything for us, up to and including His own Beloved and Perfect Son.

We seek so much after happiness in this life, and yet we seem to look so easily in all the wrong places. We search for pleasure, for excitement, for adrenaline.

True love is not found in serving ourselves, but in losing ourselves. When Christ said, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it." We lose our lives in loving others. Are you looking to be truly happy? When you lie down at night and you have your thoughts to yourself, and you feel that uncomfortable hole inside and don't know how to fill it, where can you look? What can you do?

Be long-suffering.
Be kind.
Envy not.
Seek out the stranger, the outcast.
Keep your temper.
Watch your thoughts.
Take no pleasure in sin.
Be honest.
Choose to have faith.
Have hope in Christ and His Atonement and His love for you.
And above all, NEVER give up! Not on others, not on yourself, and not EVER on the Lord!

Our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ love us FAR too much to let us down, no matter how far we may have fallen, and no matter how distant They may seem. No matter how far from our potential we feel. The greatest thing about the Atonement of Christ is that it allows Him to meet us where we are, not at some distant checkpoint in the distance. The Creator of Heaven and Earth is NOT a coach who meets us at the finish line, but one who runs the race with us, and when we just can't seem to make that next climb, He stoops down and pulls us onto His back and He carries us until we can get back on our feet again.

So my challenge this week is this: don't you dare give up. Don't you ever, ever, ever give up. If you try, I will drive Staci down to wherever you live and I will find you and I will shake you. This is too important. This truth is too precious to me, and you are too precious to Him.

En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber

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