Monday, May 30, 2016

Trip to Montreal. Change is difficult for I came on a mission...HA! The Refiner's Fire.

Hi everyone! :)

It's been a pretty great week. We spent what felt like forever driving to and from Montreal this past Wednesday and Thursday, but apart from that, it's been great! We had a good deal of rain come in, so that cooled things down and it's been very pleasant outside for the past few days. :) I love the rain. My companion thinks I'm crazy, but hey, I'm from Arizona. I'll take every drop of rain I can get. :)

We had some interesting experiences while in Montreal. I was on exchanges with another missionary while there and we were just walking down the street when two teenage girls started yelling at each other and arguing a little ways in front of us. They were walking ahead of us (there weren't too many people on the street) and we were just kind of awkwardly listening in to see what they were arguing about. It's possible that they weren't speaking French, but if they were they were speaking way too fast for me to catch anything. Anyways, they kind of stopped arguing and kept walking and we just figured okay, no problems. Then like a hundred feet farther down the road, one of the girls all of a sudden leaned over holding her stomach. We got closer to see if she was alright, but kept a couple feet away just in case she had a tendency to projectile vomit. :P But after a few seconds she looked up and said in French, "I can't breathe." And then just fell over on her side. Her eyelids were fluttering a bunch and I thought maybe she was having a seizure of some kind... I'm no doctor. Another man happened to be walking by in the opposite direction and so he was standing there with us. The other friend, this man, and us all just kind of stood there watching her for a solid second or two, not really sure what to do. Then the man turned to us and said, "Hey, we should probably call 911." So we called 911 and then everything went into super speed. The cops showed up, then an ambulance, then some other friend of theirs, and a bunch of convenient medical personnel happened to be passing by. We were kind of unsure what to do after that... she recovered quickly though and was able to get up and walk around before we left. The whole time I was just thinking, "I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED MORE CLOSELY WHEN I GOT MY FIRST AID MERIT BADGE DANG IT." Go to Scouts kids! You're gonna need it one day! :)

In other news... my trainer is getting married this summer to a sister missionary from France that he met while serving here in Quebec. You know that feeling when the people around you all start getting married? Yeah it's a weird feeling. I kind of don't like it. XD Mewage. Mewage is vut bwings us togevah today. And wuv. Twoo wuv.

For the record... that is an amazing movie.

Anyways. Things have just seemed a little hectic lately. Our mission president is going home in about a month and we're receiving a new mission president and that change is throwing me for a loop. Elder Peery is going home in about a week and that's just weird. In two weeks' time I will no longer have any companions in the mission field. I will be left all alone to write the sad story of my people. :(

With all of these changes and new situations and other stuff, I've been thinking a lot about growth. I'm usually the kind of person who really likes to have a good plan in place and to know what's going to happen. And changes are kind of difficult for me to handle. (hahaha. so I came on a mission. Equivalent to being claustrophobic and moving into a beaver dam.) But I realize often how much I have learned and grown with these changes I have experienced.

Sometimes changes can be really hard. Four months ago when I was transferred to Quebec from Victoriaville, I was pretty shaken up. There were a lot of new people, it was a completely different atmosphere, and everything was just very very different. Really, adjusting to missionary life in general has been one of the hardest changes I've ever had to make in my life. My heart and mind have been twisted and turned and molded throughout my time here, and I am no longer the same person that I was when I walked into the MTC. I don't think I could go back and be the same person I was before, or do the same things I did before. 

I love the terminology of the refiner's fire. We are placed into the furnace of affliction during our lives, usually more than once or twice. Our imperfect and mortal hearts and minds are cleansed and purified by the struggles through which we live, and we are gradually transformed and molded into the image our Master has designed for us. But I was thinking about this analogy and I realized something. The furnace into which the untempered steel or silver or gold is placed does not add new material or element to that which is being refined. Rather, it burns away the impure and imperfect elements from that which is most pure. In brief, the pure brilliant element was always present; it just took intense heat and the touch of the Master's hand to bring it out. Personally, I've always expected that the Lord will simply give me new qualities if I ask for them, pulling them from the heavens and infusing them into my soul. But I've come to recognize that we are all children of our Heavenly Father, created with the potential to become perfect and pure as He and our Savior are. He gives us struggles so that we can burn away the less pure elements of our divine spirits and shine brilliantly as a light unto the world. He does not give us struggles to make us unhappy, but to help us grow and to be literally purified of not only our sins but all of our imperfections.

I'm not saying I enjoy this process. But knowing why we must struggle and hurt and work so hard helps me to continue in faith and hope. And because I know that our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ love each of us so incredibly much, it is much easier to endure the refiner's fire, knowing I am in Their perfect hands.

I love you all.

En avant!
Elder Bryan McOmber

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