Monday, June 20, 2016

Weather whiplash! Almost got beat up. Credit where credit is due. Pics!

Hey guys!

Hot. Hot hot hot. Hot. This weather is making me trunky because it is reminding me of home. As most homes here don't have air conditioning, my companion and I just have two fans blasting on us all night. It's kind of fun and at the same time kind of annoying. I'm trying to focus on the work we do rather than the discomfort of the weather. :P Anybody know where to find a cheap AC unit? XD At night I go in and take a freezing cold shower just to convince myself that I am still in Quebec. It's a surprisingly pleasant experience. However, I have not yet reached the point where I am asking for the winter to come back. I'm not that desperate. :)

Oh. Another fun note. Do you know that moment where you're emailing home and you realize that you have exactly one year left in your mission? Yeah. It's a weird feeling. I'm trying to ignore it.

Fun stuff from this week. Well, my companion and I almost got beat up, so that was fun! We had parked on the side of this street and we had our windows down. We were searching for an address, and while Elder Blackwelder looked through a binder, I looked over and saw a man walking out of his home. He walked up to a car on the other side of the street. He looked a little bit terrifying - his head was shaved and he was covered in tattoos, and he carried what looked to be a permanent grimace - but there's plenty of terrifying people on the planet, and some of them can be very pleasant, so I waved at him and said hello. He stopped and looked at me and said, "Do we know each other?" I smiled back and said, "No." And he just looked at me and said, "So why did you just say hello to me." My smile was becoming a little bit difficult to hold. "Just to say hi. You know, being nice and stuff." And he just rolled his eyes, then turned around and started talking to this woman in her car. Then he turned around and walked back inside. Elder Blackwelder and I turned to each other and were like, "Wow. He was kind of rude." And then I started putting the address into the GPS. After a few seconds, Elder Blackwelder tensed up and said, "Dude. Dude. Dude. Dude." Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the same man walking out of his house toward us. I kept putting in the address, then I realized he was crossing the street to the car and looking right at me. At about the moment I was wondering how fast Staci could accelerate, he yelled out, "Hey!" So I looked at him, pretty sure I was about to be yanked through the window. He walked on up and crossed his arms and leaned up against the side of the car, with his face right in my window. I could smell alcohol and there were a lot of alarm bells going off in my head. Then he asked us if we were Jehovah's Witnesses (a really really well known religion here). We said we weren't.
"Well who are you then?"
We explained who we were and he said, "Here. Pull into my driveway, and come around behind my house. I wanna talk to you." Then he walked back behind his house.
For a solid few seconds, Elder Blackwelder and I didn't say anything. Then I pulled forward a ways (not into his driveway), but left the car in such a position that we could dive in at a moment's notice and burn rubber outta there. We had a very short discussion about the pros and cons of the situation and decided to go ahead and go back behind the house. And we very tensely approached the little gate that led into his backyard. As we walked up, we found our scary friend sitting around a table drinking beer with a few other slightly less scary men. One of them yelled out in super thick Quebecois, "Hey! You're the Mormons, right?" To which I responded that we were. And all of a sudden they invited us to sit down and he started explaining to us that he helped to build the chapel where we go to church. He talked about how much respect he had for the Mormons and how beautiful the chapel is. Then a little girl ran out and started running around the table. And right then we felt safe. :P Funny how a little toddler can do that to you. Anyways, we had a pretty cool conversation with these guys for a while and then we went on our way. It was pretty fun! :) But yeah! I didn't get beat up! Cool!

The biggest thought that has been on my mind this week is about my role as a missionary. I had some experiences this week that really made me think about what I can take credit for in this work. And the fact of the matter is, I can't take much credit at all. Although my role as a missionary is important, and I need to give it everything I have, there is very little credit - or blame - that I can take for the decisions of those I teach. When an investigator decides to keep a commitment, or to accept a baptismal date, or to keep the Word of Wisdom... the credit for that decision goes to their agency and the power of the Spirit changing their hearts. Likewise, when someone I teach decides NOT to keep a commitment, etc... they take responsibility. This fact does not diminish my responsibilities; I should still be working and praying and trying to do my very best. But in the end... it's not about me. I take full responsibility for all of my own decisions, not for those of anyone else. And I am responsible to do my best. To be exactly obedient and to talk to everyone and to study and pray and be humble and love those around me. I have a lot of work to do.

I think it is very common to become overloaded with a feeling of responsibility for the choices of others. But that simply isn't right. It isn't true and it isn't divine. Our responsibility with regards to others is to teach what we've learned with humility, to expound gospel principles with clarity, and to exhort to repentance with love. That is our calling as members of Christ's church. We are responsible for what WE do. So let us focus on what actions we can take, and give our all to do so.

I love you all!

En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber
Exchanges with Elder Caine and Elder Critchlow! :)

 Exchanges with Elder Sumsion and Elder Roubicek! :)

Sunset from up the hill looking out across the city.

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