Monday, September 19, 2016

Learning French sign language. Exact & immediate obedience brings MIRACLES!

Hi everyone!

Man. Typing on a French keyboard is super weird. It`s messing me up. Sheesh. I can`t figure out how to change this one to English.

Anyways! It`s been a pretty great week! We`ve been all over the place. Montréal still seems so big to me... kind of insane. Especially on bus and metro, where it takes a pretty good while to get across the island with all of the stops. It is nice that I don`t have to grit my teeth in the traffic, though. Counting the blessings. :)

So there`s this man in our ward who is deaf, and he speaks French sign language. Every Sunday at the beginning of the third hour of church, he comes up and teaches us a few words in sign language so we can better communicate with him. It`s super fun because I`ve learned how to say a good number of words in FSL now! :) Nothing crazy, but just things like how are you, church, I love Jesus Christ, etc. :) It`s super fun! It was pretty funny earlier this week, Elder Aulner and I were on the bus. We usually sit a little ways apart so that we can both talk to different people. There weren`t too many people on the bus, and Elder Aulner wanted to signal me to ask me a question. So he was trying to tell me by using hand signals and mouthing what he wanted to say, but I wasn`t getting it. Then he realized I wasn`t going to understand and signaled that he`d just tell me later. And all of a sudden we just both had the same idea at the same time and started speaking what little French sign language we knew from opposite ends of the bus. It was pretty funny (at least to us). :P We were just signing random words. Luckily there weren`t too many people around to look at us weird. :)

I`ve been thinking this week about an experience that occurs a couple times in the New Testament. There are two points in the course of time in the four Gospels in which several of the early Apostles are out fishing. The first can be found in Luke 5; I won`t quote it, but to paraphrase, the Savior approaches some fishermen, among which are Peter (at this point, Simon), James and John. They are cleaning their nets after a fruitless (fishless? but I digress) night of work. Christ gets into Peter`s boat and asks him to cast off a bit from shore. He then proceeds to teach the people for a time, and then invites Peter to go out a bit farther and let down his nets. Peter responds that they had caught nothing all night; but out of obedience and respect, decides to follow the Lord`s counsel.

The second instance occurs in John 21. After the Lord`s Resurrection, several of His Apostles, perhaps at a loss of what to do next, decided to return to what they`d always known. They cast off again into the Galilee and continued fishing. And yet for the whole night, they once again found themselves catching nothing. Doubtless a bit frustrated when morning came, they heard a call from the beach. The Savior (as they later recognized Him to be) invited them to cast their nets again, on the right side of the ship.

The results of these two instances are almost identical; an incredible load of fish, so great that the fishing ships themselves can barely hold the weight thereof.

As I thought of these stories, a question came to mind: what was the difference between the times of fruitless work and the moment of the bountiful catch? Was it really just the side of the boat from which they cast their nets, or the amount of total time spent fishing? I don`t think so. I think that the catalyst to their success in both instances was that of immediate and faithful obedience. No, they didn`t understand why. And with all their experience, it didn`t seem that this one further action should yield any results. And yet it did. It worked.

Do we sometimes try to make our obedience conditional on our experience and our understanding? How easy it can be to think that because this hasn`t worked time and time before, and because we think we`re experienced and we know what we`re doing, this particular commandment just "doesn`t apply" to us.

I have seen and felt for myself the truth of this statement: exact and immediate obedience brings miracles. It works! I know it does. So my invitation to all of you for this week is this: pick something that you`re making excuses for not doing, that you know you should be doing, and do it! And watch the Lord work miracles in your life. I promise He will! :)

I love and miss all of you!

En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber

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