Monday, October 24, 2016

Soaked and happy! Are we not all beggars?

Hello everyone! :)

It's been a pretty great week.

Friday was super fun. We were on exchanges with the Laurier elders; I was with Elder Yerke, a missionary who came in with Elder Aulner. Super fun exchange. It was raining ALL day for like the third day in a row, and it was hilarious because neither of us remembered an umbrella (sorry, Mom... I promise I remembered it after that) and we had to walk in the rain for a solid 2 hours. It was super cool though because we went ahead and just had fun with it. I was that dorky guy wearing a very wet sweater, soaked to the skin, singing a song about how God is good and life ain't that bad. Elder Yerke looked at me several times and just laughed. I suppose I was a sight to behold. But it was super cool because we ended up finding several people in the rain who were interested in hearing our message.

I have had a scripture on my mind this week. In the Book of Mormon, there was a righteous king named Benjamin who was preparing to hand over the kingdom to his son, Mosiah. Before he did, he wanted to give a last discourse to the people. In this discourse, he spoke of the importance of helping those less fortunate than ourselves. He said, 

"And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish. Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just— but I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. For behold, are we not all beggars? ...and now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another."

Here in Montreal, I have met a lot of beggars. I don't always have money to give them. I rarely do. But I have been thinking about this scripture.

Are we not all beggars?

How many times have I come to the Lord, begging again for forgiveness after having broken my promises to Him?

How many times have I knelt in prayer, begging Him to watch over my family, my friends, my companion, myself?

How many times have I cried out to Him, begging for comfort and healing in my moments of despair and guilt and pain?

Am I not, myself, a beggar?

And yet sometimes I find it so easy to turn away those who are begging for my help, be it temporal or spiritual.

I look back on so many moments where I could have given aid and I turned away. Like the Levite and the priest, I passed by on the other side, leaving the work of the Savior I profess to follow to be done by another good Samaritan.

We owe Him everything. He made no excuses in Gethsemane. He made no excuses before Pilate.  He made no excuses on Golgotha.

How can I then turn and make excuse to not help my brother or sister, for whom He suffered just as much pain as for myself? We may not always have money to give; the aid those around us need may not even be financial. But what excuse do I have to not learn their name? To talk to them for a moment and smile and show them His love?

Jesus Christ never refuses us succor. He runs to our aid.

Let us do the same for every one of His brothers and sisters - which is everyone - and let us do it without excuse and without complaint.

For, as Benjamin stated, are we not all beggars?

En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber

Monday, October 17, 2016

Here comes the cold! Silly family on the metro (reminds me of mine)! Funniest appointment EVER. I'M in charge of MY happiness. Pics!

Hey guys! :)

It`s been a pretty good week. Full of adventures. It has also been getting colder. I will probably be repeating that statement for the next 6 months. Just for the record.

We had some very strange expériences this week. For one, we were on the metro last night and there was this family of three (a mother, a father, and their daughter) sitting near me. Elder Aulner was sitting down the metro car a little ways (we usually don`t sit right next to each other). Well anyways, this father and his daughter were joking around. But then all of a sudden the dad went into overdrive clown mode. It was like 8h30 on a Sunday night and he was yelling in a super high pitched voice about addition and subtraction (I think he was correcting the daughter`s homework or something). The whole metro was busting up laughing, as was their family. The mother kept trying to get him and her daughter to calm down, but she couldn`t stop laughing herself. I had to look out the window and hide my grin behind my hand. It reminded me quite a bit of my family. :P I looked over at Elder Aulner and he was dying laughing. It was tough not to laugh when the man next to you kept yelling "Zero plus zero minus zero plus zero equals zero!" followed by a maniacal clown laugh. Quite the experience.

I don`t know what it was about yesterday, but we also had a fun time where Elder Aulner and I went into a first appointment with a man who we`d met on the street a few weeks ago. He was a little weird, but not creepy or anything and so we went to see him and his wife. Well, it turned out to be a very strange experience... during the course of the lesson, I was trying really hard to focus on what the man was explaining about the evil in the world when I heard the wife say very loudly to Elder Aulner, "WHAT`S YOUR NAME?!" To which he responded respectfully, "Elder Aulner." She then repeated, "Howler Esther" about six times (I think that was what she thought his name was). The whole time, she was holding his hand between both of hers. I refocused on what the man was saying, but about 20 seconds later, I looked back over to see her kissing Elder Aulner`s hand. He was looking at me like, "THIS IS NOT COVERED IN THE MISSIONARY HANDBOOK WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO" and I was BARELY avoiding busting up laughing. She then asked him if he was married, to which he responded (truthfully but reluctantly), "Not yet." She then yelled, "YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO GET MARRIED YOU KNOW." Now I was REALLY trying not to laugh. I had to cover my mouth while trying to listen to this man speak but it was so hard to hear him over his wife, especially since he had gone off on some sort of tangent about dicators and terrorists. We very quickly ended the appointment and invited them to read a brochure we`d left them and call us if they had any questions. Funniest appointment I`ve ever had.

I think the greatest lesson I learned this week was about attitude. I got some great advice about doing missionary work from another elder who I really look up to. He was relating an experience he`d had when he was upset at how his day was going and how nobody seemed to be interested. He then said, "I realized something. I am the one who chooses what my attitude is. My happiness is not decided by the things that happen to me."

I`ve heard this statement before, but I`ve always disregarded it. Of course our happiness is determined by the events around us! Right?

No! False! Because you know what? I took this elder`s advice to heart and it WORKED! I went out and I decided that no matter what happened I was going to smile and I was going to talk to people who I`d just met like we`d been best friends since 3rd grade. And you know what? I freaked out some people! But it was super fun and once they climbed back down from the ceiling we had some great conversations!

People love being around happy people. Happy people just draw others to them. So my invitation to each of you this week is this: choose joy. Choose happiness. Let it eminate from you and watch how your life changes. This isn`t "faking it til you make it," this is faith becoming a principle of action, and I testify that it works! 

I love you all! En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber

The Hochelaga district (which was separated this past transfer). Left to right: Sœur Dinge, Sœur Burnah, Elder Burnah, Sœur Bennett, Sœur Xiong, Sœur Johnson, Elder Bourdeau, Elder Udave, Elder Christensen, Sœur Christensen, Elder Tallon, Elder Yerke, Elder Aulner, and me doing some strange Superman pose. Nah, I don`t know why I did that.

The sun was shining really cool through this tree outside our window. I liked it so I took a picture. :)

General Conference!

 This was a super creepy cathedral at night, but my camera made it less creepy. Darn technology.