Monday, November 28, 2016

Miracles. Running into people from home! Singing on the Metro. When everything crumbles, lean on the Savior. Pics!

Hey guys!

It was a good week. :) For starters, I was able to open up my Christmas package (thanks to my wonderful family! :) :) :)) and then we just had some really cool miracles throughout the week.

Oh! And I have a new companion! His name is Elder Colunga and he is from West Valley, Utah. He speaks Spanish, which makes my third companion who is fluent in Spanish. Crazy, right? :)

Also... super crazy moment in district meeting. We were talking with the sisters serving in the YSA branch. One of them just arrived in the mission this past week; her name is Sister Davis. In the course of the conversation, it came up that I had lived in Houston, Texas for around 7 years. 

Sister Davis: "Wait. Where in Houston?"
Me: "Pearland." 
Sister Davis: "No. Way. Do you remember the Davis family?"
Me: "Holy cow. Wait a second. Are you Lauren Davis?!?!?!?!"
Sister Davis: "I knew you looked familiar!!"
Me: "Whaaaaaaaaaatttt?!?"

So like... yeah! Turns out, Sister Davis and I actually were in the same ward for like 5 or 6 years when I lived there! It was super crazy! Small world! :)

Another funny experience. I was with Elder Colunga and we were heading home for the night. We had gotten off of the bus and we were walking back when we passed these two guys who are often just hanging out around the metro. I know most of their names by now, so I started talking to them and we asked them if we could do anything for them. They asked for some money, which we didn't have, but we asked if there was anything else we could do. To which one of them said, "Sing us a song." So... we sang "Aimez Vos Frères," one of the only hymns in French that I know by heart. (It's "Love One Another" in English) They loved it! It was a great way to end the night. :)

My first invitation for all of you is this: starting the 1st of December, all of you should go to
 and start #lighttheworld. In 25 ways, over 25 days, each one of us can find a way to light the world, as the Savior did and does. You can go and watch the video right now at

I had a really cool experience last night in which I was able to converse with someone who really... gets it. This man is from Haiti and he was there when the earthquake hit some years ago. His office building crumbled around him and many of his colleagues died in the destruction. He spent 24 hours buried under rubble, not knowing whether or not his son and his wife, pregnant with his second son, were still okay (thankfully, they were alright). He was pulled out the next day and over the next few months had to have one of his feet amputated to stop an infection.

He sat in front of me and thanked the Lord for his blessings. I have never seen this man frown. He is always incredibly full of joy. Being around him makes me happy. I love this man. And he has gone through so many different trials. So I asked him, "How do you stay so happy? I would think you're not dealing with any problems at all." And he said, "I decided, long before any of these things happened, how I would react in trials. I learned to remember that all that I have comes from God, and that nothing I have is truly mine - except my will. I could lose all of it, my family, my home, my job, my life... but I can decide how I react. And I choose to lean on the Savior. He has made me promises and I know He will keep them and in the end it will all be for my good. When everything else crumbles, I lean on the Savior."

That is my second invitation for you all. That is what I have committed to be better at this week.

When everything else crumbles, lean on the Savior.

En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber

Last picture with Elder Aulner. :(

First picture with Elder Colunga! :)

Sister Davis! (So... I had just jumped into this photo when it was taken... thus my weird pose and my bag is in there....)

Monday, November 21, 2016

It's snowing!! We absolutely CAN choose our attitude. Happiness lies in gratitude! Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey everybody!

So... it`s winter. As I am typing here at the library, there is about an inch or two of snow on the ground. It started falling last night while we were on our way home and hasn`t really stopped for too long since... but it`s not too cold so it may not stick (crossing my fingers). :) I threw the first snowball of my last Canadian winter last night... I may or may not have hit Elder Aulner in the shoulder... on camera. No biggy. I may go into the MLB when I get home. Who knows?

Anyways, we got transfer calls last night... and it was kind of crazy. Elder Aulner will be going to Cornwall, a city in Ontario, speaking English (his French is already crazy good so that didn`t surprise me too much). I`ll describe to you all how the rest of the call went.

"Elder McOmber, how do you feel about French?"

"Oh poop. Don`t tell me they`re kicking us both out."

"Actually, you`re growing your family tree."


"Your new companion is very experienced and knows what he`s doing. His name is Elder.... greenie." (if you don`t know, a "greenie" is a term used pretty often to refer to a missionary who is fresh out of the Missionary Training Center)

So.... I will be receiving another new missionary this Wednesday. Which gives me a few days to do all the freaking out that I want. Which... I have been. :P Because, you know, why not stress myself out and get no sleep?

Other than that, this week has been full of a lot of walking. :) Not complaining... it keeps me healthy!

I`ve learned a lot this week about attitude. Lately missionary work has seemed pretty difficult, with a lot of cancelled appointments and a lot of walking.

We have to choose to be cheerful. I can`t tell you how bad things seem to go when I give in and decide that I`m just gonna have a bad day. I start to see everything through a darker lense and I stop seeing the blessings. And then I find myself at the end of the day saying, "Wow. Today was a really bad day."

Well, duh! I made it that way!

I remember when I was a kid, I was getting into the car after church one day. I turned and saw this man walk by and my dad was talking with him for a second and then he walked away. My dad turned to me and said something that has stuck with me in the 10 or 12 years since. He said, "That man is one of the happiest men I know. The world could be crashing down around him and he would say, `Man, this is such a cool crash.`" In my mind at the time, I thought, "What, is he crazy? If the world is crashing down, hide or something!" But this experience has stuck with me ever since, and seems to always come to mind when I`m having a "bad day." And immediately, one part of my brain says, "Sure. Right. I don`t think it`s that easy to just choose to be happy." And for some silly reason I choose far too often to listen to that voice and then I have a bad day.

I have come to know for myself that happiness lies in gratitude. Why? Because our perspective is different. The events in our lives may not change, but our way of seeing life does. Have you ever looked at one of those black and white images where one person says it`s an old lady and another person says it`s a young woman? (We talked about these in my psychology class one time) The thing is, if you focus hard enough, you can change the way you see the image. It was amazing to see how much effort some of the kids in my class would focus to try and see the other image! It was such an uneventful thing, and yet we all were trying to see it the other way. And after a little effort, we all could!

My point is, we have to change our perspective. We have to look for the good; flip the image, if you will. There are times where it takes a little more focus to flip our perspective around; it`s a lifestyle change. But eventually, our spiritual "eyes" will adjust to the new way of seeing things. So the commitment I have given myself for this week (and that I extend to all of you) is this: every time the moment comes when you want to complain or see fault, mentally or vocally, replace it with a blessing you are grateful for, and try not to think of the same blessings as you have before. Notice the good! Seek out the smallest tender mercies, and suddenly you will recognize that the Lord has really blessed you more abundantly than you can fathom.

I know God lives. I know He loves us. Happy Thanksgiving! :)

En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber

Exchange with Elder Roubicek! :)



Last pic with Elder Aulner. :(

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Lord expects our best efforts...give it our all...even when it's hard. It's worth it!

Hey everybody!

So, it`s been kind of a tough week. Not too many fun expériences, but we did have a great zone conference with Elder Bennett of the Seventy. He came to visit our mission, and he reminded us how much we really have to put into this work if we want to see the miracles the Lord wants to give us, but makes conditional on our obedience.

I don`t have too much to say about this week, other than what my thoughts have been focused on since our meeting with Elder Bennett.

The Lord asks us only for things that He knows we can give, and He promises us that we will be blessed beyond measure for doing those things. I don`t know why it is sometimes so difficult for me to get up and get moving; I don`t know why I wake up sometimes without the desire to go out and talk to people. But I do. And I try to talk to as many people as I can. And sometimes there are days when opposition is real and people are cruel and it seems that no matter how big I try to smile and no matter how much I testify and no matter how many times I push through the fear and discouragement and talk to person after person, everybody I talk to just doesn`t care. There are days where I feel very, very ineffective. There are days where I don`t give it my all. There are days where I feel like my work doesn`t count for anything. And that hurts.

I have been reminded this week that the Lord expects our best. Every time I walk up to somebody, my success has absolutely nothing to do with their response.

He asks us to give it our all. And it`s hard. And there isn`t always an immediate outward result. The scripture doesn`t go, "If ye want immediate success, keep My commandments." Christ says, "If ye love Me, keep My commandments."

If we love Him.

I could spend the rest of my mission talking to thousands of uninterested people and it would be worth it. Because I love Him. I love Jesus Christ. He is my strength and my support. He is there for me when nobody else is, when nobody else could be.

We are effective, we are doing everything that could possibly be expected of us, if we love Christ so much that we will keep all of His commandments. If we do our best, it is always enough. And when we don`t, we repent, and we try again.

This gospel is real. It is true. It is incredible. And I love it.

En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber

Monday, November 7, 2016

One more reason I miss my sister! :) Growing a testimony...God can REMIND us of things we used to know, but may not now remember. Pics!

Hey guys!

So it`s been a pretty warm week. My coat gets a little too hot sometimes... people tend to ask me why I`m dressed so warm sometimes and I respond, "I`m from Arizona." Turns into a great contacting tool! :) But yeah; it`s been pretty pleasant this past week. :)

Probably the greatest moment of this week happened while I was on exchanges with Elder Sykes. He and his companion live in the same apartment as 2 other missionaries who are called in Mandarin. While we were doing our nightly planning, they came in and started talking to us. Turns out Elder Lan (one of the Mandarin elders) knew a guy who taught him how to give killer shoulder massages. So we finished our nightly planning while Elder Lan gave us shoulder massages. Sometimes you`ll do anything to lose some stress. XD Honestly, probably one of the biggest things I miss from back home is getting back scratches from my sister... but I suppose sacrifice is a part of conversion. :P

I was sitting in church yesterday, listening to a great talk about the importance of writing in our personal journals (no, I`m not joking, it was awesome) and while the talk was being given I had one of those moments where a totally unrelated but inspired thought enters my mind and I learn something cool. I`ve been thinking a lot lately about testimonies; more specifically, how to grow our testimonies.

Before this life, we lived with Heavenly Father. We did not have a body of flesh and bone, but we were spirits, and we looked just like we do now. As the Lord says to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee." We lived with Him before, and He created an amazing plan of happiness to allow us to become perfect like He is and have all the blessings that He does. He taught us of this plan, and we learned and understood the importance of Jesus Christ and His gospel.

Now I`m approaching my point. We knew before we ever came here to earth that God is our loving Heavenly Father. We knew that our families could be together forever. We knew that Jesus Christ is our Savior and our Redeemer. We knew the truthfulness of His gospel. But when we were sent here to earth, we had to forget these things, in order that we could walk by faith and not by sight. Why? Because faith is a building block for our souls; we need faith to grow.

Here is the thought that crossed my mind yesterday; it is a point I have read before but I think I`ve gained a greater understanding of it:

Growing a testimony is not introducing new material to our souls; it is reminding our spirit of what we already know, but cannot recall. When we ask if something is true, we are not asking the Lord to force a new truth into us; we`re not asking Him to place a square peg in a round hole, as you will. We are simply asking Him to remind us of what we already know deep down in our hearts. In effect, we already know it.

Sometimes we all need that reconfirmation that something we love and believe is true. It is not a sin to ask again, to ask the Lord to remind us of the answers we have received to past prayers. I believe we can each ask again to know the truth of the Book of Mormon, of modern prophets, of the Restoration of Christ`s Church, of the role of Jesus Christ, and of the reality of God and His love for us.

I love you all! En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber

The new district! From left to right: me, Elder Aulner, Elder Saunders, Elder Sykes, Elder Roubicek, Sister Johnson, Sister Dinge, Elder Tallon, Elder Yerke, Elder Christensen, Sister Christensen, and Elder Landetta.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Sometimes things are just tough. Stop relying on you, and start relying on Me. Being COMPLETELY obedient to the Lord.

Hello people :)

It's been kind of a tough week. Not horrible... just a little bit frustrating. You know those weeks when everyone cancels the day of the lesson when you've already taken the metro the 20 or 30 minutes to their area? It was one of those weeks. Honestly, by the end of the week it was kind of funny because we'd passed the angry phase and we'd moved into that helpless laughter phase. This week will be better. :)

One thing that was super cool this week happened at church yesterday. My companion and I were walking around greeting people before church started and getting things organized when I looked over at the hallway just in time to see somebody pass at the doorway who I recognized... it was one of our investigators who we had lazily neglected to invite to church... and yet he came anyway! And he brought his girlfriend! It was super awesome. I took it as the Lord's way of saying, "Elder McOmber, I can do this with or without you. I prefer with you, but you'd better step it up."

Which leads to the last point I want to share. I had kind of a sack cloth and ashes moment last night as I was praying; it's something very special to me but I would like to share it with you all.

As I was praying, I was feeling very inadequate and very unprepared for the responsibilities I have right now. I remember very clearly saying, "Father, I don't feel good enough to do this. I don't feel like I'm living up to the expectations and I feel like I'm failing." 

And then I felt something. I didn't hear an audible voice, but these words came to my mind very clearly.

"Elder McOmber, that is because you are relying on you. Stop relying on you and start relying on Me."

I was somewhat taken aback by the clarity and the speed of the response. After a few seconds, I simply asked, "How?"

To which I received one word in answer.


I am not a disobedient missionary; I wake up on time, I go to bed on time, I don't watch movies or anything silly and clearly disobedient like that. But, these last few weeks have been a struggle in terms of my being "anxiously engaged." I seemed to be finding excuses to avoid aspects of missionary work that are harder, trying to take the easy route. I was becoming a Pharisee, outwardly obedient but inwardly wayward.

There comes a moment for each of us, usually pretty often, in which we have to make a decision between good, better, and best - which usually correlates to hard, harder, and hardest. Sometimes we can try and make excuses to take the easier route. At least, I definitely do. 

So... let's quit it. Because the road from Jerusalem to Calvary certainly wasn't the easy route; yet there was One who made no excuses. I have a quote that I love by (I believe) Alistair Cooke which goes, "A professional is someone who can do his best when he doesn't particularly feel like it." Well, I want to change it a bit and say, "A disciple of Christ is someone who can do his best when he doesn't particularly feel like it."

So when we don't particularly feel like it - how lucky we are, for that is our chance to truly show our faith and our level of conversion!

En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber