Monday, February 6, 2017

I'm not dead!😀 Forgiveness is real...Christ makes us is WONDERFUL!

Hey everybody! :)

I am not dead! :) I just love not being dead. We`ve spent a good deal of this week running all over the creation and trying to adjust to the new schedule as well as the changing schedules of our investigators and members. Pretty entertaining. I`ve discovered something (or rediscovered) about myself: I can get frustrated with change. Just adjusting my habits and mindset is a bit awkward mentally and can put me in a little bit of a touchy mood. But I`ve been working on it and this week has gone pretty well. :)

As I sit here typing, Elder Colunga and I have some pork marinating in our fridge back home. We ate with a Haitian family this week and they fed us a bunch of Haitian dishes... and I have decided I really need to go to Haiti. One of the dishes is called "griot" (or something in that general spelling... I can say it in French though!). It`s basically marinated pork that you boil and fry and serve with plantains and I am learning how to make it so I can make it for my family when I get home (you`re welcome, guys). :)

I was sitting in bed one night this week, thinking about a bunch of things, and the topic of forgiveness came to mind. For those of you who know me well, you will know that my anchor is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The first thing I ever truly learned and knew for myself is that Jesus Christ is real and that He is our Savior. And throughout my life, I have trusted in Him, in His perfection, His example, and His willingness to let me try again, and again, and again, and again. But I`m not sure how much I let that faith in Him turn into hope, recognizing just how entirely His promise of forgiveness applies to me and to each one of us, personally.

I`ve always strived to be perfect. I can be pretty critical, most especially of myself, and no matter how well I do something, I always tend to focus on what I didn`t do right. I was occasionally jokingly called the Hulk by my friends because after every soccer game, I would usually walk off the field looking angry because I could only focus on what I hadn`t done right. Sometimes no matter how well I did, as soon as I made a mistake it would just pile on top of all of the other mistakes I`d made and cover up anything worthwhile I`d accomplished. This applied not only to soccer, but to school, church callings, and a thousand other things, including (at times) my service as a missionary.


I can testify of the power of repenting daily. And this week, as I was kneeling in prayer, speaking with our Heavenly Father about what had and hadn`t gone right that day, I was reminded of the purity and power of the Lord`s forgiveness.

Look, we make mistakes. It happens. And for some of us, me included, we seem to make the same mistakes over and over and over again. But I had maybe never quite comprehended what was made clear to me this week: when we come to the Lord in sincerity of heart, recognizing what was done wrong and desiring to change and be better, and we ask for His forgiveness, He gives it.

Heavenly Father forgives us. The slate is wiped clean of any wrong. Our sins are not covered up, hiding behind an artificial layer of off-white paint, waiting to be revealed again by later sin. They are washed away by the blood of He who gave everything, even though He didn`t have to, even though He`d never sinned Himself.

And God doesn`t forgive us because of our efforts. He forgives us because of Christ`s efforts. Yes, we are asked to give of ourselves. Yes, we are asked to repent and change, because He wants us to be more like Christ and more like Him. And we cannot truly be forgiven unless we want to be, and we show that desire through repentance and obedience. And that is important. But we simply can`t do enough ourselves to be forgiven. But Christ can, and He did. And because of Him, we have that opportunity for a new beginning.

I could spend hours talking about this, but I don`t have time to and I`m sure you all don`t either. So let me just sum all of this up in the most simple and true testimony I could possibly give.

Forgiveness is real. Christ makes us pure. It is wonderful. It is not reserved for the best of us, those who commit the least sin. It is a gift of unimaginable proportions because He just keeps on giving it to us, every time we come to Him truly desiring it. I know this! I have felt it! There is no lie, no exaggeration in the statement that we can be completely forgiven, time and time again. I testify that there is no pit so deep that we can fall beyond His reach. There is no wound too deep that He cannot heal it, be it self-inflicted or caused by others. Heavenly Father loves us. Jesus is the Christ, and He loves us. And because of their love, we have second chances. New beginnings. There really is no such thing as the end.

En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber

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