Monday, March 27, 2017

Bryan's latest letter from Montreal!: "I'm 20!!🎂 Excited to listen to the Prophet and Apostles speak this weekend...& you can too!❤️ Loads of pics!"

Hey everybody!!! :)

Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes. It means a lot to me to know that ya`ll remember that I no longer classify as a teenager. XD Nah, it was a great birthday. We got fed some good Haitian food for dinner and spent the rest of the day as we do every other day, which basically means every day is my birthday, right?!? How awesome is that?? :)

Unfortunately, I got a little bit of a bittersweet gift on Saturday night with transfers. The sweet part is that I will be staying in Hochelaga for at least six of my last twelve weeks! :) The bitter part is that Elder Colunga will *tears* be leaving for Cornwall. They grow up so fast!!! :P It`s super cool because his new companion will actually be my companion from the MTC, Elder Woo!! So that`s exciting. My new companion will be Elder Valencia, who was in my district for about 4 months way back when I was in Victoriaville. He actually goes home about a month after I do, which is interesting because both of us have been out for quite a while! It`s gonna be a ton of fun.

ALSO. I received not one, but TWO little lemurs in my Kinder Egg today. Do you know how happy that makes me?!? (For those of you who know me well, you will know that King Julian is my spirit animal.)

The main thing that has been on my mind this past week is General Conference!!! I AM SO EXCITED!!!! I mean honestly, how could you not be excited to hear from modern prophets and apostles???? What would you give to be able to spend an hour with Peter or Paul or Moses or Abraham or Isaiah (actually, I think I`d need two hours with Isaiah because he`d have to spend the second hour explaining everything he said in the first hour). But we get way more than just an hour with modern-day prophets and apostles this Saturday and Sunday!! THAT IS SO COOL!!! Do I sound like I`m excited?!?! Because I am excited.

I was thinking a lot about how I`ve received answers to my questions so many times in past conférences. And in that light, I have an invitation for each one of you (and for those of you who were already planning on doing it, give yourself a pat on the back and avoid feeling too prideful). The way I will prepare for General Conference is that I will make a list of questions or topics that are on my mind, and I will carefully pick no more than three before the conference begins. I keep those three questions in my mind throughout each session of the conference, and every time one of my notes relates back to one or more of my questions, I connect it back to the question with a little number or something (I`m very organized.... it`s a problem). But my invitation is for each of you to do something similar: to pick out three or less questions or topics that you would like to understand better and to think about those while you watch or listen to General Conference. I promise you that you will get answers to every single one! It`s amazing!

"What the Lord have spoken, have spoken, and excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilledwhether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servantsit is the same." (Doctrine and Covenants 1:38)

I know we have a prophet and apostles today who are called by God to lead His Church! And for those of you who are wondering, my invitation is the same as that of the Savior to His disciples who were wondering if He truly was who He said He was: "Come and see!"

En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber

Picture in front of the Montréal Temple! I am wearing my "Families Are Forever" tie from Grandma and Grandpa McOmber. The Mandarin speaking missionaries thought it was awesome!!​


Picture with Frere Ouédraogo. He is so dang awesome!! He came to the temple with us for the first time on Saturday!​

Got to go to Nicolas' baptism. He's such a boss! Elder Colunga and I were the missionaries who first showed up at his door when he asked to receive missionaries, and he was later taught by Elder Sykes and Elder Baldabinos, who were serving in the YSA. His baptism was awesome!!!​

I met my cousin on our trip to the Montréal Temple!! (Shoutout to Sister Libby`s family!!)​

​Lots of pictures of the Fleuve from a spot near one of our investigators' home.​


Happy birthday to me! :)​

​I FOUND A CHOCOLATS FAVORIS ON EXCHANGES WITH ELDER SYKES AND I WAS SO HAPPY. Do you see that ice cream? Do you know what it's dipped in? S'mores. It was wonderful.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Biggest snow storm of the winter! (❄️pics to prove it❄️) Trusting the Lord...He makes the impossible possible.

Hey guys! :)

We had the biggest snow storm of the winter this week. It was crazy, and we were out contacting for a few hours in it. It was awesome!! :) I have a picture or two... I think.

Yesterday we had our ward conference, so there were some members of the stake who came and gave talks at church. One of the talks given really struck Elder Colunga and I, and he shared a story that I really, really liked, so I will share it (with a few embelleshments of my own and translated into English) with you. :) It is fictional, but touching.

Jason was a kind man, who lived in a humble cabin out in the mountains. He enjoyed his life, and spent a good deal of time out hiking or climbing, gratefully soaking in what nature had to offer. He believed in God, and was careful to keep the Lord in his life. He could often be found carrying his scriptures around his property during his daily chores, and would stop to study in quiet moments. One night, just as he finished praying by his bed, a light slowly began to appear in his bedroom. Confused, then amazed, he turned to see the Lord standing at the foot of his bed. Before Jason could speak, the Savior said calmly, "I have a task for you, Jason."

"Yes, Lord?"

"There is a large boulder outside of your home. Each day, I want you to go out and push against that rock. Will you do that?"

Jason knew the boulder to which He was referring. When he had built his home, he`d been unable to move or break it, and after time, he had given up, and decided that if the boulder wasn`t going to move, he might as well leave it there and get used to it. He did not understand why the Lord wanted him to do this, but he knew from his studies that he was capable of doing all things the Lord commanded him to do, so he responded humbly, "I will."

The next day, Jason woke up at daybreak and walked outside. His adrenaline pumping, he put his shoulder against the rock`s rough surface, dug in his feet, and began to push. He did not expect the rock to move in his first attempts; he knew that progress took time. So he spent the next few hours pushing and pushing. He stopped at midday for lunch and to do a few of his other chores. After he`d done his other necessary tasks, he came back to the boulder, and tried a different angle until the sun was down and it was time for dinner.

This pattern continued, day after day and week after week, and soon, month after month. He pushed and pushed, but not once did the boulder move. He checked his progress carefully one day, several months later, to find that the boulder had not moved even a centimeter in any direction. He had tried every angle, and had expended his force day after day in this service. He didn`t understand why it had to be this way. At this moment of exhaustion, Satan came along down the path by Jason`s home. He stopped and watched Jason push for a few minutes, then asked, " My friend, what are you doing? Why are you trying to move that rock?"

"Because the Lord asked me to," responded Jason.

"How long have you been working at this?"

"For a few months."

Satan laughed. "Months? Have you seen your property? Why would you spend so much of your life trying to accomplish something so impossible when there are so many other worthwhile things you could be doing? Maybe there`s something you`re missing. Or maybe the task is simply too big for you. Perhaps you`re simply not strong enough or smart enough."

Jason grimaced. "I trust the Lord," he said, and placed his shoulder against the rock and continued pushing. Satan laughed, and walked off down the path.

The weeks and months went on, and Satan`s visits became more frequent. And despite his best efforts, Jason was getting weary. Finally, one night after a particularly hot and painful day, with the adversary`s laugh echoing in his ears, he walked inside and thought, "Perhaps he`s just a little bit right. Perhaps I`m simply not good enough. I know the Lord can move this rock, but I don`t think I can. There has been no progress, and there are so many other things that need to get done on my property." As these thoughts ran through his mind, he began to contemplate giving up and going back to what he knew he could accomplish on his own. He made the decision to go to the Lord with his report of what he had (or rather, hadn`t) accomplished, and tell Him that he felt he`d done all he could do, and his efforts would be better used elsewhere. After he`d finished his prayer, the light from so many months before appeared again, and the Lord was once again in his bedroom, looking at him as only a perfect older Brother would.

Jason looked at Him, and after a moment, whispered with tears in his eyes, "I can`t do it, Lord. I`m not strong enough. I`m missing something. I feel that I`ve wasted my time and Thy time and I don`t understand. Should I simply give up?"

The Savior smiled, and with tears in His own eyes, responded, "Jason. I never asked you to move the rock. I know exactly what you`re capable of. I asked you to push against that rock. And you have done so, faithfully and courageously, for months. You`re right, the boulder never moved. But look at yourself. You have grown lean and strong. You are healthy and in shape. Your arms and legs are powerful and muscled. You have become tan in the sun and the skin on your palms is rough and thick. You have done what you can. And I am proud of you. Now, I will move the rock."

We all have rocks in our lives, boulders that we know we need to move, but sometimes we don`t understand why, and sometimes we don`t feel we are even capable of doing so.

I think we all need to remember that the Lord is the one who moves our boulders. We simply have to trust Him and push.

I love and miss you all!

En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber

Monday, March 13, 2017

I. Am. A. Popsicle.❄️ Laughing over spilt Be the difference others need! 💕

Salut tout le monde! :)

C`était une très bonne semaine. On a eu des très bonnes lecons et je n`ai pas des plaintes! :)

I have decided I will only speak French when I get home and I will force my family to learn it if they want to understand me. :P

IT IS SO DANG COLD. The last few days have been like -30 with wind chill and one of those days was pretty much empty as to lessons so we ended up doing a few hours of street contacting (talking to people on the street while trying not to let your hands freeze off while you attempt to write down their name). Not even joking, the condensation from my breath into my scarf froze on my eyebrows and made me feel like that one ice beast from Frozen (all good things, all good things). It`s also a super fun game to try and see the amount of time it takes for your fingers to move after your brain tells them to. The lag time is insane. XD

Anyways. It`s supposed to get warmer this week. I`m excited. #missingArizona

Funny moment this week... so, P day last week was pretty funny. I was passing Elder Colunga the milk after we`d gone shopping so he could put it away in the fridge. I wasn`t looking while I passed it, so I let go thinking he had it, and apparently he didn`t really have it. About 2 seconds later I heard an explosion and looked down to see milk pouring out all over our fake tile floor. At first I thought Elder Colunga had just thrown it down on the floor like that weird trend back when I was home (reminds you all how long I`ve been gone) and I was like, "MAN that milk cost us like 7 bucks why did you do that?!?!" And he knew exactly what I was thinking so he immediately said, "I promise you I did not mean to do that." Meanwhile there was milk everywhere so we set about cleaning it up. And since our washer was connected to our sink (first world problems), and somehow some milk got on some of our clean dishes (I honestly don`t know how), I went into the bathroom to wash them off in the tub and proceeded to turn on the water, not realizing that it was on "shower" mode rather than "bath" mode. Guess who got his head soaked? This guy. Elder Colunga thought it was hilarious. I stayed quiet because I was taught when I was young that if I don`t have something nice to say I should just clean the milk off of the baking sheet.

Anyways. A wonderful experience to remember, but not to repeat. :)

I was thinking a lot about love this week, about charity and selflessness. I was thinking about how we are so very loved and we just don`t even understand that. See, I think sometimes this world just gets so cruel. We get so focused on what isn`t working in our lives, what hasn`t been solved, what just fell apart, who doesn`t care, and even in a perfectly blue sky we can tend to search out that wisp of a cloud and call it a stage 4 hurricane.

I have grown to love and admire those who look outward. Those whose lives are falling apart in the eyes of many, and yet they are the first to reach out to a struggling soul. Those who seem to barely be keeping their heads above water, and yet many others can attribute life-changing décisions to their support. These are the Good Samaritans. And what`s so bittersweet is that often, these modern Good Samaritans don`t even come to know, perhaps in their whole lives, what good they have done. Some of them may even give up, thinking they haven`t changed anything regardless of their efforts.

I want to tell you about a man I met in my first area. I will call him John, although it is not his real name. I am certain that he is one of the biggest reasons I managed to stay on my mission in those first 6 months. I love this man more than I think he knows.

John had a very difficult time that year. He had recently lost his oldest son, who had been married only a few months earlier, in a car accident, and some of his other children had chosen paths which caused him and themselves a great deal of pain. He was serving in several callings that demanded a lot of him, and was also trying to simultaneously keep his family together and moving forward. He and his wonderful wife, who I`ll call Jane, let us come over to their house for haircuts every so often, and while my companion was getting a haircut I would sit down at their piano and play for a while, missing many notes and struggling to remember songs I used to play. John would come in and sit down or stand behind me and listen, and he and Jane praised me and made me feel like one of their own children. When I couldn`t speak French, they would listen to me and help me, patiently waiting for me to stumble through and explain a story. On Saturdays, I would get in the car with John and my companion would go with another brother in the branch and we would drive around the city, delivering boxes of food to those who needed it. I loved the talks we would have. And I loved watching him interact with people. For John, everone was important. He knew their names. He knew what was going on in their lives. He seemed full of energy, and as soon as someone would open the door he would come bounding in and give them a kiss on the cheek (it`s a French thing) and start asking them about their family or their job or a million other things. I never once heard him complain or murmer.

On days where I felt like nobody cared and nobody listened, I know John did. On days where I felt like I couldn`t speak French and I never would, I knew John would listen and John would understand. When I would walk into church on Sundays, struggling to hide the doubt and discouragement and self-criticism, I knew that if John could keep that much energy and joy in his life with all he was going through, if he could walk up to me and shake my hand and make me feel like I was the most important person in the world for just a moment, I could serve this mission. I could speak French. I could talk to strangers. I could grow and learn.

John and Jane are some of the most Christlike people I have ever met in my life. I don`t have the chance to see them very often anymore, as they live an hour and a half away, but I plan on letting them know just how much they have done for me. My worry is that there are some people in this world who never get to hear that, who never get to know just how much they`ve affected someone else`s life.

I want each one of you to understand something. If you wonder if you`re helping, if you wonder if you`re making a difference, if you wonder if your efforts matter, stop wondering. You are. They do. You just may not see it. But if John can have made that big of a difference in my life and doesn`t even know it, I know that you are making that big of a difference for someone. People tend to be a bit guarded and a bit slow to change, but they open up and they change. And I promise that as we strive to emulate the Savior`s example, we will be amazed one day to find how many people will approach us and say, "Thank you. Thank you for what you`ve done for me. Thank you for who you are." Every interaction is for something. The Savior spent only 33 years on this planet and yet His words and mission have influenced all of His Father`s children for thousands of years, even since the very beginning, when it was explained to Adam that there would be a Savior. Can we really think that if the Savior has commanded us to be "even as [He is]," that He would not consecrate our efforts in that regard to help us as well as others? If His mission was all about helping others, and we`re trying to do the same, can we really think that He will not intervene and help us help His other brothers and sisters?

I testify that He cares. He cares about you and He cares about me. And He cares too much to let our efforts to be like Him go unaided. He is not a dictator, watching idly behind a screen as we fight our own battles. He is our Captain, our ready companion in our darkest moments. I know He lives! I know He loves us!

So keep loving! Keep sharing! And trust that He will make you and your efforts into more than you can imagine!

En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber

Sorry there`s not more than one.... :P

When it`s -30 outside and there`s not even snow and you hate your life....😂