Monday, October 26, 2015

St. Thomas

Hey there!!  

This weeks been interesting for sure!  Adjusting has been weird, but I've really tried to throw myself in the area, and it's really blessed my life and the area.  I got to St. Thomas, and lasted about a day before I just snapped and told Elder Carullo we had to do something about the apartment, cuz it was DIRTY.  We cleaned all day and now everything's good and happy:)  Elder Carullo's super upbeat and has a really good attitude.  It's been sweet!  
There's a lot of crazy people in St. Thomas cuz the old insane aslyum closed down, so they all wander the streets now.  But they're nice for the most part haha:)  The people are a little less receptive to the message, but no worries, we just have to find the people who are, eh?:)

So St. Thomas is in charge of 2 areas, which makes it hard to balance both of them.  It's been a juggling act so far, and the last elder wasn't the most faithful, which is frustrating, but we're doing our best and just really getting down to work.  Tillsonburg is our other area, and we have 3 new investigators there!  Angel is 15, Hannah is 9 and their mum.  They're super prepared and it's been so cool getting to know them.  Both Angel and Hannah want to get baptized and take the lessons, so we're super stoked for that!!!  They've been really taken care of by the members in Tillsonburg, so it's been a huge blessing.  
This week I've really gained a witness of the power of the Book of Mormon in conversion.  We've just preached the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and it's been so awesome to see the fruits of our efforts.  We're blessed in this area to have supportive members, and it's just been awesome:)  I was told the other day that I have a "Utah Drawl", which was surprising for me...apparently I do, so that was a bit weird to hear.  We also had the opportunity to do a lot of tracting this week.  It's been such a blessing to be with Elder Carullo. His upbeat attitude makes tracting something to look forward to, it's really helped me out personally.  We've been doing a lot of work to get the areas to where they need to be, since the last couple Elder's haven't stayed on top of things as much, which is frustrating, but we do what we're called to do:)  It's been pretty satisfying to get the area organized, get to know the members, and to learn the area a bit better.  I'm definitely looking forward to really helping the work progress in the St. Thomas and Tillsonburg areas.  
On Tuesday, I learned how to make stone statues...it was crazy!  We mixed cement and sand and dirt and learned how to pour statues!  It was super interesting!!  
This week has been a growing week for me, definitely.  I've learned a lot about taking the initiative and being the change I want to see in the area.  I'm grateful for this opportunity to serve in St. Thomas.  It has blessed me, and humbled me to see how I can better serve the Lord in the way He needs me to.  I'm really working on just allowing the spirit to work through me, and it's brought results in amazing ways!  We're really excited to throw ourselves into the work, and I know we will continue to see the fruits of our labors.  
I love my Savior.  He has been so good to me this week.  I am blessed to know and love Him, and am so grateful for the opportunity to be a servant of Him.  I love you all!
The Boys and Brother Knight(and Jimmy hahaha:)

the studious Elder Carullo

Me using my ghetto pass;)

Elder Carullo about to knock the sketchy parts of St. Thomas:)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Transferred!!!!

Hahahahaha so I'm getting transferred!!  Totally did not see that coming!   Elder Smith's been here for 6 months, we thought for sure he was leaving!  But I'm headed to St. Thomas, which is just outside of London.  Which is around an hour west from Toronto.  So yeah that was interesting to hear last night!
So Me and Elder Smith have been doing squats and leg workouts every day so we can dunk basektballs on each other.  I'm winning haha, so that's been fun:)  I'm almost there, I just need like another couple inches on my vertical and I'll be slamming down two-handed jams on e'rrybody;)  
This week has been awesome!!  Nerve wracking with transfers coming up, but way cool!  We've done a lot of tracting and I've been working on my tracting skills, which still need a lot of work, but I'm getting better at it!  Super sad that I'm missing Graham, Pete and Bella's baptisms...yeah that was kinda hard for me.  But I know I did my part, and my work's in St. Thomas.  My new companion will be Elder Curallo from the Philippines:)  So that'll be interesting for me!  I'm excited for the change and I really look forward to just throwing myself into the work.  I'll miss the members in St. David's for sure, they've been so awesome!!  This week we just really tried to have Christ-like love for everyone, and it's been such a blessing.  I know that Christ walks with us as we try to follow His footsteps.  

We ran into a crazy lady, which has made the top of my new craziest story, so that was interesting.  It involved a cat and her in a piece of bark that looked like Jesus' Heart..so that was an experience for sure:)  Super nice lady though, and she Loves Jesus so I guess that's all you can ask sometimes haha:)  

Prayer has really just stuck out to me this week.  I really pondered and studied into the idea of Sincere Prayer.  It kind of occurred to me that I need to be more sincere in prayer.  As I applied that principal, the spirit was so much more present in life.  It seems like sometimes we just pray really fast and say whatever is on our mind.  I found that when I slowed it down, and meant everything I was thankful for and asked for, the spirit was so much more stronger.  I know that sincere prayer brings down the blessings of heaven.
This week I had the opportunity to meet this member of another ward.  His story was so inspiring.  He had a troubled past, and it was while he was in prison that he discovered the Bible. from there he only went up.  When he ran into the missionaries he didn't even have to ask them who they were, because the spirit had already been such a strong influence in his life.  When he talks of spiritual things, it seems as if he quotes scripture every other sentence.  Not citing it word for word or giving the location of it, but as he speaks you recognize the words of the prophets throughout time.  It was such a spiritual experience for me to know this man.  I did not feel like the teacher as I sat there.  Every word he spoke rang with the authority of the Priesthood and spoke to me through the spirit.  It motivated me to study all the scriptures.  I just finished the Book of Mormon and started both the BoM, the New Testament and D&C.  It's brought me a lot of peace and comfort as well as greater understanding and comprehension of the spirit.  It also prompted me to ponder on what type of man I want to be after my mission.  I want to be a man of God, a disciple of Christ with or without the name tag to go with it.  I want people to meet me and feel of the savior's love for them.  I want to become better.  There's a new Mormon Message out, called "Am I Even a Good Man?"  It's phenomenal, I strongly recommend it to you all:)  

I don't have much time, but I want you all to know I love you!!  The church is true, Christ's Atonement is infinite and descends below all things.  I know He lives.  I cannot deny it nor will I ever deny it.  He is my Savior, and I feel Him walking the streets with me each day.  His presence is real.  His Spirit speaks comfort and knowledge to me each day.  I have really come to realize how unworthy I am to be a follower of Him.  But I rejoice in that knowledge, because it allows me to draw closer to Him.  To rely on Him more fully and my relationship deepens and strengthens as I do so.  I can honestly say I am now thankful for all my trials.  That has always been hard to say, but I can now say it with honesty of heart, because I know that the Lord prepared my heart through those trials to draw closer to Christ, and as such come to know of a surety of the love He has for me, and all His children.  The worth of every soul is great in the eyes of God.  I know these things to be true.  I love you all.  I keep you in my prayers.  Ofa Atu!
such a wonderful companion exchange;)
silly weird elder peterson hahaha
close up of elder ngerantar lol:)

THE BOYS WERE BACK IN TOWN:)  but now we're gone..
Hoodlums on the prowl;)
My 1907 Bible containing my Father's Lineage(yes, all of those are trainers who trained their trainee's)

ya we're weird hahaha:)


Monday, October 12, 2015

My American People :)

Well, Canadian Thanksgiving is today and boy did I have a lot to be grateful for!  This week has been a week of tracting, since we lost a couple of investigators due to various reasons.  So I've been working on my tracting skills haha:)  It's been so amazing to see the blessings that come from opening my mouth and talking to EVERYONE.  I've realized that God doesn't need me to teach and baptize everyone.  He needs me to help people have a positive and uplifting experience with the Church, and to be a disciple of Christ each and every day.  I've really worked on that, and it's brought me a lot of happiness, despite not having as much success number wise.  I know this is what I need to do, and I've truly felt the Spirit sanctifying me and renewing me as I try to be the best missionary I can be.  The promises in the scriptures have become real for me.  They are fulfilled through our efforts to follow the commandments associated with the promised blessings.  
This week Graham, one of our investigators, decided he wants to be baptized.  His process has been a long one, and it brought tears to my eyes to see the light and excitement as he testified that this was the decision God wanted him to make.  The spirit was so strong, and I could see the light in his eyes.  I was so excited for him!  It is so touching to see such strong and valiant spirits choosing to follow Christ and start down the path to happiness and exaltation.  I am constantly humbled by the chance I have to interact with such strong and valiant spirits.  I am constantly reminded that I have nothing to do with this process of conversion.  It is through me that the spirit works, and as I follow the direction of the spirit, that miracles occur.  Graham is a perfect example of a modern day miracle.  He is a devout Born again Christian, and told us time and time again that he would have never listened to us.  But, it was through the work of Salvation, that a member family befriended him, and consequently he was open to listening to us.  I know I have nothing to do with the work that goes on here.  It is through us that the spirit testifies and that miracles happen.  I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to be a disciple and representative of Jesus Christ.  I am humbled to be a means through which souls can come unto Christ.  This process I know can only occur as we strive to follow Him, and use His atonement daily.  I love my Savior, and I know that He lives.  
This week I had the opportunity to participate in my first companion exchange.  Elder Ngerantar is from Malaysia, and is the District leader.  I learned a lot from him, and his advice and counsel has helped me to be a better missionary.  We have transfers coming up this weekend and so I might not get to see Graham or Bella baptized, but that's okay.  I did my part, and that's enough for me.  
I am so grateful for this opportunity.  It has blessed me and helped me to grow so much.  As I've tried my hardest to "Lose myself" in the work, I've seen that I've come to start finding myself, finding parts and gaining parts of myself I didn't know I had, or could have.  It's been such a blessing and honor to work with and among God's children.  The worth of every soul is great, and I've seen that daily.  God's love for us is so infinite and incomprehensible, it is overwhelming to think about.  But I feel it daily.  I love Him, and I love Christ.  It's been a good week:)  
Much love from the Falls,
Elder Bybee
Toronto Canada
Ofa Atu
Golfing:):)



Me bored one day:)
Elder smith's prayer stance;)

The District!
Elder Ngerantar

View from the SKYWAY

Monday, October 5, 2015

First Transfer's almost over!

Man it is so crazy!  My first transfer is almost over!  It definitely does not feel like I've been out 5 weeks, that's for sure.  This week has been great!  There's been a lot of service done, that's for sure.  Each week we get the opportunity to volunteer at the soup kitchen, which has really helped me to gain an even better understanding of Christ-like love.  It's been a wonderful opportunity!  Lessons have gone really well this week as I've just really tried to teach simply and by the spirit!  We are SOO busy!  The work is definitely moving forward.  This week I'd like to take some time to explain "The Work of Salvation" and what it means for the CTM.

The Work of Salvation is like our mission guideline on how to find teach, and baptize.  It's unique in that the Canada Toronto mission is the ONLY mission currently implementing this, and we are blessed with seeing amazing results.  The work of Salvation entails focusing on all categories of members and investigators.  This includes Less-Actives, Recent Converts, Investigators, and Active Members.  Our job and goal is to strengthen the stakes of Zion.  And The Work of Salvation is our guideline to doing that:)  

President Clayton has instructed us that Less-Actives, Recent Converts and Investigators are just as important as investigators.  He has given us counsel to meet regularly with each person who fits under that category each week, focusing on all parts of God's kingdom, including members, and not just investigators, and finding investigators.  Because we are focusing on ALL of God's kingdom, including those who have gone astray and those who are firm in the faith, we are being blessed to see so many more people coming into the waters of baptism!  As we focus on these groups of people, and help them come unto Christ, we then ask them who they know who need's to hear our message.  Because we've helped them to come back, or to come unto Christ, or to continue to come unto Christ, it is a regular occurrence to receive referrals and names of people who need our message.  These referrals are so often proving to be just so solid, because we get the people who referred them out to the lessons!  We meet with our recent converts once a week, and contact them via phone or text message daily!  It's been such a blessing to find new investigators in this manner.  I've really felt like a better disciple of Christ as we've done our best to implement this new mission vision.  Of our upcoming baptismal dates, 50% of them have been reached and found using the new vision.  It is really been a testimony to me of that the Lord has indeed called President Clayton, and given him the keys to preside over the Canada Toronto mission.  

Conference this week has been such a blessing.  I truly have come to know that the Prophet is called of God.  He is lifted up and strengthened by the spirit as he valiantly serves.  His apostles have answered all the questions I came to conference with and then some.  Their counsel has been so amazing to hear and listen to.  I feel so blessed to belong to a church where we believe and know that God speaks through Living prophets on the earth today.  I love them and sustain them.  I know as we heed their counsel we will be blessed.  There is no denying they are called of God.

I've also had the opportunity to witness and experience the Spirit of Elijah!  I've used my family's pedigree fan chart countless times in teaching people about family history and the importance of taking family names to the temple.  Seeing all my family spread out on a sheet of paper and having the knowledge that I am sealed to them for time and all eternity is both humbling and such a blessing.  I have felt countless times that my ancestors have been right alongside me helping me say the things I needed to say, or do the things I needed to do.  I have a testimony that families are forever, and that we can be blessed as we follow the commandments and stay temple worthy, so that we may live with them forever.  I love this gospel and I love being a missionary.  It's here I belong.  I love you all!!


Niagara in the Rain:)

 


Elder Smith after nap time;)
Elder Smith looking like an apostle
Pondering the universe
Reppin the 905 in Zone council;)
Some Canadian Pride;)
A Canadian Sunrise in Niagara
Sister DeMeel gave me a bumblebee pin because my last names Bybee lololol.  I wear it every time i wear my suit underneath my lapel.  cuz i can't wear pins that don't represent the Lord.

Canadian Tie from the Gauthiers.  "Go-tee-ay's"



Elder Smith and Elder BiBee (They spelled his name wrong.) come and help every Tuesday to prepare and serve lunch! Two young elders from the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints whose congregation helps on Sunday's with the winter supper program and most recently stocked the shelves with a wonderful donation of groceries! Thank you to all members of the church. (I got this photo and explanation off of the soup kitchen's Facebook page.)

Cale's Mission Zone