Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas in Paradise

Hello there everybody!  I love you all, and hope Christmas was just the greatest!! 

This week's been awesome, the Christmas spirit is great, and spending my first Christmas on a mission has been weird, awesome, and fun all at the same time!  I definitely loved the shift in focus from Christmas's past.  The Savior was so much more at the fore front this year for me, which really helped to learn and appreciate just what the birth of Jesus Christ meant for me in today's time.  

The Members of the St. Thomas ward took good care of us!  I've gotten to be really close with them, and it's been awesome:)  Everyone was giving us little gifts and things, and on Christmas Day I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Brother Sach's, a super awesome guy who knows SOOO much about the gospel!  His knowledge and perspective on the gospel was so amazing, and I learned so much from him.  The gospel really is just so simple.  There's a saying that goes something like this: "There's no such thing as deep doctrine.  The gospel is simple.  There is only doctrine not fully understood."  The scriptures promise us that as we seek to have a greater understanding of the gospel, further knowledge and understanding will be revealed unto us.  I can honestly say pursuing this course of seeking to obtain a greater understanding of the gospel has brought a peace and comfort that I can't explain.  Knowledge really is power, and spiritual knowledge brings a quiet strength that allows the spirit to speak clearer and heightens our ability to perceive and listen to the quiet influence of the Spirit.  The Spirit works conditional upon our obedience, both to the commandments and upon responding to the promptings the Spirit gives us.  

This week's been a little tough.  I've really had to rely on the Lord for strength.  The Lord's will is what's best for us, and I've found a lot of peace and comfort from trying my best to align my will with His.  He really does know what's best.  

Last night I had a sort of cool experience!  Last night we had a blizzard, it was -5 and icy everywhere, with ice pellets coming down super hard, along with winds and things.  Super bad day to go outside.  8 pm came around and we didn't have anything planned for the last hour.  Trying to decide what to do, we really didn't wanna go out.  The thought came to mind, however, of everyone who'd sort of "stepped out into the cold" for me over the years...if people hadn't been willing to do that, I'm not sure I'd be here.  As missionaries, that's what we're called to do.  Rain, sleet, hail or snow, we're called to go out and find the poor in spirit, helping them to recognize the love their Savior Jesus Christ has for them, and the wonderful peace and comfort the knowledge of the gospel brings.  Out we went, in a freezing cold ice storm/blizzard, looking for people who needed our message.  We weren't able to find anyone, but the lesson learned remained.  This is what we're called to do.  To go out, ministering unto the poor in spirit, the hungry and needy, the broken-hearted, and to bring them unto Christ.  It was a spiritual realization for me, one that's changed the way I look at missionary work.  We are in the business of saving peoples souls, being angel's dressed in suits and ties to bring the world His truth, with His name on our chests.  We represent Him.  Did Jesus not calm the sea's and minister unto his disciples in the midst of great storms?  Healed the lepers and cleansed the unclean?  Peter and John healing the lame man on the steps of the temple?  Paul, the thousands he baptized, preaching repentance unto the Gentiles, the Romans.  These miracles are a testimony to the world of our Savior Jesus Christ.  In His name, we perform miracles, comfort the needy, heal the broken-hearted and the downtrodden.  It is our mission and purpose to save souls.  The way to do that is through diligent service and exemplifying what it means to be Christ-like.  

I know this gospel is true.  These things matter.  People matter.  The people we talk to each day are all children of God.  He loves them.  Our mission is to help all to come unto Christ by receiving the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  Every single soul is of great worth.  Angel's rejoice in heaven over each son and daughter of God who repents and comes unto Christ.  Repentance is a beautiful thing, one I know brings about such peace as can never be known through any other means than our Savior, even Christ.  Christ lives.  I know it.  I stand in place of Him in this small town of St. Thomas, representing His will for the children of God not come to His fold yet.  My authority is from on high, conditional upon faithful performance.  I do not have to fear, for I know my Brother and Mediator walks with me.  Angels are on our left and right, and raise us up in times of trail and hardship.  We need not ever feel alone because we never are.  We can feel the Love of God, always.  I testify these things to be true, and stand as a witness of my Savior Jesus Christ.  I love Him, and know He loves me.  

I love you all!  May your new year bring the blessings of a fresh start, a refocus on the Savior, and on the people around us.  "He that loseth his life for my names sake, shall find it."  

D&C 62:3

Nevertheless, ye are blessed,

for the testimony which ye have borne
is recorded in heaven

for the angels to look upon;
and they rejoice over you,

and your sins are forgiven you.

--
Elder Bybee
Toronto Canada
Ofa Atu



SANTA!!!
 
Exchanges with Elder Blanscett Christmas eve:)
SANTA!!! 
 Christmas sleepover:):)
da boys;)
 
my "beautiful card" from Elder Olson lol.  and slippers.  also from him.  
the rest;)  
 my after planning entertainment;)  
 
My name in chinese:)


essential missionary diet 101. 
mini-golfing like a boss


Monday, December 21, 2015

Well, I'm not dead yet ;)

Hahaha oh man, where to start??  

This week...has been really hard for me personally.  Thursday night I started having a ton of sharp pains in my abdomen.  I went into the hospital Friday, spent 3 hours waiting for a doctor, and talked to him for 3 minutes...just so he could tell me I had to go somewhere else to get an ultrasound.  It's frustrating, just wanting to know what's going on so I can get better and get back to full activity as a missionary.  Right now I have to rest for a portion of the day, in order to spend the rest of the day being effective, which is kind of really frustrating.  The work is moving SO MUCH around Christmas time, and it's just so frustrating not being able to be out there for as long as we should be normally.  However, despite all this, I've felt the love of my Savior so strong this week.  

On one particular day, I was just feeling sorry for myself, frustrated and tired.  I ran across a scripture in John chapter 6 verses 67-68.

67-Then Jesus said unto the twelve, 'Will ye also go away?'

68-Then Simon Peter answered him,

'Lord, to whom shall we go?

Thou hast the words of eternal life.'

It really made me look at myself, and the attitude I was having.  I had to look at myself and seriously reflect on where I was at, and if I too, was going away spiritually from the Savior.  It also helped me to feel that I had a home here, and that I'm never alone, when I chose to follow Christ, and try my best to be like Him, even when circumstances make it hard.  Needless to say, it was much needed.  

Now, for the good news:)

This week we had an awesome early Christmas present!  Devin, one of our investigators whose baptism had to be postponed, JUST GOT CLEARED FOR BAPTISM!!:):):)  For some reason we just kept getting the thought to call President again and talk about him.  He called a person to get some clarifications, and it turns out he is in fact able to be baptized as soon as he wants to!!:)  We were SO excited for him, he's been so strong in seeking out and following Christ, despite the many setbacks he's had in his life!!  We're so excited to see him enter the waters of Baptism:):)  We'll be setting a date with him this Wednesday:)  It was an answer to our prayers and the knowledge that the Lord is working in the people's lives here in St. Thomas was so awesome!!:)  

Yesterday I had the opportunity to play a piano piece I arranged in Sacrament for the Christmas program.  I took 'The First Noel' and 'I Know that My Redeemer Lives' and sort of intermixed the two.  I had prayed to know what the Lord wanted me to play, and this came out of it:)  Sunday Morning I still was feeling terrible, having only gotten 4 hours of sleep that night, and I was definitely not where I should have been with the arrangement.  However, I said a prayer before, and the piece went well!  After, I had a lady come up to me and thank me, saying "That was exactly what I needed to hear today."  It was humbling to feel that I really had nothing to do with what came out of it, that the Lord really did guide what happened.  

I love you all, I feel your prayers daily!:)  Thank you for all that you do!  Merry Christmas, and remember who Christmas is really about!!:):)  God is great, and the church is true:)  Jesus Christ is our Savior, and He knows us each individually.  If we seek Him, we will find the things we feel we may be missing in our life.  

LOVES! 
--
Elder Bybee
Toronto Canada
Ofa Atu

 In this Christmas season, remember who Christmas is really about.  LOVE YOU ALL:)  #asaviorisborn #livefromToronto

The Good Stuff



Crazy Elder Carullo concoction...aka the real reason I've been sick..;)


Kale Powder...good stuff for ya;)


more waiting for elder carullo

those morning pictures though;)

Brother Fox!  A real homie


 President and Sister Clayton!:)  Merry christmas:):)






Yep...canadian's love their beer...and alcohol...baadddd juju

More morning photo's;)


Visiting the sick and the afflicted:)

ZONE CONFERENCE:):)



So we have an artist in the ward, and he drew us this hilarious caricature:)  loved it!:)  

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM ELDER BYBEE AND ELDER CARULLO:)  

St. Thomas represent



repping those hospital gowns

Elder Blanscett! 

Sick and tired Elder Bybee after the hospital
(From his mother- please keep him in your prayers that the doctors will be able to figure out exactly what is wrong with him and be able to fix it so he can continue to serve the way he wants to. You all know Cale loves being out there and wants to serve every day. He loves the people and loves serving His Savior. The health care system in Canada is NOT the same as the U.S. and processes are drawn out a lot longer because of how they set up their system.)


Monday, December 7, 2015

On the 7th Day of Christmas

WELL HOWDY DO.

Hahahaha hello everybody!!  GOOD MORNING!!:)  

This week has just been awesome!  We've been sharing the "A Savior is Born" video and man it's been SOOOO SICK!  It's so cool how people become more willing to hear the message around Christmas time.  Christmas season man, it's the good stuff for missionary work.  I guess to start out,
I had my first experience being "condemned to hell" this week:)  Man was it something!  We met with an 18 year old boy from the Faith Baptist church here in St. Thomas.  The lesson went well, he had some questions that were anti in nature, but we answered them through the spirit and resolved some of those questions.  I think he was trying to confound us, but it still went well!  However, at the very end, he said the closing prayer, and basically told God how sad he was that we were "going to hell" and that he hoped we could "see the light" and "repent of our ways" so we could "join him and Jesus in Paradise".  Elder Carullo and I had a good laugh after, it was good:):)  It didn't bother me much either, which surprised me a bit.  Idk it's weird..I really only felt sad that other churches chose to purposely preach Anti-Mormon doctrine in their churches on Sundays.  And sad that so many people can be kept from the knowledge of the truth because of religious leaders who lead their flocks astray.  However, it brings me comfort to know that eventually everyone will have the opportunity to have the fullness of the restored gospel taught to them, and that they have the opportunity to accept or decline of their own free will.  

Now, for the happier news.  This week we've had SO MUCH success in finding new investigators!  Opening our mouths and being fearless has brought a great change here in St. Thomas.  We are so excited for the Christmas season that's upon us, and we're excited to help people enter the waters of baptism!  

This week on Sunday we had the opportunity to teach Primary during Sharing Time.  Man it really made me realize how much I missed working with children.  Seriously it was heaven for that short 15 minutes.  I sat and colored and talked with the 4 year old class.  Devin Evertt who just turned 5 was talking my ear off about Ironman and donkey's while shy Erica Woolsey wouldn't say anything until I told her I loved her dress.  Then she started chatting away.  Man it was the best 15 minutes I've spent on the mission:)  I love children, it's so refreshing to be around such pure and divine spirits, to see their inherent innocence and sweetness.  I loved it, and the Spirit truly testified of the love and joy our Father in Heaven has at the sight of His small children being raised in the gospel.  As a missionary we're not allowed too often to interact with kids, and when we do, we have to be careful, due to legal issues and things that arise, from the way the world has become.  So it was nice to just sit and talk and interact with these children.  one of my favorite times this week, and in the whole mission:):)  

Life's good here, things aren't too cold yet, and Christmas is coming:)  It's a blessing to be on a mission during Christmas time, it really opens your eyes to what Christmas is really about.  I love the mission, and I love this gospel.  Godbless, and always remember who Christmas is really about this season!  

Loves!

Elder Bybee
Toronto Canada
Ofa Atu
Foggy St. Thomas Air:)


Christmas in London!