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

Exchanges with Elder Blanscett Christmas eve:)
 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

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