Sunday, March 13, 2016

Greetings from the tropics ;)

Hey there!!

Hahaha so weather update, it is currently 60 degree's and Sunny here in St. Thomas:)  We're not predicted to get snow til the end of January:)  So that's been interesting for sure!!  

This week's been so sweet!  We've seen a ton of miracles this week, and it's so amazing to see the Christmas spirit working a change in people, opening their minds and hearts to hearing the beautiful message we have to share.  In particular is a miracle that happened just yesterday!  A week earlier we had spent 15 minutes or so calling every Potential Investigator in our phone, and asking if we could stop by and share a Christmas message.  A man named Shawn answered, and said he wasn't interested.  On Saturday he texted us asking us to meet with him, that he had watched a documentary on Joseph Smith and he wanted to learn more.  However, he cancelled the appointment at the last minute.  He did however, ask for the address and time of our church service.  To our surprise, we found him the next Sunday morning sitting quietly in the pews!  After church I went up to him, and started talking to him.  He proceeded to relate to me of his life story, consisting of searching and studying through prayer, scripture study and deep meditation to find his purpose in life.  Long periods of fasting and prayer, seeking to find truth.  He had been to more churches than I had ever heard of.  But when he walked into the church that day, the spirit touched him deeply.  He felt as if a lifetime of searching had ended.  He felt he had come home, as if he had been there before.  He also related to me an experience some years ago.  He purchased a Book of Mormon at a yardsale, but never opened the book.  He's moved 4 times since then, but for some reason that book has remained with him.  We have an appointment on Tuesday and are inviting him to be baptized!!  

The Lord truly works in mysterious ways to prepare His people to hear the gospel.  I've also come to learn that we are not always harvesters, but rather sowers of the seed.  There's a statistic that states people need an average of 7 encounters with missionaries or the church before they usually accept a visit from the missionaries.  I've also come to learn that success as a missionary is not in the number of baptisms I have, or the number of lessons I teach.  Success comes in the willingness I exhibit to allow EVERYONE I come into contact with to hear the message.  My success is not dependent upon whether or not people accept the message, but in giving them that opportunity to hear the message, and decide for themselves.  The Lord has a pathway for everyone to walk, He alone knows that path.  Who am I, then, to judge who is and who is not ready to hear the message?  That's the principle of opening our mouths and talking with EVERYONE.  We never know who is ready.  

I saw this principle this week when a very rough looking man reeking of cigarette's and weed opened the door.  Covered in tattoo's, with a long beard and shaved head, he was the LAST person you would expect to listen.  However, as we talked about a Christmas message we had to share, he stopped us, and said, "Come on in, you're followers of Jesus Christ, you can help me figure out how to stop smoking!"  We taught him the Restoration, and gave him a Book of Mormon.  We have another appointment with him, and are so excited!  

The Lord works in mysterious ways!  

We also had the opportunity to attend a funeral of a member's mother.  It was a time for deep reflection on my personal life and what was important to me.  It was so comforting to know that my family has been sealed for time and all eternity.  That we are an eternal family.  That death is not the end, but merely a step on the path towards eternal life, and exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom.  I am so grateful for the temple, and the promises we make there.  

The Lord has been so sweet to me this week, answering my prayers in miraculous ways.  I know He is there, and I know that He walks with me, and ministers unto me daily.  I love you all!!  Take care, and have a great week!:)

--
Elder Bybee
Toronto Canada
Ofa Atu
 I'd like to introduce you all to the newest addition to our family.  This is Belle.  She's shy, but extremely beautiful, and I love her a lot...yes I'm talking about the guitar.  
To everyone who helped me to purchase Belle,

Thank you soooo much!!  I've literally been dying without music, and so I was soooo grateful to be able to get one up here in Canada!  It means a lot to me, and I can't thank you all enough!  I'm hoping to use my musical talents to better help people understand the spirit and what it feels like, and this is a big step!  Thank you all soo much, I love you all, and sincerely appreciate everything you all do for me!  MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM CANADA EH!:)




gotta capture her from every angle




just a man and his guitar..a timeless love story 



cuz she's a beaut.






I FOUND MIKE N IKE'S TROPICAL TYPHOON!!!  tender mercies from the lord lemme tell ya



This is what we here in St. Thomas call "Swamp Water".  also known as poweraid or gatoraid, we call it swamp water because when you pour them all into a punch bowl or a juice container, it eventually turns brown.  Hence- Swamp Water.  It's the 3 member of the food pyramid of missionaries.  Asian Noodles is first, followed by whatever's left in the fridge.  Also granola bars, and cereal.  that is basically what we eat every day.  Very healthy, i know.  




This last one is just a casual interpretation of the amount of swagger St. Thomas missionaries acquire through their service
  

come to the light.  



 when you have to wait for elder carullo...

winter coat swagger
 

more waiting for elder carullo...

 hahahahaha me when i first wake up


dat study time
 
OUR LANDLORD GAVE US A CHRISTMAS PRESENT!  she is just the sweetest


a missionaries main source of food


more wakeup photo's

we saw this, and couldn't resist.... 

 
drinking some agua


real missionaries have stickers on the back of their tags- St. Thomas primary class.  I took the hint..



 what you looking at..


more wakeup photo's:)


Lake Erie!  Crazy stuff


me and my boy Gouden.  we're chill




more Gouden:)




this is a great picture that really exemplifies just how put together I am.  Halfway through church noticed that I had two different colored suits on...this is my life.


Foggy St. Thomas


proof of how warm it is here:)

One last one I died laughing when I got it :)



 

 

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