Monday, January 25, 2016

Such is life, as a St. Thomas Missionary


Sweet mercy, life is busy!  But good:)  wouldn't have it any other way :)  

Man where to start!  We are just so stacked with appointments, it's seriously been nuts...the Lord is opening up the hearts of the people here, and I just feel so blessed to be able to be a small part of it!  We've currently got 15 investigators, and we're carrying the zone in finding new each week!  We've really found some super solid people, children of God that he's truly prepared to hear his message!  It’s honestly so humbling.  I've never taught more by the spirit than this transfer, and Elder Fillmore has been DOPE!  He’s so awesome at testifying of truth and what he knows to be true.  It brings the spirit so strong.  We're thoroughly convinced the Lord is with us here in St. Thomas!  

Man I can honestly say I've never been more tired.  But I LOVE it!  There’s no feeling quite like going to bed straight up dead, but knowing that you gave your all to the God you love.  It’s been such an awesome week!  We’re excited to see the big things coming :)  

This week has also been one where we've seriously run into the craziest people...like you think Salt Lake is full of crazy people....St. Thomas is LEGENDARY for it...like St. Thomas can't come up in a sentence without the talk about all the people on the streets...it's super sad sometimes, cuz we seriously meet so many people who need help...who need serious medical help...and if they were to get it, they'd be fine...but because of the broken health care system, it's become a lot harder to get these people the help they truly need...it's sad, it truly is...but it's also given us a chance to meet some of the most special people.  

We met a guy named Raymen, who walked up and straight up told us he was an angel and was there to cheer us up.  We were laughing so hard, because he would say the funniest things!  He loved it and we love the crap out of him!  It was touching as we talked with him and at the end he said how grateful he was to be able to make us laugh, and that was his calling from God.  He definitely didn't have it all together whatsoever...but it was touching too to see how much difference people can make in the world when they chose to have a positive effect on the people around them :)  Hilarious guy, I was like crying I was laughing so hard :)  We get a lot of people like that who just make us laugh and we just love them :)  You really become friends with these people and learn to love them.  They have such a special spirit, one pretty common with people with mental disabilities.  It's just been awesome, and we love them all:) 

This week has been such a testimony of opening our mouths.  The Lord has promised that as we seek to obtain his word, we will be given the power of God, to declare his word, unto the convincing of men.  

We are truly in the most remarkable era in the history of the church, and the kingdom of God.  We are seeing the literal fulfillment of the prophecies from prophets of old.   We are literal witnesses of the hastening of His work.  And it is HIS.  He is the Architect, the Creator and Father of our Spirits.  He has set the standard for excellence.  The pathway intended to lead us back to Him.  This is His ONLY purpose.  He has provided us with the way to salvation.  We only need follow His Son, learn of Him, walk in the meekness of his Spirit, and we shall obtain peace.  There is NO other way through which lasting peace can come.  His ways are simple, His doctrine is clear.  He has provided us with an institution through which we can obtain Salvation.  That institution is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.  A religion founded upon pure truth, given from the heavens to the chosen men of God.  

Our religion is not for the weak of character, or the frail of heart.  Our religion requires sacrifice.  

A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce faith unto life in Salvation.

There was never in the history of the earth, nor in eternity, anything worth having that did not require sacrifice.  Too many times in life we ask "Why could this not be easier?  Why can't following Christ be easy?  Why isn't Salvation effortless?"  

The words of Elder Holland I believe best explain these questions.  

This "is not easy, because Salvation is NOT a cheap experience.  Salvation was NEVER easy.  

We are the church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, He is the head.  

Why would we think that it would be easy for us, when it was never, ever easy for Him?

In return, how could we ever bare any lasting, moving testimony of the Atonement, if we've never known or felt anything of such an experience?  

As disciples of Christ we're proud to wear His name, but mark my words, that means we must be prepared to walk something of the path He walked.  To feel something, something, a little..of the pain He felt.  

To occasionally, as least once in your lifetime, shed one of the tears He shed.

To come to truth, to come to salvation...we'll have to pay a token of that same price...

It'll only be a token...but it has to be paid.

I believe it must require something of our soul."  

These words have brought me such peace and comfort...Salvation has never been cheap...our Savior himself, even Jesus Christ, our Mediator with the Father, begged...not asked, but begged...for His cup to be removed...that price was never cheap.  Nor was it easy.  

We, as literal disciples of our Savior Jesus Christ, having taken upon us His name, will by necessity for a moment or two in our lives, in a small way experience a token...of the suffering He went through for us.  For it is only through that sacrifice...that we truly begin to understand the true nature of the magnitude of the Atonement.  

The Atonement is real.  It is the way unto Salvation, and life eternal in the kingdom of our Father.  The means through which we can return home...welcomed with open arms.  Our Father will then, if we have been faithful, say on that day, 

Well done, thou good and faithful servant. 

Enter now into thy rest.  

I testify the Atonement is the ONLY means through which Salvation is achieved...in this upcoming week, take care to remember and ponder...do I feel the Atonement working in my life not only on Sunday, but throughout the week?  I promise you as you keep this in mind, the sacrament come Sabbath morning will take on a new meaning, and depth to each of us.  

I know He lives.  This church is God's kingdom established on the earth.  Those who earnestly seek Him shall find peace unto their souls.  

May we each feel the love of our Savior more deeply this week.  

I love you all, and pray for you daily and feel your prayers in return.

Have a great week :)  
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Elder Bybee
Toronto Canada
Ofa Atu



Good ol' Elder Fillmore and I :)



 Port Stanley in the winter :)  yes that's Lake Erie...with snow on the shore ;)



More crazy Elder Fillmore and I :)


Some more Port Stanley pictures :)



the hierarchy of Bill Veeken's favorites ;)  I'm getting up there ;)


Monday, January 18, 2016

Are we the same person? -Spiritually-


Hahaha man this week has been so dope!!!  

First off, my new companion Elder Fillmore is the freshest guy I've ever met!  He's from Logan, and we know a lot of the same people back home!  Haha we're super similar and say the same things, it's super weird, like almost creepy weird...we'll finish each other's sentences and all that, it's super weird!  But it makes for the most powerful teaching I've ever done!!

This week has been full of miracles!!  This week we found 5 NEW INVESTIGATORS!  Something I've never done before:):)  Which was so awesome!  Our standard is to find 2 each week, and so it's been a week of miracles!  

Elder Fillmore is a transfer younger than I am, so it's super weird being Senior companion already...and kind of stressful, especially because Elder Carullo was the one who had the GPS, and so I've had to navigate using the map...which has been the single HARDEST THING I'VE EVER DONE!  Sweet mercy I think my brains melted a bit from having to navigate my way around St. Thomas, which is NOTHING like Utah...the block system doesn't exist here, and every single street has a different name like Jones, or Kanes, or Alma, and so you literally have to memorize every street and where it is in relation to Talbot..but hey, it'll do me good considering I couldn't navigate my way home from school some days...so it's good for me;) 

Elder Fillmore has so much fire, and it makes for the best missionary work ever!  We both are super motivated and so we've seen so many miracles this week!  Devin's getting baptized on February 16th, and that'll be his first baptism, so we're super excited!  He's worked hard, he deserves it.  

Well I hit 5 months next week...which is super weird and kind of scary how fast it's gone...it's super weird you start to feel like the only life you've ever had is the mission, but it's awesome:)  I feel like I'm never going home, which is honestly the best feeling:)  I love it, and it's been the best thing I've ever done.  

This week the night Elder Fillmore got here we met a guy named Bob, who was SO prepared it was crazy!  It's so awesome to see just how the Lord is working here in St. Thomas, and I'm humbled and honored to be able to try my best to keep up with Him and His work here in St. Thomas:)  He's giving me a run for my money, cuz we have been SO busy this week!:)  I absolutely love it!  

Bishop Packer was right when he said there is no feeling quite like going to bed completely exhausted knowing you spent the day serving the Lord...it's just the greatest feeling!:)  

Man I don't really know what else to say!  

This week's spiritual thought and testimony comes from Alma.

Alma 38:8

Behold

I did cry unto Him

And I did find peace.  

I love that scripture SO much because it really is so true.  The Lord gives us such peace when we rely on him.  

That is something I have found in so much abundance on the mission.  Inner peace has been something the Lord has truly blessed me with lately as I have called upon and cried unto Him. 

Peace, true, soul comforting peace, is something that every single person on this earth searches for.  However, the only true and lasting peace in this life comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ, the true and simple knowledge of who we are, what our purpose is, and where we're going.  That peace is readily available unto all who seek it, as they strive to obey and follow the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ.  

Another experience this week came in the form of meeting some Baptists (there's a TON of them here, and none of them like missionaries....) who wanted to talk and discuss.  We sat down with them and listened as they carefully and systematically went down the points of a well-known "Program" online intended to "confuse and confound “Mormon Missionaries, and eventually get them to go home.  

President Eyring teaches us, from D&C

"Seek not to declare my word,
 but first seek to obtain my word,
 and then shall your tongue be loosed;

 then, if you desire,
 you shall have my Spirit and my word,
 yea, the power of God
unto the convincing of men."

That scripture was fulfilled as we bore testimony of the Book of Mormon, and stated our personal conviction of what we knew to be true.  We bore testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ, and the wonderful message he has provided for us to share with the world.  It was an interesting experience, much different from the last one of its kind.  I felt no stress or mental fatigue whatsoever, we calmly fielded and testified of truth, and their words, intended to destroy and break down, held no power or place in us.  

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, we are literal witnesses of his life and ministry.  Our battle is not with "flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."  However, we need not fear, “for we have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives and our words of we choose it.  The Savior has promised angels on our left and on our right to bear us up.  And He always keeps His word."  As a representative of Jesus Christ, I can testify these things to be true.  There is nothing more sacred to one's eternal salvation than one's own testimony of Jesus Christ, of his words in the Book of Mormon, and His prophet Joseph Smith.  If that testimony of those three things remains firm, then the "whirlwinds and the shafts in the whirlwinds" will have no place in us.  For our testimony is based upon the rock of our Savior Jesus Christ, upon which rock if we build, we cannot fall.  

I love you all!  Thank you for the prayers, I feel them daily!  Never forget who we are as sons and daughters of Him.  This is not our home.  We are destined for greatness in the eternities with our Father in Heaven.  

Much love!
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Elder Bybee
Toronto Canada
Ofa Atu


Elder Fillmore and I postin up
 




 


While I wasn't able to baptize Pete...the feeling was the same...what a blessing to be a part of someone's conversion.  

"The" LONDON ZONE:)