Tuesday, February 16, 2016

More Moses/Messi, Possessed Ladies, and Canadian Cold...like real cold.

Hahaha oh man this week has been full of laughter and hilarious moments!  Elder Fillmore and I just crack up at everything and I swear we meet the funniest craziest people...anyway :)

To start, I think collectively we have spilled enough liquid between the two of us to fill Lake Erie twice over...mostly milk...mostly bagged milk...we're sick of it, we're finding jugged milk, I can't deal with this level of stress anymore haha ;)  

It got down to like -34 C with windchill, not including humidity, which is always at like 80% here...needless to say it was cold...see pictures at bottom for reference...I can honestly say I did not know cold til the last couple days...but now it's back up to 2 or 3, and it'll be 14 next week, so we're pretty chill with it :)  

This week we also got to attend Devin (our investigator getting baptized here pretty soon) Kosolowski's wedding!  It was super awesome, he's a stud and a half.  what a guy.  

This week I have also shoveled more snow than I ever have in my entire life...just endless hours of shoveling...just so it can dump another 2 feet on us and we go back out shoveling...it's okay though.  Builds character ;)  

We also had an interesting experience with a lady...knocked on her door and she was super nice and talking to us and then like a light switch, she turns and like screams in the scariest most possessed voice I have ever heard up the stairs at her dog...turns back and continues talking to us quite normally, until she started crying again...in which she again, turned all possessed and screamed up the stairs again....Brother Bill and Elder Fillmore are like on the ground laughing so hard and so they walk away cuz they don't wanna be offensive, so I'm standing there on this porch talking to this crazy lady whose crying and screaming at the same time...it was....something else.  Mission stories, gotta love them :)  

We also met a "self proclaimed prophet" who literally memorized the bible...like it was nuts...this guy was a legend!  Super crazy, and rude...but legendary for sure :)  I swear he knew EVERY single conspiracy theory from the Illuminati to Area 51 to this weird "Mark of the Beast" crap.  It was interesting to say the least :)  There's no where like St. Thomas that's for sure :)

Saturday Morning I got handed a talk to give...25 minute long talk....with an hour to prepare....gotta love being a missionary ;)  but it was a super awesome learning experience...reminded me a lot of what the Atonement really is.  There's a book I took it from entitled "Believing Christ" by Stephen E. Robinson.  Changed my perspective on the Atonement.  But anyway.  It was super awesome.  In it he talks about the difference between Believing in Christ and Believing Christ.  And there is a difference.

Too often in life as Latter-Day-Saints we go around, having a testimony of the church and of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ, but we lack one key element.  For many the problem becomes that while we indeed believe IN Christ...we don't BELIEVE Him.  

Christ says "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow" and we say to Him, in effect, "That's not true."  or "No, you can't.  For one reason or another we feel inside that the Atonement is applicable to everyone else....but we seem to be the exception for one reason or another.  The thing we fail to understand is that the Atonement IS NOT a halfway trip...and we somehow have to walk the rest of the way to the Celestial kingdom.  It's not a layover in the Telestial Kingdom, or a pit stop in the Terrestrial Kingdom.  The Atonement, the sacrifice Jesus made was, for all intents and purposes, designed to help mortal men and women become CELESTIAL material.  It's purpose was, indeed, to allow us to return to live with our Father in Heaven.   That means the Celestial Kingdom, and nothing less.  That means Exaltation, together forever as families.  The Atonement Jesus Christ made literally means that our guilt becomes His guilt.  He takes upon Him the sins of the world.  That means he becomes the guilty party, and pays the price associated with our sins.  Thus cleansing us of our mistakes.  Meaning that literally, we are clean.  We CAN dwell in the presence of God.  Not only each Sunday, not tomorrow, but NOW.  

Christ says in Isaiah 1:18 
"Come NOW, and let us REASON together, saith the Lord:
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

The invitation is not to "Come Sunday" or "Come tonight in your evening prayers" or "Come Tomorrow".  The invitation is Come NOW.  Now means today.  This instant.  The Atonement is not defined by a waiting period of time where we punish ourselves for not measuring up to our standard of righteousness.  Why would we think, that God would give us the commandment to obey all that He asks, if He would not prepare a way for us to keep said commandments?  He would not do such a thing.  The question then becomes, How to we access the Atonement not just on Sunday, but Everyday?  The answer is, to "Come NOW" and "REASON" with Christ.  Reason indicates a conversation, some form of interaction between two parties.  It's not talking to a wall and pleading for forgiveness.  It's a bit of work, it requires effort to reason.  Reasoning our salvation out with Christ is the prescribed way we obtain forgiveness.  The Sacrament is a renewal of our baptismal covenants.  It does NOT replace daily repentance.  Nor should it ever.  The Sacrament is a culmination of a week's worth of daily repentance and conversation with the Lord.  It is the pinnacle of our week, and a reminder to us of what we promised to do the day we were baptized.  Forgiveness and repentance, however, are and should be a daily thing.  If we make a mistake, we need not wait til evening prayer, or Sunday to repent.  The Lord asks us, pleads with us to "Repent now, for the time speedily cometh".  We can access the Atonement now.  We do not need to wait til Sunday, or til we feel we have inflicted the punishment upon ourselves we deem worthy for the sins and mistakes we make each day.  

The words of a wise friend are as follows, "Christ already paid the price for your sins.  Don't make Him pay it twice."  We do not have to reach a certain level of spirituality to repent.  All it requires is "a broken heart and a contrite spirit".  Heavenly Father does not expect us to be perfect before we repent.  I have learned this lesson on my mission.  As a missionary, I am expected to do a vast majority of things.  Things that I frequently forget, or do not live up to that expectation set before me.  There are days when I could have tried harder, walked a little further, studied a little harder.  It happens every day.  The beauty of it is that Heavenly Father does NOT expect us to do this alone.  He is not a cheerleader or a coach, he's our teammate, he's already on the field.  He's the quarterback, He directs us, and then is right there with us each day.  He's not just an adviser or a counselor, He's the medic, He's the player, He's the captain, He's everything.  He's offered us the opportunity daily, to be made perfect through Him.  We are joint-heirs with Christ for a reason.  We, through His Atonement, can be made perfect TODAY.  Not because we are perfect, but because He IS.  And He so graciously provides us, loans us His Perfection, His Innocence.  And takes our guilt, and our sins.  The price is paid, we can't take back our sins or our mistakes.  He already has them.  They're His now.  Our task, then, is to take His perfection.  Become perfect, through the grace He offers us.  
We do that, each day...when we repent.  Isn't that just amazing??  We, as imperfect beings...have the ability to put on His perfection.  To wear His mantle of Cleanliness and Purity.  We not only have that ability, but we have it daily.  We need not fear for our salvation...He has given it to us...we simply need to accept that sacrifice...and then, as He spoke unto Peter, James and John, "Follow thou me." That is the standard.  And that..is something we ALL can achieve.  I know repentance is real.  It works.  It changes the natural man, and molds us into Celestial Material, of which we all are.  The choice is whether we want to accept that sacrifice, and do as he commanded...Follow Him.  When we fall short, and we will, we need not despair.  That perfection is ALWAYS available for us.  We simply repent, and continue on our path of discipleship.  

The Atonement is real.  It is accessible today.  I know these things are true.  I pray something will have touched each one of you in what was said.  

I love you all :)  God is real, and His Son lives :)  

Have a wonderful week :)

Elder Bybee
Toronto Canada
Ofa Atu
It got down to like -34 C with windchill, not including humidity, which is always at like 80% here...

needless to say it was cold

Devin (our investigator getting baptized here pretty soon) Kosolowski's wedding!

Making some wings :)

Oh ya know, just a casual stove fire. 

Elder Fillmore being a goober.

Posting up in the cold.

Just one of the many crazy places we visit often ;)

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