Elder Sabin

Elder Sabin

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Week 75: Christmas Miracles

I'm so tired. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Stranded!

This video was taken last month with by Elder Stowell.  Thank you to the Sister Missionaries for rescuing these Elders! : )

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Week74: Christmas Miracles

This week was super good.

I don't know if I mentioned this, but last MLC Elder Carroll and I stood in front of a lot of the zone leaders and made a promise that we were going to help raise our area.  We were going to teach more and baptize more.

In the past, this area has always been interesting because we don't have a lot of time.  The ward is incredible - seriously, it's just chuck full of return missionaries - and we have a ton of support.  In the past it's just been an issue of balancing the assignment with the area.

Well, this week was transfers, and so Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were all shot.  We had to manage transfers, we had to help the new missionaries with all their stuff and we had to get all the old missionaries stuff taken care of as well.  Obviously that's super important and needs to get done, but we've really been trying to make the area amazing.  It's always been good, but I've just known that it can be better.

Well, anyway, we tried to be really creative this week.  We've been putting up posters for our church services. We're trying to set up a bunch of activities.  We've shoveled some people's snow.  Basically we've just been trying to be as productive as we can be.  I'm exhausted, but we've seen some cool miracles.

I'll share one of them.  Yesterday, we had planned to go out contacting and put up posters for our church service for an hour or so.  Well, it was freezing.  I was in the car, and I could just tell it was cold outside.  You know when you can tell something is cold just by looking at it?  You look out the window and you just say "Wow, it's cold outside".  I don't know where that comes from.  It makes no sense to say that when you haven't been outside, but for some reason we still do it.  Anyway, we got out of the car, and got to work.

The first person we talk to is interested.  We walk with him for a mile back to his house and set up an appointment for later that day with him at 4 o'clock.

Then, we go to a shopping mall in the area.  We talk to some awesome people.  Put up some posters.  Have fun.  Then, one of our members texts us and asks if we have anything going on that day.  Well, we have an appointment later that day at 4 o'clock :)

So we go pick him up, and while we're waiting at his house, I felt like I should get out of the car and go talk to this lady that's walking down the street.  As I start talking with her, Jeremy (the member) comes out and joins us and we have an awesome gospel conversation.  Set an appointment with her as well :)

So then we go back.  We teach the first guy (Javane) and have an awesome lesson!  We taught plan of salvation and set him with a baptismal date.  He's super cool :)

Anyway, it was a really good day of a lot of miracles.

The rest of the week was awesome as well, but those stood out to me.

Anyway, it finally snowed a bunch this week.  Lots of cool stuff happened. It's really funny when it snows here because a large portion of Brampton's population is Punjabi, and they just don't know how to deal with all this snow.  I'm half expecting to see people outside with turbans on yelling something to the effect of "The gods are displeased!  They have released the heavenly dandruff! What do we do?"

Just kidding. They're not going to do that.  It's just funny when they drive in the snow.  The foreigners here are all new to this whole "no traction" thing.  I'm not kidding either when I say that there are a ton of Sikh and Punjabi people here.  They all have the same outfit as well.  Turban.  Beard.  Robe. A while back someone was distributing some Missing Person advertisements all over the place.  The only thing on there to help us was a fuzzy picture of a Sikh man with a turban, a large beard, and a robe.  There was a question at the top that said "Have you seen this man?" and I thought to myself "Yes! I've seen him 9 times today! There he is! No, wait.  There he is!  No wait..."

I bet the cops got a lot of calls that day.

Hayden - Yeess!! Doing missionary work!  That's super cool man.  Keep spreading the Christmas fire! There are a lot of people out there that need the gospel and you can bring it to them :) Also, I'm glad ski season has gotten rolling.  Keep it up man!

Ellie - I like how the three emoticons you signed with were a volleyball, a paint kit, and a basketball hoop. Since when did you start playing basketball? Also, are the Royal Blueberries having a reunion this next year?  With a name like that you guys can do anything :)

Hadley - Yes, I did get the package, and no I haven't opened it yet :) Sounds like you're going to have an awesome birthday!  Also, you know why 8 is important, right?  Something else important is going to happen. It starts with a B and rhymes with maptism.  Did you guess it?  Haha, have a good week!

Mom - Sounds like it was a busy week :)  How are the youth doing back home?  Sounds like Christmas caroling was a lot of fun.  We're planning on doing something like that this Christmas. We can't really do much else :) I mean, it's not like we can go tracting. Anyway, Merry Christmas!

Ashleigh - Okay, you have the advantage of Google right now, so I may be wrong, but I don't think Alexander Hamilton endorsed Thomas Jefferson.  He was a Federalist and Jefferson was a Republican.  Hamilton was one of the most avid supporters of the Federal government while Jefferson usually supported the individual rights of the states.  In other news, I'm glad to hear that you have gotten no saner since I left ;) Also, tell Spencer that his brother is an awesome missionary.  I'm assuming his brother is Elder Kimball?  Ya, he's pretty awesome.  Anyway, I hope you have a good week.

Dad - I'm glad to hear that you and Hadley are still friends.  That would be kind of awkward if you weren't.  As far as Christmas concerts, they sometimes have stuff for the missionaries to be involved in but our ward hasn't had anything like that.  Elder Carroll and I are going to be speaking in the Mandarin unit down in Mississauga though, and so that will be really fun.

Anyway, I hope you all have an awesome week.  I love you!

Elder Sabin

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Week 73: Cutting the "Fluff"

Alright, I know you're all not expecting an email today.  Sorry for the surprise :) Transfers are coming up this next week and there will be a lot going on on Monday, so we got our p-day moved.

Anyway, this week was really amazing.  I've had a lot of fun serving with Elder Carroll.

This week we had a visit from John Gonzalez and Shane Littlefield.  You probably don't know who they are, but I just want to say that they are amazing.  They're both from the mission department, and basically their job is to go around and train new mission presidents.  Since we just got a new one this year, they wanted to come, but they try not to come around the time when general authorities come.  Since we had a visit from Elder Arnold and Elder Ballard pretty close together, he had to delay his trip.

Well, they finally came this last week, and we got to spend an evening with Brother Gonzalez.  He's super smart and he really does know his way around missionary work.  We had a ton of good discussion with him as we were driving around to different appointments.  He basically just pointed out everything we were doing wrong, and told us how to do it right.  It was useful to say the least :)

It really was a super cool night.  We had a few meetings with them and president in the following days, and we just talked about what our mission really needs.  A lot of what was said was basically that the leadership in the mission needs to set the example.  I was really humbled, because ever since this new assignment I've been frustrated with a lack of proselyting time and the area hasn't been doing as well as other areas that I've been in.  Don't get me wrong, we're doing fine, but I've been feeling for several weeks that we need to pick it up and be better. Elder Carroll and I have been talking for a long time about how to get around the administrative stuff, but we didn't really see a whole ton of solutions until this visit.  We talked a lot about what actually needs to be done in the office and what is really just fluff, and in the future I think we're going to cut a lot of the "fluff".

Anyway, I'm really excited for what the future holds.

I'm a little short on time today, because the zone has a meeting later today that Elder Carroll and I have to get to, but I'll do my best to get as much as I can in the email :)

I don't know if I've ever mentioned Rohit in my emails before.  He's been investigating for a while, but this week he had a massive change of heart.  He's started seeing huge miracles in his life, and he wants very badly to be baptized.  I'm really happy for him. We taught him this week about why we have commandments, and he basically knew more than we did :)

Also, Penny has been doing awesome.  We met with her twice this week, and we shared about the Plan of Salvation.  She took a little while to wrap her head around it, but I think she gets it now :)

We had kind of a funny experience this week.  On Thursday we had our monthly leadership council, which is always super fun.  This month it was attended by Brother Gonzalez, but that wasn't the funny part.  The night before, we had an elder come in to the airport who wasn't supposed to be coming until next week.  Well, he arrived at the airport around 8 in the evening on Wednesday, and waited for about 2 hours for someone to come and get him, but no one did.  So he just handed out Book of Mormons (Books of Mormon?) and pass a long cards for a while, and he finally decided to send an email to Church Travel saying that there may have been a problem.

Us, thinking that he wasn't coming until next week, had no idea.  So basically President got an S.O.S call at 3 in the morning saying that he had to go and get this elder.  Since then he's been bouncing around between companionships until next week, and we got to take him out for a few hours with us.  He's from Indonesia, and he speaks decent Mandarin (he's called to speak that language) so we got to talk a little bit with him.  It was a lot of fun.  He had quite an adventure getting out here.

Anyway, remember this Christmas season to always be focusing on the Savior.  You will be blessed!

Elder Sabin

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 72: Light The World

I'll be honest.  I'm pretty wiped out.  These last two weeks had Elder Carroll and I running around the mission a ton, which was really fun, but I'm so tired.  Saturday night was the first night that Elder Carroll and I had slept in the same house in 14 days.  We had the Quebec exchange and then the last 5 days we had back-to-back exchanges with other zone leaders throughout the mission.  I've had a lot of fun :)

I have had a lot of questions about whether I'm still in Quebec.  I was there until Wednesday morning, at which point Elder Carroll came up and we came down and exchanged back in the city of North Bay.  It was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed spending time with the elders up there.  They are a ton of fun :)

More recently, we've been preparing for a visit next week by a man named John Gonzalez.  He's from the mission department, and he's going to come and do some exchanges with the missionaries here.  This week is our Mission Leadership Council (which we're also preparing for) and I'm really excited for what he's going to share there.

Also, next week is transfers, which means that we're making final arrangements for the movement that's going to happen in the mission.  But enough with the boring stuff!

This week we met with Rohit, and had a stellar lesson.  In the past he's had trouble recognizing his answers from God, and he didn't feel like he had a witness.  However, he had an experience that really built his faith this week, and it made me laugh a little bit.

He was looking for his key one day, and he couldn't find it.  It was some important key for one of his classes or something like that, and he searched and searched, but just couldn't find it.  Then, after some time, he threw his wallet down on the table in frustration.  The wallet opened, revealing his key inside of it.

It was a small experience, but it got him thinking.  He started watching more carefully for when things happen in his life, and he saw a lot of miracles.  This week he came to church with newfound faith and a desire for a baptismal date.  We sat down, and after some discussion, I asked him how he felt about a baptismal date.  In the past he's been really reluctant, but this time he said "Ya, I'm busy these next couple weeks, but how's January sound?"

I was pretty stoked, and pulled out my phone to pull up the calendar so we could set a date.  Before I even looked at the phone though he said "Is the first a Sunday?"

It was.  And so that's his date. I'm pretty happy :)

Also, one of our members Kenneth shaved his eyebrows.  That doesn't really have anything to do with the week.  I just thought it was really weird.  He looks angry or surprised all the time now. Remind me not to shave my eyebrows.

Also, this week the Christmas initiative began!  Family, I know you already said that you've started but for those of you who will read this that haven't begun, REPENT!  It's awesome, and it's going to bring many miracles.

One of the reasons that Ontario is so much fun to serve in is the diversity of the people here, and the different backgrounds they all come from.  Christmas, being a holiday that has spread to many cultures, is almost universally celebrated in some shape or form but many of the festivities have little to do with the birth of Jesus Christ.

By now, I'm sure that worldwide there are stores pulling out decorations, people going shopping for gifts, and lights being put up on roofs all around the globe.  People tend to connect this with "The Spirit of Christmas" but I disagree.  This is a happy afterthought, but I worry that in the commotion of the holiday season, we forget the real reason we celebrate.

The first Christmas was a very small event.  There was no shopping to do, there was no Christmas feast, and there was only one light put up - the star that would guide the wisemen from their native lands to find the Christ child.  There was one family; no turkey; no Christmas tree; and no tinsel.  That was Christmas.

And yet, there was something memorable about that day - something that has inspired the lives of billions around the world who believe in Christ.  It had nothing to do with flashing lights and fancy toys, but it was memorable.  It was inspiring.

So this Christmas season,I want to invite you all to worry a little bit less about what you'll be getting and focus a little more on what you can give.  Take a little time.  Cook a meal for that new family that just moved in down the block.  Stop by the rest home and see those who could use a visit this season.   Find some way to express your love to others and most importantly to the Savior.  In two words: be inspiring.

Best of luck this Christmas season.

Ellie - Haha, I'm glad to hear that you've really taken off with this swimming thing.  I bet by the time I get home you'll be able to beat me at swimming.  Also, your favorite classes are health and math?  Interesting.

Hadley - Loving the nicknames this time around.  Also, thanks for the run down on the latest fashions back in Utah :) I'm super excited to hear that you guys are doing Light the World!  Keep doing it!

Mom - Yes, I am always with a companion, Even on the exchanges, we drive somewhere to meet with another companionship and trade companions, so we always have someone with us.  In lessons, I obviously don't usually use mandarin, because there's some chinese missionaries that cover our area, but Elder Carroll and I usually speak to each other in Chinese, so I can still practice lots.  It's been good.  Also, I love the quote :)

Hayden - Yes, I know the difference.  Are you ready? Think of Chinese as a written language, but not spoken.  Each character (letter) carries a meaning, but the pronunciation of the character can change depending on the dialect.  Originally in China, there were lots of dialects, but a long time ago, the government made Mandarin the main one, and so everyone was supposed to learn Mandarin pronunciation.  About 80 percent of Chinese people speak it.  Cantonese is just another dialect that is spoken, and it has survived really well because it's what they speak in Hong Kong, which wasn't part of china for a long time, and therefore never really experienced the government's push to learn Mandarin until recently.  For instance the way to write missionary in Chinese is 傳教士.  In mandarin those three characters are pronounced "Chuan jiao shi" but in Cantonese they are pronounced "Chuhn gaao shi".  But the same writing.  It's complicated.

Ashleigh - You know that Alexander Hamilton was kind of crazy, right?  He died because he challenged another guy to a duel and lost.  You better get an A in english class this year.  If you don't, I'll never let you live it down :)

Dad - Ya, we have a few investigators looking good for baptism, but the closest is probably Rohit.  He's doing awesome.  Yes, I'm healthy (I think).  Anyway, I'm running low on time, but I appreciate your thoughts.  Tell Chase that I approve 100 percent of his idea.  That sounds like it's amazing.

Anyway, I love you!

Elder Sabin

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 71: A Stellar Week

Alright, so I don't have a ton of time today, but I'll try and update you with everything that's been going on.  Life has been good this week in the mission.  On Monday and Tuesday we were pretty busy with office stuff, and then Tuesday afternoon we went up north, and that's where I've been since.  I've been hanging out with the French missionaries, and they are awesome!  It's actually been a stellar week.

Obviously my French is far far far from good, but it's been good enough to get out some basic phrases, and I'm loving the chance to listen to Quebecois, which is basically French most of the time, and then sometimes they just do their own thing.  It's been super cool.

This week we spent a fair amount of time on the native reserve, which was really cool.  I've never spent time on those long term.  We shoveled some snow, and helped one guy stack a bunch of fire wood.  That guy was ancient.  You know how in the movies there's like a town elder who looks like he was alive when the world was made.  That was this guy.  he didn't speak a word of English.  He only spoke Algonquin (Lamanite) and his son spoke French with an Algonquin accent, and I speak
French with a Chinese accent (probably) so it was really interesting.  The people there was honestly SO nice though. They were all super talkative and very hospitable.

Dad - Haha, gotta love the turkey bowl :) Thanks for the update on the ward back home.  I keep you guys in my prayers.  Sorry, i gotta be a bit quick this week.  love you!

Mom - Ya, we got quite a bit this week.  i don't know what it's like in brampton, but up north we got dumped on.  I'll send some pictures today, don't worry :) i'll head back to the office tommorow.  It's about 8 hours away, which is quite a distance.  Ya, Elder lemon was fun :) Also, I love that quote. I hung it on our bathroom mirror

Unknown - I'm on an old computer today, so i wasn't able to read a lot of your email.  I just got a bunch of boxes.  However, I do appreciate the wish for me to be warm and toasty.

Kidding.  love you ellie!

Hadley - Mashed taters? That was your favorite. Goodness, it's like I'm living with Elder Lau all over again.  haha, Sounds like you had a fun week!  I love you!

Hayden - haha, there's a member here that takes us out to Wild Wings all the time.  Sounds like you guys had a blast. 

Ashleigh - Ashleigh, sometimes its exhausting reading your emails.  Honestly, I might just not try this week.

Fine I'll try.   Yep.  Hmmm.  Uh huh.  Moana was good.  Something about singing to a gas station guy.  Moana was good again.  Who the freak is lin?   Alright, shakespearean english, i can probably skip that.

Alright.  Good stuff.  have a good week ashleigh :)

LOVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Sabin

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 70: Heading North to Speak French

It's been another good week.  Miracles are abounding up here in Toronto, and Elder Carroll and I are having so much fun.  The weather is finally getting cold up here, and I've given in to using my big coat.  It's a matter of pride for some of the elders up here to try and see how long they can get by with flimsy jackets, but this year I've decided I'd rather be warm than a man.

Anyway, the week truly has been wonderful.  One of the highlights on Tuesday was that we got to welcome another Mandarin missionary.  His name is Elder Myers.  For the Chinese missionaries, this is usually quite an occasion, because there are not too many of us.  It's also fun to see a window back to the beginning of your mission; when you showed up at transfers and there's all these white guys testing how good your Chinese is.  It was fun to be on the other side of the experience.  He's going to do great things.

This week, Churchville YSA (our ward) hosted a huge YSA temple conference, which was fantastic.  We didn't spend a ton of time there, but I got to see quite a few of the people that I worked with in Hamilton and Kitchener. Both of those units are doing wonderful, and it was great to hear how things are going.  There are a lot of people that have decided to go on missions, and I had a good chance to commend them on their decisions.

There were people coming in and out of the temple and stake center all day, and there were a lot of classes and workshops provided by our mission president and a lot of the other stake leaders.  We didn't attend any of the classes, but we were pulling investegators and new converts out of classes for 10 or 15 minutes to meet with them for a while, so it was really cool.  There was a lot of good stuff shared, and I've heard nothing but positive feedback from everyone who went.  Also, they had a ton of leftover lasagna that they gave to the elders, so we appreciated that ;)

Kenneth, one of our new converts was able to attend the temple that day, and it was a really good experience for both him and us. He's been doing really well, and I'm excited to see his further progression in the gospel.

DJ, another one of our new converts, gave me a chance to ride his hoverboard, which was a ton of fun.  I don't know why it's called a hoverboard, because there's actually no hovering involved.  It's really just two wheels side by side with a platform in between that moves the way that you lean.  Also, before they sell them, they program them to sense if you're new to this whole "hoverboard" thing and if so, then they spin repeatedly in circles and move at highway speeds for the enjoyment of those watching and the confusion of the one riding.  At least, that's how I felt for the first couple of minutes.  It's really fun though.  I'm thinking about buying one for when we go tracting.

Also, I got to spend a day working up in Sudbury, which was ton's of fun. Sudbury is the farthest north zone in the mission, and being a Chinese missionary, I've never been up north :) It was a really fun experience.  I served with Elder McBride, who is a celestial man, and we did some fun stuff.  It was quite an adventure to see the north, and I hope that I can go to Sudbury again sometime.

Also, for those of you who know Elder Lemon, and even more for those of you who know I know Elder Lemon, it may interest you to know that we went on exchanges this week!  He got to come down to Brampton with me, and we killed it!  It was really fun to talk to him and to catch up on old times. He's one of the zone leaders up in Barrie, and they're doing super well. He took some pictures (My camera was dead) so he'll be sending them out.

One of our investigators, Celeste, has been doing amazing this week! She was really going through a hard time with some family and relationship problems last week, but she is just on spiritual fire now!  She came to the temple conference, she came to church, she's got some awesome members friends, and honestly, I don't know if there's much that we need to do.

Also, our investigator Nav came to church, and he loved it.  Nav is a really cool guy.  He's a little bit quiet, but once you get to know him he's just a super friendly person.  Also, he boxes.  And he has awesome hair.

Also, remember how I was talking about how I haven't been very far north in my mission?  Well, that's going to change quite a bit this week.  Our mission recently absorbed a portion of Quebec within the last couple of months, and it's super far out there.  There are two areas up there in Rouyn-Noranda and Val d'Or and they are both French speaking.  Since we have so few French speakers in our mission, it sometimes gets complicated with transfers and where people are needed. Also, since it's such a new region, president want's to have a better idea of what it's like up there, and basically the final verdict is that I'll be going on exchanges up there for a week.  So one of the French elders is going to come down with Elder Carroll, and I'm going far to the north in French work!  It's kind of scary, but also kind of awesome.  I've been listening to nothing but conference talks in French for the last couple of days trying to pick up what little I had before my mission, and I definitely have a testimony that God helps us out when we need it.  Those French elders are all awesome, it's gonna be so fun.  So next week I'll probably be emailing you guys from up there.

Mom - Ya, sorry about the pictures.  I've taken a few that I just haven't sent home, but I promise I'll do better. As far as the shoes go, yes, that sounds fine.  I'm just worried that without you there, and with my fashion sense I could definitely go wrong, but I've got Elder Carroll here, and he's pretty stylish.  Ya, the flu is no fun.  It spreads almost as fast as the gospel.

Hayden - I'm extremely sorry, but due to the fact that our two mother tongues are mutually unintelligible, I cannot make an educated guess as to what you are attempting to communicate.  Despite my months of dedicated practice working with foreigners in the municipality of Toronto, my broken English is far from fluent, and I must refrain from responding to your email.  I am aware the the word "bra" or "bruh" can be used as a clipped form of the word "brother," indicating a close relationship between the speaker and the listener, but I am still unfamiliar with it's usage.  I will also endeavor to learn the meaning of words such as "sah" and "wa" and I will look into the exact usage of the word "lit".  As soon as I have ascertained the meaning of the above words, I will reply promptly and without error.  I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused, and hope to one day be able to communicate with a culture of your kind.  Good day to you sir.

Love you Hayden ;)

Ellie - 不好意思。 我的英文不太好, 所以我就没有办法跟你沟通。很抱歉。可能有一天我会能够说英文说地好,但是现在我还是再学习。我不知道这个flrm的意思是什么。你可不可以给我解释一下?

Put it in google translate :) love you Ellie.

Hadley - On P-day, my favorite thing to do is actually to go to other houses of worship, like cathedrals, Hindu sanctuaries, and Buddhist temples.  I know you probably don't know what all those are, but basically they're just other churches.  I think it's really fascinating.  What's your favorite thing to do on Saturday? Of course I'm excited for christmas :)  Every missionary's favorite holiday is Christmas.

Dad - I just realized that I forgot to send an email to you last week.  Super sorry about that.  Ya, it's been really busy.  We haven't had zone conferences yet, but starting next transfer we're going to have them every six weeks.  They just changed the regulations, and in a mission this big, it's going to be really interesting logistically.  Elder Carroll is from Tuscan, Arizona, and I like him a ton.  He's a really good missionary.  So if everyone thought she was going to win, why didn't she?  Did all the democrats just not vote, thinking that she would win for sure?

As far as mission preparation goes, I think it would be amazing if you could come up with a way to help them to get good at talking to people they don't know.  I don't really know how to do it, but honestly that's the biggest struggle for new missionaries.  Just talking to people.  I'll keep thinking of other stuff. I know that's not a super useful idea :)  That's awesome about Spencer.  Send him my love!  As far as this week's email goes, I think that's an awesome idea with talking about the controversial issues.  Honestly, there are far too many people with opinions in this world and not enough that realize there can only really be one truth.  I loved the talk "Where will we go" by M. Russell Ballard (I think that's the name in English) last conference.  Either these things are true or they're not, and if they're not, then what is true?  I think people who leave the church forget to ask themselves this second question.  Also, I love Hank Smith.  That guy gives some amazing talks.  If you have anything of him, i'd love to hear it :)

Ashleigh - Ya, Hank Smith is pretty awesome :) I really like his talks.  Glad to hear that BYU is doing well.  Have you been practicing your Chinese so you can talk with me when I get home?  That stinks that you got the flu.  I don't think I've been sick yet on my mission.  That's been pretty lucky.

Anyway, I love you guys!  The gospel's true.  It really is.  Like honestly. It is. So tell EVERYONE!!!!  Anyway, have a great week.

Elder Sabin

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 69: Missionary Work Is Awesome

Hello everyone!

Wow, this week feels like it has flown by.  Elder Carroll will testify that I come into the house exhausted every night.  In the past when I've lived with missionaries there was usually a lot of talking at night as we all fell asleep, but honestly there's been almost none of it here. We're all just too tired.  There's so much work to do here in Brampton!

I've gotten a lot of questions about how much time we actually have to proselyte every day, and I wish I could give a straight answer.  It really depends on the week and the day :) This week, we finally had a fair amount of time, so I was able to get to know some of our investigators and we were able to find some new ones.

So last Sunday (8 days ago) I got to baptize someone! Like actually get in the water.  The only other time I've done that was with Ellie before the mission :) All the other times we've had a member do it.  The sisters in the ward had an investigator who was getting baptized, and she wanted one of the missionaries to do it, and so I was volunteered by my loving companions. Her name is Lydia, and she's super cool.  She went to the temple this week as well, and she's doing super awesome.  Her friends from Utah came out to see her baptism, and it was cool to see them share such wonderful testimonies.

On Monday, we finalized all of the transfer information, and the most of the rest of our day was taken up by picking up the new missionaries.  We had a lot of greenies come into the mission this transfer, and it was really fun meeting them.  Also, we got to drive the huge vans that the mission owns, which was super fun. I honestly feel like I'm driving a tank when I'm in those.

After we picked them up at the airport, we went over to the President's house for dinner and for a devotional.  It was cool to see them, because I honestly feel like I was in their shoes just a few weeks ago.  After that we took them to the hotel and they all crashed super hard.

Then Tuesday was transfers, which is always hectic.  I spent most of the time in the trainers meeting helping the new missionaries get oriented.  Since I didn't come into the mission on the regular transfer cycle, that was actually the first trainers meeting I've ever attended, so it was cool to see what it was like.  President shared some wonderful thoughts, and it was fun to see everyone get so excited when they got paired up with their new companions.

That night, we got to see the other end of the spectrum when we took all the "dying" missionaries to the mission home for their last devotional before they go home.  It was sad to see some old friends go, but the testimony meeting we had was extremely spiritual.  It was interesting actually.  Within 24 hours I got to see two dozen missionaries fresh from the MTC and two dozen "seasoned veterans" of the field.

Wednesday we took care of all the post-transfer information and any hiccups that occurred in the process, at which point we finally had some time to proselyte.

There were lots of cool miracles this week.  There were also lots of Indian people.  Lots of Indian people. There's a restaurant here that sells samosas for a quarter each.  And they're big samosas.  I know where I'm eating lunch for the next couple weeks ;)

Anyway, I really do love this area.  I'll probably make more jokes about how many Indian people there are here and how much punjabi food I'm eating, but just know that I really do love this place.  They are such wonderful people.

We had a chance to meet with some of our recent converts this week.  One of them is named Kenneth, and he is super funny.  He's getting ready to go the temple next week as well.  Temple trips are really easy here, because the temple is honestly down the street. In all the other areas I've been in, there's a bunch of complex travel plans that go into going to the temple.  Much easier here.

Other new converts include DJ, Mandeep (Indian guy), Jashan (Indian guy, likes rapping in punjabi), and Allen (Chinese guy).  We're serving in a YSA ward here, and it's just full of returned missionaries, so fellowship is not a problem at all.

We also had some really cool people come out to church this week.  One of the people we're working with is named Nav, and he's a boxer.  Like a serious boxer.  After church on Sunday, he was trying to take me through the basics of boxing, and I'm pretty sure I could take you all in a fight now. Kidding.  I'm horrible at it. Anyway, he has a baptismal date for the 18th of December, and we're really hoping that he makes it.

Also, Rohit Indian guy) came to church on sunday.  He's super funny.  He's pretty much as tall as me, and when he came to Canada he brought all the swagger from India.  He's got a baptismal date for November 20th, and we're really trying to help him make it.

This weekend, I also got to go on exchanges in Ossington Zone with some of the elders down there.  That zone covers what's basically the downtown of Toronto, so we were on busses all day and we talked to SO many people.  Also, I got a pineapple from a guy, and I had no place to put it, so I just carried it around for a few hours until I could drop it off at home.  It made for some interesting conversations.  We talked to a lot of people that were super prepared, and also a lot of crazies.  Lots of them.  People may have thought I was one since I was carrying around a pineapple and talking to people about Jesus.  Missionary work is awesome.

Anyway, I love being a missionary.

Mom - Yes, the trash talking is going extremely well :) I'm glad I made you proud.  And yes, we are super duper busy.  We drive a lot. And go work in a lot of different areas. And go to some meetings. It's really fun, but pretty exhausting as well.  Ya, the weather here has been really good as well.  Today was extremely warm.  Everyone keeps telling me to expect a rough winter, but honestly it hasn't been bad at all thus far.

Hadley - Congratulations Hadley :)  You're "so" was exactly one O longer than Ellie's.  Was that on purpose? Anyway, not much is new.  Wow, that's a lot of money from the tooth fairy.  Pretty soon you'll have enough to go on a mission :) Kidding. You can spend that on whatever you want. Are you guys watching movies every night and having a party?  Haha, I hope you have a good week.

Ellie - Wow, that's too bad that Riley threw up.  Don't get sick, okay?  Are you still reading a whole ton?  Are you still eating lots of plain lettuce because you think it "tastes good"?  Haha, I'm glad to hear that you guys are having fun.

Hayden - Haha, sounds like you're really getting into politics.  Ya, I heard the election was crazy.  Did Utah almost vote for a third party?  I just heard a rumor about that.  How was the scout campout?  What kind of guns did you shoot?

Anyway, I love you guys!

Elder Sabin

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Week 68: Trash Talk

Sorry for emailing again on Saturday.  No, this is not our P-day.  Transfers are this week, so we're going to be really busy on Monday organizing everything and our P-day got moved. Next week it should return to normal schedule.

Quotes from this week.

"Sometimes I look at Elder Scofield, and I just try and imagine he's my eternal companion, and not just for a few transfers." Elder Taylor (Elder Scofield's Companion)

*During a role play at Mission Leadership Council*
     Investigator "I didn't read the Book of Mormon"
     Elder Sabin *Flips table* "WHAT!"

These next couple of quotes require some context.  All the zone leaders were having a huge competition these last couple of weeks, and one of the challenges was to see who could trash talk the best.  To spice up the competition, we all ran under the name of a country, and so when the scores and stuff were texted out, no one knew who was in the lead.  These were some of our favorites:

“Your country is probably something like Denmark where they stay inside all day and do nothing.” Elder Taylor.

"I was going to go to church in your zone, but I realized the J-dubs have better missionaries, so I almost went there instead.” Elder Sabin

“Sorry, we don’t have time to trash talk. We’re too busy trying to bring back all the less actives you baptized.” Elder Sabin

“They have missionaries in your zone? I didn’t know that.”    "That's okay.  Neither did anyone else."

“You’re a great example of how you don’t have to be smart, handsome, or athletic to be a zone leader.”

"Elder Sabin, when I’m done trash talking with you, one of us is going to leave the church for sure.” Elder Madrigal

As you can see, some of us got pretty into it :)

For the record Elder Stowell and I totally won the competition.  The only downside is that for the last few days of the competition I wasn't his companion anymore, but he finished strong and we got first place :)

Frankly this week has been nuts.  Transfers are this week, and we also had MLC with all the zone leaders.  Both of these events require a lot of planning from the assistants, so we've been pretty swamped.  We haven't had a lot of time to proselyte this week, but it's still been really good.

We have a few really cool people we're working with.  One of them is named Celeste, and she is super cool.  She's had a really rough background, but this week she had a lot of miracles happen in her life.  She kicked her boyfriend out, and she want's to be baptized super bad.  She described her feelings when she reads the Book of Mormon as "feeling all tingly" which I think is awesome :) She's doing great.

Also, I have to apologize.  I'm going to have to cut this email short.  I'm running low on time. I promise I'll put more into it next week, and I'll answer your emails from this week and next week.  I really do love you guys though!

Elder Sabin

Last Richmond Hill District meeting:

When we went to the ROM:

Dinner with the Youngbergs (an office couple):

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Week 67: Changes

Much has happened this week.  To be honest, I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.  Member referalls, investigators deciding the Book of Mormon is true, and surprise transfers have all played a role this week.

The first cool things that happened this week was meeting Sylvia and Lydia.  They were two of the people that came to Stake Conference last week, and they're good friends with a member named Jane.  They really liked the conference, and so we met them at the library later that week.  Sylvia is the mother and her daughter Lydia is in 7th or 8th grade.  The way Sylvia introduced her was really funny.  She basically said that Lydia is the reason they decided to go to church, and that for the past while she's been "super super interested in church".

To this Lydia rolled her eyes and said "Mom, no, it's not super super interested."
Sylvia then said "Okay, just one "super" should be enough" and that seemed to satisfy Lydia.  Anyway, we shared with them the restoration and they loved it.  It was actually amazing, because as we asked them questions throughout the lesson, they kept asking the exact question that we needed to turn to the next page of the pamphlet.  You could completely see their way of thinking, and it was cool to help them realize why there are so many Christian churches and where the original church went. They're doing super well, and they committed to read the Book of Mormon that day and pray about it.

David is still doing awesome.  We met with him, and directly after we said the prayer, he looks at us and says "Guys, I honestly can't go one day without reading the Book of Mormon. What he actually said was 一天不读摩尔门就不行 which basically means "If i even don't read it one day, it's still not okay."  He makes me laugh :)

Michelle took a huge step this week.  She's really doing awesome.  She's still nervous about baptism (I think investigators always are) but she feels like she's good for her date in November.  She keeps asking us for more scriptures to read.  The other day we gave her 3 Nephi 11, but after the lesson she forgot what chapter it was, so she just read all of 3 Nephi.  All of it.  In two days.

Also, our investigator Judy took a tumble this week and ended up in the hospital with a fractured foot.  She was playing badminton, which is very popular among Chinese people, and I guess she just got to into it.  Anyway,  we went by her house to give her a visit, but she wasn't home. That was interesting, because we had set up the appointment that same day and she seemed good.

Well, we knocked a few of the doors in the neighborhood, and right as we were about to go, she walks around the corner.  I should say "limped" around, because it was obvious that she was taking it slow. We caught up to her (it wasn't hard) and she apologized for not being home earlier.  They had asked her to come back to the hospital to look at the x-rays, and she had forgotten her phone, so she couldn't get in touch with us.  She said her foot should be okay, and she can actually drive with it, but no more badminton for a couple weeks.  We had a really good conversation with her after that about missionary work and why our church believes what we do.  We usually try and keep the discussion within about a half hour, but she just had so many questions so we ended up talking with her for about an hour.

We had a really great lesson with Adam, and we taught the plan of salvation.  He's a quieter guy, so it's sometimes hard to get his feelings out of him, but we asked him to say the closing prayer, and it was so sincere.  He said "Thank you God for sending me these two elders, so that they can tell me about all these wonderful things I've never heard before.  I will come to your church again on Sunday to keep feeling this feeling that I've never felt before."  It was a beautiful prayer.

Also, Mia, one of our investigators is taking a trip back to China.  We'll see her in a while I guess :)

Li Hong Yu took another trip to Vancouver this week, but she's back for good after that, and so we'll be able to start meeting with her again.  That was fun.

Haha, here's a funny story from the week.  We were out teaching some people with some of the young men from our ward, and it started raining.  We kept going for a while, but after some time the young men were pretty miserable, so we decided to take them home.  However, because of that detour, we didn't have time to get gas before our next appointment, which was something we desperately needed.

Regardless, we still dropped them off and prayed that God would bless us for our watchful care of the young men.  We started heading off to our appointment, to which we were already running behind, and very quickly got stuck in traffic.  Finally, we got clear of the traffic, but about 30 seconds later we hit an incline, and the gas tank stopped feeding the engine.  Not a cough, not a sputter, it just died. On the ramp connecting two freeways.

Anyway, we called up our buddies, the Farsi missionaries, and they came and rescued us, so it's okay now, but we got stuck there for a good hour.  We missed our appointment, but we called up our trusty ward mission leader who was there, and we just had him teach the lesson.  Also it was really cold.  With no heater.  We had some fun making jokes about how this must be what the pioneers felt like, and when the Farsi missionaries arrived with gas, we made sure to thank Brigham Young for sending a rescue party.

I probably should have said this first, but I wasn't really sure how to say it. Basically I have a new assignment, and I'm no longer in North York. I've received an assignment to be an assistant to the president for a few transfers.  So now I'm in Brampton.  And in English work.  My feeling are mixed, to say the least.

As sad as I am leaving North York and the Bayview ward, I am excited for the oppurtunities this will bring. I'm serving with Elder Carroll who I served with previously, and with Elder Holt, who will be going home in a week.  We'll be in a companionship of three for a week, which will be fun :)

Related to this, the AP's live in a house called "The Mansion" with two other elders, Elder Taylor and Scofield who are the Brampton Zone leaders.  It's not really a mansion, but it's large compared to most missionary housing due to the fact that oftentimes large numbers of elders have to stay there before meetings, transfers, and other things.

Anyway, there's a tradition in the "The Mansion" where the new assistant gets snuck into the house, and they pull some crazy prank on the other elders. We had some fun with this. It's hard to describe over email, but it involved pelting the other elders with water balloons outside, hitting the breaker in the house to shut off all the lights when they got suspicious, and me dumping flour on them while they were wet.  If you've ever had wet flour on your clothes, it's pretty sticky, and makes for a lot of fun.  There was some cleanup involved, but it was absolutely worth it.

Anyway, it's been a good week.  I love you all, and I hope you all continue to have great spiritually uplifting experiences.  I've definitely had many this week.

Loves!
Elder Sabin

I'm the third AP in a row called out of Mandarin work, and people have started calling it the Chinasty.  These were sent to me with the following caption.

The Shuai Ge's:

I'm the third AP in a row called out of Mandarin work, and people have started calling it the Chinasty.  These were sent to me with the following caption.

LONG LIVE THE CHINASTY

Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 66: Funny Quotes of the Week

Quotes from this week.
"You and your big fat nose will make lots of money." - Anna (member of the ward)
"Faith sucks." -Elder Sabin
"The only way to bash effectively is to first completely discredit the reliability of the bible"
"Man, there have been so many times where I was gonna die!  And then I didn't, and I just knew that was Jesus up there saying "I gotcha girl!"  *air fistbump* - Ariana (Our doorlady)
"We went to St. George and got to bring fluffy pancakes (Emi)" -Ellie Sabin

I should probably give these some context, but I think it's funnier without them.  So I'll just let you guys stew over those.  If you want to email your guesses of what the situation was, then I would love to hear them :)  Every saturday morning we have a meeting about the English classes here, and there's a bit of tradition that we bring the funny quotes from the week.  One of the ones that I thought was funny was "Ya, I know I haven't been to church in a while, but every week I'll sit down with a glass of water and some toast, and I remember Jesus!"

Just so everyone knows, that doesn't count as taking the sacrament.  I thought that was clear, but apparently there's still some confusion.

Anyway, this week was stake conference.  Sometimes stake conference is hard, because we have a harder time getting our investigators to the new location, but this week it actually went really well. We had quite a few people make it out, and they provided some really good translation by some of the members, so it was a good meeting.  Basically the entire meeting was covering missionary work, so I had absolutely no complaints.  Two recently returned elders spoke, and one of them made me laugh.  He gave a really good talk, and this is how he ended.  "Well, I know all these things are true, and I'm really tired.  I'll probably just take a nap afterward.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."  I was literally dying, and then what made it funnier was that the people we were with had translation, and so they didn't hear it until a few seconds later, and then they got super confused.

Also, Elder Stowell got a fun referral from his Dad for a chinese guy in Oshawa, which is just outside of Toronto.  We went and ate dinner with him and his family, and they were actually really cool.  They aren't religious, but they were super kind and took us out for sushi, which is always a fun time.

David is still doing wonderful.  Since he got baptized, he's just been on fire.  He's read all the way to Alma  17 now, and he's seriously doing amazing.  He's really excited to get the priesthood this Sunday.

Hayden - Haha, I love that guy!  I remember playing football with him.  He's all about Taysom Hill now, eh?  I'm glad you threw home teaching into your weekly update.  That's super cool.  Did you guys go out to the dunes in St. George?

Hadley - Wow, you're first pony?  Did mom say you could keep her? It sounds like you guys had a lot of fun in St. George.  I had a hard time reading your email through all the exclamation marks.

Ellie- Haha, definitely my favorite update of the week.  I had completely forgotten that Emi's middle name was "fluffy panckakes."  Sounds like a good week

Ashleigh - I'm so happy you made the decision to serve a mission.  This is the greatest day of my life.

Just kidding Ash.  It's totally up to you....but it would be cool.  Glad you guys had fun in St. George :)

Dad - Don't worry Dad, you're cooking is wonderful :) Haha, okay, I'll answer all of you questions today.  What's new?  Well, apparently we'll have a new president soon.  Everyone in Canada thinks WWIII is about to start because Trump is going to launch all the nukes.  I'm feeling good.  Yes, I'm well.  Ya, fairly warm.  Nah, I'm doing pretty good for winter.  I'll probably buy another hat, but that's nothing crazy.  My one last winter got kind of trashed.  As far as lessons go, it varies a lot depending on what time of the school year it is or if people are traveling.  We usually have around 15 investigators and we try and meet with them at least once, sometimes twice, a week.

Mom - Okay, first off, konechiwa is japanese.  In Chinese we say "nihao".  As far as christmas goes, I literally have no idea what I want. Maybe new black shoes?  My current pair are a little worn.  I don't know.  Suprise me.

Anyway, I love you all.  Keep being celestial!

Elder Sabin

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 65: A Week Full of Miracles

Life is going well here in Toronto.  Just so everyone knows, I'm going to write today's entire email in a British accent.  Just warning you in case you try to read it out loud.

Elder Stowell and I are doing our best to keep up with the city life.  North York would maybe be a bit hectic to live in, but it's a great place to be a missionary.  As always, the cultures are entertaining.  Just this morning I've talked to a people from Ethiopia, India, England, China, and Korea, and that was just from walking next door to the library so we could email.  Take special notice that I didn't mention Canada on that list :)

At the risk of sounding cliche, this week was full of miracles.  David is doing great, in case you were wondering.  He told us more about a dream that he had a few weeks ago where God told him the church was true.  Honestly, I thought this stuff only existed in those cheesy mormon movies :) Anyway, he keeps mentioning how he's determined to endure to the end, and how he will never ever drink coffee again.  He's really been on a spiritual high lately :)

We'll probably meet up with him later this week.  He's amazing.

One of the miracles this week was Michelle.  She's a friend of one of the youth in the ward, and she's already been to church a few times.  So far we've shared the restoration and the plan of salvation with her, and if I've ever met an investigator that reads and prays about what we tell her, it's her.  She actually asks us for more Book of Mormon chapters between lessons, and she started reading the Pearl of Great Price.  And she's 17.  Super fun.

Anyway, she has a baptismal date for the 29th of November, but she'll actually probably be baptized sooner.  She's Anglican, and she makes a lot of funny comparisons between our churches.  Apparently she originally thought it was super weird that everyone in our church knew that God loved them.  It seems like such a simple thing, but it really made the difference for her.

Anyway, everyone else is doing super well. I'm not going to write out an exhaustive update, cause I'm lazy and stuff, but just know that this was a really awesome week.  We met a lot of new people this week, and we're really excited to continue working with them.  Bayview, as always is a wonderful ward.

I was reading this week in the Book of Mormon, and I really feel inspired to invite you all to read it again.  I've heard all the stories about the early saints and what they went through, what Joseph Smith had to do to  translate it, all the miracles and things that had to line up to make it possible for it be printed etc.

There's nothing wrong with any of that, and I'm not trying to denounce it at all, but if you go on a mission and try and prove the truthfulness of that book with facts like that, you will find little success.  Just letting you know.  It doesn't work.  If someone wanted to be impressed by facts, then they would spend more time at school, not at church.  They will decide whether or not to believe you based off of how they feel.  They'll ask in their head "Is he sincere?" long before they ask "Is it true?"  So believe what you say.  It'll help, trust me :)

Anyway, I love you guys!  Have a wonderful week.  Keep your heads high and remember that you're a cool guy! (or girl)  Keep it up!

Elder Sabin

David's Baptism : )

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Week 64: I Could Really Use A Good Handshake

David got baptized!  He's awesome, and his wife came!  It was wonderful.

He's doing really great.  He really enjoys church, and Brother Lu was able to baptize him.  He's been really great in helping David grow his faith.  It was amazing to see how far he's come.  I taught this man English a full year ago, and then left and thought nothing would ever come of it. God had another plan though, and we were able to play a small role in helping David learn the gospel.  2 months ago, he was an atheist, without a clear idea of what he should be doing in life.  Now his feet are on the path, and he knows exactly where he is going.  We're really happy for him.

Also, I want to apologize for the late email.  Canada likes to be different from America, so they celebrate Thanksgiving in early October, and all the libraries close that day, so P-day was moved.  I don't know why.  Everyone knows that the pilgrims actually waited until late November when there was 4 feet of snow to harvest their grain and have a big turkey dinner.  Come on Canada.

Life's been good here.  I don't really want to write the update for everyone were teaching, so I'll just tell you about the new ones. 

Audrey is super cool.  We actually helped her move in a while back, and it was made even more convenient because she lives in the same building as us.  Literally downstairs from us.  She's a high school student that came here a few months ago and she's really sweet.

We also met up with a member referral named Michelle.  Her mom is a little bit crazy and thinks that communism is a religion and therefore you shouldn't believe anything else apparently, but she's really nice.  She goes to an Anglican church, but she's pretty interested in our church, and has a sweet member friend. 

We also met up with Lena, who is really nice.  We contacted her on the street a few weeks ago, and she has some really cute kids.  She was curious why Elder Stowell hadn't been to Disneyland.  Apparently all Americans are supposed to go.

Also, we had this cool guy named Liu come to church on Sunday.  Elder Stowell met him on the street the other day, and it turns out he has a friend serving a mission in Brisbane!  He really wants to know about our church, and he's also psyched about playing basketball on Tuesday night.  Haha,  He's pretty funny.

Sam was a new guy as well this week.  We met him at the chapel this week, and we brought William with us, who is a super solid recent convert.  The lesson went well, but the only issue is that William loves "fire-hosing" people by sharing everything with them.  We hadn't even said the opening prayer and he started talking about the prophecies of Nephi.  After that it went a lot better though.  It was a pretty long lesson, but now William and Sam are good friends, and Sam really has a sincere desire to teach his kids about religion.  Sam's friend is the father of Tony, the guy that just got baptized.  Tony's dad LOVES our church, and has said a lot of good about it.

Also, before church on Sunday, we went to stop by a less active member named Peng Ren Ming.  He has a very commanding presence, and sometimes he answers the door with his shirt off, so he's kind of funny, but this time we met his wife, and she's just the sweetest lady you've ever met.  She knows the church is true, but she just has some issues with other members that she has to overcome before she gets baptized.  She's super nice and I think (hope) we made a good impression.

Haha, funny story.  So, at the Bayview ward sacrament comes last, which is really convenient if we have investigators coming late because they can still make the most important part.  This Sunday, we had a guy coming for the last hour, and we were going to run out to the road and find him so we could guide him to our building and not have him end up at the Presbyterian church next door.  I've made that mistake way too many times.

Anyway, we walked out to get him right after elders quorum while everyone was still socializing before the main meeting, and this Chinese lady comes by on a bike.  Her clothes are kind of trashed, and she's wearing a super ridiculous looking helmet, so we're already confused.  She comes up to us, and starts trying to speak in English to us to get some directions.  We tell her we speak Chinese which speeds up the pace of the conversation quite a bit, and then she asks us to help her find a certain hotel.  We point her the right way, but then she starts talking to us about this round-the-country trip thing she's doing for some charity with a bunch of other bikers, and pulling flags and flyers out of her backpack. The investigator shows up, so then he gets sucked in, and sacraments beginning but this lady just wont stop talking.  She's trying to find our church online so she can keep in touch, and she was trying to tell us about all these stories of places we've been and our investigator is just super confused but he's laughing with us. Anyway, end of story, we were pretty late for sacrament.  We got in just before they started singing the sacrament hymn.  It was pretty funny.

Also, I went on exchanges with Elder Carrol over in Brampton.  It was fun seeing him again.  He's still doing well.

The zone council this week was really fun as well.  We decided to do it outside, which was kind of funny because we had to bring a chalkboard and a television out there, but we found some extension cords, so we made it work.  Haha,  It was super fun.

The Zhu family is doing well.  They're celestial.  We taught them the gospel of Jesus Christ this week at the Wang families house, and Brother Zhu finished the Book of Mormon.  He's reading Doctrine and Covenants now. They're just such a sweet couple.

Also, I should probably explain my subject title instead of leaving you all wondering.  Chinese people have a problem with handshakes.  The fact is their culture doesn't really have this weird quirk that ours does, but a lot of them try and do it when they come over here so they can "fit in" and stuff. Except they don't know how.  They just put out this dead fish of a hand and expect you to grab and shake.  Or, even worse, they grab your hand, but they do it wrong and it ends up being a high-five/holding hands mess of a greeting.  And then they just act like nothing happened, because they have no idea how to do it, and they'll just go with whatever you do.  I could probably chest bump them and they'd just think "Oh, I guess this is what they do in America."

Anyway, it  gets frustrating after a while.  I'm never sure what to do, because if I do a really firm one and they give me a wet noodle I crush their hand, but if I give them a dead fish and they actually know how to shake hands they're weirded out by it.  It makes for some interesting street contacts!

Anyway, we're almost out of time.  I love you all though.  Never forget that the church is true!

Elder Sabin

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week 63: A Remarkable Week!

I'm running out of ideas for how to describe my weeks.  I could say they were fabulous or wonderful or fantastic, but I feel like I've already used those ones.  Have I used remarkable yet?  Probably not.  I'll go with that.  This week was remarkable.  

I guess I'll start by saying that the weather is finally getting cold up here.  I've had to start wearing a jacket, and this week has been super rainy.  It's common knowledge that Asian people will actually melt in the rain, and so if it even looks like or sounds like or tastes like rain, most of them will either run for the indoors or bundle up in huge coats that make them resemble a volleyball with legs.  I love it.

Elder Stowell is still as studly as ever.  Yah.

David is doing great, and he's still looking good to be baptized next Sunday after church.  After his interview on Sunday, Elder Stowell asked him "did you pass?".  He kind of put on a confused expression and said "Seems like it."  Then he looked at the elder who did his interview for a confirmation. Luckily Elder Shu confirmed that he did indeed pass, and we had fun celebrating afterward :) So he's doing amazing.

Lu Feng (one of the members) brought a large bunch of people to church this week, and they were all really cool.  We met with one named Crity (I know, the name is a little funny, Asians pick funny English names) and wow, this lesson went well.  The beginning of the lesson was a little messy because we change topics from the restoration to the plan of salvation on a whim, and we really just felt like we were confusing her, but then it got cool.  She didn't understand the atonement, so we invited her to read the section about the atonement in the pamphlet.  She did, and about halfway through, she started crying.  Legitimately.  Like, really hard.  I was honestly amazed, because I felt like we hadn't done that much, but the spirit really touched her that day.  It was amazing.

The Zhu family is still doing wonderful.  We sat down this week and said "Alright, we're going to talk about a commandment called the Sabbath day." They didn't know what that was, but as soon as we said it's a commandment about what we don't do on Sunday, Sister Zhu just blurted out "Oh, right, so we don't go shopping, we don't work, we go to church, and spend time with our family, right?"  My first thought was "Wow, they know it all" and my second thought was "darn, there goes our lesson". 

It turned out well though, and they all said that want to make going to church a consistent habit.  Also, they're going to start doing family scripture study.  Brother Zhu was talking about how he wants to start doing that, and his exact words (translated) were "Ya, I was thinking we could start small, like maybe doing just a half hour each night or something."  I almost laughed.  I don't even know if every member does that!  They're so fun.

Vivian is still great.  No change really.  She goes to institute every week.  Elder Stowell and I keep dreaming that we're going to share some concept or some scripture in a lesson with her and some switch will flip and she'll decide that baptism is right for her.  Haven't found it yet though. 
 We're still looking.

We're meeting with quite a few other investigators, but those are the ones who are really on fire.

One day this week, Elder Stowell and I were a little bit discouraged because we hadn't had a lot of success that day (I think it was Thursday) and we really wanted to find someone cool.  We only had like 20 minutes left before we had to head in, and so we decided to just walk around the bottom of our apartment on busy Yonge Street.  Usually contacting here is hard because everyone is really busy and even though there's tons of people it's hard to get them to stop.  However, we really felt good about it, and in those couple of minutes, we found a Chinese guy on a park bench who wants to hear about the gospel.  His name is Ted, and we probably talked with him for 10 minutes or so.  He's super cool.

Also, miracle happened as we sat down at the library to write our emails.  We sat down, and then I realized that across the table from us is Linda, that christian Chinese lady I talked about a few times.  We said hi, and she seems to be doing well now, but she's been having a bit of a crisis with work lately. Keep her in your prayers, alright?  I just hope she takes this encounter as a sign that she needs to meet with us more.  

Life's going well here. No complaints.  I keep praying that I'll get to train a new missionary next transfer.  During one of the conference sessions, a choir from the MTC did the hymns, and in the front row there was a missionary with a mandarin tag on.  Every time we saw him I would turn to Elder Stowell and say "There he is.  My future son."  It was actually super funny, because he got a ton of camera time. I took it as a sign.  

Also, I loved conference.  I'm sure every missionary in the world is sending home updates about conference, so I'll just keep it simple.  I always love Elder Hollands talks, and this year was no different.  Frankly, I've been really unimpressed by the church members interest in home teaching.  I guess I don't know the situation around the whole world, but my impression is that it's become a joke in the church.  It's common knowledge that no one does it, and so everyone can sheepishly laugh whenever it's brought up in a meeting because they know that their neighbor didn't do it either.  I'll tell you all right now that I will always do my home teaching, because I've seen that program work miracles.  I just worry that members sometimes don't care enough about being part of miracles to start visiting.  I remember as a younger man complaining when my dad would drag me to these appointments. For that I'm sorry.  Truly, I am, and from now on you will never hear me complain about a home teaching assignment.

I also really loved Carl Cook's talk, but frankly, I would have to say that my absolute favorite was Dallin H. Oaks talking about missionary work.  "I guess today we would say "loose their thumbs." Go to it youth!" Definitely my favorite quote

我結束這個星期的信息之前, 我就想要分享我的見證.我相信耶穌是神的兒子.我每天感到他支持我,原諒我,和祝福我和我周圍的人。我很開心我有這樣的機會。我每天可以出去分享耶穌基督的美好的福音。他真的愛我們所有的人。

Anyway, Love's!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 62: 2 Baptisms Came Sailing in on Christmas Day in the Morning!

Yay for baptisms!  This week was fun.  There were 2 baptisms this week in the Bayview ward.  The first one was Tony Xu.  Elder Stowell and I taught him a few lessons a while back and then the sisters in our ward got the job done!  He's such a stud.  Honestly, he's gonna make such a good mormon.  

The other one was Candice Zhang, who is even more of a miracle.  Her son got baptized 2 years ago and is an awesome member, but she's refused the baptismal invitation for years, and for the last 6 months she hasn't been taught by missionaries.  Then, on Thursday she called up Brother Li and said she wanted to get baptized.  Her health has been really bad lately, and she's worried she's going to have to go home to China soon, so she realized that she really needs God on her side.  She's already been taught everything by multiple companionships and she comes to church every week, so teaching her wasn't an issue.  In fact, if you look back at the first couple emails I sent in the mission, you may find where Elder Mak and I were teaching her for a few weeks.  Due to the odd circumstances, we got permission to baptize her that weekend, so I did the interview Friday, she was baptized Saturday, and confirmed on Sunday.  Also, after the interview she gave me a hug.  It was really sweet of her, but as a missionary, getting hugged by a female is super weird. 

Other big news.  David is clear for baptism.  His wife and him made an agreement on tithing, and now she's fine to let him go through with it.  He's going to be baptized on October 9th after church, and we're going to do everything in our power to get his wife to attend.  He made a funny joke the other day in a lesson.  He said "Well, considering I don't drink coffee of beer anymore I might just be saving the 10 percent of my income I need for tithing." He's so cool.  I'm really excited for him.

Also, in transfer related news, Elder Stowell and I are sticking around for one more!  Bayview just can't get rid of us, no matter how hard they try :) I'm pretty sure at this point that I'll leave for sure next transfer, but I'm just super happy to be here for 6 more weeks.  Bayview is amazing.

Also, remember that investigator that was having a crisis of faith because we wouldn't go to her church?  Well, we were thinking about just letting her go and trying back again in a few weeks, but we decided to text her a last invitation to meet.  It was a pretty simple "Hey, do you want to hear more about eternal families?" type of thing, but wow you should have seen the response we got.  She sent us back a novel.  Apparently she was having serious problems at work, and so we just got dumped on with everything she's going through in like 5 minutes.  Also, her English doesn't always make perfect sense, so I'd be lying if I said we really knew what was going on.  Long story short, she wanted to meet with our "pastor" so we brought Bishop Cheng along and met with her.  We kind of just let her rant for an hour or so, and then Bishop used his priesthood power or something to calm her down.  We had to leave a little early to get to another appointment, but apparently they talked for like 2 more hours after that.  We have high hopes for her :)

Anyway, I forgot my planner from last week, so I don't clearly remember what we did.  A lot of errands. Some meetings.  We went to a big meeting in Brampton about the "Just Serve" program, which sounds awesome.  They're really looking into getting the missionaries a lot more involved in service and they really think that the members helping with a program like this could fix a lot of the misconceptions that others have about our church.  It sounds like it's gonna be really fun.

The Zhu family is doing awesome.  We met with them, and it turned out that Brother Zhu has already read a ton of the book of Mormon.  Our lesson with them ran a little long (about an hour) but that was mostly because the first half hour was him just talking about how much he liked this church and this book and the members and the principles it teaches.  He's super cool, and we're not really sure why he's not just pumped to get baptized. He smokes, so maybe that's it.  The rest of the family is doing super good as well.  Glory (the son) is still playing piano for our sacrament meeting sometimes, so they're coming to church pretty regularly.

Rocky, another investigator basically read the whole book of Mormon.  That was weird.  We weren't super convinced by our first couple lessons with him and we thought that maybe he was just meeting to be our friends, but then he sits down and starts talking about a chapter in 3 Nephi.  So we were pretty baffled by that, but then he goes and tells us he's going to China for the next month.  Darn.  Well, we'll try again in a month :)

Vivian is still great.  Basically a member.  Recognizes the spirit.  Goes to institute.  Just needs to make the decision. Nothing really new on her though.

Mia is super cool as well.  She's quite funny.  Accepted a date for November 5th.  Loves Jesus, but never got baptized.  I think I talked about her last week.  She is a lawyer from Mongolia, and she's really funny because we'll be speaking Chinese and she'll say a word and pause, and then ask "How do you say that in English?"  Elder Stowell has started writing down all the words she asks about on a sticky note and giving it to her at the end.  She likes that.

David Yan moved to Winnipeg this week.  I'm really going to miss that guy.  He'll do great things no matter where he is though.  We had our last lesson with him and talked about missionary work, and as we were talking a guy sat down with us and asked if we were Mormons.  We proceeded to have a long discussion about the book of Mormon. It was a pretty great missionary opportunity, and that guy said he's going to attend the English ward on Sunday.  Fingers crossed!

Also, we were pulling out of a parking lot on Sunday and this guy came running up to our car and stopped us right before we pulled onto the main road.  I rolled down my window and he asked "Are you guys Mormons?" I responded affirmatively and he proceeded to tell us all about how he had been looking for Mormons for years and had never found them.  Miracles!  Anyway, we gave his number to the English missionaries.  We'll pray for him.

Hadley - Wow, sounds so fun :) Yes, of course I know Scripture Power!  The only song where you get to throw your scriptures in the air, right?  You straightened your hair?  Man, how am I ever going to recognize you when I get home?

Mom- Man, it was a super cool museum.  The lighting wasn't really good, so I didn't get many good pictures, but it was super fun. Glad to hear that Hawaii "will do" as a vacay spot :) Ya, Elder Stowell is by far my longest companion, and I'm glad to be with him.  He's a great guy :)

Ellie - Wow, sounds like you did a great job at the primary program :) Are they real frogs?  Because that would be gross. I love you too!

Hayden - Six pairs of clothes, eh?  Sounds like the laundry hasn't slowed down at all back home. Why did you guys do fingerprinting?  As far as the mission question goes, I think the key is not to look at the mission as the end goal.  A mission is more like a small interruption that really kick-starts your life. Prepare well now, but don't prepare just so that you can be a good missionary.  Prepare so that you can be a good father, and right now be a good son.  Learn the gospel, read and pray every night, pay attention in church, and work hard in school.  Get educated and work hard.  You'll be fine :) I wouldn't be worried at all.  You're going to make a much better missionary than me.

Ashleigh - Homecoming?  You mean that thing where boys pay exorbitant fees so that girls have an excuse to wear fancy shoes only to complain about them and take them off halfway through the night?  Kidding, hope you had fun.  Escape rooms?  We have those in Utah? No, no snow yet.  Just jacket weather this week.

Dad - Wow, you trying to get me trunky? :) It's not going to work dad. I only revolve around Jesus right now. I totally realize that to anyone reading this out of context, this sounds super weird.  Ya, I'm doing great :) We run a 5K route a few times a week.  Ya, I'm just happy that when I got stuck I got stuck in bayview :)  I'll be here 6 more weeks and then I'm almost sure I'll move.  Haha, they spent an hour looking at shoes? Pfft.  Women.  Love ya!

Anyway, I'm running low on time, but I love you all!  Have a great week!  BYE!

Candice, Me, Elder Stowell
Me, Candice, and Alex.

Tony, Me, Elder Stowell
 Tony brought his whole family!

 Alex (baptized), Candice (Got baptized), Tony (Got baptized) and Paul (baptized)


David and us! He came to the baptism.  I think he was honestly a little frustrated the whole time because he was thinking "That should be me getting baptized."

Elder Atkinson is dying this transfer.  This was his last district meeting.  Left to right is Elder Casdorph, Kong, Shu, Bakker, Stowell, me, and Sisters Kidman, Rhodes, and Moffat