Elder Sabin

Elder Sabin

Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 32: It's Raining Blessings!!

It was a great week guys.  Great week.

Anyway, I thought I'd start with the family responses this week.

Hadley - Another tooth?  Hadley, you're going to be rich!  Cantonese is a lot like Mandarin, but it's spoken more at the back of the throat, whereas Mandarin is more at the front of the mouth.  I'm probably not going to really focus on studying that for a while though.  I'll learn some basic stuff, but my focus will still be Mandarin for a while.

Mom - I think Brian is leaving because he wants to come find his best friend Elder Sabin.  You should ship him up here.  I'll take good care of him. Also, tell Ashleigh if she keeps practicing, she might be almost as good as me one day ;)  Just kidding.

Ashleigh - Wow, Pharmatech packaging.  Sounds like an exciting job :)  No, just kidding, that's awesome!  Good for you.  Also, you'll be sad to know that I kind of slacked on the recordings this week.  I think I have 3.  I'll do better next week :) 

Ellie - So if you and Hadley both went to the Daddy-Daughter dance, and you both went with Dad, was that awkward?  Did you have to share a date? As far as blowfish stuff goes, no idea.  Just wear 12 coats, and duct tape some party hats to the outermost one.  Seahorse, hmmm... maybe you could wear that old black dragon costume we have, put some floaties on the arms, carry a pool noodle around, and just say that you're an evil seahorse.

Love you!

Dad - Man, it sounds like the puppies are really a handful.  Tell Mom that she needs to get at least a million dollars for Brian.  It's gonna be pretty hard for me to sell my only son.  I need to make sure it's worth it.  Also, thanks for the crepe recipe and for the spiritual thought.  I love that talk, and its one of 8 or so that I carry around in my suitcase and read every once in a while.

Anyway, I guess I'll tell you about my week.

The work has really picked up here in Hamilton!  I think now that the winter is coming to a close, all the Chinese people can start coming out of their shelters all across the city.  Basically, contacting has been very fruitful this week, and we were able to find some new gators! (investigators).

Evonne is still rocking it, and if all goes well she'll be baptized within a few weeks.  Super excited for her.  She's still rocking it with Cassi, and we're super happy that they've become friends.  On Sunday, while those two were in Relief Society, we got a text from her asking if we'd taught the Sabbath Day with Evonne yet.  We hadn't really talked about anything other than "go to church" and so Cassi asked for some scriptures and then sat down with her after church for 10 minutes or so.  Taught her the principles.  No missionaries involved.  I don't know if the missionaries are needed in the process anymore...

Daniel is also doing super great.  He came to church and it seemed like he really liked it.  Teaching him is fun, because we usually bring English-speaking members along so that they can have a friend at church, but during some of the more complex parts of teaching we need to use Chinese.  We solve the problem by having one of us translate into either English or Chinese while they're talking, and I've realized how confusing translating actually is.  The other day when we sat down to meet, I had switched back and forth so many times, and I was really tired, and when Elder Lau started teaching (in English) I leaned over to the member and started translating what he said into Chinese for a solid 10 seconds before I realized "wait, he doesn't speak Chinese...".  Uggh, it was embarrassing.  Also hilarious.  The lesson went really well though.

Also, two of the guys we met this week were really solid.  One is named Joe, and the other is Jeffery.  Chinese people pick super classic names.  I've met no fewer than 6 Chinese members named Kevin, and every other person I talk to on the street is named Charles.  Also, lots of Davids.  Anyway, I'll keep you updated on them.  We're meeting a few others this week as well, and I'll let you know how they go. 

As far as spiritual thoughts go, I was recently pondering something, and I figured I'd share it with you guys.  How many of you are familiar with the story of John Tanner?  Raise your hands.  Okay, good.  Now put them down.  For those of you who don't know, I'll give you the quick version.

John Tanner was a very wealthy man at the time the church was being organized in Kirtland.  He was a faithful Baptist, gave generous donations to people, lived a good life, and believed strongly in God.  He had a lot going for him, but he did have one very major issue in his life.  His leg was terribly diseased.

Several doctors had looked at it before, and they all claimed that if he did not amputate the leg, John would die very soon.  However, he refused to let them take it off, and instead prayed for a miracle.

One day several Mormon elders came to town, and he was fascinated by their message.  He invited them over, and after they shared the basics of their message, the missionaries invited him to be baptized.  John was absolutely willing, but he put forth a major concern.  His leg was in such bad shape that he wasn't sure he would be able to endure the ordinance.  However, he had great faith in Christ, and the missionaries asked if he had the faith to be healed.  He responded affirmatively, and the elders went on to heal his leg.  He was baptized the very same night, and went on to save the Kirtland temple's financial situation, serve a mission, and pass away in the Salt Lake Valley, having remained firm in the faith.

The reason I share this story is not actually for John Tanner.  I could talk for a long time about his consecration and willingness to follow the prophet, but I actually was thinking about those two missionaries.  When confronted with a concern like that today, we would usually try and resolve the issue.  We would offer to carry him to the lake, or to make sure that his leg was well bandaged and wouldn't receive infection.  However, those two men knew that, with God, all things are possible, and they acted upon that faith.

Through the faith of Mr. Tanner and those two missionaries, a man was healed both spiritually and physically, and the entire church was blessed for their efforts.  But what if they hadn't been able to perform that miracle?  What if they hadn't been worthy that night?

Winston Churchill once said "To every man there comes... that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do something unique to him and fitted to his talents.  What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour."

Had those two men not been worthy that night, John Tanner would not have been able to go on to do the good he did.  Luckily for the world, they were worthy, and they were able to stand up and declare "in the name of Jesus Christ, be healed!"  It worked, and that same power works in each of us today.

Now, not every injury is healed so miraculously, and I don't claim that lack of faith is responsible for ailments today.  However, I do know that each of us, in our own lives, have the chance to help someone.  It may be family members, friends, or even ourselves.  God loves them, and he loves you, and he wants to bless all of his children.  I pray that when the day comes that God "taps us on the shoulder," we will be worthy and willing to answer his call.  There are miracles to be done, lives to bless, and works of God that must be completed.  When we understand that, we will know what we need to change, and what we need to do to help our brothers and sisters around us.

Always be worthy, in all times and in all places, and God will work miracles among us.

Elder Sabin

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 31: No Subject...

Brothers and Sisters, hello!  You know, a lot of people ask me what the hardest part of serving a mission is.  Honestly, it's probably thinking up a subject title for my emails home every week.  The struggle is real.

Anyway, transfers were this week.  Me and Elder Lau are.... (drum roll).... staying!!!  Yaaaaay!!!  We're super pumped, and I'm gonna make him so trunky this transfer.  He goes home in 7 weeks (this transfer is 7 weeks.  There are reasons, but I don't want to explain them.  It has to with math.) and every time we have companionship prayer, I pray that his future wife waiting for him in Hong Kong will become ever more attractive.  He hates it :) 

Anyway, this week was great!  Super warm again.  Just thought I'd mention that.  I saw a bunch of emails from missionaries in other parts of the mission, and they all said it was freezing or something so...haha!  Hamilton is the best!  Seriously, I laugh so hard here every day.  Downtown Hamilton is just an amazing place with amazing humble people that want to hear the gospel.  And there's crazy people.  They're fun too.

As far as transfer news goes (most of you probably don't care about this, but I'm writing it down for posterity's sake) Elder Patrick is leaving.  We live with the Zone leaders, and he's one of them.  He also makes my list of "studliest people I know".  He's going to Toronto north, and he's going to baptize so many people.  So many.  Elder Butler is staying here, and Elder Flake is coming to Hamilton to live with us!  Apparently he has African Heritage, and that got Elder Lau excited.  In the words of Elder Lau, "I've never slept with a black person before!"  That made me laugh so hard.

Also, in elder Lau related news, one of the other zone leaders wanted to get revenge on him for a hilarious prank, so he gave him a paper, and told him to read it out loud.  It said "ice bank mice elf".  Say it out loud.  You'll get it.  I laughed so hard.

In investigator news, Evonne is rocking it!  She's doing super well.  We got a member named Cassi (also on the list of "studliest people I know")  to read with her a few times a week over the phone, and Evonne just made this huge leap into faith!  It was awesome.  Basically, she's doing great, she's reading, she's praying, and she wants to know if there's a god.  Super good.

We met with a few new ones this week, but the one that stands out is definitely Daniel.  This dude's a stud.  We sat down with him, and over the course of the lesson he basically said that he's had a rough past, and he wants to get past it.  Ever since he's come to Canada, he's felt like he needed God in his life, and he's searching for answers.  Super prepared, and one of the coolest things is how we found him.  We were contacting outside one of the colleges in town that are full to bursting with Asians, and we were about to go home.  However, there was one last crowd of students walking down the road, and I had the thought "just talk to one of them."  Now, there were a lot of them, so I couldn't talk to them all, but as I was walking over, I just had the most clear impression of which one I needed to talk to.  So I stopped him in the crowd, and started speaking Chinese to him (which is a wonderful contacting tool) and he was super interested.  Gave us his number and everything.  I'm so excited for him.

Also, Bao went to the temple this week!  He started coming back to church this last month or so, got a temple recommend, and made it out to the temple again for the first time in a while.  What a great guy.  He's super nice, and takes us out to eat a fair amount.

Roxanne and Flora (some other people we're working with)  are super cool as well.  they've both really been trying to make it out to church, but their work has just been hard on them.  We're praying for them every day.  Also, during Flora's lesson (we were inside one of the colleges meeting with her) a random Chinese guy came up and said "Mormons?"  We responded affirmatively, and he basically just sat in on the rest of our lesson.  He asked questions and everything, and he was really interested.

Also, we had a bunch of dinner appointments this week, and I've basically decided that Ontario has both the best restaurants and the best members.  It's been a good variety of homemade and going out to eat, and we've had some great meals.  There are definitely some places that I'll go to again.
So ya, life's been good in the Hammer (Hamilton). 

Hadley - Alright, well as long as you didn't' get cooties, I guess that's okay.  Ya, Niagara Falls was really awesome (don't tell Mom, but I got her a Christmas ornament and a fridge magnet that both say "Austin" on them).  It's just a massive waterfall, and the Canadian side is definitely more festive.  However, we did take a great picture of all the Americans in our group saluting across the river.  If I get it sent to me soon, I'll send it to you guys.  Also, send more pictures of the puppies.  I need to know how Brian is doing.

Ellie - Elder Lau is the most cuddly Asian I've ever met.  Dad asked if he is shy or not.  He's totally not, but he doesn't talk on my recordings just to spite me.  I usually retaliate by making jokes about him going home.  We get along great :)  100 doggie business cards?  Gross.  Tell Emi she needs to start going in the Howell's yard.

Hayden - I was going to answer you, but then I had an epileptic seizure from all the emoticons and capitol letters.  I've recovered now though, so we're all good.  You're getting a hoverboard?  That's way cool.  I'll tell you something kind of cool.  Here in Hamilton, I see at least 1 person a week just cruising through downtown on one of those.  They just ride around and go into stores and stuff.  It's pretty cool. Anyway, life's good.

Ashleigh - You know, I remember staying up till 1 oclock. I think that might be the first habit I lose coming home.  Honestly, 10:30 is really nice when you have a crazy schedule (like us) but I can't see myself holding onto that when I come home.  Are you guys gonna kick some serious butt in lacrosse this year?

Mom - As far as the Cantonese thing goes, there's a lot of Cantonese people in Ontario, and I figured it would be useful to learn some so I can at least communicate.  Also, there's a lot of missionaries here from Hong Kong, so I'd have lot's of chances to practice with native speakers.  I'm far from having mastered Mandarin, but I talked with some people in the mission office, and apparently President Clayton thinks it's a good idea for me.  He was great with it, so I'm getting a few study materials sometime soon.  I don't know when they'll get here, but I'm excited. Niagara was really great.  We didn't get a great view of the American side, but it definitely didn't look all that cool.  We were making a lot of jokes the whole time though, because there are all sorts of signs that say "5 minutes to the U.S.A"  or something like that. Lot's of patriotism between Elder Butler, Elder Patrick, and I.  Ya we watch the district a lot up here. I can basically quote every part of it.  We're only approved to watch so many things, so if you ask me about The District or Meet the Mormons, man, I got you covered.  It's so great

Dad - I think the watch is in some boxes in storage.  I'm not sure, but I think that's where mom put it.  We do plenty of tie trading up here :)  I got one really hideous one (don't worry, I didn't have to trade for it.)  and the other day we had "ugly tie sunday"  so all the missionaries in the area wore the ugliest tie they could find.  I got lot's of really funny comments on it.  Elder Patrick had a pretty bad one too.  His was basically a brown piece of carpet strung around his neck.  Tell President Lyman and President Christopherson, and Taylor that I say hi :)  That's awesome that she's going to serve.  The work is going great up here.  It's definitely slower than my last area (the lack of lots of active Chinese members makes it hard) but it's picked up quite a bit in the last two weeks.  We're doing pretty well.  Also, I want a picture of my doppelganger Brian. Elder Lau is definitely not shy.  He's one of the most outgoing asians I know, and he's super bold, especially in asking members to feed us.  Niagara falls itself wasn't frozen, but there was plenty of ice piled at the bottom, and huge chunks of ice going over the falls.  It was colder then, but by now it's probably all melted.  Also, thanks so much for the funny jokes :) I'll definitely print them out and share them. 

Anyway, I love you all, and wish you all the best.  Go team Jesus!

Elder Sabin

Elder Cruz (Elder in my District) snuck this picture during one of my district meetings. He's a punk :)

 Pictures with the geese at Lake Ontario:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Week 30: This Week Got COLD!

In the words of my subject title, "this week got cold!"  However, it's already warming up again.  One week of Canadian winter is honestly plenty for me.  While contacting, Elder Lau and I would take brief stops in the Tim Horton's (basically Canadian Starbucks) to help our ears return to their normal color.  Btw, random question:  Do they have Tim Horton's in the U.S.A?  I've pretty much been converted to their donuts and hot chocolate, and if they have it back in Utah, I might be spending a considerable amount of time there.

As far as investigators go, we're meeting a bunch of new ones this week.  We have one really solid girl named Ashley that we'll be meeting with tomorrow, and 3 or 4 others later in the week.  As far as people that are already meeting with us, we have 2 or 3, but probably the only one that's actually progressing is Evonne.  I think I've mentioned her before, but she was up in Toronto this weekend and we got her to go to church at the all-Mandarin ward.  We'll be following up on it tomorrow, but on the phone it sounded like she really liked it.  Too bad we don't have enough Chinese people to make a ward down here.

Anyway, my letter might be a bit short today.  We're going out to Niagara falls, so I'll make sure to tell you all about it next week.  I think they've frozen over by now, but I'm not sure and we can't exactly google it.

Two requests this week.  Dad, can you send me the recipe for the crepes you always make?  I want to make it, but I can't remember the recipe that I knew before.  Also, do you remember that watch you gave me a while back?  The silver one that was a little too big on my wrist?  I didn't bring it out in the field with me, because I had the one that Bro. Stewart gave me, but I was wondering how hard it would be to take out two of the links on the wristband and put it in the next package.  If it's a hassle then forget it, but it might be nice to have some variety in my wardrobe.  There's only so many things that I can change in my outfit every day.

Sad note - I forgot to bring my voice recorder to the library today, so I can't send out the recordings this week.  My bad...  Next week though I'll make sure there are some great ones.

In district leader news, the district has not fallen apart (yet).  Doing exchanges is super fun, and if Elder Layton sends me the pictures before we are done with emailing time, I'll send you a picture of the biggest icicle you've ever seen that we found.  It was awesome.

In other news, I was recently approved to learn some Cantonese!  I don't know how it will go, but if Elder Lau sticks with me next transfer (next week) then I'll hopefully be able to learn some from him.  I haven't gotten the materials yet (they're on their way) but I'll let you know how it goes when they come.  Good news!  I read some scriptures this week.  Ya. I'm about to the point in my Mandarin that I can read decently from things like the Liahona (Chinese version of the Ensign) or other church materials.  Fun stuff.  Still have a long ways to go though.  I think the more Chinese I learn, the more I realize how much stuff there is that I don't know.

Mom - Well, as far as emotion goes in Chinese, you can still express it pretty well.  Maybe not quite as strongly as in English, but with practice it's not bad.  During that recording, I was focusing a lot on reading the characters as I was saying it, so there's probably not as much up and down as normal.  As far as winter goes, I am wearing my coat.  And scarf.  And hat.  And gloves.  And socks.  And thermals.  And sweaters.  I've been pretty healthy the whole mission since I left the MTC.  There was one time when I had a sore throat, but other than that I've been pretty lucky.
Beast - Haydog?  That sounds like the name of an orc from the Lord of the Rings.  But I'll embrace it.  Sounds like the week was fun.  Tell Nate I said hi.  How was Kung Fu Panda Three?  Turns out, Kung Fu in Chinese actually sounds more like Gong Fu.  And, Elder Lau's dad is super good at it.  He trained with the same people as Bruce Lee, so he tells me a lot of cool stories.

Ellie - I'll put some random faces in my letter too, and try and communicate this week.SnowmanSnowflakeUmbrella with rain dropsThe weatherJapanese dollsChinese peopleBasketball and hoopBall is life!󾓭China!Police carFire engineAmbulanceDowntown Hamilton every five minutesChurchPeople like to bible bashMonkeyMy CompanionMaple leafCanada!BreadProbably ate some bread this weekClinking beer mugsDon't drink thisPoodleAlso my companionMicrophoneJammin out to Nashville Tribute bandChart with upward trendA graph showing Elder Lau's spiritualityWaving hand signHi!Growing heartValentine's dayMan's shoeLots of walking

Hadley - What!  A valogram!  For a boy!?  But you're only 4 years old right?  Did you get cooties from  him? Face screaming in fearFace with 'no good' gesture Just kidding, and I'll totally be your valentine.  I'm a way better valentine than Zach.  :)

Ashleigh - So I got a letter from you, but it was just a repeat of Hadley's letter.  Anyway, hope you're doing well.  I love you!  Be my valentine?

Dad - Pfft.  Any more DanJonesing?  What kind of question is that?  There's always more DanJonesing.  Just kidding.  We actually didn't do it very much this week because the streets were pretty quiet (the cold).   As far as baptismal dates go, Evonne has set one for February 26th.  We'll see how it goes, but I have faith!  My district has the best workers- don't ever doubt it!  Love you!

Elder Sabin

Monday, February 8, 2016

Week 29: Dan Jonesing On The Corner

Family and Friends!  Hello!  It's been a wonderful warm week here in Hamilton, and I was so happy to read all the emails this week.  Elder Lau and I are doing wonderfully!

There was a day this week that broke a record for the warmest February day.  Super nuts.  They say it's gonna get colder in the coming week, but so far it's been no problem.  I met Jesus Christ this week.  He was high as a kite and drunk as a sailor, but I think he might be legit. He gave me a hug as well.  Nice guy.   Met a lot of drunk people.  Met some people who thought Jesus was black.  Saw a picture of black Jesus.

Also, I soapbox preached a corner.  They had a zone challenge going trying to get us to go "Dan Jonesing" which means you stand on a corner, and call the people to repentance.  Elder Lau didn't want to be embarrassed by my righteous desire to rebuke heathens, so I did it on exchanges instead with Elder Ryan.  Super fun.  Definitely doing it again.  

It was a pretty uneventful week.  We found some more new investigators, so that was good.  We taught some people, and we had some really spiritual lessons with one named Evonne.  She's doing pretty well, but we just have a hard time getting her to read consistently.  She's a really sweet girl though, and she really wants to learn.  We've also been teaching a few other investigators, and one super awesome returning member, but there's nothing too noteworthy about them this week.

Scriptural insight this week!  I was studying in John 9, which is where Jesus heals a man born blind.  It's a really cool story, and I really think it has a lot of relation to our lives.  One of the reasons I love it is because the man who was healed had no idea about who Jesus Christ was.  He didn't know who had healed him.  He didn't know about all the stories.  He only knew one thing, which was that he could now see.

After he is healed by Jesus Christ, the trial that the Pharisees put him through is almost comical.  They try and get him to deny the divinity of Jesus Christ, and his response is wonderfully profound.  Essentially he says "Whether he's a sinner or not, I have no idea.  I know one thing.  Whereas I was blind, now I see."

It's a really simple story of connecting the dots, and I was thinking about what that means to us in our lives.  Obviously, not all of us have stories of being miraculously healed like this man, but every single one of us have had spiritual experiences in our lives that testify to us that there is a God in heaven.  Some may be stronger than others, and some people may have more than others, but I guarantee that everyone has had one.  You can't explain that with rationalization.

And yet so many people will.  We do it all the time.  We have wonderful spiritual experiences, and then two or three weeks later we forget everything we felt and knew with a surety.  We move on.  We're like the Pharisees in the story who tried to rationalize a miracle.

Let's be like this man who would never deny what he knew.  He didn't know everything about what had happened.  He didn't know the entire process or all the doctrine, and frankly we're in a very similar boat.  We don't completely understand how God works with his children, but there are times when we know He is there.  And then a week goes by, and we forget about it, and the things that we knew so surely and saw so clearly are fogged over.

As I've been serving a mission, I've had a lot of moments like that.  Days when I know with the utmost clarity that God is there, and then just a few days later, I find myself questioning the experiences that I had.  I'm trying to rationalize it.

Let us be people who never forget the power of God in our lives.  People who never under appreciate the love that God has for us.  In Ether 12:27 it says that God gives us weaknesses that we may be strong.  I know that's true. He gives us weakness so that we have to turn to him.  He makes us use his Atonement, because he wants us to have faith in him.  He wants us to use his help, and when we do, he is able to, at least temporarily, strengthen our faith.  Stop doubting, and just connect the dots.  God is there, and he is constantly trying to reach us, and though we do not understand everything, we can be strengthened by him.  And one day we will be able to say "Whereas I was blind, now I see."

Hadley - No, it's not cold here yet, and there's absolutely no snow to sled on right now.  It's super weird.  I really didn't think I'd be able to wear my short sleeved shirts in February.  You're name is Hadley Jane the Brain now?  Did you get less insane?  It should be Hadley Jane the Brian in honor of the puppy.  So it sounds like you got Ellie sick. Was that on purpose? Also, tell Ashleigh to name the puppy Carlos

Ellie - Tell Ashleigh to name her Bon Qui Qui.  I think that'd be a great name.  See if you can get Mom to keep Bryan.  Also, what happened with the whole hot tub issue that was going on a while ago?  Did that get through?  I really think it would be super cool if we got one.  So how's school going?  Are there any boys I need to know about?

Ashleigh - You should name the puppy Arthur.  Man, it seems like you guys must have made Hadley mad or something.  She's just getting everyone sick.  I remember a time in the MTC when everyone was sick. They have the hand sanitizer dispensers that they encouraged everyone to use to help keep it under control, but I think they were probably the cause of it.   I mean, that has to be the dirtiest thing in the whole MTC.  Everyone touches it on their way out. Gross.

Mom -  I might be the youngest one in the mission, and it's a bit strange having meetings with missionaries who are 6 months or a year older than me in mission age.  I enjoy it though. It's really fun.  Thanks so much for sharing those quotes with me, by the way.  I was studying some talks by President Hunter the other day, and he seems like a really cool guy.  Did you know he was a super talented musician, but the day he got married, he decided that the entertaining life wasn't good for families. He put all his instruments away, and never played for a real audience again.  He sacrificed a lot.  Also, tell Ashleigh to name the puppy Meimei (it means little sister in Chinese)

Hayden - So... who won the Super bowl?  I have no idea what happened with any of the teams this season.  All I know is that the streets were empty last night (American football is still a big sport in Ontario).  I didn't even know when it was happening until about 3 days ago.  We're very isolated out here.  I guess you could say "in the world but not of the world." Also, tell Ashleigh to name the puppy Mozart

Dad - I did have a great week.  Ya, Hamilton has a pretty rough history.  It's still very much a blue collar city, and there's a whole ton of giant steel factories along the lakefront.  It's definitely a rough town, but there are a lot of wonderful humble people out there that we have to go and find. I like it here a lot.  As district leader I interview all the baptismal candidates in my district, and I was able to interview one who had been through so much to be baptized.  She had overcome addictions of every kind, moved out of her boyfriend's house, been disowned by her family (they eventually repaired the relationship), and now she was about to be baptized.  It was a cool experience.  Thanks so much for the scripture as well.  That's a really cool part, and it really shows how the Lord truly loves us, and is sad when we sin. Also, tell Asheigh to name the puppy Bruce.

Quote of the Week: He who rises from prayer a better man, his prayer is answered.  George Merideth

Also, I know I already shared it, but I love Moroni 8:16.  "Perfect love casteth out all fear."  That's the scripture I read before I stood on the corner and Dan Jones'd

Elder Sabin

Below is an audio recording of Austin reading Mosiah 16:7-9 (his missionary plaque scripture) in Mandarin:

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 28: I'm Naming My Puppy Bryan

I'm naming my puppy Bryan. It's done.  No changing it.  Unless I change my mind later in this letter.  Which could very well happen.

Anyway, I don't have a ton of time to email today (sorry, our P-days have been so busy lately) but I'll do my best to make it coherent.

First off, holy cow, it's so warm up here!  I haven't used my coat all week.  It's been 5 to 10 degrees Celsius, which isn't tropical, but it's doesn't feel cold here at all.  Hamilton is pretty far south, but still!  Everyone keeps saying this is the warmest winter in decades, so basically I chose the right year to come here.

So anyway, it sounds like life was a bit crazy back home!  You'll have to tell me what you all decide for names.  Wish Emi's puppies my best.  They'll be in my prayers ;)

As far as this week goes, there wasn't a ton of super special stuff going on.  Being a district leaders is pretty crazy, but it's been fun too.  Also, I didn't even notice it, but I passed my 6 month mark!  Some dude asked me the other day how long I'd been a missionary, and I thought about it for a minute a realized it.  That was so fast.  I'm kind of panicking now.  My time here is running out so quick!
We've been teaching this returning member named Bao, and oh my gosh, this guy is so ready to come back.  He came to church every Sunday this month, and he's preparing to go to the temple.  Miracle's abound in Ontario!

Also, we have an awesome new convert named Zhao.  He feeds us every week, and he's super great.  He doesn't speak any English, but one of his best friends in the ward is a guy named Bro Goddard.  Bro Goddard doesn't speak any Chinese, but somehow these two are really close friends.  They just get together and play ping-pong.  They're awesome :)

As far as investigators go, we found some solid new ones this week.  I'll keep you updated on what happens with them, but we were so happy to find them.  There was a bit of a drought recently because all the universities were having their tests so the students were all inside studying, but it picked up a bit.

Also, cool scriptural insight!  For everyone who doesn't believe in the Atonement, read this part here!
So I was studying Alma's speech to his sons the other day.  Most people have at least a general idea.  He has three sons.   Helaman gets a long speech praising his faithfulness to the Lord, Shiblon gets about a chapter of his father telling him "good job", and Corianton basically get's chastised to 10 pages.  He commited a pretty serious sin, and his father needed to rebuke him for it.  However, I think we underestimate Corianton.

What he did is in no way justified.  Alma says in 39:11 that he was at least partially responsible for the Zoramites rejecting the gospel.  However, I want to focus on the bright side.  It's obvious the Corianton had some serious doctrinal concerns.  He had questions, and a fair portion of his fathers speech is addressing those questions that were weakening his testimony.  I wrote next to those chapters the famous quote by Elder Uchtdorf that says "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."

We don't get a lot of detail about what he did after that, but we do get two verses that mention him.  The first is in 43:1 where it says "The sons of Alma did go forth among the people to declare the word unto them."  Corianton got past his sin.  He overcame what he'd done, and he decided to fulfill the calling that the Lord had given him.  With that said, I want to say to any man or woman who fears that unworthiness will keep them from fulfilling their calling that the Atonement is real.  These chapters come from Alma, one of the most amazing stories of a changed heart in the entire book. 

People like Ammon, Zeezrom, Lamoni, and Paul all come from similar backgrounds.  They changed their futures, and changed their lives, and for that they were blessed. The Atonement allows us to truly get past our weaknesses and allow the Lord to qualify us.

The second verse is less well-known.  Most people know about Alma 48:16, which reads "Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men."

However, I want to focus on the next verse.

"Behold, he was a man like unto Ammon, the son of Mosiah, yea, and even the other sons of Mosiah, yea, and also Alma and his sons, for they were all men of God."

For those of you who've forgotten, "Alma and his sons" includes Corinanton.  It doesn't mention him by name, but in essence it is comparing him to men like Captain Moroni, Alma, and Ammon.  This chapter comes after Alma's speech to his son.  It come after his sin, and what I learn from that is that his sin truly does not matter any more.  At least not to Mormon, the writer of the book.  Mormon probably knew more about this guy than we did, considering he had more records, but he makes no attempt to cut Corianton out of the mix.  In the end he was a "man of God" and that was all that mattered.

Hadley Jane the Insane - I'm the best brother ever?  Wow, Hayden must have really stepped down his game ;)  How much have you been sick lately?  I feel like pretty much every other week you've been sick.  Are you feeling better now?  How's school going?

Ellie Kate the Great - You'll never be better than me.  It's impossible.  Completely impossible.  So Emi's handling the kids well?  Ask mom how she would feel to have 7 kids at the same time.  Then tell me what she says ;)

Hayden - Sorry, I'm too lazy to write out the entire title that you signed your letter with :) Also, what does "savage" mean in that context?  I haven't seen anyone as crazy as that guy this week, but you see strange people here every day in Hamilton.  You just get used to it after a while.

Mom - As far as my camera goes, I'm sorry about that.  I haven't pulled it out in a little bit. I'll get better.  Elder Lau and I are doing great (seriously).  He's super hilarious, and it's really fun to be the only Mandarin missionaries in the zone.  We've given everyone chinese names so we can talk about them and they have no idea.  MWAHAHAHAHA!  Honestly, Elder Lau is just a good cook, and he makes all sorts of stuff, but mostly mexican food.  He has a bunch of cookbooks and stuff that he carries around from transfer to transfer.  As far as an address goes, I think ours is 177 west street, but I'll have to check it.  It's a member's house and we share the top two stories with the zone leaders.  The old one actually wasn't in Brampton, it was in Scarborough, Toronto. Brampton has the mission office, so we were there a lot, but we worked closer to downtown.  For the first transfer and a half, I think I was at 100 Bridletown circle (I think)  and then I was at 1050 Markham road for the next one.  Both of them are big apartment buildings.

Ashleigh - Wait, so you're saying that you weren't already certified to deliver puppies?  I thought everyone knew how to do that.  Weird.  That part that said "Cara went to help but she's terrified of blood and I'm positive she'll be horrible" made me laugh really hard.  Well, it sounds like all is well :)

Dad - How's the leg going?  I met a guy the other day that knew what Stoel Rives was in Salt lake City.  I guess he used to live in Utah, and he had worked with them before.  I asked if he knew you, but he said no.  He was pretty old, so it might even have been before we moved to Utah.  Anyway, still pretty cool.  Were there any parts in your mission where lots of crazy people lived?  Just curious.  Love you!

Love you guys!  Quote of the week - "Perfect love casteth out all fear."  Moroni 8:16

Elder Sabin