Elder Sabin

Elder Sabin

Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 36: Quick Update

Hello everyone!  I don't have much time today.  We're going to Niagara Falls again with some other elders, so I can only give a quick update on the week. 

First off, Evonne wasn't baptized this weekend.  We talked, and she decided it's not something she's ready for yet, which is totally her choice.  We were a little bit bummed, but she still texts us all the time, and she has a ton of super good friends in the ward.  It was a bummer.

On the bright side, Joe is progressing very quickly toward baptism.  Last lesson we told him to pray about his baptismal date, and what time he wanted to be baptized.  It was originally April 22nd, but in church he came up to me and said, "I prayed about a date, and God told me that I need to be baptized as soon as possible.  How soon can we do it".  So we'll probably have his interview this week and then he'll be baptized on the 9th.  If all goes according to plan. *fingers crossed*

He's so cool.  Honestly, he's the most prepared man I've ever met.  We've taught him almost everything, and he's just made so many friends in the ward.  We're excited for him.

Aside from that, it was a pretty uneventful week.  We found some new guys that might be interested, one of which is a guy named Peter.  He's super cool.  We'll meet with him later in the week.

District leader life has been good.  My missionaries haven't declared mutiny yet so that's a good sign.

Dad - My companion is doing super well.  I make jokes to him all the time about how he's "dying" so soon.  He's great.  He claims that he's the patriarch of Chinese work, as he's the oldest Chinese missionary, and therefore he gives me "blessings" every once in a while. Usually they involve me going into French work next transfer, and forgetting all of my Chinese.  Not happening.  As far as the downtown druggies go, they're all doing just great.  There's this youth preacher that hangs out there a lot, and he always bashes with us whenever he sees us.  We ran into him a few times, and so that was fun.  Tell Brian that no matter where he goes, he will always be my son.  Man, that's sweet to hear Braeden is going to Minnesota.  Does his mission cover Thunder bay?  Does it border with Sault St. Marie?  Man, my mission is going by so fast for me to.  Seriously, it's going by far too quickly.

Hadley - Sounds like you need to forsake your pride and repent.  Just kidding, I'd rub it in their faces too if I won Rummikub.  Which I don't think I ever have.  How much candy have you eaten? Is school going good?  Any boys I need to know about?

Mom - Ya, they asked me to send a missionary moment back.  I feel bad because she didn't get baptized yet, but honestly, Cassie has had an enormous impact on her.  She changed so much when they started hanging out.  And no, I haven't found my camera yet.  Guess I'm still the same forgetful teenager that you know and love.

Hayden - Good and horrible at the same time, eh?  I hate those weeks.  I get them sometimes as a missionary.  Getting sick sucks too.  We have a missionary in the zone who's bedridden right now, and so her companions are just getting super frustrated.  She'll be fine soon enough though.

Ellie - wow, it sounds like you're having a great time :)  I don't think I've ever heard that song.  I heard women's conference was super good.  We didn't go, but some people from the ward told us about it.

Ashleigh - Wow, that truly is failing at life.  40 at bowling?  Just kidding, I suck at bowling.  I think the problem is that I'm too strong and manly that I can't control where the ball goes.  Next year you guys should do the hunt in the field next door.  That would be a real challenge.

Anyway, sorry I don't have time for more :( we're leaving pretty soon here, but I love you all!  Bye!

Elder Sabin

Monday, March 21, 2016

Week 35: I'm Sorry, Alright!!

Goodness.  You forget to click send on your email just one week, and you get raked-over by every single family member.  Ouch...  Really feeling the love here guys.

Anyway, other than the lack of love from those who should care about me most, it was a good week ;)  Ya, Evonne's baptismal date is still on, and as long as she keeps doing as great as she is, she should be getting baptized this weekend.  We announced it in church, so it's looking good.

Also, Joe is just on fire.  He came to church yesterday, and had a great time.  Sacrament was good, and then we taught gospel principles, so we were able to keep the lesson pretty simple.  Then, we got to third hour, and I got a little worried.  The topic was the fall of Adam.  And we still hadn't taught him the plan of salvation.

Within like 3 minutes a whole ton of stuff got mentioned like "degress of glory," "war in heaven," "being intelligences in the pre-mortal existence," and I just knew these things were going to be going over his head.  I was trying like mad to translate all these concepts to him into mandarin, and I had this terrible feeling that he was going to get super confused.  However, I needn't have worried.  He totally got all of it.  It was super crazy.  He just get's things really easy.

Anyway, after church, we all went into the Relief Society room for a thing called Mix and Mingle (It's a YSA branch) and fellow-shipping just happened!  A whole bunch of people were talking to him and inviting him to things, and it was great.  After church he went with some members for a movie night/dinner, and then tomorrow he's coming to Family Home Evening with the branch, and then he's going to be meeting with us a few times and...man, he's just a cool guy.  His baptismal date right now is April 22nd, but at the rate he's going, it might even be sooner than that.

Also, I almost got emergency transfered.  I didn't though, so it's okay.  Elder Hudak (that missionary that almost joined us a few weeks ago) had to leave his area, because too many of the people there had dogs or cats, and I was going to be rotating with him.  I was going to leave for 3 weeks and then come back at transfers, which would just stink, because I'd miss Evonne's baptism, and Elder Lau's last three weeks. Anyway, after president called and told me that, he called again about 10 minutes later and said "Never mind, we've got it figured out."  So, I'm not leaving.  Yay!  However, we are pretty certain that Elder Hudak will be coming in here at the transfer, so he'll probably be my next companion.

Hadley - Man!  The Testamants is my jam!  I know that movie so well!  As missionaries there are only a few movies that we're allowed to watch.  Basically, if they have the church's stamp on them they're allowed.  So we have gotten to know that movie super well.  Also Meet the Mormons.  Also the Restoration video. And the Doctrine and Covenants videos.  I've got them memorized!  Also, thanks for clarifying that that is a "frowny crying" face.  I would have gone with the "sobbing been-dear-johned" face.  Thanks.  Also, tell mom I'M SORRY ALRIGHT!!!

Mom - Things are going well.  Yep, Evonne is still on track, and Joe and Jeffery are still moving along.  One of the hardest parts is just trying to keep faith in every single person on the street.  It's easy to lose faith when they're smoking or look like they have a rough personality, but it's important to just remember that they are all sons and daughters of God and should be loved, even when they forget to email their family one week, or something like that. Honestly, the biggest hurdle is probably just getting them to believe the basics.  For Chinese people, they usually are okay with all the commandments, but they just have a hard time with the basic belief.  The days are super short.  Gillian reminded me that I got my call like a year ago.  Ahh!  I think I'm okay as far as needing stuff from home for now, but thanks for asking.  Love you!

Ashleigh - Man, did you really say "what the goodness?"  You're such a Utahn.  Also, first date eh?  Did he have a current temple recommend. Were you home by 10:30?  Do you need to borrow my shotgun?  Man, you should totally keep Princess.  I would be totally fine with having my dogs multiply by 200% when I get home. SOOOOOOO  YAAAAA!!

Ellie - Oh my gosh, I almost didn't recognize that it was from you!  It didn't have that little purple girl emoticon at the bottom.  Also tell dad happy 50th birthday. He'll like that.  I  miss you too. How's school going?  Is it more fun than our play-set?  Do we still have gravel embedded in all the grass within a 5 foot radius of it?

Hayden - Man, aren't lacrosse practices like that just miserable?  Tracting in weather like that isn't much better :) Actually the weather was mostly good this week though.  I overheard a guy on the street say that something was beast, and I thought of you.  It seems like your trend has spread to Hamilton.

Dad - We're in a car area.  Our area is just too spread out, and Hamilton isn't a big enough city to have a good enough transit system for anyone but the downtown elders.  As far as eating goes, we're actually doing really well. Elder Lau is a good cook, and I've learned a thing or two as well.  If you have any super useful easy recipes you used on your mission or in college, I'd love to use them.  Please send them my way.  As far as pictures go, I actually went without using it for a week or two, and I forgot where I put it.  Still being located.  Yes, the baptisms are still looking good :)  Also Happy Birthday :)

As far as a spiritual thought goes, I thought I'd keep it pretty simple this week.  With Easter season coming up, and with spring approaching, we have the opportunity to think about the wonderful chance for rebirth the Lord has given us.  For those of you who haven't seen it yet, please check out the new video produced by the church at https://www.mormon.org/easter

It's a wonderful time of year, and as we reflect on our lives and our loved ones, remember what the Savior has done for us.  He has allowed us to become free from afflictions and pains and trials, and enables us to cast off any doubt and unbelief.  Through faith in his name, we can literally be made whole again.  We can be saved, and I hope that, with the people in the above video, we will all be able to say Hallelujah.

For those of you in my ward, you'll recognize this scripture.  It sits under my name on that wall of missionaries that are currently serving.  It's in Mosiah 16:7-9 and it says "And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.  But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in christ. He is the light and life of the world, yea, a light that is endless that can never be darkened, yea, and also a life which is endless that there can be no more death."

There are a few parts in that which stick out to me, but one of my favorites is "swallowed up in Christ." That's really how it is.  The pain of the world, the sting of death, and the victory of the grave are all swallowed in the light of Christ. Enveloped.  Contained.  Restricted.  Gone.  Washed away.  There is no need to fear if we trust him and love him.  With all our hear let us serve him, and he will bless us with a joy that we cannot comprehend.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Sabin

Hamilton Zone Conference

Monday, March 14, 2016

Week 34: I Forgot To Press Send! (or finish the letter...)

This email might seem a bit rushed.  I apologize profusely.

First matter of business, it's still been really warm.  However, there is a good chance that it will rain this week.  Every day.  Looking forward to it.

Another matter of business: Elder Hudak is actually not coming yet.  At the very last minute, we were told that there's someone waiting to get a visa to leave the country, and until they get it, they're going to be serving in this mission.  Elder Hudak's going to be his companion until it goes through, so he'll be coming to our area soon.

Also, Evonne has been doing great!  She passed her baptismal interview this week, and so as long as the earth doesn't explode, it's happening.  We did push her date back one week, because she has some tests or something going on this weekend.  March 26th will be the day!!!

Also, Joe has a baptismal date as well.  Right now, we're shooting for April 23rd.  He's pumped about reading the Book of Mormon, and he always comes with really good questions and things underlined and stuff.  Last time we forgot to assign him a chapter, and before we left he stopped us and said "Wait, what's my homework!?".

I got to do exchanges this week with Elder Brand and Elder Davis, which was really cool.  They're both studs, and we had a fun time contacting downtown.

Also, remember that guy I mentioned a few weeks ago that walked past us and said "I dwell not in the land of the living, etc.?"  Kind of an interesting guy.  He's now walked past us like 6 times on the streets, and every time he has a new comment.  I would talk to him, but he never stops!  He just keeps going, and I don't really want to chase him.  It's been odd.

Hamilton's been extra interesting this week.  On one lap around Main street, Elder Lau and I saw like 3 guys just heaving their guts out onto the street.  Also, a guy walked with us for about 20 minutes, confessing all his sins to us, and we were just trying to keep him from collapsing (he was super drunk).  Another guy, while walking with us, said, "Well, look, I'm not a bad guy.  I don't do bad things.  I mean, I do crack cocaine, and I used to hire prostitutes all the time, but I'm not a bad guy, you know?"

In other cool and exciting news, we taught a guy on the street for like 45 minutes.  He was waiting for the bus, and he just had a ton of questions about religion and stuff.  We're probably meeting with him this week, and if not this week, then next.

Also, I ate Balut this week.  Super interesting.  Basically it's an egg, but their is a baby duck inside that's half formed.  It's a Filipino delicacy. We ate it at a member's house, and they said they'd send you guys the video back home.  Their name is the Acordas, so if you get a random message from them, just know that it's legit.

And that's basically the week.  On a more spiritual note, I was studying a lot about the difference between weakness and sin.  I think often we associate these as being two separate degrees on the same continuum, but they are actually very different, and play different roles in the plan of salvation.

Sin, by definition, is a voluntary breaking of God's commandments. It brings darkness into our lives, but luckily through the atonement of Christ we can repent and overcome it.  It comes from Satan, the enemy of all righteousness.  Weakness on the other hand, is not willful, and it is not a sin.  It is inherent in a world full of imperfections, but instead of driving us away from God and all that is good, it can actually be an instrument in pulling us toward God.

The reason I've been studying this topic is because I believe that there are few times I will be more acutely aware of my weaknesses than on a mission.  I am literally required to rely on the Lord in hard times, and in part, that is the reason why missionaries have such a rich and gratifying experience.  We are made aware of our weaknesses that we may be strong.

Sin can be overcome, but it drives us away from God.  Countless times in the scriptures, it is said that if the people are unrighteous, they will be cut off from the presence of God.  Weakness however, holds a completely opposite purpose.  In the words of Paul "My (God) grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecution, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

Monday, March 7, 2016

Week 33: Brethren and Sisteren!

Brethren and Sisteren!

I know sisteren isn't a word, but it should be.  Get over it.

Anyway, Elder Lau and I had a wonderful week serving the people of Hamilton!  The weather was a bit cold this week, but it's going up to like 12 degrees today (celsius) which is really good.

Biggest piece of news this week.  Elder Hudak will be joining Elder Lau and I, which will be so much fun.  We'll be in what's called a tripanionship.  Elder Hudak's time in the MTC overlapped with mine, so we're already pretty well aquainted, and we're so excited to be serving with him!  That will make for a total of five elders living in the catcave!

Also, it's looking like Evonne will be baptized on the 19th!  We're super excited for her. I'll let you know how it goes, but she hasn't had any problems recently.

In other investigator news, we have some cool dudes named Joe, Jeffery and Daniel we're meeting with.  They're all super cool, and we're having a great time working with them.

Anyway, I wish I had more to write about this week.  It was a super good week as far as meeting people and helping them grow their faith, but nothing really stands out.  As far as crazy events go, it was somewhat lacking.  We did run into quite a few more interesting people here, and that's always a fun time.  One man claimed that he was God, and said in all seriousness that he "walks neither among the land of the living, or the realm of the dead, but is in the utmost center of it all" or something like that.  It was hard to keep a straight missionary-ish respectful face when talking to him.

Ashleigh - Taking her on the blue run.  ARE YOU MAD, WOMAN!!!??? Luckily Jesus even suffered for that, so you can repent, but  it's gonna be quite a process.  You need to reevaluate your life ;)  Next time people ask how I'm liking the mission, just tell them that I was having an okay time, but as soon as Elijah and Moroni showed up, things got so much better.

Hadley Jane the Insane - Ooh, that ski run is pretty sketchy.  Little baby thunder gets me every time.  I mean, even the name sounds scary.  Also, Elder Froggy makes no sense.  Auggy is already a stretch, and basically the only thing that Auggy shares with austin is the first syllable.  Once you change that, it makes no sense :) 

Mom - Testimony meeting here was really good as well.  Alot of the members bore very sweet and powerful testimonies, and it was really cool.  We also had Zone Council this week, where some of the new converts in the area bore their testimony about missionary work, and that was really powerful. Also, the other district leaders in the zone and I had to give an instruction on commitments in zone council, and that was fun as well.  Sorry, that's off topic, but I forgot about it until now.  Has Bryan been sold yet.  Is his future family making enough each year to support him?  Have they qualified for the adoption process.  What's their credit score?

Ellie - Of course they were good ideas for costumes.  They were mine!  Just kidding.  Speaking of bakeries....Hmmmm.... Bakeries..... I think I'm gonna zone out for a sec and think about bakeries.....................................................................................................................................
Alright, I'm back.  I think you're the BOMB.COM (with the caps lock on) in Guam.

Hayden - Pickles and peanut butter?  Hmm, sounds a bit gross.  I'll give it a try.  Have you guys had poutine?  Hmm, poutine is so good.  I love it.  It's basically fries with gravy, cheese curds, and meat, and it tastes awesome.  I never saw it back in utah, but it's not too hard to make either.  It's kind of like a salad, but instead of being a healthy light snack, it train-wrecks your arteries and puts you into a food coma.

Dad - Did he mean the Stoney Creek dairy?  Stoney Creek is one of the suburbs of Hamilton, so that's probably what he meant.  I just thought I'd check.  Man, good for Janis.  I think I remember him, but it was a few years ago, so it's a bit fuzzy.  I remember good things though.  Ya, I'd love to share a spiritual thought.  It actually builds off of the thought from last week, when I talked a lot about being prepared for when the Lord taps you on the shoulder.

I was reading in the early chapters of Alma about when he is traveling around the countryside preaching in all the cities and trying his very hardest to help the people come unto Christ.  If you're familiar with the story, two of the cities he travels to are Zarahemla and Gideon, which he mentions are very close to each other.

Many of us have read Alma 5, and I refer to it as a chapter of chastisement.  Alma's words to the people of Zarahemla are full of fire, with the overall message being that they have not done their part as members of the church.  They are not humble, they are not kind, and they are not respectful to God and man, and for that reason, Alma takes the time to call them to repentance.

Contrast that with Alma 7, and you find a very different message.  Same person teaching, and the same general locality, but the tone of the message is as different as can be.  Alma 7 is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful sermons on the Atonement of Jesus Christ in the entire book.
He teaches them about how Jesus overcame all things, and he lovingly helps us to understand that the Atonement is more than an eraser on the end of a pencil.  It is a magnifier of good, and a tool to be used - not only to erase sin - but to develop love, patience, and faith in God.

I relate this to us today, by asking a simple question.  Which sermon would you get?  When the day of revelation comes, and you are in dire need of divine guidance, which one are you ready for?  God loves you, and he wants the best for you, but he has made it clear that he will not cast pearls before swine.  He will give you the sermon that you are ready for, for that is the one you stand in need of.

I hope that we will all take a moment as Easter approaches to remember what Jesus Christ did for us.  To get our lives in order, and to remove habits that would prevent us from getting anything but the greatest sermon when we have an opportunity to do so.  When "the prophet comes to town" so to speak, just ask yourself, "Which sermon will he give me?"

Elder Sabin

The Hamilton Zone (and a few friends)

Left to right, Top Row: Elders Longson, Butler, Brand, Vargus, Flake, Lau, Cruz, Macon-Bolaji, Cupido, Me! Izatt, Davis, Karras, Cattelain, Layton, Lawrence, Scofield, Ryan, Adam (got baptized the next day), Ken (New Convert) and Kristen (Adam's girlfriend).
Bottom row - Sisters Cook, Mersevy, Hamblin, Jensen, Edwards, Jen (New convert), Sister Hillman, Price, Strong, Anthony, and Sommerfelt.