Elder Sabin

Elder Sabin

Monday, May 30, 2016

Week 45: Cooking Up Baptisms In The Kitchen(er)

Family and friends, good morning/night/evening/afternoon/depending on when Mom wants to publish this email and when you want to read it!

How are you! Good I'm glad to hear that.  Yes, I'm doing fine.  Thank you for asking.  Oh, really?  I didn't know that!  Hmm..  Yes yes.  Thank you.
 Just some good conversation to get the email started.

Anyway, this week has once again been one of miracles!  I'll start listing of some of them. 
1-Elder Earley's testimony
2-Elder Earley's face
3-Elder Earley
4-Elder Earley's non-trunkiness

On a serious note, Elder Earley is a really cool guy.  He was my zone leader when I was a greenie, which is a bit crazy.  Also, he'll be the second companion in a row that I get to"kill" (mission slang - if you kill a missionary, that means you're their last companion)

This week has been wonderful.  I really miss Bayview, but I also love Kitchener.  Also, I'm back at a university, which is always fun.  University work keeps missionaries entertained.  You meet a lot of interesting people there.

One of the funnier moments this week - We were meeting with one of our investigators Roy, and he brought a friend named Owen.  We were really happy to meet him, and we decided to change our lesson plan to something they could both appreciate.  We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, which included faith, repentance, baptism, the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. It was a really cool  lesson, but maybe one of the cooler moments was when we taught repentance.  Owen was really touched by the principle that someone could be forgiven for past mistakes, and he had never realized that he could have that in his life. 

We had an English elder there with us on exchanges, but the lesson was mostly in Chinese.  We talked for a bit, and then at the end, we brought up church, and talked about how after we're baptized, we can take the sacrament every week to renew that covenant. At this point in the lesson, he stood up, walked over to us and shook our hands, and then in Chinese thanked us so much for teaching him about this glorious concept of church.  Then, he turned to the english elder who has no idea what is being said, and he says in a very serious tone "I must be there."

It was hiliarious.

Also, we met with a guy named George who was really touched by the concept of family history.  He's a really funny guy, who's super busy, but he found the time to come to church! He loved it, and loved how beautiful the chapel was.

In other news, it's gotten really hot this week, which would have been okay if we hadn't been late to an appointment that was all the way across campus the other day.  It was super hot, and we were both in long sleeve shirts. I think our investigator Alison was super startled when we both showed up out of breath and maybe a bit sweaty.  We had a great lesson though.

Also, Elder Lemon has been made a zone leader as well, so I'll get to see him this week at Mission Leadership Coucil in Brampton.  Maybe that traveling tie will finally get back to me after a year of my mission.

Last funny experience.  We went to dinner with this awesome member named Brother Christiansen in a nearby town called Cambridge.  He was so sweet.  He bought us some awesome food at this Chinese restaurant that he goes to all the time, and all the employees know him there.  He's been talking to one about a few gospel related things, and so he invited us this time and he was just so funny with all the waiters.

One of the them made a note that he just got married, and then brother Christiansen asked him how long he was married for.  The host was Chinese, and his English wasn't awesome, so he was confused, but eventually brother Christiansen explained his question, and then told him "It's 'until death do we part', right?  Well, these two guys here (pointing at us) can help you have an eternal marriage."  Man, he was so cool.

I don't have time to give detailed explanations about all our investigators, but they're almost all university students, and there's not a ton to say anyway.  I'll give a summary:

Audrey - Loves learning English and the gospel. 
George - See above
Owen - See above
Nan - Super smart guy, likes reading about repentance
Charles
Du - Middle aged woman
Zi Ming - Middle aged man, has a son, interested in the BoM
Alison - Cool person
Polly - Works at a Chinese restaurant near the university
Ranqi - Still haven't met her yet.  Been busy
John BBQ - Not really named BBQ.  We used to be teaching multiple Johns and we met this one at a BBQ
There's a few others, but I didn't write them down.  

Also, random sidenote.  Elder Earley loves to run, which I've been itching to do lately but haven't been able to.  We've been going every morning since I got here.  It's gonna be sweet!

Mom - I'm gonna try the camera in a few different modes.  We'll see what I can do to make it work.  What's sam's missionary email?  I'd love to send him something, but he won't be able to look at his home email after he goes out.  I think that's great advice by the way.  The gospel definitely does give us peace even in the middle of our trials.

Hadley - Sounds fun! Sounds like you've been doing a lot of swimming.  I hope you have fun at the zoo!  Did you do anything fun to celebrate the end of school?

Hayden - The Brady?  What does that mean?  Also, happy birthday!!!  You're finally 9 years old, right?  Haha, just kidding.  You're going to make a great 13 year old.

Ellie - Wow, a purple swimsuit!  That's really fun. Wait, Sam is only going to be there 12 days? I thought they changed it to 3 weeks.  Weird.  Oh well, I'm sure he'll make it work.

Ashleigh - Cara's pretty sweet, ya?  Is it cold over there?  Because it's been blazing hot out here.

Dad - No, there's no Chinese unit out here.  We have about 9 or 10 members that are at least semi-active and Chinese though, and a lot of them are cool. There are a few that have been struggling lately, but we'll help some of them get back to church.  There's a huge Chinese population here.  The majority of the students at the university are Chinese, so if you walk around the streets down there, you'll run into 70 percent Chinese people. Thanks so much for the thought, by the way.  I truly agree.  Here in Ontario, we deal with a lot of people that have become "hardened to the truth" and a lot that have been beaten down by life so much that they are finally humble enough to accept the gospel.

Love you guys!


Elder Sabin

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 44: This week has been splendiferous. Wonderfab. Magniglorific.

First big piece of news.  I've been transferred :(  Really sad that I have to leave Bayview after such a short time of serving there.  It was really good to catch up with a lot of old friends.  The good thing is that because we got transfer news a few days early, I'll be able to use Sunday to say goodbye to some people.  I also got to say goodbye to all my old English class students.  I was really sad.  They were so happy that I came back, and then I only got four weeks with them.

On the bright side, I get to serve with Elder Earley in Kitchener!  He's a wonderful elder, and I'm super excited to be serving alongside him.  He was my zone leader when I first came out, and I'm really excited to learn from his example.  We're gonna get it done!

I really don't have a lot of time to email this week. I know I say that a lot, but today, we are seriously short on time.  Luckily, I think most people forgot that our p-day was on Saturday, so most of my emails that I have to respond to haven't come in yet.

In other transfer news, Elder Carroll will be going to Brampton!  He will be one of the new assistants to the president with Elder Holt!  Now, let me explain why this is crazy for so many reasons.  Elder Holt trained Elder Carroll as a greenie... and as a zone leader... and now as an AP.  This will be their third time serving together, and both of the Assistants to the President will be Chinese missionaries.  Because of this (this is where is gets complicated) we've lost too many Chinese missionaries to cover all the Chinese areas, and so they will be covering the Chinese area in the Brampton zone, as well as the YSA area.  It's crazy.  Everyone in the mission is kind of freaking out about this.

He'll do a great job.  In other news, this week was a week of miracles.  The other day we were out tracting in the rain so that our future wives will be more beautiful, and we knocked at this house that looked really Chinese.  I don't really know how to describe this quality, but as a Chinese missionary you get really good at stereotyping (not a good skill) and there's a lot of people and houses where you can just "feel" that they're Chinese.

Anyway, we knock on the door, and this guy answers.  He's around twenty, really impressed that we speak Chinese, and really interested in Christianity.  He was pretty golden, but then his dad came out and asked us "What's that book you have there?"

Elder Carroll gave him the Book of Mormon that he was holding, and the guy say's "Wait, I already have this!"  He runs back inside, and comes back with two copies of the book and a triple combination, all full of tabs, notes, and markings.  We start talking to him, and it turns out that he was baptized like 20 years ago in some other country and then came here.  He didn't know that the church existed here as well, but he's been reading the book of Mormon every day since he left, hoping that one day the missionaries would come again!  I stood there on the doorstep dumbfounded as this guy told his story.  Elder Carroll and I walked away from that one just astounded at the faith that this guy had.  He's amazing, and we're so excited for him.

Anyway, that was definitely the miracle of the week.  Aside from that, today we had a huge party at our English class and it was really successful.  We got a bunch of them interested in coming to church, and we also played a whole ton of English learning games.  The funniest part however was definitely when my students found out I was leaving again and swarmed me.  I'll send some of the pictures that I got them to take for me.  They're all super great.  I'm going to miss them so much.

I was also reading in the new testament earlier this week, and I read the part in Acts about Peter and John healing a man lame from birth at the gates of the temple.  It's a touching part of the story, especially where it says  'He leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

It's a short tale, but one that contains a lot of meaning I think.  Peter, in the past, had made many mistakes but in the end, none of that mattered.  He was able to perform miracles and it says in another chapter that people would lay in the streets of Jerusalem hoping that Peter's shadow would pass by them and that they would be healed.  A man of great faith, and of even greater love.

I think sometimes, on a much much much smaller scale, we get to see a tiny bit of that as a missionary.  Perhaps we're not actually healing people lame from birth, but we are healing. Many people in the world are crippled, spiritually speaking, and we have a responsibility to bring them hope.  To heal them.

I promise you, there is nothing more rewarding as a missionary than to see someone who has been crippled to figuratively "rise up and walk".  Nothing compares to it, and the beautiful thing is that it is in no way limited to full time missionaries.  We can all help people, members and non-members alike.  Although it will take time for some of them to stand, out efforts in helping others will never go unnoticed by God, and they will always be appreciated by others.  So let's rise up!  Then lets get to helping others rise, because this world has a lot of spiritually blind, deaf, dumb, and lame people who need our help.  The Lord will work miracles through us and all he asks for is a willing heart.

Anyway, I'm pretty close to out of time here.  I love you all, and I hope you have a great week.


Elder Sabin

Toronto from the balcony of one of the members:

Pictures with a few of my English students:



Us going to dinner with Anne He (middle) and Ye li zhen (I blocked her with my head in one of them).  I know.  I look like a doofus in these pictures:


Our apartment building is the middle one in this picture:

Scenery:










Walking around outside our apartment.  North York Baby!:


Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 43: Ties Have Been Traded!

Twas the week before transfers
and all through the zone
the elders and sisters
were serving the Lord

The work was advancing
And the field was all white
For no one was slacking.
Baptisms in sight!

We're teaching repentance!
Man, we're so cool
Long live the mission
Of Ontario!

Man, I should be a poet.  I do appreciate compliments on my poem.  However, if you want to make fun of it, then it was Elder Carroll who wrote it.

Anyway, we had a dopalicious week.  Man, it was so much fun.  As you can see by my title, I traded ties with President Clayton, which may or may not have been the highlight of my life.  Do you think I can get into the celestial kingdom with that?  I'll attach a picture of it so you can all behold it's celestial glory.  Now I'm just crossing my fingers that he wears my tie to conference.

Our other highlight of the week was going over to Jimmy's house Sunday night.  Jimmy is one of our investigators who really loves Jesus.  He's in a Christian rock band, and he has a group of 15 or so Chinese friends that come over on Sunday night and jam out together.  This week he invited us over!

So we walk up to his house, and the cement on his driveway is shaking and there is someone going nuts on a bass guitar (Jimmy) so we know it's gonna be a good time.  We walk into his house, and there's 5 people singing Chinese songs about Jesus with three guitars, a drum set, two keyboards, and enough soul power to baptize a nation.  I took videos, but I think they're too big to email home.  Maybe we can figure something out with drop box.  Anyways, they finished that song, and then Jimmy comes out of the crowd and tells us that they're going to play a song for us.  Like, just for us!

And so they do.  The song title roughly translates to "we are all family" and it was so much fun.  After that Jimmy made everyone come sit down and introduced us.  He had already pumped up how cool missionaries are to all of his friends, and they all had these really cool questions.  They had all heard a ton of stuff about Mormons, so, for about a half-an-hour we just answered all of their questions and resolved a whole ton of anti-Mormon garbage.  We taught a ton about the restoration and the plan of salvation and Jimmy backed us up on everything.  He's a passionate guy, so he was very forward and said stuff like "Ya!  What they say totally makes sense!  They're so right!"  It was glorious.

We got a lot of resounding amens whenever we talked about how much we love Jesus, and a whole ton of people loved the fact that we speak Chinese. So we're going back next week. Except Jimmy said this time we have to sing.  We'll see how that goes...

In other investigator news, everyone is doing awesome!  Xiao Lin's concerns about the communist party in China have given way to his faith!  He's super excited for baptism, and he's been coming to church every Sunday since I've been here. He's basically a member, and everyone loves him.

We had a sweet lesson with Vivian as well.  She didn't really understand baptism, and we had this super intense conversation about all the reasons why baptism is the coolest thing since Jesus.  She's all about it now, and we set up the lesson perfectly to talk about family history next time.

Patrick and Henry have been doing well.  Henry had class on Sunday, so he couldn't come to church, but Patrick was there, and they're doing awesome.

We met with a new guy named Christopher and his wife Helena as well.  They're super funny, and they have no religious background, but they really like having us over, and they're really fascinated by the book of Mormon.

Rosemary also got confirmed on Sunday. That was really cool.  She's such a funny girl.  Actually Ellie, she reminds me a lot of you.  She's just 9 years old, but she's super smart and just super funny.

In gospel principles on Sunday, we had a sweet lesson, but the best part was right after the lesson.  Bishop walked in and waved me over and introduced me to this guy named Peter.  Peter wants to go to BYU which means he needs an ecclesiastical endorsement from the nearest bishop (our bishop).  After they talked, Bishop brought him over to us, and he stuck around with us for the rest of church.  After church he said "I need to go meet with the bishop" so we brought him to the offices, and then Bishop later told us that he asked to be baptized.  We were pretty stoked.

We also met with a member named Sam who hasn't been coming to church as much as he wants to because he's trying to balance family and his own life, but we had a lesson with him, and he told us all about how much he wants his wife to come to church.  It was super spiritual.

Also, there's a sweet member named Qin Xiao Yu who introduced us to her cousin.  She met with missionaries a while back, but then went back to China.  They both are sweet, and they love teaching us Chinese slang which is totally useless for missionaries, but really fun to learn.

We're meeting another former investigator this week named Benjamin.  We had a phone lesson with him last week, but this week we'll meet him for real.

There's probably a whole ton of other stuff that happened this week, but I just don't remember right now. 

Mom - I did get the package, so no worries.  Unfortunately I probably won't be eating balut.  I wish I could, but I don't know that many Filipinos in the area.  Tie's have indeed been traded, and I'm super pumped to wear my President Clayton tie for the rest of my life.

Hadley - Wow! Sounds fun!  Were you the star of the show?  Did you knock everyone's socks off?  Are you excited for the end of the school year?

Hayden - Man, I always knew you were smarter than me. Congrats on the 4.0.  My companion's name is Elder Carroll, and he's a really cool guy.  He's a lot smarter than me too.  He already has a degree from a college and he's only 19.  Basically he's a super genius.

Ellie - My favorite food (next to balut) is probably just any meat made by a Chinese person.  They make it really differently and usually it's really soft and tastes awesome.  The superman light was super sweet. 

Ashleigh - Haha, tell sister Bowen that I'm irreplaceable.  And tell her I say hi.  One day all of us dudes will be able to come back to her house and take over the family room like we used to do.  That will make her feel better.

Dad - Thanks for the birthday wishes. And for the quotes.  They will definitely be added into my collection. Hugh Nibley is one of my favorites.  He goes super deep, but man I love it.  It's so entertaining.

Anyway, that's pretty much the week.  Loves!

President Clayton's Tie!

Me with some other sweet elders

Got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic with this guy, so we got out and gave him a card.  Getting the numbas!

 Me and Elder Carroll

The view from our apartment

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week 42: Happy Mother's Day!

I'm super short on email time, so today's going to be pretty short. Frankly, there's not a lot of new stuff to say.  I saw you guys yesterday, so you pretty much know how the work is going.  Life's still good up here in Toronto.

One of the highlights of our week was definitely Jimmy.  I talked about him last week, right?  The christian rock band guy?  Well we stopped by again this week, and he's doing well.  Also, after we taught him he said to us, "Hey, I have this group of like twenty Christian Chinese friends who all love Jesus and want to hear about the gospel.  Could you come over Sunday afternoon and teach them all?"

We were pretty stoked.  I'll let you know how it goes.  As an added bonus, he said he'd give us some dinner, so that'll be good.

Basically the week's been going super well.  Bayview Ward get's it done!  All of our new converts have been coming to church, we have tons of investigators coming, and the ward just does amazing at everything related to missionary work.  Seriously, I love this place.

The week has been really good.  We had some investigators who had a great experience following the word of wisdom. 

I got to go to my first MLC, which was super fun.  Super spiritual.  Also, we taught our first zone council, which was really fun.  Having two young zone leaders together has been interesting.
Also, Rosemary got baptized! I'll send you guys a picture once I get it from Elder Carroll.

It's been a great week, and there's so much I could talk about, but I'm a little short on time.

As a last note about Mothers Day, I just want to say that I love my Mom!  Thanks for everything you do!  For all the moms out there, I hope you know what an impact you have on your kids and the people in your life.  You make such a difference in all the little things that you do.

I love you guys!


Monday, May 2, 2016

Week 41: Well, This Is Awkward...

So, I bet you're all just dying to know how Hamilton is.  There's just one problem with that.

I don't know.

There have been a few changes in the mission actually, and I've been reassigned.  In the North York Zone, one of the Zone Leaders, Elder Holt, got pulled up to be one of the next Assistants to the President. With that happening, it meant that North York would be missing a Zone Leader.

So, on Thursday, we got a text from President that said "Brethren.  Please call me at 9:50" which caused Elder Hudak and I to immediately start to panic and accuse each other of doing something apostate that required President to talk to us.  Just kidding, that didn't happen.  But we were super stressed out.

So at 9:50 I got the call that I needed to pack my things and head up to Toronto to fill Elder Holt's place.  Elder Stowell is following in behind me to take over Hamilton and be Elder Hudak's companion.  So all of this means....

...drumroll....

I'm back in Bayview baby!  Oh, I was so sad to leave Hamilton, but man I love Bayview.  There's so many Chinese people here, and the Mandarin ward makes everything easier.

So now I'm in North York serving with Elder Carroll.  And here's the best part.  He's been a zone leader for 3 weeks.  And I've been a zone leader for 3 days.  If this works out, the church just has to be true.  GET IT DONE!!!

Anyway, my writing is probably kind of a mess right now, but that's just because there are a thousand emotions running through my head at once.  On a serious note, I was really sad to leave Hamilton.  Elder Hudak is the bomb, and the members there are all so kind.  I'm really gonna miss them all, and I hope one day I get to go back.

On a brighter note, Sunday was super fun. I got to surprise everyone by magically showing up at church, and there were many questions asked about where the heck Elder Holt had gone.  A lot of hugs were given (but only to the male members) and it was super fun to see tons of familiar faces.

So these last few days here have been super eventful.  I came down here Friday evening, and then Saturday was super fun.  We taught English class in the morning (which I missed dearly) and I got to see a whole bunch of old students there as well.  Then, we stopped by to see an investigator named Jimmy, who is just the greatest man you'll ever meet.

Imagine this.  A 45 year old Chinese man with a ponytail, a truckers hat, and bright yellow jacket.  Also, he's in a Christian rock band, so his basement is full of pianos, guitars, amps, drums, etc.  We sat down and had a great discussion with him, and he's doing super well, but the best part was afterwards.  He asked us "Do you have 3 minutes?" and we were like "Yeah, probably."

He beckoned us over to his piano and said "Come here, come here!  I'm going to teach you a song!"  And then he just started playing and we sung a song with him with a super loud piano.  The lyrics to the first verse were just "Hallelujah" over and over again, so imagine Jimmy rocking out on the piano belting "Hallelujah!" with two dudes in suits and ties trying to keep up with him.  It was quite a sight to behold.

Sunday was fun (for many reasons), but one of my favorite was that we actually had one of our investigators get up in Fast and Testimony meeting and share his testimony of our church.  We had met with him Saturday night, and I guess the lesson had an impact, because he talked about how he knew the spirit had told him the Book of Mormon was true, etc.  So yeah....he's getting baptized probably.

His name is Xiao Lin by the way.  Also, we had one of our investigators pass her interview on Sunday!  So she'll be baptized next Sunday.  Her name is Rosemary, and she's super cool.  She's 9 years old, and therefore shy, so she was really nervous about the interview. One of our amazing district leaders Elder Scofield knew this, so they go into the interview, and she comes out with a ton of balloon animals.  Elder Scofield made her balloon animals!  And a crown!  How cool is that!  Man, he's a cool guy.  She's not as nervous about it anymore.

Also, last night we were really hoping to find a new investigator, because we had only found one this week, and the numbers would be reported on Sunday night. Our president tells us that we can find 2 every week, so we said a prayer, and just started tracting in our bishop's neighborhood.  And we found 3 new investigators!

Seriously, we ran into a super prepared family. One of them has been to Salt Lake, the other has heard a lot about the Book of Mormon, and they just started giving us bananas and water and candy and a whole bunch of junk.  It was sweet.  We're so going back.

Anyway, that's pretty much been the week.

Hadley - Haha, when do I get home? That's a funny question.  I don't think I'll come home.  I'll just stay out here.  In fact, why don't you come out here too?  We can go tracting together :)  Just kidding. I hope I have a great rest of my mission too.

Ellie - Ya, it's getting pretty warm up here.  Honestly, it's kind of funny, because everyone makes fun of the Canadian missions for being super cold, but there's not a single Chinese area north of Toronto, so unless I leave Chinese work (knock on wood) I'll be at the same latitude as Boston or New York.  And yet I still get all the credit for enduring a freezing mission.  Oh well :)

Mom - Mother's Day plans.  We're going to the Lee's house (same one as Christmas) around 6:30 Toronto time.  That's 4:30 Salt Lake time, right?  Does that work fine.  Email me back about this, cause I should be able to check it to confirm.  Also, email me my Skype password again.  I have my ATM card still.  The Mountain America Credit Union Visa?  Ya, I still got it. Still got the pin.

And yes, Joe is doing super well.  He's so sweet :)

Hayden - Man, i'm so sorry. I really wish I could be weeding with you guys, but I'm kind of busy this week.  And next week.  And next week.  So, for the foreseeable future, you have to do all the weeding.  MWAHAHA!  Good luck.  No, I haven't eaten more gross things, unless you count the roadkill we cooked for dinner last night.  Sometimes missionaries have to get creative.  Limited funds, you know?

Ashleigh - Pretty grand, eh? Why, that's marvelous!  Spectacular!  You put Emi in the birthday package, right?  We made a deal.  Kidding.  Tell Maddie that she's a bad influence on you and you should stop hanging out with her.  She'll like that.


Anyway, you guys all have a great week.  Loves!