Elder Sabin

Elder Sabin

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

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week 61: An Amazing Week in Bayview

Alright.  Gotta be quick today.  We're heading down to the Royal Ontario Museum today, so my emailing will be a bit short. Once again, it was an amazing week in Bayview.  I haven't done the individual responses in a while, so I think I'll start with those.

Mom - I lied.  We didn't play badminton.  We did manly sports like dodge ball, basketball, etc.  But no one got hurt, so it was okay.  As for the missionary getting hit by a car, he was totally fine.  If he wasn't we would be worried, but he's fine. Mostly.  It's not like he needs both legs anyway.  Sounds like John Bytheway did a great job.  I've listened to a few of his talks out here, and it's really funny because he always starts with the same joke and story about his name.  Never gets old.  "By the way John..."

Hayden - Sounds like you guys are killing it in lacrosse :) Congrats on being the only one brave enough to bear your testimony!  That's super cool.  Never be afraid to share it again.  One day you'll be a missionary, and you'll just wish you could go back and share it with more people.

Hadley - Wow, you're going to be a witch!  That sounds so fun!  Haha, Emi's the best.  If I'm not there to eat the pan of rolls then someone's gotta do it.  Don't ever sell her.  Anyway, you're the best!

Ellie - Yes, Ellie, I gave up.  I read your question and I was hanging on to every word, and I was about to just give up, but then you told me, so it was okay :) Just kidding, of course I knew who's birthday it was!  Happy Birthday!  Wow, how are you going to be Athena?  How do you pull that off?  Haha, yes I noticed your rhyme.  Love you to!

57 - Heard about your bowling score.  It's all over the news.  Good thing I'm up here, or else I'd have to admit to people that I'm related to someone who's that bad at bowling ;) Glad to hear that life has been good otherwise.  I thought we agreed that you wouldn't go on any dates without written consent from me?  Come on Ashleigh!  Fine, I'll let this one slide.  Tell Spencer I'll be praying for him!

Dad - Ya, Eye of the Tiger is the greatest :) Super funny.  Honestly, a mission is the best thing for that.  You think talking to a girl in the ward is scary.   Try walking up to a group a large scary men with biker jackets that look like they club baby seals for fun and then share Jesus with them.  We play soccer a lot in the mornings.  Ya, I get emails from a lot of missionaries.  I've heard from all those guys at least in the last few weeks. I'm super pumped for general conference as well.

Anyway, sorry I don't have a lot of time to update you on the week.  This might be a bit hectic.  We had a bit of a scare with David this week.  His wife decided that she's against him paying tithing, and so we were really worried he was gonna decide against baptism, but it turns out we have the opposite problem.  He was pretty ready to just forget her opinion and do it anyway, but he can't really do that.  You know, the church is all about families and stuff.  So we're actually having to hold him back from baptism now.  It's honestly the weirdest feeling ever as a missionary.  Someone really wants to get baptized but we have to say "no, not yet."  Anyway, he's still doing good.  He'll get baptized for sure, but it might not be this weekend.

Vivian is doing awesome.  She's really excited for conference.  Gonna watch it all.  She's been reading like crazy.  Going to institute.  She's a dry Mormon.  Honestly, I don't know why she's not baptized yet.  She doesn't feel ready, but she's pretty much doing everything.  We'll see.

The Zhu family is still doing great.  They went out of town, so we didn't talk to them till Sunday, but the son Glory is still excited to be playing piano in sacrament.  Doing great.

We asked Shaelyn if she had been praying consistently, and she responded, "Does praying for my bunnies count?"  Of course it counts Shaelyn.  Of course it does.  That made me laugh really hard.

On a funnier note, one of our other investigators keeps inviting us over to her church, and she prays really hard that we'll come.  But we don't because we're Mormon and we're sticks in the mud and go to the same church every week.  Then she has a crisis of faith because her prayer wasn't answered.  This is becoming a problem with her.  We're trying to explain the whole concept of "one true church" with her.  It's a work in progress.

We're working with another guy named Rocky who's really funny.  He loves practicing his English by texting us, and sometimes we don't understand but it turns out okay.  He's doing well.

Also, one of the families we're working with came to church this week.  The son's name is Stephan and the Mom is named Zhang Jin and they loved church.  It was really cool

Also we've been meeting with a person named Mia who's really awesome.  She showed up at church last week because two weeks ago she needed a driver, and her friend got her in contact with one of our members.  She's super nice, and already believes in God, which is a HUGE step for Chinese people.  She's never been baptized, but she wears a cross, so that interesting.  Guess it's just a style thing.

Anyway, there's a bunch of other people I could talk about, but I'm pretty much out of time.  Love you guys though!

Elder Sabin

P-Day:

Us with some awesome investigators named Zhao, Meng, and Lucy.  They'll all English class students as well:

Monday, September 12, 2016

Week 60: Glory, Glory Hallelujah!

Man, I feel like I just emailed home yesterday.  Seriously, this week flew by!  I'm gonna have to keep my email pretty short today, sorry.  The Ossington zone (downtown Toronto missionaries) challenged our zone (upper Toronto missionaries) to a day of sports, so we have to go smash their faces in... I mean... have a rousing match of something safe.... like badminton.

Anyway, the week was wonderful.  Lately the members have been bringing tons of friends to church, which has made things really easy for us.  Honestly, we could probably just sit in our apartment all day and people would still think we were half decent missionaries.

Everyone is doing great, but I probably don't have time to tell you all everything.  I will say that David is still doing awesome.  He'll have his baptismal interview this weekend if all goes well.  We're super excited for him.

One of the missionaries in our zone got hit by a car this week.  He's totally fine, and so the only reason I bring this up is because we got to stay up late.  It felt super weird.  As a missionary, you always go to bed at 10:30, but since we had to get him checked out and take him home due to their lack of a car, we ended up finally falling asleep at around 2:00.  So that was fun.

This all would have been totally fine, but we also had a giant meeting the next day with a visiting member of the quorum of the 70, Elder Arnold, and we had to get up early to help set up.  I was super worried that I'd be falling asleep in the meeting, but it actually all turned out okay. Either fear of being chastised by one of the Lords anointed or the Spirit kept me up.  I'm going with the Spirit.

Anyway, it was a super good meeting.  I took tons of notes, and there's no way I'm going to write them all, but I felt that one of the main points that I took away was the importance of leading from the front.  He shared a story about a stake president who sat down with all the leaders from the stake and handed out a small test.  He told them not to put their name on it and to fill it out.  On the test were a few basic questions like "Do you go to the temple every month?", "Do you do your home teaching?", "Do you have family home evening every week?" and "Do you attend all three hours of church".  Well, the tests were all handed back in and the results weren't that great.  The Stake President then said "No one in this stake will teach at all until everyone here is doing all of these things.  When do you want me to give you the test again?"

They asked to have it again in a month, and so a month later they took the same test and the results were through the roof.  What's more, the stake missionary work caught on fire!  People were getting baptized like crazy.  Home teaching was at 90 to 95 percent for the entire time that Elder Arnold was in that stake.

I loved that story.  Really I did, and I think it really hit home with a lot of the elders and sisters.  I don't know who's going to read this, and I certainly won't know what your calling is, but I do promise you that if you don't do the little things, neither will those who follow you.  Elder Arnold also said something along the lines of "When you're a parent, if you ever tell your kids to go to bed so that you can watch something that's less than appropriate for a priesthood holding man, you can bet that your kids will be watching that movie when you're out of town.  You cannot do something that you do not want your kids to be doing."

Anyways, I hope everyone back home benefits from that.  The gospel's true.  Jesus loves you all so much, and if we want the chance to be successful leaders in His work, then we have to do what He wants us to do, because He truly is the greatest leader this world has ever had.

Elder Sabin

Monday, September 5, 2016

Week 59: Gospel Is Life

Hello everybody!  Sorry about last week.  Yes, I did forget to push send.  My bad.  Sometimes on P-day I get so caught up with missionary work and teaching repentance that I forget to do worldly things.  So I apologize for that.

Totally kidding, just so you know.  I realize that joke could sound really arrogant, but I think it's funny so I'm not going to delete it.  Anyways, enough with the joking around.  Now for the important stuff!

Life has been going well here in the Bayview ward.  I think the most important thing that happened this week was probably that DAVID'S GONNA GET DUNKED.  In more reverent terms, he really wants to be baptized, and he's looking good for September 24th.  During the last couple lessons he's told us that he told his wife he's not drinking her coffee anymore no matter how good it tastes, he wants to bring his son to church, and he really really wants to get baptized.  He's so sweet.

We've pretty much taught him everything he needs to know, and so it sounds like there should be no problem with him getting baptized on September 24th.  Of course, Satan usually tries really hard during these last couple of weeks, so you never know, but I have a ton of faith in him.  Pray for him hard, alright?

Also, another funny thing about David.  On Sunday in Gospel Principles the topic was missionary work, and the lesson was super fun.  Basically Tina (The teacher) had us all split up as missionaries and investigators, and Elder Stowell got paired up with David as missionary companions.  Then they had to do a street contact, and they did it with some of our other investigators!  So basically Elder Stowell started it off, but then David just took over and started unloading everything he loves about this church.  So that was super fun.  I was across the room teaching with Vivian (another investigator) and we got put with Brother Lee.  Brother Lee is the old bishop, and so he knows all about missionary work and he tried to make it really hard for us.  He pretended to be a stubborn Buddhist and everything he said was so cliche I was pretty much incapacitated due to laughing.  Vivian did a great job though.

In other news, one of our investigators accepted a calling... and he's not a member yet.  He's loves playing the piano though, so he's gonna take over that job.  So we're pretty much guaranteed to have one investigator at church every week until we baptize him.  Blessings.  Also, he has the coolest name ever.  His name is Glory.  As in "I saw two personages whose brightness and glory defy all description".  I think if God gave him a golden birthmark on his forehead that said "baptize me!" it wouldn't be more obvious.

Also, this week we found a ton of new people.  We really have been trying not to waste any time this week, and in Toronto it's a little frustrating because we're in traffic quite a bit.  Usually we always try and roll down the window and talk to the person next to us, but that's hard because we only have like 10 or 15 seconds before one of us moves, and so pretty much the only thing you can do is give them a mormon.org card.  One of the new things we've been trying to do is call everyone in our phone.  All the missionaries phones have years and years worth of contacts that have been stored and forgotten about, so we've been trying to purge it.  There are probably several hundred numbers in there, some of which are members and some of which are potential investigators and some of which are random people, so whenever we're in the car we just go through them and ask if they want to hear a message. Some of them have obviously been in there a long time.  Many of them have said they haven't met with missionaries for 4 or 5 years.

Vivian has been doing awesome. She's been reading and praying every day, and she's coming to a ton of church activities as well, which helps all the young members in the ward get to know her.  She has quite a few member friends now. She's still nervous about setting a baptismal date which is fine, but I can just feel that she's so close to making the decision.

Also,  we went to bible study this week.  However, it was not at our church.  It was at the People's church.  So that was fun.  I think some people there were a little intrigued as to why Mormons were in their building, but they were all really nice.  We only went for a half-hour or so because we had to go teach English class, but we took the opportunity to hand out Book of Mormons and most of the people there wanted one.

In other news, we've been meeting with an older lady named Chen.  She just got to Canada, and the only reason she left China is because of her husbands health.  China's got some pretty bad pollution in the cities, so she came over here with him, and from what she says, it sounds like he's pretty close to passing on.  We taught her how to pray last lesson, and she said one of the most sincere prayers I've ever heard.  It was super short.  Pretty much all she said was "Dear God, please bless my husband that he will live a little longer.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."  She was crying, and honestly I was pretty close to doing the same.  Shes just a super sweet lady, and she has no religion, but she wants so desperately to believe in God.

That was pretty much the week.  We taught some folks like Rocky, Henry, William, Liu Jia Hao, David (different one), David (another different one), Sam, Shaelin, and Jermaine, but the two that are closest to baptism are definitely David and Vivian.  Keep them in your prayers.

Last thought before I close.  I was reading the book of mormon this morning and trying to find spots where there was obviously some heart and soul poured into the writing.  Elder Stowell heard a talk a while back called "The Tears on the Pages" which refers to the spots where the author could have been crying while writing it.  For example, Moroni at the end of the Book of Mormon writes that he is all alone, but he knows that he shall soon rest with God, and that one day the Lamanites will be brought back to the knowledge of their Redeemer.

Anyway, I was reading in Moses this morning which I don't usually do because we don't really use that with our investigators ever. But I did, and it actually turned out really cool.  I'm sure most of you know, but there's a spot in there where Enoch is with God, and together they behold the wickedness of the world before the flood of Noah.  After that, this is what's written

    28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?

     29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?

     30 And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever;

    31 And thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity; and naught but peace, justice, and truth is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end; how is it thou canst weep?

In essence, Enoch is saying that God's creations are endless. He has a thousand worlds just like this one, and for him to lose just one need not be important.  But to God it is, and Enoch finds that to be marvelous.  He is amazed that God will weep at the wickedness of men despite having all the power and the glory of the universe.  Then God tells him why.

    32 The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands...

     33 And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;

     37 But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?

     40 Wherefore, for this shall the heavens weep...

I just find this amazing.  The world is so huge, and every day here in Toronto I meet people from all around it.  I see people with all sorts of stories, backgrounds, and lives, and every single one of them was made by God.  We are not random accidents or flukes.  We are made.  We are created.  We are designed in the image of a God - A God that knows every single one of us.  And he is our Father.  Our lives and our choices will never be controlled by him, but we are watched over.  Watched intently and lovingly by a God who only wants the best for us.  I promise you all that you are all loved by a God in heaven, and that is meant in a very specific way. He loves you, and I know that's true.  The things that happen to you today will be noticed by him, and if you pray to him they can be the subject of your conversation.  Always remember that God is yearning for you to make the right choices today.

Anyway, I thank you all so much for your prayers. They are felt here, and I love every one of you.  I wish you all the best!

Elder Sabin