Elder Sabin

Elder Sabin

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Week 67: Changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elder Sabin

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

The Shuai Ge's:

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


Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 66: Funny Quotes of the Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, I love you all.  Keep being celestial!

Elder Sabin

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 65: A Week Full of Miracles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elder Sabin

David's Baptism : )

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Week 64: I Could Really Use A Good Handshake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elder Sabin

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week 63: A Remarkable Week!

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

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

Elder Stowell is still as studly as ever.  Yah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, Love's!