Elder Sabin

Elder Sabin

Monday, July 17, 2017

Week 104: Some Final Thoughts

A little over two years ago, I received a call to serve in the Canada Toronto Mission, Mandarin speaking.  I was surprised, but thrilled, and so I went to serve with faith that I was called by a prophet of God, and that if anyone had faith in me, it was Him.  And so I served. And that brings us to here.

So. I have put no mental preparation into this moment.  Absolutely zero, and I apologize in advance if my remarks here are inadequate for what the situation deserves.  Mom, Dad told you right when he said it's a mix of emotions.  For the last couple weeks I've been striving really hard to just focus on the work (despite the innumerable trunky jokes from the other elders and sisters), and although I feel it was probably a good thing to stay focused, it definitely didn't help with the shock of realizing this is the end of the mission.  This is bizarre.

To begin my thoughts, let me just say that missions are incredible.  In the hope that some potential future elders will read this, let me make it clear that you should serve.  Though I have nothing in my power that can make you serve, just know that if it wasn't wrong to infringe on another's agency, I would make you serve.  But only because I love you :)

In speaking about such an influential and incredible experience, it would be impossible to write down everything that I want to say within these short 2 hours allotted for emailing, so let me just talk about why I served.

I served because I saw a difference in those who had returned.  I saw young men who I had grown up with return with a light in their eyes and a fire in their hearts that I - for lack of a better term - coveted!  I wanted that, and I understood that maybe it was going to take a bit more work than occasional scriptures and prayer to get something comparable in my own life.

I served because I had never heard a single person talk about their mission without gratitude for the privilege of serving their Savior.  Growing up in Utah, where there's no lack of returned missionaries, it can get repetitive hearing the phrase "On my mission..." but I hope that one day when I grow older, someone will have the patience to listen to me as I start to tell mission stories that I know will forever be a part of my life.

I served because I know that for every person out there who knows about the gospel, there are millions who don't.  For them, their only chance is those boys in white shirts and ties with two names on their chest - their own name, and the name of their Savior.  They are in desperate need of a truth that they don't know they lack, and if I'm not willing to give to them truth that has changed my life so drastically, what kind of Christian am I?

I served because I knew I would learn things that would bless my life.  That I would learn more about how to be a good man, father, and husband from serving than I would from any other place in the world.  That serving my mission would bless their lives and that even though I don't know them yet, I want them to have the best chance possible of embracing the gospel I love.

I served because I believe in a prophet of God, and that he called me to serve where I did.  I served because I saw so many miracles testifying that I was where I needed to be when I needed to be.

I served because I have a sister on the other side of the veil who is cheering me on, and who motivates me to live better each day.  When days are hard and my faith is weak, she helps me to remember that the things that really matter are the things we'll have in this life, and in the life to come.  She helps me to always live worthy of returning to be an eternal family again.

I served because back home, I've got a brother who I love, and who I hope with all my heart will choose to give two years to wear the Savior's name on his chest.  I served because I have sisters back home who, though they're not under the same obligation to serve, need to know that their brother loves the Lord and will do anything for Him. They need to know that, as imperfect as their brother is, he love's them and wants them to know where true happiness can be found.

I served because I'm the son of a good man who taught me from a young age what it really meant to be a man in the eyes of God.  Who provided a home where love could be felt and where the gospel could be learned.  Who taught his son, despite ardent opposition, how to get up on Saturday morning and mow the lawn, and work hard, and do well in school.  Who was the the perfect example of a worthy priesthood holder who presides over his home in righteousness and who made it very clear that he loved me.  Dad, thanks :) I love you.

I served because I've got a mother who raised a good family with all the patience and love she could muster, and who I want to make proud because I love her for what she did and does.  I hope she knows the role that she played in my life went much further than finishing eagle projects and teaching me to drive in the church parking lot. She kept a home where Christlike love could be felt and where, despite all the imperfections of our family, we could come together in the end and decide we love each other.  That doesn't come naturally.  That comes from years of hard work and waking grumpy kids up for scripture study and managing 5 kids during church and helping a discouraged child with homework.  It takes hard work and a kind of love that more closely resembles the love of Christ than any other of which I know. Love ya mom :)

But maybe most importantly, I served because I have a Savior who asked me to.  Those words are so true.  I testify that there is more to Christmas than Santa and more to Easter than a bunny and eggs.  That Jesus is the Christ and He, and He alone, is the reason we celebrate his Resurrection and birth.  He is the light of the world, and though I may not be the source of that light, I can shine it into someone else's life.  I know He lives and that He loves me.  He died for me and He lives for me.  I am grateful for this chance I have had to give something back.  As small as it was, I was able live for Him for a short two years, and though that gift is incomparable to the scope and size of what He has given me, it was something I could do.

The longer I have served, the less it has seemed like a sacrifice, and though it has been hard, I cannot in good conscience say that I sacrificed my time.  Yes, I gave two years, but what I gained in return was something worth so much more and for which I will always be grateful.  The knowledge that Jesus is the Christ and that He stands at the head of His church is something priceless.  Two years has been a small price.

I love you all.  See you soon.

Elder Sabin

P.S. for those interested, my homecoming talk will be on July 30th at 1:00 in Lehi.  I'll send out the specific times and address later.  No one needs feel obligated to come, but everyone is welcome.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 103: Lots of Good Things Happening

So,  this week was fun.  I'll just talk about some of the cool things that happened.

On Tuesday night we had dinner with the Clifton's, which was delicious.  We had Korean food because Sister Clifton is Korean, and it was really good.  Unfortunately the spiciness was a bit too much for Elder Chen who was sweating pretty obviously for most of the dinner.  It was great :)

We also went on a hike on P-day which was super fun.  A good portion of it was spent telling stories from when I was up north which was fun. It was pretty cool, but for a section of the hike it was right next to a mosquito-infested pond which caused us to run really fast, because everyone knows if you run fast mosquito's get scared and don't bite you.  Probably not, but it made us feel good knowing that we were doing something to prevent being bit even if our efforts were futile.

On Wednesday we went to the Kang's house, which was awesome.  They fed us dinner and we had some good conversation about the church.  She's a member that got baptized a while back in Calgary, and he's not a member but he's pretty knowledgeable about the church and everything.  He'll get dunked before long ;)

This week we also met with Andy, who is doing well.  He's a really good guy and he's doing well.  He came to the activity on Saturday.

Mei and Ailsa are doing good as well. They still come to every athletic activity, and Mei despite her age still plays with all the fire that an elderly Chinese woman can muster.  Admittedly she's not that fast but she's not bad and her age can, in some cases, be an advantage, seeing as many of the players won't defend her that well.  We also gave them a chapel tour this week and they asked a ton of questions.  We basically explained lessons 1 and 2 over the course of the tour and it was super cool.

Roger and Maggie are still doing well, but Roger still doesn't want to come to church, which makes us sad :( whatever though.  We'll get him out one of these days.

On Friday we played soccer with a bunch of people including several Chinese people which was cool.  On my mission I've actually discovered that I really like soccer.

Saturday was super cool.  There was a massive Hindu celebration with a few hundred people there, and we were able to give a presentation during their show.  We let them use our field, which they were very grateful for, and so they gave us a tent at the celebration where we could talk to people about our church.  They made a lot of good food too.  Most of the people there were Indian, but there was the occasional white guy too.  For our presentation me and a missionary named Sister Clay gave a speech for about 5 minutes about what our church does, and then we all sang I am a Child of God.  It was well put together, but it was definitely a change of tone from the Indian dances that they had been doing up until that point.

Sunday we went out to Brampton to go to a large YSA conference with a guy from the church history department.  It was amazing. He talked about pretty much every controversial topic from church history and just explained every one of them.  It was amazing and he brought up a lot of points that I had never even thought of before.  It was also great to see so many people from past area's that are doing well now.  One of the less actives I reactivated in Hamilton just turned in his mission papers!  Ahhhh!  So stoked!!!!!!!!! I was on cloud 9.

Anyway, lots of good happening this week.  Probably no more baptisms before I leave, but there will definitely be a lot of progression this week.

Love you!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Week 102: God Bless Canada!

Gosh I love Canada.  The land of maple syrup and free health care truly is a blessed nation.  May God smile upon it's leaf spangled flag and may the winter demons be merciful in the coming years so that missionaries may effectively preach the gospel at all times of the year.

Anyway, life's good.  This week was pretty interesting.  On Monday we played some sports again which was fun.  We did a lot of stuff, but the most memorable was World Cup, during which I represented the non-sovereign nation of Quebec.  I tried my best to live up to my nations reputation by going for the strangest goals that I could.  Admittedly I didn't perform the best according to the scoreboard, but I definitely had the most fun.

Tuesday was great as well.  We went down to Cambridge (aka mini-Portugal) and ate some food with a guy named John.  He served in the Philippines and he's a pretty cool guy.  We had a delicious dinner of waffles and mangoes, which is what I hope they serve in the Celestial kingdom's cafeteria.  It's a good combination.

Also, we tried to go to the Kitchener Second ward council, but got sent to the wrong address not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES!  In the end, we ran out of time and didn't even show up.  It was interesting for sure :)

On Wednesday, we had exchanges with the Brantford Elders, and so I was with Elder Pollard.  Elder Pollard is from Southern Alberta, and he's a convert of about 2 years.  Man, he's a sweet missionary.  Also, we were on bikes because we had to put our car in the shop for about 3 days (not our fault, it was the past missionaries!)  and that was actually great. Like, super fun.  I would love to just be on bikes all the time.

Also, on Wednesday, we continued planning for a huge Hindu event that's coming up.  There's going to be a ton of organizations there and a whole ton of people.  They're using the chapel's lawn to do it, and so they're giving us a tent to have throughout the day, as well as a 15 minute presentation to have in front of the several hundred people that will be there.  It's going to really cool I think.  I won't explain the whole thing, but basically all the missionaries in our zone from different countries are going to speak about their backgrounds and how the church has helped them.  We'll also sing "I am a Child of God" with a bunch of primary kids to enhance our cuteness factor.  It'll be fun.

Also, this week I ran into quite a few people that speak French.  There's a new member in the YSA that speaks it, as well as the second counselor in the Kitchener 2nd ward.  Man, that was fun :)

We had dinner with Sister Kang this week. She's a very sweet lady.  She was baptized in Calgary, and then she moved here.  She and her husband made us some delicious Chinese food, which was much appreciated.  Also, they're both tiny.  Like... miniscule.  I felt pretty weird at first considering I was like twice as tall as everyone else :)

We had dinner as well with a family named the Moraes.  They're both from Brazil, and they're a very sweet family.  The dad served a mission in Brazil as well, and he spent a lot of time showing us all the sketchy places he went to.

Then on Friday we had zone conference which was good except for one thing - I had to share my dying testimony!  Ahhhh!!!! It was so sad.  I never thought that day would come!  They make all the dying missionaries share a last testimony.  It was sad.

Other than that though it was super good. Elder Kohl and I instructed about how to listen and how to ask questions, and I think it went well.  We talked a lot about the stuff I had mentioned in my last district meeting, so there wasn't too much to prepare, but it was cool to mix it with Elder Kohl's ideas.  He's dying with me, and he's a cool elder.

The AP's Elder Taylor and Elder Shu recruited me as well to play the part of an angel in their instruction, which was super fun. They played some "Alma the younger"-esque characters, and I was to be the angel that rebuked them.  Considering it was in the chapel, it might have been a bit irreverent, but still so much fun.  We did it right after lunch to wake everyone back up, and I think it was successful.

Also, I got to see the other Elder Taylor (the one I'm rooming with) and that was cool.  All in all, it was a good zone conference.

Then that night we were planning something super exciting like contacting, but we decided to go stop by the soccer activity and ran into Mei and Ailsa, two of our Chinese ESL students!  Someone had invited them to come over and play, which was super fun.  The guys who were playing were a bit too extreme for them, but we walked over to the side and started our own Asian soccer match which was fun.  Mei is like 50 but probably more committed to physical fitness than any 50 year old I've ever met, and then she has a 20 year old daughter named Ailsa who is like the least athletic person out there.  It was a funny match, and we invited them to come to the carnival the next day which they did.

Saturday, we spent the morning helping to make the Stake Carnival a success which was so much fun.  Basically it was just lots of little kids running around playing games run by the missionaries.  The most popular was definitely our makeshift dunk tank (don't worry, we didn't go swimming.)

It was basically a big bucket of water that hung above someone's head until someone hits a target with a beanbag.  It should have been called "soak the elders" because that's all it was all day.  It's a good thing we brought a change of clothes.

After biking back, the rest of the day was pretty uneventful.

Then on Sunday, I spoke in sacrament about freedom, choices, and using our agency wisely.  I thought it was pretty good, and the other speaker was a just-returned missionary.  It was cool.  She did a great job.

Then after church we went to the Ince's home for the return missionaries homecoming party, which was cool.  I saw the Elliot's from Niagara YSA, which was fun.  It had been a while since I had run into them.

Anyway, it was a good week :)

Dad- Man, you should write a parenting book.  You could call it "Breaking Your Child Like You Break a Horse".  I think it would be a bestseller, especially among Asian tiger moms.

Hayden - I think the way you've signed your letters has become progressively less and less like English :) Lit savage dope AJ boy?

Ashleigh - Actually, I retook the ACT on my mission and got a 37, so good luck beating that!

Anyway, I'm out of time, but I love you!!!!!!!!

Elder Sabin

Monday, June 26, 2017

Week 101: Gosh I Love Canada

Gosh I love Canada.  The land of maple syrup and free health care truly is a blessed nation.  May God smile upon it's leaf spangled flag and may the winter demons be merciful in the coming years so that missionaries may effectively preach the gospel at all times of the year.

Anyway, life's good.  This week was pretty interesting.  On Monday we played some sports again which was fun.  We did a lot of stuff, but the most memorable was World Cup, during which I represented the non-sovereign nation of Quebec.  I tried my best to live up to my nation's reputation by going for the strangest goals that I could.  Admittedly, I didn't perform the best according to the scoreboard, but I definitely had the most fun.

Tuesday was great as well.  We went down to Cambridge (aka mini-Portugal) and ate some food with a guy named John.  He served in the Philippines and he's a pretty cool guy.  We had a delicious dinner of waffles and mangoes, which is what I hope they serve in the Celestial kingdom's cafeteria.  It's a good combination.

Also, we tried to go to the Kitchener Second ward council, but got sent to the wrong address not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES!  In the end, we ran out of time and didn't even show up.  It was interesting for sure :)

On Wednesday, we had exchanges with the Brantford Elders, and so I was with Elder Pollard.  Elder Pollard is from Southern Alberta, and he's a convert of about 2 years.  Man, he's a sweet missionary.  Also, we were on bikes because we had to put out car in the shop for about 3 days (not our fault, it was the past missionaries)  and that was actually great. Like, super fun.  I would love to just be on bikes all the time.

Also, on Wednesday, we continued planning for a huge Hindu event that's coming up.  There's going to be a ton of organizations there and a whole ton of people.  They're using the chapel's lawn to do it, and so they're giving us a tent to have throughout the day, as well as a 15 minute presentation to have in front of the several hundred people that will be there.  It's going to really cool I think.  I won't explain the whole thing, but basically all the missionaries in our zone from different countries are going to speak about their backgrounds and how the church has helped them.  We'll also sing "I am a Child of God" with a bunch of primary kids to enhance our cuteness factor.  It'll be fun.

Also, this week I ran into quite a few people that speak French.  There's a new member in the YSA that speaks it, as well as the second counselor in the Kitchener 2nd ward.  Man, that was fun :)

We had dinner with Sister Kang this week. She's a very sweet lady.  She was baptized in Calgary, and then she moved here.  Her and her husband made us some delicious Chinese food, which was much appreciated.  Also, they're both tiny.  Like... miniscule.  I felt pretty weird at first considering I felt like twice as tall as everyone else :)

We had dinner as well with a family named the Moraes.  They're both from Brazil, and they're a very sweet family.  The dad served a mission in Brazil as well, and he spent a lot of time showing us all the sketchy places he went to.

Then on Friday we had zone conference which was good except for one thing - I had to share my dying testimony!  Ahhhh!!!! It was so sad.  I never thought that day would come!  They make all the dying missionaries share a last testimony.  It was sad.

Other than that though it was super good. Elder Kohl and I instructed about how to listen and how to ask questions, and I think it went well.  We talked a lot about the stuff I had mentioned in my last district meeting, so there wasn't too much too prepare, but it was cool to mix it with Elder Kohl's ideas.  He's dying with me, and he's a cool elder.

The AP's Elder Taylor and Elder Shu recruited me as well to play the part of an angel in their instruction, which was super fun. They played some "Alma the younger"-esque characters, and I was to be the angel that rebuked them.  Considering it was in the chapel, it might have been a bit irreverent, but still so much fun.  We did it right after lunch to wake everyone back up, and I think it was successful.

Also, I got to see the other Elder Taylor (the one I'm rooming with) and that was cool.  All it all, it was a good zone conference.

Then that night we were planning something super exciting like contacting, but we decided to go stop by the soccer activity and ran into Mei and Ailsa, two of our chinese ESL students!  Someone had invited them to come over and play, which was super fun.  The guys who were playing were a bit too extreme for them, but we walked over to the side and started our own Asian soccer match which was fun.  Mei is like 50 but probably more committed to physical fitness than any 50 year old I've ever met, and then she has a 20 year old daughter named Ailsa who is like the least athletic person out there.  It was a funny match, and we invited them to come to the carnival the next day which they did.

Saturday, we spent the morning helping to make the Stake Carnival a success which was so much fun.  Basically it was just lots of little kids running around playing games run by the missionaries.  The most popular was definitely our makeshift dunk tank (don't worry, we didn't go swimming.)

It was basically a big bucket of water that hung above someone's head until someone hits a target with a beanbag.  It should have been called "soak the elders" because that's all it was all day.  It's a good thing we brought a change of clothes.

After biking back, the rest of the day was pretty uneventful.

Then on Sunday, I spoke in sacrament about freedom, choices, and using our agency wisely.  I thought it was pretty good, and the other speaker was a just-returned missionary.  It was cool.  She did a great job.

Then after church we went to the Ince's home for the return missionary's homecoming party, which was cool.  I saw the Elliot's from Niagara YSA, which was fun.  It had been a while since I had run into them.

Anyway, it was a good week :)

Dad- Man, you should write a parenting book.  You could call it "Breaking Your Child Like You Break a Horse."  I think it would be a bestseller, especially among Asian tiger moms.

Hayden - I think the way you've signed your letters has become progressively less and less like English :) Lit savage dope AJ boy?

Ashleigh - Actually, I retook the ACT on my mission and got a 37, so good luck beating that!

Anyway, I'm out of time, but I love you!!!!!!!!

Elder Sabin

Our Zone:

These are all the Chinese missionaries that were at the zone conference plus elder Lundberg (the only other white elder):

Monday, June 19, 2017

Week 100: Hey Peeps

Hey peeps.

Well, nothing too crazy happened this week, but for some reason, you all seem to insist that I email you every single week to tell you what happened.  Whatevs.

Well, to begin the week, we went and played some hard core sports with the other missionaries.  Killball, Soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, you name it.  It was a good time.  We also played baseball with a volleyball, which makes it a lot easier to both hit and catch.  So that was entertaining.

Then that evening we had dinner with Brother and Sister Williams.  They're both super cool.  Sister Williams is from the Philippines and served in Micronesia, and Brother Williams is from Ontario and served in Oklahoma.  They're both super nice people, and they made some delicious shepherd's pie.

Then on Tuesday, we had dinner again with the Dixon family.  We spent some time contacting, but the street we were on was full of bars, so maybe that wasn't the most productive hour of my mission.  We met a lot of dudes without shirts on, which is usually indicative of being in a less gospel-oriented area. Of course there are exceptions, but it's pretty consistent.

Then, that evening we had ESL, which has actually been really fun lately.  The students like me and Elder Chen, and so they keep bringing in more Chinese people.  Then, after the class, we had sports night.  Usually that would be a pretty normal activity, but it was made more exciting by the fact that two of our elderly students decided to play.  I think the youth from the ward who were there were pretty confused at first, but they started having fun before long.  The fun was compounded by the fact that these students speak no English.

Then, on Wednesday, we got to help out with the Bishop's storehouse, which was wonderful.  It basically entailed unloading a truck, organizing food, and filling orders.  That was pretty cool.  After that, I had exchanges with Elder Valliere, a Spanish missionary.  He's a cool guy, and we had a good exchange.  That evening we were able to tract into a guy named Lloyd who we contacted on the street a while back.  He's from China, and he's loved music ever since he came over here to Canada.  We had a long conversation, but the most interesting part was when he started asking about church songs and what kind of music we sing.  Then he started humming a melody and asked us if we knew it.  It was the tune to "Nearer My God to Thee!" So that was weird.

We also got in touch with a guy named Jun Shan. He was super cool.  We started teaching him at 9:00 exactly because we were coming out of an appointment and ran into him, so our lesson was brief, but very good.

We also spent some time at institute with the YSA to say goodbye to Brother Bridge.  Nothing too crazy, but we ate some good ice cream and cake.  Blessings.

Wednesday we had dinner with the Gilberts as well, who are this lovely old couple that check the apartments in the mission.  We had just about the white-est dinner you could have.  Like, mashed potatoes, roast beef, carrots, turnips, a tossed salad, etc.  It was lovely.

On Thursday we met with Andy, who is a cool guy. He's a glorious man.  He's been investigating for a while, and we're going to get him dunked.

We also had dinner with Bryce at this place called the Old Marina.  It was awesome.  Super good food and he bought us these massive burgers we had to eat.  Best part: Elder Chen (my tiny Taiwanese companion) finished before me.

On Friday, we met with Jin, a member I knew from last year.  He's super cool, and we had some good hot chocolate together and talked about why the church is important.

Then on Saturday, we did a mini exchange because in the morning we had to go to ESL and we also wanted to attend the YSA soccer tournament because there were going to be a ton of non-members.  Elder Chen went to ESL, and I went to the soccer thing and got really tired.  Man, it was fun.  One member brought all his friends from Cameroon and they spoke French, so that was fun.  They started yelling soccer commands at me in French, and it weirded out the YSA, but whatever.  Also, Jin came, which was fun.

That night we went and ate with the Ribalkins.  Brother Ribalkin is the ward mission leader for Kitchener 2nd ward, which is the family ward we work out of in addition to the YSA.  It was delicious, and we actually had some really good talk about activities to help the branch.  A Chinese culture event, a special sacrament geared towards investigators, and a third hour lesson geared toward writing a list of non-member friends that the members hope will one day join the church.  It was amazing.

Then on Sunday, we went to two churches again.  The family ward in the morning was really good, and we talked to sister Kang, a Chinese member in the ward.  We'll have dinner with her on Wednesday.

Then the YSA was great.  Elder Chen gave a talk, and I taught a lesson, which was good.  Elder Chen did a great job and his English is really coming along.

And that was pretty much the week.  It was glorious.

Dad, regarding your questions, Chinese work has actually not been to hard to get back into.  It's been fun, and I love the YSA in Kitchener.  My companion is brand-spankin new, and he is a good worker.  Elder Hunter stayed with Elder Pineda, the trainee we got while we were there.  And yes, Kitchener is the one were we spend a lot of time at the university.  It's been good.

Anyway, I love you guys!  God speed!


Monday, June 12, 2017

Week 99: Trunky Jokes Every Day

Well, the week has been good :) As you can tell by the subject title, my week has been full of people making dying jokes.  Last year I was here, and I told everyone I was about halfway through, so this time when I came back everyone pretty much guessed where i was at.

So the trunky jokes begin.  But whatever.  It happens to everyone.

But ya, Elder Chen and I have been doing awesome!  He's from Taibei, Taiwan, and he's a really hard worker.  He's a convert, and he got both of his parents active in the church before he left on his mission.  He's a cool guy.  

He's just started learning English, so our conversations are all in Chinese, which I was pretty grateful for.  I was a little worried I would be rusty in my Chinese after 5 months of not speaking, but it was all good.  So that's been fun.

Kitchener is a great place.  I love the people here.  I think out of all the towns I've served in, Kitchener could be the most beautiful.  Toronto was cool because it was a city, and Val d'Or was very beautiful when it came to nature, but the actual town of Kitchener is just a really pretty area.  I like it alot.

It's been pretty warm lately. With the drop from Val d'Or to here, I think the average temperature jumped up like 5 or 10 degrees, so I've been pulling out my short sleeved shirts more and more.  

This week, we managed to meet up with a lot of cool people, one of which was Robin, who I taught last year when I was in Kitchener.  I left 2 weeks before he got baptized, but Elder Earley and I were involved in everything up to that point, and it was super cool to come back and see how he's doing.  The other guy who got baptized right after we left is named Emerson, but he's in the states right now, so I probably won't get to see him before I head back home. 

We went contacting a little bit this week at the university, and I had so many deja-vu moments.  It's like nothing has changed, honestly.  There's still a ton of construction, all the buildings are the same, and the school is still chuck-full of Chinese people.

We also went to the Dixon's home this week for dinner one day, and it was good to see them.  This next week we lined up quite a few dinner appointments with some YSA, so I'm really excited.

Church was good.  A couple of people recognized me which was fun, and I enjoyed catching up with old friends.

We had quite a bit of success this week with finding, and so we have a couple of people to work with.  The whitewash was a bit disoreintating, but I think Elder Chen and I will handle it just fine.  Anyway, love you guys!

Elder Sabin



Monday, June 5, 2017

Week 98: Back To Chinese Work

Well, we got the call.  I saw it coming :) but I'm going back.  To Kitchener!

Which I'm really excited about.  But also super sad to leave Val d'Or.  Ahh! I'm so conflicted.

Anyway, I'll also be training a new guy, which will be fun.

President did kind of let me know that it was coming a few weeks ago when we had interviews, so I guess that softened the blow, but it was still a little sad after I got the call.  Luckily, the branch gave us a really good send off.  I got released as second counselor in the branch, and after the meetings the sisters played a really great song on the ukulele that they wrote about the branch.  Pretty much everyone was crying, and the spirit was strong.  We also got some good pictures with the members.  It was really bittersweet.

Well, after that we drove down to North Bay and we've been there since.  We'll be spending p-day here and then I'll be driving with Elder Lemon and Elder Shepherd (the Sudbury elders) to Brampton for transfers.  Man, I'm so conflicted right now.  I'm training!  But I'm leaving Val d'or... But I'm going back to Chinese work! But there probably won't be tons of French there... But I love Kitchener! But Quebec just started turning really green....

Anyway, I'm a mess.  Whatever, it'll be fine.  I'm pretty excited to go back to Chinese work honestly.  It's been a long time, and I had a few people there that I helped get baptized.  I hear they're still doing well, and it'll be fun to check up on them.

Val d'Or is doing wonderful.

Jacob and Yvette are going to rehab this week in different places, which is a huge victory.  We're really praying for them.  They have so much potential!

Ben is great.  He introduced us to two of his friends this last week, and one of them named Jessie seems pretty interested.  He came to our FHE and he and Elder Pineda had a lot of fun talking about a ton of movie references and pop culture that me and Elder Hunter are pretty clueless on.  It was funny.

Speaking of FHE, it was really good.  Sister Racine kept calling me trunky though, even though I'm definitely not, but she just thought it was funny.  Uggh.

Also, on Friday, we ate with Sister Boucher.  That was lovely.  She cooked hot dogs on her grill and we ate them outside.  She works for the Quebec Geological Survey and Sister Racine was there as well.  Sister Racine works for a mine, and so the two of them basically gave me the run down of how mining works and it was really interesting, actually.  So ya.  That was fun.

On Thursday we spent the day in Rouyn saying goodbye to some friends as well.  We had dinner with Valida which was wonderful.  She made us a pizza and cake and just talked about how she needs to get baptized.  We agreed with her and she promised she'd start reading the book of Mormon more :) Also, we stopped by Lise's house, which was wonderful.  We helped her move a fridge and get her yard ready for summer.  I'll miss Lise :)

Anyway, that's pretty much the week.

Mom - Yes, the office still has my passport.  It's still good for several more years, so it should be okay.  And don't worry about the kitchen :) It'll be wonderful I'm sure.  

Regarding the subject title of the email you sent me, I think they probably eat lots of Mac and Cheese because that's what many of the missionaries survive on for their first 6 months before they learn to cook a few things.

And Hadley, congrats on bearing your testimony!  That's really cool!  I'm so proud of you.

Ellie - Wow, good for you :) Giving talks is always fun :) Did you win the swim meet?

Hayden - Happy birthday!  Joyeux Anniversaire!  Shengri kuaile!  Feliz Cumpleanos!  Love you bro!  I wish you a very "lit!" birthday!

Ashleigh - Sounds like a donut day well spent.  And yes, I say Eh after every sentence.  Like, every one.  Every time.  I'm going to drive you crazy with it.

Kidding.  I say it sometimes.

Dad - That sounds really cool :) Sacrament in Temple Square has to be pretty cool.  And who knows, maybe that lady from Israel will talk to the next missionaries she sees.  I've talked to several people that were interested because of a visit to temple square.

Anyway, love you all!  The church is true!

Elder Sabin






Monday, May 29, 2017

Week 97: Happy Memorial Day!

Hey Fam!

I'm writing on a phone today, so the email is going to be a bit short. Its because we're at the senior couple's house today for emailing, and they only had two computers.  Thats a problem... because we're now a threesome! Elder Pineda joined us this last week and its been a lot of fun. We've been having a great time up here, and things are going well. We picked him up in North Bay actually,  which is where I was for exchanges,  and he joined Elder Aspery and I for a day. Then on Wednesday we returned to Temiskaming,  had district meeting, and President came as well to do interviews afterwards. Immediately folowing that, we had exchanges with the zone leaders. Up here in Sudbury, you have to take advantage of the times when you're together. We try to use every chance we get for exchanges just because otherwise the driving is just terrible. 

So the next two days were spent with Elder Pineda and Elder Lemon. Elder Lemon is getting ready to go home, and so I'm sure it was interesting for Elder Pineda to be with two really old missionaries :) it was good though. A lot happened actually. We stopped by Auntie Lynes, and she's been reading the book of Mormon. She also accepted the invitation to be baptized.

Most of the other people were working with are doing well too. I just dont know if I can write about everything on this phone wirhout making my thumbs tired :) life has been really good,  and we're enjoying being a threesome.  

Were going on a hike today,  and I'll make sure to take some pictures :)

Loves!


Monday, May 22, 2017

Week 96: Loads of Driving

Hello Family!

Well, there was a lot of driving this week.  To be honest, it was kind of ridiculous.  We had zone conference, which meant we had to go to Brampton.  For us, that's a long drive.

So we started out on Tuesday morning around 10 o'clock in the morning.  About 11 hours later, and after having stopped in Temiskaming and Brampton for lunch and dinner, we pulled into the Mansion on 25 Seed Court.  It took a long time.  When we got there, the APs and the Brampton ZL's surprised me with some birthday cake and candles.  Unfortunately, for the candles they just used matches, which quickly burned and started melting the cake, so they had to speed up the singing so that I could blow them out faster.  It was a good time :) It was good to see Elder Taylor and Elder Shu again. Also, that night, they were talking to Elder Stowell and Elder Carroll on the phone, so I got to chat with both of them briefly in Chinese :) That made me really happy.

The next day, we went to zone conference, which was really fun.  It's not to often that we get to see that many missionaries in the area we're in right now, so it was good to head down there.  That lasted until around 4 o'clock, and it was a really good conference.  I got to catch up with some old missionary friends, and President shared some really good stories about a campout that went wrong where they had to rely on the lord.  It was really spiritual.  Also, I got to see my friend Elder Lemon give his last testimony in a zone conference.  That was weird :)

Well, that night we managed to reach North Bay to spend the night, and the next morning we set off to make it to Zobell's (the senior couple in Temiskaming) by 1 o'clock for lunch.  They're awesome.  We were there with the Temiskaming elders and the Rouyn sisters, and it was a really good time.
 
 
That night, we went and helped with the sisters ESL program in Rouyn on the way back home, and that was really fun.  They actually have like 20 - 30 people every week, which is really impressive.  They just started it a few weeks ago, and on the first day they had 28 people. Definitely a cool miracle. So we helped with that before making it back home.

Well, that took us to Friday morning, and so we basically had just two days in our area this week.  On Friday we stopped by Nora's house and helped her with some housekeeping stuff because she was feeling really overwhelmed.  She made us some good food too, and she came to church as well!  It was cool.

We did some other stuff on Friday, but I can't really remember it all.  I left my planner at home.  On Saturday, we spent a good portion of the day helping with a funeral for Brother Thellend's mother, which was quite spiritual.  We got to meet a lot of his family, some of whom are less active, so that was cool. It took a long time.  We had to go out to Amos to do it, and we got a ride with a member so we didn't waste our own gas, but it still took a long time.

Then on Sunday, we had church and that evening we had to drive to Temiskaming for exchanges with Northbay.  We started there for the night, and I spent Monday with Elder Aspery from Austrailia.  He is a great elder.  We've had a lot of fun together, and we're actually sticking together for P-day.  I've decided to model my life after him. He's only been out for 7 months and somehow he just seems to have things figured out.  Imagine that the crocodile hunter and Hugh Jackman had a son, but that this son also got the priesthood and went on a mission. That will give you a good idea of who he is. 

So yesterday here in North Bay, we met with their investigator Brett (who I helped find last time I was here on exchanges.  That made me happy) and then went to Mattawa which is a really beautiful town outside of North Bay. We had like three appointments there with various members and investigators, which was fun.  We also met with Ellie, who investigated and almost got baptized in Florida (potential!).  It was cool.  A potential called us as well and said she wanted to meet, so we're going by today.  It will be good. 

So tomorrow, we have district meeting back in Temiskaming with the rest of the district, and it's going to be live instead of over Skype, because President will be there as well and he'll be doing interviews.  Also, he's bringing the new elder for me and Elder hunter!  It's going to be a blast.  Following the district meeting, we decided to take advantage of the fact that we'll all be together, and do another exchange with the Zone leaders.  So I'll be heading back to Val d'Or with Elder Lemon, the new elder, and myself while Elder Hunter goes to Sudbury.  Life is crazy right now.

On a side note, I have to apologize for dipping so much into my home funds.  I finally found some nice shoes that I liked (I've been looking for months but they don't have any 13s up here in Canada) and due to the driving we've been eating out a lot.  It's a struggle.  I'm trying to be better, but it's been tricky :(

Anyway, because of zone conference last week, we only saw about half of the people we're working with and so this week we really have to buckle down and stop by all of them.  I'm exhausted frankly.

Elder Sabin

Love you!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Week 95: Hey Family!

Hey family!

We just spoke yesterday, so I don't think I have a ton to say.  The last week was good. We went on exchanges with the Temiskaming Elders, and so I was able to be with Elder Deweese for a few days.  It was quite fun :)  He took quite a bit of high school French back in the day, and so he was trying his very best to keep up with the conversations.  He did okay :) picked out a few phrases here and there.

Also, I took Elder Deweese to get some real Quebec poutine, which he thoroughly enjoyed.  I don't know what it is.  They just make it better here.

We had a good time with the people of Val d'Or :) We went over to Henri's the other day and did some service.  He was selling off some old antique furniture and needed some help moving it, but the best part was probably that Regine (Henri's mom) was there.  She's very sweet and old, but she has dementia so she has a hard time remembering what language everyone speaks.  She's actually Russian originally, but she speaks French and English as well and the problem is that she can't remember what language everyone around her speaks, so she switches a lot. She's a very kind lady though :)

We went back to the handicap center as well this last week, which was a good time.  I think I'm starting to figure out this complicated form of bingo that they play, so it went better than last time :) We enjoyed our time there.

Yvette and Jacob are doing incredible actually.  They've still both been smoking, but they've been working hard to get over everything else, and the last couple of times when we've been over there Yvette has basically given us a play by play of every time she took drugs. She's trying to be accountable, and there's some significant differences in them.  They're such good people :)

We had a fun lesson as well with the Capississits and the Papties.  Elizabeth actually just moved in with them because her family needed a place to stay until August, so now two of the families we meet with regularly are living together.  And they both live really close to the church! So it's been pretty convenient.

Bree-Anna was feeling a bit sick this week, so we got her some gummy bears. I hope she appreciated them :)

Also we did institute with Gwenda this last week, which got pretty deep.  We were getting into the Book of Moses and the creation and exaltation and all that, so we were trying to explain a lot of it in French and it went okay, but some of it definitely went over her head :) Our heads too, to be honest. It was a good class though.

We met with Luc and Nadia and McDonalds this week, and they seem to be doing well.  He's working on getting work off on Sunday's, and he said he should be able to come this next week. So that'll be fun. Also we were sitting by the window when we taught him, and he just kept pointing at all the people passing by that were crazy.  He's lived here a while :)

Also, we went and played soccer with all our African friends again, and man, they have the cutest kids.  I'm not that good compared to them, but I did score a goal, which I was pretty proud of :) They seem to like us white kids quite a bit, and they're much more talkative about Jesus-stuff than the average Quebecois, so we'll probably keep going back.

Anyway, that was pretty much the week. Thanks for all the letters.  Also, where's Ashleigh's letter?

Love you!




Monday, May 8, 2017

Week 94: Snow. Again.

Hey fam!  This week was good.

First item of business.  It snowed yesterday. And not just a little flurry.  Like, there's 2 inches of snow on everything again.  This place is so weird.

Basically I was convinced that, as much as it snowed this winter, we were probably done.  We've been having 15 to 20 degree weather (Celsius mind you) and all of the sudden, Satan just has to punish us with buckets of sky dandruff.  Honestly, what's wrong with this place?

Anyway, ranting about May weather in Abitibi aside, it was a good week.

I spent some time down in the lovely city of North Bay with Elder Lowry, a fellow American from Evanston, Wyoming.  We spent a fair portion of the exchange talking about hunting and shooting, both of which are things in which I lack experience.  It was pretty cool.  We spent some time meeting with a few members, and also sharing a message about the restoration with an 8 year old named Atanacio (spelling?)

It was a fun lesson.  I've never seen a kid more amazed at the video of the restoration, and during the scene where Jesus Christ and the Father appear to Joseph Smith he exclaimed "Wow!  That actually happened?! That's amazing!"  He was a fun kid.  Following that, he helped us make the pyramid of Jesus Christ's church out of cups with things like "Priesthood" and "Baptism" written on the side.  Then, he helped us knock over the cups which gave us a wonderful lesson on the Apostasy.

We also spent some time with Bree-Anna talking about baptism and reading her "Book of Mormon Children's Stories together".  The assignment was that we all had to draw a Book of Mormon story, and despite my wonderful drawing of Samuel the Lamanite on the wall and Elder Hunter's stunning work of Jesus Christ appearing to the Nephites, she won in a landslide (She was the judge ☺)

Ben came to church for the second week in a row as well, which was good for him :) Because of the freak snow storm on Sunday, and the fact that no one saw it coming, our church attendance dropped from 22 or 23 to 5.  Most of the members had already gotten rid of their summer tires, and the snow removal equipment wasn't working like it had in the winter, so none of the Rouyn members were able to make the drive (including the sister missionaries in the branch. Those apostates 😉) and in Val d'Or all the members that didn't have a car couldn't walk to church, so it was Elder Hunter and I, Gwenda, Ben, and a Filipino woman we met two weeks ago named Nora. Don't ask me what a Filipino is doing in Val d'Or. Frankly, I'm still not sure myself ;)

We've been teaching quite a bit lately.  We met with Nadia this week, and she was a bit down.  Her father is going through a surgery in Montreal this week, and she can't make it down there for lack of funds.  So we helped her and her boyfriend Luc to understand a little about the plan of salvation.  Also, they're planning to get married, which is pretty cool. They showed us pictures of the dress which was fun to see.

Auntie Lyne is doing as good as ever.  She was happy to see us the other day.  She really enjoys reading the Book of Mormon with us, and she was quite touched by Alma's experience of repentance in Alma 36.  It was a good time. Also, she made us some good carrot cake, which was appreciated.  She was going to come to church as well, but the snow kept her from being able to go out, which was too bad.  Next week :)

Well, that's basically the week.  Hope you guys had a good one as well.

Elder Sabin

Monday, May 1, 2017

Week 93: Bingo!

Hey fam!

This week we had some pretty fun times.  Birthday parties.  Handicapped people.  Bingo.  And lots of pancakes.

Basically, we started the week on P-day with some wandering about the city.  Val d'Or actually has a pretty cool main street with lots of cool shops and stuff, and we had never taken the time to go around.  We went to a lot of stores but the highlights were probably the army surplus store where we got a Quebec flag, some incredibly expensive clothing stores where we were treated very nicely because we were sharply dressed and looked rich, and the Catholic church where we chatted with the curé for a while.

That night at FHE we made some pretty sharp cases for everyone's scriptures by pillaging 5 years of ensigns for pictures and cutting up the boxes from all the cereal we've eaten.  It may sound rudimentary, but you'd be pretty impressed I think.  They turned out really well, and now we can protect those thousands of French Books of Mormon we're going to hand out.

Also, we discovered (now that the snow has melted) that directly next door to our apartment is a BEAUTIFUL turf field and track.  So guess what we've been doing in the mornings!  You guessed it! Sleeping in.

Kidding.  We're better than that.  We've actually been getting up a little earlier than the required 6:30 to get out there and make sure we get our half hour in ;) It's that good. It's actually been quite enjoyable.  We usually either go running there or play soccer (which Elder Hunter smokes me at.) The discovery was fun, because neither of us came up here before the snow set in, and one day while driving home, we just looked to our right and this beautiful field was sitting right there.  For 3 months I guess I just assumed we lived next to a potato farm or something.

Also, Sister Lacerte provided us with a lot more milk bag mats.  I don't know if I explained this before.  Basically, there's a member in our ward that is retired and lovely, and she spends a lot of time weaving these used milk bags into mats that can be sent to developing countries.  Every time I go over there, her ancient husband is sitting in his chair helping her cut these bags.  I'm pretty sure it's all he does.  Anyway, the mats are surprisingly comfortable and at this point I think she's made around 30 or so.  Well, we've been stacking them in the branch president's office because someone apparently comes in the summer and picks them up. They better, because if not, we're not going to have an office for much longer.

Gwenda has been coming with us more and more to do missionary work.  She wakes up at 6:30 to do exercise at the field, which is pretty cool of her.  We're talking about a mission quite a bit with her, and obviously even if she did do one it would be pretty far out (she was baptized in December) but it's cool to talk about it.  She'll maybe do a mini-mission for a few days with the sisters in Rouyn.  We'll have to see :)

We had an really good lesson with the Capississits this week, and Ben talked about how the main reason he hasn't been coming to church consistently is X-box.  Well, we had a really good talk about moderation in all things, and the next day he came to church all the way in Rouyn!  He had never been there before. Like, he'd never been to Rouyn, and he still came.  That was a pretty big step for him :) It was super cool.  Also, Angie (his mom) is super cool.  She didn't come this week, but she's a good mom and she really wants to help her kids out.

Haha, one of the highlights of this week was definitely Auntie Lynn's birthday party.  It's Gwenda's great aunt, and we've been meeting with her for a few weeks now.  She's super super nice, and we got invited to come help with her surprise birthday party.  It was a wild time.  Loads of PFK (That's KFC but in French.  Poulet frit de Kentucky), tons of pizza, cake, and overall just a lot of good time.  It was all non-members except for Gwenda, and we got to meet quite a bit of her family.  One of the funniest parts was that I was on exchanges with an English elder named Elder Hansen, and he didn't really understand what was going on.  It was mostly in french, and so he was a little confused.  Also, if there's one thing Quebec people like to do, it's swear.  Like all the time.  And seeing as most of them learn English from watching T.V., they all know a ton of English swearwords.  So basically most of the conversation (and swearwords) were in French, but for Elder Hansen, the only part he understood was the swearwords in English. He probably got a pretty interesting impression of Quebec.

I'm totally serious about the swearing thing too. I'm pretty sure I know more swearwords in Quebecois than in English.

Also, earlier in the day, we went to the Club des Handicaps (Handicap Center) to do service.  It was tons of fun.  I think one of my favorite memories will forever be Elder Hansen trying to communicate with handicapped French people.  He was a good sport, so it was fun.  We started out by playing bingo, but the way they played it was super complicated and I really had no idea what I was doing.  So while Elder Hansen was trying to figure out how to communicate, I was busy getting raked by a bunch of handicapped people for my lack of bingo skill.

Following that, we played cards with some of them, and they were so sweet.  None of them really knew how to play the game, and so we just started putting down random cards and pretending like we knew what were doing.  The woman sitting next to Elder Hansen thought it was really funny to say curse words in English, but the funniest part was that she was saying them wrong, and so Gwenda and I just started laughing, which only encouraged her.  Elder Hansen was pretty confused :)

Also, that night Gwenda got invited to go drinking with her friends.  She obviously couldn't because we're Mormon and we're boring, but she didn't know what to say, so we finally got her to tell her friend that she couldn't drink anymore.  I think she thought her friend was going to make fun of her, but she actually texted back saying that she really respected that decision and that she wanted to come to church with Gwenda.  She couldn't come this week (because she went drinking and was hungover) but she's going to come next week :)

Also, after our exchange with the Temiskaming elders, we stopped in Rouyn for dinner, and no one spoke English.  Elder Deweese of Temiskaming speaks a little bit of french, and it was really funny to hear him do his best every time the waiter came by.  He was able to say "je veux gateau de fromage", "je suis gros", and "je voudrais l'eau". The waiters thought it was funny, and we were able to translate anything he couldn't say.

Elder Hunter and I have been searching for bikes as well, and it turns out one of our investigators named Henri has some! So we're going to get some bikes soon ;) It's gonna be sweet!

Church was fun too.  For the third hour we taught everyone how to share the gospel effectively, but it was a bit like herding cats.  All the members here are super talkative, and they were all sharing experiences which were admittedly cool but really off topic.  So it was good.  Pretty fun :)

Hadley - What a beautiful poem.  I haven't gotten the package yet, but I'm assuming you sent it the mission office, which means I won't get it until I go down there for a conference, which could still be a few weeks out.  I'll get it though :)

Ellie - What an interesting critique of Ashleigh's play :) Also, that's a lot of emoticons at the end there. Is there some meaning to them that I don't understand.  The swimming and the bike makes sense, but I got confused when I saw the handicap sign and the rocket ship.

Hayden - Haha, my comp just looked over my shoulder and got really confused at all the names that you guys call me. Augusta.  Elder Auggie Poggie Froggie.  Pardner Sabin.  I guess I had never really thought about how interesting all the names were :) Speaking of the Jazz, that's usually the only reason people know about Utah up here.  When I say I'm from Utah, they oftentimes say "Oh, c'est la place du Jazz, n'est pas?" (Have dad translate).  It's funny.

Mom - I appreciate the language compliments, but honestly it's really confusing sometimes.  It messes with my head.  I'll have memories sometimes, but I won't be able to remember what language the memories took place in.  Like maybe I'll think about a conversation I had with you, but it will be in Chinese, and I know for a fact you don't speak Chinese.  It's weird.  All the active members but 1 speak french, and some of them speak some English too, but the conversations at church are always in French.  That's really cool to hear about Stake Conference :) Glad it was so good.

Ashleigh - Maple syrup up here is actually currency.  Like, if you want to buy things, you can either give them money, or you can take out a bottle of good old syrup and then pour it down their gullet until they give you the thumbs up.  That means you've paid more than enough.  Kind of weird.  It get's complicated when you try and put syrup in your wallet though.  Just gets sticky.

Dad - That sounds really cool about the Stake conference.  And don't worry at all about your letters.  They're plenty good for me.  I'm glad you guys were able to have such a spiritual experience.  It sounds like a lot of the meetings as of late have been very spiritual.

Anyway, I've got to wrap up soon.  Before I go, I want to leave you with a thought. I was reading a bit this week on the subject of freedom, and what it actually is.  In the world's sense, freedom is often looked at as a sense of having permission to do something or at least not needing permission. Doing what we want.  Freedom from restraint and responsibility, and in many ways I think these elements are true to the definition of freedom. It is indeed those things, but in a gospel context, freedom is much more a matter of capacity and ability than of permission.

Take for example, a child who is given the opportunity to take piano lessons.  Growing up, he may despise practicing.  In fact, in this case, lets say the mother gives up and no longer requires her son to practice.  Finally, he is free to live his life. He is free from the responsibility of the chore.

However, in 20 year perhaps, the ward choir is in need of an accompanist, and they have yet to see someone step forward to take the assignment, this child, now a grown man, had plenty of freedom growing up.  He had freedom FROM piano, but now he lacks the freedom to DO.

I think Adam and Eve knew all about freedom FROM.  They were free from pain, sorrow, and affliction in the Garden of Eden, but they had to give that up and leave their idyllic world to have the freedom to DO.  To do so much more with themselves than what they could do had they remained free FROM everything.

And so I repeat myself.  Freedom is more of a question of capacity and ability than of permission.  God intends to increase our capacity, and in many cases that necessitates that we are not free FROM everything.  However, we can rest easy knowing that one day we will have the freedom to DO everything.  We will have true freedom, the kind that is earned by discipline and deprivation.

Anyway, I love you guys.  God bless you!

Elder Sabin.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 92:Transfer News; No Sweat

Hey family!

Transfer news came in this week, but Elder Hunter and I weren't stressed at all, because there was literally no chance we were moving :) So it was one of the more relaxed transfer nights that I've had. It was nice.

So I'll be staying here for another 6 weeks.  We'll be getting a trainee as well at the 4 week mark, and you know what that means..

I'll have a son!  It's going to be good.  However, the next transfer call is going to be a bit stressful. It could just be that we all stay up north in a threesome for my last six weeks, but the most likely option is that one of us moves.  Either me (to go back to Chinese work) or Elder Hunter (as he's going to be here most of his mission, and might appreciate a break while we have an excess of French missionaries.)

The suspense!  We'll see.

This week was great.  Gwenda, the only YSA in our branch, has really gotten into the missionary work this week, and she's been coming with us pretty much every day to teach and work.  It's been fun.

We actually had a lot of good stuff happen this week. We were able to find quite a few people, and many of the people we're working with made some good progress.  We've honestly been so blessed in this area.  I think we've done close to no tracting since my second transfer here, and we've been getting loads of referrals.

Also, we had exchanges this last week with Elder Kohl and Elder Deweese, which was great.  This time I stayed in Val d'Or, and Elder Kohl came and joined me.  We had a good day together.  I took him to Au Petit Cornet which is this little ice cream shack close to our place, and we got some pretty good ice cream.  We visited almost all of our investigators who speak English (as he doesn't speak French) and had a really productive day.  We set some good goals with Yvette and Jacob which was great.  On a side note, they came to church yesterday, and she bore a really sweet testimony in Gospel Principles.

We went on a pretty cool hike on Monday with the branch as well, which was entertaining.  The snow wasn't quite all melted, so the trail was a bit hazardous for some of the more aged members of the company, but we all made it through.  It was really beautiful.  I'll send some pictures of it.

Some of the members of the branch have taken advantage of the fact that Elder Sabin is an old missionary, and several have started making trunky jokes (mostly Gwenda and Elder Hunter, but it appears to be spreading to the other members like the plague).  Well, we decided to take advantage of this deadline, and issue a challenge.  We've invited a lot of the people we're working with to finish the Book of Mormon by the time Elder Sabin goes home, and we're all reading it together.  We're doing 3 chapters a day, and we're on track to finish by July 3rd.  We've been going for about 10 days already, so if you want to join you'll have to catch up a bit, but I still want to invite you guys to read it, and just so you know, we're all saving Moroni 10 for July 4th so that we can all read it together.  Then we're going to throw a giant pancake and ice cream party for everyone who finished it.  Unfortunately, if I sent pancakes and ice cream home, the pancakes will get cold and the ice cream will melt, but you'll still welcome to "feast upon the words of Christ" and get the spiritual (and more important) blessings.  So who will take the challenge!?

Also, this week we got a text from a member named Nadia with just an address and a note that said "come quickly".  We were kind of curious and we weren't doing anything urgent, so we went over and some random guy answered the door.  Turns out, his name is Luc and he's Nadia's new boyfriend and he's really interested.  It was a pretty odd way to get a referral, but hey, we'll take it.

Also, the ice cream shack I mentioned above (Au Petit Cornet) has become a favorite of the missionaries.  It's funny because the French on the menu just embodies Quebec's French.  It's a weird mixture of English and French.  Our favorite thing to get is called "brownies" so just imagine someone saying "voudrez vous les arachides sur le brownies?" but brownies is said in a really American accent. It's fun. I like Quebec.

We had a guy visit the branch this week.  He was just here on business from Arizona, but it was cool because he was an RM from Taiwan. And he spoke Mandarin!  So that was cool.  It messed with my brain switching from French with the members and Mandarin with him. It was so fun though.

Haha, doing tithing this week was funny. Both the first counselor and I are pretty new at this, and we were trying to get all the files organized and put together, but he's not very technologically inclined and we had to do some work on a program that didn't have any French translation, so I had to translate for him as he used it, and it just took a long time.  It was hard, but it built my faith in my French.  Blessings from the lord :)

Also, I got a lovely letter from the primary this week, which was amazing :) It had a lot of letters from the kids in the primary, but my favorite was Ellie's.  I don't remember it word for word but it said something like "Hey bro, how's the mission?  I love you.  If I write anything more I won't have anything to write on Sunday."  It made me laugh :) Seriously though, I really appreciated it.

Ashleigh, we thoroughly enjoyed the questions you sent us.  It was much appreciated :) Congrats on the Secret Garden :)

Ellie, I have still have zero idea what your play is about, but I'm sure it's awesome.

Hadley, my favorite part of your email was that fact that there's no punctuation except for exclamation points.  It really communicates how much candy you ate :) Miss you too.

Hayden, je sais pas non plus. I have no idea what tubular means. I would guess that it denotes something in the shape of a tube.  Congrats on the test though, and it sounds like the campout was fun :)

Mom - Ya, it's fun being in the branch presidency.  Really weird though.  It's just odd being involved in the basic stuff like sacrament scheduling and planning callings for members.  I've never had to worry about it in my other areas :) Yes, I still play the piano, but Elder Hunter and Sister Allred play as well, so we rotate around.

Dad - Haha, I've been happy about the weather as well.  We've been able to go running, which has been a nice change.  I love the scriptures you shared as well.  "Be still and know that I am God." That's been a good one for me on my mission.

It's been a good week my friends.  The work goes on, and it will continue to do so until the whole world hears about this crazy group of people called Mormons that don't drink coffee.

There's a scripture I'd like to share before I end the email this week. It's in Alma 36, verse 22.  This is Alma speaking to his son Helaman and to the church, and this is the feeling that he gets after he feels the power of the Atonement.  It says "I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there."

It's that last line that I love.  My soul did long to be there.  The reason I share this is because we've been talking a lot about sacrifice lately in church, and every lesson what it seems to come back to is the principle of "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

The modern world is a tricky place.  One that promises "treasures" of all kind, and to some extent every single one of us is wrapped up in them. I just want to leave an invitation for everyone to reflect on what that means for you.  Like Alma, does your soul "long to be there" with our Father in heaven?

I ask just because I promise you that that's where the lasting happiness is found.  Our father in heaven doesn't often require every earthly possession of ours in order to attain that goal, but he does ask us to be willing.  To do anything.  To live the law of consecration, which is a law that I think very few people understand.

So think about it.

Love you guys :)

Elder Sabin

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week 91: Speaking of Donald Trump...

Hey guys!

Elder Hunter and I had a really good week :)

One of the highlights from this last week was zone council, which was wonderful.  We all drove down to north bay, which was quite fun.  It's about a 5 hour drive, which can be exhausting, but it's good to be able to see other missionaries.  The Zobells, our senior couple from Temiskaming, gave a wonderful instruction about how competition shouldn't always be at the forefront of our minds.  Unfortunately in order to do this, they had us play a lot of games in teams against other missionaries, and I, being a person who doesn't like losing, was very competitive.  Basically I illustrated their point :)

Jokes aside though, it was really uplifting. We had our interviews with President as well, which was good.  We talked a lot about the future of the area, and I'm really excited to see what happens in the future.  Basically, I'm almost guaranteed to stay here one more transfer (starting next week).  There's not really anyone that can take my place, and so I'm pretty sure I'll stick around.  4 weeks into the transfer, we're getting a new french-assigned missionary in the mission, and he'll probably come join Elder Hunter and I.  For 2 weeks, we'll be in a three-some, but for my last transfer, I don't know yet.  I could either stay in Abitibi and train the new guy with Elder Hunter, or I might go back down south to train the new Chinese missionary.  Or maybe President has other plans.  We'll see.

Haha, we've had some good memories this week.  We've had a guy named Mohammed start coming to our English class, and he's really fun.  He's from Algeria, so his first language is Arabic, but he also speaks french and some good English.  When he found out I speak Chinese, he started asking me all these questions about it, and at the same time we've been trying to learn English. Which makes for some good classes.  Also, he keeps trying to talk politics, and I (being a servant of the Lord) am not supposed to talk about those things, so I just have to nod my head a smile and say "Hmmm, interesting thoughts.  Speaking of Donald Trump, what do you know about Jesus Christ?"  Also, he's totally down with polygamy (he's Muslim) and so he felt some kinship with out church. He was pretty disappointed when he found out I don't have multiple wives. Oh Muslims.

Also, Elder Hunter wants me to ask you guys a question.  He needs idea's for creative questions that he's going to ask to another person he's emailing. I need all of you guys to send a good question that he can use next week.

Anyway, we're a little short on time this week. We're going to do a hike today with some members, and it's going to be fun.  Wish us luck!

I love you guys!

Elder Sabin

Exchanges with Elder Deweese.  Took some pictures in Cobalt.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week 90: Coaching Hockey

It was a good week here in Val d'Or!  I'll have to keep it a little short this week

The other day, one of our members, Gwenda was coaching a team in a hockey tournament, and she had need of some other people to help her run things.  Long story short, Elder Hunter and I got asked, and we were more than happy to help, even though neither of us has ever played hockey.  It was pretty fun.  Mostly it just involved yelling phrases like "Patinez!""Lache-pas!""Ca-y-est!" and "Vas-y!" at the players while giving them encouragement when they came off..  I learned some good vocab, and it was pretty fun.  I can now add "hockey coach" to my resume.  We only did it for one game (which we lost) but the team went on to make it in the semi-finals, which was cool :)

Also, this Sunday was branch conference, which meant that some of the stake people came up to Abitibi.  It was pretty fun.  We also had a senior couple from the Temiskaming branch come up, and they had fun too I think.  Their names are elder and sister Zobell, and they're really great.  They brought some good food and it was a really good time. We had a little social dinner thing afterward, which was awesome.  We baked a cake and the sisters made scones, so for a good portion of the dinner, we were trying to get the members to say who's was better.

For FHE on Monday, we played apostasy Jenga, which is just Jenga, but on the blocks you write things like "baptism" and "priesthood" and you pull them out until the original church of Jesus Christ falls over.

Haha, funny experience from this last week.  We met with a member named Nadia, who is an amazing person.  She has kind of a rough past, and she's not incredibly educated, so I have a pretty hard time understanding her French sometimes.  Well, we met her at McDonald's and basically listened to her talk about her life for a while.  She was complaining about her son, and she has what I would call an "interesting" vocabulary.  Needless to say, we drew few glances, which is saying something for Quebec.  Then, her friends came over and sat with us, and one of them was interested in the Book of Mormon, so it was a validating experience.  One for the books :)

We did online institute with Gwenda again. That was cool.

Also, we went and did service in Rouyn for some members.  I think the sisters were a little offended, because some of the members refused to ask them for help because they were girls, but it was a good laugh in the end.  We changed some tires, moved insulation, got rid of hornet nests, moved big logs, and other manly stuff like that.  It was cool.

Haha, we met with Benoit, and I think he was a little tipsy.  He's got a drinking problem, but he's got some serious desire, and he decided he's going to stop asking what "you" believe.  Instead, he's started asking "what do we believe" because he wants to join. He keeps saying "I'm totally joining" but he doesn't like calling it a church.  He calls it "the team" because he doesn't like the word church.  It's pretty funny. Also, he's coming to church next week in Rouyn, which is an impressive distance.

Language is going well.  I usually spend language study reading in French and then evenings doing the same in Chinese. I'm trying to get through Jesus the Christ in Chinese before I end the mission, but I don't think I'm going to make it.  Oh well :)

Anyway, sorry, I'm a bit short on time.  I love you all!

Our native hockey team.  They're all from the Lac Dozois reservation.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 89: Lots of Driving

Hey family!

This week involved a heck of a lot of driving.  Let me run you through our week.

Monday - P-day
Tuesday - Leave at 12 oclock to make it to Orangeville by 9
Wednesday - Zone Conference in Brampton!  Also, we spent most of the evening doing errands.
Thursday - Drive back to Temiskaming (6 hours) Exchanges, so I stay there with Elder Deweese
Friday - Still in Temiskaming
Saturday - Exchange back in the morning, make it back for Saturday afternoon session of conference. Watch conference.
Sunday - More conference.  Make up the session we missed Saturday.

In other words, I haven't spent a lot of time in Val d'Or this week.  I left Tuesday at noon and got back Saturday morning.  It was pretty nuts.

This week should be quite a bit better :) A lot of good things happened though.  Zone conference was amazing, and I really enjoyed that.  Also, I got to see some old friends like Elder Carroll and Elder Scofield.  That was pretty fun.  We had a good time down there.

It was pretty funny, because the Abitibi branch (the one that cover's Val d'Or and Rouyn) kept coming up in the conference. The sisters in our branch instructed a bit about diligence.  They kept talking about how nervous they were to come up to the branch, and how much they had heard about it, but how they came anyway.  I mean, I understood what they were trying to say about how they were diligent despite being scared, but they kept throwing the area under the bus, so I kind of had to raise my hand and tell everyone how incredible the Abitibi branch is.  They did a good job, but I just wanted to make sure everyone knows that this is the best branch in the world.

Also, President gave me a tie!  I gave him one before I left, and he wanted to give me one back, so now I have one from both mission presidents.  I'm pretty happy about that.

Working with Elder Deweese on exchanges was fun. He played lacrosse for Riverton, and his cousin played for Lehi, so he actually came to a lot of our games.  Dad, I think you're the only one that would know, but do you remember Landon?  We called him "Spanish."  That's his cousin.  So that was a cool connection.  It was kind of fun talking about old games, and he actually remembered quite a few cool games and plays I was involved in.

While in Temiskaming we met with Ray, who is one of their investigators.  He was really nice, and it was fun teaching him.  He's pretty old and lives in a retirement home, so we visited him there. He's a former Jehovah's Witness, and he's really sincere about wanting to know if the church is true.  Also, when we arrived at the retirement home they told us they were having a "gastrointestinal epdemic," and that it was highly contagious.  Since my brain has had to make room for a lot of French and Chinese words, I've pretty much had to kick out any word over three syllables, so I didn't really know what that was, but you better believe I washed my hands.  I don't want no gastro-something-or-other.

Also, we helped an old lady move and she had boatloads of stuff. Like two Uhaul truckloads.  And her apartment was only about the size of one Uhaul truck. Don't ask how it worked.

Also, General Conference was incredible! Elder Clayton wore a tie that 10 of the elder's in our mission bought for him.  So I have that same tie.  It was a cool moment.

I loved all of the talks, and I can't really come close to choosing a favorite, but I can promise all of you that the more you listen to the words of living prophets, the more you'll be blessed.

Mom - As far as a birthday package goes, I'm not sure what I want.  Just not tons of junk food.  I'm trying to cut down on that stuff now that summer's here.  My running shoes are getting a bit beat up?  I don't know.  That's kind of pricey.  I don't know. I don't really have anything I'm desperate for.

Ashleigh - Wow, your emails definitely win for being the most interesting.  Not sure if that's an award you want, but congrats nonetheless.  So what plays are you seeing?  Oh wait, never mind, it's okay.  I actually heard them because you SCREAMED THEM AT ME IN CAPITOL LETTERS.  Seriously, whenever someone does that, I just get this image of a screamfest from DragonBall Z followed by explosions.  That would make a good episode actually. (Hero screams "I'M GOING TO SEE HAMILTON!"  followed by nuclear mushroom cloud). Also, nothing screams "consecrated missionary" like a theme song inspired by Katy Perry.  I think I'll use it when  tracting.  Nothing opens up the hearts of those drunk natives like some jammin tunes from America's top 40.  Maybe we'll just have porch dance parties with them.  Regarding Elder Sabin, if they switched him at birth, it wouldn't make much sense to have him keep the name Sabin.  It's kind of a dead giveaway. Thanks for the inspirational quote.  How did you know she was my role model? Here's a good quote in return: "Wasn't me" - OJ Simpson

Hadley - When are you going to send me pictures of the puppies?  I need to see my glorious son in all his radiance!  Askim is da bomb!  Tell Ashleigh to write a song for him.  She's thinks she's good at that.

Haydog the Beast - You know, "Beast" in French literally translated means "stupid" or "silly."  So I'm having a hard time getting past that.  Regardless, I'm glad you had a good week.  Keep killing it in lacrosse :)

Ellie - What do you mean by your second question of "did you get any new investegators yet"? Do you mean since I started my mission? Because that answer is a resounding yes.  Lots of new investigators.  Also, that sounds like a pretty cool present.  Hope that goes well for you :)

Dad - I'll try and watch the face to face sometime.  I saw the musical number at the beginning but that was it.  Wow, that's pretty cool to hear about the Jazz game.  And yes, the weather has actually been wonderful lately. I'm getting by on just a light jacket, which has been nice.  I'm pretty content that my mission has encompassed what are pretty much the two warmest winters in history.  It means summer is hot, but it's better than tracting in -40.  As far as BYU goes, I don't know.  Should I look around on the website at classes?  I know I want to keep taking French and Chinese.  I really want those to be a part of my life, but I don't know what level I would be at.  Where should I look?  I haven't put too much thought into it lately, to be honest.

Anyway, love you guys!

Elder Sabin