Elder Sabin

Elder Sabin

Monday, January 23, 2017

Week 79: All is Well

Well, this week has been awesome :D Also extremely warm.  Frankly this winter has been pretty pathetic.  I haven't really been giving weather updates these last couple of weeks, but it only been below zero for a few weeks in December.  For all of January it's been close to 4 or 5 degrees, which is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Not that I'm complaining.  I just think it's funny because everyone keeps emailing me asking something along the lines of "Are you freezing yet?" or "How many toes do you have left?" whereas on the west half of the continent I hear they are getting dumped on with snow and cold.  It's been nice though.  Missionary work is a lot easier when it's warmer. There are more people out on the streets and people are just more talkative.

Anyway, aside from the weather, we had a really productive week this week.

We stopped by Javane this week and taught him the Word of Wisdom.  No problems.  He came to church as well, and he's made a lot of good friends.  He's such a cool guy.  Also, it turns out he's been writing a comic book for a while and he's going to give us a look next time.  We're going to see him again tonight at family home evening, which will be really cool.

We got to visit a few times with DJ's friends this week. Their names are Junior, Jide, and Ola and they're all super funny.  They're all from Nigeria, and I don't know if you've ever seen a bunch of Africans get together, but they are funny!  Honestly, it's been pretty cool teaching them.  DJ is such a good friend in the gospel for them, and he brings them to like every activity.  Haha, we offer to find them rides to things, but they just use Uber to get around.  They're an interesting crew.

Also, Gurjivan, Guarjeet and Aman are all doing well. They weren't able to make it out to church this week, which was kind of sad, but they'll come next week.  We had an interesting experience teaching Gurjivan this week. She goes to a school that kind of has a reputation among missionaries for being pretty confrontational with us and trying to keep us off their campus.  We weren't proselyting there at all, but we were going to meet with her in the commons.  On the way in we got stopped by security twice (on a 5 minute walk) and we had to explain that we were just visiting a friend.  Well, we finally sat down with Gurjivan, and we talked for a second. We started the lesson with a prayer, after which security approached us again and got on us for praying in their school.  They said if people want to pray they have to go to the special prayer room that the university has set aside for praying. Is this a thing anywhere else? I have honestly never heard of a prayer room.

Anyway, we tried to be nice, but I was a little frustrated. Apparently because we aren't students we're not allowed to meet on campus.  So we walked over to Pizza Hut instead. It was actually a really good lesson, but that university is definitely not my favorite.

We also got to meet up with Jashan (The girl one.  There are two Jashan's we've been meeting with). She's been going through a hard time.  I guess one of her friends is contemplating going back to India, and she's really nervous for him.  We taught her fasting, and if we hadn't stopped her I think she was about ready for fast for a week straight.  We then had to teach her about taking care of our bodies and not running faster than we have strength.  It was a funny lesson, but I think things went well for her.

Also, we're meeting up with an amazing guy named Wayne tonight.  He grew up Chistian in southern India, and was persecuted pretty heavily. His neighborhood back home is a Christian area and it wasn't provided with any modern equipment by the government just because of religious differences.  Sounded like it was pretty rough. Well, eventually he moved to Montreal, and he met some Mormons over there.  He lived in Pickering (suburb of Toronto) and had a really good friend who was Mormon who gave him a Book of Mormon.  Well, he read the book up to Ether, and he feels like it has given him many answers to his prayers.  He came to church as well, and we gave him the Restoration video about Joseph Smith.  He watched it twice :) Loved it.  I'm pretty excited for the guy.  We'll see him tonight as well.

Our ward mission leader is probably getting released here pretty soon.  I'm going to miss Rob.  He's such a good guy.  He's going to Utah for school soon though so it makes sense to release him. We were pretty bummed about that, but I'm sure whoever they pick to be the new one will be awesome.

Also, we got to have some fun exchanges this week. I got to go back to North York for a day, and I also got to bring Elder Fillmore from Sudbury and Elder Madrigal from Downtown into our area. They're super fun guys.  In North York I was with Elder Shu from Hong Kong, and we didn't speak a lick of english all day.

The other night we were at York University, and we ran into some amazing people. The coolest miracle probably was right before we were going to leave.  We got into the car and I even turned it on, but then I saw a guy about to walk past us.  It was probably too late to open up the door, so I rolled down the window and said "Hey, how are you?"

We had a really good conversation.  It was probably weird for him at first because it was dark, and there are these two guys in dark clothing in their car offering a website card.  The only thing that would have made it better would have been if I had asked "want some candy?"  It went super well though.  We had a good 15 minute talk, got his number, and we're going to see him later this week.  It was pretty cool.

Hadley - You should tell mom that Beanie boo's like to celebrate by buying hot tubs.  It's an interesting tradition, but trust me on this. It comes from a very reliable source.  No, I don't think I remember having a snow day.  Maybe?  I don't recall.

Ellie - Awesome sauce?  Wa sa dude?  Interesting vocabulary Ellie :) Sounds like you had a pretty good week.  You got into Slytherin?  Ellie, how dare you!  We can't be friends anymore. :) Just kidding. What house would I be in?

Mom - Tell Spencer I say hello, okay?  He's so awesome.  Seriously, just such a great guy.  As far as the Martin Harris story goes, you're totally right. Amazing that God had that kind of insight.  Oftentimes when missionaries keep asking me if I'll tell them anything about the transfers, I just say "Okay Martin Harris, I'll ask the lord again if you can have the plates."  That usually shuts them up :) Anyway, good to hear from you :) 

Hayden - You made an igloo?  Wow, that sounds like you got a ton of snow.  Do you have a picture?  That sounds super cool.  How is our ward team looking for churchball?

Ashleigh - Singing a solo, eh?  That's super cool.  I guess I haven't really asked at all, how's the new school?  Are we good at any sports yet?  Do we have a lacrosse team?  How has skiing been this winter?

Dad - You went to see Celine Dion? That's pretty cool.  She's from Quebec, right?  I mean, it's not my mission, but it's still cool :) We'll have to watch that movie when I get home.  I talk a lot about how diverse my mission is, and it's true, but I do get a slightly slanted viewpoint because only the lucky ones make it here to Toronto.  A lot of them are still pretty poor, but not impoverished like back in their home countries.  I would love to travel and go see all these places that I meet people from.

Anyway, love you all!  Hope you have a wonderful week.

Elder Sabin

Monday, January 16, 2017

Week 78: A Quick Update

Alright, so my email is going to be a bit shorter this week than usual.  We had a lesson this morning with Jashan (one of our investigators) and later today we're going to play some sports.  We have to make sure all the other missionaries know who their leaders are ;)

Anyway, this week was great.  We did some exchanges with the elders in Oshawa and in Kingston, which was cool.  There have some great elders out there.

So this week there was a baptism in the ward!  The sisters in the ward have been teaching him for a while, and he's a really amazing guy.  His name is Bryan, and his baptism was incredible.  Such a strong spirit there.

Also, because of that, we were able to invite a bunch of people out to see the ordinance.  One of them was a former investigator that we haven't been in contact with for a long time.  His name is Elvin.  We texted him on Saturday night on a whim to see if he wanted to come, and he immediately texted back.  Haha, he asked if he had to wear a suit because it's a baptism.  It was a good day.

So church was awesome.  Another guy that made it out was Jide.  He's from Nigeria, and he's Muslim, but he's pretty open about religion.  Also, he has a bunch of Nigerian friends who are members, and they're super bold about sharing the gospel.  One of them said the closing prayer during one of our lessons, and during the prayer he said "Please bless my brother Jide, that he will soften his hard heart and hear the voice of Jesus."  He didn't seem offended though, so it was cool :)

Also, this week we found a lot of new people.  Quite a few former investigators were picked back up.  Life goes well in Brampladesh.

Anway, I don't have a ton more time.  I'm so sorry!  I'll make sure next week is a good email. Love y'all!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Week 77: The Black Plague Returns

Well, judging from that scary subject title, I'm sure you figured out what happened this week.  However, it had much less to do with me, and much more to do with my companion.

Elder Carroll got pretty sick this week. He's feeling much better now, but we spent a lot of time around the house this week.  It's really weird as a missionary because we have to stay together, and so I was around the house as well, but unlike my companion I didn't want to just lay in my bed for hours on end.

I got pretty creative with ways to entertain myself.  I had a lot of time to do language study, but after a while, studying the same stuff in Chinese and French gets old.  Luckily for me, we have some Arabic learning supplies in the house, so I decided I would crack it open.  Turns out, Arabic is actually a really cool language!

Also, I subdued our "Narnia Closet".  This is a term for the places in missionary apartments where things just begin to accumulate.  It starts out with some basic supplies like Bibles and pamphlets, but over the years it just starts to collect a lot of fun stuff.  With my spare time this week, I was able pretty well annihilate one of the ones in our house.  Among other things I found some CD's produced by the Seventh Day Adventist church, enough band-aid's to make a mummy, medical supplies from the 20th century, approximately 5,000 copies of the church produced movie"Joy to the World", materials in like 40 languages, a few copies of The Quran, a poster about eternal marriage that was quickly taped on the door of the other elders study, lots and lots of family history posters, and some important looking medical documents that a missionary probably lost years ago.

Anyway, that's probably more than enough coverage on my time in the house this week.  We did actually get to see some really cool miracles.  On Saturday night, I went with one of the other elders to go teach Javane.  We usually meet him at a restaurant that's a few minutes away from his house by walking.  He doesn't drive though, and so he texted us about a half an hour beforehand and said "Hey, can you give me a ride? It's really cold outside."  His concern was understandable.  It's been super freezing lately.

Well, I just texted back saying "Well, we can't give rides, but we could meet at your house.  Does that work?"  He said yes, and I assumed that we would be meeting inside his home.

Well, we got to his house, and I sent him a text saying that we had arrived.  He texted back saying "Okay, one sec." and so we waited on his doorstep for a minute or two.  Then, he came out in a big coat and said "Okay, I'm ready to meet."  Then he walked over to his driveway, and I just thought "No!"  We were going to meet outside.

Well I, being stupid, didn't wear my big coat.  I thought we would only be outside for a few seconds.  So the entire lesson I was FREEZING cold and on the outside I'm trying to be a very professional missionary type person.  Here we are, externally asking very calm, well-thought-out questions like "So how has the Book of Mormon been a strength to you?" and on the inside I'm just screaming "WHY CANADA!?"

Now, there's a happy ending.  The lesson actually went super well.  The member that we brought was awesome about helping him get to church, and there was some really good stuff said.  He's still feeling good about baptism, and so we're super excited to keep working with him.  However, that didn't stop me from running like a maniac to the heated car the millisecond he walked in his front door.

Also, we had some awesome people come to church this last Sunday.  One of them is named Ola.  Yes, it sounds like "Hello" in Spanish.  He's from Nigeria, and he's super cool. Also, Raj and Daniel came as well.  It was really awesome to see them all out.

This week we also had MLC, which was really fun.  It's always a blast to see all the other zone leaders.  I've served around many of them before, and so it's a bit like seeing a bunch of old friends every month.  They all come over the night before and then, we all lay in our bed's talking until 1 in the morning.  Then, the next day we have an 8 hour spiritual meeting that just slays us.  It's a good time.

Family, in response to your email, yes we did name the squirrel.  His name is Truffles.

Mom - I'm so sorry your cold.  I'm sure you are experiencing what the pioneers went through.  Moving around from place to place in the freezing cold...with heated cars....and stereos...and handwarmers...etc.  Kidding :) I don't mind your complaining.  Usually whenever an elder complains though I just say "This must be what the pioneers felt like".  They usually shut up pretty quick.
It sounds like you all had a wonderful fast and testimony meeting.  Those are really fun as a missionary.  Yesterday at church we had a Jamaican guy come into church for the first time and he decided to share his testimony. Literally, he's never been to this church before, and so I was pretty excited to hear what he was going to say.  Well, it was going pretty good as he shared a story about him and his friends driving through Jamaica at unsafe speeds.  Then, when he hit the climax of the story he screamed out "JESUS!" from the pulpit through the microphone and started yelling like I'm sure they do in his church.  It was wonderful.  Anyway, love you!

Hadley: The newest member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - I'm so happy you got baptized!  Haha, I laughed really hard when you signed your letter like that.  Congratulations Hadley.  That's a really important day in your life.  Just remember how big of a privilege it is that you're now a member of the church of Jesus Christ :)  Also, I heard that you bore your testimony!  Way to go!

Hayden - Hayden, you're asking a question that I've been asked many times on my mission.  It's one of the hardest questions there is.  "What do I have to do to get a testimony?" Well, the first thing you should remember is that God loves you.  He doesn't want to hide the truth from you.  That would be dumb.  However, the blessings he gives to us depend on us following the commandments, so you're not wrong when you say that we should follow the commandments to get a testimony.  There's a little more than just doing the stuff though.  In Moroni 10:4 it says we have to have "a sincere heart and real intent" when we do it.  So when you pray next time, think about why you are praying.  Are you doing it because Mom told you to? Or are you doing it because you really want to know if God is there listening to you?  With reading the scriptures it's the same thing.  Are you doing it because you have to to pass seminary? Or are you doing it because you want to know if it's true?  God is going to answer the question that you are asking.
Also, you have to be willing to act on the answer you receive. I have met a lot of investigators who want to know if this is the church of God.  However, they won't change anything even if they get answer saying "YES!".  They're not willing to change, and so they don't get an answer.
Let me give you an example.  Let's say you are praying to ask if you should serve a mission.  Before you pray, you have to be willing to act on the answer you receive, which means that if you get a "Yes," you will go.  Your thoughts have to be something like "Heavenly Father, I don't care what the answer is.  I just want to know your will, and then I will do it.".  However, some people will pray without that way of thinking.  They will pray to ask, but they don't really want to know and they won't go even if they get an answer, and so they never will.  Does that make sense?
That being said, it may not come as something enormous and life changing.  But look back at your life a little bit.  How many times did you feel better after we knelt down and said a prayer as a family? How many times did you share your testimony and then feel good afterwards?  How many times did you feel good when you were passing the sacrament?  All these little experiences (and maybe a few big ones) start to add up a little bit.  They lump together, and then one day you realize you do believe it!  Maybe you don't know everything, but you believe that the gospel and the church and the scriptures and the atonement of Jesus Christ are all real and true.
Well, sorry for the essay :) But you got me going.  To sum it up 1) You have to keep the commandments and do good stuff to get a testimony. 2) You also have to have "a sincere heart and real intent. 3) Remember that it doesn't come all at once.
To answer your other questions, yes I did take a half of a year of guitar. It was fun, but I didn't keep with it and forgot it all.  Probably take something that you want to keep learning.
As far as Chinese goes, I'm so pumped you're learning it. Keep it up! :)

Ellie - Science projects?  You should take pictures of 20 hands and put them together and see if people can spot their own.  Test the principle of knowing something like "The back of your hand." I bet not everyone will be able to do it if you make it hard enough.  Or you can test brand names.  Buy a whole ton of off brand Oreos or something, and give people a blindfolded taste test.  Give them 4 off brand versions and 1 of the real things and see if they can guess which one is the real Oreo.  Or do it with something else like candy bars.  Or you can make a list of 30 or so random words.  Have some words repeat, some said louder than others, do an action when you say one of them, have a visual aid for one of them, etc.  Then after you've read it to some people out loud, ask them to write all the ones they remember.  I'll bet they'll remember the ones at the beginning, the end, any that were repeated or emphasized, etc. See what kind of things influence what a person remembers and what they forget.  Maybe apply it to the classroom and show how certain things can help students remember concepts.
Or you can make two lists of colors.  On the second list, the writing and the font color match.  One the first one, they don't.  Have people say the colors of each line as fast as they can and time them.  I'll bet the second list goes faster because the two ideas going to the brain match, whereas on the first one they conflict.  Throw in a few other lists where the writing is just random words and not colors at all, or where you have to read the writing instead of saying the color.  I think the idea would be that conflicting signals to the brain slows you down.

This email's formatting is being stupid, so the rest of my email will be written on the centered format.

Ashleigh - Don't make fun of my turban jokes.  The squirrel is fine.  There was some tension, but we had a good talk, and some problems were reconciled.  We're bros now.  Don't worry.  Also, you went to Zumba?  Weirdo.  Yoga is where it's at.

Are you still obsessing over Hamilton? And yes, Canananananada is doing well :)

Dad - Haha, I laughed when you said "I had a baptism this last week." *Slow clap* Well played dad.  Well played.  This one was 8 years in the making.  Haha, It's funny that you shared about Ephraim Hanks.  Ephraim's Rescue actually got approved by our mission president last week because some elder got it as a Christmas gift and asked about it, so I literally saw that movie for the first time last week.  Coincidence? Probably. Cool? Yes.

Wow, the formatting just did something magical and fixed itself.  Sorry that this is so inconvenient.  Anyway, where was I?  Oh ya, Ephraim Hanks :) Ya, I was really inspired by his story.  He had a lot of amazing experiences.  I'm sure you'll be just like him on Trek :)

Anyway, God bless you all!  I love you!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Week 76: Squirrel on the Loose

Hello everyone!  It's once again been a wonderful week.  Life has been going really well here in Brampton.  Elder Carroll and I were considering buying turbans so we could fit in here better, but our president expressed some concerns. I was like, "But President, those turbans would be SIKH!" after which he slapped me for making such a horrible joke and threatened to send me so far north the only people I would be preaching to would be the moose.

Totally kidding. None of that happened.  However, speaking of crazy things that went down this week, I have a story to share.  Elder Carroll and I entered the house on a normal winters day this last week, expecting to grab some paperwork and promptly go to the office.  However, during this occasion Elder Carroll had to use the bathroom, and so he went upstairs to do so.  Approximately 5 seconds later, I heard "Elder Sabin....come here and guess what happened."

And so I went upstairs.  I saw Elder Carroll standing in the doorway to our bathroom, as if he wasn't quite sure what to do.  I stood behind him, and looked inside.  On our bathroom floor scattered all over where a bunch of chocolate truffles.  We literally had no idea why they were there.  However, as soon as we stepped inside it became very apparent.  We detected motion in the back corner by the toilet, and I saw a large furry tail.

They put a squirrel in our bathroom!  Never mind how they caught it.  It was in our bathroom, and Elder Carroll and I wanted revenge.  And so, with unyielding faith and consecrated effort and an assortment of boxes, Elder Carroll and I re-caught the squirrel in a small garbage can.  After this, we placed him in their study along with some bread in case he got hungry.

We then left.  That evening, we waited in the driveway until the other elders got home so that they wouldn't suspect we knew anything about the squirrel.  After a few minutes of conversation, they said they had to run upstairs to grab something.  Elder Carroll and I both knew they wanted to check on the squirrel.  Well, they walked in and didn't find it (obviously) and so they started acting really weird.  Elder Carroll and I just played dumb and asked what was wrong, at which point they started panicking a bit.  There was a squirrel in the house, and they had no idea where it was.

Well, they discovered that their study was trashed, but there was no sign of the squirrel anywhere. I was having a hard time keeping a straight face, but I don't think they suspected anything. Anyway, after some time, the squirrel was discovered in the house, and was promptly released.  Oh my gosh, it was so funny.

It's not nearly as funny over email, but trust me.  I was laughing so hard.

Anyway, I'll talk about some spiritual stuff now. We had a really good week.  We were finally able to sit down with Raj and talk about a lot of the stuff that has been on his mind.  He basically put a lot of his life story on us, and we talked for probably an hour just about what he's going through and the reasons he doesn't want to get baptized yet.  It was pretty awesome.

We also had a lot of good talks with Javane.  Turns out he's pretty good at basketball, so him and I had some fun for a few minutes at the chapel. :)  He's doing awesome as well.

Our friend DJ has been bringing his friends to activities left and right.  He's brought three of his friends that are all now investigating, so that's been pretty awesome.  They're all Nigerians, which I love.

Celeste has been doing okay.  She's still got a lot of opposition in her life.  Keep praying for her.

Gurjivan has been doing great.  She's a little bit busy, but she's super sincere, and so she tries really hard to make time to meet with us.

Another guy named Alexis.  Doing good.

One guy named Meleek.  Wants to read and pray about the Book of Mormon a ton. Super sincere.

There's some others.  I don't want to bore you guys though :) Life is good.

Also, we had some exchanges this last week, so I got to spend some time in London and in Brantford, both of which are towns that I have never worked in before.  It was super fun.  Also, I was with some awesome Elders; Elder Taylor in London and Elder Certonio in Brantford.  Super fun.

Anyway, sorry I didn't have tons of time to write today.  I spent some time emailing other people.  I'll put more thought into it next week.  Love you!