Elder Sabin

Elder Sabin

Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 84: Elder Clayton Came to Visit Us!

Alright, so I gotta keep it shorter this week.  We're all in Sudbury this weekend for Stake Conference, and we don't gather very often up here since it's so far apart.  We're playing some sports today, and Elder Hunter and I are going to unite our United Kingdom of America French powers to dominate the zone.  It's been a good week.  We did exchanges this week, which are really long in the north so I actually haven't been in our area since Wednesday.  I was in the Temiskaming area which covers New Liskeard and the surrounding towns with Elder Myers.  It was awesome!  We found like 5 new in their area, which was really awesome.  Honestly, I had a blast with him.

Also, this weekend was Stake Conference, and we had President Clayton return as the member of the 70!  It was incredible.  We had a zone council following that, and we got to talk with him a lot.  He hasn't changed :) It was amazing. There were a lot of picture's taken (don't worry) and I'll send them next week when the Elder that has them gets them to me.

Aside from that, life has been good. The French is still coming (slowly) but surely.  Elder Clayton was surprised to hear I'm in French work.  He speaks some as well, and it was cool to talk with him.  He served in Montreal and he's kept it pretty well.

When I was in Temiskaming, we spent some time working at a goat farm with brother Feinstra, which was awesome.  He was super cool.  Honestly, I got a lesson in parenting.  He's not a member, but his family is literally the best family I've ever seen.  They were all super polite and it was amazing to see how close they were.  They invited us to dinner afterwards, and we were going to share a message, but then he pulled out the Bible and I've never seen kids paying more attention to the Bible.  It was cool.

Also, they made good food.

Elder Hunter and I are doing great :)  We've had a fun week here.

So Elder Clayton was probably the highlight honestly.  I'm not really sure what else to share.  He gave us a sneak peak to his conference talk (He's speaking in April) which was cool.  I can't tell you all though.  You know, secret missionary stuff.  Kind of like the Gadianton robbers.

Anyway, that was the week :) love you all!

Elder Sabin

Zone Conference:

 Us at the lookout tower with Gwenda, one of the new converts.  We're getting her on a mission :) #fingerscrossed:

Family home evening with Ben (investigator), Josephine (new convert) and Sister Racine (return missionary):

Val d'Or from the balcony:

Su got baptized!  He was a member who had his records removed a while back, but we got him to turn around when I was with Elder Carroll.  He just got re-baptized!!! Oh, it was amazing.  Seriously, super cool.  He's the guy on the right.  This guy is one of the biggest miracles of my mission.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 83: Salut!

Well, things have been good up here in the cold icy north :) It was actually super warm this week.  On Saturday it got up to 6 degrees (I think that's like 45 Fahrenheit?) which was crazy, and I don't think it got too far below -2 or -3 the whole week.  It's been really convenient, because it means more people are out on the street and fewer people are huddled inside around their "Po√™les".  I don't know what it's called in English, but it's basically a stove that heat's the house.  I think it just translates to stove.  Not sure.

Anyway, life has been good here this last week.  Man, the gift of tongues is real!  It was super stressful these past 2 weeks because I couldn't keep up AT ALL with what people were saying, but this week was tons better.  Now, don't let me give you the impression that I'm fluent or anything like that, because I'm not, but I kept up in church this week in all the lessons and I was pretty proud of myself for that.  I can usually understand what people are saying to me, unless their Quebecois is really strong.  Man, I'm so grateful for that high school French. I can't tell you how many times I've been trying to think of a word and I'll have some flashback to Mr. Baugh's or Mrs. Magelby's class where we learned it.  Elder Hunter asks me French questions sometimes, and the same thing will happen. I'll recall some concept my teacher said 5 years ago when I wasn't even paying attention.  It's been cool.

On the other hand, this whole third language thing is messing with my mind.  I still study Chinese a lot, and I've never had a time in my life when I've used 3 different languages frequently.  The strangest part is that I'll have memories of conversations and stuff even before the mission, but the conversation will be in Chinese, and I know for a fact that person doesn't speak Chinese.

Anyway, enough about that.  The week was really good.  We found some awesome people, and we've been working with a few towards baptism.

We have a new convert named Josephine, and she lives in a house with a lot of her cousins.  We've been teaching them lately, which is interesting because they have a lot of rowdy kids, but it's been really cool.  One of them - Benjamin - has a date for baptism, which is exciting.  They'll be coming to Family Home Evening tonight, which will be fun.

We did service for Lise again this week and we also sat down and talked a lot about who God is.  If I had to describe her in 2 words it would be "young soul".  She's super funny, and speaks English and French fluently, so she helps us a lot with words and phrases.  She's been coming to church every week we hold it in Rouyn, and she really want's to get baptized, but she doesn't feel like she's gotten an answer yet.  We're really praying hard for her.

Also, be praying for Valida.  She wants to get baptized really bad, but she's waiting for the weather to warm up because she wants to get baptized in the lake.  The alternative is that we rent out the town pool and do it there, but that's not quite as cool.   There's no font at the chapel here since it's so small, and so baptisms are interesting. Anyway, the reason I wanted you to pray for her is because she's had some bad shoulder pain that's really hurting her, and she's seeing the doctor today to get it checked out.  She's pretty old, and so we're a little worried about it.

We've also been meeting with Skye.  He was taught by the missionaries a while back, but we stopped by the other day and helped him out with some shoveling.  It was good to get to know him.  He's native, and he's an artist, so it's always really cool to see the stuff he makes.

Vanessa has been doing good as well.  We've been trying to help her find a way to stake conference this week, since it's going to be in Sudbury (4 to 5.5 hours away depending on where you're coming from in our area.) It's going to be interesting getting people to church this week :) also, it's kind of a bummer when we tell them it's going to be in English.

Gwenda (one of our new converts) has been doing great as well.  We've been helping her figure out institute online lately, and she's also been trying to get her family to church.  I've never met them, but Elder Hunter has, and he says that they're awesome.

Also, we met with Yvette this week, and we're helping her to overcome drug abuse.  She's struggled  her whole life with it, but she just feels like she's failing as a parent when she uses it because she's not being a good example to her kids.  It's been cool to meet with her though.  We're stopping by later today to help her out with some questions.

Small soapbox here. Don't do drugs.  This town has taught me a lot these last 3 weeks, but at least one of the things it taught me was not to do drugs.  This town is kind of like a big object lesson in that way.  And the consequences aren't pretty.  Don't do drugs.

There's also a few other new converts and less actives, but these are the main people we've been working with.

Mom - Haha, yah, the branch is tiny.  We split when we have enough people, but sometimes we just stay together. It depends.  There's a joke among the French elders that some area's have more dinner appointments than we have of sacrament attendance :) As far as a typical day goes, we usually spend the morning studying until around noon, and then we go out.  Usually we have a few appointments, and we teach English class on Tuesday's and Thursdays.  church is on Sunday, and we do it for 2 weeks in Val d'Or and 2 weeks in Rouyn.  It get's complicated, because the missionaries are responsible for bringing all the church stuff back and forth :) Thanks for the quote as well.

Hadley - Haha, sounds like a blast.  We'll definitely have to watch it when I get home.  What kind of things have you been doing for date night with Mom and Dad?

Ellie - I'm not sure what I'll name the puppy.  Probably Askim.  So when people ask "What's his name" you can say "ask him" and then they'll ask him and you can laugh.

Ashleigh - Haha, my life's going great.  Congrats on making the play!  What does your character do?  How do you get into character?  Are you one of those people that never goes out of character?  That would be pretty funny.

Hayden - That sounds pretty cool :) Pig city? Sounds like an interesting place. At least they're honest with the name.  8 points is pretty impressive. Is it hard to balance basketball and skiing?

Dad - Haha, as far as differences between this and Chinese work, I don't even know where to start.  In the past, I've been teaching foreigners, as in they've come from far away and they're in a new environment.  It opens them up a lot.  Also, Chinese people don't really have a belief in God, and virtually all of the ones in Ontario are YSA age college students.  Here in Quebec it's different, because I'm the foreigner now, and I'm in their home.  It's like an away game in football.  Also, they all have a super strong faith in Jesus, but they don't do anything about it.  And there's a lot of older people up here. They have young people, but a lot of them go south to Montreal and Quebec City.  The language is obviously very different as well.  As far as other religions, it's mostly Catholic with a hint of protestant and a few Muslims here and there (mostly from Africa).

Anyway, that's pretty much been the week.  Love you all!

Elder Sabin

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week 82: Lots of Driving

Hey family!  It's been another great week here in Quebec.  One thing that I'm realizing more and more is how far apart everything is here.  We actually have two apartments in our area, because the two main cities that we cover are an hour and a half apart.  Usually this branch has two sets of missionaries, but currently just my companion and I are covering it, which means there is a fair bit of driving to do.  We have to use both apartments, which sounds like a privilege, but is actually quite a hassle sometimes.  We have to cart all of our food, clothes, toiletries, and junk back and forth every 3 days or so, which is really interesting.  Also, Elder Hunter and I share the calling of branch pianist, so we have to carry the huge keyboard with us as well :)

The French is coming.  Slowly but surely, it's coming, and if someone speaks to me slowly, I can usually pick out what it is they are trying to say :) We taught the lesson in gospel principles the other day, and one of our investigators really likes deep doctrine, so we found ourselves in deep water pretty soon, but I think it was actually handled pretty well.  Man, I've been so tired though.  Speaking languages is hard.  I think I'm at least past the stage where Chinese words get intermingled with my French, but it's still exhausting.

This last week we met with quite a few of the members, and also 2 or 3 investigators.  Quite a few of them were in need of help with shoveling snow and carting firewood, and we were able to go and help them.  It was a good week.

We got to meet the branch president as well, which was awesome.  His name is President Ochs.  I'll try and get a picture with him another time, but he's really cool.  He gave a wonderful talk in sacrament the other day on service, which I really thought was awesome (the parts I understood anyways).

Also, this week we had zone conference, which was really great.  It was fun to see some good friends from down south.  Elder Carroll and Elder Taylor (the current AP's) called me up to help with their instruction, which I thought was interesting.  Also, there were 2 or 3 times when President or Elder Carroll were trying to refer to Elder Taylor but accidentally said Sabin.  It was pretty funny.  At one point, President made a comment and turned to the AP's. "Elder Sabin or Carroll, do you have anything to add to that?"  Elder Carroll then turned to me in the audience.  "Elder Sabin, do you have anything to say?"  It made me laugh.

Hadley - Wow, that's so cool Hadley :) who's Emeree? How often do you guys usually go swimming?  What kind of things did you do on your date with Mom and Dad?

Ellie - What kind of games do you play at swim?  Like racing?  Ya, I did see the video.  It was really awesome!

Hayden - Haha, how is our church ball team looking for this year?  Are we going to be pretty good?  Glad to hear that you had a good week. How's the Mandarin coming?

Mom - Okay, ya.  Let me explain the snow story.  We were out at the Indian reserve teaching some laminates, and we went on a road that quickly became not a road.  We got stuck once but with a lot of work and pushing we managed to get out.  Then, we got stuck again, which is the one you saw.  We had to get some help from the natives, which was really exciting.  They were super nice, and they had a huge tractor to help us out, so it worked out.  Yes, I got both packages.  Which grandma was it from?

Ashleigh - Wow!  That performance was super awesome!  You're the best Ashleigh.  Seriously, it was super good.  Sounds like the ACT went well.  I'll bet you got a 34 or something higher than me :) I thought we agreed you wouldn't date till I got back?  Kidding :) Love you!

Dad - yes, the car is fine.  It's a pretty common occurrence up here among the northern missionaries. Ya, we got towed out.  As far as the companion goes, it's been great.  He's young in the mission and he works hard. The branch is tiny, but awesome.  I'm probably going to be called as Second Counselor.  President Ochs talked to me about it the other day, so that's kind of scary.  It's honestly so much fun here though.  There are some really nice people in the branch, and it's going to be great to get to know them.

Anyway, that was pretty much the week.  Peace out!

Elder Sabin

Monday, February 6, 2017

Week 81: Quebec

Man, life is crazy up here.  I just want to say thank you guys so much for your support and encouragement.  It meant a lot to me :) life up here in the north has been really good.

Dad - Yes, church was all in French.  I am now the default branch pianist, and I'm probably going to be called as the second counselor.  The branch president wasn't able to attend on Sunday (he works at the mines and sometimes can't make it out), so no calling yet, but it might be coming.  Other than the missionaries, there's only 3 active Melchizedek priesthood holders, one of whom is our elder's quorum president.  As far as English speakers, there are quite a few up here especially among the natives, but if you don't speak French, they don't really want to listen.  I would say 70 percent of the population speaks only French, 20 percent speak both, and 10 percent speak only English.  As far as companions go, the Tahitian actually had to stay down south and so Elder Hunter - the guy from England - and I have been figuring out this French thing.  It's been a bit hard, because neither of us are native French speakers, and he's only been speaking for 7 weeks now, so I have to take the lead oftentimes with the language.  It's been tricky to understand people and talk about the gospel, but I can honestly say I feel the Lord blessing me so much.  My French has gotten a lot better this last week. I have such a testimony of the gift of tongues :) As far as the area, there's not much going on, but we do have a couple of eternal investigators.  It won't be like that for long though.  Haha, we're going to have so much fun.

The area I'm in covers two main cities called Rouyn (or Rouyn-Noranda) and Val d'Or.  They're both mining towns about an hour and a half apart from each other with about 35 to 40 thousand people each.  The branch is tiny, which is going to be a big change from working down south in all the huge wards.  If you want to see my area, you can go onto LDS maps and look up the Abitibi Branch.  We have church for 2 Sundays in each area.  In Val d'Or we have a "chapel" which is really just 3 rooms of an office building, and in Rouyn we meet in the library.

Hadley - Things are going great up here Hadley :) Thanks for asking.  Tell the groundhog to stop seeing his shadow so summer can come up here :) Haha, who are you planning on giving Valentines to?

Ellie - So we actually have an apartment in both the cities, so we move back and forth.  We spend a few days in each one, which is cool.  haha, for sure let me know when your thoughts on the boys change.  Just don't like anyone until I get home, okay?  Rhymes about Babe Ruth?  You mean like a poem?

Mom - Ya, I think I'll probably finish out up here :) As far as the culture, honestly it seems a lot like France, but colder.  In Montreal and the big cities in Quebec, I think they get more Canadian and American culture, but it's pretty untouched up here.  It's just so far from everything else that the culture doesn't get watered down all that much :) The language has been fun.  I actually had a pretty cool experience the other day.  So, here's  bit of background.  This area has had a lot of struggles with the missionaries in the past, and for the last year there's just been a lot of trouble up here so President Shields is hoping to give it a fresh start.  Therefore, on Sunday there was a mission wide fast for this branch that the work in the Abitibi Branch might go forward and that the French elders would be blessed.  Man, that was cool. It was pretty amazing, honestly.

Hayden - Haha, no, the cold hasn't been too bad.  Man, I had completely forgotten about the Superbowl :) That's kind of strange.  I guess they don't care about it in Quebec.  Pretty much all the news I get is from people on the street, but here the only thing I get updates on is Donald Trump.  You gave a talk?  That's pretty cool :) Good for you man.

Ashleigh - Haha, i had poutine like my first week in the mission.  And it is good :) They sell it at McDonald's in Canada.  Although it does taste better in Quebec.  No, I haven't seen any igloos yet.  Those are further north.  As far as your "would you rather" question, if you talked like either of those examples, I'd probably just get back on the plane. But probably the second one, because you could at least get a job for sounding smart.

Anyways, that's pretty much all I got. It's been a great week up here.  I'll give you quick update on the people we're working with.
Lise - been coming to church for years.  Loves it.  Some doctrinal concerns, but she's super awesome.
Vanessa - been taught for a long time.  Believes everything, but just had to get married to her boyfriend. She's really awesome.
Skye - native tattoo artist.  Really artistic.  Super cool :)
Phillipe - Student at the university.  Really wants to get baptized.
Benoit - Found him last week.  He's really cool.  likes music and Jesus.
Valida - Older lady who loves the missionaries.  She's too old to come to church, but we do service for her sometimes.

Anyways, I love you guys!  The church is true, the book is blue, and Jesus was a Mormon!

Elder Sabin