Elder Sabin

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 :)


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.