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