Still in Nanaimo for now

Still in Nanaimo for now
Elder Samis on the ferry

Monday, 31 March 2014

March 31, 2014 - Nanaimo South

Hello again everybody! I'm happy to say that Elder Lawter and myself have managed to pull our act together and recover from a tough start to our transfer. The weather has overall been quite nice. The flowers are just starting to bloom and it'll be nice to see the sun more often. 

On Wednesday we were unexpectedly contacted by a Sister from Leduc, Alberta. She told us that she lived in Nanaimo many years ago. She said her Father was a non member but he knew that two of his Grandsons were serving missions. He had suffered a series of strokes and was hospitalized. Knowing that his Grandsons were priesthood holders, he found out from his daughter that there were missionaries in Nanaimo and that they could give him a blessing. We drove to the hospital that night and we found his room where a small group of family (some church members, some not) were gathered at his bed. I agreed to seal the blessing but I felt really uncomfortable about doing it in front of a bunch of complete strangers. None the less, I was given the courage to give him the blessing he needed. Everyone there was very pleased with our help. It was a really cool experience!       

Saturday turned out to be a day of miracles! That morning we were street contacting on Milton where we talked to a woman named Angela. We told her about our church and when we mentioned that we believed there were prophets on the earth again and that they would be speaking to us next Sunday in a broadcast we called "General Conference", she was astonished. She wanted to know where our church was and when we told her the address she said she REALLY wanted to be there! .

We still don't have any new baptismal dates set yet but the Lord may be helping us resurrect one! We stopped by Clara's  Saturday afternoon. As you probably have learned, from my previous entries, Clara was an investigator that Elder Groeneveld and I set a baptismal date with back in the middle of February the day we met her. After stopping back at her house multiple times since meeting her only to have her family members tell us that she was either in bed sick or out shopping, Clara herself finally answered the door... and sure enough she was looking as sick as her family described. She looked so tired and pale that I could barely recognize her at first. None the less, she was happy to see us and invited us in! We had to explain the "opposite sex" rule we have as missionaries and she agreed to let us stop by Wednesday this week! We'll likely offer her a blessing if she still isn't feeling better by then. We were so glad that we hadn't given up on her and it made us remember how the savior never gives up on us. I guess Clara didn't give up on us either!  
On Sunday we were stopped by a man named Dale, who as it turns out was a former from a long time ago. He told us he wanted to meet with missionaries again and we agreed to later this week. He's a super cool guy and seems quite enthusiastic to start learning about the gospel again! We tracted out a trailer park later that evening where we met both some very nice people and some very rude people. As I always say, "No two doors are quite a like." and this statement is especially true with this trailer park.

Well there's the week in a about a page or less. Thank you all for praying through me. It's been a great week and I'm looking forward to many more! 

Until next time,

Elder Maclean Samis    

Monday, 24 March 2014

March 24, 2014 - Nanaimo South (new companion)

An Unexpected Transfer
Hey everyone if you haven't heard the news yet, Elder Groeneveld has been transferred! We received a phone call on Monday night just after visiting the Larsen family. The assistants informed us that I would be staying in Nanaimo and finish my training with Elder Lawter who would become our new district leader. Elder Groeneveld on the other hand would be leaving the island and working with Elder Buzby as a zone leader in Kelowna! The two of us were very surprised since we had only known each other for one transfer. Elder Groeneveld had always dreaded the thought of being a zone leader so it was an extremely stressful time for him. I felt quite bad. 
We got on the Ferry Wednesday evening and stayed with the Korean Speaking Elders in Vancouver that night. The next morning Elder Lawter and I met each other and were fed lunch at the Richmond chapel later that afternoon. The amount of new missionaries that came out this transfer were much smaller then the previous. Only four elders and one sister came off the plane that day. Then along came the big wrench that messed up our travel plans. We needed to drive the Van-Korean Elders back to their apartment and neither of them could drive. They had a greenie who had just come out to train with them giving the companionship three elders in total. Due to this fact we needed to pile A LOT of luggage into our Chevrolet Cruze which isn't exactly as big as a pickup. We spent far too much time getting our luggage into the car while all the other missionaries serving on the island drove straight to the ferry terminal which was about a half hour drive just south of the Vancouver area.
We eventually got all our stuff in the car (don't ask me how we did it) and were able to get the other elders back to their apartment but we, uh kind of got lost on our way to the highway. We tried to get to the dock in time but it was too late by the time we reached it. We missed the ferry! We called the assistants and they told us to go stay with the Richmond South Elders and catch the ferry the next morning. I didn't like the idea and agreed that it would have been much easier to just take the 8:15 pm ferry home. We knew that it was probably best not to argue so we didn't. The next morning we woke up and decided to take the 10:15 am ferry after a bit of studying. Then came the biggest problem of all. We ended up losing the car key! We searched everywhere and were unable to find it. Knowing that we would miss the ferry again we decided to grab a spare car key from the mission home to see if we left the keys in the trunk as we unloaded our stuff. Alas, we didn't find it and we decided to go upstairs and dump our bags out. We finally found it hidden under Elder Lawter's nest of unfolded ties. Sometimes, but not always, you get a break... 
We left the spare key for the Richmond elders to take back to the office and we left right after to ensure that we would NOT miss the third ferry!  We arrived an hour early, ate lunch at the terminal and boarded it at 12:45 pm. After a long and incredibly boring ride back to the Island we dumped all our stuff off at the apartment and had to completely re-change our teaching schedule. What a way to start off a transfer with a new companion! Fortunately I'm pleased to report that Elder Lawter has been a terrific companion to work with. He's coming into his last transfer before an extension so it's great to have a companion that's a great role model and teacher. 

 On Friday we found a couple of new investigators, one of them was a heavy smoker named Dan who we met smoking inside his garage with the door opened. He said that we could come over and teach him about the gospel the next day during the afternoon. Sadly this lesson turned out to be completely disappointing. Our lesson on the Restoration went fairly well until we got to the First Vision part. Dan chuckled at us when we told him about Joseph Smith and he didn't understand why we needed prophets on the earth. When we asked him to pray about what we taught him, he refused and we got into a bit of an argument which drove out the spirit. We decided to leave. I barely said much of anything during that appointment and it wasn't much fun to be a part of. 

 We still haven't had any baptismal dates set since our first with Clara a month ago (who hasn't been around anytime we've called her or knocked on her door) It's a bit hard to understand why. It's overall been a rough week but it doesn't matter as long as the two of us keep moving forward and keep on working. Next week should go a lot smoother now that we've gotten settled after a hectic transfer. I love all of you and can't wait to hear from you next week. Thank you for keeping me in your prayers! May God bless you all!

With love from,
Elder Maclean Samis                  

Monday, 17 March 2014

March 17, 2014 - Nanaimo South

Hey everybody! It's been a quiet week in terms of finding. Last week we found 3 investigators and we still haven't had any of our appointments go through yet. On Tuesday during another exchange with Elder Rolfson, we tracted on one of the richest areas of Nanaimo, TRINITY DRIVE. Not knowing how nice the homes were there, it was quite a shock and I felt slightly intimidated by being there. Even so, both of us got the strong impression that we had to stay there. Almost all the people on Trinity were either atheist or born again with zero interest... except for the very last house on that street where we met Seema. She had company over when we knocked on her door but set a return appointment anyway. The lesson? Never ignore the promptings of the spirit!      
Ladysmith has been disappointing thus far. We spent a lot of time there on Thursday and Friday without any finding success. Our appointment on the reserve fell through and due to the distance of it from the town, Elder Groeneveld and I have decided that it's best to stay in the town for now. On Friday the two of us were attempting to find a member family's address on the south side. It was there where we came across a group of huge homes nestled in the hills by the ocean. There was another area close by on the very edge of town where a cluster of brand new several story palaces sat high above the highway almost hidden by the thick trees that surrounded them. The cost of these homes must have been off the charts because there was a giant 'private property, no trespassing' sign in front of the turn-in.  Elder Groeneveld turned to me and said "It makes me sick thinking how rich some people are!" I turned to him and said; "Just remember Elder, homes like these are nothing compared to what your home on high will be like." 
Later that night Elder Groeneveld had to go to a baptismal interview while I exchanged with a greenie named Elder Sorenson. Because the both of us are naturally shy and quiet, tracting door to door for those few hours were pretty adventurous. We didn't find anybody until one of the last houses we knocked on where a man named Steve talked to us. He said he had gone to a lot of churches and he didn't understand the Bible that well. Amazingly, the two of us were able to answer every question we were asked! He agreed to have us over this Tuesday and I'm excited to teach him more. During the last half hour, the two of us were walking along Nicol Street and towards downtown Nanaimo. It was around 8:30 at night and for whatever reason, it was dead silent when we got there. When we saw that nobody was there we turned around and started heading back to the apartment. As we headed back we both got a really heavy feeling that was warning us to get back to the apartment parking lot as soon as possible. We were not sure why we got the warning from the spirit but we knew that it was best to follow it. We felt much safer when we got there.

The Zone Leaders in Nanaimo got two baptisms this week! :) Sue and Bob have been meeting with Elder Duersch and Glover for quite sometime and we got to attend their baptisms on Saturday at 4:00pm. The Larsen family and Brother B are both doing great! Marly and her two kids Lilly and Malachi have come to church and have loved it! Lilly turns 8 on May 4th so it's quite possible that she will be baptized! As for Brother B he's come to church for the third straight Sunday! What a blessing it is to be able to help re-activate!

Shortly after the baptism we exchanged again. I went on an exchange with one of my zone leaders, Elder Duersch. He's an amazing missionary and the two of us found great success together when we taught A new investigator living on the north side of Nanaimo named Chris. We taught him about prayer and the spirit was clearly there. Even though I still don't talk that much I feel like I have the desire to talk to people as the spirit guides. After teaching Chris we stopped by a less active named Matt who has been reading the scriptures frequently and asked us a lot of questions about them he was uncertain of. Amazingly, Elder Duersch and myself were able to answer the questions to some pretty deep questions about the Book of Mormon. Matt has come to church the last couple Sundays so we're really happy for him!      
So even though we haven't been finding, we have been doing some quality work with our less actives. No matter how tough things get I'm still a firm believer that everything will work out ok as long as we have faith and we work hard. Transfers are coming up this Wednesday and we'll be off to Richmond again. My first transfer has flown by so quickly. Where does your time go on your mission? As always, I love you all and miss you greatly! 

 Until next time,

Elder Maclean Samis  

Monday, 10 March 2014

March 10, 2014 - Nanaimo South


Hello again and what a extraordinary week it's been! The weather has been improving and so has our finding results, although it has come at a cost. On Tuesday I went on an exchange with Elder Buchanan, another greenie serving in Duncan who is currently being trained by Elder Rolfson. I know sending out two greenies together sounds like a recipe for disaster right? Not if the Lord has anything to say about it. We were blessed with seven new investigators that day! :D From now on I will only tell you the names of the people we have had successful return appointments with since we have been fortunate to find a lot of people. 

On Wednesday Elder Groeneveld and I split apart again with the zone leaders for another exchange. We tried stopping by to see Danny, one of our new investigators we found last week but her mother answered the door and told us that she was lying in bed sick. She said that her daughter knew the two of us were coming so she wanted us to come back another time. Of course, Elder Glover and I assumed she was just dropping us and had just lost interest, but when we got a phone call from Elder Duersch that evening, we were told that Elder Groeneveld had suddenly fallen ill and was lying in bed exhausted and fast asleep. We began to get the impression that Danny's mother told us the truth, especially since I suddenly recalled that Danny said she was feeling ill when we first met with her. Several other missionaries in our zone ended up getting sick one after another with the same symptoms this week. I (so far) have been perfectly healthy. :)

 The following morning we met at a member's house for a service project as we exchanged back. The four of us had to pick up some wood that had been sawed up from a fallen tree and brought up a steep driveway in a wheel barrel. Most of these logs weighed 70-90 pounds. Despite getting a priesthood blessing from Elder Duersch before leaving the apartment, Elder Groeneveld showed up looking dreadful. However, once we began to work something happened. When Elder Groeneveld lifted the heavy logs, they would feel as he described, "as light as pillows!" It was remarkable to see how the priesthood blessed him as we worked for well over a couple hours bringing all that wood into the yard. My companion truly has incredible faith and he's been blessed for it that's for sure!

On Friday we finally went to Ladysmith! We tracted out on a nearby First Nations reserve and found another new investigator. Many First Nations people are easy to find because they are very spiritual people. They can really feel the spirit when you speak to them, especially about the Book of Mormon and how it focuses on their ancestors and their dealings with God. The more we tracted in the town of Ladysmith, the more we began to realize that the town hadn't been as "untouched" by missionaries as we previously thought! There was a lot of friendly people there, but none of them were interested. We went home early that night so that Elder Groeneveld could get some more sleep.

Last week I forgot to mention how Brother B was doing. The answer is fantastic! He's come to church two weeks in a row and we've visited him a couple times. He's such a cool guy and he's rediscovering the joys of living the gospel. Hopefully we can get his wife interested in the gospel sometime too!

 On Sunday after church, Elder Groeneveld and I went to take the sacrament to the Larsen family. Brother and Sister Larsen have been quite sick so they have been unable to come to church lately. After we gave them the sacrament, their daughter, M (who has been looking after her parents for a while and has been inactive for a really long time) said that she wanted to start going to church again! When her Mother heard these words she was very surprised and the two of them began to cry tears of joy together. It was quite a moment to witness and the spirit felt incredibly strong. 

 Later that evening we had a ward fireside. Us missionaries hosted the event and we read the principles from Preach My Gospel. We then showed examples of each of the principles by watching videos. It was a great event to take part in and we had some refreshments after! 
That about sums up the week. Elder Groeneveld is feeling a lot better now. We should be going into Ladysmith again later this week so we'll see how that goes. We've had our challenges but boy is working through them ever rewarding! Love you all lots and it's always a pleasure writing to whoever may be following me on my adventures as a servant of our Lord.

Until next Monday,
 Elder Maclean Samis          



Monday, 3 March 2014

March 3, 2014 - Nanaimo South

Hello again everybody and welcome to another weekly update. It's been quite the adventurous week at the turn of the month. On Tuesday I went on my first ever companion exchange with Elder Rolfson in Duncan. Another fellow Edmontonian, Elder Rolfson is truly an amazing missionary. Though it was hard getting used to the way he did things, I learned a lot from him and we had a blast with each other. We also brought an 18 year old member named Matt to teach some lessons. Like Elder Rolfson, Matt is loud, funny, and energetic. When he saw my last name on the tag he immediately thought of the Nintendo character "Samus." A lot of people think of that character when they hear my last name it seems. :P

Anyway we taught a couple of quality member present lessons (I can't remember their names since they are not in my area) during these visits I found that for once I wanted to do something I never wanted to do before, TEACH LESSONS. I'm finally starting to crack my shell and moving forward to teach more of the lesson! It seems that God is helping me and I'm so grateful that he's helping me do it. :) At the end of the night Elder Rolfson and I traded a few ties and we talked a bit about the day. Elder Rolfson told me that even though I'm on the quiet side, when I say something it is extremely powerful. He also said that I showed a lot of humility. I never really understood what my strengths were before I served a mission but to hear this from a missionary like Elder Rolfson was truly something to remember.

 We visited Shrey and Divyeth on Wednesday and taught them about the restoration. We can't be sure if they are interested in getting baptized but they seemed to understand what makes our religion so important and how following it can bless their lives. We had been unable to see Clara because her family had gotten sick this week.

 On Thursday Elder Groeneveld and I went tracting without finding anyone for a couple days. It was getting late and we stopped the car and I said a prayer to help us find at least 1 person before we went back home. The very first door we knocked on belonged to a young Chilean woman named Danny who had recently started looking into following Christianity. She told us that she was opened to hearing our message and was eager to meet with us again. We gave her a Book of Mormon too! The only downside was that she told us she was moving back to Chile in a couple weeks so we may not be able to teach her very much before then. Still, if this isn't a prayer answered then I'm not sure what is! 

Then came the mission conference on Friday. We took a ferry from the island to Richmond and spent the night with the Korean speaking elders. We woke up sore and early in the morning and went to a chapel in Vancouver where we waited for a very special guest to arrive. It was D Todd Christoferson of the 12 who came! We all got to line up and shake his hand before the meeting started and it was so cool to be in the presence of one of the apostles of the Lord! After his talk we were opened to ask him some questions. One of the sisters in the congregation asked him "What would you tell us after having a rough day?" He simply replied "Welcome to the club." he then explained how those who reject do not reject your message, they reject Christ's. That's something I sort of knew but never really thought hard about before.

We boarded the ferry back to the island the next morning just after blowing some money on expensive ice cream at the docking terminal. We just can't resist spending money on food, especially Elder G. :P

 Yesterday after church we tracted again and found another new investigator named Robert who loves reading the bible and wanted to learn more about our beliefs. He had messed up his foot and was on crutches so we decided to give him a blessing before we left.
 That about sums up the week. By the sounds of things my companion and I will start working in the town of Ladysmith for a few days. It should be fun and there's lots to look forward to. Hope everyone's doing well at home. Miss you lots!


With love from,

Elder Maclean Samis