Still in Nanaimo for now

Still in Nanaimo for now
Elder Samis on the ferry

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

December 28, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

Merry Christmas

Good tidings! This is Elder Samis reporting from Poco. Indeed, Christmas is a wonderful time to be a missionary. During these past 2 years, its been really easy to take a break from all the commercialism and focus on Christmas' true meaning. Not much too exciting happened prior to Christmas Eve but when that special night finally came, we enjoyed the company of the B family. They had a number of relatives over, a few of them not members of the church so that was really nice. There was a big turkey dinner and then an hour of opening presents after.

On Christmas day, Elder Okamoto and I decided to knock on a few doors which we had little luck on. Only one person answered when we tried caroling instead of the regular routine at the doors. It was a clever idea, but not enough people answered to make it effective. We got to the W's Skyped our families and ate another turkey dinner. The celebration of the savior's birth continued into the night with singing carols, and concluded with a spiritual thought from the 2 of us.

It was unfortunate that we had only a few lessons this week. Never the less, we were spoiled rotten by the Poco ward members. We had a meal appointment every day last week. We were gifted food and other wonderful surprises! Over the course of the week Sister P, one of the relief society counselors texted us and told us that they were planning to do a New Years hamper for my companion and I and asked us if we had any requested items. We told her that all we needed was a new set of bed sheets and a blanket. On Sunday, these wonderful sisters gave us a little more then what we requested.
(sorry it's side ways). I just about cried when I saw this. It was indeed humbling to receive it. Oh, there's no doubt I would have hugged every sister in the relief society if I could have. :) Let me tell you though, carrying this into our apartment was a workout on the arms.

It makes me a little sad now that Christmas is over. There is still much to do before my mission wraps up in 3 weeks. Mel has been so-so responsive with our texts. She was sick over Christmas and won't be able to see us until after January 1st. I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas. Please pray for me that I will be able to finish strong to the end. I don't doubt that I can, but the extra support would be much loved and appreciated. Also, happy New Year!

Love from,

Elder Maclean Samis 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

December 21, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

My Dear friends and family,

Guess what?? Christmas is this friday! Its been a good week despite the seemingly difficult time we're having trying to talk to as many people as possible. I've been thankful for this time of year to serve the final weeks of my mission. Yesterday we had the wonderful experience of being a part of the Poco Ward Choir and sang a few songs the Sunday before Christmas. After church our bishop held a ward get together at his house and we ate lunch there. It was so great to be among so many great and faithful members in that house! The bishops less active son also had a couple of his non-member friends there and we answered a few questions they had about the church.

On Monday night we had a really special lesson with Melanie. During our lesson about the Plan of Salvation she asked us quite unexpectedly, "So if I were to get baptized, would you be there with me?" We aswered with a yes and invited her to be baptized on the 16th of January, 4 days before my departure from the mission field. She has accepted but unfortunately, she hasn't been heard from since then. We hope she didn't fall on any anti. We'll keep on trying to contact her.

The zone meeting on Wednesday was very special and emotional experience for me. As it was my last zone meeting, I bore my testimony about the atonement and how he has always been right there with me, even in the darkest times of my mission. I felt charged by the spirit afterward.

On Friday night we had a lesson with a former investigator named William. He's a very kind man with a lot of health challenges that have been preventing him from meeting with us. He's from Sudan and considers himself Christian. The last time we saw him, he was concerned about the Book of Mormon and was wondering why we needed it since we already have the bible. However, he read it during the time he's been ill and told us that he feels really good about it. We proceeded to testify of it and then taught him the Plan of Salvation, emphasizing the doctrine of the Resurrection that deeply touched him. He was very grateful for our visit and told us to come back any time!

Late last night Elder Okamoto and I had our plans fall through and were unsure of what to do. Then he suggested we go see Rocky, another former investigator. We did so and he was surprised but quite pleased to see us again. His wife was also there and though she sat in the living room while we spoke to Rocky in the dining room, she seemed to be listening to us. After showing Rocky one of the Christmas videos recently released by the church, they sent us home with a bag of mini oranges! While we're not too sure exactly what the level of interest they have is, we will be sure to know by the end of this week if we should keep teaching them. 

How's the schedule looking for Christmas? Well, the W family has kindly offered to allow us to Skype our families at 3:00 pm MST. Sister W is Skyping her 2 sons, while Elder Okamoto will be talking to both his mom and his step dad at separate times and I'll skype my own! That's a lot of skyping in one home! We plan to have a turkey lunch after. It should be a lot of fun spending a good chunk of our time at the W's. There will probably be some finding on the 25th as well since there are time gaps to fill.

Have a Merry Christmas!
Elder Maclean Samis

Saturday, 19 December 2015

December 14, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

We are into the final transfer. 6 more weeks to work myself silly. Not that this is a bad thing of course, I just want to finish strong!

Monday night we taught Melanie, once again with Jared. She feels like God seems to be answering her prayers a lot more clearly, which she is very excited about. She's still pretty shy about coming to our church but we're confident she'll make it soon enough!  

Tuesday evening: We were walking to an appointment that just happened to be across the street from the mall downtown. The mall's parking lot was right across from our view where we heard a nasty crunching noise and saw a brand new white Jeep SUV flying in reverse through the entrance to the parking lot, causing another SUV to slam into a barrier as it swerved out of the way, avoiding what would have been nothing short of a disaster. The Jeep finally stopped on the other side of the parking lot, backing into another car taking out one of it's headlights...

Elder Okamoto and I decided to get close to see if everyone was alright. Turns out there was a family of three in the car. The Mother and her son got out of the car a bit shaken but no worse for ware. The young daughter that was driving the car however had her eyes tightly shut and was sobbing as she buried her face in her hands. A few moments later the mother talked to the man involved in the accident and they sorted things out together while we started talking to the 2 kids. By this point the girl driving got out to get some fresh air, still breathing hard and crying. "It was my first time driving with my learners!" she exclaimed. "Now I don't ever want to drive again!" Her brother and us told her that she didn't need to worry. That all of us make mistakes and now she will know to be more careful.

We felt terrible for her. We wished there was something we could do to help further. As I watched this poor girl, I thought to myself are we not all a bit like this at times? We often do things either by accident or intentionally that may bring harm to ourselves and others and it makes us feel really bad. There is however, one person we can rely on to take away our guilt when we mess up. Then we can walk away and strive to not make the same mistake. In the end, everybody was alright with only a bit of damage done to the 3 cars involved.

Well, with that story out of the way how did the rest of the week go? Well, we taught the O family and cleared up a couple of big concerns. The first was our stance on homo-sexuality and the second was about plural marriage! We were able to give them satisfying answers which they agreed on. This would be the last time we would teach them before they pack up their bags for New York. They won't be coming back until January 9th, 11 days before I return home. When I told then this it seemed to sadden them quite a bit, which made me feel sad as well. I just can't believe how close I am to the end of what has been a remarkable 2 years.

To our disappointment, we got contact with Jignesh by texting him how his Christmas prep was going. Then after he replied that it was going well we asked him if he had read the Book of Mormon and he didn't reply... Guess we'll have to try again some other time.

On Saturday I made a stop back in Surrey to see an excellent stake Christmas Cantana. There were various songs to hear, many of them outside of the hymn book. At the end we stood up and sung the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. It was rather good fun. Elder Okamoto and I have listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's version of that quite a lot so we pretty much had it memorized. I'm pretty sure we were the only ones outside of the choir who knew the tune off by heart.

So concludes another week of interesting experiences. You don't really see what's in the world until you serve a mission. It's always really cool to know that God often puts you in position to help comfort people who need it, even if they only need a pat on the back and gentle reassurance. May you all enjoy the Christmas break as we continue another week of growth in the mission field.

Elder Maclean Samis 

Friday, 11 December 2015

December 7, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

Caroling in the Rain  (featuring the S. family)

There seems to have been a lot more people then usual being kind to us ever since we heard the bad news about Jignesh. Elder Okamoto and I will be texting him sometime this week to see how he's doing and determine what to do from there. Last night before we had dinner at a members house we tracked a certain street where we found 3 people who said we could come back and share more!

Transfers have passed and it has been confirmed that I will finish my mission in Port Coquitlam. It's a great thing too because my companion and I are really starting to click with the members of the ward! I was honestly scared of having Christmas so close to the time I go home, but I feel like things have been working out really nicely lately.  There hasn't really been a lot to be discouraged about. 

We've been working with a very kind lady named Mel who was passed to us by the Port Moody Sisters when they discovered she lived in our area. We taught her for the first time on Tuesday with Our ward mission leader's son, Jared, who has been a great help to us since returning from the Canada, Montreal Mission. The lessons he's helped us teach often involve him saying a lot. It is evident that he was an excellent teacher on his mission!

On Wednesday night we saw Jessi and Victor with Brother S. Jessi and her son were sick and Victor has been feeling pretty stressed about work lately so we gave them all priesthood blessings. I marveled at how easily I forgot the words to the annointing part. Guess it had been a while since I had last done it. A few days later, Jessi expressed to us via text that all of them were feeling a lot better!

Early Saturday morning we walked and tracted this one street where a white house with bright yellow trim caught my eye. The spirit told me to go there right away and sure enough, we met a man named Simon! He's a great guy, born in Iran and has lived in North America for 30 years. He apparently investigated the church some years ago but stopped because he ended up moving to Washington for a while.
Saturday was also the night of the ward Christmas activity. Before it, we went caroling with the S family which was a lot of fun despite the heavy December rain. I still can't tell you how odd it is seeing rain this time of year. It's Just WRONG. At the party we saw Simon and he brought his son Eli with him. We talked with them during most of the activity. Jessi, Victor, and their kids also came to the party. It seems like almost everyone in the ward knows them so we didn't have to worry about them as they sat with the S and the W families having a great time.

So, after the conclusion of one of my longer emails in a while, I wish you all the best at the start of this holiday season. Cheers and thank you for your prayers and support!

Elder Maclean Samis

Friday, 4 December 2015

November 30, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

A Difficult Week

We come now to the conclusion of what's been a difficult week. Thursday was a delightful day for the devil when we found out during our weekly planning that Jignesh's family did not approve him of being baptized into the church... As discouraging as that kick in the leg was, we didn't let ourselves go into the "Wo is me!" faze. 

We taught Jessie's family on Wednesday with our ward mission leader, Brother S and his wife. When we extended an invite them to get baptized, they got pretty defensive and told us that they were not ready. Even so, it was a good lesson. The S family proved to be great fellow shippers. Brother S was most disappointed when we told him about Jignesh after the lesson. He couldn't believe it! So it appears that the O family won't be baptized during my time as a missionary either, and while there has been no report of anyone I've taught getting baptized for the past seven months, its no excuse to give in and waste the time I have left on my mission with self-pity. Brother S told us that he didn't have any baptisms on his mission to Ireland, yet he has been blessed well throughout his life since.

There are a lot of people we began teaching this week. The most solid of these has been Debora who we dropped in on this past Sunday. She has to be one of the nicer people I've met on my mission! We found her about 3 weeks ago but it had been difficult to get in contact with her since, until yesterday. She's been going through a number of difficulties and we taught her a little about the Plan of Savation. We're pretty sure her husband isn't too thrilled with our visits though...

Yesterday Elder Okamoto and I sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" in sacrament meeting. After some time struggling with following the notes in my first few practices, I was able to work through it and sound pretty good I think. After church we practiced singing a version of "The First Noel"  which seems quite a bit more tricky. That's about it for the week I suppose. Enjoy the first week of December!

Elder Maclean Samis

Thursday, 26 November 2015

November 22, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

Frost, Not Snow

The weather continues to get colder as the days pass. For the past few days we've seen a lot of frost on the ground in the morning. The moisture in the air allows it to really build up on the side walks. Elder Okamoto has never seen frost in his life so he's been having fun with the sight of white! We haven't seen any snow yet but I've been hearing that there's some snow in the forecast this Tuesday.

So as November draws to a close, so ends another week. Jignesh is still doing great! We've taught him about family history and temple work, which he is very interested in doing one day in the future. He says he's been having a lot of problems with his permanent residence so he'll probably move to the States in a few months. Fortunately, he will be baptized by then!

Now to tell you of a couple of fun little experiences I had this week with a family in the ward. I will call them the D. family. They are originally from Fiji but have longed since moved to Canada. Brother D's mother passed the week before so he had a family gathering as they prepared for the funeral. Brother D., who has been very positive about the trial, requested that Elder Okamoto and I come over and share a gospel principle with them. It should be noted that none of the members of his family are members of the church. Some are Hindu, others belonging to other Christian faiths.

After a few moments of visiting with the family, I went into my missionary ways of thinking and asked everybody at once; "So what were you expecting from meeting with the missionaries?" Brother D. to my great alarm informed me "actually they weren't expecting a spiritual thought." Feeling now incredibly uncomfortable and seeing now that many of the family members were as well, we decided to proceed anyway... I said a prayer and then we began to teach the principle of God is our loving heavenly father to a gathering of 10 Fijians. It was about 5 minutes long and when I closed in the name of Jesus Christ, everyone with great relief and gratitude responded with an "Amen" of their own! I'm pretty sure they were really pleased that we didn't "preach" a big long boring sermon or something. Brother D. was very pleased and invited us to come over on Sunday for another short message.

We did so and this time we shared the "Because of Him" video the church put on about the message of Christ's Resurrection. We bore our testimony that one day we will be free of the sorrow and pain that comes to us whenever we lose those we love. This time there was a number of members attending the gathering so it seemed a lot easier then last time. After that was a Fijian potluck with all kinds of tasty curries, meats, and noodles. We visited as we ate for a while then moved on finishing the week strong.

That covers the more interesting events of the week. Hope you're all staying warm during this season of cold weather. Till Monday, farewell!

Elder Maclean Samis   

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

November 16, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

Learning to Sing (sort of)

So passes another week in the Canada, Vancouver Mission. The weather continues to be cold and mostly wet. The week was a little disappointing in terms of teaching. There's Jignesh of course who is progressing fast enough to the point that we are considering moving his baptismal date to the end of November! He has a solid friend in the ward now, Brother J. who says he would be honored to be the one to baptize him!

The main event that have been going on in the life on Elder Samis lately is the fact that I'm forcing myself to do something I never thought would interest me a whole lot: Singing in public! This past Saturday was the "Poco's Got Talent" party at the church. Elder Okamoto and I sang the youth song "I Can Do All things." Its a nice tune, one about relying on the Savior. Elder Okamoto loves singing. He was in choir for 9 years back home so it's no secret to why he volunteered to do it.

I can't sing well, but I do like singing. In the days before my mission I loved singing along to my favorite songs, like almost every young adult you can think of do. I basically forced myself to join Elder Okamoto, and after a couple days of practicing, we performed. I sang the first verse of the song and it sounded alright, though there were a few members who said that I looked deathly nervous on the stage... So I probably did. I hate being in the spotlight.

Then the next day my companion decided it would be fun to sing in the ward choir after church. I did that too. I was a tenor and I had a pretty tough time trying to figure out what my notes were as we sang the hymn, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." After that number we sang "The First Noel." which we will be singing the Sunday before Christmas.

But wait, there's more! Last night while we traveled to the Surrey Stake Priesthood Meeting, one of the senior sisters from the mission office called us and asked if we would like to sing in the upcoming zone conference this Saturday. Elder Okamoto wanted to of course, so following the example of my companion, I decided to do the same... Maybe one day I'll learn how to sing parts. We shall see. Speaking of which, Elder Teh of the seventy will be speaking during that meeting so I guess the pressure will really be on. Thank goodness there will be 24 missionaries singing in the choir!

So, there are a few fun little stories about how I'm learning how to sing in the twilight hours of my mission. I did sing a couple times with Elder Lamb when I was in Abbotsford too.  Oddly enough I believe it was around this time last year that I was doing so.

In short, Jignesh continues to look real solid, I've been singing a lot, and we have had a couple of really good potentials surface. We'll see how that goes. thank you for your thoughts and prayers throughout my mission. May the Lord bless you as we near winter's wrath. Cheers!

Elder Maclean Samis 


Thursday, 12 November 2015

November 9, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

Like Coal Under Pressure

There's a lot of words that I could use to describe a week like this one. Exciting, stressful, busy, difficult, humbling, tough, joyful, you get the idea. At the start of the week, our zone leaders committed us to hit what our mission calls "the standards of excellent". I'll explain how this works simply and clearly:

In order to hit these standards, you must have the following by the end of the week:
-4 New investigators
-2 investigators at church
-8 lessons taught with a member present
-140 conversations about the gospel (20 is the daily standard)

These are used to set a bar that will make us stretch, and for the past 8-9 weeks before this one, my companions and I have been unable to hit it. I can't go over all the events that got us to the point of meeting these standards this past week but I will share what's been important.

We taught Jignest the word of wisdom, which he is practically living already anyway. He says that his parents drink tea daily but he's never known why people "have to do it." As an add on, we taught him the 10 commandments which he also fully agrees on. We asked him about baptism and we got a usual response, he's "thinking about it."

Saturday was a wild one indeed. at 12:00 pm we had an investigator that we had found the day before which was looking really solid fall through on us. The member who was with us, Roque was kind enough to take us to another place to teach someone else if we could. Elder Okamoto decided to call Jignesh to meet right away and he agreed even though he was in the public library in Port Moody. We had to call the zone leaders for permission to go there since it was out of our area and they allowed us. We read 2 Nephi 31 with him to build his faith further in baptism and assigned him to read 32 before our next meeting.

That evening, we taught Jessie for the first time in 2 months. We were figuring that it's time to give her another try. She and her husband were taught by us and a wonderful couple named the Woodwords who seemed to teach a lot of the lesson for us. It was great! Jessie even got pretty emotional, but for whatever the reason they didn't come to church...

The great news is, Rocky came and so did Jignesh that Sunday. With the need of a couple more member present lessons left for the week at that point, we decided to do something bold. I took Roque and Jignesh while I left Elder Okamoto with Rocky and we taught mini lessons. I decided during this short lesson to ask Jignesh how he had been feeling about the idea of being baptized. He said that he feels like he's getting close, very close! I explained to him that if he were to be baptized, there wouldn't be a need to rush him. We could work towards December 5th and as that date got closer we could see how prepared he felt. His answer was Yes! My tense worry was replaced with relief and joy! How amazing can the results be when you do something the Lord knows you're uncomfortable with!

So it was we hit the standards of excellence. It wasn't easy. We had to deal with a number of cancelled appointments, a huge number of unanswered phone calls, rushing everywhere, and other obstacles. Our work payed off and I'm grateful the Lord allowed it to be so. As much as this week made me feel like coal under pressure, I'm glad to say that this week has helped me become a little shinier. God is good and so is the work! Please pray that Jignesh will be able to make his baptism date! Have a great week all!

Elder Maclean Samis 

Elder Samis with Downtown Port Coquitlam in the background

Monday, 2 November 2015

November 2, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

The Korean Planner

Welcome to a another report from the field! The rain has really come this week and it appears it wants to stay. It's been so cold over the last couple days that I had to get out my big grey wool jacket and boy I tell ya, that thing works well against the rain and cold!

We've taught a few lessons here and there but we would have loved to have taught a lot more.  Unfortunately, we had some lessons set up with people we met that fell through. We met Jignesh on Friday and taught him about the Sabbath and he wants to live it, though, he ended up not making it to church on Sunday again... sigh, the work goes on.

And what happened on Halloween? Not much. We had a couple of lessons set up during the afternoon but found out the member that was to join us had to cancel, as it turned out the people we were supposed to see were no shows anyway. Funny little story here though, we plan from 6:00 pm-9:00 pm and just before we planned I realized I didn't have a new planner for the new transfer. Elder Okamoto bailed me out by giving me one of his planners. The only problem was the entire thing was in Korean! 😁 I had no reason to be alarmed though because though I don't know a lick of Korean I am totally familiar with the layout of the planner so I can figure out where I need to write everything. Looks like I'll be using it the rest of the transfer!

On Sunday we taught an Iranian man named Shawn at the church. He's a really nice guy, we called him from one of our potential lists and he wanted to meet with us the very same day! He didn't have long to meet, so we taught him a little about the restoration. We will see him again this Wednesday.   

I'm sure you're wondering about Emily and Lei and unfortunately, the news isn't all that good. When we called them early this week to set up an appointment, Emily told me that they would be really busy and that they would study things on their own when they could find the time. Perhaps we didn't explain our purpose as well as we should have because they seem to be treating our meetings a bit casually. Non the less, we will give them a call soon and see what we can do about setting another appointment up. Wish us luck, and pray for us till then! Hope everyone has a good first week of November. Till next Monday from Coquitlam, farewell.

Elder Maclean Samis

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

October 26, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

Last Companion?

Here we are at the beginning of another transfer! Elder Okamoto arrived here Wednesday morning and Elder Nielsen was off to what was I'm sure a long haul to Nanaimo.

After just 2 hours of being together, we went and taught Emily and Lei. This lesson went a lot better then the last. We were able to teach clearer and Sister L, our fellowshipper, had to do less translating then the last visit. Once we had finished teaching the restoration, I asked them if they get a good feeling when they read the Book of Mormon. Emily replied that she had. Then we explained that's how the Holy Ghost works. Emily and Lei now suspect that God is truly there. It's really cool to see how much more they understand when they read the Book of Mormon compared to before. They're such a sweet family! Pray they'll get baptized!

We also met with Jignesh Friday morning. We'll probably have to teach him about keeping the sabbath holy because he hasn't been going to church lately. He knows the church is true though, we jsut need to start commiting him to live the commandments.

Well, since I've only been here 5 weeks, I don't know the area well. I have this bad habbit of just thinking I know where I'm driving to and then realize I don't. Elder Okamoto is my 15th companion (including the MTC)  and according to what President Burt told him in an interview, he will likely be my last... That would be nice because I feel like I change companions really often. I was with Elder Nielsen for only 5 short weeks after all! I guess the point I'm trying to make is that I'm glad I'll likely not have any more companions because it puts a bit of stress on you when you're the only one who knows about the area.  

How's my new companion? He's great! As I mentioned he is from Las Vegas and was assigned here from Korean work. There's quite a few Koreans in Poco which makes his linguistic skills come in handy! His Father was half Korean and half Japanese while his mother is Caucasian and was born in the US. He didn't know any Korean before his mission. He says that since I'm his first Canadian companion and he just got out of Korean and is in English work, sometimes he hears me say things that make no sense to him. 😁 Non the less he's a great guy. Amazingly faithful since he has only been a member of the church for 2 and a half years. He's also the only church member in his family.

I'll end this email by sending out a happy birthday to my younger sister Samantha who turns 19 on Halloween and my Grandma who turns 75 on November 1st! Its been amazing having both of you as such great members of the family. I love you so much and miss you both! Have great birthdays. To the rest of you, have a great week!

Elder Maclean Samis

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

October 19, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

The Five Week Transfer

I don't think I ever mentioned the fact that this transfer has been 5 weeks long. I don't know the exact reason why but I've heard that there's some kind of big mission conference coming up.

I'm staying here in Port Coquitlam and Elder Nielsen is going to Nanaimo to train! He'll probably be there for the rest of my mission. Only 2 transfers to go before I fly home... its just unreal to think about, and it makes me want to work ever harder to finish strong. Elder Okamoto will be my new companion and perhaps my last. He's from Las Vegas, though his family came from Korea before then, and he is coming from Korean work in Coquitlam to English work as my companion. He sure didn't have to come far! Elder Nielsen will be leaving on Wednesday.

When Elder Nielsen told a bunch of the ward members he was leaving, the dinner invites poured in. We ate twice yesterday, once at the Woodward's for lunch after church and then at Bishop Ashton's for dinner! The members have made it very clear that they have been grateful for all Elder Nielsen's work. Ill miss him too and I'm excited that he's going to a place I once called home. I left that place in August last year. 14 months have past since then.

How did the teaching before the transfer go? We had a few appointment's with formers, here and there (we usually do, though I don't mention them a lot.) The main and most important lesson was with Sister Wu's Chinese friends, Emily and Lei. They speak a little English and my companion and I tried really hard to explain things like the fall of Adam and Eve, and God being our Father, and a number of other things that made little sense to them since they really have no clear concept of who God is. It was tough and I was quite nervous before the lesson. Thanks to Sister Wu's Mandarin, they understood at least some of it. We'll be having another visit with them on Wednesday.

That's the meaningful news of the week. Wish me well as I continue to labor in Poco with a new companion. Have a great week everyone!

Elder Maclean Samis  

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

October 13, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

Stuffed for Thanksgiving

Happy belated Thanksgiving! its been a true blessing to be in missionary service this time of year. Between yesterday and Sunday Elder Nielsen and I were appreciating the 3 turkey dinners prepared by the great families here in the ward. Sunday evening after a long fast we went from being super hungry to really full. Sister Nourabuena had a group of relatives over at the time and she fed us a large amount of turkey, salad, and potatoes.

I finished that easier then I thought I would, but after that the Goddard family fed us a great big plate of turkey, ham, stuffing, cheese potatoes, and ice cream with pumpkin pie for desert. I probably finished a 3rd of that and would have been sick if I ate more. I felt bad I didn't finish it but they didn't seem to mind. Elder Nielsen finished his but got sick during the night. He woke up in the middle of the night and just about threw up.

Sister Wu fed us a turkey lunch on Monday. Along with the turkey there was a spicy Indonesian soup of some kind that was delicious. By the way, Sister Wu's son Corban is going on his mission to Manila in the Philippines.

With all these dinners now past, there will likely be more come late November providing I have an American companion! The ward seems to want to see if they can make me fat before I go home! Physically, I don't think I've changed much at all on my mission. When you see me in person, I'll probably just look like the same scrawny kid I was before. Beyond the lunch though, the rest of the day was tough. Tracting wasn't doing a whole lot for us, so we moved on to street contacting where there was barely anyone walking around in the rain.

Well, enough about the dinners- oh wait nevermind, there's more. On Friday the Rodrigues family had a baptism for their son Oscar who just turned 8. There was a huge taco dinner afterward and a bunch of their friends and family showed up, many of them not members of the church. We had some great conversations with them and explained a lot of what we do. Sister Wu invited one of her friends, Emily who has taken quite a bit of interest in the church! We'll be teaching her the first lesson on Thursday. Emily's family lives right inbetween the Rodrigues and Bishop Ashton oddly enough, so there's already plenty of fellowship.

Jignesh has been progressing slowly but effectively. He went to regular sacrament meeting for the first time on Sunday and he's made a lot of friends. He loves what the church teaches and promotes and wants to invite his family to join him in his investigation. Thus ends another week in the field. I hope you all enjoy the coming week.

Elder Maclean Samis

October 5, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

Money on the Prophet

Things this week started off rather odd. It seemed like we were working hard but not talking to enough people and hardly teaching any lessons. We failed to get a hold of William, left a voice mail and he hasn't replied yet. We were able to meet again with Jesse last Monday but she didn't end up going to conference.

With our weekly results pretty bad, thankfully, the end of the week got better as we saw some conference miracles over the weekend. On Thursday morning we met with an Indian man named Jignesh. Elder Nielsen taught him with his last companion and he was looking really solid until a heavy schedule and a sickness overtook him. We told him about general conference and he came to all 4 sessions! He loved it! So much of it rang true to him. We'll be meeting him next weekend as he is still a busy man during the week days. He apparently showed clips of the conference to his family and explained a lot about the apostles and prophets.

Leah also came to the conference with her friend Ember and she enjoyed it as well. You can put your money on the prophet to allow your investigators to have a spiritual experience. With that in mind, let me share a couple lines from President Dieter F Uchtdorf: "Don't we often feel that discipleship is more complicated then it needs to be?" he said in the opening session on Saturday. I sure feel that way. The other little line I loved from him was in the priesthood session which said: "It's easy to be skeptical, anyone can do it." I'm probably one of the more skeptical people I know! For the record, President Uchtodorf is my favorite current general authority. I love all of them, but what he says always seems to speak to me so well.

After the priesthood session, our ward mission leader Brother Soll invited us over for a quick bite to eat. His daughter's boyfriend who is not a member came to the priesthood session and came to the house with us. His name is Harry and he seems to really like the church. He's down to start taking the lessons and the Soll family is very pleased!

We also managed to find Peter after a lot of knocking late in the week! He was amazed we were able to find him. He gave us his phone number and said we could call early this week. He's the father of a young family.

So ends another week in the mission. It seems like we've been rewarded. I'm so thankful that we could see some fruit from our works and faith. As Sister Merriot said in the conference, "It all works out!" Now its time to move forward and help the ward see some baptisms. Just so you're aware, its thanksgiving weekend and the library will be closed so don't expect any emails from me until next Tuesday. Enjoy the Thanksgiving weekend. I may not be home for this one but I will be for the next!

Elder Maclean Samis

Friday, 2 October 2015

September 28, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

Its a beautiful morning in Coquitlam. Here I am once more after another week in the mission. The more and more I'm here, the more my feelings of inadequacy are present. The past few days have been exhausting.

We were unable to see either Leah or Jesse this week. Both of them have busy lives, though Leah did go with her church friend to the General Women's Broadcast Saturday evening, and she really liked it. I suppose you can put your money on the prophet if you want to have a meaningful spiritual experience!

The only lesson we taught the first half of the week was to a man named William. He's Sudanese and is a strong believer in Christ despite the tough circumstances he's been put in. When we taught him the Restoration he didn't seem to like the Book of Mormon very much. He didn't like that it was adding to the bible and that what we were teaching was more about Joseph Smith then Jesus. In short, almost every common Christian's concern about Mormons. Then the member we were teaching him with spoke up, and explained that the bible and Book or Mormon were like 2 nails. A sign was the gospel. If you nail in one (the bible) in the middle of the sign to a wall, you can swing the sign right or left easily. If you nail both the nails one to each top corner however, the sign will not shift, but stay in one place. We bore testimony, and after a bit of thought, William excepted the invitation to read it!

We also taught a guy named Eric who loves football. He's played a year with the BC Lions and now he coaches a high school team as a hobby. He grew up in a church but didn't go to church very often. We taught him the Restoration and things were going great until his wife walked in the apartment. Eric said "Hey honey these are my friends, Elder Samis and Elder Nielsen! They're Mormon missionaries" She forced herself to be polite and said "ok that's great", though the 3 of us knew she was thinking otherwise. She went away to a bedroom and didn't come out.

Beyond these 2 visits, we've visited a few members, and went finding a ton Friday till Sunday. With the streets in downtown Coquitlam not very busy these days, we went tracting a lot. We were given a potential investigator named Peter who is really interested, but they only got the street he lived on,which was really long, so we went right ahead and knocked out the entire street. Despite being out 20 months, I'm still finding it really difficult to find the words I need to say, to talk to people. Elder Nielsen doesn't have this problem and quite often seems to be taking over the conversation as soon as there's a couple seconds of silence. Its a crippling feeling, and it seems like no matter how often I study the lessons and pray to have the spirit tell me what I should say when I need to, it doesn't come to me very easily.

Its a good thing general conference is coming up soon because maybe I'll find my answer on how to fix this really irritating problem. On top of that, the Quorum of the 12 needs 3 new apostles, so this will perhaps be the most interesting general conference I've lived to see. It will also be the last I'll watch on my mission. With this week finished, I thank you for your thoughts and prayers. If it weren't for them, I don't believe I could serve a mission. Have a great week!

Elder Maclean Samis 


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

September 21, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

Area 5:  Port Coquitlam

So it begins. After a couple more days in Surrey, it was time to pack up and move on. Wednesday afternoon Elder Nielson and I were in my new area which will quite likely be my last. 

Port Coquitlam has been a great place to be so far. It's a lot smaller then Surrey and sits close to the mountains. It's also probably as diverse as Surrey but with a lot more Chinese people than Indian. Our apartment is actually right by downtown Coquitlam. We cover all of downtown which makes it nice and easy for us to street contact. The name "Coquitlam" is apparently a Native word that means "stinky fish"  because for whatever the reason, the fish that come out of the nearby river smell unpleasant.  

The members? They've been terrific so far! We helped them out with the annual BC food drive on Saturday, in which we put the bags that had been donated on scales to weigh them most of the time. The members seem really warm and friendly, especially when I told them I was Canadian.

Elder Nielson is from Logan, Utah. He loves sports (like pretty much everyone down there) I was pleasantly surprised however, when he mentioned that he liked watching hockey too! He seems to take the work very seriously and the members of the ward love him. He knows what he's doing even though he's only been out 3 months. Elder Lopez taught him well.

Our teaching pool has been looking very good so far. We've been seeing this Filipino guy named Noel who had a baptismal date, but for reasons that are hard to explain, we don't know if he should be. He goes on tangents a lot and never really seems to respond well to the questions we ask him.

Among others is Leah, a 16 year old Chinese girl who comes from a Christian family but wants to know if there is a single church that's completely true. She has a friend who is her same age named Ember, a member of the church who is also from a Chinese family. Her mom loves feeding the missionaries! Leah has instant fellowship, which will surely help her progression a lot. We shared a brief review of the restoration with her to make sure she understood it well. She's a little concerned about the need of priesthood authority, but she's willing to pray about it to figure out if such a thing is needed.

There's also Jessie, the mother of a Mexican family who has been taught on and off for quite a while. She loves the missionaries but says that it seems to be taking a long time for her to get an answer on whether or not the Book of Mormon is true and if she must be baptized.

 Yesterday we went to Bishop Ashton's house for dinner. He lives in a large house that overlooks a lot of the Greater Vancouver area. You can see Surrey from up on the hill. Bishop Ashton was called to be bishop over the ward the Sunday before I came in. He's got a daughter that's getting ready to put her papers in for a mission soon, so missionary work is truly "a big deal" to him. 

It appears that my time in this city will likely be a very good one. There are lots of people to bless and a lot left to learn as the twilight of my mission appears to have arrived. We need to sustain this teaching pool and baptize some people before the time is spent. We'll need the direction of the spirit more then ever before. Too often have I gone into investigator's homes, not knowing quite what to say. I guess that just means I'll have to pray harder for the spirit to discern what our investigators need. So ends the first week in a new area. Talk to you all next week!

Elder Maclean Samis

Monday, 14 September 2015

September 14, 2015 - Area 4: Surrey East

Another Challenge Begins

Hey all! So, I think I forgot to mention last week that transfer calls were coming. Sure enough, they came Saturday night. Suddenly I am about to leave Surrey and will be transferred to Port Coquitlam, likely on Wednesday. To my irritation, I can't figure out a way to save a screenshot to show you where it is on a map since those who don't live in BC probably don't know where it is, but its actually just across the bridge to the northern side of the river from Surrey, and east of Burnaby meaning I'll still be within the greater Vancouver boundaries. Fun little fact, my old companion Elder Burns is coming to join Elder Shelley and Elder Tolman. He goes home in 2 and a half months.

President Burt has assigned me to follow-up train Elder Nelson who has been out for only a transfer. I'm really excited for it! I've been told that I'll be in the same stake as Surrey but in the Langley zone. Though I know it won't be easy, I believe I was placed in Surrey to prepare for this task.

What of this final week? We've still been trying to help Ian. We met with him once and his testimony appears to be growing,but at seems like a snail-like pace. We've been having some trouble contacting Jamie to set a time to meet with him. We sent him a few texts a couple days ago and just early this morning he finally replied.

We also got a phone number from the Coquitlam Elders (*it should be noted that Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam are 2 seperate places right next to each other) that belonged to this crazy guy who wanted us to meet him in Holland Park. We did, and pretty much the entire time he bragged about how his bible contained the 2nd and 3rd books of Ezra and a bunch of other writings that were not found in the King James Bible. He was offering to print off the 3rd book of Ezra and charged us some money to do it. Only Elder Shelley bought a copy but Elder Tolman and I didn't bother. We tried sharing about The Book of Mormon but he kept on talking about the bible.

Those who have been following this blog regularly are probably getting the message that being here in Surrey has been a refiners fire. With these great trials that have fallen upon me, its time to move on. I'll be forever grateful for this sacred time I've experienced these 4 and a half short months in this city. You may hate trials in their moment, but when you look back on it, all is well and you've been shaped to something amazing because of them.

And now suddenly here I go, down to what will likely be my final area in my full time mission. I know almost nothing of my area or my companion. One sister missionary who had served some around the area found out I was going there and told me it was a "cute little town" with some nice scenery and a lot of rain. The assistants who gave the call also told me that the area was "booming" which would be very welcoming indeed. 

The next couple days will likely be very busy as I get ready to go. Enjoy The last bit of summer-oh wait I guess school just started didn't it. Love ya bye!

Elder Maclean Samis      

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

September 8, 2015 - Area 4: Surrey East

Saying Goodbye To John

Hey everybody! Sorry this email is late. Its been a wild day so far. Yesterday, being labor day, meant that the church employment center was closed which disallowed us to email. I went to Abbotsford for a doctors appointment after a temple trip in Langley this morning.

This will probably be a pretty short. Yesterday Ian came to church and the day before we had another meeting with him to see how he was doing. Is Ian making much progress? In our eyes, not really but perhaps in the eyes of the Lord. We passed Joshua off the the Langley Elders and they had a lesson with him the other night. We haven't heard how it went since we asked them just a few hours before the appointment started. 

On Friday we came across the name Jamie in our area book. We invited Jamie to our ward corn roast that kicks off tonight at 5:00 pm. He replied to our text saying that he was taught by missionaries in 2003 though, he can't remember what he learned from them. He said that he would come to the activity. We taught him the restoration the following day and it was a solid lesson. The idea of the great apostasy makes a lot of sense. He loves the idea of new prophets as well!

Another big event was the mission farewell of our beloved friend, John B. He's been going out with the missionaries in the ward pretty much daily. He had an open house Sunday night and there was a ton of people there. We'll miss him a lot and we wish him well in his mission Cebu in the Philippines. He leaves tomorrow morning. I know perfectly well that you want a photo with him, so here you go! John is in the gray suit and his mother and younger sister are in the bottom left corner:

It's truly hard to believe that a year ago this past week I left Nanaimo and was placed in Abbotsford. The 20th month of my mission is here (not that I'm counting or anything). Hope you've enjoyed your labor day weekend and the start of the new month. Bye for now!

Elder Maclean Samis   

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

August 31, 2015 - Area 4: Surrey East


The rain has come and will stay for a while here in Surrey following a massive windstorm that blew through Saturday. While visiting a less active family in our ward down by Surrey Central at around noon, we saw some large branches break off a group of trees that tumbled onto the road. As the day moved on and the sky grew darker, more and more trees fell onto power lines, knocking out power in a number of parts in the city. Elder McCown and Elder Anderson had a big tree branch fall on their car while it was parked which cracked the windshield and dented the roof. We ended up having to stay at our apartment that night in the dark, having to stumble around with our flashlights while it was pitch black outside as we got ready for bed. It felt like being in a scene from The Walking Dead!

The next morning, the power still hadn't gotten back on so we drove to the West Elders apartment (which is quite close to the church) and drove them to the church. We had to take all our food from our refrigerator and pile it into the the West Elder's to prevent it from going bad. There was no power on Sunday night either so we called up the zone leaders and they told us to spend the night at their place since it would otherwise take us 30-40 minutes to get home from where we were, along with the fact that we had no food. So here I am now! emailing at our church after a series of adventurous events. 

With that fun little story out of the way, here's what's happening in our teaching pool! Tuesday evening we taught Ian and its still a story we're all familiar with. He doesn't know of a surety that God exists. Ian isn't legitimately progressing anymore so we called him up the other day and told him that we would give him a bit of a break from the teaching. He had no problems with it and will still be coming to church. We'll be praying for him.

Tuesday proved to be a really fun day with 4 appointments after we taught Ian, all in back to back hours! We had a visit with the Gallarde family, who we are trying to reactivate, we had dinner with Sister Mangabat and her son, then we taught Joshua who seems to really like the church. When we told him that we were inviting him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, he told us that it didn't seem like we were trying to solicit people. Like we actually cared! I guess he was really touched by that fact because he teared up a bit. Lastly we taught a guy named Doug who we instantly dropped. Why? Let's just say that he's a little too talkative...

Oh yeah, here's another fun story: Wednesday we had a certain member who called us from the Surrey Memorial Hospital. He introduced himself and told us that he had a couple of friends staying there who each wanted a copy of The Book of Mormon. Well, words like these are music to any missionaries ears, so we went to the hospital front desk and asked for the name of this man we had spoke to on the phone. The woman who worked there took us to where he was. It didn't occur to my companions and I, that this man was staying in the hospital's psych ward! Anyway, we gave the books to his friends, and left as soon as we could.

Back to Joshua. We saw him again the same night the big windstorm rolled in and taught him about baptism. He says that he's seen a lot of signs that point towards the Mormons being right so he would be willing to work towards a date for September 26! The downside is that he will be moving to Langley early next month so we'll have to pass him off to the Langley elders.

I guess at the end of the week, its been similar to the way it's often down here. Well, I potentially have a couple weeks left in the area (I know, transfers are coming again, its weird). Wishing you all the best as school starts up again. Have a great first week of September! Before I sign off, I'll leave you this rather eerie picture of (what's left of) the large Canadian flag just west of Guildford mall following the big storm:

Elder Samis

Monday, 24 August 2015

August 24, 2015 - Area 4: Surrey East

And the Days Go On...

If you read my last email, you probably remember me talking about that lady Elder Shelley and I were led to named Liz. The one who looked like she would be baptized, the lady who seemed to be more then ready to receive us? Well the bad news is she hasn't. The day of her appointment she told us that she couldn't make it but she would meet us at the church for a lesson a couple hours later. She didn't, and we haven't heard from her since. You can imagine by now that our companionship is frustrated beyond all measure.

Well, we are disappointed (not discouraged) but this is what happens when you serve a mission. You hope to find people who are ready, but more often then not, no matter how solid they appear, they will not make it to the water dressed in white while you are in the area. So once again, we're back to a  teaching pool that has only one person in it, Ian. His thoughts about God's existence seem to really be coming along now! We set a date for September 23rd which will give him plenty of time to prepare. He believes that he can't regard the entire Joseph Smith story "made up" because no one in their right mind would lie about what he saw and what he did and die for it if it was a lie.

This past Friday Elder Tolman and I went on an exchange with our beloved district leader, Elder McCown. We decided to go on a bit of an adventure into the roughest patch of Surrey during the evening. We talked to a lot of people, many of them homeless. I talked to this one older guy named Theodore who asked us if we were Mormons. When we replied yes he said that he was interested in a Book of Mormon. We had a great discussion and I gave him one to read. He told us that we could come by the shelter where he was staying the next morning. When we went to the front desk the lady said that there was nobody named Theodore living there. Oh well, who knows where that book will take him? 

After we left the sketch zone we talked to another guy named Joshua who is down to meet with us this Tuesday at the church. He's interested in the Book of Mormon as well and says he is on a search for the truth about God.         

Elder Johnson of the quorum of the seventy came to town to hold a conference this past Saturday afternoon about missionary work. He asked the question "what makes it so hard for us to share the gospel with our friends and families?" People were opened to answer questions during the meeting. One of the sister missionaries serving in our ward stood up and explained that all members of the church has what she calls "FOM" or "fear of man" as she put it. We're afraid to share the gospel because we are afraid of being judged by those around us. I was astonished when she said this because this sister is bubbly, she's confident, she's had 14 baptisms, she was even a star college volleyball player in California before her mission for crying out loud! She's the kind of person everybody and their dog wants to be! And yet she says that she gets nervous about talking to people. Wow, I guess even the great prophet Moses was too.

With that in mind, perhaps I've hopefully turned the corner in my attitude towards myself. Anyone who knows me well knows that I get down on myself a lot. Wish my companions and I luck and prayers as we plunge ourselves into the middle of another transfer here in Surrey, the place that is changing my life for the better! Love you lots and have a great week!

Elder Maclean Samis


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

August 17, 2015 - Area 4: Surrey East

Why You Need to Follow The Spirit

Another week passes. Whose in the teaching pool right now? Only Ian still, though Elder Shelley and I met some one amazing while Elder Tolman was attending his Sister's wedding in Coquitlam on Saturday. 

We'll get to that miracle in a moment but first I'll tell you about our exchange with our zone leaders. I was placed with Elder Reynolds in our own area Friday morning. He came out at the same time Elder Shelley did and seems to have a similar personality to my own. It was a lot of fun discussing interests we had in common. We thought that Ian was ready for his baptismal date since earlier in the week he told us that he was ready. We went over the baptismal questions that evening with our bishop, but when we asked him "Do you believe that God is our Heavenly Father," his answer for us was the exact opposite of what we wanted to hear. "I don't know" He replied. The 2 of us were surprised as well as Bishop De Vera. We taught and testified how he could know if it was true by understanding the Book of Mormon and praying to know. Judging by what he was saying, he figures that he's seeing a lot more signs that God exists then he once did. He's just thinking a little too much.   

We didn't see him at church on Sunday. When we sent him a text asking him where he was he replied that he was sitting by a nearby lake where he was doing some serious thinking. After church we found him where he said he was. We taught him seemingly more of the same things for a little while. As we were talking we heard a shot-gun blast followed by the sound of emergency vehicle sirens seconds later. This is Surrey after all! 

Now lets turn our attention to that miracle I was talking about. Saturday morning when we exchanged back, Elder Shelley and I planned to do what a lot of missionaries like to do in Surrey: Street contact at the Surrey Central bus loop downtown. We were about to get out of our car to work when we had what could only be described as a "funny feeling." We didn't know why we felt it. We were just following our plans. Confused, we said a prayer of direction, knowing that for whatever reason we simply weren't supposed to be here. The thought came into my mind about a referral the Whieler family gave us when we visited them and did a bit of service for them. We drove there, got out at the cross street and were about to knock on the door when we saw a woman, looking of Hispanic decent, driving in her car, pointing frantically towards where we had just parked as she passed us. We followed her as she turned the corner and she just sat silently waiting for us.

When approached her in the car she rolled down the window. When we asked her what was wrong she began to cry, telling us to pray for her family. They had been placed in a critical situation. We offered a prayer and then she told us more of what was going on, now crying more. There was an awful look of emotional agony in her face as she kept talking. She believed in God but felt angry at him for causing her to go through all the troubles she was facing. She felt that something was missing in her life and she didn't know what it was. We explained that even though we didn't know exactly what she was going through, God did and that we have what she's missing. She told us that she knew a little about the church and it seemed like the Mormon Elders were always around to pray for her whenever she was in a hard time. She introduced herself as Liz and gave us her phone number. We will be meeting with her soon this week. She lives in Vancouver, though she comes to Surrey often to visit her 4 kids. We'll probably teach her a few times before passing her over to some sisters in Vancouver.

As she tried to pull away, her car wouldn't start so we helped start it with some jump cables she had in her trunk. She thanked us now smiling and drove away leaving Elder Shelley and I amazed at what just happened. We knew why we were led to where we were now. It was one of the sweetest miracles I had ever been a part of in the long time I've been out on my mission. You serve to be involved in things like this.

With this in mind my brothers and sisters, may we be thankful for the miracles we have seen throughout our lives. Little has been easy being here in Surrey, but being here is perhaps the best thing God could offer me to grow like never before. God bless you are and please pray for Liz. Love you!

Elder Maclean Samis        

Monday, 10 August 2015

August 10, 2015 - Area 4: Surrey East

Just Ian Hello again at the beginning of another transfer. Elder Shelley arrived on Wednesday. Elder Erasmus left with the zone leaders on the ferry to Courtney. Elder Shelley, our new companion, is from Clearfield Utah and he's been out just under a year. He seems to be a really friendly guy and is very much "on the ball" with missionary work. The day he came into the area, he immediately studied the maps, the area book, and the ward list asking lots of questions and coming up with ideas on how we can improve. The first time we took him to Surrey central was a bit of a scare for him since he was up in Prince Rupert (a town off the northern coast of BC with 12,000 people living in it.) Our results this week were pretty similar to last week. Once again, we are still not teaching anyone frequently except Ian. Earlier in the week we taught him about fasting which he seems to be fine with since he has on occasion fasted for 3 days straight when he was younger as part of training for boxing! fasting for just a day should seem like a cake walk for him. We taught him again just before a baptism that the sisters had on Saturday, going over Mosiah 18 in the Book of Mormon. He attended the baptism and seems to like it. He seems to see a lot of things that "make sense" in the doctrine of the church. Just after the baptism we had a ward party that ended up getting rained on. Ian had to leave before it started, but it was still a good time. With our personal finding seeming to be "unfruitful" as of late, we've decided to do all within our power to focus on member missionary work. We have a number of scheduled member appointments this coming week. Hopefully we can get some referrals this week. Ian looks likely to be baptized on the 23rd this month, but beyond him we need to build our teaching pool. I've seen a lot of faith in Elder Shelley, and him and Elder Tolman and I hope to put in strong efforts to achieve meaningful results. With these few things in mind, I will conclude this email. Enjoy the week! Elder Maclean Samis

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

August 3, 2015 - Area 4: Surrey East

The Departure of Elder Lawlor August has come. It's as hot and dry as ever in Surrey. The grass is dead and brown and Elder Lawlor has left us as another transfer comes to a close. He flies out to Japan Wednesday at noon. Elder Tolman and I are still in Surrey and the tri will resume with a new Elder coming in whose last name is Shelly. We don't know anything about him. Today, Elder Lawlor is traveling around Burnaby with one of the Spanish Elders who is also going home, Elder Woolf. His companion, Elder Erasmus has been placed with me and Elder Tolman before he moves on to be transferred to Courtney on Vancouver Island, not so far from Campbell River. Its been 3 months since I was last there already and it appears that it will be at least another month and a half in Surrey before moving into what will likely be my final area. Its been a good week. Lots of traveling around saying goodbyes to people Elder Lawlor knew. He was pretty trunky the first half of the week but got really nervous about going home the final few days before he left us. He's been a great missionary and we will miss him. We taught Ian a couple times, once on Thursday and once Yesterday. On Tuesday we taught the Law of Chastity which he has no concerns with and then tithing on Monday which he seems a little more concerned about. While with Elder Woolf, Elder Lawlor also found a guy named Ritchie who is apparently very solid. He's down to meet with us at 6:00 pm. We'll pray that goes well! We haven't heard from Sara and Jay since their move so far. We'll keep trying. Speaking of moves, we helped Sister Plante move on Friday. The west Elders and a few of the ward members came to help. It took quite a while but I didn't complain. I'm in dire need of more muscle so I'm happy to help people move when the time arrives! Just in case anyone is wondering about my weight, it's still the same as its been for almost my entire mission. Perhaps my overall physic has changed a little now that I'm about a year and a half older but every time I step on the scale it reads pretty much the same thing... As I mentioned, Elder Lawlor left us Sunday night and we've been having a great time with Elder Erasmus. Though he was born in England, he's lived in Calgary for most of his life. His Spanish is quite good although he is being pulled from Spanish work. He's been out for about 6 months now. We went to Boston Pizza yesterday which was the first and last time I'll go there on my mission because of how pricey it is. Those wings were some of the best tasting food I've sunk my teeth into in quite some time! As the new transfer opens, there's a lot to look back on and a lot to look forward to. I have had some hard trials here but at least its making me better. Just as they say about a good work out, if it doesn't hurt, you're NOT DOING IT RIGHT! With that in mind, I better keep going before the remaining time I have left runs out. Keep on enjoying the summer and until this Monday, farewell! Elder Maclean Samis

July 27, 2015 - Area 4: Surrey East

Hello from a now slightly-less dry Surrey, BC! There's quite a bit to talk about this week. If my emails have seemed short lately, I apologize. Its often quite hard to summarize the main events that take place during your weeks on a mission because they disappear in a flash. It feels like I was sitting at this computer 2 days ago. Well the week started off pretty good with back to back exchanges. The first was in Delta where I served with Elder Kelly on Tuesday. The best way I can describe him is pretty similar to Elder Lamb. He's like a big 10 year old. Loves to laugh and smile, he even likes Taylor Swift (So did Elder Lamb. Anyhow we taught this guy that's been investigating the church on and off in Delta for 6 months or so. His name is Kushal and he's East Indian (surprise). He's having a really hard time understanding the English gospel terms so its hard. We really had to reach out with the spirit as we re-taught the gospel of Jesus Christ for what was perhaps the 4th time. Meanwhile the other Elders Lawlor and Tolman were left in Surrey with Elder Hall. They taught Ian the word of wisdom and he appears to not have a problem with it. They also had a very spiritual lesson with Levi and Sonya, teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even so, the language barrier is still an issue. Wednesday, right after district meeting, Elder Tolman stayed in our area and Elder Slack joined us. We did a bunch of contacting at the bus stops by Guildford mall and then moved on to stop by a few less active members who weren't home. The next morning we had another lesson with Ian right before swapping back our companions. We taught him the full gospel of Jesus Christ (I know, this one was taught a lot this week) and he accepted everything. He still says he's unsure if he's gotten an answer that God is there and the church is true. Perhaps he's waiting on some crazy strong prompting. Despite the 2 lessons, he didn't show up at church on Sunday. Friday was great! at around 4:00 pm the church employment center called us and said that there was a lady named Sara and her boyfriend Jay who needed some help moving. We were happy to get the assignment! It was hard work but the couple was very pleased with our help. They fed us Samosas for dinner too! Turns out that Jay is a less active member and he's been seriously thinking about coming back to church. Sara said that she'd be willing to come as well but they didn't make it. They made it clear that they wanted us to visit again sometime and that they would feed us again too! On Saturday we had a nice lunch with the Scarletts, a young recently married couple. The husband Randy is originally from Jamaica and he's a convert to the church. He served his mission in Edmonton of all places! It was cool hearing about his experiences in Alberta. He spent about a year in YSA work though he didn't serve in my ward. Hopefully this is a little more lengthy then usual. Unfortunately, the church employment center with be closed due to a holiday this next Monday so don't fear if you don't see a message that day. Our P Day will be on Tuesday instead. Have a great week! Elder Samis

Monday, 20 July 2015

July 20, 2015 - Area 4: Surrey East

Three Quarters There...

Another week has passed away and another mile stone has been reached. In 6 months from today my mission will be over... Its a scary thought. Its one of those thoughts that makes you look at yourself in the mirror and realize that you have very little time left to improve. By August 6th, the sisters I came out with from the MTC will be home. Elder Lawlor will be gone with them. In a missionary sense, you can consider me "old." 

In short, the week has been pretty good. We taught Ian twice this week. Both the Restoration and Plan of Salvation. He wants it to be true, he just needs to get a spiritual witness that it is true. He's been reading the Book of Mormon daily and has a baptismal date for August 9th. He came to church on Sunday too. Levi and Sonya got back from vacation on Saturday so we'll be able to teach them again soon. We haven't been able to meet with Dawn yet.

Early in the week we found a young man named Ryan who is interested in the church. Before we saw him the next time, his family found out he was being taught by us and they are interested as well! They had to move the appointment they set with us Friday evening to this week but we have great hope that we'll be able to see them this week.

The biggest wow moment of the week was on Saturday. We were at a members house for dinner. Dawn Sutton is his name. As we were eating, I noticed an old black and white photo I knew I had seen before. It was of my Great Grandpa Prete with his family (who was my dad's mom's dad.) I told him about my relation to the Pretes. Turns out his mother was a Prete and she happens to be Great Grandpa Prete's sister! That's not even the crazy part. He told me that President Burt's mother was a Prete too, another sibling of Great Grandpa Prete! That basically means that President Burt is a first cousin of my Grandma Samis! Don't ask me what that makes me to him but its a small, small world when it comes to them Mormon families. I hope everyone keeps enjoying the summer. It won't last long! The days are getting noticeably shorter and we're already two-thirds done July. Love you!

Elder Maclean Samis

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

July 13, 2015 - Area 4: Surrey East

Attitude Adjustment

Another week has passed and things have been pretty good down here. The weather has cooled off considerably and we had a bit of much needed rain the last couple days. Its been unusually dry for BC this year with all the dead patches of grass everywhere. The cooler weather has made things feel a lot easier to bear it seems. 

Wednesday we decided to try and meet with Jonathan again. We taught him the Restoration this time. He accepts everything, its just a matter of whether or not he wants to act on what we're teaching him. He certainly needs some prayers. He missed church again this week.

On Friday we had a big combined conference with the Chinese zone. I learned a lot of things that day including how to improve something I haven't been doing well lately: HAVING A POSITIVE ATTITUDE. The key has been told to me a few times but the idea somehow stood out to me more then before. You just need to forget yourself and go to work, as President Hinkley's Father told him when he was serving in England after he told him in a letter home that he wasn't well and believed he was wasting his time and his Father's money. I've found that with a positive attitude I have become a better teacher and more people listen to what I say.  

The teaching pool is still small. Levi and Sonya have been away again, this time in Yellowstone National Park. Saturday we did see some fruitful results from finding. We found an Indian guy named Paul. He drives trucks for a living and he seems to be really friendly. He was set to come to church but he got tied up with getting suddenly called into work that day and felt bad about it. Yet another ball thrown by Satan. On the same street we met a lady named Dawn who we're planning to see tomorrow. She has a husband and a couple kids. During our weekly planning we came to the conclusion that we needed to pray to find a family to baptize so perhaps this is a terrific opportunity to do so!

Sunday we had a guy named Ian who met the Sisters a couple weeks ago and came to church for the first time. He had never gone to church in his life before and seemed uncomfortable at first but things got better for him as the meetings moved along. That's really all there is to report for this week. Sounds like quite the scorcher going on in Edmonton. Stay cool!

Elder Maclean Samis 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

July 6, 2015 - Area 4: Surrey East

Pain Day

Another challenging week has struck the Surrey 1st Elders. Last Monday morning Elder Lawlor woke up really sick to his stomach and was having to use the washroom every 15 minutes. I felt fine in the morning but shortly after I finished emailing, I started feeling sick too. First came the fever, then the achy stomach, then the bad diarrhea. Elder Tolman was taken away to work with the West Elders to prevent him from falling victim too. We became so sick that we ended up having to stay in the rest of the day to get some sleep and drink plenty of water. At about 8:00 pm I ended up feeling so disgusting that I thought I was going to pass out but luckily I vomited before I did.

Tuesday was a little better for me, but Elder Lawlor was feeling about the same and sometimes even worse throughout the day. We were able to do a little work for about an hour and a half during our studies, but we realized our mistake. Feeling more exhausted then ever, we called President Burt and stayed in until the last hour of the day. 

On Canada Day I felt better but poor Elder Lawlor was still a mess. Despite eating next to nothing for almost 3 days, he still kept on having to use the washroom over and over and had to call the mission nurse to figure out what to do. When he described the severity of the pain in a certain area in his stomach, she suggested that he go to the hospital just in case he had appendicitis! We had to wait for about an hour and a half in emergency only to luckily find out that it was apparently just a bad stomach virus that was going around. Despite all the terrible things he's had to endure, Elder Lawlor still kept a remarkably positive attitude. He's a real trooper and has been a great companion!     

Then came Thursday. Elder Lawlor was finally better, though he still had to get some rest before we left the apartment. Elder Tolman came back that evening and managed to not get sick fortunately. What of Friday? That was my birthday! It wasn't overly eventful. I ate McDonalds with my companions and then went to DQ during the evening for an oreo birthday cake blizzard which proved to be very good. I turned 21 and I will be the same age when I return home this January. Time grows short.

Well due to our illness, we didn't teach many lessons. Just the usual finding. Ever since I've arrived in Surrey, there's been a strange way god has chosen to teach us. Whenever we overcome an obstacle it seems like BAM! something else bad happens and we get knocked back on our butts. I have no idea why the success has been so scarce in this area but we just somehow need to man up and figure things out. Hope July has been treating the rest of you good. Have a great week!

Elder Maclean Samis          

Monday, 29 June 2015

June 29, 2015 - Area 4: Surrey East

A Heat Wave

As we move towards July, so ends another week in the field. Elder Tolman came here on Wednesday morning and we immediately got to work. The same day Elder Tolman got a pretty interesting first look at what can sometimes happen in Surrey. We were waiting for the bus and street contacting at the Guildford mall bus terminal when a man who was clearly under the influence of something approached me and got in my face a little. He wasn't angry at me but he talked about his poor posture and how he just had surgery even though I couldn't understand what he was saying. Next thing I knew he started walking backwards into the busy traffic! A lady who realized what he was doing grabbed his arm and pulled him away and he collapsed on to the side walk seemingly in lala land. Elder Lawlor called 911 and a fire engine and an ambulance came to help. We caught our bus home for lunch just after. So what happened in Surrey this week? Uh-huh, we just about saw a man get killed.

In terms of teaching, we've been once again trying to teach Levi and Sonya about the nature of God though it seems like what we're trying to do is limited because of the language barrier. They told us that they aren't interested in going to the Richmond Chinese Ward because they want to be with the Cardwells when they go to church. Elder Lawlor has been doing a great job at helping them. He used to teach English to a kindergarten class when he lived in Japan.

We also taught a guy named David yesterday and gave him a church tour. Even though he has his own unique ideas about God, he is opened  to learning more about the church. His father and his family are Mormon. Unfortunately, Jonathan has been getting really flaky again lately. Other then that there isn't too much to talk about. Stake conference was this past weekend.  Hope all is well for those of you who are out of school. Have a great first week of July!

Elder Maclean Samis     

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

June 22, 2015 - Area 4: Surrey East

Return of the Tri

Happy Fathers Day and Summer Solstice! The weather is hot and sunny and the days are longer then ever. So begins another week in Surrey and my 17th month as a missionary is in the books. I'm getting old now and that means more pressure is on the way as I reach towards the end of it all. Life will never be the same afterward.
Transfers just passed and Elder Lawlor will be staying in Surrey East but we have another third Elder joining us. His name is Elder Tollman and he's half Chinese. I don't know a lot about him but we talked to him on the phone the other day and he seems like a cool guy. He's been out almost as long as I have so there will be plenty on experience between the 3 of us. As difficult as the last transfer was, we're getting ready to rock and roll for the next one!
In other interesting news Elder Bonfield has been moved to Nanaimo North to be a zone leader! He's really excited to go back to the island. I hope to be able to serve around him again some time.
We've taught a few more lessons this week. On Friday Elder Hall and I went on an exchange, got lost a bit because I still don't know the transit routes that well, but we taught Jonathan. Just after our lesson with him about the Word of Wisdom we went to a nearby park where the church had a BBQ from 5:00 - 8:00 pm! Elder Lawlor and I are both broke and haven't been able to eat a whole lot so we ate so much there we were pretty much sick after.
Levi and Sonya were taught by Elder Lawlor and Elder Hay yesterday while I was placed with
Elder Lau. We met this really nice Christian guy named Sam who we sort of had a well- lets call it a debate about our beliefs on the Restoration. Sam told me that he could tell that I was rather unhappy that what I was trying to tell him wasn't being understood so I got rather humbled by that. He can't say that he believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet but he noticed that I was struggling and prayed for me after the discussion. It's so nice to see people like that forgive you even when they're not from your faith. I learned a valuable lesson to be bold but not overbearing and sore when people don't agree with you.
Well this is all there is to say I guess. I'm grateful for my Father hear on the earth and for his patience in putting up with us for all these years. I know little about being a Father, but I know its a sacred responsibility in our Heavenly Father's plan. I love him so much as well. May we all respect and honor our Fathers throughout our lives. I understand that there are some who were aware of my hard circumstances over the past few weeks that have been fasting and praying hard for me. Thank you. I love you all the more for that as well. Enjoy the start of summer!
Elder Samis