Still in Nanaimo for now

Still in Nanaimo for now
Elder Samis on the ferry

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

May 25, 2015 - Area 4: Surrey East

Adjusting To The Big City

Hello again everyone, it's been a challenging week here in Surrey East. Navigating the area has been difficult and I'm still adjusting to the contacting we do in Surrey central.

We had a mini missionary come out with us on Friday night and he stayed and worked with us. Brother Leano is 16 and is from the Delta ward. He did great! We went to Surrey Central and he talked to a few people there. He's a quieter guy but he did a great job of stepping out of his comfort zone. It made me reflect on how things were at the start of my mission.

During this mini mission, we taught a man named Jim, Sunday evening. Jim is from the Philippines. We had a great lesson with him. He was invited to be baptized and said he would pray to know if he should. Ammol has been passed on to the Langley YSA Elders. We were unable to see Betty. We couldn't get a member to come out with us to a lesson with her so we couldn't have one. We re-scheduled for this Tuesday.  
We've found a few potentials this week and I'll let you know if any of them turn into anything. Unfortunately, Elder Lawlor  and I don't have much money or much food. We'll do some shopping today and thankfully, the great members of this ward have been taking care of some of our dinners! I'm grateful to be here and for the hardships I've been facing. I know they are making me stronger. There's this old saying that we have here in the mission field that "If things are easy, you're not growing." This will certainly apply well throughout the rest of my life! Enjoy the sunshine as summer gets closer! Till next time,

Elder Maclean Samis

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

May 19, 2015 - Area 4: Surrey East


I don't really want to write this weeks email knowing how long it will probably turn out at the end of the day but I suppose I better, so sit back and get ready for a ramble!. I couldn't write it yesterday due to the Victoria Day weekend. All the libraries in Surrey were closed and so was the church employment center. 

Where do I begin here...? Ah yes, Elder Heiner and I spent our remaining days in Campbell River saying goodbye to everyone. We were given our travel plans Tuesday night after some tough goodbyes to Britaini and Candace. We had to leave at 7 that night and stayed with the zone leaders over night before catching the 12:45 pm ferry the next day.  

Remember that email last week when I told you guys that I was going to be placed with Elder Bonfield and another Elder in a tri in Surrey West? Well, turns out that that assistants accidentally misinformed me about my transfer news. Another assistant informed Elder Bonfield that he was going to be placed with Elder Slack in Surrey West who was going to be transferred from Clearbrook. This was the correct info but I was told otherwise. My new zone leaders (Elders Green & Hall) told me I was actually supposed to be placed in Surrey EAST with Elder Fitamant and Elder Lawlor. So it was. Elder Bonfield is my district leader. 

Elder Lawlor is from Japan originally but lived in Calgary a little before his mission. He has 3 months left. Elder Fitamant moved from France to Quebec for a few years before he got sent on his mission. He had only served 3 months before going back home yesterday for unknown reasons. Its expected that he'll come back on his mission in 6 months or so. Its a shame too because I really liked him despite not being with him for long at all. His English had been pretty good.

So now here I am with just Elder Lawlor is Surrey West. I'm terrible at explaining things so I hope you haven't been confused yet. :P How's Elder Lawlor? He's been good. He loves to cook, especially Japanese food which is awesome. Speaking of Japanese food, we went to a Japanese restaurant on Friday for lunch with Elder Bonfield and Elder Slack. Here's a look at the 3 of us during our half-week long companionship:

How's Surrey? Surrey is a very diverse place. You'll find every race of people imaginable here. Plenty of asians, natives, whites, blacks, you name it, this town probably has it!   As challenging as it's seemed with the much faster then Campbell River pace, it's been a lot of fun. We've done much of our contacting at Surrey central downtown at the bus terminal. The feeling of being there for the first time can be best described as feeling like you're a 14 year old at your first church dance. There are so many girls-or in this case people to talk to yet you're scared to do it. It's overwhelming!  Has the nerves of talking to people about the gospel on the street ever gone away since the beginning of my mission? Not really. It seems to never go away altogether. It's just something that has to be done.

Teaching has been good so far. We've been teaching a new investigator named Betty. She's Mexican and is one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet. Her and her 13 year old daughter are undecided about which church is true though they are of strong Christian faith. They used to go to their church but aren't practicing, mostly just searching. When I told her that Jesus visited the Americas in the Book of Mormon she was really excited about it! We taught her with Brother Smith, our ward mission leader.

The other main person we're working with right now is Ammol. He's a Y.S.A. aged East Indian man who was given a copy of the Book of Mormon a few days before I came to the area. He says he found it very interesting, so much so that he read all of 1 Nephi before we came back for his next lesson! He has a baptismal date for June 23rd. Make sure you keep him in your prayers! 

Our ward here is a big one with 140 active members and people of every kind. We had our first dinner appointment with a Polynesian couple named the Kawjiks. They're awesome! I've heard that out of all the zones in the mission, the Surrey zone gets fed the most! Well to conclude these remarks, I'll end by saying thank you for your prayers as I've traveled. My mission keeps getting harder, but also very rewarding. I hope everyone has been well as the weather has improved. Yesterday was a bright and sunny 27 degrees here and it looks like it will be just as nice today! Love you all!

Elder Maclean Samis  

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

May 11, 2015 - Area 3: Campbell River

Area 4:  Surrey 1st West

There are many names I could give to this week's email... Elder Heiner and I have a couple of long days ahead of us. If you took part in my Mothers Day Skype call, you will pretty much be up to speed on what's been going on during the most interesting part of my mission. Saturday night at around 8:20 pm, we received a call from our zone leader, now turned assistant, Elder Lewis who told Elder Heiner and I that we were both going to be leaving Campbell River!

I will be going back to the lower mainland to serve in Surrey 1st West. My new companion? Elder Bonfield, my beloved MTC companion, along with another Elder who's name I can't remember at the moment. I'm going to be in a tri-panionship in among the busiest areas in the mission. I'm heading for Greater Vancouver! No, this is real, I kid you not. We live in a world where random things happen when you least expect them. Elder Heiner meanwhile is moving to Vancouver East for the last 6 weeks of his mission with Elder Gawrys, Elder Briscoe's trainer in Campbell River. Crazy right? 

It gets crazier! Here's another batch of news you would not have heard if you Skyped with me the other day. A few hours after the call over Skype, we received a phone call from the assistants who told us that missionaries in Campbell River will be taken out temporarily due to the lack of new missionaries coming into the mission. We couldn't help but feel a bit devastated over the news. What will happen to the ward, Candace, the Sewids, and Britaini is uncertain. I guess it's all between them and the Lord now. No details for our traveling plans yet.     

As for the week before the big news, the work has been reasonably good. On Tuesday we put in some time to help Brother Watson with the Bison Ranch. We fixed the barb wire fences up which isn't exactly the most comfortable thing to do when there's dozens of 2400 lb animals living on the other side of it... We taught Britaini a solid lesson on the plan of salvation which she really enjoyed. There was a lot of interaction between the 3 of us. We finished up on Candace's lesson on the commandments. Tara hasn't been around for a good part of the week. She took a trip with Rick but we did manage to visit her last night and broke the bad news to her. We haven't told anyone else but the Knowles and Bishop that the area is shutting down.

We haven't received our travel plans but we'll have to spend a lengthy time cleaning our apartment out and preparing it for whatever the Knowles decide to do with it once we're gone. Once we finish our cleaning, it's off to Quadra Island where we will be eating dinner at the Stewart-Webb's home. This may sound like a negative email but I'm excited for Surrey and being back with Elder Bonfield. Surrey is a large place and I haven't come close to serving in an area quite like it. I'm pretty sure all the working out I've been doing with Elder Heiner has kept my stress levels at bay. 10 months ago I would be scared out of my dress slacks if I had to go through this, but right now I'm not. 

I'll end this email by saying happy Mothers Day to all the awesome moms out there including mine! Motherhood truly is a sacred role in God's plan and I'll forever be grateful for all the work my Mom has put into raising us 3 kids! Have a great week everybody! Talk to you from Surrey next Monday!

Elder Maclean Samis     

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

May 4, 2015 - Area 3: Campbell River

A Quiet Week

Another week in the books. There isn't too much to talk about this week. On Thursday We taught Candace about tithing and she is willing to live it. She's going to be away this next weekend so she won't be able to come to church. Fortunately, she's almost off coffee. We tried to go back to GNC and teach Britaini another lesson but it was busy there so it was difficult to have a one on one lesson with her. 

We had a big zone conference in Nanaimo in which we had to do a lot of driving that day. Its always fun to car pool and talk to other missionaries of course. 

Our biggest news of the week is the fact that that we talked to the wife of a man named Rick who Elder Briscoe found days after I came to Campbell River. She told us that Rick has been reading the Book of Mormon as he's been away on the fishing boat ever since! Though Rick is rarely home and has an unpredictable schedule, his wife Tara is totally interested! We managed to teach them both on Saturday. They loved the first lesson! They were set on coming to church but Rick ended up getting called in Sunday morning for work so he had to get ready to get on the ferry. 

That's about all there is to report. The weather has been beautiful over the past 2 days. Summer is on the way and its getting to the point where we have to keep our jackets off when we work. Next thing we know we'll have to wear sun screen! Have a great week everybody!

Elder Maclean Samis   

April 27, 2015 - Area 3: Campbell River

The Boomerang Effect

Well its been another good week though things are once again slowing down. I'd like to begin with a beautiful shot of Rebecca Spit from our trip to Quadra Island last P day.

On top of that, we had a dinner scheduled on Brother Watson's Buffalo farm where we ate Asian water buffalo steaks! THAT my family and friends was perhaps the best meat I've ever had! After dinner, Brother Watson gave us a little tour of the ranch. He has quite a few wood bison and water buffalo. He also recently brought in a few pigs. Then he took us to his farm meat shop where he gave us jerky, bacon, and pepperoni. All made from Bison!  

What happened the day after was quite discouraging. To our disappointment, we called Mary Tuesday morning to set another appointment with her and she said that she talked to her mom about her investigation and she came to the conclusion that she didn't want to be baptized into the church because she had already been baptized into her own. 

That same day, we got another text from Britaini who told us that she was dealing with some personal troubles and needed to take a step back from our contact with her while she has some personal time with the Lord and she would contact us if she was led to us... We know what that reaction gets you 9.5 times out of 10... 

After those 2 heart breakers, we went on a blitz exchange with the Powell River Elders. Elder Heiner and Elder Haskins were together and something was giving Elder Heiner a strong impression to go to GNC to talk to Britaini. Sure enough, she was there and very happy to see them. Since Elder Haskins is a marine, Elder Heiner was big into football, and Britaini turns out to be a heavy lifter herself, the 3 of them got involved in a series of conversations about working out, protein supplements, and Jesus! It just shows you what you can do when you have similar interests.

Indeed, Britaini has somehow once again boomeranged her way back into our teaching pool, this time with a lot of intent! We'll be seeing her this Thursday and teach her at a pace that will make her feel as comfortable as possible. Elder Whited and I meanwhile tracted much of that day and found a potential. 

During the same exchange, Haskins and Heiner taught Candace the law of chastity and the word of wisdom. She drinks a little coffee but she says that quitting should be a breeze. Her date will have to be moved but we're not worried.  

What of Adrian? Its been kind of the same old same old with her. She isn't progressing and seems to be cancelling all our set appointments whenever we knocked the door. Anyone remember the Banmon family? Well, the other day we decided to give them a try. Jeff answered and we talked for a few moments. Though he said that he's moved past the idea of investigating the church, we left on much more peaceful visit then our last exchange. I will probably never see that family again in this life, but I take comfort in knowing that I did what I could to help them hear the word.

Lastly I'd like to talk a little about the ward fiesta Saturday night. It was a great success. We had a few less actives show up and we had a big taco dinner and played a variety of games including the limbo which I tried out. I was doing quite good until I finally landed flat on my butt in front of the entire ward. :P

That's all for this week! 

Elder Maclean Samis 

April 20, 2015 - Area 3: Campbell River

Restoring the Pool

The title of today's email perfectly describes what kind of week it has been in Campbell River. We haven't found much in the way of new investigators, but rather re-establishing our teaching pool by recontacting former investigators that Elder Bricoe and I taught.

The first big miracle of the week occurred Tuesday morning just after I shoved Britaini's teaching record in the former pool. She wouldn't reply to our messages and we were quite disappointed. We had originally planned to tract fairly close to our apartment, but the spirit wasn't having it. It seemed to give us the prompting to go up to around the downtown area and do some store contacting. Elder Heiner spotted a GNC store (which is a place where you can buy protein supplements for working out) and see if he could find some people to relate to. Sure enough when we walked in, nobody was around except the person who worked there. Of all the people it could be, IT WAS BRITAINI! She was really happy to see us and hadn't lost interest since we last spoke to her. We got her new address. When we asked her why she wasn't replying to our texts, she told us that her phone had quit working on her. Somewhere, the Lord had to be chuckling at this one! These things just don't happen.

We managed to have a quick lesson with her on Saturday night. For whatever reason, she couldn't make it to church the next day, but that won't stop us from teaching her.

Among other people that have returned to the pool are Mary, who we had a great lesson with at the church on Saturday night as well. She believed every word of the Plan of Salvation and she definitely wants to be baptized, she's just not sure when would be best. We invited her to pray to find out whether or not May 30th would be a good day to aim for. The only trouble was, she didn't come to church on Sunday.

The newest investigator in our pool is Candace's husband, Curtis who is suddenly interested in being baptized too! We set a date with him for the 23rd of May. Next month could indeed be perhaps the biggest one of my mission so far.

Lastly, we managed to reconnect with Adrian, though we haven't been able to teach her since then. She keeps on having to do a ton of baby sitting for some friends so her house has been crazy.  

Those are the main people we've been working with. This email will be a little bit short since Elder Heiner and I are getting ready to head out to Rebecca Spit over on Quadra Island. We don't know too much about the place, but it's apparently a gorgeous place to be! The photos will likely have to wait for next Monday, but until then, please pray for these investigators. Too many times have we been stuck in a cycle of doing really well in our area and then losing everybody all over again. If it be God's will, we want to help people get baptized! I hope everyone enjoys the spring weather. Ours looks very promising indeed! Have a good one!  

Elder Maclean Samis