Still in Nanaimo for now

Still in Nanaimo for now
Elder Samis on the ferry

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