Still in Nanaimo for now

Still in Nanaimo for now
Elder Samis on the ferry

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