Still in Nanaimo for now

Still in Nanaimo for now
Elder Samis on the ferry

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