Still in Nanaimo for now

Still in Nanaimo for now
Elder Samis on the ferry

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