Still in Nanaimo for now

Still in Nanaimo for now
Elder Samis on the ferry

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

December 28, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

Merry Christmas

Good tidings! This is Elder Samis reporting from Poco. Indeed, Christmas is a wonderful time to be a missionary. During these past 2 years, its been really easy to take a break from all the commercialism and focus on Christmas' true meaning. Not much too exciting happened prior to Christmas Eve but when that special night finally came, we enjoyed the company of the B family. They had a number of relatives over, a few of them not members of the church so that was really nice. There was a big turkey dinner and then an hour of opening presents after.

On Christmas day, Elder Okamoto and I decided to knock on a few doors which we had little luck on. Only one person answered when we tried caroling instead of the regular routine at the doors. It was a clever idea, but not enough people answered to make it effective. We got to the W's Skyped our families and ate another turkey dinner. The celebration of the savior's birth continued into the night with singing carols, and concluded with a spiritual thought from the 2 of us.

It was unfortunate that we had only a few lessons this week. Never the less, we were spoiled rotten by the Poco ward members. We had a meal appointment every day last week. We were gifted food and other wonderful surprises! Over the course of the week Sister P, one of the relief society counselors texted us and told us that they were planning to do a New Years hamper for my companion and I and asked us if we had any requested items. We told her that all we needed was a new set of bed sheets and a blanket. On Sunday, these wonderful sisters gave us a little more then what we requested.
(sorry it's side ways). I just about cried when I saw this. It was indeed humbling to receive it. Oh, there's no doubt I would have hugged every sister in the relief society if I could have. :) Let me tell you though, carrying this into our apartment was a workout on the arms.

It makes me a little sad now that Christmas is over. There is still much to do before my mission wraps up in 3 weeks. Mel has been so-so responsive with our texts. She was sick over Christmas and won't be able to see us until after January 1st. I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas. Please pray for me that I will be able to finish strong to the end. I don't doubt that I can, but the extra support would be much loved and appreciated. Also, happy New Year!

Love from,

Elder Maclean Samis 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

December 21, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

My Dear friends and family,

Guess what?? Christmas is this friday! Its been a good week despite the seemingly difficult time we're having trying to talk to as many people as possible. I've been thankful for this time of year to serve the final weeks of my mission. Yesterday we had the wonderful experience of being a part of the Poco Ward Choir and sang a few songs the Sunday before Christmas. After church our bishop held a ward get together at his house and we ate lunch there. It was so great to be among so many great and faithful members in that house! The bishops less active son also had a couple of his non-member friends there and we answered a few questions they had about the church.

On Monday night we had a really special lesson with Melanie. During our lesson about the Plan of Salvation she asked us quite unexpectedly, "So if I were to get baptized, would you be there with me?" We aswered with a yes and invited her to be baptized on the 16th of January, 4 days before my departure from the mission field. She has accepted but unfortunately, she hasn't been heard from since then. We hope she didn't fall on any anti. We'll keep on trying to contact her.

The zone meeting on Wednesday was very special and emotional experience for me. As it was my last zone meeting, I bore my testimony about the atonement and how he has always been right there with me, even in the darkest times of my mission. I felt charged by the spirit afterward.

On Friday night we had a lesson with a former investigator named William. He's a very kind man with a lot of health challenges that have been preventing him from meeting with us. He's from Sudan and considers himself Christian. The last time we saw him, he was concerned about the Book of Mormon and was wondering why we needed it since we already have the bible. However, he read it during the time he's been ill and told us that he feels really good about it. We proceeded to testify of it and then taught him the Plan of Salvation, emphasizing the doctrine of the Resurrection that deeply touched him. He was very grateful for our visit and told us to come back any time!

Late last night Elder Okamoto and I had our plans fall through and were unsure of what to do. Then he suggested we go see Rocky, another former investigator. We did so and he was surprised but quite pleased to see us again. His wife was also there and though she sat in the living room while we spoke to Rocky in the dining room, she seemed to be listening to us. After showing Rocky one of the Christmas videos recently released by the church, they sent us home with a bag of mini oranges! While we're not too sure exactly what the level of interest they have is, we will be sure to know by the end of this week if we should keep teaching them. 

How's the schedule looking for Christmas? Well, the W family has kindly offered to allow us to Skype our families at 3:00 pm MST. Sister W is Skyping her 2 sons, while Elder Okamoto will be talking to both his mom and his step dad at separate times and I'll skype my own! That's a lot of skyping in one home! We plan to have a turkey lunch after. It should be a lot of fun spending a good chunk of our time at the W's. There will probably be some finding on the 25th as well since there are time gaps to fill.

Have a Merry Christmas!
Elder Maclean Samis

Saturday, 19 December 2015

December 14, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

We are into the final transfer. 6 more weeks to work myself silly. Not that this is a bad thing of course, I just want to finish strong!

Monday night we taught Melanie, once again with Jared. She feels like God seems to be answering her prayers a lot more clearly, which she is very excited about. She's still pretty shy about coming to our church but we're confident she'll make it soon enough!  

Tuesday evening: We were walking to an appointment that just happened to be across the street from the mall downtown. The mall's parking lot was right across from our view where we heard a nasty crunching noise and saw a brand new white Jeep SUV flying in reverse through the entrance to the parking lot, causing another SUV to slam into a barrier as it swerved out of the way, avoiding what would have been nothing short of a disaster. The Jeep finally stopped on the other side of the parking lot, backing into another car taking out one of it's headlights...

Elder Okamoto and I decided to get close to see if everyone was alright. Turns out there was a family of three in the car. The Mother and her son got out of the car a bit shaken but no worse for ware. The young daughter that was driving the car however had her eyes tightly shut and was sobbing as she buried her face in her hands. A few moments later the mother talked to the man involved in the accident and they sorted things out together while we started talking to the 2 kids. By this point the girl driving got out to get some fresh air, still breathing hard and crying. "It was my first time driving with my learners!" she exclaimed. "Now I don't ever want to drive again!" Her brother and us told her that she didn't need to worry. That all of us make mistakes and now she will know to be more careful.

We felt terrible for her. We wished there was something we could do to help further. As I watched this poor girl, I thought to myself are we not all a bit like this at times? We often do things either by accident or intentionally that may bring harm to ourselves and others and it makes us feel really bad. There is however, one person we can rely on to take away our guilt when we mess up. Then we can walk away and strive to not make the same mistake. In the end, everybody was alright with only a bit of damage done to the 3 cars involved.

Well, with that story out of the way how did the rest of the week go? Well, we taught the O family and cleared up a couple of big concerns. The first was our stance on homo-sexuality and the second was about plural marriage! We were able to give them satisfying answers which they agreed on. This would be the last time we would teach them before they pack up their bags for New York. They won't be coming back until January 9th, 11 days before I return home. When I told then this it seemed to sadden them quite a bit, which made me feel sad as well. I just can't believe how close I am to the end of what has been a remarkable 2 years.

To our disappointment, we got contact with Jignesh by texting him how his Christmas prep was going. Then after he replied that it was going well we asked him if he had read the Book of Mormon and he didn't reply... Guess we'll have to try again some other time.

On Saturday I made a stop back in Surrey to see an excellent stake Christmas Cantana. There were various songs to hear, many of them outside of the hymn book. At the end we stood up and sung the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. It was rather good fun. Elder Okamoto and I have listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's version of that quite a lot so we pretty much had it memorized. I'm pretty sure we were the only ones outside of the choir who knew the tune off by heart.

So concludes another week of interesting experiences. You don't really see what's in the world until you serve a mission. It's always really cool to know that God often puts you in position to help comfort people who need it, even if they only need a pat on the back and gentle reassurance. May you all enjoy the Christmas break as we continue another week of growth in the mission field.

Elder Maclean Samis 

Friday, 11 December 2015

December 7, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

Caroling in the Rain  (featuring the S. family)

There seems to have been a lot more people then usual being kind to us ever since we heard the bad news about Jignesh. Elder Okamoto and I will be texting him sometime this week to see how he's doing and determine what to do from there. Last night before we had dinner at a members house we tracked a certain street where we found 3 people who said we could come back and share more!

Transfers have passed and it has been confirmed that I will finish my mission in Port Coquitlam. It's a great thing too because my companion and I are really starting to click with the members of the ward! I was honestly scared of having Christmas so close to the time I go home, but I feel like things have been working out really nicely lately.  There hasn't really been a lot to be discouraged about. 

We've been working with a very kind lady named Mel who was passed to us by the Port Moody Sisters when they discovered she lived in our area. We taught her for the first time on Tuesday with Our ward mission leader's son, Jared, who has been a great help to us since returning from the Canada, Montreal Mission. The lessons he's helped us teach often involve him saying a lot. It is evident that he was an excellent teacher on his mission!

On Wednesday night we saw Jessi and Victor with Brother S. Jessi and her son were sick and Victor has been feeling pretty stressed about work lately so we gave them all priesthood blessings. I marveled at how easily I forgot the words to the annointing part. Guess it had been a while since I had last done it. A few days later, Jessi expressed to us via text that all of them were feeling a lot better!

Early Saturday morning we walked and tracted this one street where a white house with bright yellow trim caught my eye. The spirit told me to go there right away and sure enough, we met a man named Simon! He's a great guy, born in Iran and has lived in North America for 30 years. He apparently investigated the church some years ago but stopped because he ended up moving to Washington for a while.
Saturday was also the night of the ward Christmas activity. Before it, we went caroling with the S family which was a lot of fun despite the heavy December rain. I still can't tell you how odd it is seeing rain this time of year. It's Just WRONG. At the party we saw Simon and he brought his son Eli with him. We talked with them during most of the activity. Jessi, Victor, and their kids also came to the party. It seems like almost everyone in the ward knows them so we didn't have to worry about them as they sat with the S and the W families having a great time.

So, after the conclusion of one of my longer emails in a while, I wish you all the best at the start of this holiday season. Cheers and thank you for your prayers and support!

Elder Maclean Samis

Friday, 4 December 2015

November 30, 2015 - Area 5: Port Coquitlam

A Difficult Week

We come now to the conclusion of what's been a difficult week. Thursday was a delightful day for the devil when we found out during our weekly planning that Jignesh's family did not approve him of being baptized into the church... As discouraging as that kick in the leg was, we didn't let ourselves go into the "Wo is me!" faze. 

We taught Jessie's family on Wednesday with our ward mission leader, Brother S and his wife. When we extended an invite them to get baptized, they got pretty defensive and told us that they were not ready. Even so, it was a good lesson. The S family proved to be great fellow shippers. Brother S was most disappointed when we told him about Jignesh after the lesson. He couldn't believe it! So it appears that the O family won't be baptized during my time as a missionary either, and while there has been no report of anyone I've taught getting baptized for the past seven months, its no excuse to give in and waste the time I have left on my mission with self-pity. Brother S told us that he didn't have any baptisms on his mission to Ireland, yet he has been blessed well throughout his life since.

There are a lot of people we began teaching this week. The most solid of these has been Debora who we dropped in on this past Sunday. She has to be one of the nicer people I've met on my mission! We found her about 3 weeks ago but it had been difficult to get in contact with her since, until yesterday. She's been going through a number of difficulties and we taught her a little about the Plan of Savation. We're pretty sure her husband isn't too thrilled with our visits though...

Yesterday Elder Okamoto and I sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" in sacrament meeting. After some time struggling with following the notes in my first few practices, I was able to work through it and sound pretty good I think. After church we practiced singing a version of "The First Noel"  which seems quite a bit more tricky. That's about it for the week I suppose. Enjoy the first week of December!

Elder Maclean Samis