"I know that it doesn't matter if the person you try to teach doesn't commit to anything, it just matters if you're doing your best at inviting them to come unto christ."

Monday, 30 January 2012

Weekly Update 30 January 2012

Hello Everyone!

We have a picture of my first day just before entering the MTC and a picture of me 7 months out and back with Elder Peterson. So much change, it's unbelievable! Oh and Shout out to the Lowrys in St. Helens!
This week has been incredible, if you could get missionaries who were ever too busy, it would be us, being busy is a good thing! This week has just flown by and I can't believe I'm e-mailing you all today already. So we start the week with a Zone Leader exchange, Elder Peterson goes to Liverpool for a bit because he has to keep up his Chinese and Liverpool is a Chinese speaking missionary area. We mostly find on Tuesday, I can empathise with those people stopping you on the High Streets for Charities and such, it is a noble cause trying to speak to people to tell them about the wonderful message you share. Some messages are more important than others, but it takes a great deal of courage to talk to them, and that is what we did for a whole day.

One of the greatest feelings as a missionary is coming home tired, knowing that you have achieved a great deal, I love coming home in the evening tired, I wouldn't have it any other way. One question members ask missionaries the most is: how do you manage to go to sleep at 10:30pm, well I'll tell you... when you are that tired, your bed becomes salvation! until 6:30am. You could say, the only personal time missionaries get is those 7-8 hours of peace and quiet. We managed to even teach a wonderful investigator on Tuesday evening, such great times!

Miracles always happen in St. Helens, so we found a couple this week, we live near a Cineworld (a Cinema) in St. Helens and some of the best places to talk to people are along those busy roads, however alot of the times where there are busy roads there are busy people so we look for the prepared people who are willing to stop. I love getting in the mindset of "ok Elder we have an hour to talk to people, lets go teach a lesson" I don't like finding people for the whole hour, I enjoy when I have that expectation and we end up teaching someone then, we taught a new Investigator called Danny in front of the Cinema, it was great, his grandparents had just passed on, and the Lord just loves preparing peope for us to teach. We taught danny again the following day, he is just a miracle and now he is going to progress to Baptism. The power of setting aside an hour to find people a day and expecting to teach.

We met as the Liverpool Zone (all the missionaries in one Stake) on Friday, it was the best, we learn and grow off of each other as missionaries, and I even saw my trainer Elder Misbach. He really has grown and it feels great to talk to the Missionary who trained you how to do things and it feels great for him to see how much I've changed. I love how missionary work works!
So on Saturday we went to a Chinese activity where we had over 60 Chinese people attend, investigators, recent converts, members. We met at the Preston Temple site in Chorley, it was great we interacted with all the Chinese people and I even used the Chinese I had learn't (I also got to wear my Chinese missionary badge, shown in Picture 2) we celebrated Chinese new year with them, it was of epic grandeur (the ensign material, methinks) I got to use alot of my chinese I had learnt and well people were convinced I was Chinese.

Funny Story: A Chinese man approaches me speaking Chinese, he hands me his Camera and gets into a pose with his friends, so I suppose he wants me to take a Picture of him and his friends, so I did so, I didn't speak a word... it was funny to see that people were really convinced that I was Chinese. Gift of Tongues.
This Sunday was great we were privilaged to see a Baptism, we had some visitors from Rochdale, so it made me feel at home, a less- active we have been working with also came to Church and Elder Fielder was there aswell...

Miracles happening in St. Helens! What a wonderful time it is to be a missionary!


Elder Sapaden

Monday, 16 January 2012

Weekly Update 16 January 2012


Today I have a few sentances that could try and describe the way I feel right now. "I wouldn't trade my mission for the world", "Have you ever had one of those days that you would never ever take back?", "This is what destiny feels like!" that is how I feel.We started off this week great and it finished great. My only worry right now is if we make St. Helens so righteous it might be taken up like Zion. We had a fantasstic Monday, I cannot stop but ask myself "is this really happening?" we open our mouths, people set up appointments, we are obedient and the powers of heaven descend upon us and the people we talk to are just so prepared. Missionaries in the past haven't had tremendous success in St. Helens, but right now, we are corssing boundaries that have never been pushed in a while.

My Chinese is going fantastic by the way. I can confidently hold up a conversation with a chinese person up to this point. "Hello! How are you? My friend and I are sharing a message about Jesus Christ and his Gospel. Do you have a belief in God? What brings you the most happiness? I know that God lives! My name is Elder Sapaden, what is your name?"
By the way, interesting fact:

Wo cher Sapaden Jaing Lao. Can mean "my name is Elder Sapaden" or "I am Jedi Master Sapaden", or so my companion tells me.

We are beginning to teach alot of people here, investigator after investigator. People are even beginning to stop us on the streets.
Just to tell you how clean our flat is, this week we had a flat inspection. Which usually makes missionaries feel like they have just run a mile. I was calm. The member who is assigned to inspect our flat is retired, so as you can imagine he has a very clean home, and he works in the temple! what a member to have to inspect your flat. We passed with flying colours. Our flat I would like to think is close to temple standard.

Last sunday a non-member who has been going to church for a long time, who just hasn't been baptised finally decided to approach us and ask us to be taught! It's only the beginning of a marvelous adventure. We also met a drunk man who sang to us on the street, surprisingly he had a really good voice.

So let me tell you about yesterday. It was just one of those "Epic" days.
We went to Church that was all good, I met Elder Fielder, who is doing great! he says "hi" to everyone in Staines, after that we have a tea appointment with a member. The member has us over for tea, we eat. Then he goes upstairs and pulls out a box and unwraps it and it turns out to be a keyboard so, we gave him a very musical spiritual thought. This is when the Miracle of the week happens, well you can't really rate miracles but... He told us that he felt an impression that we should deliver a package he has for a less- active member that he was supposed to deliver but felt prompted that we should do it, and so we did it!

We brought this package to this less- active family who gladly let us in their home, we were also able to have a nice conversation with them and they even gave us refferals! Giving refferals to missionaries just sparks fire into every missionaries eyes, try it sometime... stare into your missionaries eyes (not for too long, we don't like that kind of thing) and just see the excitement surging through the brain. I was given two Phillipino refferals because... well yeah. So we knocked on their doors, and not knowing too much fillipino but just full of excitement I managed to say "hello", but they shut the door on us. Was it a failure? Of course not! We are going back to that less- active family again, telling them that they weren't too keen on listening and getting more refferals and the process keeps on going!

We spent the rest of the evening with a member who has just recently returned from a mission, he is helping us with alot of investigators, and we just completely have the trust of our ward mission leader. We shared our miracle with him, he said "You know why this is happening elders? Because you are working! I dropped you home before it was 9pm you had 15 minutes left till it was 9pm, but did you stay in? No, you went back out again." We are just so supported by our ward.

I even just found out that one of my investigators in Rochdale is getting baptised. Let me tell you a little about him. My investigator in Rochdale was the most unlikely candidate for baptism, he had written books on Satanism, he had been involved in many different theorys, he even proved to us that Rochdale was going to be the New Jerusalem. Intense, right? God really works in mysterious, wonderful, marvellous ways.

I love you all!

Elder Sapaden

Monday, 9 January 2012

Weekly Update 09 January 2012

Hello Family!

This week in St. Helens has been an absolute miracle, of course we are still getting fed by members everyday! That is a wonderful thing about St. Helens, we are always fairly full.

Lets start with a miracle:
One evening we had an absolute miracle, my companion had forgotten his bus pass and I had a swollen ankle due to injury, we couldn't walk far and we couldn't take the bus because we have to stay together. The member we had a tea appointment with lived fairly far and our flat was quite a distance and even after the tea appointment we had a few teaching appointments which were spaced quite far apart. In the end we got a lift with the member who had us over for tea (by the way tea means dinner and is OK with the word of Wisdom for those foreign readers) so we had dinner with this member, by the way it was a lovely dinner a nice roast beef and everything (you can probably tell I'm hungry whilst writing this e-mail) anyhow, we left them with a spiritual thought and without asking he offered a lift to us to our next appointment. We taught our next appointment, he was very nice and he dropped us home. We didn't have to walk, we didn't have to take a bus. It was incredible. We were stranded but yet we made it through.

This week has been fairly quiet, just doing the good work and enduring to the end. We had to travel to Southport to exchange, my companion went to Southport and I stayed in Rochdale with another missionary also from London, we had some great conversations, we had been brought up in the "London" way. It's great to have people you can relate to. So I found out that the Bishop of Southport used to be a member of the Staines ward about 30 years ago, his name is Bishop Turner, we going to see him some time, but that isn't the end of the miracles.

So, Does anyone remember Elder Fielder, he is welsh and served in the Staines ward about 2 years ago? Well he is in St. Helens! it's is an amazing thing to know return missionaries who have served in your home ward, they'll look after you, they'll come teaching with you, they are just a great asset you have on your mission, I've met about 3 of the return missionaries I know who have served in Staines ward and Elder Fielder is the 4th. The Miracle doesn't stop there.

When I came into St. Helens it was the start of the new year, 28th of December, so my first sunday here was the 1st of January, and you can assume alot of people were visiting family. I had heard the Bishop of St. Helens was called Bishop Bradley and he was visiting family "down south", I wondered if he would be related to any of the Bradleys in the Staines Stake, I met him this sunday, I asked where he was from and he gave me the magical answer "Weybridge" his Father is Chris Bradley, his brothers are Peter and Phillip Bradley. Coinsidence? No. Miracle? Yes.

This work truely is directed by revelation, I was put in St. Helens I already know many people here, return missionaries, bishops and others. I am just so "in"

My Mission President actually just paid us a surprise visit this fast/ testimony sunday. I love my mission president he really is inspired, he put me in an area where he received revelation that I should be in.

I get fed alot here, I know alot of the members here, I work hard here. It's a wonderful time to be on a mission.


Elder Sapaden

P.S I got the Ukulele, thanks it is great, I Love You!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Weekly Update 05 January 2012


Hello everyone, it has been quite a while... we were supposed to e-mail on Monday but the library was shut and we have been busy ever since so now it's thursday and it's been quite a while. We have had some amazing success in St. Helens, it's funny although it isn't too far from Rochdale, it really feels like it. St. Helens feels like it's in a whole different country. So I'm in Liverpool territory and everyone just speaks a little bit... different. It's great though, I love talking to people from Liverpool, and they are always up for a talk. In fact, I've never met more people who want to talk than people from Liverpool. It's great having a Chinese speaking companion, now I can hold my own in a conversation with a Chinese person, you wouldn't believe how receptive they are to the Gospel.

St. Helens is also a place for getting fed, Dinner appointments every night! This could be the best area in England for getting fed. Dinner appointments every day, President must have known I eat alot, otherwise I would have no hope here.

We had a great New year, as missionaries in the England Manchester Mission we are allowed to watch animated childrens movies and play the Wii for these few days, so we spent it with members just eating alot watching Ice Age 2, the Road to El Dorado, playing some Wii Sports and eating some more! What more could you wish for?
We were allowed to stay up and welcome in the new year, it was weird seeing "1-1-2012" on my watch, it was strange knowing that I'm going to spend the whole of 2012 on my mission, although I wouldn't rather be anywhere else, plus if the world really ends in "2012" i'll be okay. Not that I'm thinking like that.

As part of my new years list of changes, I've started picking back up the weights. It's amazing the missionary flat in St. Helens has lot of weights perhaps even more than 80kg and a big bar, it just feels like home when you know you can always pick up the wieghts after a long day of work. Elder Peterson used to play American football so he is working out with me, it really is a unifying thing when you have a companion that you can work out with, it's not like one of you is working out and your companion is staring at you whilst eating Pizza, trust me, I know.

I think I've instantly fell in love with St. Helens and St. Helens has fallen in love with me, wait... can I say that as a missionary? Yes... I do love St. Helens. It was great going to church the first day of 2012 and since you're a new in the area you have to bear your testimony, get introduced, all that good stuff. It felt like I was at home again, it felt like I belong. During visiting members this week they all told me how they felt I just instantly fit in. It's a weird thing, but it's perfect.

I do have worries that I will pick up the scouse accent. I don't think it'll happen, since having so many American companions, everyone truely believes I'm American, after church a sister came up to me and said "so... what part of the states are you from?" to which I quickly replied "London" I don't think she understood. St. Helens has a different feel to it than many other Areas it's fairly big and to get to our district meetings we usually take busses, but in this area, it fairly spread out so we have to get alot of trains sometimes.

Yesterday, I spent sometime in the heart of liverpool because Elder Peterson was at the mission home planning some Chinese activity with alot of the other Chinese missionaries. It was a place called Tuebrook, one of Elder Knights old areas, it was great finding there almost 90% of the people we spoke to stopped for us, I love people from Liverpool!


Elder Sapaden

P.S Be sure to e-mail me back before Monday because I'll be e-mailing on Monday again, and send me my uklele as soon as possible, love you!