"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, 23 April 2012

Weekly Update 23 April 2012


Let's start off by talking about "the situation of the week", this Sunday the Warrington ward came to Church with us in St. Helen's because there chapel was being used for something and so we had twice the amount of people, which is quite a lot of people. We had also arranged for our Slovakian investigator to come to Church but the conditions were that we had to pick him up at about 12:00 from his Church, so Elder Lamb and I needed to do something because we were also by chance teaching the Gospel Principles class as well, so I had to teach it on my own. It was a little tough, I mean when you get set apart as a missionary you lose all fear for anything, that includes crowds or any manner of awkward situation that might arise, and so I had to teach a whole class by myself, I coped pretty well, if I have to say so myself... to start off I like to get to know my class, so we shared "random facts" about ourselves. One woman said "I have a condition where I'm always tired, I have something always on my mind, sometimes I can't go to sleep at night because I think about a lot, I over think things" to which I replied "wow, that's interesting, so do I! It's called being a missionary!"

I wouldn't trade being a missionary for the world! One of the most joyous feelings is when it's 10:30pm and we go to bed, and just the mere thoughts of "how can I best help _____?", or in the words of Jacob 5:41 "And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant: What could I have done more for my vineyard?" "What more could I have done today?" As a missionary my personality has really developed quite significantly, it's changed into an attitude of constant self evaluation, "What could I have done more?", there are always things that we can do to improve, there are always moments and situations we could have handled more effectively, there are always times where we could have run further than we have strength. I'm reminded of a song "To dream the impossible dream, To fight the unbeatable foe... this is my quest, to follow that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far" Our roads to self- mastery all differ there are some temptations and trials that I will face that perhaps you might not. However, sometimes Sin might now be a form of a sin of commission, but perhaps a sin of omission.

My greatest fear as a missionary, is that Heavenly Father has placed someone who I am supposed to find, who I am supposed to teach and baptize, but somehow through my human frailties, perhaps through my weakness and my inability to run faster than is required, I miss out on that opportunity, and consequently that person misses there opportunity and so there future children miss there opportunity and so on, that is truly the reason why I run. But however we need to remember the words spoken in Ether 12:27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." I love being a missionary!

So this week we have been blessed with some more great opportunities! A highlight of my week is teaching our Slovakian investigator, he is just so sincere and he really knows his Bible well, some missionaries may wish "I wish I knew my scriptures better" sometimes I think all of us wish we do, perhaps although a great lesson I've discovered is that we should know our scriptures well, but more important than teaching doctrine is teaching to recognize how to recognize and understand the spirit. Sure, I could prove the validity and actualness of the Book of Mormon using the Bible, I've come to know my Bible pretty well too. But more important than that is teaching how to gain a personal witness of the truth of the Book of Mormon through the Spirit. I can prove things to people, I can show things to people, but I cannot convert people, God does that for me.
We taught him and he even came to Church this weekend as well, he met the Bishop and was invited around for dinner at a member home already and it is his first Sunday visiting the St. Helen's ward... isn't that wonderful? The ward here in St. Helens really is supportive, I love it!

Another great lesson I've learn't as a missionary is sometimes the High Priest group leader says "temple, temple, temple" the Elder Quorum President says "home teaching, home teaching, home teaching" the Relief Society President says "Visiting Teaching, Visiting Teaching, Visiting Teaching", the Bishop says "Read and Pray, Read and Pray, Read and Pray" and the Ward Mission Leader says "Missionary work, Missionary Work, Missionary work"... they all approach it from different angles thinking that one is more important than the next, but truthfully they are all as equally important, it is one great work, there are not many different ways to the Celestial Kingdom but only one, which requires us to engage in all of the work, including going to the temple and missionary work... they are one in the same.

I love looking back at who I used to be, try it this week, my thought provoking question for the week is: "What are the top 5 Christlike attributes you have been able to develop in the past 12 months?"

I love you all!

Elder Sapaden

Monday, 16 April 2012

Weekly Update 16 April 2012


Just to start off this e-mail, I want to share a success story about smiling. This week I have been playing a mind game with people, I am "Over-Doing" smiling, the objective of the game is to get everyone I talk to to smile... on the streets, members or investigators, just everyone. So, I've been doing this by really showing people how happy I actually am, it's like I have a smile glued to my face, not a "fake smile" but a real one, most people smiled back sub-consciously, a lot of people even laughed happily. Just visualize it... it's 6pm, you're coming home from a long day of work, you are tired, you really don't want to talk to anyone, your only thoughts are "what am I having to eat later?" you are slightly annoyed at your colleagues at work for some silly reason and then you are approached by a man who looks Filipino, has an American accent and won't stop smiling.

What are your thoughts? Would you be confused? Would you smile back "just because"?

my thoughts would be: "wow he is freakishly happy! Stop smiling, why are you smiling? Did he just say "Jesus Christ" I'm hungry, wow, he is still smiling. Should I just try and brush him off? Wow, he is still smiling, I wonder what makes him so happy? There is just something so different about his smile... am I inside an alternate reality? Stop smiling"

There is a reason why I smile, I just know how much difference this gospel has made to who I really am. So the success story:

Elder Lamb and I were just talking to a few people, it was a Tuesday morning and we were off to Southport to have an exchange with our District Leader, we were just talking to the people who were near the train station. We had a few minutes to spare so we started talking to everybody. In the corner of my eye I saw a woman. So I ran after her and Elder Lamb followed. I called after her with a smile, she turned around and was smiling back, rarely people smile back straight away and so my smile grew even bigger! As we talked I couldn't stop smiling, I love the principle "happiness invites more happiness" it is so true, I started sharing the gospel with her and she interrupted me "I love your smile" she said. I said "thank you" and started to continue with our conversation, she said "you have got a great smile", I just brushed off the comment again with a "thanks" we established that she had a belief in God and that we could help her strengthen it. She told me she "fell in love with my smile" and so I told her why I smile. We continued to have a great conversation, then out of the blue two drunk men came and started causing trouble, they started just saying negative things toward us, then by surprise this woman who we met on the street just started defending us, telling them to go away because we were helping her. The drunken men left us because of her and we set up an appointment with her. The miracle of smiling!

Of course, as tradition has started we have a picture of me as we are e-mailing, my companion Elder Lamb is with me. Here's a random fact: Look at my teeth, people normally have the bunny teeth in the middle, then some more teeth, and then canines. I only have the middle teeth and then Canines... so it really is a mind trick, there is something different about my smile! Have you ever seen a vampire smile, well... I'm pretty close to it.

This week we have been really able to work as well... running after people has just proven it's worth, sometimes Heavenly Father requires us to go further than we thought imaginable, you would think "I can't stop that person he is too far and he is on a bike, that is way top far for me", I ran after a person on a bike yesterday... it was fun, it was rewarding and the most important thing, we set up an appointment to see him later, sometimes if we look through the eyes of a natural man (we all do it) we only see the "Somethings are possible", when we look through the eyes of someone we can become we see that "EVERYTHING is possible" nothing is impossible. Impossible is nothing.

Well. It has been another great week! What a great time it is to be a missionary!

"one by one"
3 Nephi 11:15


Elder Sapaden

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Weekly Update 11 April 2012

Hi Everyone!

It sure has been an interesting few days! I've grown in love with St. Helen's, I love it so much I could even live here after my mission (not that I'm considering it, but I could!) I am having an amazing time here and I'm still smiling!
We have had so much success with working with members, I love depending on members and through that relationship they know that we work hard and when they work with us we see miracles. Since receiving a new companion it sure is interesting because Elder Lamb and I haven't been out for a year yet of our missions and we are still both 19 years old, we have an interesting dynamic as a companionship, I'm the youngest companion he has ever had and he is also the youngest companion I've ever had... the faith that we have together as new missionaries is astounding, I love it!

It is also a rarity for two English missionaries to serve together (our ward loves it!) we manage to work hard together and because our understanding of the culture and the nature of the area of St. Helen's our investigators are being treated well!
I'm in love with St. Helen's not because of the area (in all fairness it is a great area!) but the members really do make the area. We have dinner appointments everyday, we are fed really well, the members get along well with us and they talk to us like we are just a part of the family, one of our neighbors washes and irons our shirts (I can't remember the last time I have ironed a white shirt in St. Helen's) the youth are great and everyday feels like "destiny"

I've decided to take a photo just before I e-mail as a new tradition so you can kind of see things live, plus we are e-mailing on some posh apple macs, it's a good deal if you ask me.

Thursday - Saturday this week was a blur, I got a little ill which aggravated my asthma a little so I ended up not being able to breathe properly so I got permission to stay in and recover, it was pretty interesting, because if you know me... I haven't really had a lot of experience with doctors offices and walk in centers and pharmacies just because I never get sick. So it was interesting trying to answer questions about what is what and who is who.
All that matters is that I am better now and I'm out and about.

Easter Sunday was amazing! We managed to get things done. This Sunday made me reminisce a little, the St. Helen's ward has many talented people and has people who can play the piano so it is never a struggle to get anyone to do it, I haven't really played piano for a sacrament meeting since Rochdale (about 4 months ago) and this Sunday all the pianists just seemed to not be there or were ill as well so I was privileged to play during sacrament meeting, I love the opportunities that we receive as missionaries to serve, because we are "called to serve" and that can happen in anyway we can... I managed to play for 2 musical items and a normal sacrament service! I love using my talents for good, it really benefited the St. Helen's ward and they were able to see that I'm just not "another Mormon missionary in a suit"

Something exciting that happened this past week was an activity called "Family Night with the Osmond's" some of the Osmond brothers came to Liverpool, before last Monday I really had no clue who the Osmond's were or even what they looked like. Well... I tell you I know now, some of the missionaries in the Liverpool stake were able to attend with investigators and less actives and non members, many of the people who were there were non members, there was a crowd of about 700 and it was an amazing amount of missionary work we were able to do there. In all it was a great activity that we were able to be a part of, people travelled far and wide to get to that concert and apparently even people from Denmark came!

It was a wonderful opportunity for missionary work!

I love you all, it is a great time to be a missionary!

Elder Sapaden