"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, 27 August 2012

Weekly Update 27 August 2012

I got transferred!
To a wonderful place. More about that soon, but we will have some pictures.
These first few are on Mount Snowdon, and next are me and Elder Sutton

 More of Mt. Snowdon

more pictures...
Me and Elder Peterson met up again! He went home this transfer, and another Isle of Man attraction the Great Laxey Wheel, the biggest water wheel in the world.

some pictures of the Isle of Man whilst I was driving elder Sutton took pictures because we found out I was leaving the Isle of Man.

That's the boat we take, this time it was so intense! It was like a rollercoaster everyone was sick around me, Elder Sutton is training and so am I and on the picture their are the new missionaries we are with.

Well! My time as an islander has unfortunately finished. I'm now in the lovely City of Bolton!
The Isle of Man was great and I did shed some tears when I left, infact I would say it was as hard as leaving home again, but I'm off to pastures green (not literally because the Isle of Man was just pure green) but off to a great new exciting adventure with a new missionary! I'm training.
I'm continuing to be a district leader and we have one of the Biggest, if not the biggest District in the Mission, we have 4 companionships and a Senior Couple. Intense!
Three quarters of my district is training and our senior couple is just known for their amazingness. It is quite a jump from, the Isle of Man district.
We ended on a high note on the Isle of Man, almost literally... Elder Sutton and I did an intense Musical Item which brought many members to tears, people left the chapel in tears (hopefully that was a good thing) and it brought the spirit so strongly into the last sacrament meeting I had on the Isle of Man. Elder Sutton and I were just prepared for greatness, we were the Highest Teaching companionship in the Liverpool Stake, 23 Lessons! Forget bring "transferred to Bolton" I was  "translated" to Bolton. Just joking.
We had so much going for us on the Isle of Man, we got a group of about 7-10 less actives and had family home evening with them on Monday, we were just insanely busy teaching on the Tuesday, we had our last district meeting together. On the wednesday, we saw all our investigators and just prepared them. Thursday, we spent a lot of time focusing on members and saw a lot of less - active members and friday we did service for a few members aswell a mix between active member lessons and investigators, saturday we just dominated in finding people to teach and sunday we brought people to tears at church.
Some members were sleeping in the congregation, a few people just distracted, some children running around making noise, but when Elder Sutton and I started in our musical Item, it just turned to a silent awe, the noise stopped, it was the humble, not arrogant feeling that Elder Sutton and I could go to a recording studio after our missions and make an album together for a lot of money.
Sunday was a mixed bag of emotions for me, it was perhaps in some ways harder than leaving home, because I left me new found family, although there were more members of my family I had to leave, I had fallen in love with the youth, I helped in their stake camp and had made life long friends and it was so hard to leave, I knew it was no longer a "cloak of comfort" that was placed on my shoulders but with inheriting the biggest district in the mission and training a new missionary it became a "robe of responsibility" never will I be able to have a bad moment, I was always dilligent and had nothing to worry about but, with all these new missionaries in my district, brand brand new missionaries to add, 2 of them just came into the mission field yesterday. I will never had a moment where you couldn't say "he is a good missionary", it's a harsh lesson but... Amateurs count how many times they make it; Professionals count how many times they missed it. I'm going to grow a lot, it's not going to be easy but painful, but it's going to be worth it.
Well, in brighter news! My new companion is called Elder Nicassio he is from Urguay and he has lived in Spain for the past 6 years and he speaks great English! We are getting on great, it is a whole new feeling to train a new missionary, you feel so accountable. What is going through my head is "you are the example, you determine in many ways how the rest of his mission is going to be like, you need to be the best, there is no other option" and well, it is exciting and nerve racking at the same time.
Unfortunately I don't have much time to do much, yet... I'm still settling in so hopefully I'll have longer e-mails soon.
Elder Sapaden

Monday, 20 August 2012

Weekly Update 20 August 2012

Hello Everyone!!

This has been another one of those life changing weeks where you look back, and not in a prideful sense of looking back but you see that you have grown. What a good week! Perhaps rather, as the old saying goes "time flies when you're having fun"

We left the blessed land of Liverpool last Monday night and we arrived in Manchester. When you are on the Isle of Man as missionaries you become a commodity, a trading chip or a bargaining value. Well, it is great because in essence, that's who we should be just mere vessels to carry the spirit wherever, whenever even in whatever we do. So we decided Manchester would be great, you gain a sense of accomplishment when you realise that you are a missionary that "can be put anywhere" some missionaries just aren't meant to be used in some areas, but the best missionary is a missionary that the mission president can say "I can put him/ her anywhere and they will go and do great things"

On Tuesday we climbed/ hiked Mount Snowden, it was so intense, I was sore for three days afterwards, we did it as a mission activity, I have some great pictures but unfortunately I forgot my USB lead between my camera and the computer so, soon I promise! It was tough, I would have been able to do it before my mission with great ease, I would have been able to run all the way up perhaps, but we took the longest and hardest path and sometimes I even stumbled and had to take a break. But it was all worth it, at the top I felt like my legs would just give in and stop working, it was a moment in my life where I faced a physical mountain and I really had to pray, a quote comes to mind "when you can't stand, kneel." When times are tough and we can't see the top, pray, because God knows all and he can help. I'm very happy to say I made it down. It was heartbreaking at times, the top of the Mountain was just clouded over, it was higher than the clouds, we couldn't see it, but we had to believe it was there because any step taken without faith in "the top" would be a step towards insanity. To add to the situation, I didn't have my asthema inhaler, Elder Sutton and I forgot to bring food and because of the Situation I did something I never do, I forgot my wallet.

Prayer is the souls sincere desire, when we hear of the line "enticings of the Holy Spirit" the Holy Ghost is proactively using his influence to try and stir out hearts to rememberance, to remember God, to remember why and ultimately to remember to pray. Prayer I've never before realised was so important, I knew it was important, but how important, I did not know. I can testify of the reality that it really is such a sacred and special bond we have, I would go as far to even say that Prayer is a Privilage, God could have thrown us into the world to try and figure it out on our own, we would have definately had to have learnt the hard way, but he loves us and wants to talk to us, he wants to hear us and so we should pray. Strangely enough, I didn't need my asthema inhaler, food was given to us by random people who had acted on the promptings they received and I didn't even need my wallet! The lord does provide. I'll tell you what made it all the best though, for me it was a type for the Celestial Kingdom in a very different sense, we were litterally and physically above the clouds and when we got there, the view was absolutely amazing, in a very personable way Heavenly Father spoke to my soul, as I looked what I had climbed, what I had trialed through, the walk of affliction in a mortal state, and even though at the Top I was still sore, like Alma says:
" Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death. And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain! Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy."

I'll call it the "I made it" feeling, I love reflecting thinking about what I have achieved, and at a greater height at the top of Mount Snowden what I still will achieve. Forgive me if it sounds cheesy but, Climbing physical mountains gave me a greater understanding of how we need to climb spiritual ones.

I've learnt something recently as a missionary, to pray ALWAYS, before we leave the car, before we leave the flat, before we sleep, when we wake up, even when I my investigators have any questions, I will stop and pause and pray in my heart, before we can do anything we have to pray, if we try and do it any other way, it is our own way and not Gods way, so rely on him for help.

Wednesday was another trek back to the Isle of Man, it was so intense, this time we moved to Manchester to just out of Manchester in Macclesfield (close to Sheffield, ish) Where we got back to the flat at 12 midnight and woke up at 4am, to get places (again) the life of a missionary isn't easy, but I'm telling you, self mastery wasn't easier.

This week we have been so blessed on the Isle of Man, we have taught a grand total of 15 lessons from Wednesday evening - Sunday, we were the second highest in the Zone and perhaps the highest if we were back on the Isle of Man earlier, so life is radiating gratitude right now, because things could not be better!
I love teaching and we are doing a lot of that, this week we even had 4 on the spot lessons! God is guiding this work, because if I said it was all me, I would be telling the biggest lie in the world. We have so many new investigators and next week we are going to be getting a lot of new ones aswell! I've said this before but I'll say it again "I hope Heaven has the internet because at the rate we are going the Isle of Man is going to be translated"

Love You all!

Elder Sapaden

"Quocunque Jeceris Stabit"

Monday, 13 August 2012

Weekly Update 13 August 2012

To set the scene, of where I am right now, it's cold, it's wet, it's dark... It's Liverpool! But I love it!

Hi Everyone!
Since Thursday, I have been in the blessed place of Liverpool, we have Zone - Conference and a missionary activity on Tuesday where we are going to climb Mount Snowden. So as the Manx people say "We are across" It sure is strange to be a missionary not in your assigned proselyting area, I find once you are out of your area, your internal compass gets mixed up, your lifestyle changes and despite how good of a missionary you are, you feel slightly uncomfortable. But it is quite an experience. We even got to go to Liverpool Ward yesterday.

This week has been a great week, over on the Isle of Man we have had the great opportunity to help out at Youth Camp! It was so exciting! I loved it so much, especially seeing all the youth of my previous area St. Helens I love the youth there. I am just so compatible with that ward, I could see myself there, anyhow... it was so great we sacrificed our Preparation Day to help them set up camp, to set up
tents and all that stuff.

We have an investigator Dated for Baptism, it feels different comparing myself to where I was and who I am now, the same joy that perhaps I would have felt during one of the great moments in my life, whether that was lifting a heavier weight at the Gym or my friends just doing something I couldn't stop laughing or smiling about is exceeded now by the Joy that someone is preparing for Baptism.

I called our investigator yesterday (it's quite an event calling the Isle of Man from England because it is international calling rates so we don't call too much) and she told us that she felt like we were her sons, I told her that she could also be my second mother, I love this work and just the attachments and relationships we develop, I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Here is something that has just made my week aswell, we are teaching our Chinese investigator still, his name is Jim and he is just so sacred. He is so ready, we have only been teaching him for a couple of
weeks now, this last lesson we decided to ask him where he is at in the Book of Mormon, I was just expecting in my head, "okay, perhaps a Chapter a day, he would be around 2 Nephi, stuck in the Isiah chapters somewhere" He told us he was in Moroni 7, he pointed out that he liked verses 44-45 which were some of my favourite verses aswell. It was just something I hadn't expected, I don't know if my faith wasn't sufficient enough or if I was just too logical about it all, but we called him earlier that morning to confirm the appointment, and he answered in his broken english "I've been up reading the Book" I had
supposed that had meant he read some of the Book, which was good. In fact, I now think he was telling us he spend all night just not wanting to stop, having a true desire and attitude, he just wanted to "feast" which is Great!

The Phillipino work, is just going great here too! We are still teaching Bryan, our Filipino investigator, he is just still has the desire to change, we are just waiting for him to act.

It's also very different how your opnions change whilst you are on your mission, just like your tastes change over time, my desires really have aswell, a testament of this is my hair, before my mission
I loved having long hair, it was the "thing" I looked so good I was proud and perhaps at some points very lifted up in vanity but now I have a "Four" which, I fully don't know what that means but it's pretty short and neat.

We had so many investigators that went to Youth camp, it was just fantastic! One even bore his testimony and said "I know this Church is true" for a missionary to hear that, it is sweeter and just more
pleasant and greater than any eloquence of the grandest Symphony, or the most "show off" Concerto. It's a feeling you can't descrive until you feel it. It's one of the reasons I love being a missionary... If I
was a normal person (missionaries aren't normal people!) I probably wouldn't have felt that in my lifetime.

My time in Liverpool has just been so good, I love the people here, I love their accent... If I could come home with a scouse accent I would be happy. We have just had so many miracles here. Yesterday, I decided to Phone a member of the Liverpool Ward randomly, and she told us her husband wasn't a member and is not too keen on having missionaries around, she discussed it with her husband again and it just seemed, on the one day, which happened to be the day I called, it was just one of the rare times he was happy to have us over, the miracle continues as he says he loves piano and football, I love piano and my companion loves football, we had a great relationship with him, I met her daughter at the Youth camp on the Isle of Man and I knew her a little bit already and so it was great to see her and get to know her better! I love how Heavenly Father just puts you in the right place at the right time and ultimately that's my favourite part about being a missionary!


Elder Sapaden

Monday, 6 August 2012

Weekly Update 06 August 2012

Hi Everyone!

Well here is some pictures of quite an adventurous driving experience we had this week, we decided to knock some doors in a place called Cragneash, Cragneash is known for it's ancient-ness it is a village frozen in time to like the 1600s, it was intense, our sat nav was playing up a bit, and decided to take us off- roading, it was quite exciting!

 Especially in a car, that is well, interesting to say the least. We got there safely in the end, included in those pictures is a picture of an island off the Isle of Man, it's called the Calf of Man and it is it's own little island.

Well, I thought this would be an interesting subject line this week, ("Elder Sapaden... gets patted down in the Sea Terminal?") 
 it recalls an experience I had when I first came to the Isle of Man, the Sea terminal is just like an Airport, we check- in our luggage, we get searched, do all the bothersome things like take off our belts, and put all the potentially harming things in a bag, and just anything... to keep the place secure, they have sniffer dogs to catch out the Drug dealers/ users and it's pretty tight. The Missionary badge has a lot of great privilages, people respect you somewhat and well it's great to have on! I've gotten free subway sandwiches and let into certain places without going through the bothersome things that most people would have to go through. Usually the people at the Sea terminal usually don't search through our luggage either, probably because of the power of the missionary Badge. Well this one time going through the Metal dector thing they don't usually ask you to take your shoes off, but I forgot I have steel toecapped shoes. I went through, the alarm went off and I got patted down and searched, it was quite a fun experience, I know it's just part of the fine print and just something that they have to do, but it was fun thinking "really... you don't trust the badge?" Although, I'm sure a criminals best disguise is a Mormon missionary.

Anyhow! My week has been Vastly amazing! Just success after success, this week we did it! We finally did it! 20 lessons a week! we also managed to keep the finding standard by setting up 16 appointments this week aswell... don't worry I'm not a number hungry missionary, where it is all about "winning" and "having more" than a fellow missionary might have. What it is all about is... what those numbers represent, we have been able to strengthen 20 different people, to help them grown close to Jesus Christ and his atonement, we have been able to help 16 more people receive that opportunity to grow , it is all about finding Joy in the Journey!

To show that people still answer their doors, we had a success this monday night, we were just knocking doors, on a road that my preivous companion and I had felt really good about, we  were just working through that road, number 1, number 2, then number 3, I told Elder Sutton "I feel really good about this road" we knocked number 4 and what success came from it, a man just beaming with a great smile opened the door, he received us well, just let us enter after we had only said a few words "Hi, we are sharing a message about Jesus Christ." "Do you want to come in?" was his immediate reply! I love this work, it's all about finding the one, there are people being prepared everywhere, it just takes the faith, dilligence and patience required to endure and to eventually win the fight!

We have a great Chinese investigator (Jim is his english name) at the start we had many problems communicating with him because of the language barrier, but he is progressing, he has been taught about the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he has a desire to get baptised and is read to make that commitment, it's amazing what we gain when we just have the faith to continue what we started. I know a few Chinese words here and their from serving with a Chinese speaking missionary, it is my firm testimony and belief that even then 6 months ago when I was learning my little bit of Chinese, God was preparing me to be able to share the gospel in the Language to our investigator Jim, I know it is such a long way thinking but one of my favourite quotes is this"Coinsidence is when God wishes to remain anonimous" I know that God is a guide to our lives and we just have to rely on him.

A Principle that has just become so strong with my missionary work is "leave an area better than you found it" I love this principle! The Isle of Man is a great area, full of great people and one of the privilages as a missionary is to work with the less- active members in the area, also to strengthen the members in your assigned proselyting area, I love it! I love being able to help those in need, being a member of the Church does not mean that you are entitled to missionary help, everyone is, perhaps even especially those who struggle to continue after they have made their covenants at baptism. We have been able to do a lot of member- missionary work recently, and it is showing! I love members, here's an experience we had yesterday which highlighted this principle. It was fast and testimony sunday. Sometimes their can be awkward periods of silence, there are times where it is just good to feel the spirit and soak it all in, but there was an awkwardly long gap. A few minutes, then a sister who will always be one of my heroes got up, she struggles to walk, but with a slow and steady pace she got up and bore, her testimony.

I loved it, I felt the spirit so much, we often include things we are grateful for, things that hav built our faith in our testimonies, but some people include too much, such as what they had for lunch this week, but she just said what she knew to be true, it was a testimony. As she made her slow course back to her seat, she passed me and patted my shoulder with a little bit of a command, or perhaps I just felt that way, certain women behind me made a noise which suggested that this was a challenge for me to bear my testimony, I usually don't like sharing my testimony early on in a testimony meeting because I wait till the spirit builds up just enough till it pulls me out of my seat, but I accepted. I got up as soon as I felt the touch, I shared my testimony, the women behind me made some more noise to suggest that I had accepted the challenge and they were surprised. It became known as a game of "testimony tag" of course we didn't play it, it would be taking away from the sacredness of the experience and also take away, or perhaps diminish a persons agency, but it was Gods way of telling me "it is time." I am grateful for the Douglas ward because from that point on, testimonies just flowed, most of them with a little hint of missionary work, it was just what we needed, it was a great testimony meeting. I'm not a proud person, lifted up in vanity or on a high horse, at all but it is a strong belief of mine that missionaries need to be "legends" in the wards they serve in, who will be remembers decades from when they had served there, each sunday (gladly) God blesses us missionaries with that opportunity we just need to utilise it.

Well I think, I'm waffling on slightly, but... onward.  Something I have loved doing on my mission is service! I love service (the physical kind, because as missionaries, I suppose we are constantly serving) I love gardening in particular, we did a great job with one of our members who also happens to be our land- lady, it was so fun!

Well, I think this e-mail is long enough... I love you all!

Elder Sapaden
"Quocunque Jeceris Stabit"