"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, 3 June 2013

Weekly Update 3 June 2013

It's my last e-mail of the mission. Time to pull out some inspiration.
Well, this week on the Isle of Man has been TT practice week and this week is TT week. Super bikes, the Isle of Man doubles its population, lots of tourists, lots of accidents, lots of people, lots of Alcohol, lots of motorbikes overtaking you at 200mph.
You know, the usual. It's quite exciting really. Today we are going to go watch many of them.
Well... I'll see you all in about just over a week.

A Mission is a "four dimensional" experience, along with capturing my heart, might, mind and strength it seems to have leaked into my soul. Even my dreams are very much missionary investigator focused. We have accomplished much this week and I have experienced the joy of sacrifice. How is love shown in missionary work? I would reply: Consecration, it is the only surrender which is also a victory. When we withhold nothing and give absolutely everything, we come back to the flat, tired, drained and when I hang up the phone and sit on our couch, most of my evenings are spend vegetating. I don't even want to think. It just builds my capacity the next day, just like growing muscles we need to destroy and tear and break down the muscle before we are able to grow again. I am absolutely converted to this principle. After the couch, I have to get together enough strength to crawl into bed.

I love the power the mission has to transform the lives of those around us and ourselves included. We never want to leave behind those "what ifs" and those moments where we know we could have done better, I describe it as hell because they  eat away at us and they are the moments we have fallen short from our true potential. Those "what ifs" are my biggest fears in life and perhaps at the Judgement bar of God we will all feel that same sense  of "if only I had done that better" I couldn't be more grateful for  the Atonement and for the great gift of repentance, for without it we would all be lost causes.
Hopefully some of the pictures I sent home gets around today, lots of crazy adventures.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Weekly Update 13 May 2013

Ni- Hao!

It's really weird, to be so close to the end of the mission, it felt at the beginning that it would never end. But now it's come to almost being finished.
Yesterday, we had the privilege of giving the priesthood to our Chinese recent convert and tonight we are teaching his Dad and perhaps someday he will be able to Baptize them soon too! This week has been quite wet and rainy but also very much sunny and boiling, it is funny to see all the different weather conditions on this one little island. All in the same day, the weather here is really... unique.
Something that I found out this time around was the during the period when the Isle of Man was part of the Ireland Mission, it had a nickname "the rock" the Isle of Man is actually closer to Ireland than England, it is the rock in the middle of the sea. Especially known for it's unique weather conditions between torrential rain and tropical sun almost rotating perhaps 5-10 times a day on a particularly intensive day. It has for me become a good type and symbol for Jesus Christ.

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
This verse in Helaman, being quite vivid and descriptive definitely paints a picture of why such a "rock" is important. Being dependent on such a rock is integral for any work especially of the missionary kind.
The promise is real. He is the "foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall" I so testify.
With Love,

Elder Sapaden

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Weekly Update 7 May 2013


Let me just tell you how tired I am! Extremely so, yesterday we hiked the biggest mountain on the Isle of Man (2036 feet) now you may say that's not much, but try doing it in a suit. It has been fun here on the Isle of Man, I've taken a million photos since I've been back and they'll be on my blog soon.
I'm loving life right now, in fact it's been so tropical here, we jumped out of bed at 6:30 to go Jump rope on the beach outside, you can understand why I am so tired. However, it is a good tired, it is a good work, the Devil makes use of idle fools who heed to his temptations, it is good to be busy and it is good to be a missionary right now.
Let me clarify, if I haven't already the "six weeks to sexy" is a fitness program to help me repent for
how idle I've been in morning exercise up to recent weeks. I pray that it works. Like I said the tiredness is a very good protection mechanism, but I am running myself ragged, it's a good way to be.
This week we are driving around in a Honda Jazz, instead of the usual Vauxhall Meriva, it's a courtesy car because the missionaries before me got into a car accident so while it's being repaired we have unlimited mileage! It's great, we are utilizing it to help the work here in the Isle of Man to get out to areas that have been untouched because of the mileage system. It's got "flappy paddled" gearbox transmission on the steering wheel, so it's like driving a mini Ferrari which makes so much noise but only goes about 40-60mph (60mph is asking a lot from the car)

I've come back and a person that I found and taught has been baptized since I left the Isle of Man. It's the only baptism this ward has had in about 18 months. He is receiving the priesthood next Sunday and it is such a good feeling to know he is receiving the same power and authority that he was baptized and taught with. Perhaps I'll even get to bless the sacrament with him sometime, he is good great, he is proper Chinese (I learned enough to teach him the lessons) but he is a wonderful young man who really understands the gospel, he knows the Word of Wisdom as "health law" tithing as "money law" and Chastity as "marriage law" Isn't that wonderful?
With Love,

Elder Sapaden

Friday, 3 May 2013

Weekly Update 3 May 2013

Hey Everyone,

Life has been hectic since the hour I've arrived back on the Isle of Man, it's a great area, but we are just too busy. (If you couldn't already tell, it is so busy I'm pushed to write an  e-mail with it being 10 pm already, something that is very much unheard of in the mission field) life has been good to us so far and we have seen countless blessings. I'm back doing morning exercise on the Beach.

By the way, as I'm writing this I'm not outside, so not to worry, we live with a member here on the Isle of Man, we are so pushed for time we are using her computer.
I'll be e-mailing again on Monday, so be sure to drop an e-mail before then. It has been really weird, the days left on my mission are numbered, the hours seem to turn into seconds and before you know it the moment I wake up turns into the moment when I hit the pillow, yet again.

A miracle I've seen this week is people who I found when I was on the Isle of Man last time have since become baptized  it is a great feeling to find them changed and truly transformed.

I really hope you all understand how busy I am and why this e-mail is so short, it is a struggle to even stay awake to write it. So Good night and God Bless!


Elder Sapaden

Monday, 22 April 2013

Weekly Update 22 April 2013

Hi Everyone!

This transfer has just flown by, next week is transfers so I'll be
e-mailing Wednesday to Thursday, it's scary to think that next
Transfers will be my last in the mission field. But, I'll make every
second count. It seems just like yesterday we just moved into Stoke
and started from scratch with nothing. Now, it's hard to find time to
teach everyone. We seem to be spread really thin and trying to be
everywhere at once.

Well, it's a good problem to have. We have been teaching so many
Slovakians this week. We found three new families to teach this week a
long with many other individuals.

A highlight of my week was finding a couple, Roy and Julia they have
been investigating for over 40 years. Perhaps even longer. They said
if missionaries ever came by ever again that they would become
"Mormons" it is pretty exciting, they seem to know everyone in the
ward already and they have quite the desire to help us out. They are a
lovely couple and honestly we don't know why they haven't been
baptised yet.

Sorry, for the short e-mail we have to go to teach people, a funny yet
ironic thing is that we don't even have a full preparation day
anymore, apart from short e-mails and some shopping we have to
sacrafice our preparation day time to go to teach people, they say
"Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven" it is very true, well
we have to go to teach some people. I love you all and if I were to be
completely honest I'll see you all soon enough.

Love you!

Elder Sapaden

Monday, 15 April 2013

Weekly Update 15 April 2013

What a Great Week!

I definately love my mission. It is an extremely scary thought to
think that I have less than two months to go. But I'm making every
second count, ever since we white washed Stoke (two and a half weeks
ago) we have been doing amazingly well.

One of the most difficult things that has happened to me is on my
mission where I was called upon to Whitewash train. This whitewash
including moving into a new flat never has been lived in, new area
missionaries haven't worked in, new keys to new flat, new phone, new
address, new area book with no investigators at all not even any
former investigators and to top it all off, also to train a New
missionary at the same time. It is a time where we were litterally
starting from scratch. It seemed like one of those secret missions
that starts off by opening a mysterious brown envelope.

It was one of the most trying times in my life, where I had depended
on everything that I had been taught in my whole life, one where I had
to rely on principles of Charity, dilligence, independance and
resilliance. I felt alone and on my own where someone was following me
all the time to look at my example to look at everything I was doing.

Something I learnt is the value of friendship, the value of picking
myself up even when I fall and stumble. As we worked harder and
harder, the area seemed to flourish. It came from a blank canvas with
nothing on it to one of the most spectacular sights I've ever seen. A
place where it became a model for hard work and elbow grease for
anyone that was looking from the outside. But more than that, it
became a symbol for overcoming, for desire and passion and never
giving up when the times get tough.

Since a two weeks and a half are going by, we have found and taught 35
new investigators, many of which are family units. The lord is
blessing us and angels are delcaring it unto many that the time of the
harvest of souls is nigh.

Many of my favourite interactions has been with the Phillipino
community here in Stoke. We are teaching so many Phillipino families,
they feed us weekly and just for a little over an hour it seems like I
am just back at home with my own family. It's easy to get caught up in
numbers, the goals, the key indicators. However, it is more important
to remember the individuals behind the pieces of paper.

Since two weeks and a bit, we have found many that have been able to
progress. We have some that are slowly working toward carrying a
Baptismal date. It is an exciting time in Stoke. Perhaps it has been
one of the most challenging times of my life, it has been a struggle
to stay positive recently and I've really been a "negative nancy"
about many things. Our Heavenly Father helps us develop the divine
gift of gratitude through memories.

Anything of great worth, requires great work, great sacrifice. Now two
and a half weeks later. Our once blank area book, is now stacked with
records of people. Our planners which were blank and hadn't contained
even one appointment are filled with too many appointments we struggle
to fit in Lunch or Dinner. Trust me, it's a good problem to have, once
a few days ago we tried our best fit in a weekly planning session
which usually lasts about 3 hours into 45 minutes. We had lunch in 10
of those minutes so we could go out to our many teaching appointments.

Infact, positivity can be reflected in many ways. Perhaps because we
have only had 2 dinner appointments while we have been here for 2 and
a half weeks we have had more time to teach. At this stage even if we
do have the rare pleasure of a dinner appointment in a week we would
struggle to fit it in.

Gratitude is the divine attribute associated with our hopes. Hope is
the petrol of our lives. Just like a car complains when it's without
petrol, so would we complain about everything if we did not have hope.
Once that hope is used as the driving force, the force and power by
how we move forward with the wheels of faith. The gratitude comes from
appreciating how smooth the ride is.

This week I got to play piano at Church. I notice that the wards in
which I am involved muscially incuding sacrament meeting, they are the
wards that we usually get more dinner appointments. I'm not playing
for money, I'm playing for the members. It puts a whole different spin
on our relationship. This week we taught 29 lessons, a week with 15
lessons is a very good week.

Just like Stoke become a symbol or a token of overcoming for me, I too
pray that we can make our lives a symbol or a token for overcoming. In
the scriptures it speaks of becoming. "For the natural man is an enemy
to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and
ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and
putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement
of Christ"

However, we must remember as King Benjamin points out, Becoming is Overcoming.

With Love,

Elder Sapaden

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Weekly Update 2 April 2013

What a week!

15 new investigators in 3 days, we have hit the streets of Stoke hard.
It has been miracle after miracle. Our first Sunday in Stoke, we had
an "on-the-spot" musical item, here we have Church services from
2pm-5pm, really weird. Before hand we had lunch with the Bishop, I
shared with him that in Bolton on the second sunday I had a musical
item, he commented "we can beat that" I didn't really take notice to
it. I told him that Elder Sutton, one of my previous companions was
serving in the Newcastle ward (we share the Newcastle Chapel), just
after sharing our introductionary testimonies whilst walking off the
stand bishop, pulled me to the side and asked me if Elder Sutton was
still in the Building. I called Elder Sutton, who was at the time
lying on his couch in his flat having lunch and told him to be at the
Chapel in less than 5 minutes. 5 minutes later and a very surprised
Elder Sutton with me at the piano presented on my first sunday in the
Stoke ward a well presented version of "Come thou fount, of every
blessing" just as we did about 9 months previous when we were both
serving together on the Isle of Man.

It was unpractised and it has been for over 9 months, but we performed
together again just like we did yesterday. Bishop definately broke my
record. First Sunday in a new ward, musical item. With 5 or so minutes
of warning, impressive, eh? It was as flawless as it was 9 months ago.

Another Miracle! My first Sunday, a Phillipino family who hasn't been
quite so active in the Church showed up. They welcomed me as a fellow
Phillipino, invited us around for a Dinner appointment and referred us
to her niece who has been going to Church pretty regularly, hasn't
received missionary lessons, and to be honest we don't know why she
hasn't already been baptised. Miracles. Apart from that we already
have 3 progressing investigators and it has been less than a week we
have been here. One Chinese, one african and one english.

The Bishop has been very supportive, infact, he let us help him give a
presentation on the Public affairs side of Mormon.org last Sunday,
where members walked away from Church with a new sense of
determination and new copies of the Book of Mormon to give away to

I love Stoke, the miracles, don't seem to stop. My companion is from
Lindon, Utah, if you were wondering "why the subject line?" He is
doing great.

Sorry, it's short. Life is hectic.

Love you all!

Elder Sapaden

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Weekly Update 28 March 2013


Well, I'm in Stoke On Trent. If you couldn't tell by the subject line.
Let's rewind, shall we?

Runcorn is such a good place, this transfer has been hectic. We have
27- 30 new missionaries in the mission with only 2 going home. My
experience this past few days, can be summarised in the word "new"

New flat never has been lived in, new area practically untouched, new
keys to new flat, new phone doesn't even have a regular missionary
number, new address, new area book with no investigators at all not
even any former investigators and to top it all off. New missionary.

I've been called to "White- wash train" my new companion is Elder
Christiansen. He is from Lindon, Utah, he is fresh out of the MTC,
yesterday we taught his first lesson, gave his first Book of Mormon
away, we knocked his first door and met the Ward Mission Leader and
Bishop for the first time. This twist is, I know the area as well as
he does. Another interesting fact to point out is. That he is one of
the missionaries the new missionary policy has affected in America. He
is 18 and isn't going to be 19 for a long time.

A postive highlight we have experienced, is we have a very, very, very
nice missionary flat. 2 Bathrooms, 2 toilets, two showers, very nice
kitchen, new furniture. This morning we had breakfast which consisted
of tinned boiled vegetable and tinned lamb curry. It was so new our
cutlery was in plastic bags along with our new pans. New beds, new
pillows, new duvets. New.

I understand James Knight has served in Stoke. The great thing is I've
been comforted by the fact that Elder Christiansen and myself are
litterally starting from scratch. Indeed it was a scary thought to
receive a new address, where I have no clue to get their with my new
companion with both my luggage and his, in the middle of Manchester.
It seemed like one of those secret missions that starts off by opening
a mysterious brown envelope.

But I am Stoked, for Stoke. We were comfortable leading the mission in
probably almost every way from Runcorn, we taught more than anyone
else, we left the area with 3 investigators lined up for Baptism even
though we came in with nothing. I really don't like white washing but
it is my 3rd time I've white washed and am pretty accustomed to all
the stresses associated with it. It was funny to note that I've never
whitewashed with a new missionary or sort of opened a brand new area
with one either. We were always replacing previous missionaries
efforts. However, I suppose when we came into the Runcorn area, we
equally had nothing when we came in aswell.

Stoke reminds me of Bolton, we have a lot of people here, a lot of
different ethnic groups and a lot of interesting interactions, so far
this week I've been damned to hell by a fellow christian, had quite
interesting encounters with the opposition and knocked on a home with
guard dogs. Missionary Life, eh? Oh, and it feels like forever ago
since then, but last Saturday we had a Baptism.

Jess got Baptised, the Baptism was great, it was very hectic, because
we had a Blizzard in Runcorn, where it was a literal "white-out" we
had to shovel the snow for 2 hours before the Baptism and after 10
minutes of shovelling you are already tired, some people were stuck
and couldn't get out of the house it was so bad, but she got Baptised.
It was so frozen the Boiler in the Church broke so she got Baptised in
cold water.

I sure love my mission!

Elder Sapaden

Monday, 18 March 2013

Weekly Update 18 March 2013

Just to reinforce my new e-mail policy I thought I would type it up:
ADJUSTED MISSIONARY E-MAIL POLICY: We received the following policy change from the Missionary Department: "Missionaries are to write to their families each week and are also authorized to communicate by email with friends, priesthood leaders, and new converts. Mission presidents should allow sufficient time on preparation day for missionaries to write emails and letters. While in the mission field, missionaries should receivce authorization from the mission president before entering into communication, including via email, with converts and others of the opposite gender within the mission boundaries"
Send me an e-mail. You know you want to. jared.sapaden@myldsmail.net
This week has been a great one, I felt happy today to sign in to my e-mail and discover a vast number of e-mails from friends. Keep them coming.
There really is no mercy here in Runcorn, it's a great feeling to be busy, but I'm pretty worn out my companion wasn't here with me from Tuesday - Saturday, I like to joke with him when he gets back always asking him "so, how was your holiday?" but it's nice to be away I suppose, I stay in Runcorn with the other missionary because he doesn't have his license yet. But, hey I'm not complaining I have the Car with me all the time and all we do here is teach and speak to scousers. I wouldn't trade it for a holiday to the Isle of Man.
We have a Baptism this Saturday, it is quite exciting, I love Baptising it is a good feeling knowing that as missionaries we are here to harvest. I don't fully agree with the "I'm a missionary sowing seeds" mentality, I don't know about you, but I'm here to Harvest.
This week we gave trainings to about 60- 70 missionaries, it was quite fun, we got a lot of explosions involved, mentos and coke, baloons and even a pre- easter egg hunt. I loved this week, I was on exchange with a former companion, Elder Lamb and we had a lot of fun. We had an investigator pass a Baptismal interview.
We went on two proper exchanges and even had time to work with two companionships of Sister missionaries aswell as tearing it up in Runcorn.
Here's the miracle off the week:
On Thursday I just felt that I needed to go help out the Sister Missionaries in a previous area that I had served in called Chester. However, I wasn't with my companion, I was on exchange, so we were on exchanges and we went to help other missionaries out, it was quite a weird situation, the spirit had told me I needed to be here in Chester but I didn't know why. Intially we visited a former investigator that I taught when I was in Chester, she was pretty good. The sister missionaries had asked us to give one of their other investigators a Priesthood Blessing, so we said we could help. This other investigator had pro -actively called the ward in the area about him receiving a Book of Mormon 6 months prior and had referred himself to the missionaries because he lost contact with the missionaries 6 months ago. We came by, the miracle was that the missionary I was with was the one that had given this particular investigator the Book of Mormon 6 months ago. We were in the right place, at the right time, I even brought the right person with me although we hadn't planned it. The same missionary that had given their investigator the Book of Mormon 6 months ago gave him a priesthood blessing this week, it was quite symbolic. Definately pay attention to those spiritual promptings it was a faith building experience for everyone.
With Love,
Elder Sapaden

Monday, 11 March 2013

Weekly Update 11 March 2013

Runcorn is a "four dimentional" experience, along with capturing my heart, might, mind and strength it seems to have leaked into my soul. Even my dreams are very much missionary investigator focused. We have taught 30 lessons this week and I have experienced the joy of sacrafice. How is love shown in missionary work? I would reply: Consecration, it is the only surrender which is also a victory. When we withhold nothing and give absolutely everything, we come back to the flat, tired, drained and when I hang up the phone and sit on our couch, most of my evenings are spend vegetating. I don't even want to think. It just builds my capacity the next day, just like growing muscles we need to destroy and tear and break down the muscle before we are able to grow again. I am absolutely coverted to this principle. After the couch, I have to get together enough strength to crawl into bed.
Something I also love is doing things for the right reasons, I do not teach to "lead the mission" or because of any other principles, it is really fun to see other missionaries think that, "if I work hard on my mission Heavenly Father will bless me with an attractive wife" that is completely the wrong reason to work. However once the lifestyle of hard work is performed, if it ever comes to an end, it is quite amusing to think, if the principle was true: what would my spouse look like? But it must not be the motivation.
This week we have travelled from Birkenhead, to Manchester to Liverpool to Chester, there really is no rest for the wicked. Perhaps if you remember our miracle investigator who shared her testimony last sunday. This week she asked me: "will you come back from London when I am Baptised?" to which I replied something around the lines of I will actually be here to witness it. The only thing preventing her at this curent time to be Baptised is her surgery on the 19th. She has medical issues. It was amusing that lesson with her, she taught us the Gospel of Jesus Christ, why repentance and Baptism are necessary, she is just so ready.
Well... here is a piece of quite exciting news, missionary policy has changed... anyone can e-mail me from now on (except recent converts of the opposite sex living in the mission boundaries) but absolutely everyone! Get this e-mail around! E-mail me at: jared.sapaden@myldsmail.net
I'm expecting 50 e-mails next week. That is faith, huh? It is snowing outside so I'm going to enjoy that!
With Love,
Elder Sapaden

Monday, 4 March 2013

Weekly Update 4 March 2013

It is once again that time of the week and I am catching a Tan, it is quite sunny here it's very strange for the northern part of England, what is even more weird is it hasn't rained since Transfers, about 2-3 weeks ago. I don't to spoil the wonderful luck we are facing but I hope it continues.
Yesterday was one of the best fast and testimony Sundays ever, since this transfer we are building up, we have just received two new ward missionaries and we have the whole ward on our side. One of our ward missionaries has better skills than some missionaries in the Zone. He has been dilligently stidying Preach my Gospel and has mastered many teaching skills, he asks great questions, follows-up on the last lesson we had, he shares personal experiences and bears and always shares his testimony, he invited other non - members to lessons, he helps find people for us to teach and he turned to our investigator and commited him boldly "will you read the Book of Mormon for 10 minutes a day? Will you try that?" after finding out that he had not read this week. The amazing thing is that this particular ward missionary has made this transformation since we have been here, when we took him fellowshipping for the first time, he had no clue of what to say. He is in his 60s and when he isn't with us (he is with us everyday, for a few hours) he is in the Library doing family history.
Yesterday, our two new ward missionaries and various other members we had asked to help us out in our weekly missionary work which was many individuals so many that I cannot put a number on it shared their experiences with missionary work that week, they shared their testimony on this work and they encouraged others to do so. What brought me to tears was when our investigator that we brought to Church, only her second time at Church, she got up and shared her own testimony, which included her own personal conversion and her testimony of missionary work and she is not even a member. We shared our testimonies about the wonder of missionary work and currently have the ward all fired up to serve.
This week we painted some fences for members, a nice green spray which I would argue 1/3 of it went on my clothes. We taught about 30 lessons this week and we had 10 of them with investigators with members helping us to do the teaching. Never has there been a time on my mission where I have been so involved with the members. We have had tea appointments everyday and all we have to do is call auxilliary leaders such as the relief society president or the elders quorum president and they will make all the necessary arrangements for fellowshippers for us. Part of me is convinced that this is Zion.
We have been quite busy aswell, travelling between Rhyl, Liverpool and Birkenhead (the wirral) this week. It is quite busy, this week I was asked was it hard serving in my home country? I would have to say no, the temptation to slacken off and to mess about is their, but you learn to give it no heed. It was quite frightening to see advertised £7 for Liverpool to London on a train, but I love this place too much to care.
Something I am proud of accomplishing this week is only doing 1800 miles this month. We usually do about 1900-2100 miles per month, I'm happy for our planning but a good reason is perhaps that there is only 28 days this past Febuary. We had a lot at Sacrament meeting, we have worked a lot with less- actives and many families came out this sacrament meeting we had 130+ in attendance. I love my mission.
With Love,
Elder Sapaden

Monday, 25 February 2013

Weekly Update 25 February 2013

I've had the time of my life this week. It was fairly fun, yet again we have been running, driving, travelling like crazy people. It is a good feeling to be busy, I'm sure it isn't good for you to be as busy as we are and the stress it causes, perhaps compared to your lives it isn't stressful at all but I would say our average moving speed is above 30 miles per hour. This week we even went as far as Blackpool, hence the title. It is the Vegas of England and people definately need the gospel over there. It seemed to be a good place. We have driven about 1600 miles from the beggining of this month, this is a relatively calm month. We would higher with our mileage this month but we have been smarter and more tight with what we do.
My companion Elder Webster doesn't have his licence yet, so there have been weeks from Tuesday - Saturday he has been away from Runcorn and I've been with different missionaries. Sometime people wonder why we have such a great companionship, my simple reply is that we never seem to see each other. We have been from Manchester - Blackpool - Northern Wales this week. We seems to be spread far. Although a lot of miracles have taken place in Runcorn pretty recently. We taught just under 30 lessons this week and the area seems to be very alive. I love the members here they are just great and seem to be so understanding. I feel a little guilt when they have the desire to feed us everyday and at times we are just too busy to be fed. Carnally, my mind tells me "Elder Sapaden... are you really saying no to food? That's really unlike you" Members have been good and they have even dropped off food for us when we only have a few minutes to eat instead of a usual hour. If I could describe in a sentence what I learnt form experience this week I would say: Consecration is the only surrender which is also a victory. Really think about that one. The gospel isn't about sacrafice, the gospel is sacrafice, hence... the Atonement isn't part of the gospel. It is the Gospel.
I had an time to do some service this week, a part of me seems to crave just hard physical labour. We did some gardening, not a usual favourite passion/ hobby of mine before my mission but it definately is rewarding. The ward is calling more and more ward missionaries and my vision is to have a very serious missionary ward where perhaps even if they did lose missionaries they would be fine because the ward are finding and teaching non- members on their own. I feel way old as a missionary, I'm not counting down or counting my days on my mission because of want for home or anything of that sort, but I hit my 20 month mark yesterday and I feel quite old in the mission field, but it really does seem to fly by quite fast. It is such a great time to be a missionary.
With Love,
Elder Sapaden

Monday, 18 February 2013

Weekly Update 18 February 2013

We have been running round like madmen this week. I find that we just teach, teach and teach. Since Thursday nothing major has happened. I don't know if we have been bad missionaries but it doesn't seem that we get any rest at all. I suppose it is better to be busy anyway. Actually, that's a lie. I had a very interesting Valentines day. It seemed like something out of a horror film. We took part in an exorcism, but that is a story to be revealed after my mission. Pretty interesting stuff.
Referals have been falling from the heavens, all we do it teach and contact refferals, any average missionary would think we were in Utah, it is exactly the polar opposite of what my mission was like in the beginning where we were out for a good 5+ hours just talking to people on the streets. Don't get me wrong that stuff is effective too, but I would rather teach.
I'm getting aware that my e-mails might be getting shorter, but. We don't have much of a Preparation Day any more. I'm going to hit the Gym hard today, we have a home made gym in the 3rd floor of our flat, it is pretty nice if you ask me. Our flat is really nice, just super cold.
This week should be pretty busy, we are going to spend a lot of time in North Wales. Another Tuesday - Saturday away from my companion, hectic, eh? Something that I was thinking about is Scouse people. I love people in/ from Liverpool. Here in Runcorn, it just seems to be a spill over town from Liverpool, consequently I would say over 90% of people are from Liverpool. I would trade my accent for a scouse accent with out hesitation. A pattern that I notice in my missionary work is: the closer things get to Liverpool the better things get, the people will talk to you, they will give you the time of day, any time, any where. I love hopping on a Bus and talking to someone from Liverpool, they just open up and tell you the whole story of the lives they have lived. In a very comical way.
Part of our area, is very into the Country as soon as we move out of the vicinity of Liverpool and towards the country it just seems that the people are proud and they slam the doors shut. I would say there is a very real reason that the early apostles came to Liverpool first out of America, they knew that the people back then just like today would welcome them with warm hearts and open up to them just like they do today. I love Liverpool!
With Love,
Elder Sapaden

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Weekly Update 14 February 2013

It is a new beginning, a new transfer and a time to work even harder than before. Life seems to be racing by. Let me tell you of a fun experience we had at a dinner appointment. We were able to go to a family home evening this monday where the member asked me if I had seen the Ensign, I hadn't. He showed me a picture of a some missionaries, I saw Elder Miranda, I thought I saw another missionary of Samoan desent, but It just turned out to be me, the member thought it was a polynesian missionary aswell. It was pretty funny, pick up your ensigns look in the middle pages, in the UK section of this Febuary's ensign. What I find most funny is in that picture you see all the other missionaries working very hard, then you see Elder Miranda standing around and me smiling at the Camera. Golden! eh?
I've consumed so many pancakes this week it is unreal, we had a pancake eating competition with some members for lunch this week and it was very intense. I hope I never eat another pancake until next year. In other news, I have a new companion, I'm showing him the ropes of being a Zone Leader it is his first time being one, and so I'm training him on all the things we need to do. His name is Elder Webster, just like the dictionary. He is from Mesa, Arizona, he currently is working to get his english driving license, so it looks like I'm doing all the driving for the next few weeks, I mean that would be okay in normal life, but when you put things into perspective, we have driven over 1000 miles already this month. Yesterday was so intense, I went to transfer day, there are so many new missionaries, espcially a bunch of Sister Missionaries, this influx of new missionaries with the age limit for missionary service is hitting our mission hard. They are just all so young.
We have had a fairly average week, teaching non- stop, we are aiming for 30+ lessons these up coming weeks, hopefully we can throw some records out the window, with that being said, it was pretty interesting to watch our car windscreen being replaced. Well, I'll be e-mailing again on monday so take a look at that Ensign bit in the UK pages this Febuary.
With Love,
Elder Sapaden

Monday, 4 February 2013

Weekly Update 4 February 2013

This week has been busy we have been all over from Manchester to Chester to Wales. It has been quite hectic and full of trials. We have been teaching quite a bit, I suppose it is good to be busy, it keeps your mind off of things. We were over in Wrexham doing work over there with the missionaries, it often reminds me of when I was a newer missionary when I'm with the newer missionaries and all the adventures we have had.
I had a lot of new experiences this week, from having a cracked windscreen to changing a tyre and replacing it with a new one and even getting complimented on my driving skills when I dodged a potential car accident. The great thing is none of these things happened all at once, they progressively happened this week on seperate occasions.
A highlight of our week is summarised by a word "refferals" we are getting them like Utah here, we have about 9 to contact, which is the highest I've ever had on my mission, it seems that as long as you can gain the member trust and show them you love and care about them and they can trust you with their friends and family they will give you someone to try by, if Preach my Gospel ever teaches a missionary anything... it is that every member refferal gets baptised.
With Love,
Elder Sapaden

Monday, 28 January 2013

Weekly Update 28 January 2013

This week has been a fairly strange one, I wasn't with my usual companion from Tuesday - Saturday because we have been on back to back exchanges with other missionaries. I've been left on my own to lead Runcorn, which was pretty interesting, but it was really good. When I'm left to lead an area by myself for such a long time it really tests my abilities. We did well though, we had planned for about 15-20 lessons with a member present which really does stretch the mission standards. I love Runcorn, it's like a Business, when things are planned well and are followed through with, success is found.
A success that we found was with the youth, we played Basketball with them during our Preparation day, we really made friends with them, we then we to a buffet together and then we took them out fellowshipping, it was a good day. It is very cold here, it is very snowy and icy, driving here is quite extreme. The car slides all over the place sometimes, but I'm a good driver, we have had our fair share of drifts and even times where the car moves no where because it is so slippy one of us has to get out and push a long with the other tapping on the pedals.
Something that has become so real to me at this point of my mission is opposition. I find that when good things really happen and we teach, teach and teach and we lead in all that we do, it seems that there are moments in that week, that I've felt like giving up, it is a sad thing to say, but when investigators cancel it sort of becomes normal, we had over 10 lessons cancel this week, it seems to be even harder when members cancel on you, but I'm sure they have their difficulties too. I've found that that when someone cancels, you turn to yourself and ask "who am I meant to find now?" and then you go and do.
Missionary work teaches you a lot of life lessons, when you can see yourself in your investigators eyes, when you realise they are struggling with perhaps even the same sins that you have struggled with it becomes more real... a lot of missionaries see it like a Business, but it is so much more than that. When you can focus on the one and keep a more eternal perspective that is when a missionary becomes qualified. It is a good time to be a missionary.
With Love,
Elder Sapaden

Monday, 21 January 2013

Weekly Update 21 January 2013

It is freezing here in Runcornit is very cold. Ice and snow have taken over the place, it is really pretty but way cold. It was very interesting driving this week. It was like our car was Skating, we haven't had any major accidents yet, which is great. Driving in the ice/ snow is pretty interesting though, there has been a few accidents in the mission, North wales and the Liverpool area got hit hard, this week I used some bushes for my brakes, our car didn't stop even when I hit the brakes repeatedly. It is all okay though Charlotte (our car) still looks good.
Despite the snow we have had a very great week! We taught 21 total lessons, we even had 7 new investigators fall our of the woodwork. The Runcorn ward is a very missionary minded ward, I have a personal goal to have taken the whole ward fellowshipping at least once while I am still here in Runcorn. The week has been fairly crazy with all the things we have aimed to do, we had two exchanges, a meeting with the Stake President, our Saturday Book of Mormon experiment and all the things missionary like includes. The good news is as the Chester Zone we gave away just under 60 copies of the Book of Mormon on Saturday. We aimed to give away 20 Books of Mormon as a companionship so we can set the example for the Zone and we managed to give away 20! I carried around like a million copies in my bag that day.
This week I have also recommited to working out, I made my own personal gym in our little thrid floor room in our flat, it includes a bench and an array of weights. I even bought the goods to start off again. Protein and the old Creatine. My Biceps are still aching as we speak, but I suppose being on the downward slope of my mission I just feel an urgency to talk to anyone and everyone possible, I feel the urgency of getting back into shape of where I left off before my mission.
With Love,
Elder Sapaden

Monday, 14 January 2013

Weekly Update 14 January 2013

One of the first things we did here in Runcorn was buy a new frying pan, I made such a mean Stir- Fry this week, it was pretty incredible. This week has flown by. It started snowhing yesterday night, Runcorn is such a cold place, but I absolutely love it! This week was my first time on a Bike in such a long time. I got to go to an area called Wrexham for a little exchange, they don't usually use Bicycles that ofter, but I got them to dig them out so I we could go Bike contacting, it was a very new experience, talking to people on Bikes, pretty effective, I think. However, I was extra worn out at the end of the day. Instead of running to people it was only a case of pedaling faster, but I'm glad to be back here in Runcorn.
Time goes by so quick, my companion only has a month left to the day of his mission. Elder Corbin is a work horse, he is super motivated to work his best as the days count down for him. We are preparing a training for the Zone on Wednesday, we are going to achieve a new height, we are preparing them for a new activity that I've never seen in the mission field my whole mission. We are going to have a Chester Zone Book of Mormon placing day. We are going to aim as the Chester Zone to sincerely give out two boxes (about 80) Book of Mormons on Saturday. It is an exciting experiment.
A principle that I have been able to see work very effectively in my missionary work is economical finding. I love having a Sat- Nav. On my Sat- Nav, I put the whole ward list, practically our whole area book which includes: former investigators, our current teaching pool, part member families. So whenever we are in an area, we have more than about 5 "pins" to try- by including speaking to everyone on the way to each pin. It is the more excellent way, hopefully I will be able to teach as many missionaries this principle. If you can use your time wisely as a missionary, you have mastered each principle of serving a mission. Something I've learnt whilst applying this is that, Heavenly Father can help you the best when you have a direction, then he can place people in your path, rather than planning "lets go to speak to people in this general area" it is the more excellent way. We have a few investigators that have told us that they want to be Baptised, being a more experienced missionary I feel that I have definately been polished and able to more fully help these individuals we work with.
Here in Runcorn the ward functions pretty well, we have a reach out night every week with the missionaries where two different Priesthood holders go out on Exchanges with us. It shows a really willingness and motivation to bring those who have perhaps been lost back to the light of the gospel, we had a few people attend this sunday as a consequent visit from these efforts. Yesterday was also another very good day, we had a "missionary themed sacrament meeting" where Elder Corbin and myself gave a talk aswell as our Ward Mission Leader, we got the ward fired up for missionary work, the great thing is that the missionaries previous had Bicycles but now it is the Zone Leader area, so we get to travel out to areas where they couldn't get out to, we were working out in the Countryside this week, it was so pretty and also of people stopped to talk, much different to normal cities/ towns where people are caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping and distractions.
I had a little bit of an epitome this week; a mission does not change a person; a person changes a person but a mission helps to do that. I was thinking about who I was becoming, a lot of others would say someone that was the polar opposite of who I was when I came out on a mission. I wouldn't know what to say but, I don't think what I was and who I am now are comparable. Change, it's a funny principle.
With Love,
Elder Sapaden

Monday, 7 January 2013

Weekly Update 07 January 2013

Runcorn is quite the interesting place. I've grown to love it. It is very different to Chester, it is known to be one of the more Rowdy areas in the mission, but I embrace it with open arms. Life seems to be a bit more stressful, moving into a new area with no investigators, getting used to the area and the conditions. In Runcorn we have to budget our electricity/ water and gas. I've never been in a flat that we have to do this, it teaches me a lot of life skills. I've never dealt withi things like this before and I never thought I would have to. I'm sure I'll get used to it but it is a very unique experience.
We had a great week in terms of missionary work, we Baptised! We travelled back to Chester for Saturday, we had a great time their trying to pick up and organise the Baptism because we weren't the missionaries responsible for the area, but it needed to be done. Life is good! Success is very hard to gauge sometimes, especially as a missionary. The Runcorn ward are very excited to have us. It seems that in every prayer uttered on Sunday in that Chapel mentioned us, many of the testimonies were centered around missionary work, our introduction to the ward was very exciting and thrilling. They even invited us to talk in Sacrament meeting this Sunday. Someone even got up to bear there testimony on how they needed to feed the missionaries more. I love this ward... and consequently we have a full week of Tea- appointments, I really haven't had a full week of Tea appointments since St. Helens. By the way St. Helens is only about 5 miles away, so it is very close within the whole Liverpool area. Logically I think that anything that gets closer to Liverpool is naturally better.
Transfers have filled the Chester Zone with Life, I love the missionaries that are in the Zone and we are gathering together on Tuesday, I'm really excited, we had an increase in Sister missionaries, which was amazing because they always bring a great spirit and a new increase in faith, they always teach a lot. We haven't got chased down the road by any hooligans so my luck seems to be proving well so far.
With Love,
Elder Sapaden

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Weekly Update 03 January 2013

Well, No one would have thought I would be bouncing around the mission this fast. I've been have too many 6 week areas. Now I am in Runcorn, it is a good place. It is by the River Mersey again. I have spent so much time in these Liverpool areas. This mission thing is going so quick. I am back in England again it is a good feeling. What was pretty funny is I went on exchanges with another mission to Runcorn just before transfers happened and I wanted to serve here, I was with another missionary visiting some of their investigators and members. I loved it, when we found out I was moving to Runcorn I was actually in Runcorn still.
I really do miss Chester, we had a few baptisms lined up but that is okay, the great thing is Sister Missionaries took us out of Chester and there are Sisters in Chester currently. We had an extremely good new year in Chester, we spent time with some great members. My favourite part was having Japanese food on New Years eve. It was quite a new experience and I loved it. I'm sad to say bye to the Chester ward, especially the members, they were amazing. It was good just being around them. I have a new Disney favourite, it's called Tangled, best film ever. Watching films on New Years was weird, it was like a million years since I've seen any films. My companion and I seemed to laugh at anything and everything... you could definately tell it has been a while.
Driving yesterday was crazy, we are Whitewashing, so we had to move all our stuff and clean our flat super nice because Sister Missionaries were coming in we had driven about 200 miles yesterday, it was really intense doing all that driving.
Well... I'll be e-mailing on Monday again. but just a piece of information the address for the Mission Office has changed:
England Manchester Mission
Springwood, Suite G5,
Chelford Road,
Knutsford, Cheshire,
WA16 8GS
With Love,
Elder Sapaden