"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, 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