Monday, July 30, 2012

Last one from the field

    Two years ago, in the MTC

Happy birthday Mom!

Did you like the singing? I even love you so much that I have decided to make an appearance in person this week for you. Your other present is en route to Raymond, AB as we speak. You will like it.

I don't know about you Dad, but I am sorry to hear about Mom's schedule this upcoming week. Working Monday-Wednesday and Friday morning will keep her mind at bay (to a point), but having Thursday as her day off is going to kill her. I hate to come across as vain, but what is she going to think about all day? Seeing a son come home from his mission, enjoying a long car drive up to her hometown with 2 of her kids, only to see another of her children and grandkids...poor girl...hang in there Mom. I am sure that Dad's mind will also be hectic, but no where near Mom's.

Let me tell you about my remaining time. There is no way to sidestep going home now, so I won't even try. I am going to Auntie Susan's to supper tonight. She will get to meet yet another missionary I will be with. I think the Warnes have not seen me with the same missionary twice...I am excited to see family before I leave. It has been a little taste of home out here. Also tonight we welcome Elder McDanel into the Office as the new Assistant. He was trained in Dryden while I was in Kenora and I love that boy. He is from Preston, ID and only a couple miles away from Elder Bodily. That's good country, let me tell you. Tuesday will be spent at District Meeting at 10:30-noon and pictures afterwards. Then I return to my "exit interview" at 2:00pm. I will be able to spend some time out in my area that afternoon, then a supper appointment with members, and more time to work. Wednesday: District Meeting, then I will have to leave early and go to the airport to pick up the new missionaries. The new missionaries (all 10) will have their interviews that afternoon and evening. My assignment is to supervise them and get them through all the necessary orientation---all day. It will be fun doing my best to inspire them. Thursday (Mom's long day): Breakfast at the Mission Home at 8, then I will take a missionary out on exchanges for an hour or 2 and then set up Transfer Meeting at Dalhousie chapel and have Transfer Meeting at 2-3. Then I hand in some of my CWM things that afternoon and get a little training I guess you could say. Then I have supper at 5 and head off to my Farewell Fireside at 7pm, where I am hoping to see a lot of people from Kenora, and various other people too, including Auntie Susan and Brent and their family. They said they will try to make it out. After that, lots of pictures, packing and then sleep (?). Friday...5am wake up to have breakfast and get to the airport for my plane--which, by the way Dad, I will not miss---, take-off at 8:45, then a layover in Minneapolis and then arrival in Boise at 1:30ish. That's what I know, and I only know it because I asked about 10 minutes ago. I love being a missionary and I will until the moment I get on/off that plane. Then it is time to move on, as Bro. Callens so eloquently put it, "enjoy the place of life you are in now". Then to paraphrase the rest, Do not dwell on the past or future. Live for the now. That does not mean to not think about past experiences or future experiences but I think you know what I mean.

Mom, I have to ask...have you been counting down the days for my entire mission? Lately I have heard of a lot of moms doing that....anyway, I love you. See you Friday.

Dad, are you going to surprise me and shave your mustache? Now that would be a shocker. No better time...

For anyone contemplating on whether to serve a mission or not I give this advice: not only has the Lord commanded it, but you will grow in more ways than you could ever imaginable--if you apply yourself. I now have the tools to be a better instrument in the Lord's kingdom, to be a better person, a better friend, a better future husband and father, a better disciple of Christ and my testimony of the gospel has been fortified through experience. I declare there is no other way to lasting happiness than through Christ. He will make you free. Serve a mission, do not even think of not.

A few things from a fireside last night on agency and then I have to close. "It is not a big deal to know the gospel is true when compared to choosing to be a part of the Lord's training program (this life)." Faith without works is dead. The gospel is a gospel of change and action. The gospel works, it is real, it is true. Because it is real and true, Jesus is the Christ, God lives and it is our duty to share such a glorious message, whether a full-time missionary or not. I am eager to fulfill whatever calling I will be given when I return. Sure I will have the RM fire, but shouldn't we all? Is it not a blessing to serve the Most High? Are His commandments not for our benefit? I testify it is a privilege to serve others and that commandments are for our benefit. My exhortation to all is to stand for truth whether in the comforts of church or home, or in the face of opposition. God will bless us, and He will build us. Let us all choose to "be anxiously engaged in a good cause", is my prayer.

One last time...what is the best part of the gospel? It is all true. I love you all.

Elder Galbraith

Monday, July 23, 2012

Almost there

Well...I'm sitting down in an office chair on the main level of the Mission Office listening to the hum of the A/C. There were deer outside earlier as we washed and waxed our Cruze. Go figure...those creatures love me. Took a shower and now I am sitting down. Just sitting down. Imagine that--time to stop and "smell the roses". Lots of great things happened this week and lots of interesting changes to be made this upcoming week---transfer planning. Not just that, but neither Elder Deeble nor Pres. Thomas have done this before, so this will be interesting. The calm before the storm. No need to worry, I will remind Pres. Thomas that anything Elder Deeble or I say is a matter of suggestion and that he is the Lord's chosen in this matter. It will be interesting to see how all of this planning will play out. I remember some of the companionships last transfer were discussed and one or 2 were sudden inspiration to Pres. Paulson. The more I look at this upcoming transfer the bigger and more complex it will be. 10 more missionaries coming in, after the 13 that came 5 weeks ago, and some of the 13 will need new trainers due to changes in missionary leadership (new district leaders, zone leaders, etc.). Wow. Keep Pres. Thomas in your prayers if you would.

This past week is a blur. Up to Saskatoon, down to Regina and back. Our poor car is sure getting taxed! Elder Deeble and I were present at the interviews that missionaries have with Pres. Thomas (where we have a part and do mini-interviews with the missionaries) and went on exchanges with the elders up there. Exchanges went well and so did Zone Conference. It was extremely spirit-filled. Pres. Walton from Regina, and a member of the CWM Presidency, spoke on humility and it was very tactful and powerful. After Pres. Walton, Pres. Robertson (Saskatoon Stake President) spoke on acting immediately on revelation. He said that personal revelation has a "shelf life", which made me uneasy at first. Then he went on to describe that sometimes revelation must be acted upon immediately, while other times revelation has a wider applicable time. With that in mind, I warmed up to his description. Yes, personal revelation does have a "shelf life" in that some may be applicable for weeks, while some must be acted upon at the moment. Both talks were superb. Then we had our portion and it went very well. I think missionaries’ eyes were opened, in that we must all do a better job of clearly explaining what the baptismal covenant is and what they must do to be ready to make that covenant. You would be surprised by how many people will commit to being baptized but how many will not keep commitments. More on that in person. The practice session as part of our portion went well. The remainder of the meeting was spirit-filled, especially right before the testimony portion of the meeting. As customary, the departing missionaries share their testimonies and as I patiently waited my turn (I was last of 3) I had lots of flashbacks of spiritual highs. My heart was beating at a billion kilometers an hour (ha) and even with that I felt a sense of peace. When it was my turn I got up and shared some thoughts that I thought would help the missionaries. I started by saying that I envied them because they were the ones staying for next Zone Conference and not me. I always thought departing missionaries were cliche when they would say things like that, but I meant it. I went on but I feel like my thoughts helped some of the missionaries there. I stared at one particular missionary, who is contemplating going home, square in the eyes and said that not serving the full 24 months when able to do so would be a great loss. It's true. A modern prophet has clearly declared that every able-bodied young man should serve a mission and that young women's service is greatly welcomed--does not leave much wiggle-room, does it? But, as with all things, we are to receive a personal spiritual witness before embarking. My spiritual witness that helped me recognize that I needed to serve a mission was completely undeniable. I KNEW more than anything else I had ever known before that serving a mission was exactly what God wanted me to do. Though I saw no vision, powerful joyful feelings overcame me for a long time. That prayer was probably the longest prayer I have ever uttered. Back to where I was--I did my best to help that missionary. I hope he does something with it. Of course I share responsibility to help all missionaries stay out. I am thankful to missionaries that helped inspire me.

While in Saskatoon I saw a good old friend. Any guesses? Sister Harder. Oh, she is amazing. She had me over for supper and asked me to give her a blessing afterwards. A quick jaunt--Michael asked me how often I have been able to be involved in Priesthood ordinances and blessings and the answer is as often as possible. I keep track in the back of a journal of how many I have been involved in and who was involved. I will not tell you how many I have been involved in now because I do not want to come across as bragging, so I will tell you in due time. Just bring it up and I will tell you in person. Back to Sis. Harder--she is doing so well. She has the missionaries over at least once a week and attends the temple every other week or so. She is stalwart! She definitely has the Spirit about her. That is what happens when someone receives a witness from God, acts on it and maintains a living testimony. Ha, she loves me. She still has pictures of me on her wall.

I got home from SK and guess who I heard from? Well, Pres. Thomas was down in I-Falls doing temple recommend interviews (yes, he traveled there after doing Zone Conference) and interviewed none other than Mike Wilcox. So...Mike mentioned the missionaries that taught him and Pres. Thomas gave me a call right on the spot. I got to talk with "Big Mike" Wilcox! He is so happy and said that ever since he met Elder Bodily and I, his life has only gotten better. Wow it is rewarding to hear that. I got to talk to him for a few minutes and then he had to go, but he was getting a recommend to go through the temple! He will be receiving his endowment sometime this week! Wow! To best express my emotion let me quote D&C 18:15-16:"And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" What a feeling. Again, it is the Holy Spirit who did the converting, but I certainly was an instrument in God's hand and I feel fulfilled knowing that I helped someone come closer to Christ.

Speaking of converts...I met Edilyn this week. Remember her? She lives in Winnipeg, in the Gateway ward, my first ward. She was so happy to see me and I was so excited to see her! Ha...I was on exchange with a new elder serving in the Gateway ward who has been going through a rough time. We had an appointment that did not work out so we went to try to find her new place nearby. Guess who was there? I am not trying to elevate myself by saying this, but the best way I can describe her when she saw me was like she had just won the lottery. We visited inside for a little while and talked. I invited her to do a few things that will continue to help her spiritual progression. She gave the elders the names of a few families to visit. The whole experience was really beneficial to the new elder who is excited to find someone just like her. I promised him that people are waiting. I have no doubt that people are there. I feel he walked away with an added desire to find, teach and baptize.

You remember Irene from Kenora? She just got her Patriarchal Blessing yesterday. All of these miraculous things are happening at once, isn't it amazing?!

You asked about which hymns I may want when in Seattle. Top pick: 251) Behold a Royal Army.Love that song. It is the mission hymn and I love it. Other good ones that I love are 98) I Need Thee Every Hour, 101) Guide Me to Thee, and 223) Have I Done Any Good? You may have to pick from those because I sure cannot. So, 251 and another one of those. Speaking of that day, you may have to invite some family (Aunt Janette and Uncle Bill, Auntie Sharon...) to it because I do not have any time.  It sounds like a terrible excuse, but I am running a hundred miles an hour and do not even have time to sleep. Oh, did I say that? This may be my only email. Please, and thank you.

Mike--I hope it is ok that I am sending a box or 2 to your place that I can pick up when we swing through.

Kim--in my Book of Mormon reading I came across a scripture that had me instantly think of you and maintaining an eternal perspective, even in difficult times: Mormon 8:22. Look it up. I love you big sister, hang in there. Just because I may not write my family often does not mean that I am not mindful of you!

I am so excited for Dad and his new calling. Way to go Dad with the neighbors! By small and simple mentioned that you both had to give talks on adversity in church. Well...seems like the Galbraith family has had their share recently. Use your experiences to try to lift others. Way to be.

Mom, I have had something for you for your birthday for about a month and was going to send it off this week but I may just stick it in the box to Mike's place. You will have to wait and see, but I have something for you that you will like.

I love you all, over and out.

Elder Galbraith

 Right to left is myself, Elder Perkins (who I trained), Elder Tanner (who Elder Perkins trained) and Elder Erickson (from Cardston, who Elder Tanner is training). In the mission we call it a generation photo.
                          With Elder Bodily (companion in International Falls)

I forgot to mention that Jessica and her family came to church! She wanted us to come in the morning to wake the kids up because they are better when others are around. So...we asked about airhorns...she said "perfect". So...we woke her kids up with airhorns...and they came to church and loved it. Need I say more? So that is what the airhorns are in the picture.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Still on the road

               Keeping hydrated

(Sunday evening)  Remember last email how I said that I was ok with sleep? Well that lasted until Tuesday. My schedule has allowed for no stops. I prefer this over the alternative! Friday I fell asleep looking at my planner with my eyes open during planning. Ha. Saturday night we drove back from Kenora, dropped Missionary Fireside fliers at our churches, got a call to assist in giving a missionary a blessing, then talked to the zone leaders in person about a few needs of the zone until 11:30. Lots to do, no time to slow down--perfect.

Interviews went well in Manitoba. We have round 2 this upcoming week in SK. We are traveling up to Saskatoon tomorrow and will begin an exchange at 6. Zone Conference went really well. There are lots of changes coming from church headquarters to the missionary world. For example we will be reporting our indicators online and a few small tweaks here and there. Looks like some interesting changes this upcoming transfer, but I do not know what is certain yet. Stay tuned, sort of thing.

My exchange to Kenora went well. We stayed Friday night there. Oh, AC and on Saturday it got up to 38C. Scorcher...The current elders out there are really good. One is a new district leader that we are helping with some pointers. The other is a well-prepared new missionary full of greenie fire. Exchanges went well. One very interesting thing that I was told is that virtually the entire city of Kenora has good vibes towards the Church. The pastor of the biggest chuch in town is apparently telling everyone to "be nice to the Mormons". It was not always like that. I am not trying to elevate myself on a pedastal by saying this, but the senior companion in Kenora told me that a factor in the change in mentality of the people in Kenora towards the Church had to do with me singing in that little choir for a month or so, which ironically was at that "biggest church" in Kenora. It just leaves good feelings. Also while in Kenora I ate supper with a number of my favorite people from Kenora: the Wickhams, the Ladds, the Goodridges and Sister Irene Fredrickson. Oh ya. It was so good to see Irene "just one of the crowd" if you know what I mean. I love those people and I love that area. Bro. Wickham is like my mission dad. He helps people out so much. He has a house right on the Winnipeg River in the woods just out of town and it is BEAUTIFUL. I invited them to my Farewell Fireside. Ugh, that is coming up. I have only begun inviting people because I procrastinated it on purpose.

Regarding Zone Conference, it went well. Elder Deeble and I's portion was on teaching "Baptism, Our First Covenant" more clearly and with more of a focus on how baptism is a covenant and what a covenant is. After briefly teaching that, the practice continued with a direct invitation to be baptized, and then establishing expectations with the investigator. Throughout the practice we emphasized teaching doctrine clearly, being bold, direct and persistent. With all the new missionaries, the mission is lacking somewhat in those areas, especially in teaching doctrine simply and clearly. The MTC now prepares missionaries with teaching skills and allows missionaries to learn doctrine while out in the field. That is completely different from my experience in the MTC where I was taught straight doctrine and learned teaching skills out in the field. How lucky the new missionaries are!

This week will be spent in SK until coming home on Saturday.

Jessica and her family are doing ok. She got really discouraged this morning when things just did not work out for her to come to church today. We had stopped by at 8 (church at 10) to wake them up, as they had asked. No real response. At 9:40 I got a call saying she was coming but would be late, and then at 5 to 10 she called and was emotional that she was not able to make it to church with some things that came up. Still working there, but her desire is growing and she is recognizing distinct answers to prayers. She is working at quitting smoking and she mentioned how she feels a distinct urge to not want to smoke when she reads from the Book of Mormon. She enjoys reading it when she can. She is coming along.

(Monday morning) Sounds like things are plugging away in Boise. Way to go Mom on sharing your testimony like that! There are a lot of people who misunderstand that we are total Christians. I am proud of you. Sounds like Dad has been running some sort of marathon between states. Keep sprinting! You beat me in trip the end of this week I will have had just over 2100 kms travel over the prior 2 weeks, so about 1300 miles. It is weird, but I am really starting to like metric...

I think Mom will like this: the Paulsons had a "mission candy", M&M's, standing for members and missionaries. It was a great idea and worked well. The Thomas', wanting to carry on this tradition of a mission candy now have the motto "Search, Find and Rescue". Any guesses as to that candy? Lifesavers is right. Them being from Alaska makes it even better.

The most spiritual part of this past week for me was Zone Conference. The Spirit was so strong. The Thomas' gave powerful portions. Because departing missionaries give 5 minute testimonies at Zone Conference, I pondered what I wanted to say and reflected a lot. That brought the Spirit a lot. When it was time to give brief testimonies I had a few things jotted down and I followed Elder Dunn, a tough act to follow. Once I got up to the pulpit I was done. The waterworks were on for sure. I expressed my gratitude for Sister Thomas' portion on the importance of including Less-Active work into our efforts and I reflected on a few people that I have had the chance to work with. I thought of the Osters in Fort Frances, Brett Eidman in I-Falls and others. I expressed that I did not expect so many people to have such an impact on me while out here. I testified that the gospel is real and that it's cleansing is real. I encouraged anyone who was struggling to put others first and to dream of their success. I promised anyone who would do that would become lost in the work, and I can promise that because when I do that I forget about myself and "go to work". Lastly I exhorted everyone to give their best, because anything less than their best will cause them to miss out. God will bless us as we do. I also gave thanks and looked people in the eyes and called a few out by name. That is what I shared as part of my testimony and my remarks were directed at a few specific missionaries, but I think a number benefited (or so I hope).

That is all for now. The best part of the gospel is that it is all true. Love ya,

Elder Galbraith

                      Friends in Kenora

                   With Bro. Wickham

Monday, July 9, 2012

On the road (again, and again and . . . )

Well I cannot even begin to describe the whirlwind that I am caught in. I am so busy! The trip to SK went well. I finally finished my Ontario district logo and started on my Kenora K. I didn't sleep in the car. My body wouldn't take it. I got about 5 hours of sleep last night and woke up at 6:30 this morning and just laid there. I stared upward and didn't have a hint of fatigue. The only explanation is God...I am working harder than ever and sleeping less and my body just is chugging along.

This past week...I can't even remember a lot of it. What happened before Friday's trip to SK? I had to look at my planner to remind me. Elder Deeble and I prepared for ZLC and our portion for much of Monday night and Tuesday during the day. Then we were able to spend time finding in our area...thank goodness. Wednesday had more preparations too and some finding (I think...) and then ZLC that night. The zone leaders in the CWM may intrigue you: Elder Perkins (sound familiar?) and Elder McDanel (a favorite of mine from Ontario and Regina) as the Saskatchewan Zone Leaders and Elder Dunn (familiar?) and an Elder Oberg (from Coaldale, AB) as the Manitoba Zone Leaders. I have had close relations with all these elders throughout my mission at some point. It's a lot of fun serving with them all because they are proactive and very focused on helping those they serve as best they can. SK Zone is having incredible success--40 new investigators this past week. Amazing, and nothing short from a miracle. Anyway....Thursday morning more ZLC until 1 or so, then I went on exchange with Elder Dunn for the afternoon and we had a good lesson with Jessica and her family (who came to church and loved it!). This may be the breakthrough we have been waiting for! Friday through Sunday night we were traveling or in SK. Productive trip, for sure. It was Elder Deeble and the Thomas' first times to SK so I was the official tour guide. It was fun. While finding with one of the new missionaries (being trained by Elder Bodily...familiar?) I asked for a Qu'ran at a doorstep and got the new elder a Qu'ran. The muslim man was very kind and wanted to know more about what we share, and offered to give us his holy book. Why not? It's not like I am ever going to delve into it, but simply having it allows me tremendous opportunities. I have many people try "ripping me apart" because I am so close-minded. Then I tell him that I have been to other churches while on my mission and that I even have a Qu'ran and they ALWAYS stop. Then I bear testimony that I have received answers from God that the Bible and Book of Mormon are true. Where was I? Oh, then on Sunday I attended the Wascana ward in Regina and listened to a couple of good talks, one especially was extremely well-done: Pres. Walton, a member of the mission presidency, spoke on the parable of the great supper in Luke 14 and was very bold. He went about the topic in a very careful way and was very careful as he spoke, and told the those there that he was shocked to be asked to speak on this parable. He explained how careful he was and that he thought to take the topic one way, but that the Spirit communicated with him to go a certain way with the talk and so he did. He  emphasized putting God first and gave a few examples of how to put God first. Some times when we delay putting God first, or delay fulfilling our callings as best we can, etc., the opportunity may not come back. He powerfully bore testimony of the importance of missionary work and of living the gospel. I realize looking back that Dad could take a lot of those comments to apply to his new calling, which easily do relate, but shouldn't we all put God first? Shouldn't we all share our testimonies? Why did Jesus Christ put such an emphasis on missionary work when speaking to the apostles? I realize many people already do these things, and I congratulate them on their living of Christlike lives. Just a friendly reminder. I'll get off my soapbox and just say: Great talk. I really respect Pres. Walton, he is a great example too. Made it home that night. I'm here today. Busy week ahead.
Tomorrow is full of interviews for the Manitoba Zone and I will be right in the thick of it all day from about 8 to 5 or so. After that its time to prepare for Elder Deeble and I's Zone Conference portion this Thursday. We think we have a topic: practicing boldness and direct "will you..." questions. The mission needs some training on being bold. I always can benefit there, but I am pleased that I have become much more bold while out here. Anyway, Wednesday will also be full of interviews and then a short exchange with the elders up from I-Falls, and I will be quite bold with one. Then Thursday and Zone Conference. Friday Elder Deeble and I will get to finally work in our area and then exchange with some elders for the afternoon and then a drive to Kenora for an exchange all of Saturday. about busy, but I am giving it everything I have and nothing less.

I love the Thomas'. Wow they are inspired to come here. They have so many fresh ideas for the mission. I look up to them for being major pioneers in Alaska's growth of the gospel. They saw the Ketchikan, AK ward begin from a small branch with no Priesthood to being a ward ready for a ward split. The Thomas' lived in the Ketchikan area for 40 years and he served extremely valiantly in his callings. I have such a total respect for people that are proactive in fulfilling their callings. It says a lot about them and their love for the Lord AND it inspires others. Thanks Mom and Dad for being valiant in your callings. I know this new calling for Dad will help him to stretch in different ways. His new calling as ward missionary reminds me that the Lord always wants us to learn and grow throughout our lives. "Improvement and progression have one eternal round", as the song says. The growth that comes from serving in the Church is no different.

The Thomas' website for their fishing lodges is Wow. I am going to Alaska. I could work up there no problem.

While on my way over to SK we stopped at a McD's for lunch and parked there was none other than a 2012 Shelby GT500. I groaned. I saw the owner standing next to it and when we parked I got out and started talking to him about his car. He showed us his Recaro racing seats, custom sound system, and the paint job, and...of course I asked to hear it. Though "only" with 550hp vs. the 2013's 650, those 550 sound beautiful! He slowly made the turn onto the freeway and then just gunned it. WOW. Exactly what cars are supposed to sound like, literally music to my ears. Talking about cars is any easy conversation starter. I also talked to people about a 1971 Mustang Mach 1 and a late 90s Trans Am with some work done to it. Maybe the Lord has called me here to reach out to those people by talking about their cars? Maybe. Pres. Thomas has emphasized talking WITH all people, even if the gospel does not come up.

Loving it here. I will have to send pictures next week. Love you all,

Elder Galbraith

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Canada Day

Elder Galbraith & Sis. Poulton, who worked in the office.  She left 10 days ago to return to Boise.

I'm sitting here at the computer next to the fan because it is so muggy here. My hands are balmy and sweaty and I'm inside. Sheesh. We are expecting thunderstorms soon and it has been really muggy lately. I kind of like it because I have never experienced humidity to this extreme before but on the other hand....well, it's hot. It was 33C the past few days, and with a lot of humidity, that is a lot of heat. So...that's about 92F, and in February, just over 4 months ago I was in  -51F....still getting used to that.

This has been one weird week. Need I say more? Pres. Thomas comes in, Pres. Paulson leaves. Busy schedule just got busier. Pres. Thomas is an outdoor-loving guy who is more relaxed than President Paulson on some measures. It will take some getting used to. Elder Deeble and I got Pres. Thomas's new ride all nice and shiny for him (2012 Traverse). Looks good. The Paulsons took the Thomases around Winnipeg on Thursday as we got things ready back in the Office for them. While out with the Thomas', Pres. Paulson saw a plane in the air and did the unthinkable and asked the piercing question that every new missionary gets asked: "Pres. Thomas, how far away is that plane?"  Pres. Thomas: "Oh, maybe a mile or 2 in the air". Pres. Paulson: "Try 3 years." Haha, I was laughing so hard when I heard he did that. Elder Woods, my trainer, asked me that my first week or 2 in the field...

Looks like I'm heading to Saskatchewan a little earlier than planned. Pres. Thomas wanted to go and visit the missionaries in SK to see their faces as soon as possible. I advised against it due to time and that we are already going out for Zone Conference in 2 weeks, but after a night to sleep on it, Pres. Thomas said he felt like he needed to go. When the Lord's anointed speaks, I go and do, no questions asked. He is the inspired one and I can chip in my 2 cents. So I am heading out to SK on Friday and will arrange for meetings in Regina and Saskatoon on Saturday, and will attend a family ward in Regina on Sunday, then drive partway back to Brandon, MB and do a baptismal interview at 5pm, then drive the rest of the way home that night. That is AFTER ZLC Wednesday and Thursday this week, and the following week is Zone Conference and interviews in Manitoba which will take Tuesday through Thursday. Friday I exchange with an area in the northeastern part of Winnipeg and travel to Kenora that night and exchange in Kenora for most of Saturday and return to Winnipeg that night. The next week we head out to SK again, this time exchanging, prepping everything so President can do interviews in Saskatoon Tuesday and Wednesday, Zone Conference Thursday and exchanges and travel back to Winnipeg Saturday night. The following week is packed with Pres. Thomas' first Transfer Planning (a 3 or 4 day ordeal) and that nearly takes me to the end of July. I will assist in training the new assistant to replace me until the final hour in Canada. Sound busy enough? I didn't include all the exchanges I will be doing here or the work in my own area. I am so busy that I had to cancel an exchange down to I-Falls today. Bummer.

I found out yesterday that missions are completely changing a few ways we do missionary work. It causes a little stress for Elder Deeble and I because we don't know everything that is happening or when it is happening. I thought some of these changes would be weeks down the road, but I just found out they are taking effect immediately, so it is causing some juggling on our part. I can't be too specific yet, but I can quote Pres. Thomas who is quoting the brethren who spoke to them at the MTC: "We can expect major changes in missionary work and major miracles in the next 6 months." They are starting now. Are you excited? Who knows what will happen...I do know one thing: the Church is embracing technology like never before and that the restored gospel is in every country in the world, meaning that there are members in every country in the world right now.

Our investigators....well we finally met with Jessica again and she is trudging along. She is becoming somewhat noncommittal. Kelly called us on Tuesday and had to reschedule to this week. I have not had much time to work my area to be honest.

Dad made me laugh a lot this email. "I'm a hero" was perfect (I solved an electrical problem for a lady this morning). But, most of all, I loved hearing about Dad's new calling: ward missionary. Of course it is my fault, but I am happy for you! (He sent me one of his name tags for Fathers' Day, and said he hoped I could use it someday). It was a good thing you said to stop snickering because I was doing a whole lot of that! Ironically I was talking with another missionary yesterday about how important ward missionaries are. Without knowing what they do at all, I used to think that ward missionaries were a cop-out calling. FAR FROM IT. They can help so much! As the Book of Mormon teaches, "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." From a missionary's viewpoint, I find it helpful when ward missionaries come to Ward Missionary Correlation (meeting with Ward Mission Leader and missionaries and ward missionaries). They provide some input that helps and I feel it helps them know how to better understand how to help out. I'm excited for you! You will be given even more opportunities to share the gospel, more than ever before! You have that nametag...just kidding, don't use that. Ward missionaries don't use nametags. Haha, word must have gotten around that you received a nametag. On a serious note, "there is no growing in comfort zones and there is no comfort in growing zones". I know that you will do well. Trust in God and go and do. I recommend including PMG in your daily studies of the scriptures. What an opportunity you have!

That is all that is on my mind other than I played dodgeball today at p-day activity. I love dodgeball.

Love you all,

Elder Galbraith

 Pres. & Sis. Paulson as they departed.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Like herding cats

It has been sooo busy. Transfer week is a killer. Whenever missionaries come from out of Winnipeg to the "big city" they stay at our place because we have extra beds, and we had people Sunday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night that all? Oh, sure seems like more than that. Exhausting, but of course, rewarding. We had our weekly reports come in last night and a number of things from the Zone Leaders were wrong and we were scratching our heads late into the evening. As one of my favo(u)rite elders says, "it'll all buff out" and it did.

13 new missionaries. 11 new elders and 2 new sisters. 6 new elders went to Saskatoon and the remaining stayed on this side of the mission. Thursday was a nonstop day. It started with all the new missionaries meeting at President and Sister Paulson's home (Mission Home) for breakfast for 31 people. Yup. Thank goodness all I had to do was arrange rides and places to sleep. From breakfast everyone went to a nearby chapel. It was heartwarming to see 10 or more cars packed with missionaries going to the Academy Rd. chapel. Too bad no-one knew how to get there so mid-way through the trip--at a stop sign---I got out and went from car to car telling everyone the directions how to get there. Thank goodness they were easy directions. The meeting went until noon and went ok with only a few minor hiccups. Seeing these new missionaries "all green" reminds me how far I have come. Lunch, then the busiest part of the whole week---Transfer Meeting. Normally at the church we had to coordinate between 2 places because all the Saskatoon elders had to leave for Saskatoon by 1:30 to make it back by 9 their time and everyone else met at the Dalhousie chapel. Wow. What an ordeal. It was like trying to herd cats. I can sympathize about wanting to talk with everyone, but a number of people were just waiting around. I would ask, "Are your bags packed? Are they in your assigned car? Did you get your supplies? Do you have your mail?" The typical answers were yes to all, and then I would say, "ok, then go to your area". That all lasted until about 3:30, then departing missionaries had some exit interviews and then supper at the Paulsons, then the Farewell Fireside. Then home, at about 10, with things still to do, but I enjoy being busy. I sure was!

You asked about Elder Skinner being gone and how things are now? To be honest, it's a little hectic trying to get Elder Deeble completely up to speed in half the time that I had, and a lot of anticipation for things to come. I miss Elder Skinner. I learned a lot from that man. At the Farewell Fireside something very unexpected happened, he offered me a hug and I started to cry. Oh boy. I never expected that. I am striving to be the best example to Elder Deeble and the rest of the missionaries that I can be. President Thomas will arrive Thursday afternoon and President Paulson will leave Friday morning. I sure will miss them, but will welcome President Thomas openly.

Jessica and her family continue to struggle to come to church. I worry about them. Elder Deeble and I found a lady named Kelly that we will meet on Thursday that has a lot of potential. We are looking at renewing our teaching pool among all the things going on. Ha, Elder Deeble and I looked at the upcoming transfer and there are 7 days all transfer (excluding Sundays) that he and I will not be involved in traveling or exchanging. Phew. 

Mom you did a great job with your profile! I stopped reading and immediately looked at it when I read that. Dad, you're next...

My prayers are still with Auntie Sharon.

I especially liked the last sentence of Mom's quote. We do all we can after keeping God's commandments and we know it is in His hands. This is especially true of missionary work.

I loved the way Dad opened his portion of the email!   (I told him a few things about Vulcan)I read it to Elder Deeble and he just laughed. I laughed again when you mentioned that Mom just cried when she saw the nametag. Haha. I was smiling the rest of the email after that. I really liked what you said about seeking the natural missionary opportunities instead of the "insane bravery". Let me tell you, there still can be a lot of that in normal situations. Remember a few weeks ago when I emailed and mentioned how I asked inactive members how the Book of Mormon has enriched their lives? I knew something was coming, and I invited them to read it and promised them that it would change their lives if they seriously asked God and acted on His answer. Sounds like you 2 are trucking along. Keep on keeping on. I am glad to hear that you are spending so much time with family. That is what is important, eh?

After talking to many, many people throughout my mission and even before it, it seems that the world in general does not understand what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes. I want to do my part in declaring what we believe. As a representative, I testify that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is of God. I testify that the Bible is of God as long as it is translated correctly. The Bible and the Book of Mormon work together in testifying of Jesus Christ, and only together do the 2 books fulfill the Law of Witness from the Bible that by the mouths of 2 or 3 witnesses shall all things be established. The Book of Mormon is no "add-on" to the bible and does not contradict what the book of Revelations says at the end of its final chapter because the book of Revelations is strictly discussing the book of Revelations. Revelations was written after many books of the New Testament, possibly even after the gospel of John himself, and if so we would have to discredit John's own gospel writings. I have seriously researched these things for myself and am thankful for the scriptures we have that make these things known. I testify that Jesus Christ lives and is the cornerstone of His Church today. I testify that we are lead by prophets today as in the days of old. How do I know these things? From God's simple assurances. The fruits of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5. The Bible teaches to ask God to know if things are true. Missionaries invite all to do the same.

The past week I have listened to John Bytheway's talk about how we can gain spiritual truths and strength from the war chapters of the Book of Mormon. It is a must. Will you all read or listen to it?

To close I wanted to include the lyrics of the song we sang prior to the sacrament yesterday at church. Entitled Reverently and Meekly Now, I think this is one of my favorite hymns.

Rev'rently and meekly now, Let thy head most humbly bow.
Think of me, thou ransomed one; Think what I for thee have done.
With my blood that dripped like rain, Sweat in agony of pain,
With my body on the tree I have ransomed even thee.

In this bread now blest for thee, Emblem of my body see;
In this water or this wine, Emblem of my blood divine.
Oh, remember what was done That the sinner might be won.
On the cross of Calvary I have suffered death for thee.

Bid thine heart all strife to cease; With thy brethren be at peace.
Oh, forgive as thou wouldst be E'en forgiven now by me.
In the solemn faith of prayer Cast upon me all thy care,
And my Spirit's grace shall be Like a fountain unto thee.

At the throne I intercede; For thee ever do I please.
I have loved thee as thy friend, With a love that cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore, Prayerful, watchful evermore,
And be constant unto me, That thy Savior I may be.

I love the lyrics to this song and the last 2 lines are my favorite because I can feel just an infinitismal amount of pain as He says, "be obedient I implore..." We must show Christ we are willing to give up our vices to follow Him and that our weaknesses be made strong through Him.

That is all for now. More prep work for this upcoming week. Love you all,

Elder Galbraith