Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Moving day

So pretty much all of Canada shut down yesterday...including all libraries and school campuses, meaning no email for me! So today I am in a library in a sketchy part of town in Saskatoon. Nothing to really worry about, it’s just weird is all. But, me being in a library means less time on a computer. Sorry there.

Marge's confirmation went really well. She has really warmed up to the Church, it's amazing. Member-fellowshipping goes a long ways! Marge has really bonded well with a member, and that helps retention. Anyway, the confirmation. I was pretty nervous as the time kept getting closer and closer. Confirmation is a big thing! So right before I got up to confirm her, I checked the White Handbook, and was good to go. I know the ordinance is not for me, but is for her, so that helped ease some of the nerves. Everything went well, and I did everything right the first time. What I found interesting is what was (not) in my mind during the ordinance. Normally, my mind is continually jumping from one thing to another, worrying about this and that, but during any blessing or ordinance my mind literally clears. Giving the ordinance, my mind was completely blank: I could only hear the words I was saying. I was focusing SO hard on what was in my mind. I would have a few distant impressions surface, but because they were the only things in my mind, I would say them. I remember that a few things seemed to apply to Marge, but that is for her and the Lord to decide. Marge is so great, I am seeing her today and then leaving!

Yup, I found out that I am leaving today instead of Wednesday, and should arrive in the US Wednesday night. Oh man, here we go!

I wanted to thank Natalie, Tasha, Auntie Sharon, Mike and Kelly, and my Mom and Dad for their letters! I received some just before Christmas and those were Christmas letters themselves!

On Sunday I street-contacted a guy that only spoke Spanish, so I got to dust off my old Spanish skills. It was really fun! Elder McDowell will be proud of me. Sure tough though. I am surprised by how much I remembered, but with the Spirit, I guess I can remember anything really. He understood (well, I think he did) who we are, what we were doing, we gave him un Libro de Mormon, and got his address, but he didn't have a phone number. Ga. So I understood him, and I think he sort of understood me. Good.

Packing on a mission is a pain for sure. I had to sit on my bags to close the zippers! I know my Dad is saying "that's bad for the zippers". I know, and am sending you things that I could not fit and do not need. So much stuff! My 2 Qurans and 3 other Baha'i books fit, but my 5 inch Muslim philosophy book didn't. Sad day. Yup, measure it, 5 inches thick.

I will be sure to read D&C 6, but I challenge you all to reread my "mission scripture" this week and ponder what it means to you. With me leaving Saskatoon, a lot of members are asking me what my favorite scripture is, and I tell them Ether 12:4, and have had the chance to reread it and reapply it to myself. The Savior is the ultimate source of hope. He performed a perfect, and infinite, Atonement to save us from the effects of sin if we are willing to accept Him and follow His commandments, which are only meant for our own good. Reading the Bible and Book of Mormon, I am finding more sources describing "faith without works is dead". It is! Faith is not faith if we are not willing to follow the Savior and do His will. What does it profit us if we cannot take 3 hours of our schedule all week to attend church? NOTHING. Back to the scripture: the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been a tremendous anchor in my life to me, and it is that constant hope, as Ether 12:4 describes. The entire scripture is so packed with doctrine and "good stuff". I know I would be drastically different if it were not for the Gospel, the least I can do for Christ's eternal Atonement is to serve for 2 years and proclaim what He has done for us, and what he still does do for us each individually.

Well, I am out of time already. I really enjoyed talking to my family. That time definitely was not enough. I laughed when you said I sounded older. Ha, its just because I was not throwing down the slang, kind of thing like I did back home. I still know how to have fun, how to enjoy myself. It will certainly be different being in an outlying town because I will not have P-Day activity to go to. Oh man! I will find something to do.

I will keep you up to date with how my back is doing, and I will send Michael some of the pictures of my lower legs to show him the bending that is occurring. The bending is supposedly causing me all the problems. I have a few exercises to do, so I am hopeful, nothing to worry about just as of yet.


Elder Galbraith

Monday, December 20, 2010

Be careful . . .

what you ask for, because you may get it. Long-time readers will remember that Elder Galbraith expressed a wish to experience cold weather. When he was growing up, he would look in the newspaper to see the high and low temperatures in the lower 48 state. International Falls, MN was often listed as the coldest. Read on . . .

Wow. This week has been a whirlwind of....EVERYTHING. Gee!

Last Monday night, I called my investigator Margaret Harder (the 86 year-old) to confirm an appointment and she said she had big news....and wanted to be baptized!!! Not just that, but she asked me to baptize and confirm her! Oh...this is insane, in a good way! The next part, is that the baptism is happening..... tomorrow. Yup, Tuesday the 21st of December, that soon. This is crazy: I am baptizing someone tomorrow. Me, in the font! You can probably tell that I am in shock. Just to jog your memory, Marge has come such a long way in 3 months. Such a long way! We found her by trying to stop by a former and she walked up and asked if we wanted to come by. Of course we said yes and she began by saying "I am Anglican and will not change." She first denounced the Book of Mormon, and after a few appointments she was so frustrated about us describing the Book of Mormon that she snatched Elder Butterfield's Book of Mormon out of his hand and looked at us and flipped open to a random page and started reading. She gave an acknowledging nod, and closed the Book, and opened it again, and did this a few times, each time she looked impressed. She then closed the Book of Mormon and gingerly handed it back to Elder Butterfield and said "yup, I'll read it." Boom! The power of the Book of Mormon! Once someone earnestly searches its pages, they see that it testifies of Christ, and that it goes hand in hand with the Bible. The problem is that so many people do not even give it a chance, and "discredit" it, just by false things they have heard. Back to Marge---she has since then read to Alma 5, which is the exact halfway point. She has seen that the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ, and that it is proof of the Restoration of vital truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and God's Plan for us, and the Priesthood authority that is necessary in the Church of Christ. Now, with all that said, and so much more growth that I and others have seen, she is now getting baptized, and I have the privilege to perform the sacred ordinance. A quote from Marge that really illustrates who she is is: "If you can't learn something every day then you might as well dig your hole and fall in". Well put Marge, very blunt. I like it.

Ok...take a breath....ok, I got a little excited there. Yes, I got my transfer call, and President told me that he called you before he called me! What the...?! That takes all the fun out of it. Yup, I am out of Saskatoon. Out of Canada even! I am going to International Falls, Minnesota. Another state down. Another province down. Ironic that you told me last week that I-Falls was the coldest place in the contiguous U.S. Hmmm...oh boy. I am really sad to leave Saskatoon, the members are great, I will miss Marge, I will miss P-Day activity (only me and my companion for a few hundred miles), but I know this is where I need to be going. So all is well, and I met my soon-to-be companion in Winnipeg when I was there. His name....drum roll...is Elder....Morris. He is a really good guy, and a hard worker, which I really value. He is a singer, works hard, plays sports and played golf--which is big. I am really excited to serve with him. 4 companions in 4 transfers...hopefully people like me. Just kidding, sometimes it just works out that way.

So I also went to a 7th Day Adventist church on their sabbath...which is Saturday. The service was sure different, and they even had a baby blessing, which was more like a dedication and sermon on life. It was interesting. The sermon from the preacher was great: it was on families. He talked a lot about Mary and Joseph, but applied it to our own parents and parenting techniques. So I thank my own parents for not being what he called "Helicopter Parents", and swooping down to help me in every possible situation, and allowing me to grow through trials. Thanks for that Mom and Dad. I also thank you Mom and Dad for not being what he termed "Drill Sargents". Pretty self-explainitory (?). He advised us to be "Consultant Parents". Thanks Mom and Dad for your constant love, care and the upbringing you provided me with, and being those Consultant Parents. Though your care and love are manifest very differently, I appreciate them both.

Back to the 7th Day Adventists...we have one that is an investigator of ours, and she came to church with 2 of her friends...and the topic in 3rd hour was, of course, on the Sabbath Day. The irony! It took every ounce of effort I had to hold in my laughter because I was thinking "they finally came, and...you have got to be kidding me!" It was ridiculous. Another missionary made the comment, "well, other than the actual day, we pretty much believe the same thing, right?" Ha. Oh man, being a missionary you really hope that people explain things basically and really notice little quirks about church that I otherwise would not have noticed. An example is that we play an organ...some churches (not all obviously) play pianos during their main services. Things like that.

The Atonement analogy I mentioned about a month or 2 ago, if you remember, is found in Chapter 12 of the Gospel Principles manual under the "Atonement" chapter. So good! Read it if you have not.

About the phone call on Christmas. It was still happen of course, but my Christmas Day just literally filled up yesterday. Ridiculous! All the missionaries will open presents together at the church in the morning, and then a member invited us over for Breakfast at 10, we were invited to a Caran party at 11 (see how multi-cultural I am? Ha, seriously) and then invited to the Stake President's place for supper at 4, and his place is out of town and takes a while to get there. So the earliest you could call is at like 7 my time. So, 7 it is. Hopefully that works for you...? Because its that or later, and my companion needs to call after me. I hope that works! My number is 306-241-6439...don't abuse it! The plan would be for you to call me, because the mission does not have a long-distance plan, but I can receive long-distance calls. I will only have that number for another week or so. To answer your question, I do have a different number for each area I am in. Each area has its own phone.

Tell Callens I am still waiting for a letter from him, I have not forgotten. To his credit, a letter may be waiting for me in Winnipeg. Love you Callens, eager to hear from you. I give you a hard time because you are my FRIEND.

Reading my last email, does President call you and report to you how I am doing? Good thing I am being a good boy, worthy of Santa for sure! Just curious.

Good for BYU and Jake Heaps! Keep it up. The important thing is that they are good in 2 years, that's all. Speaking of BYU, to all my BYU friends: a member showed us a Divine Comedy skit about "Provo, Utah Girls" or something like that. Hilarious, sadly true to an extent, but hilarious. I loved seeing Divine Comedy when I was there and its good to see they are still doing well at what they do best. Yes, a member volutarily showed us.

Thanks for the Mariner's updates Dad. Now I just need to hear about the new Dodge Charger, its driving me insane. Dad, I need help there please. Anything else in the car world that is interesting? How is the Volt? Did it come out? AH!

Well, I am out of things to say, I sure love you all. Merry Christmas to my family. I am coming back to the States (Minnesota), so I am excited about cheaper mail. Watch out.

Love you,

Elder Galbraith

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dec. 13

I enjoy the emails when you ask a lot! I will try to get to as much as I can...

I will try to answer your stuff first and then get to "my end of it":

So I get to call you on Christmas as you know, I believe it is whenever you are available. You will have to call me, just tell me when works for you in your next email...the morning sometime would probably be better for me. Do you have my number from the time I called you about Grandpa? (For those who don't know, I was given the OK to call home about my grandpa's passing, so I am not "piling-out", as we missionaries would say). Nope, I have Christmas supper to myself, but there is someone feeding us for Christmas-eve if that counts...No football. I am crushed. I want to play smear-the-queer or something at least, but I doubt that will happen. Too cold! Dodgeball is definitely my best hope. Dodgeball is by far the best indoor missionary sport. Hands down. We play it on lots of P-Days, so I have my fingers-crossed for Christmas too! So it is sure cold here. -22C yesterday, with -33 wind chill. Cold! Yes I was tracting in it. I have been doing a lot more of that the past few weeks, ~15 hours a week average. The weather is supposed to warm up this week getting up to +1! Today is -10, and I am not even wearing gloves, its not bad at all. Its a big jump down to -20. Sheesh. We plug in our truck every night. Weird. Suddenly, plug-in cars do not sound so far-fetched...wait, the Volt was supposed to arrive last month. Did it?! Its funny you jokingly asked about sticking my tongue to a pole...I have NOT done it yet, but have been tempted for sure. So Genny Allred is now Genny Mckay, married and active in my (I guess HER) ward with 2 young kids. Her husband is just about to begin medical rotations. Mikey is probably SO glad that is over.

I play the piano a little, mostly just during my district meetings on Tuesdays. No choir in my ward, but back in Winnipeg I participated in the ward choir and even sang a solo in Sacrament Meeting. In Winnipeg I also played the piano for Elder's Quorum, but I don't here because we just meet in the gym. So not much piano going on now...bummer. Congrats to Dad for singing it up lately! So transfers will be the 29th of this month, making this transfer a rare 7 week transfer, so the following will be 5 weeks, ending about the beginning of February. I doubt much will change in my district, but since there are 2 districts in the city, I do expect a lot of change in the city because the other district will have change. We will get a new Zone Leader and new District Leader in the other district. We still get our transfer calls the end of this week.
So that's that.

Thanks for the Mariners updates. There is still hope! I will come back right as they are doing well again.

Hey what is new on the auto-front?!

On to the rest of the good-stuff:

So the past weekend we locked our keys in our car. Elder Fackrell, myself and another Elder tried opening the door with a hangar and almost did it too! We pried the door open with our fingers just enough for the hangar to go through, but the hangar was not strong enough to press the button. Ga! It was SO close so many times. Once my fingers got pinched pretty well and my finger tips were numb for the rest of the week. But they are normal now, no worries. I have a picture of the whole thing, and I am sending pictures home with your letter today. I hope they make it by Christmas! Sorry!

Thanks for sending me all my buddies' emails! Oh, they were great. Lance's story about his companion saying he was single is a classic!

I have a few good stories this week too. About a week and a half ago, I was tracting and a lady opened the door and said "Missionaries? I am so glad to see you!" I was thinking "this is either really good or really bad..." She said "You know, I would love to meet with you sometime, and come to church, but I can't right now because I am drunk. But another time!" .......I don't think I said anything for a while..... I then asked her about coming to church the next Sunday and long story short is she could not come and just had surgery, so we are still working on getting over to teach her. She did call back when she was sober and said she wanted to attend church, so I think she does have some committment. Ok, the other story happened yesterday in the cold while tracting. We were knocking on doors and were having no success and a guy opened the door and said "Come on in". ---one of those things...really good or really bad---He graciously had us take off our coats and boots and we sat in his living room. He had the TV on and told us to sit down. Of course he had NFL on. Yes Dad, I did see that Seattle took a beating. He offered us eggs and toast and hashbrowns--a full meal! He gave me NICE gloves for the cold, and gave Elder Fackrell good shoes with special cold-weather stuff in them. Just gave them to us! We kept saying "No, you really don't have to, you REALLY don't have to..." But he insisted and...well I have new gloves and mitts! These gloves are a special something-or-another and are silver and shiney. My Michael Jackson gloves I call them. He also gave me wool mitts to wear with them, and they are WARM! The other gloves I have had just do not seem to work in the cold (so cold!) over a long period of time. These have so far. This man, named Bryan, and his wife Brenda, were so nice! Her mom was there and Bryan was teasing her the entire time, so funny! Anyway, he told us up-front that he is an atheist and that Brenda is a 7th Day Adventist, and did not want us coming back...so odd because he gave us all this stuff! I was laughing on the inside the entire time, especially because we had a supper appointment right after! Ha.

So I also had someone work on my back this past week. He is a reflexologist in the ward and enjoys treating missionaries. Mike, do you know much about reflexologists? My upper back has just been annoying lately, even to the point where I would just push my shoulder-blades all the way back and my back would go pop-pop-pop! So I had him look at it. I went to his place and my experience should have been in a movie. He had me go to this room in the basement--sketchy--and when I entered it, it just had this really faint light glowing and the room smelled of spices. I thought of 60s music. "What the...?" I barely made out the figure of an operating table---no, just kidding, there was a table in the middle of the room that I could barely make out, and all of it together was just so funny! I was so excited! He really worked on my back and I think it feels better. He had offered to work on me every-so-often, which I really think will help, because, as he described it, my back is hurting because my legs are so bowed-out, and he said he can work on that. Once again, fingers are crossed!

So after Sacrament Meeting I was asked to teach Gospel Principles. I said "yes" of course, because I love teaching and I am a missionary, and then I saw that the lesson was on the Gathering of Israel. What the...?! Gee, I needed help there. I did quite well actually, its just one of those lessons you cannot just whip-out from memory. It was all good though. My recently-baptized member, Linda, was there, along with Marge Harder, the 86 year-old investigator. She is doing so well! She had us over for supper this past week and signed up to feed us twice more the next few weeks. Oh, she is so fun to teach. Talk about a love for the people! Her and Edilyn from Winnipeg are those that I have connected with most. Linda is up there too, its just that I did not find her.

I have been forced to work on Christlike attributes the past few weeks, mainly patience and the gift of charity. I definitely sense a difference in my approach to every-day situations/challenge(r)s. Using some "advice" from my Patriarchal Blessing, I have really been able to notice a difference in my spiritual life.

Lots of people have told me I talk in "American Slang". Hmmm.

People are so stubborn. I talked with a few people this past week who talked of Christ and "believed in the Bible", but would not even consider praying about the Book of Mormon. So frustrating! Just pray about it! The only thing stopping them, us, or anyone is pride. Stupid pride. Get rid of it voluntarily or the Lord will force it out of you. Our choice. I can understand (to an extent), people being skeptical about The Book of Mormon, but I cannot understand people not even praying to know if it is true. Ga, the frustrations of missionary work.

Mom and Dad, please offer to help the local missionaries by offerring to go on appointments if you can. I promise it will be rewarding and interesting. Let me know how that goes.

So, reading Alma 34, it perfectly describes my testimony because I know the seed is good. I have such good feeling about the Gospel, and I know it is true. Reread Alma 34 and that is how I know everything is true. I read it was closed my Book of Mormon, and was like, yep, that's my testimony eh. No, I didn't really say that, but that is how I felt!

Mom, remember you gave me a card a number of years ago that had the 17 Points of the True Church? Well I got another one from Winnipeg, but I heard the talk that that man gives about the 17 Points. Once I heard the talk AND THEN looked at the 17 Points of the True Church, it shed a whole new light on them! Incredible! Here is a brief rundown, but you have to promise to look at it yourself too: A genius, Mr. Dunbar, heard Albert Einstein conclude a 3 hour long lecture by saying "the more I learn, the more I am led to believe that a Higher Being created us". Eh, something like that. Then, this Mr. Dunbar went through the entire Bible and wrote down 17 Points that the true church of Christ would HAVE to have. And you have to look up the rest.

And of course, I love you all so much.

Elder Galbraith

Monday, December 6, 2010

Now December

Another week in Saskatoon. It has not been too cold, relatively. I am always wearing my winter coat, but it is not too bad--for the most part. Today I woke up to -20C, but it has warmed up as the day has gone by. Yes, I am still teaching that 86 year old, Marge Harder, and she is doing well. She attended my ward's Fast and Testimony meeting and got a lot out of it. I even shared my testimony, and it is always a good feeling to do so. Marge came up to me afterward and told me that she almost went up, and therefore thinks that she may be close to joining, and reinforced the MAY. She is funny because she is so stubborn, and I think she knows the message is true, but wants to appear to put up a fight. But she is still as sharp as a tack, let me tell you. She teases me all the time, and speaks her mind...a lot. But that's ok, she is full of energy and is enjoyable to teach. She feels like God speaks to her by "kicking her rear end", and she told me that she is expecting that in order to know that the Church is true. I have told her that is not how it always works, and every time she says that my insides scream "NO! That is not how is always works. Sometimes, but usually not, ah!" Something like that. Anyway, she told me after church that she felt like she was close to getting kicked in the rear, and how that is a testament to her that the Church is true. See...any time people earnestly seek after truth, and appeal to God, and approach with an open mind and open heart, and intend to act upon how they feel, then will they know that the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is His restored gospel, and therefore the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church.

Anyway, that is a missionary rambling for you. Long story short, that 86 year old I am teaching is coming along.

I feel as though I am becoming a missionary. I cannot remember if I told you this before or not, but a week or 2 ago I dropped my scriptures in the snow. I brushed them off as best I could, but when some of the snow melted it did a little bit of water damage to the edges of the pages (nothing really bad, just that the silver on the edges of the pages is dulled and page-corners have crinkled some). Anyway, seeing my scriptures like that, no longer in pristine condition, felt like the end of the world. It felt like I had lost a long-time friend. I was so sad! I kind of moped for about an hour or so, and the scriptures are still fine and in pretty good shape--just not perfect. But, I thought that if I saw my scriptures as such a good friend, maybe I am becoming a missionary. Hmmm. I feel as though I am learning how to work DILIGENTLY. I focus on having an upbeat attitude while finding and teaching.

So I had a Zone Conference this past week and it was great. We learned about different ways of finding new investigators, because that is something we as a mission are struggling with. It was good, and I walked away with the mentality that finding is a privilege. Also, I cannot stand not working and lounging around. Ugh. I feel like a bum if I am not doing something. Hopefully that translates over to school when I return.

Each December Zone Conference we as a zone get to watch an inspirational Christmas movie. This year we watched "It's a Wonderful Life". Boy, I think that is my new favorite movie! I felt like I connected with everything in the movie: the guardian angel, the message on gratitude, the family message, everything....I think I want to make a tradition of watching that each Christmas when I return home.

So I no longer meet with the group of Muslims that I used to. That is no new news. But what is new news is that I now have 2 Qurans!!! I got one tracting Saturday night. I tracted into a guy that was mad and told me to read "his book", and was going off about who knows what, and I mentioned that I met with a group of Muslims in the past and that I have so much respect for them. Then he said, "hey, do you want to come in for a bit?" Things changed that fast. Now I am not teaching him, but it shows how fast people can change. No, I did not get my first Quran from him, but from a guy across the street from him, and then I got a REALLY nice one yesterday from the group of Muslims I taught. I will probably send those home sometime. But I love Muslim people! They are so great, and the "Muslims" we see on TV blowing people up, really are not good Muslims. But I have 2 Qurans!

Anyway, Mariners...good stuff. Lopez has needed to go for a while.

Please remember to save all Car and Drivers. Every one!

My quote for the week is one from last Conference: "Faith builds character, and character is a measure of what we are becoming" --Elder Richard G. Scott

So after Zone Conference (where missionaries going home share their testimonies), I wrote my own testimony in my journal. I will close with it:

"While listening to the other missionaries giving their testimonies, I thought of my own, especially regarding missions and missionary work. I know that I am happier because of my choices to follow the Savior. Although I am only 4 months into my mission service, I feel I am a better worker, a better person, more Christlike, and absolutely more sure of who I am, and pleased with the relationship that I am developing with my Heavenly Father. I have never seen an angel, but I have seen miracles occur. I know of about 3 or 4 major experiences where I had truly profound spiritual experiences, testifying to me that what I am learning is true. But those did not come without great effort and faith on my part! Long did I trudge on with hope in finding my so-called testimony. I did not know how to "find it", cultivate it, or even recognize it. But as my life tumbled onward I continued reading the Book of Mormon, attending church, seminary and Mutual, and slowly I began to see my faith, feel something at church that is NOT of this world, but divine. These feelings (often through prayer) have secured a knowledge that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer, and that He restored His Gospel through Joseph Smith, in these the latter-days. My hope in Christ's Gospel, which kept me from straying in my teenage years, truly was as Ether 12:4 claims to be "an anchor". Especially after seeing "It's a Wonderful Life", and my mission service to this point, I hope for a "better world". For these reasons, and many more, is Ether 12:4 my "mission scripture", because it so genuinely describes my experiences. This is my testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

With love,

Elder Galbraith

Monday, November 29, 2010

Almost December

Apparently our computer malfunctioned this morning, and our e-mail to Elder Galbraith did not go out.

Either you are in trouble or something bad has happened because you have not emailed me yet. So I guess I will just give what I have and you will have to grin and bear it.

I have been staying busy, for sure. This past week I had a renewed excitement in tracting. Not that it was bad, but I guess I have became slightly unfocused while tracting. My head has not been in the game! Now I have begun thinking of finding time (tracting) as a privilege. Not only is it an opportunity to find more people to bring to the Restored Gospel, but it is a mental test. People at doors can be so frustrating...just listen! I think--no, I know--that when I am back home I will definitely give people at doors a chance for their "shpeel"....Tracting can be enjoyable though. Its a chance to tell people what I know and bear testimony of Christ, His Atonement, and how the Book of Mormon and Bible work together.

Back home I focused on the Book of Mormon for my studies--which is not a bad thing at all. But I do admit that I did not, and have not, studied the Bible as much as I should. I am reading through Jesus the Christ and the Bible concurrently and...boy, it is amazing! I am working on becoming a Biblical scholar, of some sort. I am marking up my scriptures with all sorts of notes from Preach My Gospel and Jesus the Christ and my insights and I want to be able to just open it up somewhere and see all sorts of notes. I have gone through Matt. 12, Mark 4, Luke 11 (?) and John 5 (or so). I can't remember the last 2 right off the bat, but I really feel that I know that portion of the Bible really well. I feel I know what Christ said, what it means, and why he said it. Christ's harshest rebukes were directed against hypocrites, so pretty much the Pharisees back then. But there DEFINITELY are hypocrites today. What would Christ say to them? Maybe more importantly, what would he say to each of us about our lives? The Bible absolutely supports the Book of Mormon, and vice versa. How do I know? Because I have read them! <---------The most frustrating thing I have run into is that people do not read the Bible or Book of Mormon! AH! How have they, or we, come to know the Bible is the word of God? Because we have prayed about it! I hope no-one gets the feeling that I am mad or ranting, I am just so passionate about people searching and finding things out for themselves before they presuppose something. That is another reason I am going through the Bible, so I can give a strong testimony that I have read both the Bible and Book of Mormon and know that they work together.

Sometime in the future I will be sending home a Quran (I am getting one from the Muslims I taught in their mosque). I told them that I would read it, and I plan to do it sometime after my mission. But, just wanted to let you know why I am sending home that. There will also be their book on philosophy (which is thicker than Jesus the Christ), and another small book. I will have a lot of reading to do, that's for sure! I know that I will spend more time reading books when I get home, which is something I did not do a lot of. I have to read if I want to become that walking-encyclopedia that Dan Romero was! So...I guess right now I am really working on the spiritual things.

I was talking to a man this week and he got me thinking about philosophy as something to do in college. I definitely would have to study it out more, for sure, but I do like critical thinking, and I do like talking, listening to others...maybe it will work. Psh, I have a lot of time to think about what to do (I will keep telling myself that).

I want the world to know that I AM NO LONGER A PICKY EATER. Yes, this is a BIG deal. So this is pretty much to my parents and Natalie who think that I am (ha): A member took a number of missionaries to a sushi place in town called New Island Sushi...and I ate everything that was in front of me, and it was not that bad at all. In fact, I ate the most of anyone, and would go there again. It's just the chopsticks...those are so tough!!! Let's see...I wrote all of the things down that I ate because I was so proud of myself...I ate salmon belly and eggs, Philadelphia rolls, spring rolls, chicken (psh, at a sushi place?), curry pork, sakura (spelling? and I do not know what it is, I am just sounding it out, ha), raw squid, octopus and surf clam. I told myself I was going to eat the craziest thing on the menu, and the last 3 were pretty crazy to me. The squid really did not have that much taste, nor the clam, but the octopus was pretty good. So, ya, I am definitely expanding my taste buds and yes---this is a big deal. I think it's kind of funny how determined I am to show people I am not a picky eater, and am laughing as I write this. Elder Fackrell could not stand any of the sea food and mainly stuck to the chicken. Another missionary, when asked how good everything was, kept saying, "well, its edible". Another missionary and myself downed quite a bit (no worries, it was all-you-can-eat).

I do not know if I told you that an investigator of mine, Linda Jurgens, was baptized on Nov. 19th and I was able to be in the font (in white!) to help. She was confirmed the 21st. I have another lady that I am working with that is 86 and is a handful. She is so stubborn, but is so fun to work with because she is just like Grandma Jeannette, full of energy. I will keep you posted on that. Now when people tell me they are "too old to change", I do not accept that for a second and tell them that I am teaching an 86 year old, but whatever, next house....Agency. So frustrating sometimes. Ha.

My companion and I are doing better. We had a really quality companion inventory and I am optomistic that all will be alright. I am praying for the gift of charity this transfer and had a great experience. I was so frustrated one night, so just done with him, and I went to bed that night just full of contention, but prayed for the gift of charity and when I woke up that next morning, I was so calm. I knew why I was mad the prior night, but everything seemed to melt away. No, it DID melt away. I consciously thought, "I cannot think of anything negative to say or think". That, right there, was a miracle, and I know that was the gift of charity given to me. I was so calm! I felt like I restarted with my companion on a clean slate. It reaffirmed the power of prayer. Its real.

So ya, that is pretty much my week, and I hope to hear about yours. Still love you Mom and Dad, and hope that all is well.

Love you so much,

Elder Galbraith

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Keep in mind that the temperatures he refers to are Celcius. For a reference, -18C is equivalent to 0F, and -40C is the same as -40F.. They're all cold!!

OH MAN IT’S STARTING TO GET COLD! I was tracting the entire first day it snowed...that was different. Good thing I had those gloves. Most of the past week it’s been hovering between -16 to -20. I went tracting in -21 for a few hours too. That's all without windchill by the way. It’s supposed to be -29 (not including windchill) or so in the next few days and then warm up. Oh boy. That is cold. Most Canadians say "oh this isn't cold!", but are shivering and all bundled up as they say it. Yes it’s cold! But of course, it gets much colder than -20, and within the next month or so I probably will have been in severe cold. I am excited to be able to say I have been in COLD. For as long as I can remember, people tell me I do not know cold--which is very true--but I will now! I can finally spit and it will freeze before it hits the ground! (A life goal I have had since I was little) It’s sure different driving on these icy roads and knowing that they will be like this for the next 5 to 6 months. Well, I am seeing the true Canada, that's for sure.

I will answer your questions later in the email...

Yesterday while tracting I saw a man spraying water on an ice rink (for it to freeze) and it just about made my day. I love Canadians who love hockey! Too bad I am not allowed to skate while a missionary, or else I would be all over that!

So I have been teaching that group of Muslims in their mosque and because no baptisms will result, (they listen and ask questions, but are not looking to convert and be baptized) the Ward and Stake advised us to turn them over to members of the ward and stake to visit with them instead. I was so sad!!! I love these Muslims and was heartbroken when I told them we missionaries would no longer be meeting with them! Oh...I have gained so much respect and love for them, and for Muslims in general. It’s too bad we (the Western World) see the suicide extremists, because the Muslims people as a whole are a peace-loving people. They gave me a gigantic book (fatter than my Jesus the Christ book) about their philosophy of the world and some other book. I even asked to have a Quran (for novelty), which I will pick up in the next few days. Too bad I cannot read these books, and I will be mailing them home sometime in the future. Look out!

Mom and Dad: do you notice any blessings or special spirit from having a missionary out in the field? Or Mike and Kim...have you?

As a missionary I have begun noticing little things in the scriptures that I otherwise would not have noticed. An example is in 3 Nephi 18:5, where Christ mentions the sacrament. He uses the word ordain. Now that probably does not mean a lot to many people, but as a missionary we discuss having proper authority from God. Things like that jump out to me.

Dad, I asked you a question a year or 2 ago, that I now have the answer to. My question was why it seemed that Jesus came and set up an entirely new church when he came to the earth? Well the answer it plainly found in the Sermon on the Mount. Before coming on a mission I had never read the Sermon on the Mount, nor did I know where it was. To prove that I do now know, its found in Matthew 5-7, Luke 6 and 3 Nephi 12-14. In Matthew 5 and 3 Nephi 12, Christ mentions that he "came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill". He issued a higher law, expecting more from people, with an example being "whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery in his heart." So Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses and was the ultimate sacrifice, and issued a higher law, which we are all expected to live. He re-established his church here on the earth, with apostles and prophets, with Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. Ya, Ephesians rocks. I just read Lesson 1 from PMG and pieced things together. So....that answered that question.

So this past week my investigator Linda Jurgens got baptized! A member baptized her, but he is older and wanted help, so I dressed in white and helped in the font! No worries...I got pictures. Linda was confirmed in church and my companion and I were able to stand in the circle in church. Crazy.

So Mom, does Grandpa Allred have a brother named Orrly? Because I am pretty sure that I ate supper at a 2nd cousin's house last night. Her maiden name is Genny Allred, and she grew up in Raymond, about a block or so south of the Fairbanks, and Lloyd Fairbanks apparently was her bishop. She mentioned Marlin Allred and Reddin Reddick Allred and was like---hold on---those are my ancestors too. She mentioned the Paxmans farm...Her dad's name is Spencer Kim Allred (I think). Does that ring any bells?

Ok, to answer your email:

Grandpa's service sounds very nice. How is Grandma holding up?

Well, Dad, I have wondered about cars, and it is sad to hear that you were not able to go to the car show this year. Shame. You have to let me know how all the companies are fairing. I see a lot of new Grand Cherokees up here and plenty of Camaros and Challengers, but Mustangs (my fave) are strangely absent. Has the new Charger come out? I need to know!

Those Mariners...Good for King Felix! Good thing the M's got rid of Jose Lopez. How did Chone Figgins end up?

I am clearly out of things to say. Good to hear from you, love you much,

Elder Galbraith

So I learned from a member of the Seventy this past week: Terrance C. Smith. He came and talked to the stake, and held a missionary-only meeting. He mentioned A LOT of really good things, and here is one that caught my eye: regarding Creation. The greatest scientists that I know, Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein, both realize that the more they learn about science, the more they recognize that there is a Divine Being. Who knows, maybe the Big Bang Theory happened--who knows? But something had to BE there to "Bang". Something had to be there! How can we possibly think that matter exploded out of nothing? That is contrary to our "Laws of Science"! There is a God, and anyone who does not believe so, lives in denial. Just another witness to my testimony.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grandpa's passing

My father passed away a week ago, and I had Pres. Paulson call Elder Galbraith to give him the news.

Well, I suppose I am writing this just before Grandpa's memorial, with it being after 1 my time...I am glad to hear that all the family was able to make it safely. You know I wish I were there to see all the family and pay respect to Grandpa. That phone call was very difficult for me to make. Mom, once Pres. Paulson told me of Grandpa's passing, I knew if I should call, that I should call immediately. I really struggled with calling home, and a lot of things went through my head. I wondered if I should, if I could really help....Obviously I wanted to talk to my family, but I would not allow myself to call home just so I could talk to family!!! Going through my head: if I were to call, it would be to comfort my parents, reassure them of the greatness of the Plan of Salvation, and none else (not to take advantage of an opportunity to call home. Pres. Paulson gave me the option to call home if I felt I should). I prayed about it, and still struggled, and thought about how I may view the situation after-the-fact. At long last, I did call home, and talked you Dad. I was really shaken due to "my motives" behind calling. (For those who do not know, I am normally only allowed to call home on Christmas and Mother's Day to talk to family.) I was glad to hear that you were doing alright. A death in the family puts a totally different perspective on the Plan of Salvation--the merciful Plan that God prepared for mankind before the Earth was created, which allows us to return to Him, predicated upon our faithfulness and Christ's Atonement and grace/mercy. To know that the Plan of Salvation is true adds a tremendous comfort to the passing of family members. Without it, life would be miserable. I love you Mom, and especially Dad, at this time.

Ah, Dave Neihaus passed away too? Wow. He was the best.

Hey, with end/beginning of transfers, I got some mail! So, here are my belated thanks to all: thank you to Sis. Crandall for the Primary things, thanks to Auntie Sharon for her letters, thanks to Edilyn (my investigator from Winnipeg) for her letter, thanks to Ashley Johnson for her letter, Sis. Tryon for her letters, and to my brother Mike for his letter. Thanks to all, because letters are as good as Christmas presents Yes, I did get the gloves which will be greatly appreciated, thank you.

As for teaching the Muslims (in their mosque! haha, but seriously), I do not know. I am quiet sure that Elder Butterfield, being the missionary he is/was, would have reported it to higher-ups. My Stake Presidency all knows, and have been over a number of times. So...pretty sure. Anyway, we are sure no baptisms are going to result from this, so Elder Fackrell and I are visiting our Muslim friends for the last time tonight.

This past transfer I feel like I have grown a ton! I am confident in my teaching ability, and am eager to lead a lesson. I am learning how to recognize the Spirit, and it is becoming easier to be led by it. If it is a good thought, it is inspired of God! How hard is that? If I see someone across the street while I am tracting, I go to them. How hard is that? The only thing that would hold me back is myself, so I do not hold myself back, and I talk to them. The message I have to share is of eternall significance. I cannot bear the thought of someone approaching me in the Spirit World and saying, "why didn't you talk to me that one day?" So everytime I talk to someone I make sure to get a definite answer out of them. None of this, "well maybe..." stuff. I say: "would you allow us to come back and share these things with you?" That necessitates a yes/no answer, and that way, if I meet that individual in the Spirit World, I can tell them that I did my part. Confidence and the Spirit are everything in tracting!

My companion, Elder Fackrell, is a great worker. He knows that going out to work is paramount. How else will the Lord bring people to the Gospel unless his servants are immersed in His work? Read the analogy of the fisherman at the end of Preach My Gospel chapter 8, and that is what made it click for me.

So everything is good up here in Saskatoon. It is a bit tough to know that all my family is about 8 hours away (nothing in Canada), but don't worry--it does not get to me. I am doing really well. The ward is great, this upcoming week has all sorts of appointments, and a baptism for my investigator Linda Jurgens! We are trying to prepare another for baptism: Margaret Harder. She is 86 and full of spunk, like Grandma Jeannette. So Kingsmere is doing well! Have you looked me up on google maps yet, or seen Saskatoon on Google maps? Its a good city...its been unseasonably warm here still, but tomorrow or the next day its supposed to get unseasonably cold (-18C), which is really cold for me. -40 is going to be ridiculous, oh man. Apparently Saskatoon does not get much snow in December and January, with it being too cold to snow. I did not even know that was possible! Too cold to snow? The parts of Canada that get the most snow are the "warmer" places by the US/Canada border. Oh dear.

Love you all,

Elder Galbraith

Monday, November 8, 2010

Still in Saskatoon


I'm STILL IN SASKATOON! Phew, I wanted to stay here so badly. AND DID. The members are wonderful and we have people to teach, which is a blessing. I will first share a few of my thoughts and then try to answer some questions you wrote in your email.

Transfers are this week, and Elder Butterfield is going back home to Eagle, Idaho. I am going to miss him so much! He is a great missionary and is an excellent example to me. Kim, he lives on a street called Calidonia, but I do not know your address to tell him yours! I only know the PO box. Even though he will be gone by the time I receive an answer, you should let me know.

I have to say, Saskatchewan has the most beautiful skies I have seen. Every morning is a mixture of oranges, purples and pinks. No wonder they call it the land of Living Skies! Though I do miss mountains, the immense FLAT does have some perks. It is supposed to snow this week. The unseasonably warm weather is supposed to be dying down. Yikes. Snow, here I come. People have been telling me the cold is overdue, but I do not think so!

Sports: What ever happened to Erik Bedard? Are we keeping him? Tell me about what the Mariners do over the offseason please. Fun fact, with the Rangers having been in the World Series, the Mariners are the only team that has not been to the World Series. Sad day.

Cars: Dad, is the new Dodge Charger out? This is driving me insane. I want to see that thing. I have seen a few nice cars here in Saskatoon, like the new BMW 5 series, Chevy Cruze, lots of Jeep Grand Cherokees. Good stuff. I am a missionary, but I can still like cars and be obedient and do all that I am supposed to do. Do not think less of me!

Ok now getting to the spiritual stuff. I am reading Jesus the Christ and following it in the New Testament. I am really beginning to know the Gospels inside and out! It is very apparent that Christ loves us very much. His most pointed comments are to hypocrites. Mom and Dad, do you remember a question I asked a few years ago, "Why does it appear that Jesus came to earth and really changed Judaism to Christianity?" The change is there, but after reading the Sermon on the Mount, the New Law supersedes the Old (Law of Moses). Heavenly Father and Christ expect more of us. Example: the Mosaic Law said "Thou shalt not commit adultery". In the Sermon on the Mount Christ says "if thou looketh upon a women to lust thou hast committed adultery in his heart". More is expected of us now. The concept of "more being expected of us" continues to today. It is our duty as Latter-day Saints to share the restored gospel with all we know. We are expected to live God's commandments. I have found that as I consciously strive to have the Spirit with me more often that I obey God's commandments and am happier. EVERYTHING makes sense. The Gospel does not, NEVER, contradicts itself. Not in the Book of Mormon, not in the Bible. If a passage of scripture does, it is the fault of man, not God. For example, John 1:18 claims that no man has ever seen God. That contradicts what Exodus says about Moses seeing God. That is a fault of man, not God's fault. I am not meaning to rail the Bible, because as long as it is translated correctly it is true.

Another spiritual insight I had concerned prayer. I may have shared this last week, but it is all good, so its worth hearing again. How great it is to have the opportunity to pray to the Most High! I have always taken this for granted, to a point. The Lord wants to hear from us, and has even commanded us mortals to pray to Him. Considering that we pray to God--to GOD!--and He wants to hear from us, God really loves us. Read Moses 7:38 (maybe 28?) where God is weeping. He sure loves us.

Mom and Dad, you once showed me that you had my baby blessing written out. Is that something that I can have with me please? I would love to read that occasionally. I want to have as many of the blessings that I have had given to me, with me. That way I can be aware of what is expected of me and those blessings can provide something of a pathway for me in my life.

What do I want for Christmas you ask? Pictures! Lots of pictures from back home. I do not necessarily want an album, just the pictures themselves; that way they are easier to transport around. I love the Reeses Pieces bars (haha, inside joke), and the ones with jelly in the middle. Heaven right there, for sure. Oh, and the MoTab CD Come Thou Fount is a good one, if you are still looking for CDs. The 4th track is the best, very spiritual, and it has a harp. I just love the harp I guess!

I pray for Dad every day that he may be guided in his pursuit to find steady, consistent employment that will allow him to support his family, whether in Seattle or not--just steady consistent employment. I love you Mom and Dad.

Yes, I am still teaching those Muslims in their mosque! They bring Tim Hortens doughnuts each visit, which is extra incentive for sure.

And yes, I have been out 3 1/2 months. Time does fly. I am just about to begin my 3rd transfer. Oh, my new companion's name is Elder Fackrell from Cedar City, UT. I hope I touched on everything.

Thanks to all who read this, and for all the letters. Letters are Christmas all year long.

I will try to email a few thoughts to Grandma Jeannette.


Elder Galbraith

Monday, November 1, 2010

November already

No shortage of news here. Transfers are coming up and I expect to stay here because Elder Butterfield is going home (or dying, as they say in the mission). I really respect him so much, and Kim: you have to meet him when he arrives. He leaves Winnipeg for home on the 12th.

To answer your question, missionaries service all sorts of outlying areas, such as the Battlefords, Prince Albert, just pulled missionaries from Flin Flon, but we are all over the place. My area in Saskatoon is in the southeast corner, and if you look at Google maps or something similar of Saskatoon, my boundaries are: to the north, College, to the west, Preston, with the southern and eastern boundaries extending for about 100km outside the city. But only a few members live outside the city, so the furthest I have driven outside of Saskatoon since I got here was about 40km or so to do service. Which leads me to.....

I tossed and stacked bays (bales - Dad)of hay on a farm! It was so fun, except for the fact that I wore shorts. Oops. City boy for sure, but it was so fun being out on a farm in flat Saskatchewan stacking hay from a huge pile into an even bigger barn! I felt like I connected with a few of my ancestors being out on a farm in Canada. And it was so much fun!

So after I emailed you last week it started snowing and has started melting away yesterday and today thanks to some abnormally warm weather. This week it is supposed to get up to 15C (~60F), which is REALLY abnormal for this time in the year. But I did go tracting in -9C. The wind is killer! The wind chill makes it way colder, but nothing I cannot survive. But hey, thats only -9...I will be dealing with -40 and below. Oh dear...so, cold. But I am way excited to take it on. It will make for a few great stories when I get home.

Ok, so to prepare for the snow we had to replace 2 badly worn tires on our truck and we took it to a Chevrolet dealership to replace them. We came back when they told us to but they were about an hour behind, and we were without a truck, so.....I browsed the showroom! Incidentally, it was the day the brand new Cruze came out and I read some of the specs and it looks pretty nice! What does Car and Driver say Dad? Their 1.4 turbo engine sounds like a nice engine. Yes, I still care about cars! What else is happening in the auto world? Too bad Pontiac is dead...sad day.

I am learning that I really am a social person. During our P-Day activity I love just talking to people and wearing my Captain Canada shirt. Love that thing. I am thinking that some kind of social job would suit me back home. Not sure about Civ. Engineering, but who knows. Sorry Ashley. Again, who knows?

As for things here my area...well I actually was able to phone my baptismal date, Edilyn, back in Winnipeg who got baptized yesterday. That was so great! She was excited about being baptized and so happy! I saw her really turn her life around and embrace God and the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was such a happy moment having her tell me that she was so thankful for my efforts to teach her and Roel and that she would never forget me. Its not necessarily what I taught, but what the Spirit taught her, which Spirit I tried to bring. It all took me aback, because that is the fruits of missionary work, which we seldom see. I have a baptismal date here in Saskatoon: her name is Linda Jurgens. She has been fellowshipped so well by my ward (the Wildwood Ward)! This ward is so missionary minded, which really is such a boost to missionary work. See, the work starts with members. Her date is November 20th. Elder Butterfield and I played a fun game with a family last night, illustrating the point of who we should listen to. We played Simon Says, and would occassionally leave out the "Simon Says" as usual. But towards the middle we started saying "Satan Says" instead of "Simon Says". At first the family did not notice, but after we sais it a few times they began to ask "Wait, what did you say?" We would just keep on going, but me, having no poker face, started smiling and laughing and they started figuring it out. It was so fun.

I had a special realization this morning during my Personal Studies. I thought about prayer, and that we mortals pray to the Highest of High, the Most Powerful Being, God. It hit me--I pray to God, this All-Knowing Being. And not just that, but he wants me to pray to Him, and actually commands me to pray to Him. This Omnipotent and Omniscient Being answers my prayers and wants to hear and help me. What a thing I have never contemplated! I also thought of the love he has for the Nephites, and the Lamanites especially. I read Helaman 15 this morning and on the second page Samuel the Lamanite "lays down the law" sort of thing. His discourse really shows the love Heavenly Father has for the Lamanite people and the remnants of Lamanite people.

I hear about transfers the end of this week, hopefully by my next email I can tell you who I will be with and where I will be (hopefully still here). Well, thats about it. The more I ponder the Gospel, the more there is to learn, the more true it all is. And all of it starts with the seed of faith, and must be nurtured. Please do all you can every day to grow your faith in Christ and His Atonement. Love you much,

Elder Galbraith

Monday, October 25, 2010

A few pictures

Edalyn's daughter, Joanna

Investigator Edalyn with Elders Galbraith and Woods

Aunt Susan and Uncle Brent

Cousins Daniel (left back), Benjamin (left front), Jeremy (right)

Welcome to fall

A picture from the MTC.

Elder Bergstrom's comments were great. I feel like he has grown a ton on his mission by hearing that; I hope (and plan) to do the same. But after his comments, I feel like I have a long way to go!

I guess it’s a good thing to have a busy week eh? Better busy than not, especially in the mission field. I cannot stand just sitting during the day. Ugh. So, good for you Mom and Dad to be busy.

Yes, I would love GOOD winter gloves if they are available, seeing as I do not have any and it’s showing signs of getting cold here. There were a few frosts in September before I arrived in Saskatoon, but there had not been any since I arrived until this past week. Just to show you how quickly the weather can change here, last week it was about 15C, so about...59F or so. Today's high is supposed to be 5 or 6C, with snow in the next day or so. AH! IT’S ABOUT TO BEGIN! 6 months of severe cold and snow. Oh dear. I mean, this is Seattle winter right now! Oh well, I guess it will make a man out of me and it will make the "winters" in Utah a breeze. BRING IT! I have seen videos from missionaries last year that boiled water and took it outside in -40 and it froze before it hit the ground. So yes, I should be able to spit and have it freeze before it hits the ground. (That, and going up the Space Needle are the only 2 things on my bucket list.)

Well, I am sure expanding my taste buds, that’s for sure. I have not denied any meals, and have eaten dried fish, shrimp, and other things. I have found that small shrimp is actually not all that bad. Yes, expanding my taste buds.

Another funny bit...I accidentally told an investigator that the Gift of the Holy Ghost is a literal baptism by fire. Oh man, that was bad. I quickly corrected myself when I saw the investigator's eyes get wide, by saying something like "...oooh, nope. That's not true. What I meant to say was it is a FIGURATIVE baptism by fire." Big difference. Oh boy. Any questions as to what I am referring to by baptism by "fire", ask my parents.

Elder Butterfield and I have run into a lot of Muslims. I even teach in a Muslim mosque! How great is that?! This particular Muslim sect is very interesting. They believe that Jesus is the Messiah (not a traditional Muslim belief), but they believe he was on the cross, but did not die on the cross. I believe all Muslims believe he did not die on the cross. But this sect believes that Jesus returned in the mid 1800s and made a trek from Jerusalem to India and that we are in the Millenium now. They are closer to being Christian than they think! Oh, I already have some fun mission stories like that. I mean, like I said, I teach in a mosque!

My companion had a wonderful insight concerning the Atonement and the laws of justice and mercy. I hope I can explain this clearly. To preface: many prophets foretold of Christ being crucified on the cross, but why a cross, is there any significance behind crucifixion specifically? That I still do not know. I know that crucifixion was the most cruel form of killing someone at that time. So back to the story...my companion noticed something interesting during a video on the Atonement that we were watching with the Muslims. At a point they show a balancing scale in a market. My companion noticed that the scale more-or-less made a cross when equal. He wondered if the cross represents equality in Justice and Mercy, how both are fulfilled through Christ. The law of the universe demands that justice be administered with all sins committed, but Christ is merciful. How can He be both totally merciful while maintaining total justice?

The video described how this can be through a parable of a young man wanting something very badly and signing a contract to have what he wanted immediately, but also promising in the contract that he would repay all the money by a specific time. Over time the young man paid back a little, but not most, figuring that he had more time to repay the debt than he really had. Though he knew when he had to repay it, he procrastinated earning enough and spent time doing other things. When the day came to repay the debt, the creditor with the contract came demanding the remaining money. The young man could not pay it. The creditor said he would take all of the man's possessions and money and throw him in jail. The young man wept pitifully, and begged for mercy. The creditor asked how he could fulfill the justice of the contract if he administered mercy to young man. At this point of total despair for the young man, a third party, another man, came. This third man came and offered to pay the debt for the young man if he (the young man) would honorably pay Him back and serve Him until the debt was paid. The young man gratefully agreed. The third man paid the creditor the remaining sum (administered justice) and by doing so, allowed for total Justice and Mercy to be applied. Christ is that third party and we are the naive young man in that sense. God will judge us and demand total Justice, yet He is merciful. Christ, who atoned for our sins on the cross and in Gethsemane, administers total mercy if we have lived honorable lives and served Him. Maybe this is not new knowledge to most, but to me, this parable really put the Atonement into perspective for me. The cross...is it a symbol for total Justice and total Mercy? I do not know. Maybe. My companion's observation was certainly an eye-opening experience for me.

With that I would like to close. I love my family so much. I love searching the scriptures every morning as I am beginning to grasp deeper meanings to simple things in the Gospel. I know this is the true church. What more can I say?

Elder Galbraith

So one additional insight...

Many latter-day saints (myself included) often desire to obtain the sealed portion of the plates. Well, why should we ever receive it if we HAVEN'T READ THE BIBLE? What else is there to say?

I have loved reading Jesus the Christ and the New Testament concurrently. I am on page 204 of Jesus the Christ after starting over. Wow it’s so good but takes a long time to wade through it all. I love marking up my scriptures with all the insights! Anywho, I have to go.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oct. 18, 2010

Sorry this is a little late - Shirley and I have been in Calgary to visit my father, whose health is deteriorating.

AH! The cold is coming...and I say BRING IT. I heard Calgary got a little snow, and it has been unseasonably warm here in Saskatoon, a whopping 11 degrees today. I woke up and went running in -5 (MINUS 5) and was like, "This is not even cold." I must have Canadian blood.

I think I can say Welcome back to Canada to you, even though it maybe is not the best circumstances. Sorry to hear about Grandpa, I hope Grandma Jeannette is hanging in there well. It sure is great that the 3 children were able to all be there. I give my best to Grandpa. He sure never complains, and that is something really special about him: never a word of complaint. Give Mike and family a hug for me and tell them I love them. It is a little tough knowing that I could just drive a few hours to see family, but that would be SO against mission rules to do that and is a big NO. At the same time, its nice to be in the land of my family. Thanks to Auntie Susan again, that was great seeing family and was a blast!

Well, I forgot the sticky note that I wrote down things to say, so I may be a little more scatterbrained that I normally am.

I just have to say that many people here ask me how I have so much energy. I love having energy and feel I am learning ways to appropriately apply it to missionary work. Oh its great! So yes, I am definitely still the same person, but a slightly different version, if you would. I just played football for P-Day, which I often do, so tell Bros. Litchfield and Crandall that those Turkey Bowls are paying off!

Ok, so most of my ward is full of newlyweds who are attending the U of S, and about 90% of my ward is from Southern Alberta! How are there SO MANY people from all those small towns?! Raymond especially (whoot whoot!), Magrath and Lethbridge...I would not be surprised to hear they are now ghost towns because so many people here are from there. AND...I have met a number of people who know of the Fairbanks family in Raymond and of course, I get really excited there. So I really enjoy my ward here, the Wildwood Ward. They are very missionary friendly...maybe because so many got off their missions a few years ago, but whatever the reason, they are great. The work is picking up, but I can tell Uncle Robert I am still tracting a few hours each day.

So I have had a few good spiritual experiences this week, but I wrote them down on my sticky note...ah. But I do remember one specifically. I was listening to If You Could Hie to Kolob while in the car and my mind got thinking about the eternities...I thought of spirits and heavenly beings and all of the sudden a common phrase REALLY hit me--I am a Child of God. I literally stopped and just froze as I tried grasping that. All of my life I have sung the song I am a Child of God, but I stopped to think about that and the immense love that my Heavenly Father has for me--personally. He is my spiritual Father. How great that is! How great his love is! And I am here sharing His message. What a privilege! I know this seems such a simple thing to grasp, but never before had I been literally and physically stopped by such a thought as I attempted to grasp the entire meaning. I do not think I totally understand the implications that simple truth contains, but I know someday--hopefully in this life--I can begin to completely grasp its meaning.

Winter clothes...I have not gone shopping, but I picked up a rain jacket, winter coat and some boots at the mission office. I hope the boots work. We will see. I will need to buy gloves as it gets colder. Oh, so the Canadian Superstore (think Walmart) I shop at has a parking garage below it. Whoa, weird.

Hmmm. You ask for Christmas ideas...I almost feel selfish asking for things. It feels so odd, I do not know why. I suppose I would like a Stampeders hoodie (Saskatchewan people call them bunnyhugs) seeing as I do not have any intermediate coat. Oh, a number of pictures from the past year or so of mine printed out would be SO great! I cannot really think of much right off the top of my head. Oh ya, maybe a BYU tie, not necessarily an official one, but at least with its white and blue, would be so good! And an LW tie with solid purple and white would be amazing too. 12 or so ties rotated over and over do tend to get a little old. I know of 2 elders who each have over 70 ties with them!

I miss the Seattle Auto Show! If people think I am ever excited, they need to see me at the Seattle Car Show! Right Dad? I miss that quality time with you, and the cars of course. Uncle Garry's truck sounds like a beast! Its the brand new generation Super Duty right? Oh man...

I pray for my family and friends every day. Dad I pray for you especially.

Well I sure love you all. I know this work is true. I have seen too much to deny it, and felt too much to deny it. I have seen someone's life utterly change because they accepted the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.