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 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 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.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

I apologize if my letter is any shorter today, I felt I needed to tell Nate some things from my mission experience. So, apology in advance.

Dad here - Elder Galbraith sent home a memory card from his camera so we could copy the pictures to his computer. There were also several short videos, including one that had some not-very-missionary-type music playing, hence the following comment.

Ok, the music there was NOT radio music. Radio is not allowed. That is the type of music that many missionaries listen to, not that I am condoning (?) it! It was on and I got a little wild for sure; I am finding better ways to release energy, and still trying to be obedient. That is about as wild as I have gotten. Please leave all pictures on, just copy them over, that way I can clear up pictures at my discretion in the field. I believe Eclipse is ok, as is Inside Out's Primary Colors, with any EFY type music I have. I love instrumental hymns on the piano that are creatively arranged. Could you send my Eclipse CD sometime? As far as packages go, I would say to still send them to mission office, not directly to my apartment, especially if others do that I think that many packages would arrive after I have left.

I did hear about Brendin! I emailed him to congratulate the stud! I felt like he was going to go somewhere wild, and I think Brazil would be fairly wild! Good for him! I cannot view the video you sent me because it would send me to Youtube, and I cannot go to any other website. Sorry Bern!

I really hope Dad is doing well! I have another challenge for my parents: In your search for answers, I am sure that you 2 have upped your "spiritual game" if you know what I mean. But I challenge you to give it ALL you have for...4 days, or so. All you have! Prior to my mission I never said prayers first thing when I woke up--do it!!! I did not study the scriptures very long on a consistent basis--do it! Give more thanks in your prayers! Read chapter 6 in PMG and study the verses and apply them to yourself. Continue with family prayers and scripture study (and personal scripture study). I have learned that if I want help from the Lord, I better be willing to give it all I have to show the Lord I mean it. I know you two have started doing some of these things, and I am sure they have already blessed your life, but continue, and go above and beyond! Its easy for a missionary to say, but please try doing these things! I look to Kim at her example when she was going through difficult times and she would just read the words of the living prophets! Thank you Kim! She and Mike could probably give better advice than I can. But I know you are trying, and I pray for my family every night! Love you and know you are trying diligently!

I had a wonderful Zone Conference yesterday (on Thanksgiving) where they asked the missionaries if they knew their parents conversion stories. I was saddened that I have not asked for my parent's conversion stories. So....Mom, Dad, and even Mike and Kim, sometime in the next few weeks could I hear of your conversion stories?

I greatly look up to the Tryon family and their diligence and missionary efforts. Please tell them thank you for the weekly letters! Very therapeutic, minus the giant picture of a bed bug they sent me, I practically screamed and dropped the picture. Not really, because I am so tough, but I was...frightened.

Hey, now on to lighter things...I like being a rebel and supporting the Calgary Stampeders out here. The Roughriders are huge here! So, I wonder if I could snag a red hoodie or something for Christmas or my b-day way down the line...there is nothing here. And a BYU tie! It does not have to be an official one, but if it just had white and cougar-blue stripes that would suit me perfectly. I cannot have too much red if you catch my drift.

I sung hymn #82 for the first time in my life...look at it and then say "what the....?"

The ward here is about 75% newly married couples, which is a little odd. A few years--I mean MANY years off, eh? But the Wildwood Ward is so great! They are very active in missionary work, which I never paid attention to back in K1. This ward is great, but the teaching pool is smaller than the one I had in Jefferson. Oh well, eh? Its growing. Things will work out.

Well I sure love serving with Elder Butterfield, I am learning so much from him! He is a great example of developing Christlike attributes and applying them--things I am certainly trying to do! I sure love my family, and thank all those who read this because that means they have taken time out of their day to "keep up" with Elder Galbraith. Thanks to them!

Love you all, but especially my parents!

Elder Galbraith

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hi from Saskatoon

I saw my college buddy (Elder) Andrew Naylor in the MTC choir that performed in the Priesthood session!!! At least I think I did...I about had a heart attack when I saw him singing!

Well it's true that I am now in Saskatoon. I traveled by improvised hitch-hiking. Talk about weird! They are cutting back--no, I traveled by car. I was hoping train or piggy back or something unique, but it sure was a wonderful drive! Get this...there were hills--ya, hills-- on the way to Regina. I took about 10 pictures of the first hills I saw. They are really wimpy, but when all I have seen has been pancake flat, it was very exciting. I even saw a man-made ski hill. Pathetic, but that’s all they have to work with, so I am proud of Canada for making that effort. Nothing like the Cascades!

I absolutely, positively love Elder Butterfield, my new companion! His countenance and speech, pretty much everything, remind me of Michael. And anyone who knows me knows that I look up to my siblings more than anyone for examples!!! Yes Mom and Dad, you are right there too. But me comparing him to Michael makes me absolutely love Elder Butterfield! What a pure soul. He is so humble, so enjoyable to be around...he is the type of missionary I am striving to become! I look up to everything he does. And he is from Eagle, Idaho! Kim, he is from the Eagle 3rd ward and will be coming home mid-November, so I will keep Kim posted and maybe she can see his "homecoming" or at least chat with him!

Supper with Auntie Susan and Uncle Brent was so therapeutic. It was great to see family, and the food was of course delicious. I visited with the boys and they showed me some Nerf guns they bought. I am so proud! Whenever I go back to Winnipeg, I hope to be able to do it again! I do have this hunch (its only an educated guess) that I may be in Saskatchewan for a while now. I love it here, but I only receive mail once or twice a transfer (6 weeks). But other than that, there are more hills here and it has the most beautiful sun rises I have ever seen. I watched the sun rise from the apartment the past 3 days. So gorgeous. It's just...flat out east and nothing blocks the sun.

Auntie Susan told me of a funny story about Mike and Legos. Does that ring a bell Mikey? You apparently wanted my Lego set (who wouldn't?) that I got for Christmas. I laughed pretty hard there.

You went to Idaho? Wow, only 2 drivers, tough eh? Weather was in the 90s? Well its been really warm here, yesterday was 25C. But I have heard it is going to be an unusually cold winter. BRING IT! Anyway, good for Tayson! He can play football as long as it does not interfere with his track, ok? Doesn't Riley become a deacon soon? I'm excited for him! Poor Kim, she is the ultimate example of faith to me. Wow. I really pray that things will get better for her. You know I love you so much Kim. Mom and Dad, I hope you told everyone in Idaho that I love them! Oh, was it weird to be visiting everyone and not to have a rambunctious teenager around? A lot less exciting...kidding.

Sorry if I appear rushed in my email...I have about half the amount of time I had in Winnipeg here on these computers at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. It’s weird being around college aged people and to not be "a part" of the college experience. I proudly am in my suit with everyone looking at me funny---so all is normal. Speaking of suits, between this Conference and next in April, I have to wear my suits every day. Ya, only my suits. So sometime I may send home a pair or 2 of slacks to free up space in my suitcase.

I was pondering General Conferences addresses--I saw all 5 sessions. Elder Scott's talk about faith and character was directed at me because I went in to Conference with the question of "how can I put faith in action?" I also have been trying to improve all aspects of my character. Everything in his talk hit home. I cannot remember who gave the talk about keeping honor to our names, but I really pondered my names. Terje James Galbraith--3 distinct cultures, with 3 different family lines that all lead up to me, with many I am sure, hoping and cheering me on in heaven. I hope that some have a special interest in me. I would like to share some insights with my family:

Love you all so very much! I love you all, and never forget it!

Elder Galbraith