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, 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