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.