Thanks so much for the mail and package of cookies! Oh, mail is heaven. Thanks to all that have written me in the past few weeks. I went into Winnipeg this past week for a District Meeting and picked up some mail. So, thanks to the Moss family, the Thompsons, Pono, Ashley, Elder McDowell and Alicia for letters. I was extremely excited to see that Lance--Elder McDowell--had written me, that was a great surprise!
What a great email Mom and Dad! It’s great to hear that Mom is searching for missionary opportunities, and I enjoyed hearing about Dad's insights in Matthew 2/Luke 2. Although Elder Morris and I teach Gospel Principles in I-Falls, we get to attend the Gospel Doctrine class in Fort Francis, so I can follow along with you!
I don't think I have told you much about my teaching pool here. Sure, I had another 16 lunched appointments this week, but I need to tell you about who I teach! But first...the light-hearted stuff...
I feel like I am finally mastering the language....Looks like I will be doing those belts next week or so, but if you send my buckles this week, they will probably get here just in time. I have to love the 3-day mail, versus the 2-week stuff up in Canada. So...its funny you mentioned something about not getting cold. It was something like -30F yesterday morning before church. But, the funny part was, that it wasn't all that bad because there was no wind (sorry that Mike may hear that). Ya, no wind! It was great! It was the coldest I had ever been in, but without the wind it wasn't too bad. In fact, I was so excited that it was that cold that I took every opportunity to go outside just in my suit while waiting for people to show up. It wasn't bad, I was only out there for a few minutes, then I would come in. Going from a warm building outside for a few minutes is not very bad at all. Anyone who complains it is cold when they are just walking to the car needs to try tracting in the cold, then their view will change pretty fast. The cold is tolerable, any wind just makes things terrible. Sorry Mike. At least southern Alberta gets chinooks every so often....So you tell me not to freeze. Too late. The past few weeks there have been a few times where my feet will go numb and I won't even realize it. So I have learned to wear boots. Ha, a few times before I put my boots on I would have to thaw my feet out. I would just laugh because I knew I brought it upon myself. I am glad to be somewhere really cold on my mission instead of really hot because if I were in somewhere hot I would be pitting-out like no-other. Instead, I just bundle up, no problem....Moving on, I have mentioned that there is a forest immediately outside our window (like 50 feet), and each morning we see deer, but the best thing to see is this little squirrel that jumps from tree branch to tree branch. Oh, he is so good! We call him Little Red, and we always get excited when we see him prancing around up there. Thought you would like to know the little things about missions, ha....Oh! So, this is pretty much just to my Dad, so Dad, you know how new car models do cold weather testing? I saw 2 cars this past week with the black sheets over them, concealing the unique aspects of the car. One was in a parking lot we were in and I grabbed my camera and took a few pictures. It was like the car show all over again! It was great! The car was pretty well concealed, but it was the new Hyundai Equus. Psh, 6 months out and I still know 'em. What now? The problem is that the Hyundai Equus was pretty much the last new car I read about before I left, so from here on out is the dark abyss. I saw the other car from a distance, and it was driving, but I think it was the new Ford Focus, but not positive. So exciting! Ok, now for the last good story: Elder Morris and I visited an inactive family last night for supper. (how does someone go totally inactive but still have a testimony? Sheesh) Upon leaving, they gave us 2 things of meat the husband hunted: some steak, and MOOSE MEAT. Ya, I was so excited to be able to eat moose. As we walked out the door, we thought, "we probably can't cross the border with this stuff." We decided to try anyway. When it was our turn at the window, they asked us all the normal questions and we had to admit we were bringing some meat across. The border patrol guy had us pull over to the side and searched our car. When he found the meat he said, "Hmm. You aren't supposed to bring back hunted meat without having a license. But, since this is such a small quantity, I will let it slide this time." YES!!! So I have moose meat! You know what I will be having tonight.
This past week was a fairly trying one. To preface, last week we set a baptismal date with a man for Feb. 5, knowing that he would have to get married before the baptism. We gave him the baptismal interview questions to read and we read them together, and said he would be fine and ready by Feb. 5. So on Monday we taught the Law of Chastity and apparently he somehow did not realize that in order to obey the Law of Chastity, he would have to be married first before the baptism. He said his fiancee feels like she has to get married in Florida, and they have a date in the fall that she does not want to move. So we do not have a baptismal date anymore. Lots of no-show appointments were rough again, and the trip to Winnipeg took up over 24 hours of our proselyting time. We still taught 9 lessons this week, which is average, but not good for I-Falls. We are kind of in a transition, because the missionary I replaced liked teaching a lot, and taught people, that were not going anywhere, about 3 times a week, so it inflated their numbers somewhat. So I have felt some pressure like I need to perform and teach a lot of lessons. I feel like a lot is expected of me in I-Falls, and a lot is. I felt like I was underperforming by not teaching as many lessons. So, with those 3 or so "eternigators" (eternal investigators that go no-where), we will meet with them once every 2 or 3 weeks until they show promise and do something--like read. (Side note: how hard is it to read for 5 minutes, at least ONCE to tell the missionaries that you have read. SO FRUSTRATING when people do not read or pray or do anything. AT LEAST tell us no or something. So, we are meeting with those people less.) We have been doing a lot of finding AKA tracting here (~15 hours a week), and are beginning to build up a teaching pool. The problem is that people do not have phones here. Ya, it is so weird. In Winnipeg NO-ONE had cars, here no-one has phones. Ok, its something like 1/3 or people do not have a phone. It’s certainly a different America than I am used to. The investigator that had the Baptismal Date is Jeff, and his fiancee is Desiree. They are about 30. We found a man named Chris, who is in his early-mid 20s, and he is searching for truth--the best kind of person to find. We also tracted into an unmarried couple named Tony and Colleen. Hopefully they will be married soon, as the missionaries here are going to really try to push them in that direction. We also teach a man named Gerald, who is impossible to get a hold of, but when we are able to teach him, he receives it well. Kind of shady when people do that...Those are most of the main investigators. Oh, this past week we stopped by a recent convert to see how she was doing and she had someone over to buy a dog from her, and the girl that was buying the dog began asking us questions. I thought, "Wait, aren't I supposed to be the one asking questions?" It was good though, we taught her a lesson right on the spot and she should be coming to Institute here, taught by the great senior couple here in town, the Cutlers. The Cutlers actually live directly across the hall from us, which is handy; he is Branch President in I-Falls, and they are from Shelley, Idaho.
During Insititute this past week (we attend), they had a brief section on temples and showed a few clips from mormon.org. Now, President Cutler had a slideshow as well and put in pictures of the Las Vegas and Seattle temples just for Elder Morris and I, and I have never been so excited to see the temple before. Everyone back home is so lucky to have the chance to attend the temple! Unless I serve in Regina, I do not have the opportunity to attend the temple, and I know a few missionaries that have gone home without being able to attend the temple on their missions. SO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT! I wanted to attend the temple so badly, so dearly, I almost desperately wanted to attend it. Mom and Dad are so lucky to have a temple 10 minutes from home. I am screaming "ATTEND THE TEMPLE". Can I say it any louder?! While in 2 branches, one just being a remnant of a branch, I see the absolute necessity the temple is in strengthening our testimonies. Attend the temple. I can better see why the prophets want every member worthy or a temple recommend. Attend the temple, because I cannot when I do not serve in Regina. Attend it, learn more about it, read from the scriptures! I now can better see that when individuals, or families, do not attend Church, Pray and Read the scriptures (CPR coincidentally) regularily, daily, it puts them and their testimonies in harm's way, and more susceptible to Satan's army. Put on the whole armor of God by doing these things every day. How hard is it to read for even 5 minutes every night? Not hard! I have little patience with people when they say they are too busy to do all that. Nonsense. Now, I do not show them that I think their excuse is bogus, but I gently push them in the right direction. Agency is so frustrating sometimes. Anyway, go to church weekly, read and pray daily, can you promise me that?
If not, we have to talk. In fact, tell God you don't have time for him. (Can you not tell that I have no patience for this?)
I guess while writing that I realize that I have become much more passionate about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it helps me and helps us all individually. It just takes some effort! Ether 12:4, my mission scripture...so good. Having Elder Morris as a companion is still great, he loves studies as much as I do, which is a ton.
My spiritual thought for the week: Miracles have not ceased, which means God still works today, and because God still works today, we still have revelations given, and because we still have revelations given, we still need a prophet! Isn't it great? And the best part is its all true! Thank you Adams
I love my family so much, and its weird to think I have been on a mission for nearly 6 months.Elder Galbraith
PS--while writing that paragraph, I hope you didn't get the impression that I am mad, just that I am passionate about people doing something with God's message to us.
Oh, it feels better getting that off my chest.