Monday, February 28, 2011
Oh ya! Last Tuesday night we went over to the Osters and told Boden and his dad that Boden really is ready for baptism and invited him to be baptized this upcoming Saturday, March 5th. Wow I love that family! Remember that Boden is 9, and he is a fireball--maybe that is why I love that kid. He is so smart and even though his parents had not come to church in 11 years, they still read the scriptures with him and he is so smart. He knows Bible stories, Book of Mormon stories, pretty much any story I know he could probably finish. And he is getting baptized! Bro. Oster has changed quite a bit in the past month too. We teach him about once a week and have tried guiding him to rediscover his own testimony. He will be doing the baptism, by the way. Bro. Oster is great too! His countenance is different from even a month ago, and he has great insights during Priesthood and Sunday School. Sis. Oster gave a great talk in Sacrament Meeting yesterday and shared how important the Gospel is, how important Boden has been to her as a parent and to bring her back into the church. I just love that family! So much love and spirit are in that family. Have I ever mentioned that Boden does wrestling?!
Here are a few quotes from Bro. Oster and Boden to give you examples of what kind of personalities they have:
"How can people not believe in God? Teams of engineers use state of the art technology to create cars, yet these same new creations break-down the more they are used. Yet the best supercomputer in the world is a piece of fat between your ears. The harder we run our bodies the better they get. How is there not a Supreme Creator?"
--Bro. Oster, reminding me of something captivating that Bro. Litchfield would say
To give a little background for Boden's quote, is that there is no background. He was running at about 100 miles (kilometers anyone?) an hour and then he said: "My brother has ADHD, it's kind of like letting a raccoon loose in the house." Ya, I died laughing.
When talking to Bro. Oster I shared with him a few scriptures that were key to me finding my own testimony and me realizing that I did have faith in Christ. They are the comparison of faith relating to a seed as found in Alma 32, Ether 12:4, D&C 6:22-24, and D&C 82:10. Feel free to read and see my own spiritual train of thought. And then at the end of the last scripture, is when you do what the Lord wants from you and the Lord has to bless you for it. What a comfort, EH?
Here is something to ponder: most religions want us to be with God and Christ, but we see something even more; not only to be with Christ, but Christ wants us to become like Him. Religion is more than mere profession of the lips. As James in the New Testament states something like giving to the poor and needy is pure religion. GIVING. ACTING. Do you see a pattern in my emails? People, including Latter-Day Saints, need to ACT, not to be acted upon. So many people do not act!
Hey, guess what? I sang at a wedding this past week. Yup. a wedding, not just a reception. So, I'm a wedding singer now right? Right...Elder Morris and I were invited by Elder Cutler to a wedding that he was performing at the church. It was a way that we could get our faces out in the community. Sure did. That wedding was interesting, but I will not go into that.
So a little about investigators. Boden Oster is golden--love that family. You may remember me visiting or mentioning a Jeff and Desiree. They are interesting. They seem to agree with whatever we say, they read, they ask questions, but they never come to church. We ask, "will you come to church tomorrow?" "Oh ya, we'll be there for sure." Nope. Frustrating, because they are so great. Yes, they know where the building is, and what time the meeting is. They have said they will come for about the past 8 weeks, but not once. Hmmm. Someone that Elder Morris and I started teaching a week or so ago is a younger guy named David. David loves the concept of having a modern prophet and was eager to come to church and he even invited himself--UNHEARD OF. But he didn't make it. Maybe something came up, but we knocked on his door at about 8:30 (church at 9) and no answer. I want everyone to know that Sunday mornings are the most stressful time of the entire week by far. Oh, so stressful, especially when the branch is so small and I count how many people are there each week. I want the "chapel" to fill up! It would hold about 40 people. Oh, and Fort Francis had a record-smashing 5 members to church. Yes, it really happened. Being out here really helps me appreciate the upbringing I had in the atmosphere I had too. It is so much more difficult for younger kids here for a number of reasons.
I had to get a Minnesota license, and got it this week. It was a sad day having my Washington license clipped, but the Minnesota one looks pretty good too.
That's about all from my end. I am on about page 590 in Jesus the Christ and my corresponding reading in the Gospels. I will leave you with a good missionary scripture, Alma 17:11 which essentially says be patient in trials, be a good example, and the Lord will make us instruments in His hands (all involving works...).
Ok, and I have to put in a plug for Bro. Oster...he does not know I am doing this, but his home business is fixing computers and he has a website where he can clean-up computers just through the internet. If you ever need a computer cleaned up, give him some thought. His site is computerdr.org. Just food-for-thought sort of thing.
Thank you to Mike and Kim for their letters this week as well! I appreciated Kim's odds and ends about our ancestors and their lives in the early days of the church. Neat. Love to you all, especially my family.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Your favorite Elder is still puttering along, doing well. Since the last email I went up to Winnipeg and back and got mail and all that. Sincere thanks to all who sent letters! I am grateful to have much support from my family and friends.
This past week it got above freezing and the roads got filthy. Oh, when we were in Winnipeg we stopped at this mall on the south side of town (sorry Auntie Susan, I forgot the name! It had a Walmart in it if that helps) and the parking lot was filthy. If I am wearing jeans I don't care much about mud, but I do care when I am wearing a suit! Ugh, but it does mean that spring time is inching closer. To my surprise, I am not yet sick of the snow, but it is always a relief when it does get above freezing because the forest (we call it Narnia) outside my apartment really comes alive with birds and all sorts of activity. Talking about weather, there was one night when Elder Morris and I were tracting and the wind was gale force! It was probably about -10C, but that wind just splits me in half. It makes more a man of me I suppose.
(Several weeks ago I posted a picture of TJ lying in a snow tunnel. This video is of him trying to collapse that tunnel. He still seems to have plenty of energy!)
So, more on Boden Oster and his family. Wow I love that family. There is such a sense of love in that family that is totally absent in so-called "normal" families. Wow, it reminds me of something Mike told me in a letter once, that on my mission I really can see how I want to raise my kids and what kind of atmosphere I want in my home. One thing I appreciate from being here in I-Falls is that I have been so blessed in my own upbringing and just how fortunate I was to have parents who love me, support me, and provided a home where I could learn and grow in a wholesome atmosphere. How we take these things for granted! I really have seen broken families on my mission, and being in a small town...it just provides me with a unique--and much needed--perspective on life. So thank you to my parents for all the track meets, golf matches and soccer and baseball games they came to.
Anyway, back to the Osters. We talked about prophets with Boden and he asked if we have a prophet today. I said something we did, and he gave a "YES!" with a fist pump. At first I thought it was funny, but as I thought about it, we sure take having a prophet for granted. What a blessing it is to have a living prophet today! If God spoke to prophets throughout time, why would he not speak to a prophet today? Does God not love us the same? Of course he loves us, and he has called a prophet today, and we should show our gratitude for that blessing. On a lighter note, Bro. Oster came to me worried, and said that Boden had asked if he could be the prophet! He was worried as to how he should answer that question. I just laughed because I remember being about 8 or 9 and wanting to be the prophet someday, and told Bro. Oster to tell Boden that he just had to keep living the Gospel and who knows what the Lord has in store for him.
As a missionary, I like to study how we are to show our faith through. Works are outward expressions of our inner faith. "Faith without works is dead" kind of thing. Something mentioned in Priesthood by the visiting District President really impressed me. He said that the difference between us and Satan's followers is works. There were those who were possessed by devils in the New Testament who professed Jesus to be the Christ, but Christ silenced them for a number of reasons which I will not touch on here. The point is they, possessed with devils, professed Jesus to be the Christ, yet they did no works to show their profession of "faith". Satan is trying nowadays to numb us to the level of "just believing", without works, without service, without true faith. Truly "faith without works is dead, being alone".
I read an interesting scripture this past week. John 15:19, it’s a good one. Amidst all the persecution that the church takes, and that missionaries take, I like this verse. "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you". I am most of the way through Jesus the Christ and the Gospels (p.550 in Jesus the Christ and in Matt. 22, Mark 12, Luke 19) and the more I read, the more the people let pride get in the way of their worshiping Christ. The Pharisees knew that Christ performed miracles (raising of Lazarus really set them off) and yet they were only concerned that their fame and popularity were at stake. Fools! No wonder Christ's harshest rebukes were to hypocrites. Sheesh.
Switching gears...I keep forgetting to describe my back for Mike. So yes, my back has bothered me, its more of an on/off kind of thing. My lower back is totally fine, it’s my upper back that hurts, and I think it is the muscles pulling on the spine that makes it hurt. It hurts after long periods of sitting or long periods of standing. So studies, church especially, make it uncomfortable, and I may pull my shoulders back a ways once or twice a day to crack the upper back. Doesn't really help though. The reflexologist in Saskatoon told me that the bowing in my legs contributes to the pain and had an explanation for that. Mike says that likely is not the case. I trust my brother.
I can see how some things in my patriarchal blessing are coming through...
You know, I have had Richard Gonzalez's name in my mind for a couple of weeks. How is he doing? I hope he is still doing well because he is a good man and is strong in the faith.
I saw 4 brand new Explorers...mixed feelings on them, I think I like them, but how do they slot into Ford's product line? It seems like they compete with the Edge and Flex, and maybe are just out to ring up $ through the use of a well-known nameplate.
This is a good time to remind everyone that Pres. Monson was a mission president in Canada, truly this is the promised land, right?
Ha, Emily Nies is asking about me, that’s great! Tell her I miss her in Primary too.
Wrapping up, yes, I was going to ask about my memory card because in a few weeks I would like to send this one off, but first would need my other one back. When you send a memory card back my way, I wonder if you could also include my other flag jacket I left back home. After all, it is the Canadian one, and I am in the Canada Winnipeg Mission. I am sending some pictures of some fun that Elder Morris and I had in the snow during a lunch hour. Do you put pictures and videos on the blog too? Anyway, I love you all, Godspeed.
Monday, February 14, 2011
First of all I want to thank the Tryons for their part in the last email. They are a great family, a wonderful example of members living the gospel and of member missionary work. And of course, they send me letters each week, what can beat that? Sincere thanks to Sis. Tryon and the self-proclaimed "Tryonite tribe".
I did get things in the mail from Michael and family, and from Auntie Sharon. Thanks so much, I loved Halle's heart she drew me, and I enjoyed Maddie's story, and Auntie Sharon's gift has already gone to good use. Thanks family, I sure love you all. Oh, on a similar note, I want to wish Kim and Kade a Happy Anniversary on the 18th.
It’s been another good week up here in the Falls. Sure warmer! The snow has started melting and I am warm, I can smell the fresh air again (below freezing so long seems to quench smells--for me at least). It’s all good up here. Funny story though--a week or so ago I had a dream where I yanked my watch band and broke it. I woke up in the morning thinking that would be a terrible thing to--- OH COME ON! My watch band was broken. My dreams are ridiculous! Mike, remember when I dreamed that I swallowed my retainer and I couldn't find it for days? Doggone dreams. So I went to a jeweler in town and they fixed it and I should be picking it up today.
Did I tell you that I got a Minnesota license? It was a sad moment when they clipped my Washington license; at least I get to keep it. If I were to get a Manitoba or Saskatchewan license, they would take my former license. So they will get my Minnesota one instead of my Washington one!
This week I have really been focusing on improving weaknesses of mine. To be honest, I get irritated every time that I know I can be bolder in invitations and whatnot. So, kudos to Callens, I am improving my "boldness" again and wow, it’s great. I feel like such a better missionary when I am bolder in every aspect. This week we invited a man to live the Word of Wisdom and I made sure that he knew I was confident in him, and I had to be really bold with this guy, Gerald. I felt great leaving that appointment. Now, with that said, I am bold, but not gruff with people. Do you know what I mean? Bold, yet loving...being bold for their betterment. Does that make sense?
So this week we taught 14 lessons, so not too bad at all. A week ago we thought that we would be in Winnipeg this past week and did not have any appointments scheduled all of Tuesday or Wednesday, and consequently we only had 1 lesson taught by Tuesday. Finishing off with 14 was really good then! The formerly inactive family, the Osters (the ones who live in Fort Frances with the 9 year old Boden), are doing SO well! They have come to church the past 3 weeks and we are teaching Boden and Bro. Oster and they are both doing very well. We should be setting a baptismal date with Boden in the next week or 2. Him being baptized will have a dramatic effect on the ward dynamics, and I am sure that at least 1 or 2 other baptisms will result when Boden is baptized. Things are so different in small branches! Sheesh. Back to the Osters...Bro. Oster is trying to find his testimony again, and wants further witnesses. I am going to share with him a great scripture. It’s in the Doctrine and Covenants, either in section 6 or 9 (leaning towards 6--I know where on the page it is, ok? ha) and the Lord says "...if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night you cried unto me in your heart...Did I not speak peace unto your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?" That scripture really hit home with me because I frequently desire further spiritual witnesses, and what I really need to do is to remember how I felt that night, and know that, as Alma says, "the seed is good". The gospel is such a blessing in our lives, and I took it for granted so long. Being in such small towns, I really can see how having the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses individuals and families. And the best part of the gospel? It’s all true!
One last thing: in Priesthood in the Falls we discussed sacrifices. What a blessing sacrifices are! They are outward expressions of our inner commitment to follow God. Want to know your level of faith? What are you willing to sacrifice? I saw a church movie about the story of John Tanner, an early Latter-day Saint. He gave everything he had! A brief movie of him and his story is included on that same DVD with the movie of Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. The DVD is officially called the "Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Visual Resource DVD. Get it. No questions asked, and do not waste time getting it! I hear it’s cheap, and its spirit is priceless.
Well, I love my family. Happy Valentine's Day to everyone.
Elder Galbraith, over and out.
Monday, February 7, 2011
As Single Awareness Day hits on the 14th...Eh, I don't know what to say after that, it just sounded like a good way to open up an email. This week was exciting when I experienced +2 C---let me say that again---it was above freezing! I haven't seen above freezing since early November. I think it was on Friday...pretty sure, anyway. After Weekly Planning, Elder Morris and I went to help a member with some snow shoveling. (I probably do a couple of hours of shoveling a week and it still is fun) Shoveling at this member's place is so fun! His name is Bro. Frarck, and he is something like 6'6" and in his 70s and he is a teddy-bear, let me tell you. He always helps us out with fellowshipping on appointments, and we missionaries are told to give service each week, so we help him shovel snow. So, he had some people shovel the snow off his garage roof (everyone's garages are seperate from their houses here), so there were huge mounds of snow blocking this door we had to get to in order to get this really good snow-rake. Since Sis. Frarck had driven off with the only garage door opener, I got to try to dig my way to this door. It was sheer ice! Sheesh. The drifts were above my head, so I shoveled-in stairs and just took the fluffy snow off the top (its the slippery snow) and just essentially carved a path on top of the snow to the door, and then dug straight down about 5 feet to get to the door handle. I pretty much made my own snow fort!
Investigators...Jeff and Desiree seem so prepared, and they agree with everything, but they don't come to church! I don't understand, but people are just like that. You can only bring the message "unto" their hearts, not "into" their hearts. Similar to bringing a horse to water, but you cannot force a horse to drink. Agency is still involved. Sometimes I just want to make them do it. Agency...a blessing, but sometimes....Our investigator Zack...well, he and his family had some kind of feud and he packed up and left for Wichita. Agency! But, on a brighter note, we have essentially reactivated a family over in Fort Frances, the Osters (they come to I-Falls branch though, so we still only had 2 members at church in the Fort), and they would like their 9-year-old son Boden to get baptized. Their only hesitation is that they want him to be absolutely sure that it is his decision to get baptized and that he is not "riding anyone's coattails". They are so adamant because Bro. Oster feels that he fell away because he did that. So it is more a matter of convincing Bro. Oster, whom we are teaching too. It will come. To sum that up, Boden is doing great.
Oh, I need to tell you about the moose meat! We took it over the border and they asked us if we were bringing anything back, and we told them we had moose meat, and they told us to pull over to the side to inspect us. Yikes. The guy came over and he took the meat in his hand and said, "you know, this isn't all that much...normally I wouldn't do this, but I will let you take it over, just don't do it next time". I got moose meat LEGALLY over the border, how great is that? So the senior missionary couple here, the Cutlers, made us moose burgers. Moose puts beef to shame, so good! It is lean meat, and it tastes better. Then, as we were tracting, a guy said "I don't want to hear your message, but you are nice guys, so I'll give you some deer if you want it". I had deer that night. Deer is kind of tough and has a unique flavor, but its still good. The only downside is that our apartment smelled like deer for a week.
Speaking of deer: The same day Elder Morris and I helped Bro. Frarck, we decided to skip supper and use that time to play in the snow, so we did. We made a maze outside the apartment for the deer to go through, and we littered it with food scraps, with a big prize at the end. Oh, and we made a tunnel too! (See the picture at the top of this post.)
A fun week for sure. The work is somewhat trying, but is progressing.
I met the most racist man of my life too. See how eventful missionary work can be? He was totally normal when we tracted into him, but when we came back he said some unspeakably racist things and we got out of there. He was a sick twisted man. I mention this because this week the Spiritual War really came to life, in that I am beginning to realize how real it is. No bailout teaches the morals and spirituality NECESSARY to turn the world around. The only thing that can reverse the world's course is the gospel of Jesus Christ. In it, we learn our divine worth, and through repentance we change things about us that are not in line with God's will. Morality is key to change too.
I know I have shared these scriptures with you before, but look up 2 Nephi 25: 23, and 26. In them lay essential doctrines of Christ. "...there is no other name whereby ye may be saved..." At baptism we take upon ourselves his name. "...if not (do not take His name upon us) ye must be known by some other name..."
After reading emails and letters from my family, I want to point them to a verse in the Doctrine and Covenants, D&C 90:24, which basically says keep doing the basics and everything will work out. I love my family.
To answer my parent's question from last week, I do not need a tuque (?) or scarf or anything, thanks.
As far as mail goes, I am heading into Winnipeg next Monday night for a District Meeting and can pick-up mail. I have not seen mail since early January, meaning that people may have sent things in December and I may still not yet have them. So, please be patient with me and mail!
Car news: Chrysler has a 200? What the...? There is one sitting on a lot up here and I did a triple-take. The car guys that came to church today drove up in an unreleased Hyundai Veloster. Dad, you may have to tell me about that one, I am guessing that it is supposed to take on the Mazda 3...
Love you all, Elder Galbraith