Monday, April 25, 2011

Transfer time

Good-bye Goliath

Ah! Transfers strike again and claim another victim--Elder Morris. Our 4 month stint has come to a close. 3 transfers is a long time to be together with one companion, and I am glad that I have spent the past 3 with Elder Morris. What a missionary. I think he was born to be a missionary. He has helped me focus on the work and over the past 4 months I feel that I am now more of the missionary that the Lord needs me to be: I am more bold, more diligent and have better studies than before. So thank you to Elder Morris. I am staying in I-Falls/Fort Frances and getting Elder Bodily from Preston, Idaho (Napoleon Dynamite's town--yes it’s a real place). I am really excited to serve with him for a number of reasons. He has only been out in the mission field for 1 transfer (6 weeks), so I have the opportunity to try to be a good missionary example to him, hopefully setting the tone for the rest of his mission. Remember last week and my schpeel on the power of examples? To answer your question, yes, I will be the senior companion, which means that I get to drive, oh ya! I have driven occasionally on long trips (the entire 13 hours from Saskatoon to I-Falls!) but now I am the primary driver. I am passionate that just because someone is a senior companion, district leader, zone leader or assistant, does not mean they are a "good", or a "better" missionary than someone else. So me being the senior does not mean I have passed some kind of bar test, but that...I am the senior companion, and that in my head I have the responsibility of setting a good example. But I am excited for this next transfer, even with losing Elder Morris. Back to Elder Bodily--he was trained by my best friend in the mission, Elder Dunn, who was in my group in the MTC, so that just adds to the excitement. The only thing I have heard about Elder Bodily is that he knows how to work--good. Having a companion that does not want to work would make me insane, as if I am not already, right?

So, that is transfers.

Happy belated birthday to Tayson! 12...sheesh. I am getting to the point when I can say "I remember when so-and-so was born..." and it makes me feel really old. But seriously--I remember when Tayson was born. Tayson, now that you are officially a teenager, just hold to the rod and never let go, that is especially important in your teenage years.

Bears. So many bear stories this week! So I went on my first-ever missionary "splits" with a member and while Elder Morris was with Bro. Oster they saw a bear! After their lesson they saw a bear outside the person's sliding-glass window and Elder Morris put his face up to the window and the bear came to the window and put his face on it--so his face was inches from a bear! AND...the past 3 nights when we have come in the Cutlers have told us that we have missed a bear by only a minute or 2. I took pictures of a couple of tracks that were just outside our apartment, but I have not yet seen the bear! Argh! It was really creepy coming in last night because it was dark, and we came around the corner to the apartment and we saw a lawn chair out in the middle of the field and the forest was completely dark. It looked like something from a horror film, because the bear could have come at me from any angle. But it was all exciting too. I want to see a bear! Don't worry Mom, black bears are generally afraid of people, same with the timber wolves, and the moose, and all the other wild North creatures...

Speaking of bears, for Elder Morris' last P-Day we are going out to a bear reserve just north of Emo, Ontario. I will try to take plenty of pictures. If I can't see a bear there, then I really am in trouble.

So I have a good story for the week. On Tuesday we had an appointment set up to meet with a potential investigator, and were not sure whether the appointment would happen or not. Against all did happen...or this would be no story, right? This lady, Pam Beamcheu, answered the door and pointed to the chairs already set up and said "I have been waiting for this all day!" I don't usually get that. She went on to explain that between the time we first met her and our appointment that she had many prayers answered and good things happen and because of those occurrences she wanted to hear what we had to say. I was pretty dumbfounded. Sheesh, tracting does work! It is easy to get down when I have weeks on end of 20+ hours tracting each week and hardly any results. But the Lord does come through! Pam was prepared, and she has a baptismal date for May 21st! She is about 60, and is getting a kidney donation from a relative--one of the answers to her prayers that had her want to hear what we share. She said that so many good things happened to her since we first met that she knew what we shared was special. It is simple, really: God has called a prophet today like he has in times past. The same organization that Christ set up when he was on the Earth has been restored. The Great Apostasy, or falling away (2 Thes. 2:2-4) was predicted. We have a modern prophet today and as evidence of all that we share the Book of Mormon, which no-one can refute after diligent study! Oh, if only the world would slow-down the pace of their lives and humble themselves to just listen! Pam did, and it has strengthened my resolve to do the Lord's work His way.

Elder Morris did the math and for the past 4 months we have had something like:
183 appointments happen
197 fall through (lunch us)
That is a lot of appointments!

I guess the funniest story of the past week was Friday when a guy worked himself into a rage on a doorstep and threatened to punch us in the neck. Ya, we got off that doorstep in a hurry because he really meant it. He made a fool of himself, because we really didn't say anything other than "Hi, I am Elder Morris and we share how God has called a prophet today and---" then he went off about something. It is funny looking back at it. Just shows that people really do not understand our message.

Thanks for the package Mom and Dad! I laughed at the irony of getting an Easter bunny. I think I might actually eat this one...ha. Thank you very much for the package, I got it on Saturday, just in time.

Love you all,

Elder Galbraith, over and out

Friday, April 22, 2011

Almost time for transfers

One of the neighbors

This week we worked a lot more in the Fort. We decided to begin working in a remote corner of town--innocent right? So very wrong. We tracted this trailer park in Fort Frances and parked near a church, safe right? Right as we get out Elder Morris and I see a young man and walked up to him to talk. He was cordial, then he asked if we were from this church. We said no and explained ourselves a little bit and at some point asked him a question and he said, "Have you heard what happened at this church?" My heart sank, this sounded bad. "Just last week a man broke him, beat up the pastor, broke his arm and gave him a concussion". Oh my goodness, what a way to open up tracting in Fort Frances, Ontario. No worries, we are safe. Maybe the funniest thing was that we kept on knocking doors after that. The Lord keeps me safe.

Speaking of this trailer park, it was pretty grungy. Everything was just so run-down, so dismal, and frankly it was really sad. Although I did see a Dodge Challenger there, so that was a bright spot. But seriously, it made me better appreciate my own upbringing and how at times I thought I had it rough. Na. How blessed I have been to have the opportunities I have had! Thank you Mom and Dad for that.

Mom and Dad, I had the thought come that I should seek some counsel from my parents, and hear what they want me to hear. What things have best enriched your testimonies? Any other advice you would give me? To be clear, it’s not that I am struggling with anything, far from that, but I feel I should seek counsel from my Mom and Dad. After all, you are my parents!

Did I ever tell you I finished Jesus the Christ a couple of weeks ago? It was great, and I will probably read it again later on my mission.

Haha, I taught Gospel Doctrine this week! Sunday morning the Gospel Doctrine teacher called me and asked me to prepare Lesson 15, "I am the Light of the World", including John chapters 7-8. I was excited to teach it! I told the class that my brother teaches Gospel Doctrine and here I am teaching it too. So I drew a lighthouse on the chalkboard and used it to portray giving light. I figured lighthouses are pretty good at that. Then I proceeded with the lesson and I feel it went really well. I shared how I absolutely love John 7:17 and that people need to live God's commandments in order to know they are true and of God! Brett decided to attend my class instead of Gospel Principles, and I think he really enjoyed it too. (He had a good week at church, and when we went to visit him this week, he showed us his Blazer SS, with ALL the bells and whistles--I'll get a picture this week.) Mom and Dad, last week you left me to read the song Lead Kindly Light, and throughout the week I was thinking about how I could apply/use the message of the song in a unique way. Well, I used it in class. Obviously Christ is the Light!

As part of my class we talked a lot about the power of examples. Now this is something that I think about quite a bit. As Christ declared in the temple, He is the Light of the World. In the Sermon on the Mount he said that we are the light of the world. Really, we simply reflect the Master's light by the way we live. Haven't you ever seen someone who just has that light in their eyes because of the Christ-like way they lead their lives? I have. His light is reflected through us! So in class I shared a few things that are dear to me: I shared some of my greatest role models. Now--Christ is the ultimate role model that we should all have, but it’s ok to have worthy role models on Earth--AS LONG AS THEY EXEMPLIFY CHRISTLIKE ATTRIBUTES. (So many so-called role models are nothing but trashy rappers--but that's beside the point.) I shared with the class how my family is much closer because of the Gospel...and I showed the picture of my family on my scripture box. I told them that I consider myself a momma's boy--I still love my Dad to pieces--because of some of the very unique lessons she taught me. I told them how I love my brother for the example he is to me of kindness, and his example of reaching out to others. My sister is a supreme example of enduring in the faith in times of extreme trial. Oh, I apologize for not writing my siblings for a while—it’s not that I do not love them! But in fact I do love them so much, and appreciate the examples they set for me--even when I was a pill. Let us all reflect the Light of Christ by the faith we have and, through that faith, by the way we live our lives and how we continually strive to improve. Let us BE, as they told us in General Conference, Christ-like people, not just DO Christ-like things. But, I see "doing" as leading up to "being" something. You have to do before you can be. Make sense?

More on examples: Pres. Monson has said that "the power to lead is the power to mislead, and the power to mislead is the power to destroy". We all inevitably influence people, let us make sure that we influence for good! That is so vitally important. It is a privilege to be a part of bringing someone closer to Christ, or to lift someone up from trial. Isn't that great?! What an opportunity! I know that Brendin, Nate and I tried being good people, and setting good examples for younger people. I remember looking up to people like Matt Harris, who has long since moved away, but I remember him being a great example of treating all well, and lifting others. So I try to do the same. I read the scripture D&C 84:106 (?) this morning and it really hit home to me about how someone strong can lift someone weak. Lifting others is sure a special opportunity.

They spent their lunch break one day building Goliath.

Well, transfer calls are this week, and by this time next week I will know my fate. Elder Morris and I expect to part ways, after 4+ months. It will be a shame, it’s been great serving together. I expect to stay in International Falls, but I guess the phrase goes "you never know". I have no idea who would be coming in to serve with me. When I asked President Paulson during Zone Conference, he said he had no idea either. We will see!

Let us all reflect the light of Christ this week, especially with Easter coming up. And what is it that I say all the time? The best part of the Gospel is that it’s all true!


Elder Galbraith

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Snow's gone

"Sorry, I can't talk, I'm watching curling." Someone actually told me that yesterday. I just had to laugh afterward. Seriously? Elder Morris and I were tracting and a guy answers the door, says he's watching curling and has to go and shuts the door. Oh, people are so funny on doorsteps!

Yep, I am feeling great again. No flu anymore, thank goodness. Elder Morris was messed up this past week with it, but he got over it and we were out working.

I have a few good stories this week...we got the police called on us. Haha. Apparently there were some "suspicious men with hoods, well-dressed, walking the streets and writing things down." It was raining; of course we have our hoods on! Someone who obviously didn't want to talk to us face-to-face called the police in hopes of getting us off the streets. Nice try, but can't happen. So we were just walking and a police officer pulls up and asks us a few questions and said the claim was ridiculous and just was doing his duty and drove off. Funny stuff.

Oh ya, I'm officially a Canadian citizen! Oh ya! I got some papers back telling me I am official and I got this pretty card to prove it. Well mom and dad, I am officially a Canadian. A Yankee Canuck, if that is possible. It's already come in handy crossing the border because they are now always asking me where my visa is. Well, I don't have one. If you remember, back in Winnipeg when I flew in I told them I was working on my citizenship, didn't show them any papers or anything, and they just stamped my passport and let me through. I didn't ask any questions!

It’s so sad to see the snow go! Wow, I didn't think I would be sad to see it, it’s just that I had such a great time while it was around. I helplessly watched our deer maze shrink until it disappeared. I should have some sort of memorial. Almost all the snow is gone, and it’s blazing hot here. Ok, not hot, but it feels great. Our thermometer tells us about 50F. Heat wave!

Happy birthday to Elder Nate Munk, who is the big 2-0! Probably celebrating on a hot sandy beach somewhere in the Philippines. Nate, you have your reward. As for me, I am still a "less-accountable" teenager right? Well....

I was reading in the Gospel Principles book and came across a great quote that said something like "helping others in need--what a formula for happiness". I really liked that!

My great missionary story this week is about Brett. I think I have mentioned him a time or two before. To jog your memory, he was baptized when he was 11 or so and immediately went inactive and has not been back to church since. We tracted into him and he told us to call him back in a few weeks. Sounds pretty shady, right? I thought so. Well we got a hold of him, taught him and a friend a few times, and he had a lot of crazy ideas of doctrines that really got me doubting, making me think "this guy is going nowhere". He didn't want to read the Book of Mormon or come to church. Well, after some effort (and the Spirit) we gave him a Book of Mormon, and once he started reading he really took off! He read like 10 chapters between visits a few times and got really into these "Nef-ee and La-mon" guys. We told him they are Nephi and Laman, ha. He was making all sorts of parallels left and right. Then, he sat back in a lesson after giving a parallel and said to himself "I think I should come back to church". Oh ya! He came the week before Conference, came for a portion of a session of Conference and came yesterday and refers to the Church as his church. Oh ya! It was an additional testimony to the power of the Book of Mormon in changing people's lives. Brett said that people around him have begun to see a positive change in his life. The Gospel is true!

Haven't got that parcel yet, probably coming today. Oh, and I have one last gift idea for ultimate frisbee. I didn't take it to the MTC because they discouraged sporting equipment in the MTC but it is absolutely fine to have it out here. Plus, if I ever go back to civilization, I will be able to play it on P-Days. Oh ya!

Those logs in that picture are just out of town and are part of the big Boise Paper plant here. They just seem to go for miles, don't they? So I thought it would be neat to take a picture by them. As for that basketball, I am not standing on 5 feet of snow. Looks like it though, doesn't it? Haha. I gotcha! Those are some short hoops at a park in town. The sign in the background gives it away that the snow really isn't that deep.

You are remodeling the house? Whoa. You'll have to send me pictures. Again, is this a sign that you are moving? It’s ok, I am just curious.

One last tidbit for Dad...we were at the Osters and had a time to chat and computers came up, and I told him I have AVG Free Anti-Virus on my computer. He immediately told me to remove it from my computer due to freeze-up problems it can cause. He recommended something like N-O-D 32 (?). He said it really works and I trust him because he works on computers. Well Dad, that decision to change that software is in your court. If you do have any questions, feel free to give him an email at, or to ask me.

I love my family. They are so dear to me, and I so greatly appreciate the lessons my parents taught me, for all the baseball games, soccer games, track meets and wrestling matches that they came to. Their support of me may not have meant too much then, but looking back it really, really helped me see that they care for me. Love you mom and dad. And my siblings! Mike and Kim are excellent examples of loving siblings and Christ-like attributes. Thank you. Godspeed. Love,

Elder Galbraith

Monday, April 4, 2011

April already?

Taken Mar. 28th - still a lot of snow there.

My thoughts: Fort Collins, Colorado....Meridian Idaho...Hey, that is really close to Kim...Winnipeg, Manitoba....WHAT THE?! A temple in Winnipeg?! I was just as shocked as anyone. A temple is to be built in my mission. How many missionaries can say that a temple was announced for their mission while they were serving in it? That temple announcement was my greatest memory from General Conference.

I DO know where it will likely be built in Winnipeg. This is a great story. So 15 years or so ago a member gave the Church some land in his will. That land is a couple of acres, about 1 block by 2 or 3 blocks long, and on it now stands the Canada Winnipeg Mission Office. Well, back in the late 90s the Church was looking to put a temple in central Canada and that was the possible site in Winnipeg---they built the temple in Regina. So now its Winnipeg's turn, and that is the best guess as to where it will be, in western Winnipeg.

My first thoughts were: "Winnipeg? How can they possibly build a temple in Winnipeg when Manitoba only has one stake?!" Yup, that entire province has 1 stake, and even draws from a branch in Warroad, Minnesota and Kenora. Can one stake support a temple? Well, after those thoughts, I thought that this isn't my work, but the Lord's, and He will/can do many things to accomplish His work, and He knows what is best. So I thought of many things that can happen to ensure the growth and strengthening of the Winnipeg Stake to support a temple. No doubt the temple will be smaller, but its still a temple to the Lord!

So you ask about missionary work this past week? That is a great question. Its been a rough week as far as missionary WORK, but not for the reasons you are probably thinking of. Monday and Tuesday we were in Winnipeg for Zone Meeting (this week we head in for Zone Conference, there is a big difference), and from Wednesday through Sunday I have been rocked with a nasty, nasty bug. Before I go into that, we did get 4 lessons in and about 8 hours of tracting, but it was sparse...sparse but good. So that bug was some kind of flu that messed me up bigtime. It really did a number on my stomach and bladder. I was probably awake for 5 hours on Wednesday. I have never been drained of energy like that before. Sheesh! This illness or whatever it is seems to tease me by making me think its over and then slapping me in the face with something. Even with all this going on, I am grateful that this is the first time that I have been sick on my mission, and after this I beg that it is the LAST time I am sick on my mission. All is well now, if I am not completely over it, I am at least at the end of the tunnel, so you don't need to worry Mom, I survived.

As for the details of our WORK, it had missionary work's traditional ups and downs. Of course it had to, or it would not be missionary work. The quick low: our baptismal date didn't attend Conference, which really would have helped her find the answers she is looking for. The high: We have been working with an inactive man, Brett Eidman, who was baptized when he was 11 or so and was baptized for his girlfriend at the time, and has been inactive since. He has sure been coming along! Last week he came to church for the first time in 20+ years, and he has been referring us to people, and reading AND studying from the Book of Mormon. So this week we had an appointment for Saturday between Conference sessions and we called to confirm with him and he said, "I'm planning on it, how about we meet at the church and we can watch Conference right afterward?" ...........You don't get that much as a missionary......and Elder Morris and I looked at each other and had a long pause and then were like alright! So Brett came and had only read 1 chapter from 2 Nephi, but read it 8 times! He had a full page of notes he made! This all came from someone who really did not want to meet with us at first, and once he started reading the Book of Mormon he started to progress and get really excited about it and making connections here and there and telling us how this applies to life and after a lesson he sat back and said, "maybe I should come to church..." The power of the Book of Mormon!

A random shot in a log yard.

Conference really came at the perfect time for me because I felt like I was kind of just going through the motions kind-of-thing for a little while and that I needed to set some quality goals and refocus my thoughts and efforts on the work better. So I did. Conference was a great way to feel the Spirit and to get off to a good start. I would say that the "busyness of life" kind of derailed me. Let me explain: I just tried cramming all of this "good" stuff. I was on a dead sprint to finish Jesus the Christ (which I did, woot!), finish a few reading assignments I gave myself, catch up on missionary paperwork, then I got sick, and on and on. Just too busy! All of these things are great things, but it reemphasized the point of prioritizing and just taking everything in stride. So Conference was a wonderful RESET button.

Ya, way to go Ford! Dad, you will have to tell me more about this Ford Boss Mustang again! Was that the new 2012 Focus they surveyed? How did the Cruze fare? Please send me a picture or a poster or something of the new Charger because for 6 months I have not seen it and it is driving me CRAZY!

You mentioned doing some kitchen remodeling last week. Was that our kitchen? Is something happening?

I am really excited to hear about Raymond in Mike's next letter. He is saying that in its little town of 3800 people there is one stake and a number of wards and buildings and it looks like they are going to create another ward and building. Well Mike, I your cliffhanger in your last letter has me excited for you and Raymond. By the sound of it, that town may be the next city of Enoch, watch out. 3800 people in that city and a stake?! I-Falls has like 6000 and a tiny branch, and Winnipeg has over 650,000 and has 5 small wards. Sheesh that town is bustling!

I caught up on 7 weeks of the happenings of the self-proclaimed Tryonite Tribe. Sis. Tryon, I like your new phrase "pulling a Galbraith" describing those tears! I appreciate those throwbacks to the missionary up North too. My favorite story involves a doctor's appointment, coughing, and a Starbucks cup, she will know what I am talking about. That story has made my picture wall it was so good!

The best part of the Gospel is it is all true! Godspeed,

Elder Galbraith