Monday, June 27, 2011

Where did June go?

Oh I have stories this week. Such a better week.

But first, no Dad, that family has no relationship to Elder Bodily....I do remember the Mason's name, but they were always on missions when I was growing up, so I never got to know them....GREAT NEWS from Kirkland's youth conference!...no flooding here yet, it's been raining like mad the past week...

I have to tell you about our investigators first.

So I have occasionally been telling you about our investigator Mike, and his brother Larry. What I have not told you is their nicknames. Now, Larry was always drunk and so wishy-washy, and so we jokingly called him Larry "Rock-Solid" Wilcox, which turned into Larry "the Rock" Wilcox. We were teaching another Mike, who was like 5'5" and we called him Little Mike, and so Mike Wilcox was nicknamed "Big Mike", and it has stuck. So we teach "Big Mike", and Larry "the Rock". Hilarious.

We first met Larry while tracting and he was plastered drunk. He let us in and we came back the next 2 days, each time teaching a little bit, seeing if he was like that all the time, if he would be worth teaching because he was always drunk. The 3rd time we met with him his brother Mike was there and he was really interested. A few days later Larry passed out after having drunk so much alcohol, that he was shipped off to Duluth (3 hours away) and put on life support for a week. Then he was put in a nursing home to recover for a number of weeks, and came home this week, so the joke between Elder Bodily and I has been that this week is the "Return of the Rock". Larry is now a full-diabetic, and so he cannot have anymore alcohol, which is actually a good thing--no more alcohol. We took him and Mike on a church tour, and Mike came to church yesterday! Larry was sick.

So Mike came to church, as did another progressing investigator, Phil Barstow, who is married to an inactive member who really pulled through for us this week. His wife went online and bought Phil a beautiful quad! Oh, that is a huge deal!

Another investigator I have told you about occasionally is Geri Conecni. She is a former Jehovah's Witness and part of their doctrine is they cannot enter into any other house of worship of any other faith. So, its been...uh...difficult...to get her to church. This week we got her to come inside the church to watch the Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration movie. Ya, she came inside the church! That is a huge deal. She did not come to church, but hey, just coming for that great movie was a huge step.

Hey could you please send me my pink tie that I left back home? I miss that tie--which reminds me, Elder Bodily and I gave Larry and Mike the ties we were wearing after a lesson. We just gave them the tie right off our necks. Oh, what an experience, except that I felt naked walking back to the car without one, and the branch president drove by and gave us a hard time. Oh, the timing.

More BIG news is that there legitimately were more people in Fort Frances at church than in I-Falls. There were 31 people in I-Falls at church (felt packed), with 3 investigators included there. There were 33 people in Fort Frances. Improvement eh? Looks like it is coming alive? Ok, the truth is that every 2 years a big Utah family (with their extended family) comes up and stays for a week or 2. So, they have 23 people, which means there were 10 other people--improvement. I am not the only one in the audience anymore! Ha, having the Osters there really does provide a support. Love that family. Poor Bro. Oster was not there yesterday, so he missed all the action and probably thinks that we are making up some big lie about there being 33 people at church.

AND, missionaries are being put back in Kenora, Ontario and Dryden, Ontario, for the first time in over 10 years. Big things are happening out in Ontario in the CWM. I hope I can stay to be a part of the first missionary district in Ontario for such a long time. Its nice to know that I was a part of leading up to it though.

So Kim sent me some girly stickers back in October. The past few weeks I have been putting them on Elder Bodily's stuff when he hasn't been looking and it is driving him crazy. Oh, its hilarious, he is wondering where they are and keeps laughing when he sees something like "Its a girl thing" on his dresser. So Kim, they are kind of being put to good use--kind of.

Last good story. Back a month or so on a trip to Winnipeg we were trying to take a raccoon skin across the border for a missionary to use for his scripture case--that is a long story, just go with it, it's a LONG story. We were also bringing some cheese across the border for other missionaries. When going through customs they asked if we were bringing anything over I thought to myself, "I can't lie", so the conversation was hilarious. It went something like this:

Officer: "Bringing anything across today?"
"Oh, just some groceries and a raccoon pelt." I said, as if nothing out of the ordinary.
"What was that last thing?" She asked.
"A raccoon pelt." I said deliberately.
Oh, she looked so shocked, she asked where it was, and really grilled us as to what we were doing with this thing and why. She took it inside and the whole 9 yards...we got it across. The whole ordeal was hilarious though. Just some groceries and a raccoon pelt...Got it across...Another time we got some deer steaks across nearly the same way. That time the officer said, "usually I wouldn't do something like this, but this time I will let it go" Ha! Me and borders...I have to be honest though, and tell them what is coming across, and if I am honest, it's ok!

That is all, thanks, I love you all - keep the prayers coming.

Elder Galbraith


Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer!!

Guess what? I am in Winnipeg. Surprise! We are having a Zone Meeting tomorrow, so Elder Bodily and I drove up this morning and had a chance to get together and play sports with the Winnipeg missionaries this afternoon. I haven't lost my ulimate frisbee skills, let me tell you. It’s so good to just run around with friends that I have made.

I heard that Maddie and Halle had competed in a track and field thing, but I didn't know that it involved so many schools. They did great! Tell Mads to do sprints in track, and tell Halle that those boots are secretly rocket boots that make her run fast.

Yes, the mosquitoes are out, but they haven't been bothering me as badly as I thought they might. I still get bit, but ever since bed bugs in the beginning of my mission I have not had as many mosquito bites. Thank goodness.

Wow, the Mariners pretty much have a new player at every position since mid 2010. What is their record? Wow, that all sounds so good! Good ol' M's. Sounds like things are picking up for them, sheesh. I am rooting for them to go all the way and finally make it to the World Series. I hear the M's have some great young hurlers (rumors even get to missionaries...).

As for the work, wow it was such a trying week. Nothing seemed to work for a number of days. People were constantly rescheduling and hardly any of our progressing investigators could meet. The situations surrounding the reasons were stupid, and I legitimately was frustrated all of Thursday because it seemed nothing was working out and these little things kept keeping us from working, but I have a great companion who helped me out and was patient with me. By Friday I was good to go and had set goals for improvement, and guess what, we found success on Saturday, meeting a young family while tracting, and we taught the family--we taught a family! That is so rare! They are going on vacation for a couple weeks, but we can contact them after that. Fingers crossed! We also met with Mike on Saturday, and he is easing off of smoking and his testimony seems to be growing. He has not been able to come to church yet, and has been upfront about that, but he says he should be coming this week. Keep those prayers coming! Oh, backup for a minute. On Tuesday we got members of the branch together (no investigators able to come) to watch Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration, and I really felt inspired to try to be more Christlike, like how Joseph Smith was. Little did I know that I was going to be tried later that week, sheesh...Sunday was very rewarding when Brett Eidman brought not only his 3 kids, but his girlfriend. Oh ya! That was huge, let me tell ya. The entire family had attended a primary activity earlier in the week, and then they showed up to Sacrament and stayed for the entire block of meetings. Oh, that was such a milestone, because she may be opening up and that can only help us try to baptize his oldest daughter Chloe, who is 8. Amanda, the girlfriend, believes in God, but apparently is one who does not believe in organized religion. We will see.

How different have Michael and I's missions been in your eyes? How different is it communicating? I am interested to know...

I do not have any pictures this week, maybe some after Zone Meeting. Next week I will be back in Winnipeg for Zone Conference, but that will be on Thursday, so I will hear from you before then. I love you much,

Elder Galbraith

Monday, June 13, 2011

Too cool

Thanks for the General Contractor info Dad, please feel free to input that kind of stuff any time. Maybe in 13 months I will have to go to work with you for a few days, because that will probably be all I have time for before school again. But I would like to get more hands-on and see if that is what I would like to do, I still do not know but I think it is a good idea if nothing else. I am not obsessing over it at this point, but it does sound like it could be really fun and rewarding.

You want to know about the duties of being 2nd Counselor? Hmm. It does not conflict with missionary work much at all - I just make a more concerted effort to reach out and try to visit with less-actives (LAs). There have been a number we have been able to sit down and teach the past few weeks, the hardest part of meeting with LAs is meeting with them on a consistent basis. Really, LAs know why we are there (to help to bring them back to activity), and they get to determine their own destiny. What is neat about missionaries reaching out to people is that if an individual denies the missionaries, they really are denying the Church, the Gospel, whereas if they deny a normal person they may just be denying that individual. There certainly are some people that can only be reached through missionaries, but there are also certain people that can only be reached by "normal" members, so do not let that deter you from your member-missionary duties! I still attend a Branch Presidency as I did before. Now on Sundays I sit up in front with the Branch Presidency. Weird. The new branch president is Pres. Stetzor, who is in his upper 30s and just moved to I-Falls about 6 months ago. He is such a great, spiritual guy. The 1st Counselor is Elder Cutler, a senior missionary, who (and his wife) also is a wonderful person that supports us younger missionaries so well. Elder Bodily is not really affected too much at all. I really hope that this will increase my chances of staying an additional 6 weeks, which would have me being here for 9 months. Oh, I like the sound of that: serving in a foreign mission but spending over 1/3 of my mission in the U.S., yet still within my mission boundaries. Oh ya.

Gross story--we were at a recent convert's (Linda Ludwick) place and she has a dog, and Linda told us that her dog has had a few ticks the past few days. I immediately thought, well I have had fleas, mosquitoes, bed bugs...but no ticks, I sure hope I don't get a---yup, I got one. When I got in the car I noticed a tick on my arm and freaked out. Sheesh, I killed that thing so fast, it didn't stand a chance. Lucky for me it hadn't bit me yet. Stupid parasites. Those things are nasty. Now I have had it all, right? Probably not...

So Elder Bodily and I had a really good week. I feel really good about our efforts. We took Mike Wilcox on a church tour, and brought a member along who really seemed to click with Mike. Oh they sure did click. Mike should be able to make it to church this weekend, keep those prayers coming. He is gradually cutting back on smoking, thank goodness. Smoking is so gross! Ugh, so gross. I just don't understand why anyone would ever want to smoke, because that garbage kills you and your wallet. NASTY! There is so much more smoking is small towns! Anyway, more on Mike: we taught him the Plan of Salvation--he loves it, who couldn't? His brother Larry that we met with before is coming back from a nursing home where he was on Intensive Care after nearly dying from being too drunk. Stupid alcohol! Oh, I have to tell you that Elder Bodily and I nicknamed Larry, "The Rock" because he was so out-of-it that we joked he was rock-solid and that became Larry "the Rock" Wilcox. So with him coming back, we have coined it The Return of the Rock. Oh, I am excited to meet him sober; it will be like meeting him for the first time again. We are hoping to meet him later this week.

Ferrari is building a wagon? I guess if you are Ferrari you can do whatever you want, eh?

Do you know much about Carl Walsh and how he is doing since he was baptized last year? I thought about him this week. I bet the Elisons would know a lot. Would you mind asking them how Carl is doing? I would love to hear from him.

Last Monday Elder Bodily and I spent $5 to go play racketball for an hour. It was so fun! We were totally winded from running around, and I didn't know what I was doing, but it was way fun! Loved it. Might try it again today.

That is about all I got. Thanks for the hiking stories and the Mariners info. Go M's! I am still trying my best up here in the Great North. 75F is pretty hot! I'm so glad that I am not in a hot mission...But I do have a goal to have tracted in a huge temperature spectrum. If I knock doors in about 100F, then I could say I knocked doors in -40F and 100F, 140F difference, sheesh!

Anyway, if anyone has not got a letter back for a while, it might be me, but it also might be because I have not gotten mail in about 6 or 7 weeks, and then it can take 2 weeks to get to anywhere in Canada, and that is if the Canadian Post service is actually working. Rumor has it that they are on strike...stupid. Whatever, all is well, I am going to enjoy the heat wave.

Love,

Elder Galbraith

I finally caught Little Red in action. The little sneak! He goes and grabs a peanut and runs down the ladder and just sits there. I just happened to start the camera when he scampered up the squirrel bridge. And we knocked on a door this week and a lady asked if we were the "boys" with the squirrel bridge. Stuff gets around fast in a small town! And then, a few days later, a big grey squirrel "Old Grey" came up part of the ladder--now that is a first!

All the pictures and fun from this week.

video

Monday, June 6, 2011

Still here!

Having trouble uploading pictures - will try to add them later.

I definitely think it’s warmer here than back home by the sound of it. It’s pretty warm here, and kind of muggy...wow, I-Falls has changed a lot in the past month—it’s green!

Ok, Mom, I keep forgetting to write about my back: it's ok, I usually lean back and crack it once or twice a day, but no real pain or discomfort like 6 months ago.

Oh hey, maybe I should tell you that I am STAYING IN I-FALLS again! Oh ya! By the end of this upcoming transfer it will have been 7 1/2 months in one area. Now I like the sound of that. Not only that, but the district presidency totally surprised me when they asked me yesterday to be the 2nd Counselor in the I-Falls Branch Presidency. Whoa. To cap things off, the Osters had a busy week in Fort Frances where Bro. Oster was called as the 2nd Counselor in the Branch Presidency (where he will do phenomenal) AND called as branch clerk, AND Sis. Oster was called as the Primary President. Oh I love the Osters! Speaking of them, they are thinking of moving to Lethbridge this time next year...maybe I could help them move when I get home? Extra incentive for a quick trip through Alberta. We will see...

This week Elder Bodily and I got 13 to 11 in the Monte Carlo game we play. For those who do not know, we scream Monte Carlo! (a model of Chevrolet) everytime we see one, and that is 1 point, kind of like the slugbug game. But Monte Carlos are so weird and have such a....how should I say it...novelty...to them. But 24 Monte Carlos in such a small town? That has to be some kind of record.

So this week was a brutal one. We had 7 out of 24 scheduled appointments actually be able to meet. Most of the others just didn't answer the door or whatever. But it was absolutely brutal, but we know something good is coming because whenever there is a "low" in I-Falls it is always followed up by a good missionary high. So please keep our investigators in your prayers. We are meeting with a number of people still. We taught a referral from a member who lives out past Littlefork, which is just barely in our mission. Danielle (the referral) is looking for a church and really has a lot of potential. Her boys had left the doors open the past few days and so there were tons of mosquitos flying around as we were teaching. Sheesh I hate those things. We are calling Danielle tonight to set another appointment up--I will let you know how that goes. Mike asked me about Mike Wilcox, who I need to update you about. We have set a tentative baptismal date for him for July 23rd (had to readjust a prior date) and am excited for him. He tells us to come by any time, so we will meet with him more this week. I guess the funny part about teaching him is that he smokes so much that his house is just full of smoke and we have to change our clothes and shower after every time we teach him. Ha, but if that is the hardest part in bringing someone to the gospel, then so be it. He smokes a very dense (and expensive) cigarette, and taught him the Word of Wisdom this week and encouraged him to cut down and then to stop smoking. He said he has stopped smoking before, so hopefully this will not be too difficult for him. He goes through a pack a day, and each pack costs $12, so when you do the math and find that smoking a pack per day costs about $4400 per year, that is almost like a side-job in and of itself. So he will have temporal and spiritual blessings when he quits. Mike is great though, and he says that he loves the concept of having a prophet on the earth again today and he told us that it would be wrong of a loving God to not provide a prophet today when he has done so in the past. I was secretly doing a Tiger Woods fist pump, and wanting to slap him a high five, so I just fist pounded with him instead after he said that. So that is a bit about Mike, ha. We are working with a member's mother, named Connie, and she is SO close to baptism, she just needs to quit drinking alcohol to obey the Word of Wisdom. She comes to church every week and reads often, she has given up smoking...she just needs to quit the alcohol. Ga, Connie, she is so close! That is a small update about the work here in I-Falls.

I have not told you too many funny stories lately, so you are due for a few. We were trying to contact a less-active and we walked up to him as he was outside in his gravel driveway when I noticed what he was doing. He was holding something funny...and then I noticed he was blowtorching weeds in the gravel. Blowtorching weeds! I guess that is one way to get them. When he saw us he just told us to "get out of here!" and I almost secretly hoped he would try using his blowtorch to scare us away. People are naturally funny.

We walked up to a house while knocking doors and could see someone on the computer through the main window playing some 3rd person adventure game. When we walked up to the door we could see through the window in the door that this lady was playing an online game, maybe World of Warcraft. She was about 10 feet away from the door and clearly visible. When we knocked she did not budge, no, not at all. We waited a good 30 seconds and knocked louder (maybe she didn't hear, right?). Nope, she did not flinch at all and kept playing her little game. About 10 seconds after the second knock the door opened and a young girl (probably a daughter) answered and I asked if I could speak with either of her parents. She looked back at her mom and then back at me and almost with a guilty face said, "She is busy". I don't know what I did, probably just stood there with my jaw dropped at how ridiculous this lady was, and smiled and walked off the doorstep, laughing. She was so involved in that game that she could not even stop and see who was at the door. People are naturally funny.

Earlier this week we were tracting in Fort Frances and saw some young girls up the street who really were scantily dressed go into a house. Oh, I do not like talking to young girls on my mission for a number of reasons. This story may shed some light. Anyway, we were tracting and saw these girls up the street and thought "great, we will have to knock on their door". We eventually got to the door and I could hear girls giggling on the other side of the door after I knocked. "Oh great, this is the house" I thought. A girl answered the door and had a low cut shirt, and I asked if her parents were home and she said yes and turned around and there was this girl with her back to us doing up her bra. I just left. Just goes to show you that the world is not getting any better. I thought of Elder McDowell's story about that "busty" woman and her button after that. Oh, tracting stories...

Anyway, I sewed my International Falls logo into my scripture case. Are you proud of me? I am so proud of it. Maybe me being a 2nd Counselor will improve my chances of staying longer in I-Falls? That would be great.

I really am running out of time...oh boy. Which missionary in our ward broke their collar bone? You told me that a number of weeks ago but none of the letters mentioned that and you have not told me.

To all those young ladies out there, they need to know that there is nothing better than a girl with a very strong and very genuine testimony of the gospel. So if a girl wants a genuine guy, she needs to have a strong testimony...fyi. The story of the girls in Fort Frances REALLY reinforced that to me.

This upcoming week should be really good. I am really focusing on having a positive attitude at all times. Not that I had a bad attitude last week, but after a few days in a row of lunched appointments I found it hard to maintain a positive attitude. I felt pressure to perform in I-Falls because I have been entrusted with this area. It was tough, but I just reassured myself that I was doing all that I could and that provided me much-needed comfort. By focusing on others all the time, it really makes you want what is best for them, and I really want what is best for the people I am working with, AND the members of the branches here. I feel pretty good about the future. I just have to remember to keep my head up about it all, because the task can easily seem daunting.

I will try to hop on another computer to send you pictures, because this one's SD port is broken. I hope all is well. I love you all,

Elder Galbraith