Monday, July 25, 2011

Hello, Kenora

Happy Birthdays to my Mom and Auntie Sharon, and Happy belated Birthday to Grandma Jeannette!

Wow. Kenora is probably one of the prettiest places I have ever been before and it feels more like a resort than a missionary area because of all the lakes, trees, HILLS, and scenery. Sheesh, I have probably taken 100 pictures of just the scenery...ok probably 20 or so, but still, I am a guy and me taking 20 pictures is like Mom taking 100.

Kenora is right smack on top of the Canadian Shield, and so there are so many rocks, lakes and trees. Wow. This and the west side of Snoqualmie Pass are probably some of my favorite places to see. So much green! Speaking of lakes, it sounds like one of these P-Days I am going to go fishing for the first time in Lake of the Woods. Sounds good to me! In the winter, maybe I will go ice fishing...There is a referral given to us that runs a legit bobsled team with the dogs and all that, and offers members rides every winter, so I will be able to check that off my bucket list in the winter (I expect to be here through part of the winter). Exciting stuff, lots to write about.

Ok, so my new companion, Elder O'Driscoll, is from Wallsburg, Utah. Find that on a map without a computer. Good luck. It’s northeast of Provo. He is in his last transfer now, meaning I will get someone else in 6 weeks. He is excellent at finding and there is stuff to learn from him, for sure.

Flowers in their garden

We moved into our apartment on Saturday, after pretty much camping at a members place. We moved into the Senior couples' place (they left) and it is really just a small house, not an apartment. Wow, I have been so spoiled with my past 3 apartments Kingsmere's (Saskatoon) was nice, I-Falls was immaculate, and Kenora's apartment is just as nice. Sheesh. Jefferson (Winnipeg) get to hear about that when I get home....

Because we have no investigators, we have been doing a lot of finding (seeking out people to teach). Some member work, but more finding. In fact, yesterday Elder O'Driscoll and I were able to set 2 baptismal dates with a young couple we found 2 days ago, Nick and Crystal. Ha, they are our only investigators. We have appointments for later tonight with potentials, so cross your fingers, so-to-speak.

Elder Galbraith, Mike and Larry Wilcox

Oh, yes, Mike Wilcox, back in I-Falls was baptized! That sure seems like a long time ago. It was a great time and that member did baptize him. It was all really good and there was something like 20 people there, with refreshments of course. So good. I heard that Elder Bodily and Elder Mitton set a baptismal date with a gal that Elder Bodily and I only met once before I left. To add to that, the new Dryden, Ontario elders have had SO much support from members and had 3 baptismal dates essentially waiting for them. So this newly-created Ontario missionary district is on fire! Sheesh. Yes, it’s not necessarily the missionaries, but the Spirit that does the work, but success is predicated upon some level of obedience. Then again, success is not measured in baptisms, but is truly measured by someone's devotion to the work. But baptisms are still exciting though!So when Elder O'Driscoll and I first got to Kenora we parked our car at the senior couple's place and they took us out to a member’s place, the Ambs, who live out in Sioux Narrows, about an hour away. It’s still in our area! The Ambs live on the Lake of the Woods, and it is beautiful out there. I keep thinking..."is this really my area?" There are so many rivers and lakes here! Wow, when I look at a map it is ridiculous how many there are.

Saturday night was really where it hit me how much I missed I-Falls. I felt like I "grew up" as a missionary there and really missed it and the people there. It’s weird, but it was almost like when I left Redmond. I guess that kind of connection happens when every moment you are in someone else's service. But church and meeting with Nick and Crystal really boosted my spirits and I am beginning to feel a little connection here (aside from the scenery).

I am so lost for words that I really cannot think of what to say, so I will send some pictures your way instead. Keep me in your prayers. I hope I answered everything. I love you all,

Elder Galbraith

Monday, July 18, 2011

Transfer?? Transfer!!

Goodbye I-Falls....

Hello Kenora, Ontario!!! Yup, after over 6-1/2 months, I am forced to leave I-Falls and all the good memories behind.
Kenora has not had young full-time missionaries for something like 10-15 years, and the past year or so have had a senior couple up there. Now, they are bold enough to send me and an "old" missionary up there. I will be serving with an Elder O'Driscoll, from somewhere east of Provo, Utah. It will be his last transfer, so I will likely serve with him until mid-September and then get a new companion. But Kenora! Sheesh. I hear it is beautiful up there, and it even has hills! Big news. Kenora is either 2 or 3 hours away from Winnipeg and is on the Lake of the Woods. Oh, I am so spoiled!

I leave Thursday morning for Winnipeg for transfer meeting, then Kenora later in the day.
What that means is that you probably should not send anything directly to my I-Falls address anymore. Ya, ya, goodbye to the quick and cheap U.S. mail service. I will get you my direct Kenora address next week, I hope, because it looks like we will not move into our apartment for a few days due to some painting...get to live at member's places. Oh boy.

Mike's baptismal date was originally for this upcoming Friday, but after a call to President we rescheduled it for Wednesday, meaning I will finish off my time here in I-Falls with a baptism! Oh ya! So excited! Mike has quit smoking and is doing so well. He is best fellowshipped by a semi-active member who now has not missed a Sunday in nearly 3 months and....who will be doing the baptism! Now, I can't explain the circumstances until I see you in person after my mission, but let me tell you, that it is a BIG deal that this brother is doing Mike's baptism.

No jokes---yesterday may have been my favorite day so far on my mission.
Elder Bodily and I put a special effort into getting people to church this week. On a normal week in I-Falls I have gotten about 2 investigators to church. Yesterday we got 5! We had 9 people commit themselves to come to church, and I feel blessed to have had 5 show up. Mike and his brother Larry came, and Phil, and Connie, and Geri. I had to play the "I have taught you for 7 months" card to get Geri to come to church, but she came, which is a huge deal when you consider her background. Ok, so 5 investigators were at church, and there were 41 people in I-Falls, and 18 in Fort Frances. Big numbers for these places! Brett Eidman gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting (!) and did SO well. Haha, I assigned him to speak on how we can apply the Book of Mormon to today. Wow, he made some great connections using the first 2 books of Nephi. Then, they asked me to share my testimony in both branches because I was leaving. I hadn't cried in a while...not anymore! In each I shared how there is not anything that is not worth sacrificing for the blessings of the Gospel. In I-Falls I shared the experience I had when I prayed whether I should go on a mission or not--powerful! My most-quickly answered prayer without a doubt. In Fort Frances I shared how my family's examples affected me. I cried in both, and it felt so good! In I-Falls I had Phil and Geri come up to me seperately and thank me for what I shared. Phil, the Vietnam War vet, was in tears and we embraced and it was one of the most tender experiences I have had. Oh, he is so close to being baptized...maybe he is ready now? A semi-active sister in Fort Frances asked me to write my testimony down so she could put it in her journal. Now I don't say these things to boast, but those are the moments that you wait for when on a mission! Also, the time of Mike's baptism was finalized yesterday, so I knew that I would be here for it, and the member found out he would be baptizing Mike. All great things. I'm probably missing things too, but those are what are sticking out in my mind right now. And to top it off, we have found investigators in Fort Frances this week, which is something I have literally been unable to do there until the past few weeks. Things are happening here, and its sad to leave, but Elder Bodily and his new companion Elder Mitton (remember him? my MTC companion, still a great missionary) will have a lot to work with. Marlene was unable to come to church because her mom's plumbing pipes burst, yikes. She is the type that is honest about coming but keeps having things creep up. Anyway, a good day, a great week.

Thanks Mom and Dad (and Mike and Kim) for helping me while growing up.
The lesson in Priesthood (that I taught) was about eternal families, and I was thinking about the support I had while growing up. I never realized how special it was to me to have my parents, especially my mom, at so many sport events! It built a subconscious trust that enabled me to trust them enough to at least TRY the Gospel. And that is all that the prophet Alma really asks for: to experiment upon the Gospel of Christ and things will happen. So thank you Mom and Dad for your encouragement. I am beginning to realize that there is a whole lot more to parenting than I originally thought. Mike was right when he said that on his mission he saw ways he did and did not want to raise his children, and things he did and did not want to do while raising them. Wow. I say to myself "Seriously?" I'm going to leave it at that.

While you have been freezing, I have been baking!
Ugh, it is so humid here!!! I thought I knew what humidity was! Guess not. I walk outside and in 5 seconds my hands are sweaty. In the mornings there is a haze that floats around the trees. It’s like a furnace! The past few days have been 90s. That is way too hot for a place that hit -46F 5 months ago. Way too much fluctuation for me. But it makes it a fun experience and Elder Bodily and I have moved our mattresses out of our bedroom because the AC never gets in there.

Sure love you all, I guess I will email you next from Kenora.

Elder Galbraith

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wow, a good email!

To answer your question, I serve in the Fort Frances District. Districts consist of branches ONLY, and so the Fort Frances District covers the branches in Fort Frances, Bergland, Dryden, Atikokan (all in Ontario) and I-Falls, USA. Like I have said, I-Falls is the "Promised Land".

I did get your package! Thanks Mom and Dad! I love the pink tie, the other one was a tad conservative, but it looks good, thank you. Were you able to find that Kalai CD?

Mike was able to come to church, but Larry and Phil did not make it. Ga. Phil has come to church 4 times now, but not the past 2 weeks. Mike has come the past 3! He is still preparing for July 23rd for baptism.-----which reminds me that I will hear about transfer calls this weekend. I really don't know if I will be going or staying. President said he may keep me down here for another 6 weeks, but he also said he needs a lot of missionaries elsewhere in the mission. Who knows?!-------Back to Mike...he has needed to quit smoking, and Elder Bodily and I knew he had to quit a week before his baptism, but we had forgotten that he needed to quit before his baptismal interview. Oh!!! So on Friday we went over and we explained the situation and what happened and pretty much said "You need to quit immediately". So Mike is heading out to go camp for a couple of days this week to "get away from it all for a bit" and he says that has helped him quit things in the past. Oh, please pray for Mike this week! Other than that, he is totally ready to go and be baptized! Phil, on the other hand, is not sure what the Spirit feels like and I feel that he is not confident that he would know how to recognize an answer. I am praying for him....We are meeting with a lady named Marlene in Fort Frances that believes Joseph Smith was a prophet and that a restoration of the Priesthood was required. We invited her to baptism, and she said that Christ would make it known to her if she needed to be. So I invited her to pray about being baptized by someone holding the Priesthood. Marlene said she would come to church, but did not make it, likely due to some serious family issues. Please pray for her too.

I have a question for Mike (my brother this time...haha). Mike, how did you deal with RLDS people on your mission because we are teaching an RLDS person up here and he believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but not Brigham Young and the prophets afterward. Any suggestions?

I do not have any crazy stories this week other than I got to ride in Brett Eidman's tricked-out Blazer SS. Oh, its got the dual stripes, side exhaust and all. Oh, actually I do have a car story. I got to see an inactive man's 1969 Camaro Z28 and 1969 Charger R/T. I told you that I saw them about 3 months ago, but he showed us around them again and told us a few more facts. The Charger is a retired dragster with over 700 horsepower, which will bring its front off the ground. was pretty much drooling...Elder Bodily had his camera on him and got a few pictures. I might have to go back when I have mine. I also saw this beautiful 30s car when tracting, so when we knocked on the door I asked the lady what it was. It was a 1936 Cadillac in a shiny purple gloss. Oh, breathtaking. The spare tires were behind the front tires. Wow, it was a looker. Lots of nice old cars up here...sheesh.

I cannot go into the details, but there is a situation with a young girl here in International Falls that reminds me of a time when Mom once telling me that I had to do some things just to be an example to others. Thank you Mom, it helped me a ton, and you mentioned the enormous impact that righteous examples can have. I love you Mom and Dad. It may not have been on the tops of my list back then, but I am sure glad that I did those certain things.

That is about it for this week. We had a tremendous past week, and hope to make the upcoming one just as good. Love you all,

Elder Galbraith

Elder Bodily and I made some putene this week. Wow, that stuff was pretty good. DQ even has putene on the menu up in Canada, but not in I-Falls. must be a Northern thing. The video is of the 4th of July fireworks that we watched from our apartment. Fireworks, forest...that is why I-Falls has the best apartment!

Wow...we had a few storms this past week and I saw some of the most beautiful skies ever! With all the different modes on my camera, I tried to get pictures that really showed what the sky really looked like. You probably won't believe that those pictures are not doctored up, but the sky was that beautiful! The last one reminds me of Jurassic Park...