Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

                                    The back of the Tryons' van
                                         Tryons' theme of the night

                                            Captain Jack Sparrow

Our ward had a Halloween-themed party on Saturday, and some families brought carved pumpkins.  The photos above are of the Tryons' artistry.

Those Tryon pumpkins are unreal. Absolutely unreal!! I haven't been able to pick up a pumpkin yet because our "simple" truck repair last week took 8 hours instead of 2 and shot our P-day. But this week I should find time to try something on a pumpkin...I mean, it's kind of my last chance here...

Btw--Elder Perkins hails from Kaysville, UT. So most of my companions have been from the Mormon Belt, I call it. But hey, it just makes it easier to visit them all, right? He is a strong U of U fan, so he still has some soul-searching to do, but he will come out ok. He is a keeper. Every time he is at the pulpit in church he mentions how much he likes to eat---and by golly we get more meal appointments. Funny thing, eh? The funniest part is that I still eat nearly as much as he does--a lot-- and he is losing weight (his goal is to be down to 260 at end of mission) and I am staying at a flat 145. Thank you high metabolism.

Oh what a good week. Kenora is finally coming through and we are seeing much success. We added 5 people to our teaching pool this week and taught 15 lessons. Elder Perkins and I are doing things to keep finding time productive yet fun, and really trying to focus on people's needs. I tell you...missionary work can be so stressful though, but it is all worth it. I forgot my camera again but I have a picture with one of our new investigators named Derold. Oh, I feel a strong connection with Derold, and really want him to find the truth. Of course I want everyone to learn and progress, there are certain people that I feel very connected to on my mission, and Derold is the first I have felt in Kenora. That may sound bad, but Kenora has been a refining fire for me, but I feel that is a thing of the past and we are proceeding with what we have and will continue to go forward. Though we had to drop Leo's baptismal date (out of town for 3 weeks) we set a baptismal date with Kenny, a man we came back into contact with this past week. Kenny is a hoot, and wants to come closer to God. Although he and Derold both have their challenges, Elder Perkins and I have very positive feelings about both of them. Please pray for them. I am thankful to both of them because when I have strong connections with people I begin to eat, sleep and drink missionary work and as I do those things I definitely know that I am more confident and successful. Funny how that works. The past couple weeks have been just waiting for the breakthrough, and I feel this is the beginning. feels good fulfilling my purpose.

On top of missionary work, Elder Perkins and I gave talks in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday and had a busy remainder of church teaching a lesson 2nd hour and then had a Primary fireside we attended last night. Elder Perkins talked on "keeping commitments" and I talked about "living testimonies and using them to further the Lord's work". I still write most of my talk, and one of the times I deviated I accidentally mixed up my words and said something terrible, but quickly corrected it and most people didn't notice, but one jokester let me know about it. That is a story for after my mission. But all in all, everything went really well. Some thoughts from my talk: I enjoyed rereading Pres. Eyring's talk from last April's Gen. Conference about Living Testimonies and how living testimonies and "normal" testimonies differ. I have always relied on past spiritual experiences to sustain my testimony, which is good, but Pres. Eyring said that he does not depend upon past spiritual experiences but continually is strengthening his own testimony and focusing on BEing a better disciple of Christ. I really liked that thought and now do not feel bad asking the Lord to sustain me in times when I need additional spiritual strength. I feel I need to be specific in my prayers. I also discussed the concept of having to "constantly nurture my testimony by prayer of faith, hungering for the Word of God and obeying God's commandments". I guess that really emphasizes having our testimony progress or regress. There is no middle ground, our testimonies are progressing or regressing. Sheesh, when put that way, we desperately need to search the scriptures often and pray with sincerity all the time!

I took a minute or 2 break after writing that last sentence and though to myself: not doing spiritual things all the time is weird. Not being called Elder Galbraith is weird. Have you ever noticed that since the beginning of my mission I never "sign-off" using my first name, but always, Elder Galbraith? I cringe when people say stuff like "darnit and dangit" now. Interesting. I was doing a PMG activity this morning which had me imagine that it is the last day of my mission and I am reflecting on it and asking myself "have I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish on my mission?" (PMG 8, p.152, the 2nd bullet point) I asked myself 3 questions and wrote down my answers and then looked at the last 2 times I did that same PMG activity...last December, and Sept. from last year. Yikes. Some of the answers were similar, some were slightly different. Hmm. I would recommend trying it but applying the "deadline" to a major event in the next year or 2. See how you do, and also while you are at it, do the Christlike attribute evaluation at the end of PMG 6. Make it a goal to improve on at least 1 attribute every week, or day, or month. Try it out and enjoy your improvement.

Thanks for the ties! I got them a week and a half ago and forgot to mention it. Ha, I like a few of them and love a couple of them. There were a few ties that reminded me of people in the district so after my first district meeting I gave everyone a tie and explained why they got that one. Oh, it was a hoot. One of the ties looked like a never-ending staircase, so I called this one new elder up, Elder Ward, and asked him how much longer he had on his mission. He thought about it and said, 23 months, and I said, ok, pretty much an eternity, just like this eternal staircase, and I gave it to him. Oh, everyone was dying from laughing.

I wanted to include one more thing before I end. The primary activity last night was about being thankful for things. They asked everyone to write down 10 things they were thankful for, and I started off being serious, then being goofy with things and then we watched one of those Mormon Messages and I thought about a number of things I really am grateful for. Thank you Dad for helping to coach and umpire some of my little league games. Thank you Mom for coming to seemingly every sporting event. Careful, you may not realize the things that make an impression on your children, even if it does take them 15 years to finally be grateful for it.

I love you so much,

your son, Elder Galbraith

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