Monday, November 28, 2011

Almost December


Childlike, not childish, as a member of I-Falls would say. We need to become childlike, not childish--I thought it was profound.

Dad, how could you pass up on a chance to go goose hunting?!!! 5 out of my 6 past companions have been hunters, and after being in Ontario/Minnesota for a year, I just want to go hunting SO badly! Kade, I'll take you up, just you wait! This reminds me of something special our missionary Zone is doing. Each district in the zone is making their own "Title of Liberty" during tomorrow's district meeting and then putting them all together next week for Zone Conference. So Elder Perkins and I (and 3 other outdoorsmen in the district) want to make a Title of Liberty with some real northwestern Ontario flavor. So we talked to a member earlier today who lives just out of town and he offered to saw up a fallen tree on his property and give us a slab and on that slab we will make our distinct, unique Ontario district Title of Liberty. On this we are going to tag it up with all the logos from the different areas and whatever else we want. The only mandatory thing we have to put on this thing is a numerical goal for sacrament meeting and then we will all sign it! Long live the Ontario district! I'll let you know how it all pans out. I-Falls is coming up to do an exchange later today and district meeting is tomorrow. The Dryden elders are coming tomorrow and we will be exchanging with them tomorrow here in Kenora. I'm telling you, northwestern Ontario is such a great place to be! Oh, the 3 other districts in our "Manitoba Zone" are either on the plains or in Winnipeg, so no-one will ever come close to our unique Title of Liberty! What do they have to work with?

Because we have daily contact with at least 2 of our investigators and their lives are every-which-way, each day seems to be an adventure of highs and lows. Oh...yesterday Alex was able to come to church and he really looked comfortable and seemed to get more out of it than his first time there. He sat and played the piano and sang and members did a really good job of including him and welcoming him. After church he had an experience where he really felt the spirit and he called us and was excited. Not long after that he had a certain experience that really, really troubles him. Sorry, I can't go into the details over email. Oh, Derold didn't make it to church. Long story...that kid...he knows everything is true, it is him getting a testimony of church. Weird, eh? So those 2 are still coming along and we are really trying to help them set baptismal dates. Another investigator, Irene, really likes us. She refuses to come to church, but enjoys learning, and is slowly believing more and more. Her first 2 visits were full of "you won't convert me", but now she wants a subscription to the Ensign. Funny how things work sometimes, eh? Its a matter of getting her to church and helping her to feel that the Book of Mormon is true. She says she needs God to smack her aside the head and she'll go to church. We are preparing a 2x4 that we'll put "GO TO CHURCH" on it. She'll get a kick out of the effort and maybe it will work. Elder Bodily emailed me a picture of him doing that but writing "GET BAPTIZED" and it worked for the investigator. Irene has a coined phrase which she uses to describe what some people call "senior moments": she calls it 'sometimers'. I get a kick out of it every time. Just a side note: Elder Bodily is one of those people I will keep in close contact with during and after the mission. He is a hunter, and I love that man.

I'll share one particularly inspiring story Elder Perkins and I had a few days ago. We were knocking doors on a street which has another church on it with a negative stigma in town. We wanted to differentiate ourselves from it and made a special effort to be super nice to everyone on the street to really set "the Mormons" apart as the nice guys. I think we did well, but one experience really confirmed that to me. On the 2nd door we knocked, a young boy came to the door and I said who we were and, because he was younger, I asked if his parents were home. He said yes and looked at us and back inside hesitantly, as if not wanting to go get his mom, and then went to go get her. His mother came to the door and again I explained who we were and that we were just doing a survey on the Bible. It went something like this: "Hi I'm Elder Galbraith from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we are just doing a survey on the Bible, trying to get people's opinions on it. It is only 8 questions long. Would you have 3 or 4 minutes to help us out?" She politely declined and we left and headed to the next door. After Elder Perkins had knocked on the next door, the mother from the last door opened her door and said, "Excuse me gentlemen, after you are done at that door, would you be able to come back? My son would like to ask you something." I had never had anything like this happen before and as we headed back I was wondering what was going on. I lightly knocked on the door and she answered and invited us in. She then said that her son Dylan had a question and as Mormon's would say in church, "turned the time over" to him. He innocently asked, "what are you doing?" We said a survey on the Bible. He said, "well I'll take it". I was thinking that this kid had guts. Turns out he is 10 and attends a Catholic school, where he has learned about Jesus Christ and reads from the Bible frequently and he has already felt the influence of God and has recognized it to the point that every time he plays hockey he plays with a necklace with a big cross on it. During one game an opposing player broke it and Dylan refused to play without his cross necklace because he feels Jesus Christ next to him every time he plays. Wow. He is 10 years old. Long story short, we left him with a Book of Mormon and 2 pamphlets, got their number and will call them tomorrow. Those surveys help get us into people's doors better than just the traditional tracting approach. Wow. People are there ready and willing to listen. Now remember, its not just the full-time missionaries duty to find people. Finding is something full-time missionaries do in an effort to find more people because members have not provided enough individuals or families for the missionaries to teach. To put it bluntly: find someone for the full-time missionaries to teach, wherever you live. Though finding is a good thing to do, teaching and directly inviting people to Christ is better and helps fulfill missionary's purposes more fully.

Elder Galbraith

Happy Thanksgiving!

This week's P-Day was changed to Thursday to coincide with American Thanksgiving.


You already know that I am still in Kenora so that spoils all the fun! I am SO glad to stay here with Elder Perkins and we have high expectations as to what will happen here in the next 6 weeks. Many people are "on the verge", but more about that later.

I am SO glad to hear that everything went well with the move and that everyone is ok--including Luigi, the little guy looks like he is gaining some weight, little chunker, ha. But seriously, I have been praying for you for the past 10 days that you both be blessed with patience, a sense of calm and safe travel. Wow, I had to wait 10 days to hear that you did travel safely, but it's worth the wait. Great to hear that it appears like life will immediately continue for you both, especially Mom starting work so soon. Good! That is a blessing in and of itself. So your new ward wanted a writeup about me? Don't tell them anything too scary. By the way, did I ever get a missionary plaque? Just curious. If I did, let me know which scripture made it on there. Do you need a picture for that, or for your writeup? The nice thing about this whole Thursday P-Day thing is that I can quickly respond to you by Monday. Fancy that. You mentioned how many boxes I had...ha. Funny thing is that right after I left I realized I did not do a good job of packing up anything. Ha. Sorry, sure love you though!

Oh this past week and a half. Lots of good things. Elder Perkins and I are definitely fulfilling our purpose. We are especially excited about Alex and Derold. Derold has been super nervous about coming to church and did not come and Alex has been busy with different things. Both of them have called us the past few days and told us that they have received answers but won't tell us what kind of answers until we meet with them. We are going to meet with Alex in about half an hour, so after this I expect some interesting news! All of this comes after a while of worrying for them both. Oh, this past week I have been stressing (not too badly, but a bit) about what they both need and trying to be personable and extend the types of commitments they need that will help them progress. Poor Derold, we have been super bold with him and he let Elder Perkins know about it. Poor Elder Perkins, he was dumbstruck for a day or two, but he is learning as a newer missionary. I am really impressed with how well he is doing because I don't treat him like a new missionary, I treat him like he has been out for a while, but every now and then something pops up and I am like, "oh ya, he is new". But Derold is forgiving and I am now taking the front on being bold with him in a loving way. He needs the boldness. Similar to Alma and his experience in Alma 36, I see that when you endure good times and tough times with someone that you grow closer to them. I see the same with Derold and think how difficult some things are because I want him to choose the right (and for the right reasons, not out of obligation to me, but out of a love for the Lord and a desire to grow closer) and see the blessings. He is coming closer and how exquisite is his joy at times, and bitter at other times. I hope that all made sense. Just before emailing today, Elder Perkins and I got fed by a Filipino investigator of ours and let me tell you, they know how to cook. Lucky Elder Munk, right? That individual is someone who is taking a little longer that others, but is making baby steps to Christ and the restored gospel. As I mentioned earlier, we are teaching 2 people specifically that are on the verge of receiving their necessary answers before committing to be baptized, its just that agonizing time when you want to give them your testimony. It is all good though. That is part of the fun, right?

Alex invited me to sing with an all men's choir, did I tell you that? Well he did, and it has been going really well. I have been there the past 3 weeks and am trying to sing tenor. Oh boy, that is sure up there. They hit Fs, Gs and a B flat. Ya, I go falsetto there. Elder Perkins and I were thinking of ways to get our name out and I believe this is a way of doing it. Everyone is remarkably friendly and ask me a few questions and even still call me "Elder" in respect. Members of the Kenora branch have told us to try new ideas of finding people. I believe this is a way of softening hearts and have seen one heart softened in particular. He gave a Dryden elder a former HMS hat, but that is a story for another time. You will have to make note of all the times I say that! That is about all I have for now. Have fun on black Friday right? I will be snuggly in bed.

Winter is pretending like its coming here. This past week has been weird. It was -20C for a few days and I didn't have wool socks on. Enough said. Elder Perkins has never been in sub 20F, so he's been in for a treat. Poor guy. His ears are as sensitive as my hands and feet. But right now, its above freezing and the snow is melting--in late November!!! What is going on? This is like winter in Seattle! Yes, Mom and Dad, I am driving more cautiously now that there is snow and ice. 4 wheel drive helps.

Well, I really am glad to hear that the big part of the move went well. That is a prayer answered. Continue to draw closer to God through kneeling prayers of sincere thanks and secure the Lord's blessings by binding him with your obedience to His commandments. There is sincere and everlasting joy in doing so. I love and keep you in my prayers and will email you in just a few days. Happy American Thanksgiving! I'm missing that traditional Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl, but it will come in its own due time. I love you all!

Elder Galbraith
Enjoy this morning's sunrise in Kenora! I love this place!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Good things happening

Yikes, signing off from Redmond...scary, but definitely for a great cause.

Oh the trip to I-Falls was beautiful and a great trip!  It was lightly snowing that morning and then it stopped right as we got into the car and the roads were great.  Right as we returned to Kenora and stepp out of the car it began to snow again.  Coincidence?  Hmmm.  God disguises his miracles as pure coincidences to the world, and as Bro. Oster says, there is no such thing as a small miracle.  It was great seeing I-Falls again, definitely a little different, but not too much different.  I stopped and saw the Osters (minus Sis. Oster who was at work) and it was SO good to see them again, but don't tell Bro. Oster that.  Also visited with a few members as we were in the area finding.  Great to see them all.  I made sure that the I-Falls elders knew as I was coming down that the purpose of the trip was not for me to see everyone that I taught, but to have a productive exchange and if that included seeing members I would absolutely welcome it.  So Elder Mitton (my MTC companion now serving in I-Falls) and I went and taught...Bro. Wilcox! It was SO good to see him too and seeing him and others really reminded me how much I love the people I work with.  For the lesson, Elder Mitton and I did an object lesson (that Bro. Oster gave to me) that discussed doing the basics of the gospel, continually building oneself from the inside-out and then going to the temple. Bro. Wilcox is beginning to prepare for the Melchizedek Priesthood!  How amazing is that?!  Wow.  I look up to him as a MAN who has learned from his past and I told him that I look up to him because of that.  It was neat being there with Elder Mitton because it was almost symbolic of me being one (with Elder Bodily) who found him and helped him to baptism, and Elder Mitton assisting him to being a full-fledged member working towards the temple.  Oh, it was one of those legendary lessons.  As Elder Cutler would say, "A choice experience".  Speaking of the Cutlers, I will be paying them a visit after my mission down in good ol' Shelley, ID.  All in all, the exchange to I-Falls was productive and a spiritually strengthening, yet it is still good to be back in my own area of Kenora helping newer people here.

Speaking of Kenora, good things happened this past week.  Derold came to church!  Oh, finally. I really want him to do so well. Ha---he just walked in and gave me a hug.  Good timing Derold. He came and stayed for the first 2 hours of church and really enjoyed it.  He participated in 2nd hour and really felt welcome.  He did not want a ride to church and instead walked like 3 miles to church and we met him there.  What a trooper!  He had to walk by like 4 churches and his old church to get there!  Yikes.  He has limitless quotes, and my favorite is "I am a huggy, kissy guy".  Oh boy.  He always gives us hugs during lessons thanking us for different things.  He was so thankful that...well...he fulfilled his quote and my neck is scratchy.  But it was so worth it because he is receiving answers.  He is one of the most spiritually sensitive people I have ever met.  Other investigators...Kenny had an emergency over the weekend and could not come to church last minute, so we have to move his baptismal date back because he needs more Sundays to come to church and live commandments.  This next week will be very formative with the material we need to present (Lesson 4).  Keep praying.  We have a new investigator, Alex, who is hoping to hear back from a reality TV show tomorrow.  (I am learning that I have to be vague with some people's identities over the internet, so I can't tell you the show name or people's last names) Alex is really unique because he knows nothing about Christianity other than Jesus died on a cross.  Not his fault.  We are helping him out.  He literally knows nothing, yet he came to church last week.  He is super musical and he got me to go to some choir's practice in another church last week.  I figure it is a good use of 45 minutes to really get our name out in town showing that we are REAL people.

A member had us out to eat and had a Norweigen exchange student over named Jens.  We were talking and began to discuss differences between Canada and Norway.  He said a lot of things, and we asked him his last name and I slaughtered it trying to say it correctly.  He said it a few more times and between each time I would say it and he would emphasize a different part of the name.  I totally got it.  Elder Perkins tried and he and Jens were trying to go at it for like 5 minutes.  Jens would say his name and Elder Perkins would butcher it and Jens would slap his forehead (a really good sport about it all) and laugh and say it again and then Elder Perkins would try it and Jens would shake his head and Elder Perkins would laugh and say "what am I saying wrong?"  The response: "all of it".  He eventually got it.  Then I told Jens my first name, something I rarely do, and his eyes got wide and was like, seriously?  He pronounced it totally different than I have ever heard it pronounced before.  I always said Terje like ter-e-yuh but Jens said it like Tarr-euh, with an "a" like a cat sound and rolling his "r".  Whoa.  It took me the rest of the night to get it, but I think I did.  I'll stick to saying it the way I did, just knowing that Norweigens say it a little differently.  I will call it the Americanized or Canadianized version. Funny evening though.

Look for a big week ahead: transfer calls this weekend and hopefully lots of lessons.  Elder Perkins and I have a goal to always say positive things all week.  So far so good.  Next week is a special week, however, with my P-Day on Thursday instead of on Monday because of the way transfers and American Thanksgiving work out.  So don't expect an email from me on Monday, but on Thursday.  I expect a lot is going to happen back "home" with the move.  Good luck!  The yard and house look really good.  Funny that Mom included the little bit about Luigi because I was wondering how he was doing with the move and how he was going to get moved.  Cute cat. The last thing I still have to write is that razor model: Phillips Norelco 7110X, with 62V/4W power.  I figured I would include the power but I don't think it would matter too much.  Anyway, that is all from Kenora.  Elder Perkins is great, I am doing well, being a District Leader is not too different, but the extra work helps me focus better.  Thank you for your great email.  Over and out.  Love you all!

Elder Galbraith


Monday, November 7, 2011

Winter approaches

Well, last week's P-day was on Halloween, so I guess this is legitimate.  Remember Kenora's Holy Hand Grenades (exploding the Gospel)?

White specks falling from the sky...the most amazing part is that it is Nov. and we are finally getting snow for the first time. I would think this is all fun and fine except that...I am travelling to I-Falls today!!!!! Bittersweet! I am going to I-Falls for an exchange with the elders there, who are in my district, and we will be doing our weekly District Meeting in I-Falls. Oh, I am so excited! The only problem is that snow. Why did it decide to do that the day I am to drive to I-Falls? Ga.

Another great week to be a missionary in Kenora and the Ontario district.  We have been able to teach more, and to teach certain people more, which really is what I want to do.  To fill time with finding, not fill finding with appointments.  Oh, what a difference, even though finding is much more enjoyable with the surveys (I never have really not liked finding, but teaching is fulfilling my purpose better).  Derold and Kenny are coming along and I love them both.  Kenny came to church and just ate it all up and contributed a ton and said it felt like home.  He still has some challenges to overcome, but I think he is a solid baptismal date.  Derold loves us, he is just afraid of a few things and did not end up coming to church, ga.  He now knows the Book of Mormon is true, and we are working with that to help him to realize more.  A highlight of the week was last night, after we had met with him and he texted us this: "Hey you guys the Book of Mormon is really jumping out at me it’s really neat how God is showing me things in there that is really awesome thank you guys".  That is what missionary work is all about.  We gave Derold a winter coat, and were able to give him a blessing too.  What a great person!

This week I am still trying to focus on BEing a missionary and not just DOing missionary things.  I definitely can see some fruits of the Holy Ghost.  When the Holy Ghost is truly working within someone, they shine.  Wow.  What a difference.  When younger, I remember thinking that some people or phrases would come across as "fake", but I just had not understood that the Spirit can communicate that way.  Basically I am saying that some people describe the Holy Ghost using certain phrases and I did not believe them.  But sometimes, a phrase is often used a lot because it's true.  The Spirit just feels good and enlightens thoughts.

While out finding we ran into a lady whose family is mostly in Alberta and members of the Church.  She said they have long lived in Cardston.  Mom, do you recognize the names Phil and Colleen Parrot, from Cardston?  Their son married this individual's daughter.

I forgot to write down the razor's model.  Doh.  How much would replacement blades cost?  If they are like $40, I would just go ahead and get a nice razor I saw at Walmart.  It was a straight razor, instead of the circular blades, and I think those get better shaves.  But I will look at the model again, it had an X in it, but that probably gets you nowhere.

A member here makes Christmas treats.  Could you send some Christmas candy recipes?  Maybe just include them in your next letter or something.  Speaking of Christmas, I wouldn't mind something with the Winnipeg Jets.  Something Jets, that is blue, with the logo, instead of "Winnipeg Jets" written out.  I would much prefer the logo.  Whether it be a binder, toothbrush, hoodie, sunglasses, just Jets.

Why the earlier emails?  Today because of the I-Falls trip, but I think I will be emailing sooner with Elder Perkins.  He just really prefers it.  Every P-Day is very different from the prior one.

Sure love you,

Elder Galbraith 

Looks like he's still a little crazy - glad he's not all grown up and serious.