Phew...I am finally back in Kenora! I only spent 3 working days in Kenora the past week and it’s just good to be "home". I was in Winnipeg for Tuesday and Wednesday and Dryden on Saturday---why? In Winnipeg for Zone Conference and in Dryden for...MY FIRST EVER BAPTISMAL INTERVIEW! That's what I am talking about! How crazy is that? I interviewed someone for baptism! It came all sudden too. The Dryden elders have been working with this family and trying to prepare them for baptism on the 7th of January, but one of the family members had a HUGE spiritual experience in the past week and said, "I can't wait any more for this" and wanted to be baptized that day. So...everything got arranged as fast as possible and on Saturday, Elder Perkins and I drove out to Dryden and I did the interview. It was weird for a number of reasons. First, I interviewed someone for baptism. Me, little ol' me, interviewed someone for an ordinance of eternal significance. (Oh, and he passed by the way! kind of important...) The other reason it was weird was because it was just me and this guy in the room--no companion. Talk about separation anxiety, just kidding. It wasn't super weird because it was still me with another person, but not to be around my companion all the time is kind of...different. Ya.
Zone Conference was good. After being in outlying areas for about a year now and not seeing other missionaries very often, Zone Conferences are really exciting because I get to see all my missionary friends and there is just a special excitement in the air. That sounds really cheesy, but it’s true.
Guess who called me this week? The former Elder Zach Morris! (former missionaries can talk to companions still in the field) Remember that he was my companion for 4 1/2 months in I-Falls? I cannot believe how much I miss that man. He was such an inspiration to me and gave me a wonderful example of a great missionary and we just clicked. He is going to BYU-I and told me of some funny stories back home. Oh, wow. I didn't expect to develop such great relationships with my companions! Elder Morris and Elder Bodily are the type of people I am going to keep in contact with for a long, long time, and they are now some of my closest friends too. Sheesh, I now have RMs calling me in the missionary field. Do you know what that means? I am getting to be an "older" missionary. That is ridiculous, but no worries, it just gives me more drive to work harder.
Just got Dad's email from his phone...2 blowouts? Rough luck Dad. My prayers are with you and the family, as always.
I read the Tryon's letter from Nov. 6th (finally got it and those amazing pumpkins pictures...ridiculously good...) and in it you said I will report to K1? That's neat.
I had a neat experience with a 1st Nation family last night where I witnessed one of their sacred rituals duing a lesson. I don't have time to go into it now, but it’s one of those "I seriously just did that on my mission" stories.
This morning I was studying during my Personal Studies (go figure) and I had some great insights. I was reading in PMG for a bit, then skipping around in the standard works and eventually landed in the Bible Dictionary and was looking at all the names there and that all the names of people had meanings. I thought that was interesting. Many names had really special meanings and even blessings, and I wondered if those blessings and talents were given because of the name or if the person possessed the talents and was therefore given the name. I read that the Hebrews held special significance to names, and some even had complete-sentence-meanings. I began thinking about names even more and read more about the people in the Bible whose names were changed (Abram-->Abraham, Jacob-->Israel). Interesting. I then thought about my own names: Norweigen, English and Scottish. From there I thought about how those cultures seemed to come together in a special way in one name, in one person. Sure God sees more in a name than just something to label someone as. That is an important truth I learned this morning. Thank you Mom, Dad and God for my names. I was really moved this morning upon considering that. Oh, by the way, the Bible Dictionary says something interesting about what "Michael" means. When you look it up, I think my brother reflects the meaning. :)
That's about it here. Kenora is still coming along, and we are experiencing the highs and lows of missionary work. Like Kim said to me in an email, sometimes you are so high, and sometimes you just have to endure. But ultimately we are responsible for our own actions and how we react to things. Always good to remember, so thank you Kim.
I love you all, Elder Galbraith