Monday, January 30, 2012

Finally, pictures!

                               Regina morning

                              Getting dressed to go out
Well, this past week has been another good, growing week. The normal highs and lows of missionary work, with some extra flavor as I experience more highs and lows while dealing with missionaries spanning an entire province.

Elder Dunn and I did well in the presentation, by the way. I was super nervous going into it, but we did well and I was surprised with how well I did to feel comfortable presenting the message to lots of missionaries, and President. Something I am working on is feeling comfortable in front of big groups and small-talking better with people on the street, on doorsteps and all around town. People skills, and I remember Bro. Callens telling me once that it just comes through experience. I should rephrase the first part of the goal because I feel comfortable in front of large groups, but I want to better inspire people in large groups while using talents that God gave me and as an end result, help myself and help them. I hope that makes sense. It is a joy to grow in life, especially while on a mission. For anyone remotely thinking about serving one--WHY NOT? Or maybe the WHY--God told you to, and I know that I have grown in a lot of ways and continue to. There really is not anything that I would trade for the experiences I have had with wonderful people on my mission--people like the Osters, like Mike, like Irene. To see people turn 180s in their lives is something undescribable.

I am finally able to send some things after not being able to for a while! Thank Elder Dunn for that one. You will get pommelled by a few emails, the pictures here are some cold weather ones. It was below -40 windchill all day one day. The only reason my toe turned yellow and white was because I didn't dress properly. Don't worry! I am better about it and have ALL the necessary clothing to be warm and as comfortable as can be in that kind of weather. Besides, the next few days will be hovering around freezing anyway. I can do this stuff--easy. Elder (Nate) Munk just sent me an email telling me that the coldest thing he has experienced in the past year or so was at a restaurant when the thermostat was "accidentally" set at 17C (about 63F). Different world, EH?

                              Cold toes

I really appreciate the spiritual things you both included. I am working on my own growth right now and have a plan set to have legitimate "greenie fire" again. For me it includes being optomistic and full of hope, and never judging people. Easier said than done, but I am confident that I can BE that. I am also confident in myself now, but I say that carefully because of course the One to be confident in is the Lord.

Thanks for your efforts in finding me a place at school. I greatly appreciate that. Also, I had a thought, if Spencer Calvert is attending BYU and if there is still a vacancy in our apartment, I would LOVE for him to room with us if he chose to. Oh, wow...Lance AND about 7th Heaven.

I am heading up to Saskatoon tomorrow for missionary exchanges. Good things happening here in Regina YSA. Please continue to keep us and our zone (and mission of course) in your prayers.

I will cut it here so I have some time to finally send some pictures. Don't know how many, but hopefully enough to keep you happy :)

I love you all!
Elder Galbraith

                                     Did I forget something?

Still winter

                               Ice fishing in Kenora

It's cold eh?

I'm glad to say that I am looking at some warmer weather this upcoming week. Now don't get me wrong, that -40 stuff is sure a novel experience but some weird things start happening at -40 and missionary work becomes less-productive (I have to warm up my toes longer!).  It got down to about -32C in Regina with a -44 wind chill this past week for a couple of days. Talk about crazy cold. I saw a sundog too. For those who don't know what a sundog is, its like a rainbow around the sun and it has to be cold to have one, and the colder it is the better the chance of seeing one. So I have seen a few this week. When it's really cold, the snow starts squeeking and crunching--not like that in Seattle. That's interesting to hear about Seattle and their bout of snow. There really isn't much up here, this has been a really mild winter (for Canada) but I'm not complaining.

This past week definitely did not go as planned. Right as Elder Dunn and I were walking out the door on our 4-day trip to Saskatoon, we got a call from the Assistants telling us that we were needed to help with some sudden rearranging of missionaries due to extenuating circumstances, and that we could not go to Saskatoon. So, we didn't go. We stayed in Regina and "did work". There was an entire day that below -40, and because we cannot go street-contacting or tracting below -40, we did some less-active work and had some moderate success, actually. We ended up having 3 less-actives come to church on Sunday, but no investigators. They will come. The Ward here has asked us to visit a lot of less-actives, and so we are doing our part there, and yesterday were given many more to go and visit--the Bishop said that he could tell that he could trust us and so he wants to keep us busy. We agreed. It's so important to have the trust of the Bishop! The bishopric here consists of missionary-oriented all-stars, so we are looking for big things to happen here. It's just a matter of balancing LA (less-active) work and investigator work. We should be busy, we have just been rebuilding the teaching pool ever since we got here and we have a number of promising people that we are working with, it's just difficult to meet with them more than once a week due to their busy schedules.

For this upcoming week we have a special meeting on Wednesday called Specialized Training that will be an all-day event, and we will be doing an hour-long portion that I'm pretty nervous about. The Zone is showing some signs of improvement, but we could still definitely use your prayers. I am finding this new assignment as a Zone Leader sure helpful to me yet challenging. Despite being constantly asked how much longer I have on my mission (people have now started asking "how much longer..." instead of "how long have you been out...") I find that I am the most focused on helping others, including other missionaries, in coming to Christ and helping others to coming to Christ. Elder Dunn and I are always discussing things as to how we can do better. Sometimes it's challenging trying to help others get motivated due to that concept of agency. Other times people catch the vision. That is the essence of Elder Dunn's and my portion on Wednesday, trying to help the missionaries get more excited and more motivated about certain aspects of the work. This new assignment sure puts a different spin on missionary work. Despite everything new, it is still the basics that must be applied in testimony. One thing I have learned out here is that it does not matter what you have done in the past, what calling you have or had, or how many scriptures you have memorized, but that the basic principles of the gospel are done and applied every day. I try to ask myself at least once a day, "Am I a successful missionary?" and judging my success based upon me extending appropriate invitations with those I meet. That way I can see if I need to improve, but also seeing myself as successful. Seeing myself as a successful missionary goes a long ways and the effects of a successful missionary extend far beyond numbers. Those are a few of the things that I am trying to help others see, but just a minor point of our portion. I hope that made sense because I am typing fast, and I hope my fingers are keeping up with my brain.

This past week we got a call from President telling us of a group of 3 university students that wanted to talk to us about asking us a few questions. Reader's Digest version: we met with this group and they wanted to do a documentary on Mormon Missionaries and what they do each day and what makes them want to do what they do. So we brought the Stake President of the Regina Stake and we met at the YSA chapel (did you look up where that is? 1101-A Kramer. Look at its LOCATION) and they asked us a few questions and told us this was for a class at the university and wanted to follow us around for a few hours each week and see what we did every day and experience some of the emotions of Mormon Missionaries. One of these 3 students had been approached last winter by a missionary in the bitter cold and wondered what made him still smile despite the cold. It left such a lasting impression that he wanted to interview Mormon missionaries a year later and find out why and follow them around. The completed documentary was to be shown at film festivals across Canada. So we talked to them. We had a great meeting and left with high hopes! Elder Dunn and I could potentially be indirectly bringing the gospel to 1000s! We called President just to get the go-ahead and he said "no cameras" faster than a camera flash. However, he did not shoot down the idea of them doing interviews with us. We will find out more tomorrow if some inkling of the original will still happen. I'll keep you posted!

I remember back a few months, Mike said that there was a missionary coming to the CWM from his ward in Raymond. I keep forgetting to tell you that that elder, Elder Lyons, is in Weyburn, SK and that I see him each week. He mentioned that Mike was his Elders Quorum President and had high praise for him. Small world eh? Love you Mike. This Elder Lyons is doing well with his companion down there and they just had a baptism. He is hilarious and seems driven as a missionary. I am impressed by him and he is doing superb work. Maybe Mike can relay that to his family if he sees them soon, just so they can hear that from another source.

About going back to BYU...whoa...I am all for it. But honestly, I did not expect all of this so soon. I want to talk to Mike about finances sometime, so that will probably have to wait until after the mission. I am not going to lie, it is stressful with the finances weighing on the back of my mind and I wonder if I should head back to BYU immediately or work full-time first. No doubt I want to go to BYU, but I just feel a little lost that way, mostly because I have not thought about it at all--I haven't had time! So maybe I am just tossing ideas around right now. Please email or mail me suggestions as soon as possible--because I am closer than I used to be (geographically), you probably could get back to me by the end of this week if you mail me something to "mull-over". I need suggestions and some direction that way. As for classes, I know that I need to take Biology and Chemistry as general classes, but again, I have not thought about this at all. Gym classes are difficult to get into, but I would love one so badly--anything, volleyball, badminton, soccer, weight training, if they have dodgeball I am all over that. As for engineering...I just don't know. Maybe it was because of the basics, but it seemed so boring. I wonder what careers there are in the automotive field. If I am to choose something I am passionate about for a career, I am passionate about cars. I have thought about it, and there are a few reasons why I love cars so much, but to a degree I can't say why I like them so much--I just do. Elder Dunn keeps telling me I need to sell cars, ha. Any suggestions would be good. As for housing, ya, that housing sounds good enough. Lance is amazing and his brother is just like him and hilarious. To be honest, without Nate there to room with also, I can't think of anyone else that I would totally get along with AND still work well with. I have so many friends, but it's a matter of gauging whether I can get along with and still work well around them. A Steven Carroll, from my ward would be a good fit, I will chat with him. I hope that answers some questions you have about BYU. That housing sounds good. If you have to sign me up for things this week, just sign me up for some generals and use your discretion for any other classes. You an always add/remove. Another thing worth noting is that I am thinking I probably will need to be working part-time while doing school, so please get back to me on that and don't overload me with classes due to that (no 18 credits DAD!) If you have time, maybe you could look for some simple scholarships and I can write up anything if necessary on P-days. Well, time is beginning to run too fast and I am now at the point where I really enjoy doing what I am doing and for all I care the spring can last forever here, because once summer comes, so does change for me. Good thing that is so far away!

Love you all, keep those prayers coming,

Elder Galbraith

    Saskatchewan sunrise (9:48 am)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Regina is so cold. Last night's windchill was -31C (approx. -24F) and we were finding.  Oh...winter did decide to come after all.  It literally switched in a day from about freezing to -20.  Oh...the forecast is saying -31C overnight for the next few nights.  Let's see if it gets cold enough to do the boiling water thing again!  Come what may and love it.  I play all sorts of games to keep myself in a good mood, like holding my nostrils together and breathing in and then letting the nostrils thaw. Cold.

We did get our phone, and Sasktel (phone company) came to set up a landline but that isn't working step at a time.  We have barely scratched the surface with all the lists. The "current investigators" they had won't pick up their phones, so we get to find our own, but that's ok.  We did contact a former investigator from about a year ago and set a baptismal date with him.  We asked him if he had any questions and he just said, "how does baptism work?"  Oh ya.  His name is Leo and his BD is for the 25th of Feb.  Oh, speaking of which, Irene from Kenora got baptized!!!  Elder Perkins sent me pictures and he baptized her and she looks great.  Wow.  It is such an exhilirating feeling knowing that I helped shape someone's life for eternity!  It gives me a boost of the Spirit when I think about it.  Other things going on in Regina....we now only have Zone Conferences every other transfer, so I don't have to plan one for a while now...I work with 3 district leaders, and 23 missionaries across the province.  There used to be about 40 when I was up in Saskatoon about a year ago, but with the mission shrinking its numbers it’s down to 23 on this side of the mission.  Yet, with the 23 the work is still doing better than before.  Elder Bodily is a district leader in Regina, did I tell you that?!  Oh, I just love being around him, Elder Dunn and Elder McDanel.  Lots of spunk, lots of energy and lots of work ethic. (This keyboard is terrible and it keeps skipping the first letter of words so if you see one missing you know why, ga, that was not on purpose).  I am actually travelling up to Saskatoon this week as part of visiting missionaries in the Zone and I will be heading to up Saskatoon tomorrow, Prince Albert on Wednesday and the Battlefords on Thursday.  Brrr.  Check out how far north those are!  Then I return to Regina on Friday and work my area again.  I enjoy all of this work a lot because it helps me focus on the work and how I can help others, but it’s very tiring.  But again, I really do enjoy it.  To answer your question as to which towns I will travel to, I will go to the before-mentioned ones, and also Weyburn, Yorkton, and soon, Moose Jaw.  Lots to do, eh?

Some fun things that happened here are that I did another baptismal interview!  Very exciting.  Also, I had a Chinese gal write my name in Chinese and pronounce it--it looks crazy and I won't even try pronouncing it.  We street contact here a lot and have found a lot of Chinese people.  Lots of work has been done with Chinese people’s only a matter of time before China opens up to the gospel. Then down in I-Falls for the last time I left Elder Mitton with a bunch of things to send home that I didn't need.  No, I do not need any of those things anymore.  You can just tuck them away somewhere.  Don't worry about the shipping.

Everything has been such a blur here, I am about out of things to say, knowing that so much has happened but that I can't remember it at all.  None of the computers here (that I can find) have SD ports, all require a camera cord and I am still waiting for mine from Kenora.  So, no pictures yet, sorry.  My only advice for everyone is to STUDY the scriptures and not to just READ them.  It's something that I am trying to work on again because I was getting into the habit of just reading.  So, study, and apply the teachings!  Thanks for all the updates, keep me and my big jacket in your prayers!  Love you all!

Elder Galbraith

Monday, January 9, 2012

New area

You can tell Uncle Bill that things have probably changed quite a bit here in Regina since he served here.  There are 2 solid wards and a small YSA University Ward that I serve in that really is the size of a branch, but hey, I can say I am finally serving in a "ward" again.  My ward's bishopric has just been reorganized with an all-star lineup.  The Bishop has been called "amazing" by the new missionary-oriented stake president---still haven't met him yet, because he is down in Arizona and will be there until mid-January.  The first councilor used to be in the stake presidency and mission presidency, so talk about a 1-2 combo, them, and Elder Dunn and I (only 1 councilor).  To tell you a little about Elder Dunn, he is a blend of Nate and Brendin's mannerisms and mentalities--that is a complement to the 3 of them.  I am serving with someone who wants to get things done, build trust in members and is a best friend to me.  So all positives there.

But the past half-week has been really frustrating / stressful.  It literally has been just preparatory for everything else to come.  Upon coming out to Regina I was told by the assistants that our phone was there, waiting for us.  No phone.  No fax.  The records left by previous missionaries are horrendous and we were left with an outdated member-list that did not list who was active and who was not, and plus no phone #'s to get a hold of anyone, including our bishopric, who had just been reorganized.  We just met members yesterday.  We used other missionaries' phones at their places and they became frustrated with us coming over.  They apologized later, but it has been difficult putting every ounce of effort into things and having people frustrated at me for doing my duties.  Whatever.  Due to running around and filling out lots of paperwork and transfer calendars, I haven't gone to bed before midnight since I left Kenora.  Phew...It has certainly had challenges, but Elder Dunn and I are ready to start things off right (you said in your last email you were anxious to hear of my challenges, so there you go).  So, despite a rough start, I know that the stars are aligning for us here in Regina.  There are only 3 companionships here in the city itself (w/ 200,000+ people!) and each missionary is a go-getter.  Like I said earlier, the wards are fantastic and are ready and willing to help out and see the place grow in strength and number.  And, of course, there is a temple here, which I have not seen yet.  Will soon.  We are very excited to have a normal week ahead of us and to get things going.  There have been a lot of Recent Converts in the past year, so we have a lot of people to work with, now we will soon be working with investigators.  We street-contact near the University of Regina, which is where our chapel is--perfect placement on that building.  Street-contacting is a big change for me, and is difficult for me to do, but all these changes are helping me to stretch and grow.  I need that.  We always need that.  Basically, from this paragraph you can see that things have gotten off to a tough start, but we are more than optomistic about this place.  All the stars are aligning for this place to explode, and the Lord wants it to, we just have to do our part.  For myself that will necessitate mighty communication with God, effective scripture study and diligent phone calls and follow-up, and I have the perfect companion to help with all that.

So my area is basically all of Regina.  You should check it out on the map.  I live downtown, and we spend a lot of time near the University on the southeastern part of town.  The temple is on the east, the 2 wards split down the mainroad, Albert St.  The stake center is in the northern part of town and is huge (the size of Kirkland's stake center), but after being in tiny buildings so long, everything is different.  Wow.  Being in the city is so different.  There is so much going on around me, flashing lights, lots of cars, lots more people, it’s foreign, but I am adapting.  I mean, I-Falls is about 7000 people, Kenora ~14,000 and Regina 200,000+.  I like it though.  Dad, there is reason to come to Saskatchewan!  You should look at a map of Regina and just scout things out.  Oh, back to where I was going by telling you about the stake center...the YSA chapel is in a strip mall, right next to Subway, and its sweet aroma just meandered its way into fast and testimony meeting.  Brutal.  But I like it, I am excited for everything like I said.  We had a ward potluck last night before a CES fireside and I got to know a member by talking cars with him for an hour and a half.  Good guy.  He drives a Ford and was telling me about a few new cars coming out.  I figured it was ok because I need to get to know people!  But on a more serious note, Elder Dunn and I are here in part to build members’ trust in missionaries again, and so we are careful about what we say and do.  I enjoy it all, just being in a YSA ward is sure different.  Being around young people again?  Weird.

That's about it here.  No new pictures.  I am sorry!  I have been really busy, can't you tell?  You can tell Bro. Litchfield that I will come home exhausted!

I love you all, and appreciate the wonderful email. Keep on keeping on.

Elder Galbraith
I only have one picture here. Long story, but I was not able to shave for 2 days (so busy) and after 2 days I have quite the beard going! I did end up going ice fishing back in Kenora and forgot that I have a few pictures to show you from that, but that will have to wait because they are on my other memory card back in the apartment. I hope my big email didn't sound too gloomy. It started rough here, and I am exhausted, but today is P-Day and Elder Dunn and I are ready to take on the world. All in all, I am doing the Lord's work to the best of my ability, and trying to be the type of missionary Mom expects me to be. :-) Sure love you all.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Big changes for the new year


This past week has been absolutely crazy. After 6 great months in Kenora and just over a year in total in Ontario/Minnesota, I am getting shipped off to Regina, Saskatchewan to serve in the YSA Ward
there as a Zone Leader with my MTC buddy Elder Dunn. Wow. I also will be in close contact with Elder Bodily (one of my most favorite people ever) as he is a district leader there and an Elder McDanel who is currently serving in Dryden, ON will also be heading out to Regina serving in a ward there. That Zone covers all of Saskatchewan...sheesh... probably lots of travel, but hey, I like
travel. It will definitely be a different experience and I am absolutely going to miss Ontario! So much is going on here in Kenora, Dryden and I-Falls/Fort Frances. As a district we have 7 baptismal dates and had 9 people to church. Dryden had a baptism this past week and Fort Frances--yes, the tiny branch of Fort Frances--is having their first convert baptism in 5 years! After many years, missionary
work is finally taking off in northwestern Ontario and the Church is being strenghtened by members and missionaries alike. I mean, the Dryden elders are working with a sincere pastor of another church in town who is seriously contemplating baptism! He heads a congregation of about 60 people and even if a few people came from that church to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints it would be a HUGE boost to the small branch of Dryden Ontario. In Kenora, we had a few huge miracles with one investigator in particular--Irene--who initially said "you can come and visit, but you will NOT convert me". Well Irene, we did not convert you, the Holy Spirit did--as He will to
anyone who seriously studies the doctrines of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and why it had to be restored. She is terrified of crowds, yet we did a number of things (long story) to help her feel
comfortable and she came to church and will be baptized January 13th. She picked the date and said "Friday the 13th. I'm not superstitious, and for those that are, I will take their good luck!" So Kenora is having a baptism on Jan. 13th. Bittersweet that I am leaving, but this past week and the one prior have finally helped me feel like I have been a successful missionary in Kenora, ON. It is tough sometimes and I felt a pressure to perform by being one of the first elders back in Kenora for a long time, but with the progress that others made recently, I feel successful. I know that I should not base my feeling of accomplishment just on other's receptiveness to the gospel, but it is a huge boost after 6 months of diligent work and many struggles to finally see people making huge progress. So, enough of that, can you tell that I just love it here? It is heartwrenching to leave, but I will on Wednesday and I will be in Regina by Thursday evening, and to infinity and beyond after that because I have no idea what awaits me after that, other than: P-day activity because I will be in a big city again, but more importantly I will be near the temple. I hear that I will get to go once every 3 weeks and that I get up at 4am to do so.  It'll be worth it.

I'm glad that you told me a bit about some of the temple things going on. I really wish I could have been there. You left me on a cliffhanger, you have to tell me more than what you did, that was just
cruel. I was thinking about it on Friday.

Later today I will be going ice fishing for the first time! I am so excited! Elder Perkins and I were given this gas-powered auger by a member and I am ready to go-to-town with it. The branch president is taking us out at 3.

Wow, you got to see Morgan and Spencer? Are they going down for school or just a visit? I love them both. Well that's about it for now. I would like to hear more about your experiences next week. 
Love you,

Elder Galbraith 
So I forgot to mention that Elder Perkins is training a new missionary in Kenora and that my MTC companion currently serving in I-Falls, Elder Mitton, will be the new District Leader for the Ontario