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  The records left by previous missionaries are horrendous and we were left with an outdated member-list that did not list who was active and who was not, and plus no phone #'s to get a hold of anyone, including our bishopric, who had just been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.

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