Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Travelling men

Well I first want to thank my parents for the heartfelt card they sent. I pondered some of the sacrifices they have made for me and I cannot thank them enough. Frankly, anything but my absolute best is not enough to show thanks, so please accept a meager "Thank you" and "I love you" for now. I just don't understand the love that they have for me, and my mind immediately thought of Mom and basically sacrificing EVERYTHING for family, because that is what is most important to her. Wow, I just cannot fathom being at that point. Maybe in due time. Then, I noticed Dad's handwriting on the card and it was just a perfect 1-2 full-of-love punch from my parents. Thank you.

To answer Mom's question, yes, I am back to 100% and I'm feeling really well now.

This past week has been eventful, that's for sure. The Zone Leader Council in Winnipeg went well and I feel like I got a lot out of it. From that I walked away with more ideas as to how to best help the zone. As they say, "it's go time". The zone has been doing better in some aspects but struggling in some. My own area has been slow to get going but we see that we are beginning to work with more people. I expect that in the next few weeks things will be rolling along very well. We had an investigator who has been meeting with missionaries for a while text us this morning that he had his prayers answered and that he feels like a new person. Also, 2 Chinese people came up to me and asked if they could attend church. Leo, who has a baptismal date for the 24th of March (rescheduled) said in his prayer to close a meeting that he is very excited to be baptized. So good things are happening, we just need to help them attend church and keep other commitments.

Speaking of Chinese people, I really enjoy teaching them. Because they cannot learn of God in China, they are eager to learn about God and then how to follow Him. They are humble, which is the most important part. I love humble people. Never be proud!

This upcoming week Elder Dunn and I are going on some exchanges in Saskatoon and Prince Albert. We will be conducting seperate "Zone Meetings" in Regina and Saskatoon (same zone, just seperate meetings due to distance) and then involved in a Stake Missionary Progress Meeting in Saskatoon, as we had one in Regina a week or 2 ago. Lots of travel, plenty of meetings, but all in a day's work. I remember that Dad mentioned something back when I was in I-Falls, basically to the effect that he was glad to have me exposed to the administrative aspect of the Gospel: helping to bring others to Christ, both through new members and strengthening current members. What a task.

As for temperatures, things have been pretty mild--minus the past few days. Oh, it was something else waking up to -33C (w/ windchill) this morning. Where did that come from? The past few days have actually brought snow and lots of wind. Not a fan of the wind, but I welcome the snow because this winter has been pretty dry. It was hard to tell how much actually fell because of the wind, but somewhere in the ballpark of 8-12 inches. Oh, there is one thing about the wind that I do really enjoy--I love the little wisps on the road when snow is blowing across. Beautiful!

That is all I have for now, thanks for your prayers, keep them coming please!

Elder Galbraith

Monday, February 20, 2012

Feeling better

Well howdy. After being sick all week I am finally doing better. I had a few days where I was just exhausted and sick. Ugh, glad that is over. I'm not 100%, but now that I have my energy back I feel close to it.

The past week was tumultuous with sickness and trying to help people keep appointments, but we had some big successes too. We have stopped-by a number of less-actives (LAs) that we have been assigned to visit and 2 of them really were receptive. In fact, I feel very special connections with them both. Both of them just required us stopping-by and inviting them to do a few things to get them to want to come back. One of them we stopped by had just moved in from Prince Albert and was a recent convert and was nervous about meeting tons of new people, but when we invited her to FHE (Family Home Evening) on Monday night she had a blast. She loved every minute and is really sociable and got along with everyone. She stayed afterward to talk with the bishop. Wow. For another LA we just stopped by and left his roommate with a card with our number on it and said we would stop by another time. Instead, he called the bishop and arranged to meet with him and has come to church the past 2 weeks and is a totally gung-ho guy for missionary work. Wow. Those experiences reminded me that there is power in simply extending the invitation. Many will respond positively, it's just up to us to invite. Simple, eh? No, it's just a matter of who is prepared or not. I seem to do a fair amount of LA work on my mission, but I am absolutely happy with that. I just like to see people make changes in their lives--that is rewarding.

Other than that, our investigator Sarah is coming along. I often forget to update you on how our investigators are doing because I have guidelines as to what sorts of things I can say and not. Many of the things we teach, especially some of the commandments, may require some people to make sometimes serious changes in their lives. Because I cannot say, for example, "Timmy is overcoming a drug addiction and is going to see a doctor", I often just forget to mention anything. But here we go. We have small teaching pool, but meet with a few less-active members often. Sarah is reading like there is no tomorrow and should be in Jacob by now and is gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon. We found out that she has close family members that are members, which she didn't know until a week ago or so. So, wow! Our baptismal date Leo moved his date to March 24th. He has been difficult to meet with and we are trying some different ideas as to how to best help him, because he does want to progress and be baptized. Good things are happening, just slowly.

The zone needs some more excitement and Elder Dunn came up with a few great ideas. He is pretty creative and I am the type to help him get it done. So we are going to mention them in ZLC (Zone Leader Council) and see if they "pass". Oh, this whole experience as a Zone Leader is pretty stressful at times, but rewarding too. Tiring too. But, speaking of ZLC, Elder Dunn and I are traveling into Winnipeg this week to attend ZLC, where we have a day full of training and counciling. This happens every transfer but only every-other-transfer is it in person. Last transfer it was over Skype. On our way to Winnipeg we are going through Yorkton, SK to pick up furniture from the missionary apartment that they are closing there. I hear that that area is beautiful. We head to Yorkton Wednesday morning, arrive in Winnipeg about supper time and ZLC is that night and most of Thursday. You will have to wait and see how it all goes!

That is weird that you met that family again in Idaho. (Shirley and I met a couple Saturday evening that had lived in our ward in Kirkland years ago.)  Yep, small world. And, "Lead Kindly Light" is my favorite hymn, so that would have been great to hear.

Can you please give me Grandma Jeannette's address? I can't find it and I have a Valentine's letter I would love to get off to her. Sorry, Grandma, you have to wait, but I had it all ready for you before I realized the problem! Doh.

Thanks for everything! Nothing would be better in life than having Lance and Spencer as roommates at BYU. Please keep me posted with everything. In fact, can you either get me his email or have him email me? Oh, that would amazing. I appreciate that! If things just don't work out, I may be able to find a person or 2 up here in the mission to come room, but I look up to Spencer a lot and that would be a dream come true.

Thanks for all the updates about family, and even sports. I can sense an added energy to your emails since you have moved. Simply from that, it seems as though the move as helped, but now having family so much closer must be a dream come true. I am happy for you all. That's about it folks, love you all!

Elder Galbraith

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Still winter

Wow, I appreciate all the updates. You are right, we got another blast of winter but again it was a quick in-and-out experience and time will only tell if it holds on. -27C (about -17F) was the coldest it got here overnight. Brrr. I am going to just apologize in advance if this is a little dull because I have been under the weather for the past few days, nothing bad, just groggy throat and fatigue. Then again, P-Day activity wore me out--I absolutely HAVE to give it my all there because it's the only time I get to run around. But no worries, I paced myself ok.

Oh ya, Elder Dunn and I are both staying in YSA Regina! Very good news.

This past week was eventful. We had the temple trip (more on that later), transfer calls, Elder Dunn and I had to plan travel itineraries for those being transferred, the film crew got some footage and all the other goodies of missionary work packed into a single week. Whoa. The morning of the temple trip I surprisingly sprung out of bed at 4:45 and pulled the weary Elder Dunn out of bed. No one fell asleep on the way there either. Because the Regina temple is a smaller temple it was a new experience for me to be inside a smaller temple. Different. What impressed me most was the amount of peace in the temple. Everything was just peaceful and I felt like I got a great spiritual boost being there and I felt like I understood a lot more than I had previously. I felt like I had a number of new insights during the session that I had never thought of before. Just the peace alone that I felt in the temple was enough to reestablish to me that the gospel is restored. The Holy Ghost cannot testify of error. I also feel impressed to remind those that may be reading this that the temple is a place that is very sacred. As such, the things that go on in temples are extremely sacred. I really like the fact that the general public is permitted throughout the temple before their dedications, to prove that these things are sacred--not secret. If a secret, why would we encourage ALL members to attend the temple? Certainly God has standards of worthiness, but He invites all worthy members to come to His house. Afterwards the district here in Regina went out to breakfast, and to let you all know, Elder Lyons (from Raymond) is moving to Winnipeg, so I took a few pictures of the 2 of us and will send them to you soon. One more thing to add, is that a man that helped me in the temple was the guest speaker in church and he gave a magnificent talk about the temple. Sure was great.

As for the documentary, Elder Dunn and I were interviewed--each interview took about half an hour, and then the next day they took videos of us just walking up and down the street. I am very careful here, because I recognize that I represent the Church as a whole. Elder Dunn and I always do the best we can to be positive and never anything negative. Our object is to help--not hinder--the work, after all, right?

As for the work itself, I realize that I have not been very specific lately. We have 2 progressing investigators and one, Sarah, is really on fire. Her goal is to finish 2 Nephi by the next time we meet (probably in a day or 2). Last night she was on 2 Nephi 15, and 2 days before that, 2 Nephi 2, so it looks like she is breezing ahead of the Sunday school schedule. She recognizes that her life has improved dramatically since we began meeting and she is DYING to come to church but is working with her hesitant parents. Things will all work out, and they have so far, so thank you for the prayers. We were not able to have any investigators attend church this week, BUT a less-active that we had stopped by (and not met...was not home but gave his roommate our number) called the bishop and came to church and is a fireball. His name is Preston and I am so excited for this guy! He is so upbeat and really will affect our work. He knows most people in the branch, and will definitely help us to help others come back to church. I seem  to have a theme in my past few areas: rebuilding, but I love it, and I enjoy seeing everyone grow and I think about the members that are at church and those missing. I like these small congregations. Very different from what I was used to growing up. Oh, to add a bit, the Saskatchewan Zone had the most people out to Sacrament Meeting that they have had since I have been here. Investigators at Sacrament Meeting has been our zone goal and we nearly hit our goal, but the zone is tasting success there, and I hope they are hungry for more.

Dad, when you said you had a "heart attack" I about had one too. But, after further reading my blood cooled. I laughed, but jokingly said "you're a punk", but you would probably expect nothing less. Love ya, Dad. (The Young Women of the ward snuck up to our front door and plastered it with paper hearts - Kim called it a 'heart attack').  Mom and Dad, that is exciting to hear about your citizenship paperwork going in. You are likely saying something like, "about time". Thanks again for the updates. Go Delaney! We'll have to play volleyball when I get back. It's on: I will NOT get humiliated! Then again.......thanks for the baseball news too.

Ya, let me know what Spencer's plans are. Sure love you all Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow!

Elder Galbraith
                            Elder Lyons (from Raymond) & Elder Galbraith

Monday, February 6, 2012

February already!

    Elders Galbraith & Leavitt with Sis. Harder

    Battleford sunrise

All those trips to Idaho and southern Alberta prepared me for traveling across the province. Ok, in all reality these were short trips, but still, you get the point. I have been around lately! This past week we made trips to Saskatoon, Prince Albert, back to Saskatoon, the Battlefords and back to Regina. It is good to be out on the road, and though scenic, I prefer Ontario's landscape a little more, but still enjoy Saskatchewan a lot. Elder Dunn and I were privileged to travel to Saskatoon and go on exchanges in my old area (Kingsmere) and to attend 2 district meetings on Wednesday in and to get to know the northern part of the zone more. I also got to meet Sis. Harder again! Oh, she loves me. She has a few pictures on the wall of me she keeps up at all times. The bishop calls her "a rock", which is amazing to hear. Goes to prove that the Book of Mormon DOES teach of Christ and it complements--not competes---with the Bible. Sis. Harder was SO resistant to accepting the Book of Mormon and I will never forget that experience when the Spirit hit her, similar to Irene's experience when (in her words) "God smacked me upside the head". Oh, it was neat being in my old area for an exchange. Moving on--Wednesday morning we attended district meetings and then headed up to Prince Albert and had a positive exchange there and got to know the district leader up there. That area is on fire! 7 baptismal dates! Back to Saskatoon--dropped off Elder Dunn to head up to the Battlefords with a Brit, Elder Mansfield, so he could exchange with his district up there. An elder up there said something interesting to the effect that he has not had much success on his mission directly through finding, but has noticed when he is more diligent about finding that referrals come to him and other things happen. That elder feels that new investigators are a function of obedience. Interesting. After that, back to Saskatoon to pick up Elder Dunn and drop off Elder Mansfield (who I am fond of) and back to Regina in time for appointments Friday. Phew...tired yet?

To let you know a little more about our zone, I will include a bit of my letter to President. Usually I hand-write letters, but figured I would fire him an email for a change. I put this in my letter to President:

The work is Saskatchewan is progressing. As a whole, the entire zone is on the upswing, yet in each area there is realistic room for improvement, which excites us for this upcoming week. Everything in the zone was better, minus investigators at Sacrament Meeting, but even there I see positives. The past few weeks the zone has heavily relied on Elder Zohner's district for investigators to come to church, but this past week each district played a role. Also, each district sees room for improvement. Those are most noteworthy. Talking to the assistants, we feel that compliments and encouragement will best help the missionaries and the work succeed. As for the Regina YSA, we are especially excited about Sarah, an investigator we are working with, who is being well-fellowshipped by the ward here. Her grandparents are members and that sparked an interest to meet with us. Initially she did not know if God was there for her, but now she recognizes her life has improved in many ways since she began to read from the Book of Mormon and attributes that to God. I have had so many experiences lately with investigators receiving answers through the Book of Mormon. Funny how that works? As for myself, I feel I have mostly adjusted to the new tasks of a zone leader. I was exhausted the first few weeks. Sometimes I struggle to know how to best help the district leaders, but after talking to the Assistants I want to focus on helping everyone's testimonies. From there we can build stronger, more determined, missionaries.

Grandma Jeannette was right when she felt I was pretty nervous and hesitant a few weeks ago about being a Zone Leader. Not to say I am settled, but I feel I am beginning to get the hang of things. Sometimes I do not know the best way to help someone but I try.

To answer a few questions:
Yes I have a new logo for my new area, but I have not done a "pretty" one yet to take a picture of. Remind me next week and I will try to send one. Looks good, and a little different. As far as the documentary goes...looks like they got the green light from Salt Lake! Ha. But seriously, they had to talk to President Paulson and to an area authority, and with a few adjustments to fit Church policy, looks like this thing is going to work out. Nice! We have had 2 or 3 audio interviews at the church building, and my guess is they will follow us around in the next few weeks. They plan to spend about 4-5 hours per week with us, and they cannot record any conversation we have with investigators or contacts, but they can take pictures and just follow us around to be in our shoes. Fun, eh? Elder Dunn and I are both excited, but nervous at the same time. Yikes!

When baseball swings around, let me know about any news.

As far as "worldy things" goes, I heard about the new Camaro ZL1........are you serious? A member occassionally tells me car news, but I saw the headline for the Camaro when I was at McDonalds. 0-60 in 3.9?! That's as fast as a lambo. Sheesh. Things are a-changing. Elder Dunn thinks I should do something in the automotive world dealing with business. Who knows? I am gleaning ideas.

This upcoming week we get transfer calls. I expect to stay in Regina for a while, but you never know. Then again, you may know sooner than I.

Love you all,

Elder Galbraith

For P-day we went to the RCMP museum and took some pictures. I look pretty good in uniform, eh? Enjoy!

                              Still some TJ in there!