Monday, May 28, 2012

Return and report

Lots of things happened this past week. I will try to give you the rundown. Monday morning we helped someone move (more on that later) and then headed to Regina. Long uneventful ride--one of those that I am sure Grandpa Allred would have loved (on the plains facing the mountains). Arrived in Regina and had an exchange with the Lewvan Ward elders. Pause----if I haven't told you what Key Indicators are then let me tell you that an exchange is when I and my companion split and each go with one of the elders from another companionship...all this mission lingo----It was productive, but one of the elders is struggling and we did our best to help and consulted with President Paulson afterward. Tuesday morning was spent tracting in the rain with a fairly new missionary and we had some good success, especially for in the morning. After some seafood for lunch (serious) Elder Skinner and I departed to Saskatoon where we set up the Saskatoon Stake Center for Wednesday's Specialized Training. I accidentally got my hand pinned between the chair dolly and about 50 chairs and have a small scar to prove it. Doh. After getting some things set up, President Paulson and Sister Paulson arrived and we drove up to Prince Albert for a missionary fireside that night. President and Sister Paulson, myself and Elder Skinner shared our testimonies to a small group of members and nonmembers. It was really good and the Spirit was sure felt. After that, the 4 of us followed a member of the mission presidency out to his farm just outside of town and saw his elk! He "farms" elk and, with the help of a complex contraption, shaves their racks and sells them in China. Ya. He has something like 50 elk, and getting into the paddock (I called it) we drove up and parked in the rain while this member of the mission presidency got out and unlocked these big metal gates and rushed back into the car. He gunned it in the mud and we were just exploring in this elk paddock and got pretty close to the animals. Fun! Honestly, with the rain, mud and the big gates I felt like I was in Jurassic Park. Anyway, that night we drove back to Saskatoon and finished setting up for the Training and then went to a missionary's apartment for the night. That was Tuesday. Wednesday was full of surprises. The Training went well. We discussed how missionaries will now be using and creating profiles and spending a few hours each week using it. Ya. This starts immediately---I haven't created mine yet. The purpose it to help finding efforts because so many people use the internet now, so we will balance time between physical finding and computerized finding. Weird. I hope that missionaries will always be tracting. What a tool to help people like myself to look people in the eyes and shake someone's hand! Tracting is a pleasure and I welcome it--most of the time. Back to the addition to the profiles, we practiced boldly inviting people to be baptized and helping others to see how important baptism is, and to help them be on the same page sort of thing. Also, we set goals for Key Indicators, which I will explain a bit later. After the training and cleanup, I exchanged with another "young" missionary and we taught a crazy lady that really tested my charity. Afterwards, I was grateful for the experience because it caused me to really try to love everyone, even if they personally insulted me multiple times. Whatever, if that is what it takes to stand next to Christ, so be it. I share his message to the best of my ability. Thursday was a day full of exchanges and finding. I exchanged in my old area in Saskatoon, formerly called Kingsmere because there were 2 companionships in that ward, but now just called the ward name because of only 1 missionary set. Oh, it's the Wildwood Ward. That day went by pretty fast to be honest and I can't remember too much, other than I went to Institute that night with an investigator of the YSA Elders (on exchange with them) and I was really impressed by his testimony. He is preparing to be baptized in July but that may be bumped up because of how prepared he is. He notices that in other churches he has been in that he felt a tension there, but when he stepped inside of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he felt peaceful and welcome. He knew that peace was the Spirit testifying of truth. Wow. Oh, I do remember something very special that happened. That morning the missionary I was with and myself taught a lesson in the church. I saw that other people were here and I like to let people know that we are in the building, so I went to find them. I found them in the Family History Library and guess who I found: Sis. Harder. Oh, she is amazing and always has the Spirit around her. When she saw me we just both smiled. Ah. What a lady. Just after that appointment I felt like I needed to try to visit a Recent Convert, Linda, who was baptized when I served in Kingsmere. No one has been able to contact her for some time. We had some trouble finding her place, which was odd, because I am usually pretty good with directions. When we arrived no-one was home--it was about 3 after all. Slightly discouraged I wrote her a note on a sticky note and just as I was finished and I looked up I saw a car that was slowing down and looked to be turning into the driveway of the house I was at, and then it steered straight and accelerated, but in such a way that I could have missed the entire thing if I was not paying attention. I instantly had the impression that was Linda! The car continued straight down the street for a little while and then turned. I told the elder I was with to hop in the car and to take a roundabout way to find that car. We did and it was fun, like tracking someone down, but to no avail. We decided to drive by the house again and guess who was there in that very car we were looking for? Linda. She was outside looking at her garden and I burst out of the moving vehicle and said "Linda!" She turned and looked shocked to see me. We had developed a good bond and I think she was glad to see me. We talked and she mentioned she was not going to church, and as we talked I testified of the Atonement and the importance of the sacrament. She looked like she was in deep thought. I invited her to come out to church this week and she would not firmly commit, but did say she would give it serious thought. Again I testified. She was appreciative and I introduced the new elder who had never met her. It was a really good experience and everything lined up perfectly. If we had not have gotten slightly lost we would not have found her, if we had not stuck around nothing would have happened. Everything was guided by the Spirit. Good experience.  Ok, Friday. Friday we drove back down to Regina and spent the day with the YSA Elders there, so I got to spend time in my most recent area which was really neat because I saw Tom there. Tom was baptized the same day I saw Sis. Harder go to the temple. He could be doing better, but is ok. I get the feeling he is still finding out how the gospel works and how he can apply Christ's atonement to himself. I went finding a few places in the city and had an experience where, looking back, the Spirit was telling me that something was wrong, but I only recognized it at the time that the Spirit was trying to communicate something to me. It was nothing that endangered me in any way, but just something was wrong with someone I was with. I really like the 3 major cities in this mission. Each has its own beauty. Saturday was spent traveling and a brief exchange in Brandon, MB and a short stint at Stake Conference Saturday night in Winnipeg where I saw a few members from Kenora, including a Bro. Wickham, whom I really admire. He and I had a good embrace. Seeing some of those people again got me so excited that I felt like I was returning to the city itself. Sunday was full of meetings. Stake Conference, where we had 4 Chinese investigators come and I sat between the 4 of them. They could only understand bits and pieces so I would lean over and tell them more about what was being taught, then I would lean to the other side and explain the same thing. The same thing happened during the songs, where I would sing for a line or 2 facing one side, then rotate to the other so they could have a sense of how to sing the song. I really love having those opportunities to do that. Oh, I worry that they are getting everything they can out of the meeting. Good times. Later in the evening we accompanied the Zone Leaders of the Manitoba Zone to go over Missionary Stake Progress with the Stake President and President Paulson. After that was what is called the Canada Winnipeg Mission Fireside and the topic was Endure to the End. At these firesides a missionary couple gives Spirit-filled talks. They are always good and happen the last Sunday of every month.

So, was that a long enough paragraph for you? My week has been really tiring, can't you tell? Just a couple more things.

The member we helped move on Monday was in desperate need of help. He had asked for help a number of Sundays in a row before the actual day only to have about 2 people solidly committed to coming. Elder Skinner and I both decided that we needed to help this family move and miss out on part of our p-day. He needed it and I WANTED to help him move. What the...? I have gone and helped people move, but never WANTED to go out of my way and help them move, but I did and I felt great afterward. Another testimony of service. Do it.

Key Indicators are really called "Key Indicators for Conversion" and we keep track of Key Indicators weekly. There are about 11 Indicators we track in this mission. I think 11 or so is what the world measures. Key Indicator reports are sent in worldwide to Salt Lake every week. Some especially important Key Indicators that are reported are Baptismal Dates per area, how many investigators were at Sacrament Meeting, New Investigators and Total Lessons. We have mission standards for these Indicators and I can show you all of mine from day 1 of my mission to the end after the mission. They help me see what I did well at certain points in my mission and things I can improve upon. To say the least, most people have no idea how much detail goes into this Work.

That's it for now, I'm tired after writing this novel. Love ya,

Elder Galbraith

Monday, May 21, 2012

On the road (again)

Is 31C (about 87F) hot enough? Absolutely it is.

The weather is warming up here and Elder Skinner and I are finding. Oh, and it rained like I have never seen it rain before. Absolute downpour and Shaftesbury Blvd was under at least 6" of water--sorry, don't know that in cm. The road was like a river. The rain, coupled with the thunder and lightning was really neat. I love rain. I also like thunder if there is no wind. But...finding. This past week we also had ZLC (Zone Leader Conference), which went well. Elder Skinner and I gave a portion on being bold in missionary work and we practiced extending a baptismal date on Pres. Paulson. The practice was on being bold by establishing our purpose (why we were there and why we were extending BD), being direct in our statements, looking people in the eye (which normal people do not do, fyi...very interesting) We then had the Zone Leaders practice on President. It was productive.
I appreciate the email you sent with the quotes and everything. I was just curious where you found all those quotes. Must have taken you a little while to type that out!

I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but during our phone call last week I remember you mentioning a few random things like Mitt Romney and other things, I am remember thinking, "Don't you want to hear about how the mission is doing? Do you want to know Key Indicator trends? Do you want to hear more stories?" Looking back after that, I remember thinking that I definitely am thinking like a missionary now. Ha.

I have been learning more Chinese phrases. I now know how to say "I know the Book of Mormon is true" in Mandarin. I know words for Book of Mormon, Bible, Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, faith and a few more. I can't write it at all, but can sure try to say it. A few Chinese people say that I am pretty good. I taught a Chinese family on the weekend that were really exciting! Sam, 19, and Terrance, 14, let us come in last Saturday. We taught them the basics of how to come to know if God is there and gave them copies of the Book of Mormon. We invited them to read daily, and to pray often. Their mom who was in the background, would smile and then  say that she has her own church. Fast forward to this previous Saturday. Sam and Terrance both read and prayed most days, but not all. Their mom was again in the background making breakfast and she would go off about something in Chinese and then the boys would translate occasionally. When we asked the boys how their reading went, she said (through Sam who translated) that she had read every day and felt very peaceful, and brave as she read it! Ya! She then came over and pinched a clump of pages together that were something like an 1/8 of an inch together and said she had read that much and that the vision of the Tree of Life was her favorite. I had the biggest smile! While Elder Skinner and I are gone, this family will go on a church tour with a member and another missionary companionship. They were excited to go and will be going on Thursday. After the lesson the family invited Elder Deeble and I (we were on exchanges and Elder Deeble and his companion will take the family on the church tour) to eat dumplings with them. They gave us chopsticks. Oh...I still struggle with those things. We laughed about how inept I was and they gave me a fork. Ha. I didn't use it though, I "manned" it out and used the chopsticks to the end. Terrance laughed and said that he struggles using a fork. A fork seems so easy...

I wanted to share a quick scripture with you that stuck out to me this week. I am in Alma in my Book of Mormon reading and recently read Alma 37, and verse 43 stuck out to me. Alma is teaching his son Helaman to rely upon the Lord in all things and uses the example of the Liahona (a compass for those not familiar) that guided Nephi and his family as they were faithful. This Liahona did not guide the family when they were disobedient. In verse 43: "And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even it is with things which are spiritual." I would also like to add in verse 45: "And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following  its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise." Verse 43 sets the stage for verse 45 and how the words of Christ will lead us back to Him and God the Father. In verse 43 what pressed upon my mind was the connection between temporal obedience and spiritual obedience. When we outwardly do what is right it makes it so much easier to be spiritually healthy, but when we are not obeying temporally we cannot be healthy spiritually. A simple principle, but the scriptures reconfirmed it to me.

Anyway, I sure love you all. I need to run. Have fun, be safe, and keep the commandments!

Elder Galbraith

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mothers' Day

Didn't I just talk to you? Eh, I like you so much that I'll fire an email off to you today too.

I laughed that Kim noticed my pronunciation of tomorrow, because I have been saying since the beginning of my mission. I have picked up a few Canadianisms. It was great to see you yesterday over Skype. You both seem upbeat and positive.

I will try to include a little more about my specific area than I have been. I don't spend as much time proselyting as I used to because of being in the Office, so sometimes I just tell you how things are going on a mission-level. But, I already told you that my teaching pool is full of exciting Chinese people and gave you all the updates. I am meeting with Gui again on Thursday night. She does not speak one word of English but she feels the Spirit as we teach and was impressed to see 2 young guys out sharing God's word. She said (through the member who translated) that "their message must be true". It is so rewarding to hear that, because all day everyday I spend my efforts trying to give others the chance to accept the Restored gospel. The Spirit confirms truth when they say that. Like I said yesterday, I feel that I am getting better at recognizing the Spirit. Not perfect yet, but I feel improvement is good, right?

While waiting for the reports to come in last night I watched a few Mormon Messages on and a few of the new Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos on too. Wow. I love those videos! They are so compelling and bring the Spirit so strongly, how could someone NOT feel the Spirit watching either set of those videos? I wanted to suggest a couple of Mormon Messages to you--or as some Manitobans say, to yous (ugh)-- "Sanctify Yourselves", which is Elder Holland speaking to Priesthood holders, and "Same Jersey" which is about 2 friends who end up both being QBs but for rival high schools. The neat part about the second video is that Elder Woods (my trainer) is from a town that is 1 or 2 miles away from those high schools. Both clips are about 5 minutes long. A quote from Elder Holland's message: "let us stand as witnesses of Christ at all times...and not in the flush of comfortable times." I liked that a lot because I feel very strongly that there are times when we really need to stand for what we believe, and that it is not easy. At times like that we internally can ask ourselves, "how committed to Christ am I?" That reminds me of Pres. Monson's talk "Dare to Stand Alone". Oh, love it!

That is about it for now. This upcoming week is what is called ZLC where the Zone Leaders from MB and SK come in and we review a few mission reports and discuss progress and possible training for the future. Elder Skinner and I are preparing a portion on being bold. This past week we took a couple of all-star missionaries to the airport as their 2 years were up. It was a difficult good-bye. Possibly one of the hardest parts about being up here is forming bonds with people and then not seeing them for a while. But that is life, right? I extend my love to those that I have taught out here and those I have come into contact with.

I love you all. Look for opportunities to share the gospel. The world needs it.

Elder Galbraith

Attached is a picture of me taking Elders Mansfield (Stafford, England) and Rothey (Denver, CO and going to BYU---apparently was in a class I had) to the airport. Great missionaries.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Happy birthday!

 Ok, well today has been fun. I'm surprised that Mom guessed I would golf for my birthday. Yup, I went to the range. Budget clubs, so nothing pretty, but still fun. P-Day activity is at 10:30 and I managed to play a bit of piano before activity, then played dodgeball for an hour---SO fun---then played a game of basketball and then volleyball. Be scared Laney. Today has been good. The senior missionaries in the Office made me a "Happy Birthday" poster and Elder Skinner made a caramel ice cream pie. Oh, did I mention that I had a pleasant surprise when I came home yesterday? With the help of Sister Poulton, a senior missionary in the office, Auntie Susan left a birthday cake on my table in the Office! They left a card and I had happy butterflies in my stomach. That's the best way I know how to describe it. Thank you so much Auntie Susan! I got a cake and a pie, what's better than that?!

Thank you Mom and Dad for the pictures you sent! That was a neat little thing. How did you make it? You both look really good in it. My favorite of you 2 was on the front. Momma and Daddy Galbraith. The talk you sent to me at the same time as the card is unique. I actually had read that talk a couple of Saturdays ago to prepare myself for the sacrament the next day at church. I think that the talk really helped me to focus my mind and I think that was the same sacrament meeting that I received pertinent personal revelation. I recommend that all people read it to prepare for the sacrament.  At Fast and Testimony Meeting yesterday we sang hymn #139 and the 2nd verse stuck out to me. It reads: 

Thru this small sacrifice, may we
Recall that strength and life each day
Are sacred blessings sent from thee--
Fill us with gratitude, we pray

It was a small reassurance to me that through sacrifices--small or large--we can draw closer to God, and that strength and life are blessings each day. Again, the concept that the absence of "clutter", or illness or evil, whatever, can all be blessings. While waiting for the mission reports to come in Sunday night I browsed new "Life of Jesus Christ" videos on and the Mormon Messages on Wow. Talk about a spiritual experience. I love those! One of the Mormon Messages was especially touching. It was called "Opportunities to do Good" . It talked about a family in Seattle (!) and how neighbors and church members came together to support this family in need. I was sobbing, I will admit. I just felt the love of those people and the gratitude of the family in need for all the help they were receiving. From another Mormon Message: "hearkening to the voise of the living God will bring peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come. There are the greatest of all the gifts of God." (James E. Faust). I challenge all of you to watch at least 1 of these moving videos every day. Go to and click on Mormon Messages on the main page.

Transfer Planning was an enjoyable experience. A lot more goes into it than I originally thought, and likely more than you realize. That's for another time. Transfer Meeting is this week and we have been preparing for it since Wednesday. Travel arrangements are simple, but so time-consuming to get perfect! I also was doing kilometer allotments and preparing for a Mission President's Counsel (?) meeting, and doing a Stake Coordination Meeting, and Zone Leader Council programs and Specialized Training programs for Manitoba and Saskatchewan and ALL of those meeting's material and programs to go with them and updating the Mission Calendar and preparing for an Office Staff Meeting, the Farewell Fireside for the departing missionaries, coming up with transfer goals and new planners, preparing the invitations to the Canada Winnipeg Mission Fireside...that covers most of it. In a couple of weeks we will be heading out to SK. There is a lot to do, to say the least. I enjoy it.

That is about all I have time for now. I'm sorry about not getting letters out to really anyone. I am running especially low on free time and with a new mission president coming in in June and a new AP coming in at the same time, I have a lot to prepare for and things don't look to be slowing down--ever. But never say never. I look forward to the challenge. Love you all!

Elder Galbraith

Looks like he still has lots of energy!