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

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