Well...I'm sitting down in an office chair on the main level of the Mission Office listening to the hum of the A/C. There were deer outside earlier as we washed and waxed our Cruze. Go figure...those creatures love me. Took a shower and now I am sitting down. Just sitting down. Imagine that--time to stop and "smell the roses". Lots of great things happened this week and lots of interesting changes to be made this upcoming week---transfer planning. Not just that, but neither Elder Deeble nor Pres. Thomas have done this before, so this will be interesting. The calm before the storm. No need to worry, I will remind Pres. Thomas that anything Elder Deeble or I say is a matter of suggestion and that he is the Lord's chosen in this matter. It will be interesting to see how all of this planning will play out. I remember some of the companionships last transfer were discussed and one or 2 were sudden inspiration to Pres. Paulson. The more I look at this upcoming transfer the bigger and more complex it will be. 10 more missionaries coming in, after the 13 that came 5 weeks ago, and some of the 13 will need new trainers due to changes in missionary leadership (new district leaders, zone leaders, etc.). Wow. Keep Pres. Thomas in your prayers if you would.
This past week is a blur. Up to Saskatoon, down to Regina and back. Our poor car is sure getting taxed! Elder Deeble and I were present at the interviews that missionaries have with Pres. Thomas (where we have a part and do mini-interviews with the missionaries) and went on exchanges with the elders up there. Exchanges went well and so did Zone Conference. It was extremely spirit-filled. Pres. Walton from Regina, and a member of the CWM Presidency, spoke on humility and it was very tactful and powerful. After Pres. Walton, Pres. Robertson (Saskatoon Stake President) spoke on acting immediately on revelation. He said that personal revelation has a "shelf life", which made me uneasy at first. Then he went on to describe that sometimes revelation must be acted upon immediately, while other times revelation has a wider applicable time. With that in mind, I warmed up to his description. Yes, personal revelation does have a "shelf life" in that some may be applicable for weeks, while some must be acted upon at the moment. Both talks were superb. Then we had our portion and it went very well. I think missionaries’ eyes were opened, in that we must all do a better job of clearly explaining what the baptismal covenant is and what they must do to be ready to make that covenant. You would be surprised by how many people will commit to being baptized but how many will not keep commitments. More on that in person. The practice session as part of our portion went well. The remainder of the meeting was spirit-filled, especially right before the testimony portion of the meeting. As customary, the departing missionaries share their testimonies and as I patiently waited my turn (I was last of 3) I had lots of flashbacks of spiritual highs. My heart was beating at a billion kilometers an hour (ha) and even with that I felt a sense of peace. When it was my turn I got up and shared some thoughts that I thought would help the missionaries. I started by saying that I envied them because they were the ones staying for next Zone Conference and not me. I always thought departing missionaries were cliche when they would say things like that, but I meant it. I went on but I feel like my thoughts helped some of the missionaries there. I stared at one particular missionary, who is contemplating going home, square in the eyes and said that not serving the full 24 months when able to do so would be a great loss. It's true. A modern prophet has clearly declared that every able-bodied young man should serve a mission and that young women's service is greatly welcomed--does not leave much wiggle-room, does it? But, as with all things, we are to receive a personal spiritual witness before embarking. My spiritual witness that helped me recognize that I needed to serve a mission was completely undeniable. I KNEW more than anything else I had ever known before that serving a mission was exactly what God wanted me to do. Though I saw no vision, powerful joyful feelings overcame me for a long time. That prayer was probably the longest prayer I have ever uttered. Back to where I was--I did my best to help that missionary. I hope he does something with it. Of course I share responsibility to help all missionaries stay out. I am thankful to missionaries that helped inspire me.
While in Saskatoon I saw a good old friend. Any guesses? Sister Harder. Oh, she is amazing. She had me over for supper and asked me to give her a blessing afterwards. A quick jaunt--Michael asked me how often I have been able to be involved in Priesthood ordinances and blessings and the answer is as often as possible. I keep track in the back of a journal of how many I have been involved in and who was involved. I will not tell you how many I have been involved in now because I do not want to come across as bragging, so I will tell you in due time. Just bring it up and I will tell you in person. Back to Sis. Harder--she is doing so well. She has the missionaries over at least once a week and attends the temple every other week or so. She is stalwart! She definitely has the Spirit about her. That is what happens when someone receives a witness from God, acts on it and maintains a living testimony. Ha, she loves me. She still has pictures of me on her wall.
I got home from SK and guess who I heard from? Well, Pres. Thomas was down in I-Falls doing temple recommend interviews (yes, he traveled there after doing Zone Conference) and interviewed none other than Mike Wilcox. So...Mike mentioned the missionaries that taught him and Pres. Thomas gave me a call right on the spot. I got to talk with "Big Mike" Wilcox! He is so happy and said that ever since he met Elder Bodily and I, his life has only gotten better. Wow it is rewarding to hear that. I got to talk to him for a few minutes and then he had to go, but he was getting a recommend to go through the temple! He will be receiving his endowment sometime this week! Wow! To best express my emotion let me quote D&C 18:15-16:"And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" What a feeling. Again, it is the Holy Spirit who did the converting, but I certainly was an instrument in God's hand and I feel fulfilled knowing that I helped someone come closer to Christ.
Speaking of converts...I met Edilyn this week. Remember her? She lives in Winnipeg, in the Gateway ward, my first ward. She was so happy to see me and I was so excited to see her! Ha...I was on exchange with a new elder serving in the Gateway ward who has been going through a rough time. We had an appointment that did not work out so we went to try to find her new place nearby. Guess who was there? I am not trying to elevate myself by saying this, but the best way I can describe her when she saw me was like she had just won the lottery. We visited inside for a little while and talked. I invited her to do a few things that will continue to help her spiritual progression. She gave the elders the names of a few families to visit. The whole experience was really beneficial to the new elder who is excited to find someone just like her. I promised him that people are waiting. I have no doubt that people are there. I feel he walked away with an added desire to find, teach and baptize.
You remember Irene from Kenora? She just got her Patriarchal Blessing yesterday. All of these miraculous things are happening at once, isn't it amazing?!
You asked about which hymns I may want when in Seattle. Top pick: 251) Behold a Royal Army.Love that song. It is the mission hymn and I love it. Other good ones that I love are 98) I Need Thee Every Hour, 101) Guide Me to Thee, and 223) Have I Done Any Good? You may have to pick from those because I sure cannot. So, 251 and another one of those. Speaking of that day, you may have to invite some family (Aunt Janette and Uncle Bill, Auntie Sharon...) to it because I do not have any time. It sounds like a terrible excuse, but I am running a hundred miles an hour and do not even have time to sleep. Oh, did I say that? This may be my only email. Please, and thank you.
Mike--I hope it is ok that I am sending a box or 2 to your place that I can pick up when we swing through.
Kim--in my Book of Mormon reading I came across a scripture that had me instantly think of you and maintaining an eternal perspective, even in difficult times: Mormon 8:22. Look it up. I love you big sister, hang in there. Just because I may not write my family often does not mean that I am not mindful of you!
I am so excited for Dad and his new calling. Way to go Dad with the neighbors! By small and simple things...you mentioned that you both had to give talks on adversity in church. Well...seems like the Galbraith family has had their share recently. Use your experiences to try to lift others. Way to be.
Mom, I have had something for you for your birthday for about a month and was going to send it off this week but I may just stick it in the box to Mike's place. You will have to wait and see, but I have something for you that you will like.
I love you all, over and out.
Right to left is myself, Elder Perkins (who I trained), Elder Tanner (who Elder Perkins trained) and Elder Erickson (from Cardston, who Elder Tanner is training). In the mission we call it a generation photo.
With Elder Bodily (companion in International Falls)
I forgot to mention that Jessica and her family came to church! She wanted us to come in the morning to wake the kids up because they are better when others are around. So...we asked about airhorns...she said "perfect". So...we woke her kids up with airhorns...and they came to church and loved it. Need I say more? So that is what the airhorns are in the picture.