Monday, 19 January 2015

The One with Googly Eyes and Hitchhikers

Hey y'all (I don't even say y'all so why is it my intro?)

So this was another pretty great week in the NCCM full of some wild experiences both hilarious and spiritual, and often both. So I'll pick up where I left off last week. P day was extremely uneventful. Cleaning and grocery shopping. Nothing fancy. That night we were supposed to meet with Aaron but he had to cancel on us so we were going to try and meet with Cody. He is a recent convert who got baptized at the same time as his friend Tyler. They were both introduced to the gospel by a returned missionary named Peter who is the most solid guy and has the most fantastic family ever. We were going to drop by his house which is like a two minute walk from our house but we noticed he wasn't home so we texted him and asked where
he was and it turns out he was with Tyler at #1 Fugi  (the delicious Japanese place) so we drove there and taught them. 'Twas grand.  We just taught about agency and how we all make choices that either bring us closer to, or further away, from God.

So Tuesday was zone meeting which was a hoot and a half. We thought we got there an hour early and were surprised by how many people were there. It turns out that we ended up getting there just in time so at least we didn't miss anything. The assistants were there. Lenoirganton also coordinated colors so we all wore something blue. I got to meet some fun people and we took some gems of pictures. There were two
trainings. One by our sister training leaders (the ones from our district) and the other by the others set in the zone. Our STLs are pretty chill and taught nicely.

After zone meeting Elder Bishop and Elder Dortch did a hostage exchange and I ended up going back to Morganton with Elder Bishop. Man was that a fun twenty-four hours. Oh my gosh the first thing we did was go to chik-fil-a which may just be the most delicious thing ever. Period.  We were starving after zone meeting which ran from like 10-1. We had a dinner appointment that night where we taught an investigator at a members home. It's actually one of the Morganton sister’s investigators but she was there so we taught her anyway. The family was such a riot and the one daughter gave me the biggest compliment I have receive on my missionary so far. It was, "when I first saw you I thought you were going to be really stuck up, but you weren’t". That touched my heart. After that we went to see another investigator who has such potential. He has a wife and kids so they could all share the gospel together
which would be wonderful.

So Wednesday morning for workout we went to the church gym to meet with the Morganton sisters. They strangest thing is their gym is carpeted. It's not hard wood but carpet. Freaked me right out. We played some half hearted basketball and hacky sack. That was a lot of fun. We made some phone calls then drove back to Lenoir.

After we reunited after the exchange we went out to Burger King. That's when I learned of the the horrible exchange in Lenoir. All five teaching visits we had lined up for them either cancelled or didn't show up. I don't know why this is such a problem for people. On the bright side Elder Dortch got to take Elder March tracting for the first time.

I also had my first near death experience this week. We were over at the home of Sister Hagen, a less active member who I love to death, doing some service. So picture this. Elder Galvin, standing on the top of a tall ladder, on extremely uneven ground, in full proselyting outfit, pouring a thirty pound rusty can of kerosene into a tank. We then went inside and taught a wonderful lesson. Thankfully kerosene washes out.

I also got Elder Dortch to do a regrettable thing. So we were at Warlords because Elder Dortch wanted some more magic cards. While we were there one of the guys who works there offered this huge box of cards for only $50. When I say huge I mean there is eight to ten thousand cards in this box. He hummed over it for a while because he went in planning to purchase about $10 worth of cards. The guy said he'd throw them in for free if he bought the box. Being the awful person I am, as soon as Elder Dortch was about to say “no" I told him that I'd give him $20 towards it. Long story short we now have a box full of 10000 Magic cards in our apartment. We have been spending the evenings sorting through them all which is so much fun because I absolutely love to sort things. That alone was worth the $20.

So I've had this feeling that we need to do a member missionary work Fireside for about a week now and I finally vocalized it. Elder Dortch and the sisters agreed so we went out to lunch one day to talk about it. We went to this place called Fatz cafe which is so delicious. We almost converted the waitress.  She did seem genuinely interested and has had fairly decent contact with the church before and has even
attended sacrament meeting in the past. We're going to have the Sisters add her on Facebook and see what happens. Since one of our big focuses is on finding right now, we had the Sisters teach us how to more effectively fake shop, so we went to Walmart and boy do I have some

Fake shopping story. So Sister Leishman approaches an older man in one of those electric scooter shopping carts and asks him about the oats he is buying. Long story short, the Sisters end up talking to him, I teach a lesson to his helper, we place a Book of Mormon, and the man sings to us. Yes, he literally sang two verses of a hymn with Sister Leishman helping with the chorus in the middle of Walmart. He also told us about how he served in the war and how he went fishing with a cannibal in New Guinea. Fun fact. Apparently black people and white people both taste the same. Racism is stupid. Mike drop.

We had Maximina for dinner again that night so we got to talk with Aaron and teach him. He's progressing spiritually though not technically because of his failed stop smoking lesson. Oh well we'll get it one day.
We did go fake fake shopping one day because we needed a few things and while we were there I bought “Avengers" notebooks for all of Lenoir district. But while we were talking to a lady in the craft isle something caught my eye. A 94 cent package of Googly eyes. I knew I was receiving some inspiration because I quickly bought them. When we got home that night I glued the Googly eyes to the avengers faces in the notebooks. It's quite hilarious. One of better moments if I'm being honest.

The rest of the week was pretty much a lot of the same stuff with no crazy stories so I'll skip to yesterday and it's miracle.

So while one of our less active members William was driving to church he felt prompted to pull over and talk to this guy walking down the side of the road. This mans name is Henry. So Henry tells William that his truck is in the shop so he can't go to church like he wanted to, so he was just walking to the store. Williams tells him that he's going to church and offers to take him there and he does. Long story short Henry loved church, actively participated in class, and wants to meet with us.

Another crazy thing happened tonight. So Elder Dortch and I are just eating some food at the apartment when all of the sudden the phone rings with a different ring tone then I'm used to. I think nothing of it but Elder Dortch just freaks out. It turns out that it was President Craven’s ring tone. So he asks us what we're doing that night and we told him not much because our appointment cancelled. He then tells us he'll be at the church in an hour and wants to meet with us. So we hang up and just sit there in shock for a moment. We then proceed to rapidly clean up everything, shine our shoes and shave our necks so we look as good as we can. We had interviews at the church and they went so well. He is such a great man.

Love ya,
Elder Galvin

My District at Zone Conference

Elder Bishop and I

Notebook with the Googly Eyes (Sorry its the wrong way but you get the idea)How Awesome does this look??

Thursday, 15 January 2015

The One With Miracles and Fake Shopping

I am serving in the Lenoir Ward. It was just upgraded? from a branch
like two weeks before I got there. We share the ward with a set of
sisters. The ward has about 140 members now because they crushed it
with missionary work last year. Their initial goal was to have 6
baptisms into the ward but by the end of the year they had doubled and
exceeded that goal with 13 baptisms. A lot of the ward members are
converts so they have such a fire for missionary work which is great
but I doesn't change how tough of an area it is for missionary work.
The members are amazing and I love them all. I have met some wonderful
people and had such great times at the homes of members. 

So our district name is Lenoirganton. I love my district so much I
can't even describe it. We also have a zone meeting once a transfer
and it's on Tuesday so stay tuned for that. I'm also doing an exchange
after zone meeting which I'm both excited about and annoyed because
things are really moving along here and I don't want to be taken away from
that. I'll be going to Morganton with our district leader a Elder
Bishop who is a great guy and really fun.

So after district meeting this week we had a district lunch at this
place called cookout. Is a super cheap super greasy super tasty
southern fast food place that has the best milkshakes. The milkshakes
are so thick that you can't use a straw you have to use a spoon. We we
crammed all eight of us into a booth at cookout and had some southern
food and milkshakes. I tried hush puppies for the first time, oh baby
they are delish. It's basically a fried cornbread ball. The best thing
to be honest.

I have a great and improving relationship with my companion. The fact we are
such opposites personality wise is actually such a blessing because we
can relate to such a wide spectrum of people.  I've been watching
Mormon messages during breakfast which is a really bad idea because I
always cry and Elder Dorcth walks down the stairs into the room like
what is wrong with you.  Side note, if you want a good
cry watch the Mormon message 'Enduring Love'. I had to turn away
because I would have sobbed. I'm a loser I get it. Also we can watch
Johnny Lingo and I conservatively estimate that elder Dortch has
watched it 735 times since I've arrived.

So my last email ended off after P-Day had just started. I then
proceeded to scrub and clean everything because to be honest I have
never seen more disgusting toilets in my life, most of my grocery bill
was cleaning supplies. I have already started taking magic erasers to
the walls because of the gratuitous amounts of markings on the them. The
shower is going to need another scrub down today because I wasn't able
to get all the soap scum off in one session. I will be bleaching the
toilets today as well. And the crazy thing is is that this is the
nicest apartment my companion has been in. I'm not even going to
bother with the carpets they are nasty but beyond anything I can do to
them. I'd love to fill the marks in the wall and paint but it's really
not worth it. So I'll clean the kitchen and bathrooms since those
are the most pressing and commonly used things, and pray I don't get
transferred to a nasty apartment.

We did our grocery shopping and also went to a place called Bo's with
our district. We bowled for two hours and it was so much fun. We
wanted to do laser tag but that opened at four and it would have been
too late for all of us to get everything done. We went to Walmart
after then got driven home by Aaron, one of our investigators, who is
the son of Maximina, a recent convert who cooks the best food. She's
from Panama and oh baby can she cook.

Now the rest of the week I did missionary work which is really
uneventful for the most part but I'll share some stories.

We did some service for Maximina where we went with an inactive member
to pick up some wood he had chopped for her to heat her home. He is
crazy and hangs out with a kid half his age from Guatemala who is
actually interested in the church but the two of them together are
crazy and they call everyone my friend. Tony is the inactive members
name and he is a crazy driver. Put it this way. At a few points we
were reversing in his car across a highway. But he reassured us that
if we died at least we'd go to heaven. Comforting right.

We did a bit of fake shopping this week which is a great finding
method. You basically walk around Walmart and talk to people. We have
taught some lessons and got return appointments from it. We also have
done it at one of those nerdy card shops like that place in the
corner of chinook mall. It's really effective in places like that
because the people there are looking to talk so you just transition
form whatever to the gospel. I also did some tracting which proved a
lot more successful than elder Dortch or I thought it would be which
is great.

I'm going to talk about Aaron now. He is our miracle and I really hope
that we can help him. So to give some background he has met with
missionaries in the past but nothing has ever happened with it. His
mom just got baptized last May. Her name is Maximina, I've mentioned
her before, she's great I love her. So we were meeting with Maximina
and Aaron was driving us home so as we were finishing up he came out
to take us home. In our talk he expressed desires to quit smoking. So,
since the church has a really effective stop smoking program, we
decided that we'd teach it to him. So the next day, Saturday, we taught
Aaron the stop smoking lesson. He has really come a long way in being
softened by the spirit that I can't really do it justice over email.
He even agreed to come to church the next day which he did. I don't think
I can express how much that is a progression for him. He is realizing
that his life isn't that great and the church can help. This is a
person who has never been to the church before ever and is now at
church! The talks were inspired in my opinion because they were
exactly what he needed to hear. We went over to his house last night
and we taught him a lot about God and who he is and how he can help
us. He is really coming to understand God's love for him and how the
atonement can help him. I even got to extend my first baptismal
commitment and he said yes! We didn't set a date because he has a lot
of repenting to do but I feel like we will get there eventually. It
was such a powerful moment for me and the mission is full of so many I
can't write it all down.

Hope everybody has a great next week, I know I will.

Love ya, Elder Galvin

This is my apartment and bedroom. 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The One With David Archuleta and The Magic Pop Machines

Monday January 5, 2015
Hey y'all 

The highlight of my MTC experience came on Sunday. We had a Sunday night devotional as always and the speakers/musical numbers were the primary organist to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Richard Elliot, and David Archuleta! It was David Archuleta's birthday so we sang to him. Richard Elliot played some amazing organ solos and David Archuleta sang beautifully. I may have cried, just saying. I finished up my packing that night and set my alarm for 2:30am. 

Monday was a long crazy day of traveling. We said our goodbyes and headed down to the travel office where we checked in, put our bags in a moving van, and loaded up on a bus headed to the airport. The airport was fun. It seemed like I was the only person in the travel group that had ever been on a plane because every one else was struggling hard to figure out how to print a boarding pass. 

Our flights were uneventful. Our "layover" in Atlanta was more of a sprint over for three reasons. One, our gates that we landed in and where we departed from were on opposite side of the airport and two, ATL is the biggest airport I have ever been in by far and three, our first plane landed at the same time our second one was boarding. We had to take a train in the airport to get there on time. 

We got picked up in Charlotte by President and Sister Craven and the Assistants. President is super nice and Sister Craven is super short and sweet. Again, we loaded our bags in a trailer and drove to the mission home. There we had dinner of barbecued pork, cole slaw, beans, and Mac and cheese. It was delicious. After that we had a question and answer session talking about the mission and missionary life. Then we went back to the Assistants apartment to sleep. 

Funny story. So Elder Ashby must have stepped in dog poo on the way into the apartment and, since most American people don't take their shoes off, ended up tracking it all through the apartment and had to scrub it out of the carpet. That night I slept in a room with Elder Ashby, Seely, Craig and Clarke. It was a lot of fun. 

The next day was spent at the mission office doing paperwork, taking pictures, safety stuff and getting our iPads. Fun fact. Since it's technically still in the trial period I don't have to pay for one and its brand new. Thank you tithing. During transfer meeting all the missionaries leaving got up and bore their testimonies. Then they called new district zone and sister training leaders and assigned transfers. Then the put us with our trainers. Drum roll please. My trainer is Elder Dortch and I'm serving in the Lenoir ward. Our address is in Hudson which is a small town just south of Lenoir but our area services the entire Caldwell county. 

There are eight missionaries in our district, a set of elders and a set of sisters in Lenoir and a set of elders and a set of sisters in Morganton. Elder Dortch and myself are in Lenoir along with Sister Grace and Sister Leishman (Sister Leishman is from High River, crazy right! But she left for her mission from Texas). The sisters in Morganton are Sister Training Leaders and our district leader is Elder Bishop and he's training an Elder Marsh who flew out with me. 
A bit about my companion. He is from Idaho and, and has been serving for just under a year which actually means six months because you are actually supposed to say that you've been serving for just under a year whenever anybody asks you how long you've been serving. If you been serving a week or are going home in a week you've been 'serving for just under a year'. Weird right?

We left with the Lenoir Sisters back to Lenoir. Sister Dancey drove us. It's about two hours north and a bit west of Charlotte. Our bikes were just sitting in the van. She has a wheelchair access van so they stood up in that big open space. We ended up eating at a place called #1 Fuji and it was pretty tasty. We were supposed to meet with an investigator at the church but it got cancelled.

New Year's Eve was great. We walked over and taught a recent convert. Our purpose was basically to convince him not to get a tattoo. We went to Walmart after lunch and bought bedding and whatnot.

We tried to go over to teach our investigator again but instead taught his recent convert mom as he was sleeping. After that we had to go home because it was New Year's Eve and we could not be out after 7:00pm. 

Because I have a lot to do I'm going to summarize the week quick. We did missionary work. Taught people, had too many people cancel or not be their when we showed up. Did service. Had dinner appointments one of which was at Wendy's because the members family was sick. That's where I discovered these magical pop machines.  When you touch a button on a touch screen for the drink you want it then gives you the option to add a flavour. So I had vanilla coke zero. 

I will tell you of one really great experience I had. We were struggling to find people to teach. We were calling so many people. Both previous investigators and other people we've found. We had no success. So we said a prayer and literally thirty seconds after some one called us back and we set up an appointment to teach them. Miracles happen. Prayer works. The church is true. Need I say more? 

Love y'all

Elder Galvin

The One Where I Sit 157 Away From An Apostle!

Saturday, December 27, 2014
Hey Y'all (so Southern it hurts),

This has been such a crazy week and I've learned so much!  I had to bring my journal with me so I could remember all the things I’ve done. I’ll start with Sunday the 21st. 

So on Sunday we had sacrament meeting with our Branch, which is really made up of just our zone (comprised of my district and the other district). Our Branch President's name is President Mosher, and his councillors are Brother Harris and Brother Peck, they are all really nice and really funny.  Well the Saturday night before, Brother Harris came to our residence to visit everyone and asked if I had my talk prepared (we were all told to prepare a talk on the weekly topic, for example last weeks was baptism, then be prepared to share it if called upon on Sunday). Well as soon as he asked me, I had a feeling I was going to end up speaking and guess what…I got asked to talk. It went well, but the biggest benefit from speaking in church last Sunday,is not having to worry about being called on to speak this Sunday. 

Sunday evening Elder Greenburg and I went to a choir practice to practice a song we thought we would sing at the Christmas devotional. The song were learned was so amazing and was called “While Shepherds Lately Knelt”.  It is written so well and the words are probably the best words to a Christmas song ever, but that’s just my opinion. Well on Tuesday (the day before Christmas) we had our second practice and ran through the song again,  but Brother Agate, the choir director, told us that the special guest who would be present at the Christmas devotional wanted us to sing a different song, so we ended up singing “While Shepherds Lately Knelt” that night for the tuesday night devotional attended by Bishop Gary E. Stevenson!!!.  We then had to stay late after the devotional to learn another amazing song, “Precious Saviour, Dear Redeemer” that we had to sing the next day.  That was so difficult but we somehow managed to learn it.  So we sang that at the Christmas devotional where Elder Russell M Nelson came to speak to us. 

I realized I forgot to say who else was in our zone. My district is 1A and the other district is 1B. They have three sisters (Sisters Lyons, Tenney and Allen) that are going to Wisconsin, as well as an Elder Thatcher who is going to Wisconsin. The other Elders (Shumway, Hauter, and Dalton) are going to Rancho Cucamonga Mission in California. 

I met with a TRC investigator named Theo (these are Non-LDS students who meet with missionaries at the MTC as part of their Religion classes).  He is the coolest dude ever and i got to teach him with my companion. It was such a blast to get to know him and was such a testimony builder of how much you can come to love people you have never met before. It was so disappointing to have to stop meeting with him (due to the holidays) but hopefully my companion (who is staying longer than me) will be able to keep teaching him because of the progress we have made.

Christmas was amazing, I got to call home for half an hour (the first time they have done that at the MTC) so that was good. As I mentioned before, an Apostle (Elder Nelson) came and spoke to us. Lunch was disappointing (ham, funeral potatoes and green beans) but the talent show we had afterwards was the single greatest moment of the MTC. I was beside myself with laughter so many times during that I needed a breather after. We then had another Christmas meeting that was pretty good. There was a group of people that sang songs from The Christmas Carol, so that was great and we watched another church film.  It was called "Aphraims Rescue" and was such a great story. Also (like the missionaries we are) everybody cheered when they one guy kissed the girl. What a fun evening. 

We had 'in field orientation' all day yesterday where we learned how to work with members, how to find people to teach, and more of the nitty gitty of everyday misisonary life. It was very alright as a day. That evening we had another class period with a new teacher, Sister King.  She taught us about the fundamentals of teaching ‘people' not ‘lessons’, and that was really good. We role played (shocker) and I have never felt the spirit so strongly while teaching somebody. 

Love you lots,

Elder Galvin

The One Where I Forget My Toothbrush

Okay, So I (Kelly) am doing this for Liam.  At least for now, it's easier for
him this way.  I'm new to this whole thing :)

Here is his first letter to us from the MTC that he wanted us to post.  We had asked him a bunch of questions and these are his answers:

I’m going to answer as many questions as I can. 

Going through customs was easy.  I got my stamped passport and the whole bit. The guy was a little grumpy though…over it. The line up was super long but it moved quickly enough so that wasn't too bad. By the time I got through there was about half an hour before we had to board. I met up with the other missionaries that were flying down from Calgs, four elders including myself and two sisters. I made the mistake of trying to get Tim Hortons which was not only a super huge line, but may have caused some problems that I’ll tell you about later. I'm digressing.  I got the whole visa package back and still have it in my bag.  It fells important and I don’t want to part with it. I actually got to take the shuttle to the MTC around 9:15 because I got off the plane super quickly.  
Moving on! 

There were five other missionaries on the shuttle with me, and they were all going super foreign places but I can’t remember much because I was still feeling ill. I got to the MTC around 10:15 and they basically stuck all the early arrival missionaries in a room and we talked about why we were on a mission and the whole bit for an hour, then we had lunch. I talked with the super cool Elder from Vancouver named Elder Okana and he was so friendly. There were quite a few Canadians in the bunch of early arrivals so we stuck together. My first day was really good. We met our teachers, Brother Kimball and Brother Barton, they are both really fun and such nice guys. We also had our first teaching opportunity and we taught an investigator in a large group setting. 

My companion is Elder Greenburg from Tooele Utah. He is so much fun and we work together really well. The rest of my district is Elder Clark (our district leader) from Huntington Beach, and his companion Elder Lewis who is from Boise Idaho, Elder Williams from Cleveland and his companion Elder Porter from everywhere in the US (most recently Idaho), and Elder Ashby from Utah and his companion Elder Seely from Washington (they are the zone leaders). Our district is wierd becasue three of them are going to Independance MO (my companion and Elders Porter and Williams (they are the Elders in my room), and the rest of us are leaving a week before them to Charlotte.

They give us six dollars a week, and no supplies.  I shouldn't have taken the PMG but didn't oh well, now I have two.  You get two name tags, one clip and one magnetic, and they said you don’t order more until you get to the field. Me and elder Greenburg ditched the "dork dot" asap and made it our goal to welcome Elders into the MTC that had been their the same time as us, so that was fun. I have no idea when my P-day is, so have fun with your anxiety for days until you get my next letter. There are 8 of us in the classroom, my district. The food is hit or miss but there are enough options it’s not too big of a deal' and you can usually find something to eat. The ice cream is good but they've only had it out one day. I slept fine, and our dorm has three bunk beds so I got the bottom at the back, it’s the best one.

Fun facts that I'm remembering, there were like 800 missionaries that reported on Wednesday because we had the people that they would have brought in next week come this week (because next week is Christmas Eve) so thats cool.  
Another fun thing is, as you have probably figured out by now, I forgot the most essential thing to have as a person leaving home, and that's my toothbrush and toothpaste!  Thankfully Elder Greenburg had an extra so I have been able to brush my teeth. 

I’m almost out of time so I’ll briefly talk about my class time. Brother Kimball is awesome.  I love him so much.  He also role plays one of our investigators named Mike that me and Elder Greenbug have taught a lesson to. I've really learned so much about teaching and its been a really great time.  I cant stop smiling!  But I’ve also noticed when I teach I get this super quiet voice and it’s so annoying...but whatever.  Also, apparently (according to Elder Williams) I have very expressive eyebrows when I teach too, so that’s cool. 

Love you guys a lot, 

Elder Galvin

Here is a picture of Liam and his district at the MTC.  His Companion is the Elder to the right of him in the front row.