Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The One Where I Eat Pig's Feet and Get Free McDonalds!

Wow what another crazy week. While it wasn't as miracle filled as last week but was just as great. Elder Dortch and I were just super exhausted after last week so it was pretty obvious that this week was going to be a little slower. We also had exchanges this week which were both surprising and even more exhausting.

So after P day on Monday all three of the appointments that we had set up cancelled! What a bummer! But I think it was Heavenly Father working in a weird way to help us de-stress after a crazy week. We completely purged the apartment. We went to every closet and threw out everything that wasn't ours and we didn't want. The apartment is now so clean. I think this is my purpose for being on a mission. Hahaha! I told Elder Dortch that why I was called to this mission is so that I can get transferred to a different apartment every transfer to completely clean them up because apparently I'm the only one of the Elders that knows how to scrub anything.  We did find a couple of gems in the closet. I found a brand-new pair of desert boot style shoes that actually fit me and are super nice! I've decided I'm going to keep them. 

Elder Galvin Relaxing after a long day...

So this week we had exchanges which were set up the night before and I did something crazy. We went to see Brother C and we had dinner there. While at dinner Elder Bishop (our district leader) and I tried a Southern delicacy... Pickled pigs feet! It was very weird to eat and the texture was so strange. It kind of reminds me of the way the tongue feels on your teeth.  It was very rubbery but not as disgusting as I thought it was going to be. He has been feeding the missionaries pickled pigs feet for over 40 years! After the missionaries eat the pickled pigs feet they get to sign something called the Book of Life. It's something fun that he does to remember all the missionaries that of served in the area. I even found a sister from Cardston with the last name of Beohmer!  Maybe related to the Beohmer family in the Diamond Valley branch!

Yum...Pickled Pig Feet!
Unfortunately we haven't been able to have a visit with the H's (M and A) this week. We have been able to text them but they've been crazy busy.  Hopefully we will be able to visit them at some point this week to keep them progressing towards a March 1 baptism date. At the current moment it is very doubtful that any of them are going to get baptized on that day, seeing as we have only seen them once since we've committed them to be baptized. Thankfully it's only going to be a matter of when not a matter of if. Now we just have to pray that neither of us get transferred. That would stink.

As it turns out my first baptism on the mission probably won't be an actual investigator. Sister H got her kids back this week! One of her granddaughters turned eight while she was away. She wants to be baptized so bad. We have been teaching her the discussions and hopefully she'll be baptized in the next week or two. Since she is eight and her mom is technically a member it won't count as a convert baptism but it will still be a baptism to me! 

We also had a bit of an exchange miracle. We went to visit the house of a less active member but they weren't home. We saw a lady on her porch across the street and decided to go talk to her. We ended up teaching her about the Restoration and committing her to read the Book of Mormon. We asked her who else she knew that would want to hear what we talked about and she referred us to a couple of people. They ended up not being home but we did wander into a "mom party" in the backyard of one of their neighbors. We talked to them about the church. One of the ladies lives up in Boone and knows where the church is. She was very interested to hear about the primary program and said that she would check it out!

On Thursday we did service with the Sisters. We went to M's House to chop wood for three hours. It was a lot of fun. Some of the logs were so huge it took so much effort to try and break them into smaller pieces but we eventually did it. After we chopped the wood we got to give M a blessing. 

Crazy Story! So while we were chopping wood with "A", (M's son) he found a wood grub under a log. To make a long story short he ended up eating it.  Well, I found out that you shouldn't do anything crazy without having the camera on yourself. What a weird moment. The only reason he did it is because his friend  told him he'd give him five dollars if he ate it. Apparently it was surprisingly sweet and tasted a bit like chocolate and bark. So if you're ever stranded in the forest and have nothing but wood grubs to eat at least you'll be eating well!

Our mission has also started a 40 day fast. What that is is that every missionary gives up one thing (or more than one thing) and they give it up for a 40 day period. The purpose of the 40 day fast is to increase the sanctification of the missionaries. I am fasting from my bed! So for the next 40 days I will be sleeping on the floor! Elder Dortch and I are also fasting from one dollar Walmart pizzas because they are a staple in our diet and we should probably get rid of them. It may turn into a "today tomorrow and forever" principle. I am also working on improving my language and have created a list of slang words that I am fasting from. Unfortunately I have already said some of those words but I'm improving! The specific purpose I am fasting for is humility. Hopefully at the end of this 40 day period I will be more humble and hopefully my back will not be so messed up that I'm unable to function!

We had the zone leaders at our district meeting on Friday. That was a stressful experience! Because our district is, in a word, ‘special', (We Asked Liam what he meant by this and he told us that his district gets along great and love to have fun together!) having missionary leadership be there is always an interesting experience. We also went to Chick-fil-A with them after district meeting. Sister R drove us there and came in with us. She is my favorite person that I've met on my mission so far! Well, one of them. She is such a good missionary and was talking to people in Chick-fil-A about us!

Crazy story! On Saturday we went out to McDonald's with the Sisters for breakfast. Because of the 40 day fast they are fasting from fast food so they wanted one last taste. When I went up to order my food and pay they told me it was paid with lovin'. After a really confusing and awkward exchange with the cashier, it turns out that I got my food for free!   I thought she asked if I wanted it paid with lovin'. Since I had no idea what that was I said no. She then looked at me weird and said "you don't want your food for free?" It was really confusing but it was wonderful. 

Miracle Story! So if I am being honest this week is been a bit of a down week for us. We haven't had much success in finding anybody and the people that we found last week has been difficult to get in contact with them. Yes we have been able to text them but we haven't been able to visit with them. People just need to stop being sick! But we did have a miracle at church on Sunday. "A" showed up to church again even though him and his Mom, "M" were a bit late because their car wouldn't start and the sisters had to go and drive them! It all worked out though. He had a really good time and I don't know why he doesn't come to church more often because he always enjoys it and always leaves with a greater testimony of the Gospel.

Missionary life is so hard but so great. It's such a blessing to be serving here. I simultaneously love and hate every second of it but no there is nothing else better that I could be doing right now.

Love ya, 
Elder Galvin

The One Where the Police Interrupt a Teaching Appointment

Elder Galvin's email from February 2, 2015

 Holy Cow this week has been crazy! I am so tired its not even funny. This week has been the craziest and the most productive week of my mission. I have seen so many blessings its not even funny. Put it this way, I'm going to share some key indictors of progression from two weeks ago versus last week. Total lessons, Two weeks ago: 16, last week: 22.  Lessons taught with a member present, Two weeks ago: 4, Last week: 9.  People with a baptismal date, two weeks ago: 0, last week: 3. New investigators, two weeks ago: 1, last week: 8.  And the crazy thing is we haven't really even been doing much differently. We have just been so blessed.

Elder Galvin and Dortch in their apartment

 After last weeks P-day was over we had a dinner appointment with the C's. Well, at least we thought we had a dinner appointment. Since we had no car we had an 18 year old ward member who has his mission papers in drive us up there since he is really tight with the son, M.  Well, D, the 18 year old missionary to be, ended up telling the dad, that he was coming over too. But somewhere in the conversation he also told said Dad that it wasn't a dinner appointment but just a regular teaching visit. So when we show up were expecting food and are all like "let's eat". Then Dad just looks at soon to be missionary and was all like "you told me this was just a teaching visit" and D just starts freaking out because Dad is a pretty scary looking dude. He has tons of tattoos and is super jacked because he's a lumberjack. Well, we diffused the situation and taught M, then D took us to Cookout. It all worked out.  Speaking of Cookout, I must have just jinxed myself because I just got barbecue sauce on my shirt. Good thing it's laundry day. Anyway, it all worked out. 

Oh, funny story at Cookout with D….So we're just sitting there talking about what he can do to prepare for a mission when some random guy sits at our booth and drops two fishing reels on the table. He says they are worth $300 and he will give them to us for all our cash. He said he was desperate for money because he lost his wallet and needs gas money. I had $6 in my wallet but as a missionary I couldn't give it away.  So D gave him $3 and told him to keep the reels and we gave him a pass along card. Missionary work! :)

 So now I have to tell you about the biggest miracle of the week. So Tuesday ago we dropped by the home of a guy named, R. The Sisters tasked Elder Dortch and I with dropping off three copies of the Book of Mormon at his request. They would have done it themselves but they didn't feel safe going back there, I'm just going to leave it at that. When we knocked on the door a woman opened it up and invited us in. In the home we met M, M, A, and A. One of the M's is an inactive member and married to one of the A's and they have a one year old daughter. They are living with R, who is M's Uncle. The other A is R's girlfriend and the other M is a friend. Are you confused yet?:-) We ended up teaching them all about the restoration and committed them to baptism. They have been reading the Book of Mormon together and R has been such a great help in guiding them to the knowledge of the truth. We met with them again and taught the plan of salvation up to and including the Atonement. We talked about how we can be forgiven of our sins and reemphasized the importance of baptism. We were then able to commit the two A's and the one M (who is not a member) to be baptized on March 1st!.  It got pretty crazy with some of them so we couldn't see some of them after that, but we did get to meet with A and M, the married couple, two more times and they came to church on Sunday with R and loved it. It was at their appointment on Saturday that the police showed up. The police just walk in and are standing around while we're teaching and then are like "we'll just wait outside" and I'm like “ so...repentance" it was such a crazy appointment they even asked us to re-teach that lesson because there was a lot of drama at the complex that day. They just moved here like a week ago from Texas and should be getting their own place soon so we can teach them away from all the crazy. 

Having them at church was so wonderful. "A" loved everything, even the visiting teaching seminar she went to for Relief Society. She loved testimony meeting and is even trying to adopt Mormon vocabulary. She called herself Sister and called us Brothers. She wants to sign up to feed us when they get their apartment. She is so elect and will get baptized. 

So Wednesday we went to Bojangles with Brother L after visiting Sister H with him. While we're eating some chicken this random guy asks Elder Dortch and I if we are a part of the Mormon tabernacle choir. Long story short, we end up teaching the first discussion...well Brother L ends up teaching the first discussion really. This guy was a Methodist and Brother L was too so he's telling this guy all about why and how he converted. It's was amazing. He wants us to drop by later and get a DVD of the “Messiah" production the church put on.

We got to teach this guy we bumped into at Walmart. He lives in the nicest house I have ever seen. It was right out of gone with the wind. I half expected Scarlet O'Hara to open the door, I'm not joking. He is this eccentric rich dude who inherited a fortune and a mansion from his uber rich doctor parents. He was telling us all about how he backpacked half the world just like his favourite authors did, and all about the books he has written. We didn't get much doctrine in but we did get a tour of the house so that was a plus. He said he'd like us to come back. I just think he is lonely and loves to talk. 

During district meeting on Wednesday (which we had to walk an hour to...don't even get me started) I had to give a training session! It was so good and so much fun. I made handouts. It was on language and everyone loved it. I opened up by saying "It's so awesome to be here with a group of such cool missionaries" which made every freak out because ‘cool' and ‘awesome' are banned words in the mission. It's all a part of the sanctification process for missionaries. But I talked all about ‘careful' versus ‘casual' language and made fun little word/language cards for everyone. 

Walking to District Meeting??

On Thursday the Sisters had to borrow the car because they went on exchanges after district meeting. But we thought that they were just driving straight to Morganton then straight back. So we just got a ride to the church with Zach, a recent convert, and met with him there and figured we could just get dropped off at the Sisters when we were done and wait the little but for them to get back. As it turns out they had teaching visits to do before but they forgot their phone at home so there was no way to find all that out so we ended up spending two hours weekly planning in a sketchy little convenience store waiting for the car. 

Dinner on Saturday solidified to me that I'm getting fat on my mission (though surprisingly I am the same weight as when I left). We went to a place called called AJ's steakhouse which is essentially redneck buffet. I ate so much barbecue and fried chicken it's not even funny. My plan was just eat so much that I didn't even get hungry during Fast Sunday. It worked. We got to teach the husband of one of our ward missionaries who isn't a member. He is the nicest guy and loves missionaries and the church. He just needs to decide to get baptized. Though I don't think I could be the one to do it. He is about a foot taller than me and weighs about three times as much as me. Though faith can move mountains so you never know.  

Well that's about it for me me this week, hope everybody had a good week and has an even better one next week.

Love ya,
Elder Galvin

The One Where I Realize I'm Broke and Get told I'm Going to Hell

Here is Elder Galvin's email for the week of January 26.  I have gotten a bit behind in posting...Ooops
Anyways, I have taken names out and used initials only for members and investigators to respect privacy.  The stories can still be understood this way and it saves me from re-writing things so I can keep it in Liam's words, which are usually pretty interesting and funny in and of themselves!  I wouldn't want to take away from that ;-)

Hey Y'all!

This has been such a great week. The rest of last P-Day was absolutely crazy. We ended up being able to teach two member present lessons when we weren't even planning on it! One of them was such a crazy thing. Elder Dortch and I were going over to a members house. We show up and nobody was home but we decided to wait a few minutes anyways. C and T both show up and they have this friend with them. His name is D and long story short we end up teaching him. He claims to be an Atheist but is going to come to church next Sunday with C and T. That doesn't sound like an Atheist does it?! Hopefully he actually shows up but he seemed pretty sincere. 

Tuesday was a really busy day. We had to get up super early because we had to be at the Morganton Elders apartment for 7:00. We had to get there because we had a Trainer/Trainee Meeting in Charlotte. That meeting was so amazing! The first thing they did was take all the trainers out of the room and President Craven talked to us. He asked us if our trainers were being obedient and following the rules and stuff like that.The funny thing was that he was using a mic to make his voice louder and so everyone could hear him in the gym. Now the funniest part is that his voice was being broadcast throughout the building. SO as he was telling us that everything that is said in this room is staying in this room it was being heard by the Trainers in the Relief Society Room! Thankfully Sister Craven came in and told him.

A picture of Charlotte...He's missing cities!

Elder Seely and Elder Galvin

We had a training by a set of Sister Training leaders but before I talk about that we literally just got a call right now from a florida number and it hung up before we could pick it up and we just tried to call it back and the line had been disconnect so basically our phone is haunted. Sorry back to my actual letter. Training from the Sister Training Leaders. It was actually pretty good. It featured a lot of role-playing, two six minute role plays, two four minute role plays, and two two minute role plays. It was to help us simplify and intensify our teaching. I got to teach with Elder Seely! my friend from the MTC, it was so great, he is such a good missionary! After a long day of training we headed back to Morganton. We dined on my favourite thing ever, Chik-fil-a, and then headed back to Lenoir.  (You'd think he'd be gaining weight by now with all the food he is eating, but he claims to still be the same!  I swear he's always had a hollow leg!)
 Okay, Wednesday was so great. So it was Sister Grace's Birthday so we had a birthday party at district meeting. Also I had one of the greatest role play experiences ever, well second best. (there was one in the MTC that still stands as number one) I was playing A (our investigator) and Sister Gunther was teaching him. Then I taught her investigator N. Both of us told the others investigators exactly what they needed to hear. I can’t really describe how great it was, but what I can say is that you actually receive revelation for your investigator when you role play them. Its so crazy.

Celebrating Sister Grace's Birthday
After District meeting us and the Sisters drove back to Lenoir with Sister R, who I have adopted as my mission grandma. She is so great and we have so much fun. We had to stop by the sisters apartment so Sister Grace could put her presents away. I took some fun pictures of Elder Dortch running, one of which is now his profile pic on Facebook.  We then went out for lunch to a pizza place called Piccolo's. Put it this way, I loved it so much I bought a shirt. I've decided I'm going to get a little something like that from all my areas that it serve in.

Well this week marks the first time I've been told I was going to hell by a Baptist. It was a lovely conversation that ended with us getting some pamphlets about grace and other stuff. I don't really get how they can think that they just need to accept Jesus into thir lives and that automatically means they are going to heaven. They think that they can just do whatever they want and since they have been saved they will be fine. They skip like most of the repentance process. They recognize what they are doing is wrong then they immediately jump to accepting the Saviour. They feel no remorse and don't ask for forgiveness when they do things wrong; it’s just weird. But we taught him a lesson on his doorstep so it was all good.
The rest of the week was just a bunch of average missionary work, teaching people and stuff. Oh, H wants to get baptized!!! Our next appointment after that went a little rough so we didn't get a date pinned down but he'll get there I'm pretty sure. And the investigator with the family I saw while on exchanges with Elder Bishop is getting Baptized on the 22nd of February which is so wonderful.
I also discovered this week that I have no money left. The card messed up and took like ten dollars out of my account some how. I thought I had more money left but apparently I have been spending it all. Oh well. I guess I'll just have to survive on the food I have left and the $6 I have in my wallet.

Us and the sisters planned out our fireside more and it will be so good and get everyone pumped about doing missionary work. It really doesn't have to be hard at all, you just have to share something that a missionary has posted on Facebook. Or write your own post. We are also going to do a little role play segment in the middle. We met to discuss all this one day at a little coffee shop in Hudson because it was pouring rain and we couldn't ride our bikes anywhere. I hate not having a car. We got to walk in the rain and that was fun. 

Love ya, 
Elder Galvin