Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The One With a Plea and Extermination Role Plays

This has been quite a week. It's been pretty rough again. I feel like when I got to Albemarle I hit a wall. And no matter how hard I push against it it doesn't move. But the thing that I'm learning is that what I'm supposed to do is push. It doesn't matter if the wall is there or not, I can't control that. But what I can do is push. I think that's true for a lot of things in life. We all have walls that come up in our lives, I think the scriptural term is "stumbling block", and most of the time we don't control if they are there. What we do is press on. Grit our teeth and bear it. To borrow from a story an apostle told about what a swimmer said the key to his success was, "Kick when you don't feel like kicking, and stroke when you don't feel like stroking." Eventually, through our own determination, or if the Lord feels our patience has been adequately tested, we can move forward. 

Now please forgive my disgustingly introspective existentialist first paragraph but bear with me as I say one more thing on a serious note, then I'll get onto the stuff you actually want to here about. 

At our mission conference a week ago I learned some pretty startling things. Apparently, the church out west has been going through some rocky patches. I'm not sure if it has spread to Canada but I feel the need to issue a plea. We were told that some members of the church, in an increasing amount, are doing "research" (the quotations are used to make that seem sarcastic) on Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. To put it bluntly, there are numerous members of the church who are actively seeking out and reading anti-Mormon literature. They feel that they are uncovering "truth" about the history of the church, Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon that disproves its truthfulness. This is idiocy! Why would you question what you know to be true! Why would you go looking for things that there sole purpose is to destroy your testimony! Why would you expose yourself to something that is contrary to your beliefs! We simply don't do that. Now let me be clear, I am not saying that it is unhealthy to have questions or concerns but the point is we find our answers in a better way. I'm going to make a comparison, and I just came up with this on the spot so don't judge it. A woman's daughter comes inside with a scratch on her arm. The woman doesn't know how to treat it so she kills her daughter. My friends and family, please don't let one thing you don't understand destroy everything you do understand. I urge you to read from, study, ponder and pray about the Book of Mormon every single day. I love the Book of Mormon with all my heart, I feel blessed to be able to read it every single day. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet, was he perfect, absolutely not, but that doesn't change the fact he was a prophet. 

Now that my rant is over on to my week. I hope I didn't offend anyone with my boldness but I felt inspired to talk about it so I did. 

So this was fairly uneventful. We had a mission conference on Tuesday that was great. We had a lenoirganton reunion over lunch so I got to see all my friends again. President and Sister Craven are wonderful and I learned so much. It must be pretty amazing to be an assistant and be around them all the time. It would probably freak me out a little though. 

As far as missionary work goes this week we didn't see much success. A lot of people we tried to see weren't home. And we talked with dozens and dozens of very not interested people. But oh well. We tried. 

We did make brownies this week. Only we had a bit of a predicament. We had mixed most of the this together but when we got to the vegetable oil we realized there was none in our apartment. Plus it was around 9:45 so there was no way to get some from the other elders. So we got desperate. What we ended up doing was taking our can of aerosol canola oil spray and spraying it into a 3/4 cup measuring cup until it got full. It worked surprisingly well and the brownies actually taste good. 

We also had some wonderful experiences with the North Carolinian wildlife. We came home one day to a large wasp nest right outside our door. So the next morning we decided to take action. Armed with a shoe horn and a camera we set off to work. I sat in the the car recording like the chicken I am while Elder Ashcroft waited to pounce. After mustering enough courage and with a getaway route in place he crushed the nests and the wasps in one fell swoop. And them almost tripped down the stairs as he rushed to the car to safety. 

I would report on people we are teaching but, as usual, no one has kept a return appointment. 

Well I hope everyone has a good week. Know that I love you!

Elder Galvin

The One Where Most Things Go Wrong but Some Things Go Right

So this week was transfers. I'll give the basic rundown of information. So I left Lenoir in Sister D's Van Big Red with Elder Gardner and the Sisters. We got to Charlotte and I found out that I would be heading to Albermarle in the Charlotte Central Stake with Elder Ashcroft. He is from Mesa Arizona. He came out in the transfer that I did and we replaced a set of Sisters that were previously in that area. Albermarle is the largest geographical area in the mission, about 60 miles from the furthest north to furthest south and about 40 miles across! Our apartment is so nice! It's bigger than the one the other Elders in our area have, and has two bathrooms. It was fairly clean when we got there, only minor wall scrubbing required today. There were some drainage problems in my shower and in one of the sinks. So a bit of drain-o and that should fix that problem.

The Albermarle area has a lot of Hmong people in the ward. They are a tribe that originated from China, they were persecuted and kicked out of China and a lot went to Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. They are such wonderful people and always feed the missionaries well. Plus we get a lot of leftovers which is great.

This week was full of a lot of just figuring everything out. We walked into a reach pool of nearly nothing since the Sisters just had a sweep of baptisms. It's been a bit tricky getting anything done since we lost our car for the week. You can tell I was really impressed with that. Also, all of the people we met to set up appointments with would call thirty minutes before to cancel. Every single team up we had either cancelled or the people we tried to see weren't home.  But other than that we have seen a bit of success.

We don't really have any investigators right now. We were told that we were responsible for making sure the recent converts stay active. But that pretty hard when we don't have a car to go see them! But everything will work out.
The other missionaries in our area are wonderful! They are very kind and helpful to us since we are just getting our feet on the ground in the area. I wish there were more things to talk about this week but there wasn't really much happening for is right now. Hopefully I'll have a lot more to talk about. We have a mission conference tomorrow with two other zones.

We went disc golden today with a returning member Kyle. It was a lot of fun. It was someone who Elder Dortch worked with a lot when he was here. He's a great guy, a lot of fun. I'm actually pretty good a disc golf. Some other people, not so much, there was about twenty minutes spent searching through the forest to try and find discs.

Hope you have a great week this week!

Love you!
Elder Galvin

The One Where I Don't Earn a Culinary Degree

Wow! What a week! Miracles abounded!

I'll start with some miracle stories.

After we got home from zone meeting on Friday and we were just finishing up lunch, we got a text from our appointment that afternoon canceling. We were pretty disappointed. But, determined to remain diligent, we opened our area books to see what we could do. We decided to look up some less actives that lived in our area, and were drawn to a name that we had never noticed before. And so we set off to go and contact this less active. On our way there we were stopped on our bikes at a stop sign when we heard a lady calling Elders! We turned around and went over.  It was a lady in our ward. She told us that there was a man inside the concealed carry gun class building in Hudson that wanted to learn more about the gospel. She had stopped inside the building to take a break from the heat and to pick up some business cards for some friends at church. He asked what church she went to and she responded the LDS church He told her that he had been interested in learning more about that church so had been researching it for the last month or so and had downloaded and started to read none other than the Book of Mormon. She tried to answer his questions as best she could but then looked out the window, saw us, and the rest is history. We went inside, sat down with him and taught the restoration. He accepted an invitation to be baptized and has a temple vision for him, his wife, and two kids. And to further explain how much of a miracle he is, and how prepared he is, his research has been from good sources! He already knows about some of the prophets in the Book of Mormon and their stories. He has seen missionaries walking by his store for months now and has always tried to stop us and wave us in but never got to us until now.

Another miracle. The Morganton Elders were over at a less active members house and got a referral for her new nurse, a lady named M. Apparently this lady had missionaries knock on her door five years ago and they never came back. She knows it's all true and wants to be baptized. The bigger miracle is she has three equally interested daughters who live with her in our area. So us and the Morganton Elders have been team teaching this family and they all have a baptismal date for the 17th of May!

But here's the bad news out of the whole situation, I'm getting transferred this Tuesday. I have truly loved this area and all its weird and wonderful people. I consider a lot of these people dear friends of mine. 

This week had been pretty eventful. We lost the car on Wednesday so spent a lot of the week out in the sweltering and oppressive heat, watering the grass with our sweat as we biked alongside highways. Not my favourite activity to say the least. I often times sing the chorus to "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" by The Smiths because it's a scarily accurate truth while biking. 
He looks so unimpressed ;)

I could probably sum up my eating habits on my mission with the title "101 Ways To Use A Tortilla" and my latest creation was great in theory but went a little haywire. I was trying to think of a way to make a desert version of a tortilla and this great idea of candying a tortilla came to mind. So I turn on the stove and proceed to melt some sugar. The only problem was the burners on our stovetop increase in heat exponentially so we ended up with some burnt sugar, stuck to a pan, a spatula, a mason jar, two plates and about three tortillas because I wasn't sure if melted sugar should go down a sink so I panicked.

We also had another great experience this week. Saturday, we were trying to see a member but they weren't home so we locked up our bikes on their driveway. As we were walking away to go talk to some people outside a few ruffians came outside of the house next door and started hooting and hollering some less than Chirstlike things at us. We did our best to ignore them. When we returned to our bikes about twenty minutes later we had the pleasant discovery of our front tires being slashed. We tried knocking the door of the house next door but they didn't come outside. We ended up going to the house across the street and taking to the man mowing his lawn and he turned out to be about the nicest man ever!  He tried to help us fix our bikes. He even went to the hardware store down the street to buy us patches for the tires. We tried sharing the gospel with him but he was a preacher (go figure) so that didn't work but a least he was kind. The patches he bought for our tires ended up not working but it was the thought that counts. As we pushed our bikes to our next appointment he told us he would be going over and giving the kids a talking to. The biggest problem with our tires being slashed in the fact we were in Lenoir about seven miles from our apartment. But thankfully the less active we were seeing had a truck so they were able to take us home. 

Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day and a wonderful week!

Send me pictures, read your scriptures

Love you!
Elder Galvin

The One With The Impromptu Choir Practice

And another week gone and another week gone, another week bites the dust. 

This week has been insane! But so is every week, so this week has been very normal!

Tuesday was full of crushing disappointments. Elder Gardner and I had been master planners and had five member present lessons lined up for Tuesday. We would have hit our goal for the week in a single day! Only the problem started during companionship study. We got our first text of a cancelled appointment. Either the member or the investigator. It was like that all day! We kept on getting cancelled on, but we did have one appointment hold and it was probably the most spiritual lesson I have ever had. We brought a member of our ward over to see A. The member has had some similar struggles in his past but was able to bear testimony of the atonement and how it can change our life. He gave him a Priesthood blessing and A was in tears at the end because of how strong the spirit was and the things that were said. When we went and saw him the next night he told us there were some things said that had to have been inspired because there was no way this member could have known. We also moved his baptismal date closer to May 23rd! 

Wednesday night was probably the hardest I've laughed in a long time. There is a member in our ward who is the sassiest, most sarcastic person you will ever meet. Her name is Sister B and our conversation was hysterical. All four of us missionaries were in tears. I wish I could have recorded our conversation because it was so funny. She basically just reproved her daughter for a while and said some really funny things. 

Nothing really exciting or crazy happened this week with anyone else. We did go on an exchange with our zone leaders which was a terrifying experience since neither of us are in leadership so we have no idea why they did it. We got a call on Monday asking if we wanted to do an exchange from Friday to Saturday and we said yes. I went with Elder Ales to Hickory. He is one of the best missionaries I know so it was super intimidating to be around him all day. He is a master at basically everything and is so careful vs. casual it's not even funny. And to make it even worse we went to Olive Garden with a member for dinner and I forgot my leftovers in their fridge! All joking aside I did learn a lot from him. The four of us went to lunch at this little place in Hudson called the Vintage CafĂ©. I got the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich ever! I also bought a piece of coconut cake that was so good! 

Church was good this week. We had the C family come to church so that was amazing! They left after sacrament meeting because one of them was a bit overwhelmed because our church was so different from hers but they all really enjoyed it! We had an impromptu choir practice in priesthood opening exercises. We were just all minding our own business when the next thing we knew we were being ushered into the first four pews and being separated by parts. We then spent the next twenty minutes painfully trying to sing Reedeemer or Israel. It was awful! When we were finished Brother C told us that that is the closest we will ever get to heaven. A guy who is a recent convert from Wilkesboro who was sitting next to me leaned over and we had a good laugh. Our conversation went like this:
Brother C: That is probably the closest you'll ever get to heaven.
G: You've been through the temple right?
Me: Yes
G: Is that true?
Me: No
It was pretty funny.

That's about it for me this week! Hope everyone had a great one and this next week is just as good!

Send me pictures, read your scriptures!

Love ya!
Elder Galvin

The One Where I Get the Gift of Tongues and My Face Feels Like Its Going To Explode

Being sick as a missionary is the worst! It's difficult enough trying to maintain the spirit as you're being yelled at but it's even harder when every facial orifice is leaking as you do it! But other than that this week as been one of the better ones and I'm not too sure why. 

I'll begin with a miracle story from the week. I should really start putting these in all my emails because stuff like this happens almost daily.

Earlier this week we were at McDonald's getting wifi when we ran into a former investigator of ours. We struck up a conversation with him and he seemed more prepared this time around. We set up a return appointment for Saturday morning and we were very excited. Unfortunately, we received a text from him during companionship study that morning saying he wouldn't be home and we would have to try another time. We decided to pray for miracles and have our actions that day reflect our desires. Elder Gardner felt like we should head over to the apartment complex where the former investigator lived, regardless of him canceling the appointment. We knew that there would be someone there who was prepared to receive our message. We knocked a few of the doors and had no success. We then saw a lady sitting on her porch and decided to talk with her. She said she felt the spirit as soon as we walked up and started talking with her. We taught her the restoration and about how the exact same church that Christ established has been restored. We had a wonderful discussion and she ended up in tears because the spirit was so strong. She said that God had sent us into her path today so we could talk. She was reading the Book of Mormon on her porch as we walked away. But the miracle doesn't end there! We asked her who do you know and she referred us to another building in the complex. There we met a young mother who has had a rough past but has completely changed her life around. We were able to teach and testify about the temple and how the priesthood enables our families to be sealed together. We have an appointment with her and her husband early next week. 

So this week was Sister Smith's birthday. Because us Elders are extremely kind and loving and supportive of our fellow area members, we decided to bake her a cake. It turned out pretty ratchet looking. We didn't have enough candles to fully spell out 20 so we have to use chocolate chips to fill in the gaps. Additionally, we thought we had regular cake mix but it turned out to be pineapple flavored. We also forgot icing so we had to go to the sisters apartment to borrow some. The funny thing was she didn't even clue and until we dropped the cake off the next morning. Silly Sister Smith.
The Cake

We spent a lot of the week finding. And found a lot of success doing that. We are able to teach a lot of people and set up quite a few return appointments, who knows if they're going to hold or not but at least we have them set up. We're working on establishing expectations with people so they know right up front where we see this going.

We have been reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish with Maximina, it started out as a sarcastic comment by me, so nothing new, but since she doesn't really understand sarcasm the next thing we knew she had gone to get her Spanish Book of Mormon. The crazy thing is I can totally pronounce all the words and even kind of figure what I'm saying! I don't understand most of it most of the time but I can read it pretty well, or so she says. Elder Gardner's previous companion was from Mexico so he does a lot better than me but still!

Nothing really exciting or crazy happened this week. We stayed busy and had little time for anything but work. I think that's how it's supposed to be. 

Send me pictures, read your scriptures!

Love ya!
Elder Galvin

The One Where 'A' Accepts a Baptismal Date!

Okay so I don't really know what to talk about this week so I'll probably just start from the beginning and move forward from there.

So after P-Day we were going to contact a media referral lady who wanted a bible. As soon as we left from our zone activity of volleyball (I crushed it by the way) I was feeling off. It's a hard feeling to describe but I felt sick and not sick at the same time, and my body and head hurt but they didn't hurt. It was weird. Anyways, we tried to meet this lady but she wasn't home so we left. I was still feeling off. We were driving and we had an appointment with A after but we had no idea what to do or why I was feeling this way. We ended up pulling into Walmart and praying to see if there was something we needed to do back around the media referral or what we should do but eventually decided we should just press on and see
A. We get to A's house, and he tells us about his plans for the future.  Long story short, the lesson went wonderfully, we did a bit of a mock baptismal interview to show how far along he actually is in his terms of progression. I felt inspired to look at the calendar and we decided to extend a baptismal invitation on a specific day. He is now preparing to be baptized on June 7! We met with him a bunch this week brought a bunch of members that can be his friends. He also got to meet President Craven twice at stake conference and he just loves them. And they love him. President Craven even talked with him and told him to move his baptismal date up, but he has some vices he wants to make share he has overcome so he can fully and permanently commit to being a baptized member of the church.
Rocking it at Volleyball

We had another fairly good week. Nothing really too crazy happened. We found a bunch of people who seemed really interested and none of the kept their return appointments. Such is life.

The other day we made the mistake of booking three return appointments with our new investigators one after another on Friday afternoon. We totally forgot that we were losing the car on Wednesday so on Friday we biked 24km and walked about 5km that day. We were exhausted and none of them kept their appointments so it was awful. We did see a cat and took pictures with it though.

We did have something really awful happen. There was this evil baptist guy who let us into his house and basically yelled at us and told we were stupid. His daughter said her seven year old autistic kid was smarter than us. They didn't believe that the Book of Mormon is true (even though they haven't read it) or Joseph Smith was a prophet because it didn't say so in the Bible. We were kind in our explanations and our teaching but they were having none of it. I wanted to yell and tell them of course it doesn't say Joseph Smith in the bible he was born like 2000 years later. Did it say Jesus' name in the Old Testament!? No! But you believe in him! It was stupid. He cussed us out of his house and threatened to call the police. I'm not sure why the police because he invited us in, we have legal certificates that prove that we can talk about this stuff and it's not against the law to be Mormon. But he was just rude.
We went on exchange after district meeting on Wednesday. Elder Turnbow came here to Lenoir. And I worked him to death! We spent four hours in the pouring rain tracting and only taught one lesson. She was really nice but she ended up duping us. She gave us her phone number and address but it was actually a business phone number and address oh well.
She did give us a referral for the people who actually live in the house because she was just cleaning the house, when we went back they weren't interested, also oh well. We did teach A that night with our ward mission leader Brother J and it went wonderful.

We had Stake Conference this weekend and both sessions went great. Learned a lot from both sessions. President and Sister Craven spoke on the Sunday session and they made a big impact on A. We also had interviews with President Craven after stake conference and those went really well. We talked a lot about A and other mission related
things. It will be sad to see him go.

Well that's all that really happened this week. We're going to go disc golfing this afternoon so that should be fun. Even if it thunderstorms on us.

Send me Pictures, Read your scriptures!

Love ya!
Elder Galvin

The One Where I Rescue a Baby Goat

How do you even start an email. I should probably think of something
clever soon. Oh well.

This week was, I don't even know how to describe it, it was just crazy. I have no idea why I am as happy as I am because this week was absolutely brutal. We got shot down by everybody, and all the baptists are completely ignorant to the truth we share. But for some reason I'm happy! I really do not get it.

There were some good things that happened this week. We did something called a power stop by at the L's. Basically, you go to the home of an active member, tell them you are working in their area for an hour, have them pray with you, then report back with any miracles. We set up a return appointment (that fell through because she wasn't home) with the lady across the street and planned to go by with the L's. It works because you have instant fellowship because they are neighbors and you hardly have to work for the member involvement.

We tried to do the same thing at our bishops house on Saturday only they, and what seemed like everyone in their neighborhood wasn't home. We finally, after an hour of nobody opening the door talked with this one man. He told us that this lady had been out doing the same thing only fourth five minutes earlier. The Jehovah's Witnesses had been tracking where we were just before we got there! No wonder nobody opened the door.

We did see a miracle on the way over there. We were driving along the road when out of the corner of my eye I saw a baby goat that had gotten its head stuck through the fence. I immediately pulled over and jumped our of the car. It took some wire stretching and turning its head so it's horns didn't get caught but I saved a life that day.

I also got stung by a bee. We were walking back from (yet another) failed appointment when all of a sudden felt something stabbing me in the calf. I pulled my pant leg around and saw that there was a lump in my pants! The bee had flown up the black hole of an opening in my pant leg, got trapped, and started freaking out so it decided to Kamikaze into my flesh! Then it wouldn't get out. Finally I managed to pull a Florence Welsh and "shake it out, shake it out" then flatten the criminal into the pavement. I miss skinny jeans.

This Saturday we did service at the B's house with the Sisters by raking leaves for two hours. We piled them up into this huge mound in the backyard then jumped off their roof into the pile. I'm totally kidding, we went inside and had chili. There was still some to do but they said they would finish up and burn them later.

If you measure how good a sacrament meeting is by how much you cry then yesterday's was the best I've been to. I bawled for about two thirds of it. It was a bunch of members in the ward and Sister Smith sharing their conversions stories. Then bishop shared his and it was just so good. Our sacrament meeting went, no joke, half an hour over
time and it was so worth it. The rest of church was interesting. Brother J has been teaching gospel principles class but he was asked to teach primary today. So he walks in and asks me if I can teach. I don't know how I did it but I somehow managed to pull a twenty minute lesson on the priesthood out of nowhere that wasn't that horrible. Brother L also asked if we would teach young men's today about five minutes before it started. But that was easy because we just needed to talk about missions and how to prepare. There was this one kid who said he wasn't sure he wanted to go so I used my
talent of being passive aggressive to throw down on him. Brother L said he liked what we said and that the boys listened more than usually so that's good.

Yesterday afternoon we went to see the W's, they couldn't come to church that day because their dog had her puppies the night before. They are the cutest things ever! It was her first litter and she had eight. They are doing very well so far.

Well I hope everybody has a good week and are nice to their missionaries.

Love ya!
Elder Galvin