Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Monday March 28, 2016 - The one with baking cakes and baked people

This has been a really great week here in Danville!

We have had some good experiences and some funny ones, where to begin?

I was able to go on two different exchanges this week. The first one
was with our District Leader, Elder Hungrige. He is a really great
missionary and we had a good time together. They serve in the least
populated area of our mission so when we went "tracting" it involved a
car and we talked to three people in one hour. Crazy stuff. We spent
most of the day with this really great recent convert. It was good
exchange.

The second exchange was this Saturday. Elder Hungrige asked me to go
on exchange with Elder Everett. He wanted me to go to a small town in
our area to teach Elder Everett how to contact. Elder Everett has
never had any experience with that on his mission yet. We were really
blessed to find a wonderful person to teach and to talk to many more
about the gospel and the #hallelujah initiative. Elder Everett was
also able to talk to me about some of his troubles and I think I was
able to help him out a bit. It's weird because I'm the oldest age wise
and mission wise in Danville so they come to me with their problems. I
feel so inadequate because I'm all like, I know how you're feeling and
I'm still trying to figure it all out myself.

This Tuesday was one of our investigators birthdays. She was turning
21 so we decided to make her a cake. Unfortunately, in typical Elder
Galvin style, I decided I was smarter than the box and cooked both
halves of the batter in one pan. Let's just say it took a lot longer
than the cooking time on the box to get it done all the way through. I
took it out after half an hour and it was jiggling. Oops. We still got
it to her on time and she said it tasted good so that's lucky.

Oh! I realized I forgot to tell a crazy story from last week. Well
it's not too crazy in context of where we live but it was interesting
nonetheless. We were walking in the hood one night. Side note: I feel
like that is the intro to a lot of stories but if we leave our house
on foot we automatically are walking in the hood. Anyways, as we were
walking down a street there were a bunch of ruffians outside this one
house yelling at us. They had seen us on foot earlier that day and
they started asking us if we were tired from all our walking and if we
wanted something to smoke to relax ourselves. We walked away trying to
ignore them but instead they yelled some expletives. It was fun.

So this past week I got some cookies in the mail. (Shoutout to Nana!
You're the best) Unfortunately, they met an early demise. So we have a
bit of a problem with ants in our house. They are mostly gone but they
weren't when the cookies arrived and I accidentally left the container
they were in right smack dab in the middle of the trail they walk in
our kitchen. I thought that they were sealed but not so much. When we
got in for the night the container was swarming with ants. Realizing
we couldn't eat them anymore, (I did try one and it was tasty), we
solved our problem with rubbing alcohol and a lighter. We made an ant
fire with cookies as wood in the middle of our kitchen floor. The ants
died. Additional side note, Elder Andersen heard that if ants eat
ground up popcorn kernels they explode so we got some from a member
and have scattered it around the kitchen. They have reduced in numbers
dramatically.

Overall a fun week. We got good missionary things done too. This
upcoming week is meetings and interviews so there goes all our
proselyting time

but oh well.

Send me pictures, read your scripture,
Love you!
Elder Galvin



Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Monday March 21, 2016 - The one where we go down the rabbit hole



This has been a very strange week. It was super slow at the beginning
of the week but picked up a lot by the end.

A few highlights...
Hanging out in Caswell County


This week featured me having a 'quarter life crisis'. It's a term I
picked up from a friend and is a pretty accurate description . We were
teaching a recent convert and I realized that it was less than five
months until I turned twenty and nine months until I finished my
mission.! It was like everything just got super real for a minute. It
was crazy!

This Sunday we took a trip down the rabbit hole to visit a
investigator in the psych ward. There we met a guard outside the bolted shut
doors. He made us lock up all of our stuff and waved us down with a
metal detector before we were allowed to go inside. It was crazy. It's
basically prison. We were able to have a nice visit though.

We did service at a members house this week in addition to our usual
service at the Food Pantry. We had our plans fall through one night so
we went over and helped him remove wallpaper. I got to use this super
crazy steaming machine to loosen the wallpaper before scraping it off.

We went on a ward council split after church. We've decided that on
third Sunday's we as a ward council are going to go and visit people.
I split of with our bishop and Elder Andersen went with our ward
mission leader. The other auxiliaries went out and visited people too.
It was super successful. We did the math and if each full auxiliary
presidency and both sets of missionaries split into groups of two and
each team visited three people, 60 families could be visited. That's a
lot. We're working up to that. Bishop and I visited a couple of less
active families. It went really well.

We've been getting an increasing amount of meals which is also nice.
It's a nice break from having all the same things to eat. 

Overall this week was pretty good.

Send me pictures, read your scriptures,
Love you!
Elder Galvin

Monday March 14, 2016 - The one with Jam sessions and Chinese

This has been a great week in Danville. We have been extremely busy so
not a whole lot of crazy stuff happened.

First, some miracles. After having the spiritual experience in
sacrament meeting that I described last week something I didn't mention was the
feeling of something good to come. That was realized during this week.
Heavenly Father dropped tons or miracle people out of the sky onto us
and we just were swimming in blessings. Here are a few stories to give
you an idea.

We got a referral from a young woman in the Caswell ward. He is 17 and
lives in a town just south of Danville in North Carolina. She has been
teaching the gospel to him for a few months now, taught him how to pray,
shared many Mormon messages, the meet the Mormons Movie, a Book of
Mormon etc. He has been reading his scriptures daily for two weeks
now. He says he feels the spirit more studying our religion than any
other. He will need some great support from the ward, and friends. The
girl who referred him came with him to our Ward yesterday and he had a
really good time. He isn't ready for the lessons yet but we talked
with him for a while after church to answer some questions.

Another person was a girl who yelled at us from her car
window on Monday night. She asked if we were Mormon and we said we
were. She yelled her address at us and told us to come visit.
She told us as she drove away that she had met with he missionaries
before and she wanted us to come teach her. We did.  We saw her on Thursday
night with a member of our bishopric and it went wonderfully. She is
very prepared and asked to be baptized. She has attended church a few
times when she first met with missionaries.  The bishopric member
took us to a grocery store after our next appointments and bought us
Klondike bars!

We did have a huge Samoan Elder come with Elder Everett on exchange
this week. He came out with me and is a hoot and a half. Him, Elder
Everett and I were singing all night. He brought a guitar he borrowed
from a member and we had a little jam session. It was really fun.

Speaking of jam sessions, we had one with an investigator as well. Our
appointment had fallen through but the Spirit reminded me of a person
we had a taught like two months ago and never saw again. We called him
up and he was free so we went to the church and played piano for a bit
and then taught him. It was fun.

We also had zone meeting this week. It was way better than the last
two times which was a breath of fresh air. I managed to dodge the
musical number bullet for once but did have to play the piano.
Afterword we went to this Chinese food buffet with our district and
the Spanish Elders while we got our car serviced at the VW dealership.
It was funny we ate there because we had dinner with one of people we
reactivated and his family that night and they made Chinese as well!

Overall this week was super busy but all of it was boring things you
don't care to hear about.

Send me pictures, read your scriptures,
Love you!
Elder Galvin

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Monday March 7, 2016 - The one where I share my thoughts...

This has been a wonderful week here in Danville.

Tuesday morning was very spontaneous. We only had one set appointment
and it fell through so we decided we would got try and visit this one
house I felt inspired a few weeks back to go knock on. When we were
walking up we saw this crazy looking man with a huge beard outside
moving things. He was loading stuff up into a truck. We introduced
ourselves and asked if we could help, he accepted.

This man introduced himself as Captain Bob. I'm not sure if he is
actually a sailor but he sure cussed like one. We helped him carry out
a few small furniture items and some odds and ends. He also offered
basically everything he was leaving behind in his house. The items we
left with include: two bibles, a charm bracelet, a pair of scissors,
two brass candle sticks, a chalice, and a paint can opener. His friend
and him both weren't interested. It we did give them cards. He told us
he is go into the nut house next week. What a nice guy.

We finished off the morning by walking across a river and picking wild
flowers for the other Elders. We also navigated a ravine and chatted
with our old drunk friends.

I wanted to share a few thoughts and stories from this last week. Over
the course of my mission I have never seen one of my investigators be
baptized. We are always taught that baptizing and confirming people as
members of the church is central to our purpose as missionaries. It's
been disappointing to see all the missionaries around me enjoying this
particular success while all of our investigators seem to remain
baptismally elusive.

Story #1- An eternal less active man. Or at least until a few weeks ago. He has
had dozens upon dozens of missionaries visit him over the years. It
wasn't until we met with him a few times that it all changed. We
really hit it off our first visit. We developed a strong relationship
with him and his mother, also slightly less active who had come to church two of
the last three weeks, and were able to get to the root of his concern.
He had voiced it with many missionaries over the years but we were the
first to teach him what he needed to hear. He always felt he had
perfect faith and since he held the Melchizedek Priesthood he could
preform the sacrament for himself. He felt the rule that you need
Bishops approval was just a way to get people to church. We taught him
about Doctrine, Principles, and Applications. He said never before had
missionaries who taught him the things we did. He said we debated well (we
though of it more as a convincing doctrinal explanation), and it
finally clicked for him. He is attending church again. It would not
have been possible without developing the good relationship, then
teaching to needs. Funny side story, after our lesson that first day after
we left he asked his mother if it was a sin to punch a missionary.

Story #2 - We walked into the house of one of our investigators a few weeks ago
and met someone new. She introduced herself and told us she had been a
member of the church for seven years but hadn't been active in a
while. She had been active where she was baptized but after moving she
felt unloved by her new ward so fell out of a activity. She is friends
with an investigator family of ours and moved in with them when she
moved to Danville a few weeks ago. We were able to bring over the
Elder Quorum President to help meet some of her needs as far as moving
some of her things. He was able to organize some members to assist
her. She attended church this Sunday and bore her testimony of the
love she feels in this ward and of us missionaries. She has decided to
become fully active again and is already looking forward to receiving
a calling and helping us teach the family she lives with.

Thoughts - These are just a couple additional names on a list of over two dozen
people I have seen return to activity over the course of my mission so
far. I have truly been blessed. Now, I am not shifting my focus from
teaching repentance and baptizing converts, nor am I giving up on
baptismal success; however, I am beginning to realize some of my
strengths as a missionary (i.e. Reactivations, developing strong
relationships, strengthening wards), and hope to continue to use them.
I am also trying not to be discouraged by the baptismal success I see
all around me, (the other Elders have baptized many converts in the
past months and have close to eight more lined up for the next two). I
strive to see baptisms and am disappointed when I do not see them. But
I maintain the hope that it will one day happen, and for now, I am
(trying to be) content with the abundance of reactivations.

Oh. There was also a fun run in with the police. We were out one night
trying to contact an investigator who had missed their appointment the
day previous. There was a police officer writing something on the roof
of his car across the street. As we walk up to his apartment the
officer yells at us asking if we lived there. We said no, we were
looking for this man, he responded, so am I. We chatted for a minute
and put the little notice on his door handle. We dropped him.

Overall this was a crazy week. Very successful, very tiring, but wonderful.

Send me pictures, read your scriptures,
Love you!
Elder Galvin

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Monday February 29, 2016 - The one with Tornados

This has been a good week here in Danville! We been continuing the
finding frenzies and we've been blessed to have Heavenly Father place many
people in our path. Most of the new investigators we found last week
are referrals that we've received from current investigators. We just
start teaching people and expand from there!

We also received transfer calls yesterday. Elder Anderson and I will
be staying as well as Elder Everett. Elder Earnest is leaving :( And
we're getting a new missionary name Elder Stephens.  

Some fun stories from the week. I'll start with the spiritual then go to the silly.

So we met a guy last week, I'm not sure if I mentioned in my email or
not. It was 8:30 at night and we were in the ghetto. So a pretty
typical evening! This strange man approached us and started talking to
us. Turns out he was interested and we taught him a few times this
week.  At first his understanding and comprehension was low but each
time we teach him it seems like he's understanding more and more. His
excitement level is increasing and is he excited to come to church this
upcoming Sunday.

He was another person who introduced us to one of his friends. We are
going over to teach the two of them tonight. As we were teaching C,
our main investigator, we had given his friend a book of Mormon to
read a scripture from. His friend sat there reading the book of
Mormon as we were teaching C.

We also had another testimony builder of service. We were helping at the
food pantry as we usually do. One man approached us after we helped
him carry his stuff out and asked us to come and teach him. Apparently
he has had a rough past and wants to start changing his life. We went
by he opened the door and two of his friends came out of the house as well.
All three of them were interested in hearing our message.

It was a bit crazy because we were sitting out on their porch as we
were initially teaching the three of them, the rain started.
Luckily we got inside before it started to torrentially downpour. As soon
as we got inside as I taught I got Elder Anderson to call the other
missionaries. We knew they were out on bikes and we didn't want them to
get too wet. It turns out they made it home OK.

During the crazy storm three tornadoes touched down in Danville. We were
out driving in the crazy storm and it was pouring rain like crazy!

The Spanish missionaries from Greensboro came up to Danville to spend
the night and day with us.They've never been up to Danville and wanted
to see if they could find some people. Put it this way, we didn't get
to bed on time. I have no idea how we managed to cram six missionaries
into our small little house and somehow all get showered on time.
Have I mentioned we only have one bathroom? I woke up super early so I
could shower first. I wasn't going to deal with being late.

We helped the ward mission leader move this week. We went over the
Spanish Elders Saturday morning to help him get some big furniture
items into his new house. Moving people seems to be the most common
service we do for members of the ward. We also helped them out on
Wednesday night by painting his house. Instead of going to church for
coordination he brought us over to his home for pizza and painting
party!

Send me pictures, read your scriptures,
Love you!
Elder Galvin


Us Danville Elders with the Spanish Elders

Danville Elders with Elder Earnest for the last time :(


Monday February 22, 2016 - The one where the old lady hits on us

This has been a bit of a weird week. It's gone by really fast with the
shorter week due P-day being on Tuesday and lots of stuff happening.

Wednesday was full of the usual. We have had a ton of appointments
cancel or be no shows this week. It's crazy. Way more than normal.
Probably close to a dozen overall. Buts it's okay because we've just
gone out and found more people.

Thursday I went on exchange with our district leader. It's his last
transfer so he goes home in a couple weeks. We did service on exchange. 
We were cleaning out a basement of a member in our ward. There was 
a ton of stuff in there that we moved outside to be thrown out. The fun part 
was there was a spider infestation in the basement she was working with an
exterminator to get rid of so there were hundreds, literally hundreds
of dead spiders everywhere. A lot spiders also means a lot of spider
webs.

I've also been learning about American Politics. Since I'm clearly not
an American, anytime anybody would bring up something political I go
completely blank and be like, what's a democrat?  Luckily I'm
surrounded by Americans so I've been learning the ins and outs of
everything. I'm still not sure what's going on most of the time but
it's a good start.

Friday was Zone Conference. It was really fun. We got some good
training and it's always nice to see president and sister Alexander. 
We ate lunch with them and he is in love with us Danville missionaries 
because we work so well together. Our musical number went well too.

Saturday was a really busy day. We taught a whole bunch of people and
we were swamped most of the day. That's even with a bunch of people
canceling on their appointments. We had a really awkward experience
when a 93-year-old woman hit on us ;) We  knocked on her door and
she was talking about how attractive we were. She said there was
nothing wrong with her complementing how good-looking we were. We just
laughed it off. She wants us to come back.

Sunday we met this crazy drunk guy. We're out walking down this one
road trying to go to a former investigator's house. This guy walked
out of the bar that he was at to come out and talk to us. He told us
he hadn't seen missionaries in a while and was just started going off about who
knows what. He walked away before we could even get a word
in.

The former investigator we contacted after the drunk guy was a bit of a miracle. It
started raining as soon as we knocked on his door. He let us in and we
taught him. He accepted to be baptized and he's super solid. He's
willing to act on it more than most people.

Overall a wonderful week.

Send me pictures, read your scriptures

Elder Galvin



Monday February 16, 2016 - The One with (yet another) Shooting!

This was a pretty good week here in Danvile! So many things have
happened this week, both good and bad, I don't really know where to
begin.

Last P-Day was fun. We went to Salvation Army and I bought a ton of $1
ties. And by a ton I mean ten. There were a few brand new pretty nice
ties that still had $20 tags on them. I also bought a few hideous ties
that I'm going to make skinny. I had my first experience really trying to
do anything with sewing and it turned out pretty good. I took a couple
of the ties, cut open the backs, pulled out the tie filler, used one
of my skinny ties as a stencil, cut the tie filler, and sewed up the
tie again using an iron to re crease the tie. They turned out really
well.

There was this crazy experience we had this week too. We were in the
middle of studies when we heard a knock on the door. For some reason
everyone looked to me to answer it. When I open the door there is this
man standing there who I've never seen before. He was smoking a
cigarette. Before I even had time to say hello he starts going on
about how he doesn't have a car and he is staying with the people a
few doors down. His whole purpose was to offer us $20 to drive him to
Walmart.  We eventually got him to leave.

I'm not sure if I told you how ghetto parts of Danville is. We also live right
in the middle of the hood. Wednesday morning there was a shooting down
at the end of our road. We were out in the car with a member but the
other Elders were walking and heard the gunshots. Stuff like this
happens all the time. There was a firefight a few streets over about a
week before I arrived. Fun stuff.

This week we went on a mini exchange with the other Elders. Our
district has been given permission to go on exchanges within the
district. Elder Earnest came to our area and Elder Andersen went with
Elder Everett. We exchanged for the morning and afternoon. It was a
lot of fun. We were able to get a lot done.I love the elders here in Danville.  
(We are great friends!

Yesterday marked some of he strangest weather I have ever seen. Sunday
night it snowed quite a bit, but yesterday it rained all day. Because
it was still below freezing all of the rain the fell froze into this
thick layer of ice on top of the snow. Walking at night was beautiful
because the streetlights reflected of the ice layer. It was cold, wet,
and for miserable but at least we got some pretty memories out of it.
Elder Andersen and I were sliding down hills on the ice last night. It
was fun.

We spent one dinner at the church with the other Elders coming up with
a musical number. We have zone Conference this Friday and we have been
asked to do the musical number. I also one of two in the zone who
can play the piano so I have to do that as well. Elder Earnest and I
are going to do a piano and organ duet.  I'll be playing the organ.

We spent the evening with a Canadian man in the ward and his family.
We got to talk a lot about things from Canada that we miss and things
that America miss out on. Among those at the top of the list were
Nanaimo bars and ketchup chips.

Overall though we had a good week.

Send me pictures, read your scriptures,
Love you!
Elder Galvin


SWAG!


It got cold...really cold!


Elder Earnest and I having some fun! We get along really well!