Someone who leaves their family for a short time, so that others may be with their families for ETERNITY.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lohatena (My mom told me to write an email title on these so I did and this is it)

Ha-ha that just means title ha-ha but you wanted a title so there. The working title can be "My Mom told me to write an email title on these so I did and this is it" that one is dope. funny boy!

Alright, so just a couple short stories and then I will let you post up all my amazing answers to questions. 

Ok. First story. There is a tree by the church building, and it has these weird little fruits. So I climbed the tree and ate a bunch of them. They were way good! Tart and kind of sour but still delicious. Then I realized that the top of the tree was at roof level. Then I realized that Elder McLaughlin was already on the roof taking all the good fruit from there. So I hurried up to the roof and grabbed some fruit. I didn't get sick or anything from that, but I had a very gassy stomach for the rest of the day. Pretty dope. 

Speaking of gassy, we went to teach this investigator named F. We started with a hymn, and then I asked who they wanted to pray. They asked me to pray, and so I started the prayer. I literally said the addressing part, (Ry Ray any-andanitra) and this kid lets out the loudest, wettest fart you can imagine coming from a four year old. I was trying so hard not to laugh, and I finally had it under control so I could keep praying. Then just as I start talking again McLaughlin can't hold it all in and so I hear him laughing and it all starts over again. Ridiculous. 

Alright that's it. Love you all! 

1) I sent a package last week, let me know when you get it so I have an idea how long it takes.  (Not really a question just a statement)Are you glad I told you, now you can be excited for 6-8 weeks?
1a) what do you want in your Christmas package?  For you?  Things to share with the people of Mada?  
Hmm. I think I need a Christmas tree. Just a little baby one, but they don't have them here. OK Mom G is a genius.  She was just telling me she sent one to Daniel and so I was actually looking up miniature trees last night.  Thanks Mom! Also a Santa hat for around the house in December. I don't really know what else I need, you can just divide up what I asked for last time I guess, and you know me. Deodorant would be nice though, they don't sell normal deodorant here. Weird right?  Maybe this is why he said it smelled there? Yeah, and pictures from home! Like the family pictures I still haven't seen any of. You can email me those too actually; I can look at pictures on here and even print them off actually, but that costs money so I won't print off too many.
1b)  what are some things your housemates/companion like so I can send then something too.
Um, they like soccer Elder McLaughlin especially. I am planning on doing some Christmas shopping for them around here though and I don't know where I will be at Christmas actually, because those transfers happen right before Christmas. So don't worry about them, if you send me some cookie mix and maybe frosting? They will be plenty grateful for that. 
2) So how exactly did you lose your Captain America doll?  Sorry action figure?
Alright story time. Gather round. Alright so first full day in country. Don't understand literally anything anyone says but I am trying really hard. This lady walks up and sees my backpack on the ground with Cap riding in the mesh pocket on the strap. She says something that I don't understand and points at it, but I don't know what she said so I just kind of smile at her. I thought she said she liked it. American mind, thinking I get compliments. Then she grabs it and gives it to her kid. In about half a second I realized what had just happened. She had said "can I take?" in very, very poor English with a ridiculously heavy accent, and I had been expecting Malagasy so I didn't know what she was saying. She took my smile as a yes. Crap. So the Captain America actions figure I had planned to keep with me my entire mission was gone to some street kid on the first morning in country. Dope. 
3) Tell me about something fun you experienced
Not that ^ that's for sure. The living room ping pong match I think was the best thing as far as fun goes here ha-ha although we played "valo mafinaritra" with a less active family and I totally dominated.

3a) something spiritual?
Hmm. Well, I don't get much out of church, that's for sure. We taught this guy named F though, and he wants to learn really badly. His wife is an inactive member, and they are so cool! We were talking about the word of wisdom, and we read D&C 89 the whole way through, and he got really quiet for a second. We let him think, then he looked us right in the eye and he said "I want to get baptized. What do I need to do?" So much spirit in that room. It was almost palpable. 
3b) something different we would not experience here.
Um, everything? Ha-ha it's like another planet here. Women have absolutely no shame about breastfeeding. At all. In the middle of the lesson, in church, front row before their own baptism, doesn't matter. Also people pee everywhere. People pull over their scooters, and pee off the side of the road. Everywhere and anywhere. And it's not weird. 
4) What is on your mind lately?
Mostly the language. I have been thinking about Christmas a lot lately actually, and I have decided to be the best housemate ever at Christmas time. I freaking love Christmas and I didn't realize that until they don't really celebrate it here. I will not give up my Christmas. 
5) How was the baptism?   Oh yeah, Chase's went great except Daniel had to dunk him twice.  His toe popped up.  Daddy did a nice job but he cried when he was giving Chase the message from you.  He is such a baby, I never cry like that. (big grin here)  We had the party after and Dad won the day by giving him this video game he wanted.  Surprised are you?  He is such a spoiler.  He loves doing it though.  
The baptism was pretty cool; hardly anyone came though, five men and four women. Plus the people they brought with them.  But yeah, nothing exciting really. I told Dad about it a little too. 
He wasn't kidding when he said they were smaller people.

                                                 This is their baptismal font!
1) What is the best thing that happened to you this week?
The best thing that happened to me this week was probably the baptism! That was so cool; the best part was the members’ testimonies after they got baptized. Volasoa gave the typical "I know that what the missionaries taught me is true" testimony, but you could really tell she was feeling the spirit, and Marcelline blew me away! She got up and gave specific testimony about a few things and then she said (roughly translated) "I know the Book of Mormon is true because I prayed about it and I got an answer that it is true, and I know that Thomas S Monson (she remembered the prophets name! Huge deal here) is a true prophet because I prayed about it." Oh my gosh I was so freaking happy I almost cried. 

As far as things happening to me personally I don't really know, I finished second Nephi the other day, so that was pretty sweet. The last few chapters are like diamond encrusted in the gold of the rest of the scriptures. Freaking awesome. I'm going to go buy a Kevin Durant jersey/shorts combo today for 30,000 (about 15 bucks) if I can find the guy again. 
2) tell me a little more about the street food.  I understand about the cows tongue thing.  I had a similar experience at a members home in Korea, never ate that combination of food again or since.
The street food is actually way good, especially if you get it fresh. They mostly just have a fire going and a kettle of hot oil on top and they dump in bread dough with stuff in it, or they throw in little rolls, like egg rolls but full of noodles and stuff (so good). It's the stuff the members and investigators make for you that will give you trouble. They don't always cook it all the way through, and the rice is usually almost rotten because that's when it's the cheapest. So that can be shady but I have only been sick from food once, and I guess after a while your stomach develops extra walls of lining and a small army to fight all the nasty crap you put in it. Looking forward to that day.
3) I saw a video from Elder Moulton of the kids near the mission home.  They look a lot like the same kids that are in the article from LDS living about the church in Mada. 
Um, cool? I don't know if that's really a question or not ha-ha but the kids here are freaking adorable! So cute, especially Leon! I sent mom a picture of him last week, hopefully she showed you. He is like a freaking genius. He is reading the Book of Mormon. I can't even do that in Malagasy. He is so funny though, and he likes me too so that helps. 
4) Are you enjoying this experience? 
I am enjoying myself every now and then. I am trying to find a balance between being a super sick diligent missionary and not killing myself with the rules. I manage to have a pretty good time still though. It probably helps that I enjoy teaching ha-ha even though I'm not very good at it. Also English class is the highlight of my week, aside from p-day when I get to read your emails of course. I'm definitely not the same person I was pre-mission and I suspect I never will be again but! I am still me, and I am still awesome. No doubts there. Just learning to speak like these people is a challenge, and trying to be a missionary is never an easy task. I was looking through my planner from the MTC yesterday trying to find an email address (for Bro Sell) and I saw a quote I really liked. I thought I would share it with you. "Difficulty is one excuse that history has never accepted."-Benjamin Disraeli
5) Tell me two unique things that you did this week that we would be amazed at here.
Hmm. I lived in Madagascar, that's pretty amazing. I led a full lesson in Malagasy, about the Book of Mormon. That was pretty dope. I climbed a tree and picked fruit I have never even seen before and ate about two handfuls of it. They were roughly the size of strawberries, the shape of gourds, and the color and texture of oranges. They gave me the worst farts ever. I don't really know what else is interesting, stuff is starting to seem routine. I love you! 
1) Will you be able to watch conference in two weeks? 
 We don't get to watch it live, but they give us recordings a couple weeks after it that we get to watch so I will get to see it. I am so excited! I never realized how awesome general conference talks are. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I am still alive!

I am good, I am still alive, even if only barely haha I haven't been sick since last time. That makes Mom happy to hear.  I rolled my ankle about four times in one day though, then while it was all swollen the next day I rolled it again. That hurt so bad; I tried wearing my ankle brace all day but at about six my foot started falling asleep, so that didn't work. So I just watch my step really carefully. I found my blog haha I like the title and the drummer guy with a tie on. We have two investigators getting baptized this Saturday, so excited! Elder McLaughlin is doing them though, so I just get to watch. Still excited!
My most spiritual experience: Well I'm not sure to be honest; I don't understand what anyone says. I will keep you posted though.
Interesting food: Um, nothing too interesting really. Sunday I realized I didn't have anything to eat really but I couldn't run to the episcerie because it was Sunday; SO I had plain pasta with some hot sauce on it, yum.  Ah, missionary spaghetti!!  What a treat.
Wildlife, not really. We saw a giant moth Saturday though. Super cool. Like the size of my calf, giant. I almost peed myself when I saw it, because I saw it about two inches in front of my face. Silly big. Got a picture of it on McLaughlins leg, I will send it next week, this computer is being dumb.
The kids are hilarious, but most of the time they just yell bonjour fahaza! and run. That gets old pretty fast. They are really good at making up games without having anything special though.  Lots of rocks and garbage used in their games.
We have been using Elder Austins soccer ball here, so no need for mine yet, but it's time will come. They just get ruined anyway, grass or turf fields are a joke here, it's all dirt.
Alright, I made a list of things for the package. I think my planned package just doubled.  Good thing holidays are coming. First, batteries. More triple A for the flashlights. I left my alarm clock in the MTC on accident so that would be nice, but if you are worried about it getting here or anything we are using the phone right now. I don't think I told you the story but on the first day I accidentally gave away my Captain America to a lady speaking very very poor english, so if you wanted to send a small one of those I wouldn't mind. A desk calender, like one of those single sheet ones that has the whole year on it, just so I can know the weeks and number dates would be nice. A small calculator for adding up shopping budget would be helpful. As far as mixes and stuff like that goes anything that doesn't require meat would be greatly appreciated. Meat is expensive and frankly not that good here, so we eat a lot of eggs, and I do pasta a lot. So pasta sauce I guess. Candy would be super cool, send pop rocks! The people here have never had them so they think you're a warlock or something.  They freak out.  Awesome. Nerds, sweet tarts, stuff like that. Twix, milky way, don't worry too much about candy but it's not easy to find here. Seasoning salt, Dad's favorite ingredient, would be sweet too. Anything to spice up eggs really, any recipes you know of to make with not too many ingredients would be greatly appreciated. Fruit is very easy to come by too, so fruit smoothie recipes maybe? No strawberries though, they give you brain worms. Drink mix, don't bother. I just drink a lot of water and chocolate milk here, and they sell the stuff for those so don’t waste the space.  And of course mac and cheese if it will fit.
I will certainly try to tell you about my days without questions, but my memory sucks so no promises.
We have an investigator that lives on this crazy walk, I am gonna take a video of it and show you guys next week hopefully. Alright well I should go, I don't think we are staying too much longer and I still have to write Dad. Oops, sorry Dad did get jipped in the email department  Love you!
Oh, and everyone here wears soccer jerseys from their favorite teams. I am going to try to find a Seattle Sounders jersey soon, but I doubt I'll find one. Tell Jay I need one and see if he has any sweet hookups to get me one cheap or something. He will like that I want one haha Trying to find one.  Anyone have an old one to sell cheap?

This is his letter to Wyatt.  Love this stuff!!!  Shared with permission from Wyatt.
Dude, your letters light up my day. I laughed so hard, the Malagasy chick next to me kept looking at me funny but I don't even care because she is paying 200 ariary a minute to look at pictures of herself on Facebook. Anyway, I'm glad you guys are doing well in football! Also, sorry to hear about the homecoming stuff. Girls don't get any less frustrating, in fact they actually get worse with time. Julissa will be a good date though, good family with high standards. Just don't forget to be incredibly good looking, I know it comes pretty easy to us. Gel your hair is what I'm saying. Hopefully you can see my haircut soon, it's dope. By looking at the picture they only know how to do one haircut in Mada.

I'm pretty pumped you are learning to weld, that is way cool and people look for that kind of skill for menial farm laborers. I think that is the only thing that would have got me hired at Irrigators any faster, except being buff like you. Seriously haha

So, question time.
1.  How’s your companion? My companion is pretty cool. The language is still crazy frustrating but I am learning; The people are so hard to understand, it's ridiculous.

2.  Are you playing nice with the other kids? Am I playing nice? Of course not, I play to win. No haha seriously though I get along pretty well with everyone, so that has been nice. It is not easy though, I pray a lot. I never used to pray, I always thought it meant I was weak, asking for help you know? Then Brother Sell in the MTC told us what his dad told him. He said "It's not a sign of weakness to ask for help, but a sign of strength to accept help from those who love you."  As a parent this is the stuff you love to read coming from your kids.

3.  How’s p-day going? Doing anything fun and exciting? P-day, I think today we are just doing email lunch and going to the office then getting home and catching up on some rest. There are not a lot of opportunities to rest during the week, even Sunday. It's go time baby, and we are going. Last week we went to the zoo though, and that was way cool. Or maybe that was two weeks ago, I don't know. All the days start to run together. On Saturday I have been in country for a month. It feels like a day. It goes by so fast. I had a dream the other night that I was done with my mission already, two years had passed; I almost cried, and then I woke up and I was like "I am so glad I am still in Madagascar."

4. Still struggling with the language? Yep. I always tell people "Azafady, fa mbola mianatra teny gasy" which means "sorry, I'm still learning Malagasy."

5. If you could have 1 object with you that you know we can’t actually send you what would it be? I’ll give you a spiritual and a personal  answer. Spiritually, a rock that gave me the gift of tongues without having to try so hard haha and personally, a personal mind reading translator so I could speak the language. Can you guess what I want? haha

 Well bro, I love you man. Stay fresh, and stay strong.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Answers to Moms questions

You weren't kidding about the lots of questions. I'll see if I can put a dent in it. I did write about 20 questions.  Call me curious.

I am taking all my vitamins and my malaria pills every day. I wasn't sure if you gave me enough that I should be taking what it says to take or just one a day, so let me know but I have been doing what it says to do. Only two kinds of vitamins right? Explain if I am doing something wrong there ha-ha

Eating lots of rice and shredded leaves, lots of fruit, and lots of water. Making lots of pasta, corned beef, meat from the market, and sedaap (like top ramen but with Chinese food flavor, super good) Who knew Top Ramen was a universal food  oh and fruit juice! So many juices here, passion fruit, guava, cranberry kiwi, medley of fruits, and then many many more. I have found one I didn't like and they only sell that one on the street.

My allowance is fine, I am definitely budgeting hard though.

The house is drafty and boring, there's not much to say except only half the burners work on the stove and we always wear a sweater. 

Investigators are cool in general, we are teaching a lady named Hanta (ee-yawn-tuh) and she seems really interested in the church but she never comes, and last week she invited us to her church. We didn't go, but it's really weird conflicting messages. 

Members are very interesting, they are all converts, except a few of the little little kids, so they have a lot of interesting things. We taught them a better way to pass the sacrament for example.

The other house people are way cool, Elder Austin from the MTC is still with me, we get along really well and Elder Walker is way cool as well. 

I listed all the animals in the other email, but I don't remember if I mentioned the crocodile or not. 

My drum is sick, it's not super nice, but it does well for now ha-ha it has some carvings on it that pretty sweet, and I played every drum the guy had before I bought it. Also, it was my first bartered purchase. Talked him down about 20,000 from his original price so I was pretty happy. 

I can tell you I didn't open them until that holiday, and I might wait a little bit but no promises. I had asked about sending packages, if he would wait until designated holiday to open it.  Should have known his answer, he is too much like his Dad and Grandpa G.

I am writing in my journal fairly often, not every day but I am doing well. 

The sunsets don't exist because it's flat and I am in the city. Whatever though, sun goes down at like seven so I don't usually miss it. 

My companion is British, so he doesn't get my humor, and I don't think his is very funny. Other than that though we get along really well, I think we are working well together and he is teaching me the language really well. He is very street Malagasy, but not the food. He doesn't like to eat street food. It's way good though! 

Daily routine, get up at 6 30, eat breakfast, shower and get dressed, personal study at 8, companion study from 9 to 11, then language study until noon. Language study is usually going over words from the previous day that I wrote down because I didn't know, then reading from the Book of Mormon in Malagasy to work on pronunciation, and then working on phrases I can use during lessons. Pretty helpful, and I am definitely improving. Understanding is still pretty hard, but it's getting better! 

Teaching story, we taught Marcelline a practice bap interview to identify any concerns she might have. None at all. So happy. Then she goes (translated) "Elder Galbreath hasn't talked, give a spiritual thought." and hands me a book of Mormon. I flipped right to the waters of Mormon and nailed it with baptism and the blessings it brings and asked her what was keeping her from being baptized. She said nothing was. I just about hit the roof. So happy. I bore testimony about the blessings of baptism, and closed the lesson. Felt so cool. 

Fun story, Elder Walker and I found some ping pong stuff in the house, but no table. So, being thrifty and inventive, we put the table in the middle of the room and played off the floor. We did alright.

Favorite scripture for the week is at the end of 2 Nephi chapter 2. Lehi is addressing Jacob I believe, his firstborn in the wilderness. At the end of the chapter he says that he tells them these things so that they can gain eternal happiness with our father in heaven. I just thought that was a wonderful thing for him to say, to explain his motivation as a father. I'm glad I have a Dad that loves me and wants the best for me. 

I got a haircut and boy, is it a haircut. 

I love hearing from you guys! Brightens my week. We are in ampitatafika right now at a decent cyber. The zoo last week was sick! I saw a fossa, turtles, lemurs, camels, peacocks, and the ever wild fahaza (white people if you don't remember) 

I got sick for the first time this week. We ate at a member’s house on Tuesday and they fed us cow tongue. It was alright, it was really slimy tasting though. So Wednesday morning we do our study time and have lunch and go outside to try to catch a bus to Itaosy. Then it hit me. I said "Elder McLaughlin, we need to go back to the house. I ran across the street and back in the house, sat down on the toilet and did not move until Thursday morning. It was terrible. I'm pretty sure I lost ten pounds. But I'm all better now and I will never eat cow tongue again. Ever.

We had a zone conference on Saturday with Elder Cook of the Seventy, and it was way good! He talked a lot about strict obedience, and he called us the Green Beret missionaries, which is fitting of my new haircut ha-ha. He said that because of how early the work here is, he said we are setting the foundation for the church in Madagascar for generations to come, so we better do it right. Way cool conference though, he also said that our white handbook is the book of blessings because every rule has a blessing attached to it. Also I proved I can still grab rim on a hoop, even with my suit on. Skill. 

Let’s see, what else. We have two investigators getting baptized in the next couple weeks! I'm way excited for both of them, two ladies named Marcelline and Volasoa. Both way cool. Marcelline's whole family is already members, except for her parents who we are teaching and will be baptized as soon as they can get married. So excited for them all! 

I don't think I need anything really, I'll start a list for next week of things I think of. Mac and cheese is never a bad thing though. I love you! I'm being good, so no worries there.
I don't know what else ha-ha love you all! 

Rule to live by number 1- Never eat cow tongue. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I finally saw a Lemur!

Sorry, no pictures. This cyber won't let me use my card.

I am rushing this email, sorry, we have a time in 15 minutes and I just got to start my email due to a lack of busses and taxis. Thank goodness for members going home from work!

I'm glad you guys enjoyed DMB weekend, it sounds like it didn't go horrible. Wy saying it was like working at cheers made me laugh pretty hard too. ( Wyatt commented that the change aprons we wore reminded him of the ones they wear on the tv show Cheers)
 We went to the zoo today! It was sick, a bunch of guys tipped the lemur caretaker and got to go inside the cage and lemurs were all over them, but I was chasing my companion so we didn't get to do that. Oh well, good thing I have two years left here to bribe people for lemurs.
 Last Monday I bought a drum.(That didn’t take long!) It's way cool and super fun when I have time to play it, but I will be getting a cooler one to bring home. Sorry this is a short one, love you all a bunch! (Boy he wasn't kidding this was very short.  Good thing we know he is busy.  Still love him)

Elder Galbreath ny fahadimy