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

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Merry Christmas!

How was thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving was pretty good, not too much special really. We taught a bunch of people, had some mofo balls (easily the greatest thing this country has to offer) and we went to a members house and they made us chicken  and potatoes. I ate potatoes until I felt like puking and then I ate three more! I almost felt like I was home again. They are a really cool family though so I was happy to be there. 
Did you eat with investigators or with the elders?
Members, see number 1
Coolest part of the week?
Probably decorating for Christmas dude! I got to wear my santa hat and pump some Nat King Cole Christmas music that one of the elders had on their iPod. It was dope. 
    Two of the Elders in his house mention Garrett’s excitement and love of Christmas.
     He is my son.

Best part of being an elder in Madagascar?
You get to tell people you went to Madagascar. The stuff is way cheap, and you get to experience diarrhea for two straight years.   
Best transformer in your opinion?
Hmm, probably gonna go with Optimus Prime. Bumblebee is a close second but well, his name is bumble bee.
Best transformer ever.
Easily the bad guy that wipes out Optimus. To be number one you beat the best. He did.
Did you set up Christmas stuff up in your apartment/living space.
Sure did! Working on pictures. 

So, the cousins sound like they are doing great haha  I got a few dear elders from Chase and Eliza . By a few I mean one every day last week from Chase and two from Eliza. Pretty dope haha. Eliza is getting pretty tall huh? She will stop growing pretty young though so you shouldn't have too much to worry about. Most girls stop growing at about 16 or 17.
Anyway, I heard you slept in and had a crappy day of hunting. Sounds like a memory to me. I hope that the pictures of Christmas are of you directly after hunting and you haven't gone back to wearing all green clothes.  Dude, you are getting huge. Dad says you are strong like bull. I am gonna go with Zebu. Those things are massive. 

Well, I sent that one before I was done. But yeah,  Zebu. Pronounced Zay-boo. Do it right.  New nickname for you (Wyatt that is). I'll get you a shirt made. No charge. I went Christmas shopping for the other Elders today, got some sick stuff for everyone. Think of something that would be the coolest in croc skin or snake skin and tell me, I can probably get it made. I found a lady that makes legit croc skin shoes. From crocodiles. Yeah. They are expensive though, like 150 dollars american. That's ridiculous amounts of money in Mada by the way. Ridiculous. Worth it though, end of my mission I am hitting her up. There is so much sick stuff here dude. And cheap! Awesome. But yeah, I gotta email everyone else too. 

McLauchlin goes home January ninth, which is the time of the next transfer. So I will be in Itaosy for approximately forever. Yay... 
I am very proud of you for wearing a UW hat.  I knew you had it in you.  Wyatt is not sure how he feels about you wearing it though.
I just think of it as a Washington hat. 
So now you can tell me about your week.
Nothing too interesting really, I will see what I can come up with though.
How are your towels working?  Have you tried the camping ones or just the regular ones. 
I'm just using the camping ones, they are working great. Dry me right off every time I use them. It's great!
How are your investigators doing?
Interesting  really. We had 12 people committed to baptism for the 8 of Dec and only one is going to make it. People here are just lazy with religion. They have told us they know it is true, they just won't come to church. It's maddening. Both the people from the last baptism haven't come to church for three weeks, hello inactive status! But, the lady that is ready is way diligent so I am excited for her! 
I know you always worry about your language skills but honestly without being too critical on yourself how are you doing?  What are you doing to be better?  
Praying a lot, we talk a lot in Malagasy, I read from the bom every day in malagasy , and write down every word I hear I don't understand. It's a lot of words. I am doing ok. I am pretty good at reading, but understanding people is still super hard so I can't teach to needs which I hate. 
I love your stories about the people in Mada.  Sorry you are so cute that the ladies find you edible.  Are the kids nicer to you now that they see you often?  The candy canes can be used to bribe them to be good. 
No way, I share the candy canes with the other missionaries.
Tell me about your Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving was just a standard day but dinner was pretty good, I told Wyatt a lot about it. This member that we have dinner with fairly often is a way good cook and she made us delicious chicken and potatoes for dinner. Pretty delicious. 

Alright, well I have done basically all my Christmas shopping. So I should be good there, but I might be pulling out like 10,000 this week for food. Also the money that Elder Austin needs for stuff is like 50,000 I think so like 25 dollars. If you could just make sure that is there I would appreciate it. So would he haha. 

I love you mom. A whole bunch. Don't forget about me over here, I am gonna call you in less than a month so you better be ready! Oh believe me we are ready I love you mom. 

Big spirit hugs from the future. 
Love you
Elder Galbreath

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving time!


Hello party people.

So, this week not too much interesting really and this cyber blows so no pictures. I won't be coming back to this one.

We did have a general stake conference this last weekend, and that was pretty cool. I'm sure the talks were really good, D. Todd Christopherson and President Monson both spoke so they were bound to be. However, we only got to watch it in Malagasy so I didn't get it. I'm sure it was great though.

We also started coming up with better ways to entertain ourselves. We invented new ways to play chess. We played a way where you win by killing all the opponents’ pieces, and kings move two squares instead of one. We played a game where pawns are regular, but every other piece is a knight, and you win by killing both their actual knights.  Pretty interesting.

We started teaching a new family this week too, a family with three daughters.  They are really cool, and two of the daughters even came to church after only two lessons! So awesome. They ask a ton of questions too, which is awesome because that means they are trying to understand but I get left out of most of the lesson because I don't know what they are asking or how to answer it. So that makes for some interesting lessons. But, they are learning so no complaints there.

It rained really hard all day yesterday, like to the point where my feet were wet from the soaking of my socks from my pants. Crazy. So I started stomping puddles on McLaughlin haha but it was good, our house got hit by lightning too. We weren't home but Elder Austin and Walker were so that's freaky. I guess all the lights flashed on even though none of the switches were on. Nuts! But anyway.

I bought a UW hat today.
What? Who is this boy?
I saw it on the street and couldn't resist. It's pretty cool, and I will rock while I am in Africa but I will probably leave it here haha I can't wear it in America. Like I said no pictures this week. Darn cyber. Next week though!

Happy thanksgiving everyone, remember what you are thankful for. Hold your family close, think about everyone that has sacrificed, no matter how great or small the sacrifice, so that you can have what you do. I love you all, and I think about you often. Now go eat some turkey. Next week is Christmastime!

Elder Galbreath

Q and A

I cut my fingers twice in the past week.

Nice! You should stop doing that. I only cut myself once so far here though, and it was on the handle of the gate of our own home. Just a little one though, and I drowned it in alcohol so no infection either.

Anything in particular you would like shared at the family table on Thanksgiving?
Just make sure that everyone knows how thankful I am for them, and for the opportunity I had to be raised in the church. Make sure they truly appreciate the mounds of food that is safe to eat and isn't on rice, and tell them that I love them all. I won't see them next year either, but I will be there in two, and I will have some great stories.

Mom keeps putting together these awesome packages. Would you like anything from Wyatt and I?
Hmm, I don't know for sure. I would take whatever you sent haha but don't feel obligated. Candy is appreciated, but not a big deal. A cake mix would be great though, I can buy everything but the mix. I don't know what else. Something manly, except for dirt. I have lots of that here. Everywhere in fact.

 Hey look!! Squirrel!
Where?!?! Crap, you got me.

So I bought a turkey and Sunday we will have our own meal so we can have leftovers. I wish I could send you a meal too.
That would be nice. We are considering buying a turkey. Guess who the most experienced animal killer is in the house too. Yep, me.  Blood and guts Galbreath. So I will be killing it if that goes down.

So speaking of Thanksgiving here are your questions of the week.

What would be your thankful thought for around the table? I will tell you mine at the end of the letter.
I told Dad a little bit but since you asked too I will think some more. I am thankful for goodhearted people, who have a sincere desire to do what is right. I am thankful for a home with electricity and a functional family. Woo Hoo he thinks we are functional!! I am thankful for a mother who would make food for me, and a father who is always there for me. I am thankful for a brother that makes good decisions, and knows what is right. I am thankful for cousins and uncles and aunts that love me and for grandparents that love me, are still sane, and still have all their teeth. I am thankful overall for our loving Heavenly Father who gave me all of these things. I am thankful for this opportunity I have to
bring others unto Christ in Madagascar, and for the wonderful people I get to meet that go without all the things I am thankful for. I love you all so much. Happy Thanksgiving.

When are transfers? Will Mclaughlan die with you?
He is probably going to die in Itaosy, but maybe not with me. Transfers are next Saturday or Sunday so I will find out what is going on for sure then.

How do you get your appointments? tracting of referrals?
A little bit of both. Lots of contacting, but referrals are ideal. Referrals want to learn. It is literally as easy as asking to get into people house and teach a time but we are trying to find people that are interested, and we are looking for people who can become church leaders. We are looking for fathers who have something going on in their lives.  It's what the church needs here. It's also the hardest people to find and teach. Literally I say hello to people that lean out their windows or just sit on their porch and they are like "come in! We need to pray" but they will rarely make the effort to come to church.

Can you wear belt buckles? You could be the Celie Booth of missionaries.
Maybe, but that's not within appropriate mission guidelines. I will last two years without being a rebel. After that though, forget about it haha.

How are your garments and white shirts holding up in the laundry?
They are good. No troubles so far.

Did you like the bacon bits? You can add them to your eggs or whatever.
I do, I haven't used them yet but I hadn't thought of the eggs thing. I'll try that in the morning. Good call mom.

And lastly ingredients. What do you have to cook with so I can send you some recipes you can use.

Hmm, I have a lot of stuff. Anything asian is gettable here, and anything fruit or vegetable is everywhere. Sugar, flour, salt, no problem.  A lot of seasoning other than that is hard to find. I don't know what else really.

Thanks mom! Love you.

Elder Galbreath

Monday, November 12, 2012

12 weeks in country, time flies.

Well, as of today I am officially done with the training program. 12 weeks in country. Nuts. Still can't speak this language. Oh well. Life goes on, that's what they tell me anyway. I haven't really noticed anything to the contrary either.
Sounds like the trap shoot was a lot of fun, and the steel challenge match went pretty well. Nice number of shooters! Hopefully with Obama we can still enjoy that hobby. Doctrine and Covenants 134 I believe. My opinion almost perfectly aligns with the churches official declaration on the government. Protect the general welfare and god given rights and then butt out.
I love you dad, thanks for helping me out. I have been pretty kivy the last little while (depressed) so that helped. I'm gonna do a little Christmas shopping today for the guys, so I will pull out about 20 bucks. Should be enough to get everyone something. Wish I could buy gifts for $20. Also President Adams is "sick of people being sick" so our allotment might go up from 365000 to 450000 which would be great because I am always fighting at the end of the month to have money. Tht would give us 100000 per week for shopping and then 50000 for incidentals, shampoo, soap, haircuts and the like. Although I found some clippers in analakely for pretty cheap so I got those and me and elder McLaughlin gave eachother haircuts this morning. Pretty dope. They aren't great, but they are about as good as the ones from the barber. And they are free. In about 10 haircuts they will have paid for themselves. So yeah, pretty sick. OK now why didn’t he send a picture of that?
So, we were waiting at a bus stop the other day for our member help to show up, so we could go teach this lady. While we were waiting, this old lady walks up. Picture in your mind a lady, about four and a half feet tall, wearing about three coats, hair in a bun on the front of her head (that is a malagasy old lady standard actually), carrying a woven bag with something in it. She is missing more than a few teeth. She walks by, stops, turns back towards us, and starts talking super loud. She was saying "he is super handsome! I like him! Hey, handsome!" and making kissy sounds. Tongue halfway out of the mouth kissy sounds. Yuck. Then I realized she was looking directly at me. Yuck again. Then she goes "I like that nose, I want to eat it!" and laughing hysterically. Oh man it was so gross, but so funny. Oh man, I am laughing just thinking about it.
We visited this new guy a few days ago, big guy, huge house,  Apparently while we were there a famous malagasy singer was sitting on the couch but I didn't know who he was so he must not be that famous haha but anyway they were eating some leaves on a branch. They told us what it was called, and gave us some. You are just supposed to chew it until the flavor is gone and then stop and spit it out. So I had a leaf and it just tasted like a leaf so when we left I spit it out. Elder McLaughlin was a champ though, and ate like 12 or 15 leaves of the stuff. Then we went to teach him again the next week and we had a member with us. They offered us some more leaves but we politely declined because they were leaves haha but after we left our member goes, do you know what that stuff is? And we were like, well no, they said it makes your back and stomach strong. He says yeah maybe, but it's a drug. A drug. Elder McLaughlin goes, well it's a crappy drug then because I chewed like a whole branch and didn't feel anything. Apparently it's a smoking drug but still. Hmmm got to be careful when at investigators houses.

One more thing; make sure Senora Leavitt reads this one. OK Angie I hope your reading. I was sitting in a time the other day, music playing super loud in the next house. I didn't really understand what it was because it was some distance away. I thought to myself, wow this old school malagasy music sounds a lot like old school mexican music. Then it got to the chorus. It was a song we learned in spanish class, called "Eres tu" pretty hilarious if you ask me haha but yeah that was pretty much everything interesting.
Last Saturday we played basketball with one of our investigators, well sort of. I went to the basketball court with Michael and Elder Walker and we did some messing around stuff, the hoop was a little shorter too so I was dunking on all the malagasy guys too. Then they cleared the court and told us they already had 5 games set up to play so we couldn't play. But whatever, it was good to hold a basketball again.

We talked about the conference talk about the T-shirt so I asked, What would your T-shirt say?
My t-shirt would say "mandeha foana, reraka foana, roa toana" it means going always, tired always, two years, but it rhymes in Malagasy haha. Yeah, either that or just the title of liberty. Not very inventive, but whatever.

Grant said "my real t-shirt would say, "My sons are the reason that I live"
Nice, your first one sounded like a missionary shirt. We have a saying here, "mandeha foana, reraka foana" it means going always, tired always. I get so exhausted here. I have gone to sleep right after nightly planning the last few nights, about an hour early. Still tired. But I'm surviving. He gets really tired when he is growing. Could be interesting.

Nice food picture, looks like meatless campers.

It is pretty much hash and eggs. There was corned beef in there. Not bad, but the potatoes here are funky sometimes. You have to find a good one to make anything with.

How is the living arrangement thing going? All settled in with the 3rd set of Elders?
Yeah, we just don't really have a living room and laundry is a pain because the power in our house is not the best so we can only run the washer or the dryer, never both. One or the other is always going. But yeah, not too bad.

When I served, we had to write a weekly letter to the president that outlined how things were going in our companionships and with our teaching. Do you have something like that?
Yeah, we email him and tell him whatever we want to tell him.

Our ward only has a 40% sacrament attendance rating and they want to improve it to 55%. I guess we need to find some inactive people and try to get them active again.
Inactive work is where it's at! People that believed at one time, and already had the lessons. It's way different, but it's good! I like it, there are lots of inactives in Madagascar too. You just have to find out why they left and what damage has been done since they left. As soon as someone has weak moment Satan sneaks in.

We are gearing up for Thanksgiving. Any ideas what you will do? Any turkeys in Mada? I found a turkey Taylor drew for you so I will send it in the next package even though it will be a little late.
I'm not sure what we will do, probably buy a turkey and kill it and eat it. We might cook it but that is a lot of work so I don't know. They do have turkey here, I'm not sure how much they are. The picture will be great! I don't care when I get it haha.

Oh How would I send you music? Do you have a cd player or do you need a mp3 player and speakers?
I wasn't sure, I am going to buy a flash drive here though and just download it onto that from the internet or there are places here that will do it for you. So yeah and then I can play that on the portable dvd player we have. It's for training videos and like the Joseph Smith story and stuff but we listen to mo-tab and stuff on it. Lots of mo-tab.

Well, the new Obama administration sounds like it is going just peachy. I would say no judging but I am judging. Righteous judgment is the way of the lord, and it is a commandment, see the JST for the "judge not that ye be not judged" scripture. We are supposed to judge. Otherwise we are the natural man. I wonder what is next, I know Obama has had his eyes on that second amendment for a while. His tax plan sounds like a great idea too, 45 percent on rich people. Robin Hood, maybe. Socialist? Definitely. Holy cow, there are so many things wrong with this guy. Everyone here is happy because he is black. They just are happy because they don't have to live under him.

So, I got the packages for Christmas! That got there so fast, 4 weeks this time. They are so great, thank you so much! The big bag of jerky is a win for sure. I like the tree, I am gonna decorate that the day after thanksgiving for sure. Makes me happy he remembered that is tree day.I like the santa hats, and I'm glad you did a Christmas eve present too. My companion will be happy for it too haha I love the cheez-its and nerds and sweet tarts too. I don't know who you are trying to kid only sending two little boxes of nerds and two little bags of cheez-its though haha but they were way good so no complaints. I definitely got everything though, and I have not opened the presents yet. Getting them this early I hope he can hold out. In future packages could you throw in a little more kool aid and a little less gravy? I have more gravy than I know what to do with right now haha that gallon bag is full to the brim of seasoning now. Kool aid would be much appreciated though. Everything is awesome though! The chicken noodle and mac and cheese is great always, I am even rationing it so it will last a while. I found ideal noodles and am altering the recipe little by little to get the most noodle soakage out of it, I always have a little cheese sauce left over that I don't know what to do with. I am finding ways though.

Love you!

Elder Galbreath

 Hey I just thought of a better t-shirt. It would say, "I love mofo balls" they are freaking brilliant. Best things ever. No kidding. Eat those with some ronono soja and you have yourself a very content Elder Galbreath. An investigator gave us that on Sunday night. Best lesson ever. They should be coming to church too next sunday. Pumped! Love you mom.

Oh, also yesterday in church I was sitting reading my scriptures and adding up numbers from the week in sacrament meeting and this nice lady behind me, a black momma if there has ever been one, fixed my collar because my tie was poking out a little. Instantly made me miss you. OK not going to lie, that made me happy. Just thought I would let you know. Also someone played "I'll be home for Christmas" in the house a few days ago and I almost freaking cried. So bad. Christmas is gonna be rough, but I get to call you! So I will be good.

Love you mom!



Monday, November 5, 2012


1) Great strength comes from within.  This has nothing to do with a question but is important enough to have its own number.
Thanks Dad, I'm not feeling real strong lately. Maybe it's my insides. I'm sure mom will share her email with you, or just make her share so I don't have to waste my time and write all that again haha
2) Your family sure loves you.  I hope you had the chance to write a letter to Great-Grandma.
I love my family too, I started a letter to GG but I haven't been able to finish it yet. I will probably get it out next Monday though. It should be there by Christmas unless something goes wrong. 
3) Everyone at church asks about you still.  You made quite an impression on several families here at home.  Should I tell them you are great or that they need to send cookies?
Tell them I am good, just really sweaty haha and I would love some cookies but if they made it here they would be nasty by then. Maybe jerky haha 
4) Mom probably covered a lot of the question thing in her letter.  Are you eating well enough that if Mom saw what you were eating she would be happy?
Probably, I eat eggs a lot. I am eating pretty well though. No real problems there.

Another thing I wanted to tell you about comes from an email a little while ago, when you asked if you had taught me enough life skills or something like that. I realized a couple days ago that although I never really learned how to not say things, like when is a good time to shut up, I learned how to talk to people really well.  Luckily you also passed down some really thick skin to me so that's not too much of an issue with me. But thank you so much for teaching me how to talk to people. I love you!

Oh and PS tell mom she can sleep in when you're dead haha go do fun stuff. All I said was it would be nice to sleep in some day.

How are you feeling?
I won't lie to you mom, I've been having a pretty rough time of things lately. I keep trying to just fall farther and farther into mission life so I can focus more and start getting better at this language and it isn't working. Then to top it off this week yesterday four appointments fell through. Four! That’s out of six in case you were wondering. And that was after church and a CEP (ward council) meeting. I just get so discouraged sometimes. I see from Conner's email he is feeling kind of the same way. We email him some of Conner’s email so he can stay in touch with him.  I think it was a hard week to be a missionary. At least I'm not the only one right? I don't know, I just try to keep my chin up and ears open. I do a lot more goofy stuff lately throughout the day to keep from getting too stuck in the depressing stuff. Nothing ridiculous, just like random dancing for little kids and jumping over stuff on the street. I skipped from one appointment to the other one time also. That was interesting. But yeah, I think I just have a hard time relying on other people or the spirit because I feel like I can do things myself. That kind of attitude kept me from praying for a while back home too, and that was stupid. I just need to take the missionary lessons about faith and our Heavenly Fathers love maybe haha but I am doing ok. Staying alive. Always tired, almost always dirty, often discouraged, but I never quit. Quitting is for quitters, because quitters quit. I'm not a quitter. I am a Galbreath. Yes he is and we are pleased with him.
Are you wearing your retainers?  Do you remember you have them?
Yes mother. haha but seriously I have been wearing them every night, and that is no exaggeration. 
How is your belt holding out?  Can you get belts there if you need them?
My belt is holding out great, and there are belts everywhere here if I need another one. Seriously, from where I sit I see three people selling them. 
So did you like your new Captain America?  You have not said anything about him.  
He is way cool! I punch people with him all the time, it's dope. He is way bigger than the last one haha but he stands on my desk so it's all good.
Did you get all the batteries?
Yes I did, thank you very much my way is "tena mazavaha" thanks to those. That just means understood very well. I don't know why the malagasies don't just say they can see but whatever. 
Did the soy sauce make it without exploding?  I thought fried rice could be something you could make easy, rice, eggs, vegie and meat if you have it.
It did, thank you for that I plan on making fried rice pretty soon. However, in the future you don't need to bother with the soy sauce, they have it up the wazzoo and also on the shelves here everywhere you go. 
How are your investigators doing?  Any new ones.  Are they coming to church?
Investigators are pretty good, I already told you a bunch of them bailed on us yesterday. We got a new family we are teaching too. So that is cool, we are teaching them tonight again. We only had four investigators come to church though, so that was a bummer. I hope it gets better. 
Wow crazy rain all right.  That is almost scary.  
I know right! Nutso.
So who drinks all the pop? 
We all drink pop a lot. It is significantly better tasting here than in America. They use real sugar in it, and it is way cheap. Like 2000 for a liter. That's roughly a buck.
Walker sounded more like Jimmy Stewart. 
Yes! I knew he sounded like someone else haha I'll let him know. 
So glad your raincoat works.  Are you using your drybag also?
I haven't needed to, my jacket covers my bag all the way. It's way big too, the drybag is. So I don't know if I will use it often but if I need it I definitely will.
Friday after work we went to BBQ depot 
I'm jealous. 

I really only added those last things so I could respond to them easier. Yay for being lazy haha
One more thing, in my package did you send me Christmas music? Oops did not think of that. If not I am going to download some onto an exta sd card for Christmas morning so just let me know.
I love you mom. Miss you. 
Elder Galbreath