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

Monday, March 25, 2013


Glad you think you are gaining weight.  How much do you weigh now?
No idea.
Very glad you are enjoying the riding.  Do you really only ride on tuesdays?
Mostly, the bikes here are pretty terrible so they are constantly in need of repairs. My bike is going to get a fresh driveline job from yours truly tonight. It's just so much more convenient on a bike. 
So I was happy to see your pictures.  Explain the dirty shirt.
That's just the typical shoulder dirt from the sweat and backpack straps. Thought I would show you the abuse those shirts are taking. 

I was also curious as to your outfit.  Love the jersey but you had your dockers and tracting shoes.  Do you not have jeans and tennis shoes?  
I do but we went up the mountain and then taught a less active member on the other side, so I packed a white shirt and tie and changed into that before the lesson. Pants and shoes are about the same whatever so I didn't bother wearing jeans and changing. 
Love seeing your desk.  Glad the Captain is keeping you company. 
Oh for sure, he keeps me on track. What did you think of the nose thing? I got another one made, this one has a beard. 
                          Grant thinks this is Garrett's nose.
How are your vitamins holding up?
Like a champ. No problems. 
Went to Youth Conference and a speaker said we send boys on missions to suffer.  Interesting thought.
I believe it. We go through a lot of hard stuff out here. Makes boys into men really quick. It's kind of cool to watch the new kids come in and see how much they change in the first month or two, and know that I did the same thing. 
I will apologize for being a bad Mom because I have not sent your Birthday package yet.  One more thing to put in it.
Is it mac and cheese? I ran out of that recently. If not, no biggie I'll get by but it wouldn't be the worst thing ever. Also make sure you put stuff on the packing slip, when I got Cari's package it was opened and like half empty. I don't know if they sent it half empty or if it got robbed or what but there was nothing written on the packing slip. I felt too bad to tell them it got opened though. I got a big reeses heart, gum, nerds, gobstoppers, a bag of steak strips, and a note so I don't know what they would have taken but it got opened so I don't know. Just be careful. 
Do you need any anti-fungal cream?
I inherited some from Elder Jensen who was in my place here before me but if I use it up I will let you know, thank you very much. I am doing pretty well so far. Had some athletes foot for a while, but I kicked it out. 
1) Moses or Noah?
I am gonna go with Noah on this one. Although it's close. Noah actually walked and talked with God, he was that close to perfect. Plus Moses had to deal with a stinking hard hearted Pharoah, kill an egyptian, and the sons of Israel had the shortest attention span ever. That's another close one though. 
2) Spam or kielbasa?
Kielbasa all the way. Sausage is where it's at. I would do terrible things to innocent people for some summer sausage though. 
3) How many smiley faces are there in the bible?
A lot, Moses and Paul must have been some very happy people, they have a bunch hidden in their writings. 

So the area is going pretty good. It is raining a lot here. So I am packing a jacket every day. Every day for the last week it has been nice and then flash flood status at like six. Or one day at three, and it rained like that all day. Saw a collapsed rice paddy the other day, four or five layers just washed out. Pretty rough stuff, that's someone's lifeline just washed out. Food is gonna be tough for that family. But other than that nothing interesting really. There is this one member family that feeds us every Sunday night and they are really cool. Voahangy is her name. It means pearl, really cool lady. They sell oil for a living, like cooking oil. She makes really good food too, never going hungry on a Sunday night haha 
We taught this guy, he looks like a young black Christopher Walken, and he is very interested. He works on Sundays right now, but his work schedule changes when someone quits so next time he will have Sundays off. Anywho, this guy has been learning for a little while, so I decided we needed to review the Joseph Smith story, he knew about the book of mormon stuff, but not the first vision. I would say that that is a pretty big hole in his learning. So we taught a good hour and a half lesson about that, he had a lot of questions. Pretty bright guy really. Really felt the spirit helping him understand some things too, it's always nice when they are open enough to allow that to happen. 

Anywho, I think that's all I got. 

I love you mom and dad, 
Elder Galbreath

P.S. What day is mothers day? May 12th!!!!! Can’t wait to skype!
Sick! Talk to you then. We have a pretty nice cyber by our house

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Yo Yo Yo

First things first, with the car. I was thinking about that every now and then, there is a wide range of cars here and we have a lot of free time to talk to other missionaries. Well, not a lot really but enough. Anywho, I was thinking that a littler car, still something cool, but smaller for mileage sake. Like a Honda CRX or something like that. Or even just a little civic or something, I do like two door cars, they have grown on me since mom got the mini. That isn't going to make Wyatt happy at all, so I would be all chill with a jeep like mom's, sans daisies. What’s wrong with my daisies? Cherokee or Wrangler doesn't matter too much to me, stick would be ideal though. Just something that gets at least decent gas mileage and that will last a little while, or be easy to fix. Jeep might be better for winter too actually, if I'm gonna be going to the college in it. But yeah. 

So, this week was very interesting. So, Tuesday we had the interviews for some people that were supposed to get baptized. One guy P was fine, loves the church, has an 18 year old son that already has the priesthood, and this guy has come every week for a year. Pictures should be in the bucket. However, the other people were three kids. No problem right? Wrong. They would be the only members of the family.  It’s hard to baptize kids and then have them go cold in two years because his mom decides he needs to go back to the catholic church. Cold means inactive, it's how they say it here, not slang or anything. Anywho, so Elder Moore (district leader, did the interview) and I decided we were not going to do the baptism that Saturday. One of the kids' mom is ready except she isn't married to the guy she is living with. Divorces are super hard to get here, and she was married to the guy she lived with before. He took off 13 years ago and hasn't been seen or heard from since.  Just for kicks and giggles, let's say he does show up again. They want to get a divorce so she can get remarried. They have to get the four witnesses from their original marriage, pay x amount of money, and go back to the same place they did the original marriage and do the divorce papers. Fun right? I am sure he will be baptized when he is older and be a great member. I feel bad for the kid but I don't want him to be baptized and just go inactive down the road, that's not chill. The other two kids have no members in their family, just two quiet kids that have been told they need to be baptised. And they do, but they need to do it under the right circumstances. Thank you so much for raising me in the church, it keeps things like this from happening. Also I am so stubborn I probably would have never listened to the missionaries in the first place. But anywho, Saturday rolls around. We go out there to the baptism, and P is getting ready, and his kid is gonna baptize him! Way cool, pics in the bucket. The three kids are also in the room about to get ready. Luckily they weren't ready yet. So we remind them what we talked about on Tuesday, and get that figured out. The zone leaders asked me about it the next day and when I told them what went down they said thank you so much. They said President would have crucified them. So I am glad I made the right decision according to other people too. 

While we are on the subject of Elder Galbreath being the bad guy, I did have to disappoint some members on Sunday in Mahazoarivo. They were positive that if a guy lived in another area that we could still teach him we just have to do it at the church. Then they said he could do baptism in our area and go to church in our area and everything. I told her that was against the laws of missionaries and although I was flattered that she wanted us to teach him so bad, that I would tell the missionaries in his area and they would be more than happy and do a wonderful job teaching him
Well, on the good news side of things, we teach this guy, his name is B. He is a recent convert, just received the aaronic priesthood actually. He is super cool, crazy accent. We taught him on Saturday and he told us after the lesson, he goes "I have a secret. I want to tell you but it's a secret. Ok? (ok) My church before, it was a protestant church, and they said not to eat pork. (That's a fairly common thing here actually, law of moses stuff) but one day I went to this hotely, right here. You walked past it. I went in and I said 'What's the loak?' and they pork. I said give me a plate. And I ate it. And it was gooooooood. Pork is delicious! You guys eat pork right? (yeah) It is gooooooood. But don't tell anyone." Super funny guy, great secret too. 

Little stuff, I saw a rainbow today, so we have at least another year until the second coming.  I finished the new testament a little while ago, so I am starting the old testament now. 

Also, got a little confidence boost the other day, another missionary, with no promptings, told me I was good at Malagasy and asked what group I was in. He seemed surprise when I told him we got here in August. So that's cool. Also I have to translate for my comp at all the district and zone meetings, because he is the only malagasy elder in Antsirabe. So that has been fun. 

So, the guy that carved my little face/glasses holder thing, (no idea what that is) his name is J. He is really diligent, but has a hard time leaving his church because he has lots of friends. So we taught him about prophets and the authority of God here on Earth and it was such a good lesson. I actually managed to use Malagasy well and have the spirit there at the same time. I was really happy with that but most of all just the fact that he felt the spirit so much. It was a really really good lesson. We will see if it goes anywhere. 

So, today we hiked a mountain. It was a lot of fun, we went really high and got really tired. I am kind of rushing the last part of this email because the power just died for an hour at the cyber so I am short on time. But we hiked all the way up to the top of the mountain, saw some solar panels that bp has up there (weird right?) and saw some rice, cows, a malagasy mountain frog. I'm not sure what pictures went up, (Darn only three went up, but I will take it) the upload got cut short so sorry. I'll send more next week. 
                                          The top is their goal!
                                                              MADE IT!!
                                           Companion photo time.
Thank you so much for the pictures! I am so happy for Sydnee, I told her that in the letter. It's weird that Rianne is married and Kyndra is almost married. 
I love you! Please forward this to mom, there is way too much story in here for me to write twice haha

Fruit loops or Apple Jacks?
Always gotta be fruit loops. Why are they called Apple Jacks if they don't taste like apples? 
When you transferred did you have trouble taking your stuff with you?  Did you have to leave anything behind or at the mission home?  Was your drum hard to pack?
Not too much problem, I didn't bring my drum. I didn't ever use it, and it just turned into a nightstand so I left it behind. I will buy a nice one before I go home to keep but that one was just a burden for two years. I have everything I really need here. 
Stripling warrior or 3 Nephites?
That one is hard. 3 Nephites would be dope, just teach the gospel for eternity and never worry about death. And they talk to angels and everything all the time. However, I'm not sure how I feel about the never dying thing. That would be kind of rough. Stripling warriors, serve under Captain Helaman (also the prophet), fight a dope battle, have that title for eternity, not dead in battle, but wounded. Also, not one of the three nephites. Hmm, the odds are pretty close but I think I would go with the 3 Nephites. That one was rough though. 
So how is the food going?
Going good, no problems. I think I am gaining weight again. Halleluia!!
Wow an hour bus to church.  Those are dedicated members.  
You misunderstood, the members live by the church, we don't, it's an hour bus ride for us. Maybe a fifteen minute walk for them haha 
How is the pest control going?  I am very proud of you working so hard to clean it up.  
Going strong, starting to notice a significant decrease in numbers. Every now and then we bait them with a plate of old food or a fruit core, wait an hour or so, then soak it with permethrin and all the roaches we can find. The other day we soaked a pumpkin core in permethrin and in the morning there were 26 dead cockroaches by the door of the kitchen. Success! Plus Elder Moore made pumpkin bread with the pumpkin and it was amazing. 
Did you remember your camera.  
How did your bike riding go?
Went great, I am out of shape but I remembered that I actually enjoyed biking. So that is good. I fixed  up the bike so it is actually pretty nice to ride now, you just have to do a little convincing to get it to shift sometimes. Other than that no problems. 

I love you.
Elder Galbreath

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New area news

About the same here in Mada, out in the bay area, realizing that these investigators need some work. There is supposed to be three baptisms this saturday but I don't know if it will happen. A lot of the investigators just haven't been taught the basics. You can't just pump these people through your routine lessons and dunk them. People don't work like that. It is so frustrating when this lady has been learning for a year and a half and she still doesn't know that God has a body.  That should be the first thing you teach. But anyway, I am just doing my best to teach them what they need to know. So we might be doing some reconstruction of the program for a little while.
That is way cool about Parker and Bryce! Then they will get home the same time and can speak portugese to each other around the house and stuff.  Way cool stuff. Sydnee is going on a mission, that is so crazy! I wrote her a letter, I hope she gets it before she leaves haha or her parents will have to forward it to her. 
The young womans thing sounds like a lot of fun, I am glad you are enjoying your calling still. Just know that right when you get really good at it you will be released so be ready. 
I'm sorry you were so sick, I assume since you said that in the past tense you are better now? I have been fighting a cold for about a week now but I just tell my body not to be sick and then it isn't, until I get home at night and then I crash hard. 
The new bed sounds like it will be pretty nice, and a weekend breaking it in sounds excellent. My bed is not very supportive, but at least it isn't hard, and it makes it easier to get out of bed in the morning when you aren't too comfortable. 

1) Have you travelled to all of your area yet?
I thought we had, but nope. Sunday we went to church in Andranomanelatra, and the bus to get there took us an hour outside of town. So there is still a fair amount of exploring for us to do. 
2) Anything really cool in the area?  I saw something about the top 15 sites to see while travelling and the Bilbao(?) trees and the Stone forest(?) both of Madagascar made the list.  I remember the trees thing from when we were looking up stuff before you left but I don't know anything about the stone forest.
Um, there is lake Chichiva (spelled wrong probably) and Manandona mountain but neither of those are in our area. Antsirabe is basically one big area and we all just share it, except when it comes to work. P-day and service projects everyone is everywhere. It's super cool really. Baobab trees are mostly in the northwest I guess, there are a lot in Mahajanga and I guess in Toamasina too, but none here. I don't remember where the stone forest is, but it is super cool looking from what I have seen in pictures. I don't know that I will ever get to actually see any of them though. The sad part about being in a cool mission is that you are still on a mission so I don't get to do much sight-seeing. I'm sure you know what I mean. 
3) Are Geckos' all over done there or just in certain areas?  I think you said that the lemurs were only in national parks?
Regular geckos are everywhere. We have one living in our kitchen until I eradicate the cockroaches and then he is out of there. He eats them for now though. I just hope we don't kill him accidentally with the permethrin. But, sometimes there are casualties in wartime. He might be one. I'm willing. I have already dropped about 4 thou on containers for flour and sugar. I can only buy one or two at a time though because it is out in our area so I have to carry it around all day after I buy it. 
So how does mail and packages work now that you are not next to the mission home?  
Mail and packages still go to the office in Tana, they just get sent up here whenever there is someone coming up from there. There is a senior missionary couple, the Todd's, and they were down for the weekend so they should be bringing us supplies and whatever else was down there for us. Mail day! Yeah for couple missionaries!
Do you have phones to check in? 
Yeah, we have phones. All the areas have phones, we use them for whatever, all the missionary phones are free to call too so that is nice. 
Tell me about your new house.
My new house has two other missionaries in it, Elder Moore and Elder Baker. Elder Moore is dying in June and Elder Baker is a newborn. Yay! They are both really cool, Baker is probably not related to the Bakers in Washington although there is always a chance. It is white, so that is good. We have cockroaches though, so that sucks. I am leading the charge on eradication of those things. We clean the kitchen at least twice a day, all the flour, sugar, corn meal, and baking soda is in containers now, permethrin gets sprayed a lot, and they are starting to move to other areas of the house so that is good because it means they can't get by in just the kitchen any more. The shower handle breaks a lot, the hose part, but it's an easy fix. The house is plumbed backwards. Hot and cold water at all the sinks and shower are switched backwards. So that has been interesting to get used too. 
Tell me about a new investigator or less active you have met.  
Um, let's see. We teach this one guy, he looks exactly like a black version of a young Christopher Walken. I don't have any problems though with finding people. Serious investigators are hard to come by through tracting though, so I am pumping the members for referrals. It's been interesting taking over an area where the last six months of missionaries have been a malagasy, a new kid trained by a malagasy, and then said new kid and his malagasy trainee. I told Wyatt a lot about it but I am remaining positive in your emails haha so I won't go too into it. 
Is this a city or more rural than where you were.
Oh boy it is rural. There is so much ambany vohitra-ness here. That just means country side type thing. We walk an average of fifteen to twenty minutes between times. Very open here. 
Not too many interesting stories really. Just teaching people the good old gospel, as brought to you by Jesus Christ himself. 
You left my truck at Lad and people recognized it? They must have been irrigators people wondering why I was at Lad. I didn't know anyone at Lad haha 
I don't know what else is going on really, not much new. Still cleaning hard and often to get rid of roaches. No big fat hissing roaches though, just boring cockroaches, the same as the ones in America as far as I can tell. 
Well mom, I went to our other branch, we work two here, and it was an experience. It was an hour outside of town, on a crowded bus. Then when we got there all the people are like so happy to see us and welcomed us in and asked who I was and told me I was good at Malagasy and everything. Then when sacrament meeting was about to start I went to sit down and there were no more seats. So I sat outside the door, in the hallway, with about 20 other people that came a little late. It was pretty cool. No piano for hymns, just straight a cappella african music. It was pretty cool. One of the deacons didn't have shoes, I was like man, I am definitely in Madagascar. It was pretty cool really. There is supposed to be three people baptized this coming Saturday but due to the same concerns I voiced earlier I don't know how they will do on the interview. So there might not be. We will see though, I told Elder Moore not to pass them if he thinks they aren't ready. I will not baptize someone that isn't ready. Bad things happen when people do that. So they might have to wait a little bit. 

I think that's all I got for this week. I love you! Sorry no pictures, I forgot my camera at home today.  I love you so much, I hope the rest of the month goes well for you! 

Well, I think that's all. Oh, except I started compiling a list of all the smily and winky faces, ;) :) in the bible. So that's fun. 

Love you
Elder Galbreath

Monday, March 4, 2013

In the Bay area

Alright, have I got a story or two for you. 
No, I haven't. 
Just kidding I do. 

Alright, questions first. 

1) Are you in a house of 4 elders again or is it just you and your companion?
Four elders, me and my comp with Elder Moore and his kid, Elder Baker. As far as he knows, no relation to the Bakers in Moses.
2) Native companions always take a little adjusting to.  Are things going okay so far?
Oh yeah. He is super cool. So far we get along great, I learn Malagasy and about the area and we work on his teaching skills, I am trying to be less offensive than I have in the past. So that is fun. Elder Moore helps me out a lot too while we are at home with senior missionary stuff. 
3) First week in a new ward/branch.  How was it?
Pretty good. Bore my testimony and everyone says I am already way good at Malagasy, so that's definitely good. The members are way nice, and way different from the people in Tana. It's a recognizable difference between here and there. 
4) Is the food everything you heard it was?
It is very good, I haven't really gotten the full experience yet, but what I have had is delicious. It's pretty dang good. I am going to Shez Billy's tonight, which is supposedly the best place to eat in Madagascar for a reasonable price. 

Alright so I will tell you about the cool stories and you can share with mom and everyone. Alright so the first things first, we had to pack five guys and their stuff onto a little Toyota four door pickup, and we ended up tying three big bags to the roof. Then the four hour trip to Antsirabe on windy mountain roads. That was fun. But we made it here safely, and we rolled in around seven at night. Then my companion was on splits doing some teaching so I waited for him to get home. Then, he rolled in on his pouse pouse (like a rickshaw, but pulled by a malagasy instead of an asian) and I got to meet my new comp. He is super short.  I am trying to get up pictures but this computer is being weird so I don't know. It's super frustrating trying to send pictures home here. But he is way cool. So we went out to work the next day, and he talks like a Malagasy, which makes sense. However, it's not the best for teaching. Malagasies tend to talk very softly and quickly. He doesn't ask any questions while we teach either. We walk a lot here, not too much biking in our area because there is a huge rice paddy that goes through the middle of our area so we cross it a lot. No bikes on that. But I guess on Tuesdays we go by bike. So that will be good. Still a little nervous about biking but I think I will be fine. And it will mean I'm not walking all the time so I will take what I can get. So we were walking through the rice paddy the other day, no one calling me vazah, and following my short black companion speaking only malagasy all day, and I realized something. I am in freaking Madagascar, speaking a language most people don't know exists. I am freaking cool, and there is no way out of this place. I think I'm turning Malagasy. 

Saturday morning we had a branch activity, farming trees. What we did is hiked for about a half hour and then climbed this mountain basically and on the side of the mountain were little baby trees they planted like four or five years ago. So we weeded around them and tilled up the soil. Long, hot, dirty work but it was fun because I got to know a few of the members better. And I got sunburned pretty bad. I am gonna buy a hat for those kinds of day today. 

Then later that day we went and taught this less active family. Their dad's name is Everest. So is the older son, and the younger son. Yeah, all three of their names are the same. It's not like a family name thing either, they just legitimately all have the same name.

Well I think that's all about that, I am gonna tell Mom about the perks of a native comp. Love you so much!
Now my letter!
First of all, thank you so much for the pictures of everyone! Love seeing my cousins again. Second of all, no I did not know Cari is pregnant again. Holy cow, this kid isn't going to know me. The baby will only be 9 or 10 months old when he gets home.  He will be known. Holy moly. Such big families! 

I did get John and Cari's valentine package, thank you very much to them. What is their new address? Lots of down time in the new house because the city dies at eight. I actually have been writing in my journal again and writing a few letters. I am going to write them back too, I promise. 

Because you were so subtle and this cyber actually let me send pictures home there are a few on photobucket for you. Enjoy. It never hurts to be too subtle!

So, I am going to tell you what it is like to work with a Malagasy. It's pretty swell. He is way good at Malagasy, not very good at English at all. But, that's ok. We are working on teaching more effectively, so that the people have to pay attention and actually get something out of the lesson, because his trainer was only three months in country and was trained by a malagasy so he didn't get much training. So that is interesting. It's quite a new experience speaking malagasy all the time too, I am really getting better at conversational malagasy. Also, and this may be the best part, when we go to a members house and they feed us, I give him the skin and the fat chunks off my meat because he loves it and it makes me throw up. So that is a great arrangement. It works well. Also I have to take the lead a lot more in lessons, because he is still really new on the mission. 

You're lesson on Tuesday sounds like the new curriculum is from straight out of PMG. Excellent stuff right there. 

Alright, well mom I love you very much. Lunch time! 

Thanks for Connors email, it's good to hear how he is doing. 

Elder Galbreath

Also, Wyatt told me the truck broke again. Do me a favor and get rid of that thing before I get home. haha 

                                                             Beautiful Madagascar!

                      Little malagasy kids. Don't believe national geographic, this is what most of them look like.
                                   New companion riding in a Pouse pouse.