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

Monday, April 29, 2013

Nahazo bike tena simba mihitsy aho

Hey dad! Great to hear from you, glad work is going well for you. It's always good not having the plant melt on your watch. You sometimes have to buy a new watch. You have melted plant all over it, it's a mess.
Wyatt didn't mention anything about birthday shopping though, he better tell me once his birthday actually rolls around. He is totally a stud! He mentioned the extemporwhatever speaking but he didn't mention the other two. He is a big boy though haha he mentioned that. He called me Elder "got all the good genes" because I am skinny and tan. But he is back home destroying competitions like there is no tomorrow. There you go I guess, I look good and he is talented. But he looks good too, so I guess I lose. Whatever, I speak Malagasy haha 

I know what you mean about priesthood meetings and needing to work harder. I get that every zone meeting and sometimes just during the week. I am working pretty hard out here, and all the time we get told, "do this better, start doing this, stop doing that" it's hard to keep up with everything really. Especially since we are basically running branches too. Like the branch president still does all the interviews and conducts and stuff but we have weekly meetings with him, the ward mission leader, and some other auxiliary leaders to help train them to do their jobs better, and we have to keep track of attendance, tithing, marriage problems, inactives, and home and visiting teaching. Oh yeah, then we teach 8 or 9 lessons every day and keep track of the people and what they need to learn and do to be baptized and when that is and deal with all the drama that working with people brings. Fun right? But we are working towards a temple here in Madagascar, so no sacrifice too great. Not to mention the whole law of consecration where I promised to give up literally everything for two years (law of consecration shout out) and go to wherever the prophet sends me and work my butt off. That rings pretty strong in my ears when I feel overworked. So yeah, life is good. Work harder and get a better looking wife right? Plus the whole eternal salvation thing. That's pretty cool too. Thank you so much for your support. I really really appreciate it. 

1) Happy or Joyful?
I am gonna say joyful. Joyful seems like the more penetrating attribute to me.
2) Is everything going ok?  Do you need anything?
Everything is going ok, I don't need anything right now, I'm all good. 
3) No good shooting stories this week, sorry.  
That's alright, I don't have any good proselyting stories
4) Spring is here!  Dead bugs on the window every day.
Are you gonna ask me a question or what? 
5) Are you moving into fall?  Is there a definite change of seasons?  Can they grow food year around there?
We are definitely moving into fall over here. It is getting cold. I wore a sweater and a sweater vest to work yesterday. Pretty chilly. And it's not even cold here yet, according to the malagasy people. The worst is yet to come. There is a definite change of seasons. It doesn't get cold enough that food doesn't grow though, so they still go strong with all their crops. Sadly, the bugs also never go away. That is why they are so plentiful. 
Did you manage to finagle one of the new bikes?
The new bikes, according to the most reliable source I have talked to, will be about two months. At which point there will be transfers too, so we will see what goes down for that. 
Tell us more about Elder Kumar.  
Elder Kumar is from Fiji, his parents are Hindu, he is a convert to the church in 2010. He is super cool, way diligent, a great missionary. His native languages are fijian and hindi, he is learning english french and malagasy, but he learned english in school so he is pretty good at it. We mix a lot of malagasy and english when we talk. It's about as easy for him to speak malagasy as it is english. So he is way cool. He is a little over a year into his mission. He is hilarious too. Never a dull moment.  He is way cool and I am excited to work with him. 
Did you get your new camera?
I did, and funny story about that actually. I bought a nicer camera, not the nicest but pretty good. Then I bought another  card and a thumb drive so I wouldn't lose all my pictures anymore. That was last monday. Then this monday we were rearranging the room because Elder Kumar didn't like the way it was. I moved my bed and in the very back corner under my bed was, you guessed it, my camera. Still in great shape. So glad he found it!! Hated to think he lost everything from February on. I am gonna keep the one I bought in my suitcase though, and keep backing up my pictures on my thumb drive. Little lessons learned the hard way. 
Did your Birthday package arrive?  There is a pen in it from Sydnee, I forgot to write that in the package.  She said she saw it and thought of you.  
I did. Sadly, it got robbed. I made a detailed list of what I got, as follows: the captain america, the pen from syd, pop rocks, mac and cheese(that all had little cuts in them, so they must have been checking for drugs or something, but everything was covered in cheese powder), candles, icing, cupcake mix, and the birthday cards. I know they took the neck tie Dang it was an awesome green one too on the packing slip and the daily notes in the pill box, Well I hope the thief enjoys my daily spiritual thoughts.  That is irony at its best.  what else is missing? In the future, please go back to putting pictures of Jesus on the envelopes and boxes, and if you write "misionera" on it then they know to watch out. Also malagasy people are predominately catholic so Mary pictures would be good too. But yeah, thank you so much for the stuff I got, it is great. You probably don't need to worry about the pop rocks any more, and I think I am going to learn to get by without mac and cheese once I'm out of this batch. Thank you so much though, your card was really nice haha and Wyatt's, well it was a nice thought. That kid has the worst handwriting ever. But yeah. Thank you. 
How is Jeremy your investigator doing?
Jeremy is doing good, we just found out he has a problem with tobacco and coffee so we are working on that with him. Other than that he is still stellar and progressing right on. 
What has been your favorite Pday activity?
We did aerobics this morning haha, like a zumba class but with six missionaries and some old ladies haha but it was way fun and a good workout. Other than that though we don't do much on p-days here. Just clean and prepare, sometimes we have time for a short nap though haha so that is nice. 
What is your favorite way to contact people?
I like helping them with stuff. Like there was this guy I saw, he was shucking corn off the cob. I sat and talked with him and helped him shuck corn and we talked about the gospel and set up a return time. It was way cool, we will teach him tomorrow. See how he is doing. Also I have shelled soy beans, husked corn, put rice in bags, carried said rice bags on my head, crushed rice in a giant pestle type thing, and swept the dirt. Pretty fun stuff. Crushing rice is my favorite. Oh and we made Ravitoto also. You just crush leaves, basically the same way you crush the rice. 
Any new food?
Not lately, but I might have curry sometime soon, since my comp is hindi.
Oh I felt really smart today thanks to your answer to Dad's question on Moses or Noah.  They asked how Moses inspired us and I basically quoted what you had said so thanks for the help.  Keep up the words of wisdom for us.  
No problem haha I am reading the old testament right now, pretty dry stuff. Lots of interesting stories actually, but it's hard to juice the spiritual stuff out of it. Pretty draining mentally. But it's good stuff. 

Love you so much mom. 
Got to watch conference this last weekend, in english even! It was so good! Elder Bednar just killed it again, cannot possibly take enough notes on that guy's talks. I loved all the talks about missionary work, and families. Lots of talk about marriages and having a good foundation for your families. Pretty cool stuff, I will have to read through it again when I am contacting for a wife instead of baptisms. I loved the one two three at the end of priesthood session of the first presidency, all three of them just drove home some amazing points. I know it's not meant for you but when the Ensign comes out you should read those ones at least. I really liked the conference this year, can't wait to read through or watch it again. Just so much great knowledge. Can't even begin to review it. Just so great. 
Way to go MLHS Choir! Killing it. I'm glad Holloway is still pushing hard and getting results. A new piano guy? Did Conner graduate? In any case, I am sure they will do great. They always do. 
Thanks for Sydnee's email, but she found me haha it looks like she sent a couple to other missionaries on accident before though haha but yeah she sent me an email. Super cool. 
I like the fireside thoughts, that sounds like a way good fireside. Yeah I am definitely getting good at counting my blessings, especially the ones I had back in America but don't have here haha like any place to buy breakfast. Malagasies just do not do breakfast. So I always either make cereal or eggs or whatever but if I am lazy I just have to suck it up, no diners or anything like that with a hotcake breakfast. 

Anyway, nothing too great other than that. Elder Kumar and me are whipping this area into shape! No one is holding us back. 

Love you mom! Can't wait until mothers day. 13 days!!!!!!
Elder Galbreath

I love you so much Dad, I hope my email wasn't too lame this week.

Elder Galbreath

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mahazo namana vaovao am'ity herinandro ity aho!

I am not going to translate the titles for you, it will be a mystery! You can guess when I send them home and I will translate next week for you. Last weeks was "I'm not crazy, you're crazy"

Thank you so much for the happy birthdy wishes! The videos were great haha and you only hit Wyatt a few times too. Also loved the cousin vid. I can't believe it has been 20 years already. I am basically an adult now. 20 years old. Crazy stuff. Man, you guys are getting old. You have a twenty year old son. 

Anywho,  enough of that. Church sounds fun, your relief society lesson was about my favorite conference talk. I really like that, I wish Malagasy people understood that more. The whole true conversion and enduring to the end. Maharitra hatramin'ny farany! Endure! There are so many people that get baptized because they have a testimony of the appearance of one and then they go inactive like two months later. It is endlessly frustrating to teach those people. You just want to shake them and yell in their face and remind them that baptism was their choice and now they are losing their salvation because they want to sell charcoal on the side of the road on Sunday instead of going to church.

Family history work! Fun stuff. I kind of want to get into that but I am a little busy right now. I think post mission though I might do it. I don't know though. 

Man, Randall is almost home. That is so crazy to me. How much longer does Ayden have? Or is he home already? I don't remember any more. 

Not too much going on really. Very quiet around here. Found a great scripture though, 3 Nephi 5:12. Read it, it's good. 

1) Bigfoot or Yeti?
I think Bigfoot on this one. Yeti is an arctic guy and I am not a fan of the cold. It is getting pretty cold here in the mornings and at night now. Right around 65 or 70. Still warm during the day but I pack a sweater for night time and rock sweats and a hoodie in the morning. 
2) Tell us all about your first birthday in a foreign country.
It was honestly a lot like every other Sunday. I went out to Andranomanelatra in the morning for church, came home, taught some lessons, then went to a soiree with some members. That was great. The food was amazing, we had some pasta that was way good, then rice and pork with like cheese sauce stuff, not sure really but it was way good loaka, and then we had cake and bananas and juice. I was stuffed. It was way good and the members are way cool and they didn't even break eggs and flour over my head haha which is the tradition here in Mada for birthdays. So I was happy with that. Then I went home, waited for transfer news, got transfer news, went to bed. Mor eon transfers later. 
3) Your bike into the rice paddy wreck made me remember the rice paddies in Korea.  Ours smelled terrible.  Is there a scent to the ones in Mada?
There is, but it's not too bad really unless you fall in. The ones here in Antsirabe are cleaner too, the ones in Tana reeked. 
4)Youth or Wisdom?
I think I am gonna go with wisdom. We are supposed to learn wisdom in our youth, not learn to be youthful in our wisdom. Also youth is great but you do a lot of stupid stuff that makes you learn wisdom, I would rather just get on with it and be wise already. Working on that as a twenty year old. Youth is falling behind. 

So I mentioned transfers back up there. I figured I would be with Rakotoniaina longer but he is moving on to bigger and better places, Toamasina to be specific. He is gonna be on the beach. I am getting a new companion, but he is already here in Antsirabe working in a different area. His name is Elder Kumar. He is super cool, parents are Hindu and he was born in Fiji. Our borders touch actually. He is super cool, way funny. Speaks hindi, fijian, and is learning french english and malagasy. He is pretty good at english though, he mixes a lot of malagasy when he talks though. I like talking to him because I can talk like I think, about half and half languages. I might even be able to pick up some Fijian. That would be cool. He is moving houses too, coming across town to our house. He is also good at contacting. That's good because I need to learn to be better at that. I am excited to work with him though! He is really cool. No other changes in our house though. 

Really nothing too interesting this week. Had a really cool ride back from an investigators house last Tuesday, downhill on some cobblestone road that was mostly covered in dirt. Pretty fun, and not too sketchy either. 

We gave a guy named Jeremy a bap date this week. He was super ready, we just have to get him off tobacco and coffee. Shouldn't be too bad, he only drinks like a cup a day and he really wants to change. He is so diligent, really has a desire to get better. It's really cool for me to be able to teach him. 

Other than that though... I'm not too sure.  Taylor's baptism sounds really great. That's super cool that Grandma made her dress and her little sister sang. I am sure proud of her. 

Well Dad, I love you a bunch. I will tell you guys more about my companion next week after I have actually worked with him. 

Love you!
Elder Galbreath

Monday, April 15, 2013

Zaho tsy ny adaladala fa ianao ny adaladala (no idea what it means)

So anyway, I'm glad you at least tried to keep from dozing in sacrament. Next time you are tired in church, think about how much harder it would be to understand if no one understood how to use a microphone, the echo and volume of the speakers were always too high, and it was all in a language you only mostly understand. Pretty fun stuff. It is some of the least clear talking I have ever heard. Malagasies mumble a lot too, and runtheirwordstogether really bad. We might do that too but I like to pretend that we are a lot clearer than what I hear here. 

Also that is a really cool story about Brother Richens. I'm glad you cried again too haha you are what the Malagasy people call "be fo" which literally means big heart and is used as pretty much that, just means loving and cries easy. All happy tears though so that's good. 

Poor baby, only one working monitor. First world problems is right haha but it is frustrating having the technology right there and it doesn't want to work. Hope you get that figured out. 

1) How do you teach courage?
I don't know, I think you might have been on the right track with the example thing. I don't remember you backing down from any challenges that I can remember. Just kind of helped me see that even failing is better than not trying. Sometimes that comes back to bite me (see last weeks bike stories) but more often than not you just find out you can do a lot more than you think. It also becomes painfully obvious where your limits are so you push them but you don't exceed them too much. It's easy not to get in over your head when you know how tall you are, figuratively speaking. 
2) Duty vs. Honor?
I go with honor. I think of duty as something you do because you have to, whereas honor is something you should do and you do it out of respect for the people you are helping and for yourself. Bro Nielson taught one of the best lessons I ever had in priesthood one Sunday with a single sentence, not even trying to teach. We were talking about getting people to come to a service project. He told Lewis to get peoples phone numbers so he could call and remind them the morning of. Lewis asked for Jim's phone number and he said "You have my word, so you don't need to call me, I will be there." That is honor in my book. There is a scripture somewhere, maybe in one of Paul's epistles, but it says "let your yea be yea, and your nay be nay" To me that just means everything you say should be a promise. If you say you will do something do it, if you aren't going to do something don't say you will. Honor to me, someone else might see that as duty. But for me, honor over duty every time. 
3) Birthday package?  Did you get it?
I have not yet, not sure when the next convoy is coming up from Tana but hopefully before sunday. If not it's no biggie, I can wait. We are having a party at a members house on Sunday night because we go over there anyway on Sunday nights and it's the mom's birthday on Saturday so it will be a big party. Fun stuff. 
4) John/Cari and Grandma G each gave us money for your birthday.  We deposited it in your account.  
Thank you, that might be my new camera right there. MY camera is missing, along with the card. I had it last p-day and then I didn't. I don't know if it got stolen or if I left it somewhere or what. But I am missing my pictures from about february and the camera. Oh no!  I hope it turns up.  A little bummed, but whatever. 
5) One physical "gift" for the rest of your life, (i.e. strength, endurance, patience, etc..) what would be yours?
Probably super human strength. Or the ability to fly. Or if I never got tired no matter what that would be sick. I feel like if we are talking super human powers I would go with super strength. It's just kind of a fix all, it makes you fast, jump high, all that stuff. But if we are talking physical but not super human I would go with patience. It would come in handy to be more patient. 
Do they do the young women program over there?
Yeah, but it is really small. I don't know much about it because I am not a young woman nor do I associate with young women. I actually avoid them.
So are the shoe inserts working for you?
They are working great, thank you so much. I am biking all the time though so that might be part of the reason haha but I feel more supported. 
Any more Bike adventures? You are making some good memories.
Not really, just broken a few times and one extreme downhill on a pretty bad cobblestone road. I didn't fall or anything though so no good story. 
Had your companion ever hunted eggs?
I don't thnk so, but he must have hunted things before because he was really good at it. 
Tell me about your comp. How does he communicated with his family?  what part of Mada is he from?  Family?
He writes snail mail home, he hasn't heard from them yet though. I feel bad for him, but he is fine. He is from Tana, Ambohimanarina. He has a family, that is for sure. He has one sister that is older than him. Other than that I have no idea.
So interesting story of the week is that I lost my nametag. I had it at Chez Billy but I went home and changed and then realized I didn't have it anymore. Fun stuff right? Then I had to use my clip on tag instead of the pocket slide one and that was super annoying. Then I did laundry and washed all my pants. Found the tag. It was in my pants pocket. Fun story right? I thought I had lost my tag that I wanted to keep my whole mission but it was in my dirty pants. Silly Elder Galbreath. But I found it so we are all good now. 

Well, not too much else interesting. I have had my bike break out from under me two days in a row this week. Frame cracked and then the drive shaft bent and the crankshaft fell off. Nice right? French bikes, they suck. I heard a rumor through the grapevine that we are getting some new bikes though, only four are coming to Antsirabe and there are six missionaries on bikes here. Should be interesting. I dibsed to the AP's though. 

Love you!
Elder Galbreath

Monday, April 8, 2013

The mud won.

I got money out for some stuff, souvenirs mostly, paintings and rocks for mom and grandma. About 50 bucks worth. Sorry, I don't know if that is too much. 

So we are riding our bikes all the time now. All the time. ALL the time. My legs are getting jacked. Super hard muscles on my thighs. We ride out to Andranomanelatra every Tuesday, about an hour of riding uphill the whole way. Then the way home is about half an hour of downhill. We go pretty fast. But not too fast so no worries.  I know he put that in just for me but I am sure he is going as fast as he can. Then one day we were riding down the road, a pretty bad road, lots of potholes. There was a guy coming up the road pulling his pousse pousse and not looking where he was going, but no problem there was room to get by. Then, right as I was going by he hit a pot hole, the pousse leaned over and the corner of the covering hit me square in the shoulder. I was moving pretty fast and he had a solid foundation, let's just say that if we had been jousting he would have three points and a new bike. I wasn't hurt though, rolled onto some grass. I broke the pousse though, he has a snapped beam now. Maybe he will look next time right? Then later that day I was riding down a really muddy sketchy path through a rice paddy, but there was one good dry path on the edge, so I was like "I am pretty skilled on this thing, so I took it instead of chancing the deep mud. The path was overgrown with grass. So I hit one part where there was grass but no path. I went tumbling into the mud. Pictures on photobucket. 

                                           The mud won.
                                      He calls this his stripling warrior

I think that's the only story for the week though. Nothing too cool. 

David or Samson?
I am gonna go with Samson on this one. They were both kind of losers in my opinion though. Samson had a lot more awesomeness to his prime though, and he did repent and get crazy strong, went out with a bang and all that. Also I think I changed my mind about the Noah Moses debate, I just finished Deuteronomy. Moses had a lot of hard times, but he rose to every challenge. He was a great prophet. I might go with Moses. 
10 months in, what life skill have you developed that you will utilize when you get home?
Man, please don't remind me how far in I am. Elder Baker pointed out how close I am to halfway done the other day and I freaked out. I'm not ok with this. Anyway, definitely just getting along with people better and controlling my anger. I am still working on that definitely, but it will come in handy for sure. Also making big decisions rationally. That has helped alot, and scheduling. Good that is. 
Is there anyone you want us to give your email address to?
Um, I don't know. People that want to write me I guess. All my friends basically are on missions or married. Married people are boring. Just whoever, Aunts and Uncles. It was really nice to hear from John, he dropped a little note in my package from their family. Just good to hear from an Uncle, not that there is anything wrong with Aunts. 
Did you get your Easter package yet? If so what was in it, I am always curious to know if it all makes it there.  Can you tell if it has been opened? I am not holding my breath but hopefully you get your B-day package close to your B-Day.
I did! Thank you so much for everything, the jacket is great and the jersey will look great sitting in my suitcase for the next year and a half. It was not opened, that I know for sure. We had a great Easter egg hunt in the house. Thank you for all the stuff! I loved it. 
When and where do you get to watch conference?  Will the members all get to watch?
We will watch a broadcast in the church in a couple weeks, in Malagasy. Hopefull we will get a copy of the DVDs for the house so I don't have to spend money to watch it in English at the cyber and deal with buffering issues. All the members that go will get to watch. They will do it for a sacrament meeting. 
I bought some sunscreen to send you I am assuming the natives don't really need it over there.  How is the tan coming?
I am getting super tan. Weird missionary tan lines, high collar, watch, and all that. Pretty nice. 
There was a talk given and they mentioned mozambique and how they have a hard time with marriages just like you and how the church is working with them to get them married.  It's a dowry problem there so they are reinforcing that the tradition of their fathers isn't always necessary to continue.  It is working with some.  How or what is the church doing to try and help the people of Mada get married?  (that was a long question)
They tell the missionaries how it can be done and tell us to go at it. Not a lot of assistance from up top down here, it's mostly just a paperwork and money problem. They have to have all these papers to get vita soratra and they are all in the place they were born. For people that haven't moved that is no problem but for everyone else it presents a problem. Also they have to pay for the ceremony and then any fomba(traditional) parties the family makes them do cost money. It's just rough because everyone is super poor here but noone wants to admit it or look poor. 
Tell me a story about a missionary named Elder Galbreaf!! 
I don't know really. I told Dad a pretty good biking story, so I am just gonna make you read that one. 
Any new bug, animal, or food you have encountered?
Actually yes. I had baby pig for dinner last night. It wasn't bad really. Very fatty and tender. Tasted like what I imagine a baby ( I hope meant baby pig) would taste like. Pretty interesting really. Not bad overall. And I am not sick this morning either so it must be ok inside. 

I don't know what else really. Sorry. I love you a whole lot. I'm glad my scar is in your memories haha 

I love you mom, have fun!
Elder Galbreath

                                   Beautiful but water is dirty.
                                       The clouds are pretty but look corn!
                                         Too cool!
Garrett in a little store.  Episceries I think.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hey Mom!

For Easter in Mada they get drunk. They have a huge party and the local beer company has a parade and concerts and they all get drunk and annoying. Pretty ridiculous. So Easter sounds like you had a ton of fun, I'm glad Saige let you play with her hair, and Taylor sounds just as adorable as ever. Her letters are the cutest things I have ever read in my life. She signs them in Malagasy. It's great. 
What does Easter make you think about? 
Easter makes me think of family. Not the greatest thing to think about on a mission, but it can be good. I think about family, you guys, grandma and grandpa, aunts and uncles and cousins, and then I start getting trunky. Then I think about how thanks to the Atonement we can be a family forever. Not just us four, but all the Galbreaths and Freys and Montoyas and everyone. Everyone that wants it anyway. That makes me less trunky because I am here to make Malagasy eternal families. It just kind of gives me a new perspective on missionary work. Pretty good stuff. 

So a few of the missionaries said that they could now get emails from anyone since mail is slow.  So can anyone in the family email you now?
Anyone can email me now. I started emailing Conner, trying to get Sydnees email, anyone can email me. Family or not. Good stuff. 

Dean Petersen saw on the weather channel that there was an invasion of Locust in Mada.  Have you heard anything about that?
I haven't, it might be up north or in the hills.
Have you learned anything new?
Not much really, found a Malagasy band I like, Ambondrona, they are playing a show today in Antsirabe. We probably won't go. 
We all noticed you had a sunburned face.  Do you have sunscreen?
I actually forgot it in Tana. I didn't think I would be this red, started wearing a hat sometimes but you know how bad my face gets. Always red. 
I saw my Itaosy family yesterday! Super cool, they are the Group President of Antsirabe's kids so they were up for Easter. Had a good talk with them at church, and the little girl told me I got really red here. SO that was nice haha but Paulet (younger married guy, speaks english pretty well, went to Jo-berg on his mission) told me when I get transferred back to Tana to call him and we will go to lunch or something. Pretty nice to have friends. Stranger in a strange land and all that.
So, I like the thought about the other people all having made a good decision at least once before their life. That is why they are here.  It's a good thought to have when people ask you to leave and when they only want to bible bash. I did that this week. Bible bashed, I didn't feel good about it though. She wouldn't listen though so we just told her to pray and left. We won't be going back. She couldn't get it through her head that people have agency to do whatever they want to do. It was ridiculous. 
Well, there is really not much interesting this week. Carnival for Easter this weekend. Drunk for the atonement!
Is John and Cari's new address on 4th street? If it is I have it but if not I need it. Got some letters for cousins. 

Love you mom! You're the best
Eldera Galbref