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

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mpamono totosy za.

I am a mouse killer.

We have had a mouse problem in our house for a while now. So I decided that as the crowned food chain toppers we can solve this problem. When we saw a mouse we got a couple elders to flush it and stood by with my sandals on. As soon as it made a run for it, I pounced. Dumb thing never stood a chance. I killed three in two days. We know there are more but they are getting smarter and we haven't seen them. Biding our time.
Not a ton of cool stuff went down this week really. It has been super windy, and rained for like five days straight. We were riding out to our area on Saturday and saw a palm tree blown over. That was pretty intense. Took out a power line and hit a building. Luckily it was a big business warehouse thing and not a house. So it just dented the edge. Houses are not real sturdy here.

Please do post the family pics, I want to see them haha.

Have you heard from anyone else? 
I haven't heard from anybody. I wrote Sydnee today though so hopefully she writes me back.
Those kids were so cute!  Are there any ugly kids there?  
I kind of doubt it.

Well my amazing son I will let you go do your fun things.  I hope you have some things planned.  What do you do besides walk on the beach on p-day?
We are going to go play soccer/football/rugby today, and go to a super nice restaurant to celebrate my two years mark(ish) and Elder Arrieus' chick mission mark.
What is your favorite thing about going to the temple? 
Just the temple. There is no favorite. The feeling there is just incredible.
Words of wisdom to your brother?
O mba hendry, inona no azoko lazaina ankoatra izany? Jacob something something, it's in the Book of Mormon. Oh be wise, what more can I say?
Some requests for when you send me a package though.
Pepper sticks
girl scout cookies, assuming you haven't eaten all the ones I left in the freezer.
Instant mashed potatoes
Jello mix

Whatever else you feel is pertinent. Make sure you put stickers of Jesus on it. No rush either, I am not desperate.  

I love you a ton. So much. I hope you are all doing well.
That means hello again, it's what you say when you greet someone for the second time in one day.
First things first. Saturday was eventful. We went out in the morning to play basketball with some members. Actually a lot of members. We did three on three games to five, loser gets switched out. Well after five games in a row me, Elder Davis and Elder Roush got tired and voluntarily switched out. It wasn't exactly fair. There were a few games where we went 5 and 0. But we were nice to the people that were really bad and let them score a couple times. Then we went out to our area. The first person we taught is a single mother of four kids, three of whom are preparing for baptism with her. The oldest one is old enough that he can decide and he doesn't care about the church so he doesn't learn. Everyone else is way solid. Then we went out to the farther part of our area. After a mildly embarassing language flub (ask Wyatt about that) we went and taught a recent convert who is way solid. He told us he has a friend who lives in a neighborhood called Canada. I was like ok, how great can he be? Show me somewhere called America and I will be impressed. But we can't turn people down based on that alone, especially married men. So off we went. Well as it turns out Canada is the friggin' beach. This guy literally lives in a bamboo hut on the beach. Granted most houses here are bamboo huts but his house was no kidding maybe 30 feet from the ocean at high tide. Pretty sweet. The couple are way cool too, they seem really interested and asked when we were coming back before we could even bring it up. So I am excited about that. The only bummer is that they are pretty far from the church. But other members that live out there come every week, so hopefully they stay diligent. Then we went to his daughter's house. He said they might want to learn too. Well when we got there there was an old lady who introduced herself as "Madame Olivet, preacher of the gospel". Well nice to meet you. So we tried to just give them a first pamphlet and our phone number and get out of there because we were interrupting but then a bunch of other people showed up, all from the local Assembly of God church. They were really polite and we said we needed to go so we could visit the other people in our program. They thanked us for visiting and said they would pray for us. I thought, ok, that's something nice you say to people when they leave. Nope. They all stood up, said we could stand or sit, whatever made us comfortable. I thought it would be polite to stand with them, so we did. Then the main guy started praying. Fairly normal, prayed to Jehovah but lots of people do that here. Then everyone else kicked in. Not repeating his words, but actually saying their own, independent prayers. They followed his tone of voice and intensity. He gradually crescendoed until he was shouting about "cast out devils in their path" and "don't let the devil tempt them" and then he calmed back down and said amen. It was the craziest thing I have experienced in a church environment. My comp was trying so hard not to laugh. So we got out of there and went and taught a couple more people. Nothing exciting the rest of the night but yeah.

I do have a couple stories this week, I will add one here maybe and give the rest to Mom so you guys feel equally loved.

1) Top investigator moment for the week?
Probably this new couple we taught last night. They were a referral from A, the member lady I told you about up there ^. We walked over to their house and they were like "Come in! We have been waiting for you!" I was like, um, ok. I am not going to argue with people telling me to teach them. So we went in and started talking to them and they were telling us how they used to pray at the "Adventist combined church of victory" pretty different name but it flows better in Malagasy. They said that when they learned there everyone was screaming and they had someone screaming into each ear about Jesus and cast out devils and all that stuff and they had a headache and ringing in their ears for a whole day. So they decided there was no way that church was true. Then A told them about our church and they liked the sound of it. So we taught them a first last night and they paid really close attention and asked a lot of good questions. I am super excited for them.
2) Top missionary moment for the week?
The same one maybe haha we taught 42 lessons this week which is pretty dang good.
3) Best little kid story this week?
I don't think I have one. There was this little kid named B that is super cute.
We ate sugar cane this week too. Video posted, but I don't actually eat any in the video and my comp cuts himself. So, it's mediocre. I don't know if you have had any before but it just tastes like a tree and when you chew it sugar water comes out. Weird. Posted some pics of spiders for Chase.
I love you a ton. I know you worry about me but the last couple weeks were just weird, nothing to worry about. I just felt very meh. I feel better now though, scored some nice jerseys.

Glad you are going to church even working nights on Sunday. Makes me happy.
Much love,

Elder Galbreath

Monday, June 16, 2014

hey hey hey mom.

So just a heads up my email is going to be lame probably this week. Your necklace is beautiful, can you send me a pic of Dad's watch?
The translators are malagasies that served english missions, so what they say in Malagasy is way easy to understand but they don't pick everything up that is said. So yeah. I am getting close again with my Malagasy, still picking it up little by little. My comp helps a lot too, he actually corrects me when I say things wrong.
The mouse is still at large. We are investigating new poisons this week.
I really don't have anything else to talk about. Sorry. I am just kind of meh lately. Work here is kind of stalling and the weather has been poopy. It's a thing. I'll get over it.

Well your week sounds exciting and interesting, mine was not. It rained quite a bit. I wish it would stop doing that, if I wanted a rainy beach and overcast skies I would go to Seattle. That is so weird that Wyatt is going to be an elder and go through the temple. I can't even handle that.

Education is for sure a big thing. We study an hour or more every day and I still feel like I don't know very much. We use the student manuals and gospel principles and everything, there is just so much to learn. Every time President Adams teaches he just blows me away with knowledge. Pretty silly really.

1) Have you eaten anything that really stands out in your mind this week?
Had some passion fruit, it was way sour. The juice is delicious though. I love it. I had some way good sausage yesterday. The skin wasn't very thick and there was hardly any chunks of fat in it.

2)What is it about LDS people that makes some of them instantly recognizable?
I have no idea. Really don't.
3) Is Fathers Day a thing over there or is it just and American thing?
They celebrate it. The primary came into Elder's quorum and sang and gave the dads paper neck ties. Pretty cool. then two kids came over to us and gave me and my companion one each. Pretty cute. So I have a Father's Day present for you when I get home haha

Sorry my email is lame, it's just been a very bland week. We had a baptism on Saturday though, three member kids. Two of them didn't get baptized when they were eight so we had to teach them. The third one was eight.  Getting geared up for my two year mark this Friday. Going to have some really good food, we found a restaraunt that makes way good fish and chips.

Other than that not much. I miss my guns. A lot.

Elder Galbreath (still has no idea when he is going home)
 (sorry they posted upside down)

                                                          teaching english

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

And it came to pass that much wisdom was poured out on the weekend of Pentecost

Well first things first. On Friday we had a zone conference for the missionaries with President Adams. It was amazing. He talked about the Abrahamic Covenant and how it is important to us and how it relates to the Book of Mormon. Pretty intense stuff. He talked a lot about the scattering and gathering of the lost tribes of Israel, and how almost all the prophecies about it speak of a restoration of all things that needs to happen before the second coming and the gathering of Israel. Interesting side note, doing some follow up study I came across a quote by James E Talmage from October 1916 that said as follows "There are people alive now, yea, in this audience, that will live to read the records of the lost ten tribes." So there are a few possible explanations of that. 1 there was a newborn baby in the audience and it is coming up real quick. 2 he was talking about the ressurection. 3 John the Beloved or at least one of the Three Nephites were there. 4 He was just speculating and it's not true. I hope it is the first one. President Adams also told us about marking scriptures. He talked about building scripture chains, and writing in cross references in the margins when we find scriptures that relate. He uses "take off" scriptures that he shoots all the other ones back to and then out again. So like at Alma 41:3 he has a billion cross references written in about being judged by works. Pretty intense. Then he has notebooks in files at his house with all the markings so if he loses his scriptures he still has them. Now of course he has an iPad and all the stuff is saved to the cloud so he can just do that. So I am going to be wanting one of those when I get home. I'll probably just buy one for school and get a keyboard for it. Or who knows, maybe I will win the lottery and just buy everything. Everything. But since I never buy lottery tickets I wouldn't count on that one.

Then we had District conference, like stake conference but for smaller places. Did you know that the church in Tamatave is about the same size, people wise, as the the early church in Nauvoo? Pretty cool comparison. Elder van Reenan of the 70 was here though and spoke to us. Not in the missionary conference but in the district conference. He also called President Adams two hours before the conference and said he wanted the missionaries to sing Brightly Beams our Fathers Mercy at the conference. So we skipped lunch and learned that one. He also wanted it translated to Malagasy, so we did that too. We sang it in English though. It sounded pretty good.
Elder Van Reenan spoke on Sunday too and one thing I really liked was he said "Having hate in your heart is like drinking poison every day and hoping the other person will die". Pretty deep stuff.
The messenger bag is good, if Wyatt can use a backpack then he should but the messenger bag we have is solid. It's at least rain resistant, the inside hasn't even felt wet yet.
As far as the bikes go, they are all bad. It's just because nobody takes care of them and then we get them and they are already bad so we don't feel like we should have to pay to fix them and it just gets worse and worse over time. I would rather just bring my own bike. But not all the areas use bikes so they don't have us do that. It's whatever. The houses are all a mess too, but ours is pretty bad. Partially because there are six of us in it and partially because nobody cleans up after themselves. It's whatever. The records are the same way, nobody keeps them updated. I am not satisfied with mediocrity so I have to bring everything up to standard all the time. It's all good. Preparation for life and good work ethic training. Free time is limited so it's good to learn how to set priorities too.
Let's see. What else. Found a mouse in our house the other day. It won't eat the poison we have though so we are trying to figure out how to kill it. So that's fun.
1) When you teach about working toward a common goal do you use the yoke together analogy that we hear all the time in the church?
     I haven't yet, it's hard to explain. In Antsirabe we did because they use them all the time. Not here  though, I haven't even seen a cow. No rice fields or fields of any kind yet. Pretty sad.
2) Tell me about singing and music in the branch that you are in now.  Do you have an organ the auto plays the hymns?  Is there one Sister who can really sing that carries the rest of the congregation along?
   We just have a keyboard and a couple members that can play pretty well. So they play the hymns and the director does her best to carry everyone.
3) Are you back to solid again?
    Malagasy is coming right along, I am still not as good as I was but my comp helps me a lot.
4) Are you eating egg sandwiches for breakfast?  Have you ever seen bacon over there?
    No bacon, I have egg sandwiches most days.
5)Top 5 bible (Old Testament) heroes and why?
    Let's see here.
1. Moses, because well, he is Moses. Pretty big deal. And he was translated. So that is important.
2. Abraham. Promised the greatest legacy of all time and he was willing to sacrifice his only hope of that being fulfilled on an altar at the Lord's will. Not to mention how he must have felt about human sacrifice having been saved from it himself.
3. Joseph. So much faith, to always trust in the Lord and to be able to forgive his brothers after they straight tried to kill him.
4. Enoch. Having to lead gives me a pretty decent amount of respect for the guy who was able to lead his entire city to a point where every single person was worthy of being translated.
5. Samuel probably. prophet at like 13 years old, took over the reins from a prophet who had messed up pretty bad. Fixed it.
David would be up here but his whole final chapter is one of failure. He had a lot going for him too, just wasted it away on a girl. I feel for him, but I have a hard time making him a hero. He did a ton of good though. Same story with Solomon.
It's raining today.
Thanks for the love.
Love you a ton,
Elder Galbreath

Monday, June 2, 2014

Another week another trial

Judges is a fun book. Samson had a lot of potential for sure, and he squandered it on women and revenge. Nice guy. I think it is interesting the parallels you see between Samson and Samuel. Nazarines, vow to God, born of barren mothers. Samuel actually fulfilled his calling though and started destroying the bad guys (Canaanites I think, but that could be wrong). He actually listened to the Lord and he was blessed. Funny how that works. 
I am just starting to get to know the people in my area right now, and there is a lot of work to do as far as the area goes. The Area Book here hasn't been updated in almost 5 months, so we have no idea who has been taught what outside of what my companion remembers. The leadership in the branch are good people.  We are teaching a lot of women and young children, which is what we have been told to not do. So we are going to be focusing more on father led families and teaching potential leaders and priesthood holders. Not that I have anything against women, but unless you have both men and women the church is not going to run smoothly. Then our house is filthy, and we were told that pointedly when the couples came down for house inspections. So I cleaned the fridge and started on the stove this morning, but it is going to be an ongoing process. Then the bikes. Oh the bikes. The elder before me did not take care of his bike, and left it in pretty poor condition. Unfortunately I did not have time to fix it until Saturday. Well the bike decided it couldn't wait that long and it broke down completely on Friday night. Literally broke out from underneath me. I didn't crash, but I was not going to be going anywhere soon. So I rode an extra bike we have and it broke too, last night. So they are both at the repair shop getting made into a Frankenstein bike right now. Hopefully it will work for me the rest of my time here. 
Now Elder R and I are having to tract and contact and fill up the schedule here. Fun fun fun. I seriously started to regret coming back out on a mission. Then we got out and started teaching some people, and nothing amazing happened but it reminded me why I am here. I am not here to be comfortable, or to have fun and see the ocean, or to learn a sweet language I will never use again. I am here to do the work of the Lord and to teach the gospel. I have yet to find a story of a prophet in the scriptures who had an easy and fun life, and I don't imagine that I will. That's not why we are here. We are here to be refined in the fire and hardened like steel. We are here to be tested and prove ourselves. Nobody is going to do that swimming in the ocean and eating pizza, although everybody wishes they could. Anyway, that's my rant for the week. 
I did teach one new guy this week who was really interested. He and his wife were there for the lesson and they paid attention the whole time, asked a lot of questions and seemed really interested. They didn't come to church, but baby steps first. I am pretty excited for them, we all felt the spirit pretty strong in that lesson. Then we taught another new guy, and he said he prayed in a bunch of different churches. Then while we were teaching he told us how everything we were saying (living prophet, Jesus and God are two people, apostasy and restoration) were things that he had thought were true from what he read in the bible but he hadn't found a church that taught those things. It was super cool. 
Side note, I am totally going to come back to Madagascar at some point and swim in the ocean. 
Well for lunch today we are going to eat pizza and drink coconuts on the beach. Should be pretty epic. 
Anyway, I love you a ton. I hope you don't cry too much at Wyatt's graduation. 
Just remembered. We were teaching a lesson and a little girl, like maybe a year old, was standing right outside the door. She started crying, and I looked and she had peed herself. No diapers here, they don't have that kind of money. So it just soaked her shorts and made a puddle on the floor. The mom hears her crying and picks her up and holds her on her lap. yuck
Then in another lesson a little girl peed like in the hallway, and then slipped in it while she was crawling and it got all soaked up in her shirt and everything. 
Fun stuff from a third world country! I guess that is why they don't ever have carpet here. 

Elder Galbreath

1) How are you and your companion getting along?
We get along great, he is super cool and helps me out with the language actually. Most Malagasy people just let you suck if it is understandable.
2) Did your Malagasy come back to you yet?
It's improving every day. I am trying to tell more stories and explain things in different ways to get the sentence structure and active/passive/circumstantial thing down again. Uphill all the way but I have long legs so I am making headway.
3) I am excited that you are on the coast, loved your pictures of the sunrise.  Is fish a basic staple of your daily meals?
I am actually really surprised at how little fish we eat here. I have had it a couple times but that is it really. Mostly just the same old same old. Everyone makes their rice really dry here, I don't know why. In Tana and Antsirabe it was super wet and awesome but here it is almost always dry and clumpy.
4) Do you have any requests from home?  I realize that it hasn’t been that long but if you need something don’t hesitate to ask.
Nothing yet really, I will keep you posted though. Due to struggles getting my mission bank card though I got about 50 bucks out of my personal fund for living expenses and when it is all worked out I will pay myself back and buy souvenirs haha
5) I would like to hear a story about your new area.
Hmm. I told Mom about all my struggles this week. There was this crazy lady yesterday though. We were riding through our area on our way to another time and this lady was like rubbing her hands together like she was wiping off bread crumbs or something and muttering something in french, and then when we rode past her she started chasing us! She was fast too, and my bike was breaking down of course so I almost didn't get away. I don't why she was chasing us but I was not about to find out. It was weird. 
We were teaching this family, and they have a ten year old daughter who is pretty bright. We had just finished the plan of salvation and had talked about how when we are resurrected our bodies will be perfect. She must not have been paying attention though because when I asked what our bodies will be like she said "Divided in two!" hahaha which in that context would mean cut in half but we explain that when we die our bodies and spirits are divided and the body goes to the grave and our spirit goes to the spirit world. So I think that is what she thought we asked. Pretty good stuff. 
Love you,
Elder Galbreath