Week 107: Last Letter

Dear family and friends,

Well I guess this is my last letter that I’ll write you as a full-time missionary in Germany.

I honestly have no idea what to say and trying to sum everything from the last two years up would be a disaster of an email so… I guess I’ll just start and see where the email goes.

This week was very strange. The whole mission I’ve thought that the last week would be some sort of extraordinary week. Like a compilation of all things awesome that I’ve experienced on a mission but really it was a completely normal week. But the thing is, the mission is made up of lots of normal weeks in the service of our God. And that, to me, is what makes each week so special. Serving God with everything that I am is normal to me and I think that’s amazing. Two years ago I couldn’t have imagined how much joy I could find by giving everything I am to the Lord and to the people in this country. But I’m here to testify of the joy that comes from giving our hearts and will to God and serving His children.

Sunday was weird. Throughout the entire day I had to think about all the things I will miss about being at church in Germany. The songs, the less than five people in priesthood, helping the deacons pass the sacrament, and all the wonderful testimonies given from these faithful saints. During my final testimony I kept my cool and was able to get through without tears and even though I’ve only been in this area for six weeks I felt such a strong love for the members here. During the last hymn I lost it and had to cry a bit. Thinking about leaving the people here was just a little too much especially while singing “Love at Home.” Something that I have been privileged to do many times on the mission is give a blessing. Giving blessings has become very special to me and the memories are for me sacred. A member came up to me after church and asked if we could go to the hospital and give her grandmother a blessing. We arrived and put on some sanitary protective clothing and entered the room where Oma T and her husband were. We got to know them through the translation of the member of our ward and then I was able to give the blessing. I prayed to know what to say and that the Lord would speak through me and I don’t know what I said but the Spirit of the Lord filled the room to what seemed like overflowing. I felt Gods love for me and for all those around me. After, her husband asked if I would give him a blessing of comfort and the same thing happened again. The words I spoke in the hospital room were not my own but rather those of a loving Heavenly Father who had something to say to His precious children. Opa T thanked us again and again and invoked the blessings of Christ on our service here and after three kisses on the cheek we went our way. Walking home from the hospital I reflected on the service I have given here and I felt such peace and at the same time dreading. I don’t want to leave this place and the service here. I am so excited to see all of you but it is going to be some kind of hard to leave this country. I’ve experienced and seen so much over the last two years that I feel as though I am a different person. I guess that’s the miracle of the atonement!

I love serving God and His children. Missionary work is everything to me and I’m so excited to continue when I am home. Really missionary work is the same everywhere. If we are given the joy of the gospel in our lives we are called to share it with others. That’s just kind of the way it is. I love that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has this special doctrine of serving the Lords mission. I love being on a mission and I find it completely baffling to think that He has trusted me for two years full-time to serve His mission. My tanks are still full of gas and my speed isn’t slowing! I’ll always give my all in the cause of Christ. That is my joy and that is my privilege.

The church is true,
It’s been a good two,
I’ll see you in the red, white, and blue!

Give ‘me heaven and press on,
Elder Gallacher

Week 106: He Has Sent A Rescuer, A Savior.

Howdy!

Well we had yet another busy totally awesome week! We had some awesome conversations on the street and found a few new people who want to hear the good news so hurrah for Israel! We heard one kid speaking English on the subway so we asked where he was from
and he said Florida. We got talking and he asked what we’re doing here so we told him what we do and he wants to learn some more about the bible. He’s got some pretty fantastic conspiracy theories about aliens and super humans in the bible so we’ll see if we can’t help him clear some of that up.

We started an English class and one member brought her mom who is not a member of the church and the daughter (a member) asked if I  would ask her mom to meet with us so we just boldly said, “Hey, can we meet with you and talk more about God?” And she said yes!! So I think it’ll be really great to meet with her and bring her and her family closer together through Christ and his atonement! I was able to go on exchange in Potsdam with Elder Cakir and it was so awesome to be back with him! We went by some people and did a little work in that beautiful city Potsdam and then we got to meet with T, H, and his wife S and it was so good to teach them again! They are such an amazing family I’m so blessed to know them. I really will never forget them. We taught about the gospel of Jesus Christ and because they are all learning German now they want me to say simple sentences to them in German so they can practice. I asked them what faith in Jesus Christ means to them and the first thing out of S’s mouth was, “Ich glaube Jesus Christus und ich liebe ihn!” I couldn’t help but smile with joy at the faith that she has developed! I can’t wait to hear of her baptism in the coming weeks! We had a service project with an awesome member family named the D’s where we poured a concrete foundation and I got to fulfill my life-long dream of using a jackhammer. Now let me tell you, I know the thought of using a jackhammer may sound dreamy like walking on a red carpet or going to Disneyland but the reality of the matter is that it totally stinks. It’s like holding an electric super vibrating 50 pound big thing that you have to somehow how keep under control and use it to break an old foundation with precision like unto a surgeon. On top of all this your hands start to cramp after about 2 minutes and then you realize that you’ve got about an hour more work and the whole thing loses its magic real quick. But truth be told, I’d do it again for sure.

General conference was seriously awesome! There is something special about watching it here in Germany especially when President Uchtdorf tells stories about Dresden and calls the German language the celestial language! When he first said the common German proverb “Es gibt nichts gutes, außer man tut es” the attitude in the room was noticeably excited and then as he claimed the German language as celestial it was like setting flame to gasoline. The members. Lost. Their. Minds. The feeling of German pride seemed to be palpable in the air. Haha I will admit that my pride was boosted as well. The messages taught at General conference were wonderful and I am so happy that I was able to experience five conferences since being on the mission. The Lord truly knows what we need and He tells us what we need to hear. I learned many things throughout the conference and to be completely honest my notes are at home and I don’t have the time to write about all the great things but something that really stuck out to me is that God is truly and literally our Heavenly Father. It’s a phrase that almost seems to become common seeing as I say it countless times from day to day but the meaning behind it is far from common. This relationship is of Devine heritage and we are a line in this heritage. God does not want any of us to be lost from His family and He has sent a rescuer, a Savior. I know that Christ is that Savior and I know that he is ever ready to rescue those who are ready. He as rescued me countless times and I’m counting on Him to do the same for the rest of my life. I know I can count on Him and that we all can count on Him because He will never fail us. His love is eternal and he doesn’t sleep on the job!

I hope you have an awesome week and I’ll talk to you next week!

Press on,
Elder Gallacher

 

Week 105: Feel God’s Love

Happy Easter!

I hope y’all had an awesome Easter and felt the joy of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Another week is come and gone here in Berlin and it was a good one for sure! So as you know I was sent here to try and prepare the Turkish program before I leave and this week we went on a little tour of the area with president so he could get a feel for the safety of the area. We got all casual and loosened our ties, took off our name tags and went for a two hour stroll through the ghettos parts of the city! We got some traditional middle eastern food called, “Schawarma” and had a blast! It was actually really good to have a solid two hours with president just to talk and get to know him on a normal level. We will be doing another tour with someone from church security soon so that should be fun! The whole time he was pleasantly surprised with the safety right up until we got to a very notorious drug dealing train station and as soon as we stepped off the train we were approached by dealers and then for the next 5 minutes circled by dealers like wild dingos haha. Pres. was not too happy about that area… He wants us to create a map of all the places missionaries should and shouldn’t go so that should be fun!
We had a really cool talk with a woman on the street on Easter and she wants to meet again this week to talk more about Jesus Christ! Hallelujah to that! I was on exchange this week in Tiergarten and we had two really cool appointments and in these appointments I really felt how important love is. Even though I had never met either of them my love for them was so strong and I wanted more than anything for them to know how much their Heavenly Father loves them. With the first man we just talked, cried, and bore testimony together and that was what he needed. With the second man we discussed, in depth, things of the Lord and that is what he needed. Both of these appointments, I believe, helped them feel the love of their Savior a little stronger. I don’t know what people need but God does and I know as long as I’m in His service and ready to love I can be used as a tool to meet the needs of people by helping them realize His love for them.
I love you all so much! Hope you have an awesome week and that you feel Gods love every day 🙂

Talk to you next week.
Press on,
Elder Gallacher

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Week 104: Know That I Love You

Hi everybody 🙂

Well this week was seriously jam packed with good stuff happening and a lot of fun!

We had a good lesson with a really kind German family on Monday. Their daughter is in America and referred them. We taught about the restoration and they were very open to learn. They will be in southern Germany for the next two weeks but we hope to meet again when they get back!

On Wednesday we got together as a district at Alexanderplatz and had a street display and it was so much fun! We did it on family history and luckily two of the sisters in the district are amazing artists so they drew an awesome darthvader head on the ground and at the bottom wrote, “Who is your father?” It got a lot of attention and I think all in all about ten investigators were found and tons of contacts were made! It was also super cool because we had so many languages being thrown around, we had a native Portuguese speaking elder who also spoke Italian, multiple missionaries who speak Spanish natively, German and English, of course. I even got to whip out Turkish! By the grace of God people could understand me and we found found two really cool guys that live in Hannover who Elder Cakir will skype with! It was such a blast!

On Saturday we were walking on the street doing some finding and we saw some kids playing basketball so we asked if they wanted to play a little 3 on 3 so we did and we had a blast. The hoops were a little shorter and the court was small so it made it pretty easy to play and I think the Germans were pretty impressed with Elder Burns and I’s severely underdeveloped b-ball skills. Haha

Saturday and Sunday we had stake conference and it was so good. First off I got to see all the members from Potsdam and it was so nice to just get hugged and treated so well. I really love the members there. I sat next to a good friend of mine named A from Potsdam for the meeting and at the end as we sang the final hymn I lost it and started balling. The faith and strength of the German people is so amazing and as I sat almost in the front row I could feel a wave of faith with every word that was sung. It was hard realizing that my time here won’t last forever but in that moment I felt so grateful to be a missionary of the Lord serving His children in this sometimes very frustrating country 🙂

 

Hope you all had an awesome week with lots of love and happiness! Know that I love you.

Press on,
Elder Gallacher

 

 

Week 103: God Loves Us. I Know It.

Guten Tag,

Well everyone this week was super good and I don’t know how I’ll be able to sum it all up but I’ll try!

First and foremost H. got baptized and it was so amazing! I had the privilege to perform the ordinance and I really feel blessed that I was able to do that for him. There were complications with the water so it ended up being completely cold but the Spirit was warm and the cold was lessened by all the smiles. We walked into the water and looking out to the room we could see his wife and son, T, his brother in law, who shared with him the gospel, and T’s wife all smiling ear to ear. It was an amazing feeling of love and gratitude and I couldn’t help but think of the future of light and joy that these families have in front of them! Because of the language barrier I was unable to ask my favorite question, “How do you feel?” after he came out of the water but the great big smile and the countless “Danke Schöns” were enough. I’m looking forward to the day when he and his wife and kids are sealed together for all eternity in the house of the Lord!

We worked really hard this week and had many wonderful experiences and I really strengthened my testimony about how God takes care of his children and the words He speaks to us will be fulfilled. I had the opportunity, unknowingly, to help someone in a way that was promised them in a priesthood blessing five months prior. I feel very humbled that the Lord used me in a small way to bring about His promise. Yesterday I was able to give a member a blessing and I was able to have complete faith that what God said, through me, would come to pass.

God lives and loves us. I know it.

Love you and have a great week!

Press on,
Elder Gallacher

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Week 102: Celebrating “The Dead Day”

Howdy!

Well I’m here Neukölln and it’s been a pretty good week! I got here on Tuesday and got settled in and then we got to work! We did lots of finding and it’s been interesting for sure! Our area is pretty ghetto but strangely also super hipster! I’ve never seen so many second hand shops it is insane. We have found that only about 5% to 10% of the people are German and some places were going it’s just about zero.

I got to do my first street contacts in Turkish and it was pretty interesting haha I don’t think I’ve ever spoken so slow in any language in my life haha it was good though and I’m learning lots.

We had an awesome app with a member family that is originally from Serbia and we celebrated “The Dead Day” with them which is when they prepare a great big meal, burn frankensence and spread the smoke over the food and invite their dead ancestors to feast with them. Needless to say, I asked them to invite Opa Ray and Oma Olea! After all grabbing hold of the table the mom said, “They are here but they are wondering why there is so much food” …. Little weird I’ll admit but the food was super good!

The ward here is really good and there are tons of youth and young adults but I was definitely missing Potsdam on Sunday! It’s such a special spirit there!

Well I don’t have much more time and I gotta go get some stuff done so I’ll talk to you next week!

Love you.

Press on,
Elder Gallacher

Pictures are:
1 My trainees
2  The cat pillow I gifted for Christmas
3  Selfie after an appointment

4 Sister Rogers drew this picture of me and my comp elder burns!

5 J & H

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Week 101: Transfers to Neukölln

Howdy!

Well first and foremost we got the news on Saturday that I am to Neukölln being transferred. We knew we would be getting separated and we would make the jokes about me going to Neukölln because it just doesn’t make sense but then it happened. Haha Neukölln is actually a part of Berlin and only about a half hour from Potsdam so I’ll still be able to go to H’s baptism and even teach some more!
I was told that the Turkish program needed to be moved to Neukölln so I need to go and “build a foundation” but who knows what that means so I asked and the AP’s said they didn’t know yet but we’d talk sometime about it haha I guess I’ll see what happens with the Turkish program.

The way I see the whole situation though is that I’ve been called to preach the gospel and help other people to come closer to Christ and it doesn’t matter where I am. Missionary work is the same work here in Potsdam as it is in Neukölln and I’m going to give it my all just like I’ve always done, even if I don’t know the reasons I got sent somewhere. It was hard to say goodbye to all the people here in Potsdam for sure. The branch here is so wonderful and it was hard to say bye on Sunday. They all gave me good words of wisdom and a good farewell. I’ve met so many important people here and I really am grateful for my time here but I’m also excited for my time in Neukölln and I know it’s going to be great because every day in the service of God is a joy to me and I savor every moment. Because of transfers and the business of it all I am all out of time. I love you all and hope you are doing well! Enjoy your week and I’ll talk to you next week.

Press on,
Elder Gallacher

Week 100: Big Milestones

Hi!

Hope you guys had an awesome week and that you’ve got some good stuff planned!

This week for us was busy but awesome! We have been teaching a lot and working really hard and I swear, by the time I finish my nightly prayer I really am asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. It’s a good feeling to be exhausted at the end of each day!

We met with T and H 5 times this week and they are doing so well! I remember when we first started teaching H he had a real hard time accepting Jesus Christ and the atonement because it was so different than everything he had been taught his whole life but every
time we meet the light in his eyes seems to be brighter and brighter and his faith is stronger and stronger. He reads the Book of Mormon every day and prayers every day alone and with his family and they have 3 hour long conversations about the gospel almost daily! In our last appointment this week he agreed to be baptized on the 19th of March. He has discovered his personal relationship with God and Jesus Christ and wants to follow Him. He said that his life was empty before he knew what he now knows but now it is full. He said it’s an honor for him to meet with us but I feel it’s the other way around. It’s truly been an honor to be a small part of H’s journey.

In other news, I have discovered that my math skills have completely vanished. On a mission you don’t really use that part of your brain much so it’s understandable but it was quite a shock to realize to what point my math has been lost. I and two other elders
decided we would see just how bad it was so we set up two problems. One being, 64-28 and the other being 14×17. So we all were able to do these in our heads and that really wasn’t a problem. It all got tricky, however, when we tried to do it on paper and I kid you not, it took over ten minutes to figure out the right way to do it and how it all worked. Haha it was a disaster. Elder Çakir being new and fresh on the mission without the brain cell loss just looked at us like we were complete idiots!

I would like to report that this week I reached a milestone. I finally got the same amount of meat on my döner as elder Çakir! The guys at the place we go to really like us and always give both of us way more meat than they give others but it’s always been clear that Elder Çakir gets the most… Until last Tuesday! Every time I go I try out some new Turkish words and this time I pulled out this little jewel, “Eti bol koyarsan sevinirim.” (I’d like it if you put a lot of meat on) and oh boy he did! Definitely the best döner I’ve ever eaten! It’s awesome because they know I’m trying to learn so they always just speak to Turkish to me so it helps a lot.

Well that’s all folks 🙂 have an awesome week. I love you 🙂

Press on,
Elder Gallacher

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Week 99: Work Hard

Hello!

I sure hope everything is looking good for you back in the US of A and that you had a good Valentine’s Day. Things here have been really good and we’ve been really busy.

Highlights of the week would have to be our appointments with T and H, finally meeting with B, and finding out that he really wants to get baptized after learning some more, zone conference, and receiving a referral from church headquarters! We went to find the referral on Sunday night it was great! His name is J and he is a student here and really wants to find the truth! We chatted for about 20 minutes and then set up an appointment for Wednesday and we are really excited for him.
T is doing really well and so is H. We will be meeting with them again tonight. B is awesome and has been to church 6 times now and we finally got to meet with him and he really is excited to learn and strengthen his new found faith in Christ!

This week I learned about hard work. Hard work really is the key to a lot of problems in this life. Hard work is what trains us to get up when we fall, finish what we start, find joy in all we do and become more like the Savior. We were created in the image of God and God is not lazy. God works hard and that’s why it’s so important for us to work hard. I’ve learned that when we do the things that make us more like our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ we are happier. I’ve worked harder than I have in my whole life here in Germany and this time here has been the happiest of my life. Everyday is not always amazing but I
will never regret a day in the service of my God. I have a strong testimony that things will always be ok in the end. Christ taught us the gospel of good things to come and hard work is how we can enjoy our journey to those good things that are coming. Elder Adler, a
member of the area seventy, said, “It will all be ok in the end, and if everything is not ok, that just means it’s not the end.”

If any of you are in a rough spot press on and work hard. With all my heart I know that God lives and that He is with you.

Have an awesome week.

Press on,

Elder Gallacher

 

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Week 98: Being A Light For Others

Good afternoon my friends and family!

Reporting in with another busy week and I sure hope you guys had a good week as well!

We met with T quite a bit this week to prepare him for the receiving of the Holy Ghost and he really is doing great! I wasn’t there for the conformation because it was in Tiergarten but I met with him Sunday night and when I saw him I put my arm around him and said, “So, kutsal ruh?” (Holy Ghost) because I couldn’t say anything else but he just beamed and went on about how awesome it was and how good he felt! It was really cool!
T invited us to his house for his year anniversary and it was so humble but so good! We ate apples and oranges and we each got a special Iranian treat that they had searched high and low for! It was amazing to be there because really only T and Elder Cakir could
talk to each other. The other ten people there only spoke Farsi and I speak English but through lots of smiles and the one Farsi phrase I know, “It’s tasty”, we had an awesome time and the love and friendship in the room was tangible.

A while back we watched a talk with T from President Monson about being a light and now T just wants to base his whole life on being a light for others! It’s amazing because he always talks about wanting to help us teach and how he just wants to help people find what he has found. T understands the divine principle that when God gives us something it’s not always just for us but He gives it to us so that we know how to give it further and then we become the tools in God’s hands to bring forth many blessings!

I’m grateful for my chance to be a tool in the Lord’s hands, full time. Nothing makes me happier than serving my fellow man! It’s a joy I can’t put into words!

I love you and hope all is well 🙂

Press on,
Elder Gallacher