Monday, May 5, 2014

See you on Thursday!

Hello Greene Family,
Welp see you on Thursday. I was tempted to stop my letter right there but I guess I will finish with a good one, hahah. Still doesn't feel real!
So this week was pretty awesome. I went to a lot of specialized trainings in the first part of the week for the Spanish Elders. I stayed with the Frederick Elders for two days, Elder Green and Elder Hitchcock. So the first morning I woke up and I had a cold and my voice was all deep and raspy. So on the way to specialized training, we had driven about a mile or so when we stopped at the intersection but there was a mini van just stopped in the middle. Rain was coming down really hard and all the cars were honking at the woman in the van. Well we parked at the gas station and ran out to push her, she was out of gas. The rain got going so hard and by the time we got the car to the gas station we were soaked from head to toe! The woman got out and thanked us, just as I was about to give her a card she asks what ward we are in. Hahah, she's a member. Pretty cool. Even though I was wet and sick, it was such a rewarding moment. After our meeting we got back and ate dinner quick to go help a woman move. So once again we went out into the rain and carried furniture through the rain. I loved it, especially being with two former companions.
So ever since I served in Baltimore East as my first area I had this dream of being able to serve there again my last couple transfers. Obviously that didn't happen. However, the last area that President wanted me to go to this past week ended up being Baltimore East. It was so awesome. I got to see a lot of old friends, including Felix. It was a blast. The first day our plans got shook up and so I felt inspired to go out to Essex and try Rina, who I taught a year and a half ago. We went and she and her sons let us right in. We had a really good visit and she agreed to listen to the Elders again! 
On Sunday the Gospel Principles teacher didn't show up so Vicente turns to me and asks if I can give the class, 2 minutes before it starts. Hahah, classic Alameda Branch. So I winged teaching about Priesthood. We all took pictures after church, I am going to miss them all a lot.
Well Family, I don't really feel like I'm actually going to see you this week. But I'm excited nonetheless! I have learned so much from my mission. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and that He loves us. 
See ya soon!
Elder Greene

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bed Bugs Are NOT a Myth!

Well hello there,

You all are trunky messes, but I forgive you. Thanks for the letters, I really enjoyed hearing about Jared and Dad's testimonies and Mom's experience with prayer.

This week was crazy! I think I say that every week but maybe that is just me. So my first exchange I get to Winchester at 9pm, that next morning we find a bed bug on the wall next to Elder Zander's bed. (Terrible timing for an exchange). For those of you who thought bed bugs were a myth and it's just something clever you mention when you go to bed, you are wrong. Just finding one is an epidemic. So we proceeded to move all of the furniture and beds (we found like 4 more). We packed all of the clothes in the whole apartment (including my things) and dried it on high heat. We set off two fumigation cans in two different rooms. We sprayed all the baseboards with bug killer and sprayed again in the bedroom. We sprayed virtually everything with isopropyl alcohol. We even caulked the walls for cracks and holes. I'm not going to lie, it was kinda stressful. But I was pretty confident that I was bed bug free.

Despite the amount of pest controlling, we had a great team up. There was a funeral for Brad Hoke's grandpa (Brad Hoke served in Trevor's mission) and all the missionaries, both Spanish and English, were asked to be the Pallbearers. Well there were seven and when I got there the Bishop (who I know pretty well) said that I would be the eighth. It was a really cool experience. Several times during the service the speaker spoke about how missionaries are representatives of Jesus Christ. How fitting that 8 representatives of Him are the ones carrying this man's casket. The Spirit was amazing.

I went to Braddock Heights in Frederick after that. We had so much fun. We went to a BBQ hosted by a counselor in the Stake Presidency, President Olsen. We had 10 missionaries or so there and a lot of non-members. We all ate in a big barn. At the end, all the missionaries sang Called to Serve and Families Can Be Together Forever with a Hawaiian guy accompanying on a Ukulele. The Spirit was so strong and I know a lot of the non-members were feeling it. 

Life is great! Still hasn't really hit me that I come home in 10 days (thanks for the number crunch on that one Dad). I love you all! 

Elder Greene

PS So I'm not sure if Sister Pascoe already emailed it to you but I arrive in the Phoenix Airport on Thursday at 12:45 PM from what I can tell. I have a layover in Minnesota (no I won't be calling you during that time) and I will be traveling with another missionary from AZ. Also, yeah if you could order insulin to be sent to the house that would be perfect. I have one vial left and I am using it. So pretty much don't have to worry about extra!

PPS What am I speaking on for my homecoming talk? I wouldn't mind planning a couple days in advance... but if you don't know then I'll just wing it hahah

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Greene Family!
Such a great weekend. I hope you all enjoyed your Easter as well. I got to color some eggs this week with a part member less active family and it was a blast. We shared "Because of Him" with them (as well as 10 other families) and the Spirit was awesome. We also got to go to a choir event called "An Easter Cantata" and it was awesome as well. More on that later.
So this week I was in Martinsburg, West Virginia. I have never served in that zone but I feel like I've been on enough exchanges up there to be a true red neck. We tried by a former investigator, "E", this week and when we knocked on the door a small old man came to the door. He invited us right in and at first seemed just like your average old West Virginian man. But after a couple minutes he goes into how all the animals are being mistreated and how they need help. Then he explained how we need to invite the Pope to come to America and "bless all the animals, and the humans." So we decided to invite him to the Easter Celebration and head out. Turns out that in one of the last lessons that the previous elders had taught him he brought up how we need to kill all the vampires and then chop of Satan's head. Good idea "E".
Earlier this week we went to visit a part member family. The father served a mission but hasn't been back to church really since his mission. The mother and the 14 year old son aren't members. Well we were visiting with the father and son and all of a sudden we were talking about the son's spiritual life. We started talking about what he believed as far as religion and God. The Spirit was super strong and I could tell that the whole conversation was guided by Him. The biggest miracle was when the father even said that he would support his son in taking the discussions! It was really amazing and the son even came to church with his grandpa this past Sunday!
We went to visit a less active family this week and the husband was laying on his stomach on the couch, and he couldn't move. He had just figured out that he had compacted discs in his spine and that his pelvis is off center, so the doctors are trying to rotate it slowly, but it's really painful. So he said we could give him a blessing. We did and talked to them about some neighbors that they invited to go to the Easter Cantata. Well we left and that night we went to the Easter Cantata. Just before it starts this brother walks in slowly with his walker! He said he felt better. It was a really cool experience with the power of the priesthood.
I am loving every week of my mission! This week I will be in Winchester and Frederick with some English speaking elders, so should be pretty fun! Sorry for the shorter letter but hey, like mom said, you already got like a 100 of these things. Hahah
Have a great week!
Elder Greene
PS I met Ty Olsen's uncle in Martinsburg this week. He's the Elders Quorom President and his name is Brother Selman. Funny stuff.

My Eggs (Coincidentally, Macey made an egg exactly like his Spiderman egg)

Our Aprons: Me, Elder Allsop and Elder Peacock (awesome missionaries)


Monday, April 14, 2014

I'm A Real Missionary!

Well hello again,

I start off with a shout out to Connor, Oh hey. Anyways, can't believe how fast this past week went. Kinda made me have a mini panic attack. I think a lot about the quote from Ferris Bueler that Dad used in his testimony. "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around every once in a while, you might miss it." So I've been trying to "look around" a lot. I have been having a blast.

This week I was in Annapolis and then with Frederick Spanish. Most of my letter will be comprised of my visit in Annapolis.

Funny stories to start, so we are doing service for a family, just raking and doing yard work. Well a woman from the ward drives up and sees us working. She doesn't recognize me and she asks if I'm in their ward now. I said, no I'm just visiting. She then asks, oh well what ward are you in then? I reply that I don't have an assigned ward, but that I live in Savage Mill. Her facial expression changes and she says, Oh! That's great! There is a boy in our ward who has some special challenges, he should really look into doing something like that! (I'm trying not to smile) I say, yeah that would be great! Then Elder Park (one of the missionaries I was with) says, Oh he's a real missionary Sister so-and-so! She hastily replies, Oh I know! Of course he is! After she went inside we all busted up laughing.

Same day we are walking into a neighborhood on a sketchier side of town. Well several weeks previously the Elders were pulled over in this neighborhood because the cop thought that they were either buying, selling, or trafficking drugs. (I guess when you walk in and out of apartment buildings you look real suspicious) Well we we're in this neighborhood for 15-20 minutes and when we turn back to go out and walk to our car, there is a cop car at the end of the street. Elder Park wasn't looking forward to passing this cop because it was the same one who had given him a pat-down the week before. Well we walked by and the cop stopped us. He asked us some questions about who we were visiting and then asked the same questions a different way to see if we would mess up. Well he finally said, so you two are the real deal then huh? And let us go. So not only was I confused for being special needs, but also a drug dealer. Oh the life of a missionary!

We visited a less active woman on the records the night before. She came to the door some what friendly, but I wouldn't say overjoyed to see the missionaries. Instead of trying to slam her with the Gospel we just talked to her and then asked if we could help do her yard work. She looked at us differently and said she would love that. She then began to cry. Through some tears she explained that just a couple hours previously she had been calling different places to get an estimate to do her yard work. All of them had said over a $1000, which wasn't in her budget. She told us she knew that God had sent us. It was really cool. Plus we only charged her $600, so we totally gave her a steal. (Just kidding)

I finished the week with Elder Green and Elder Hitchcock. It was a good time. Going to church with them was great and I got to see all the members that I loved.

Well this week I will be in Martinsburg West Virginia. Should be a nice little drive tonight, hahah. Praying for me to drive safely is always appreciated!

I love you all, good luck with school, work, and whatever else you have got going on!

Elder Greene

PS So I thought you weren't going to sell the house, but now you are? Not a big deal to me, just curious. Also, I'm pumped we're going to Canada! That's going to be way sweet. You are right, it doesn't matter where you go as long as we're together. And as long as Canada is warm this time of year, hahah just messing. Oh and we can save a bunch of money if Jared just uses all my mission stuff! He can use my shoes, shirts, garments, etc. hahah, joking.

Actually that reminds me, do you care if I trash my sheets (not the home-made blanket) and my dirty shirts before I leave? I assume not but let me know.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Terrible Joke, President!

Oh hey!

Thank you for the letters and conference quotes! I loved General Conference so much. By the end of the Priesthood Session I was just shaking with excitement and energy. I learned so much and I set some goals to become better from the counsel given. Some of my favorite talks were Elder Nelson's, Elder Oak's, and Elder Ridd's. But of course they're all amazing.

Sorry the nice tile is too expensive mom. Maybe you could get some dark green shag carpet?

So on Tuesday, President messaged out to the mission,"We will have a special meeting on April 11th to pick up your iPads!" For 3 minutes everyone in the apartment was going nuts. Then I stopped and said, oh no, it's April Fools day. I texted President,"If this is some kind of cruel April Fools joke I will need to see Kyle Oswald." (He's the guy who helps with depressed missionaries) He texted back,"Well then I will send you his number so you can schedule an appointment." Terrible joke President.

Well this week was a blur of exchanges and long car rides. Elder Despain and I left on Monday night after some office work. We drove for 3 and a half hours to get to Petersburg, WV, the most western area of the mission.

To put it frankly, Petersburg is redneck. I was meeting people with names such as Peanut or Buckshot quite frequently. It was a blast. My favorite part was eating dinner with a recent convert and her recently reactivated husband. They started dinner off by playing us a little song on their fiddle and harmonica. Then we ate bread, potatoes, and shiner (water) for dinner. We taught a short lesson and then we went outside and raked leaves. All of this took place in a little house in the middle of a West Virginian forest. Kinda different from Ellicott City, hahah.

From Petersburg we went to Winchester. I went with the Spanish Elders and we had a great time. It was weird going back to my old apartment. Your Christmas tree and mini ping pong table are still in the closet, hahah. We saw a lot of members that are close friends, including Hermana "G" and a guy I knew named "R". One of the coolest parts of the exchange was visiting "E". I had been teaching her a little over a year ago and we went and talked to her on her doorstep. We couldn't go inside because her husband wasn't home, but it was a great beginning to have the Elders start to teach her again. 

On Sunday morning we drove back to Columbia and ate brunch with the Richards. We then watched the morning session of conference. President told us to split up in Columbia for the night (which usually we don't do team-ups on Sunday nights). So I went out with the Columbia Spanish Elders. At like 7, we were walking and I saw a less active that I recognized. I called out his name and we started talking to him. He hasn't been seen in like 6 months because he moved but we didn't know where he moved. So we got his address and the Elders are going back there this week! I love how God puts us in the right path at the right time.

Well, I'm excited for another week of adventure. I'm just loving life out here in the MBM. Love ya!

Elder Greene

PS Got the pods, thanks!

PPS I think I'm just going to stop sending picture so that you'll have more to look at when I get home. Hahah

Monday, March 31, 2014

2 Weeks Packed in One

Good morning Greene Family,
Thanks mom for sending a letter even though you had a late night with my classes! I appreciate it and thanks for finding good teachers too. Well this week was difficult but rewarding. Transfers and picking up missionaries seemed like one week and exchanges seemed like another week, all packed in one, hahah.
So Tuesday we go to the airport with the Richards. While we wait for the missionaries to arrive we talk to people around the airport. Elder Shaw (an office assistant) and I sat and talked to a Russian physicist named "M". He was nice but he had to run off, we stayed in our seats and a spanish guy sits down! I was just giddy seeing as how I hadn't seen a spanish person the whole time at the airport thus far. So I started talking to him, his name is "J", and he is a chemist/pharmacist from Monterrey Mexico. We talked for like 20 minutes about God and life. He told me he lives 3 blocks from a LDS chapel! So I invited him to go. If I ever go to Monterrey I'm looking him up hahah.
Shortly after the new missionaries arrive and we go back to the mission home and eat dinner with them. We have a testimony meeting and President interviews them while we get to know them/answer their questions. Then after all that is done, they go to bed and we talk with President about who will train who. Pretty cool! I'll tell you what though, I got home and felt like we had just been working all day, hahah.
The next day was transfers and we get up early to eat breakfast with the new missionaries and take them through more training at the church. After it was over, Elder Despain and I went to Annapolis with some Elders on exchanges.
On Friday we went to Baltimore on another exchange. I went to my first area, Baltimore east. Right off the bat we go to visit a non member man named "H" in the hospital. I kinda knew him when I was here because he lives with members and we always said hi. Well "H" had some heart failure and had lost a lot of weight, so we went to give him a blessing. It was an emotional experience for him. He told us he thinks he should be leaving in a couple days.
That night during planning Elder Donoso said he felt like we needed to go back to "H" the next day. I wasn't exactly convinced (it's a little ride by bus and that can take a lot of time out of your day) but I said why not. So the next day we went to "H" again. He got emotional again when he saw us and expressed that he had a lot of regrets and wants to change. We shared some thoughts with him and then the Dr walks in, with a translator. I recognize the translator as a recent convert from the Jones Falls ward, kinda crazy considering Johns Hopkins is massive. Anyways the doctor then proceeds to tell "H" that he has days, possibly weeks to live. It was pretty sad, but it would have been much more sad if we hadn't been there to give him a little bit of support. It's amazing how God guides us through his Holy Ghost.
Well thankfully Baltimore wasn't all sad experiences, I got to see a lot of members that I hadn't seen in a long time. Also I saw Felix (which explains the picture) and Davonte. Between the missionaries I was with and all the members I think I recieved the butt end of at least 50 going home jokes. I had my fair share of old companions and it was a lot more fun to make the jokes than recieve them, hahah. Oh well.
Well, I hope you all have a great week. Hopefully Spring comes in April.
Elder Greene
PS That's a funny April Fools joke about Makinsey getting married mom. hahah Just kidding. Crazy stuff!

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Spirit Helped Me Forget

Dear Greene Family,

Thanks again for the letters. It was really sad to hear that Travis Williams died. He was one of my favorite young mens leaders growing up. Please let the Williams family know how grateful I am for them and for Travis. I'm so grateful to have a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation and that we can all be together again someday.

Well it was a crazy week with transfers! We spent a good while organizing transfers. Elder Despain and I are staying together and we will continue to travel the mission. It's funny, I actually like sleeping on my little roll out mat more than the mattress at the apartment. Also, I have ton of energy these days! I am having a ton of fun.

This week I started in Hagerstown with the spanish Elders there. We had a really good exchange and at the end of it we had a really cool miracle. We decided to go to Hancock on the Pennsylvania side (finally got to go the only area in the mission that covers Pennsylvania!) and try a family that came to church two Sundays previously. Well we got there and they weren't there and wouldn't answer their phones. So we started heading back but then the family called us back! They said we could come over! So we went and had a great lesson with them and they are all investigating the church now! They have a ton of questions and are really prepared. 

From Hagerstown I went to Charlestown. I was at both of these areas at the beginning of the transfer by the way. So when I got with these Elders we saw the man that we had found together 5 weeks previously, "A". Well he has been progressing a ton and he was super excited to see me. He kept asking me to stay in Charlestown for a couple weeks, hahah. We ended up watching part of the Restoration with him and his friend "T" right there in the store, during business hours haha. I wish I could have taken a picture.

The next day we went and visited with a less active woman named Hna "Z". Well I didn't know she was less active when we went in, I had forgotten to ask (but I think that was the Spirit that helped me forget). We started talking about her kids who are veteran Marines and college students and she really opened up about her trials. Well I felt directed to read Alma 7:11-12 about the Atonement. We testified of the power of the Atonement and how it is able to heal our pains. It really touched her. We left and the Elders tell me that she has been less active since last year since her husband died. It was a really cool experience with the Spirit, and I hope that this will be the first step for her to come back into activity.

Last night I went to a Porque Yo Creo (Why I Believe) in Frederick. It was really fun to see a lot of friends, both missionaries and members. I saw Marcos too. It's amazing how many relationships you build on the mission, I really am grateful for all the friends I've been able to make.

Well I love you and I hope you have a great week. Pray that your sunshine is spread to Maryland because supposedly it might snow tomorrow... Crazy.

Elder Greene

PS I will send a separate email in a bit with the classes I would be good with taking. Hahah this will be interesting.