Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Miracles!

Hey there Greene Family!

So Christmas is come and gone. It was different but I was just as happy, if not more, this Christmas in comparison to others. Thank you so much for all the gifts. I am already using the GPS, and I love the calendar. Also scarves are just the best, it's cold here. Mom, thanks for your comments about "regrets and resolutions." It was actually my favorite talk of conference and I have a quote from it on the front of my agenda. 

So yeah I went to the doctor this morning as a matter of fact, with Dr. Li (I call her Doctur Ree, Jared will know why...) Anyways, she's nice, she gave me a lot of tips on how I can get some of my numbers down. She wants me to start eating less carbs at night, so I'm going to do my best. She also said I need to count carbs and enter them into the pump instead of doing it in my head. I will probably have to repent cause I told her I would try. Also she wants me to come back in a month, I'll talk to Sister Richards about it tomorrow.

So we had a bunch of miracles this Christmas week! But to have miracles, you got to make sacrifices. The day after Christmas, it was snowing pretty hard so we got grounded, no cars, but we still needed to work. So it was a day of walking and shoveling for service! The snow turned to rain that froze when it hit things too. My hair was frozen, it was crazy! We still ended up having a good day, but the big miracles came the day after. The next day we could drive so we went to an old investigator named Pedro. He answered and he had an eyepatch. He'd been having some tough trials lately with his family and health. He let us in and my companion asked if we could give him a blessing. He said yes with a lot more faith than I was expecting. We explained it and gave him a blessing of health. After we finished, he had tears in his eyes and he was very grateful. We're hoping this will open the window to us working with him again! Then two hours later we found one of the coolest couples ever! Luis and Estela. They let us in and they both sat on the couch with their two little kids and we taught them the Restoration. They both go to different churches (sometimes) and so they really liked the Joseph Smith story. It really was a tender mercy to find them.

Another quick experience this week. We knocked on an investigator's door this past Saturday to at least say hi but it was just the grandma home. So we couldn't do anything really but I asked her if we could shovel her walkway. She didn't have a shovel, sadly. So I looked for a shovel in the front yards of people close by. I found one, knocked the door, and we found Leonidas! We taught him, and after we left we borrowed his shovel to get rid of the snow at the other investigator's house! Hahah, service is the best!

Well I love you, thanks so much for everything you gave me, have a great week!

Elder Greene

8 Foot "Buddy" the snowman

So Excited for District Meeting/Christmas!



Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Feliz Navidad! O feliz Noche Buena!

So yeah you still get a letter from me, don't worry. And yeah 3 pm my time Skype tomorrow. Can't believe it's Christmas Eve, sure doesn't feel like it. Tomorrow will be a more or less average day as far as schedule goes, maybe with more food and of course with skype and opening presents. Don't worry about the package thing, Trevor had to wait what like 5 or 6 months for a Christmas package? Yeah I'll be ok, hahah. But that's crazy about Taggert, I hope he's doing ok. (Taggert was tackled into a fence and required some Dermabond to glue his wound together on his head!) Anyways I had a pretty good week this week! I saw Jeff, that was way funny. The only reason I was even still around the apartment was cause the night before was that Christmas Party for the mission and we didn't have time to do laundry the day before. But yeah the party was great, we had an awesome testimony meeting with the departing missionaries and after a sweet dinner with a talent show. Oh and the tight end for the Baltimore Ravens, I think it's Dennis Pita, he came too, so that was cool.

So I'll start with something hilarious from this week. We went to an inactive family's house to drop by and they invited us in. The wife basically said hey I'm glad you all survived the end of the world (this was the day after December 21). We laughed but the father, Hermano Mancilla said no we didn't survive. I laughed and asked him so we're all dead then? He said we were dead but "fuimos resucitados por Goku, el uso las bolas de dragon." or we were resurrected by Goku, he used the Dragon Balls. I thought it was hilarious, but maybe only to Jared and the older cousins...

So I went on exchanges this week in Front Royal. I interviewed a man named Jimmy to be baptized, he's super smart and we're stoked to see him be baptized. Anyways later on at night, the Elder I was with wanted to go with some Ward Carolers to carol to less actives and investigators. I wasn't sure it was going to be a great use of time but I gave in and we went. We went to various houses and then one sister said, "Let's just knock on that house and sing and give them cookies!" The other Elder said no this neighborhood hasn't taken well to us knocking here. Now I don't know if it was the Spirit or I was just annoyed he was trying to get out of knocking a door but I said Yeah let's go! So we knocked and out came a Spanish guy! I started to speak in Spanish to him after the song and his name is Salvador and really wanted us to come over soon (Primary kids handing you cookies softens your heart).
Also, as if Heavenly Father hadn't already given us a bunch of miracles this week, we had two random Spanish guys walk into one of the wards we translate for. Their names are Marco and Leo. They have been going to a ward in Kentucky for a while and they just moved (and still haven't been baptized). We hopefully will be teaching them after Church next Sunday! And as icing on the cake, Elsa set a goal to be baptized in January. So I am so excited with what's going on the area here, we should be seeing some baptisms in January and February. 

So all in all, just loving it out here in Winchester. I've been using pretty strong will power to keep it relatively warm here, hahah. Anyways, I wish I could send you all something for Christmas but it wouldn't make a ton of sense cause you could probably buy the same things over there. But I want you all to know that I love you and I pray for you almost everyday. Can't wait to talk to you all tomorrow, have questions ready if you have em!

-Elder Greene

Monday, December 17, 2012

Singing a Solo

La Familia Verde!

So thanks for all the letters! It's so nice to hear from everyone, I love hearing about volleyball. Also I really can't believe how close we are to Christmas. We walked past a house that said 10 days til Christmas and I did a double take cause I didn't believe it! It's like dad said, life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.

So this week was an interesting one, transfers are today. We had an Elder, Elder Mace, in our apartment and he's leaving so that was weird to watch a missionary "die". Also we got callouts last night at 9:30 so it's been crazy just waiting to know who stays and goes. Ends up that me and Elder Ocasio will be here another transfer together! So I get to be with Elder Ocasio his last transfer actually. It will be great and we're already setting all sorts of goals. One is with the whole apartment. We're going on a diet. We're going to eat a ton today but after today our goal is to get Elder Ocasio looking good for his arrival in Puerto Rico, Hahah. But anyways, transfer meeting is tonight along with the mission Christmas party so it should be a blast. Even though my trainer goes home! Elder Rose!

Speaking of Christmas parties, we just had one recently in one of the other wards we translate for. And though this story may sound more like a lie than Elder Ward's "saving a girl from a tornado" story, it's true. Us 4 Elders in the apartment sang a song for the party, and I sang a solo in Spanish. Yep it was terrible, but people liked it cause it was Spanish. Hahah, but it really reaffirmed how bad I am at singing.

So we had an awesome week actually. Elsa came to church with her kid Julian, who I call Russell cause he looked like the kid from Up. She liked it a lot. Also we found a ton of cool people this week! One was Yadira, she's so solid. She understood the Restoration better than almost any other investigator I've met! 

Another couple we found is Lazaro and Raquel. It was a miracle just finding them but then we go in and they have artwork on their walls from Mormon artists! And one of the paintings is on the Restoration pamphlet! We started teaching them and they told us they knew all of these Spanish members in our wards! It was just coincidence after coincidence. Which is to say, not coincidences but blessings from Heavenly Father. 

Welp I gotta tell you. I just love being a missionary, there isn't anything better. It's hard, but it's so much fun. There are some nights I'm so tired but I just can't fall asleep cause I'm just so excited about things that are going on in the area. I am so grateful for you guys and for your letters!

Elder Greene

So I will say plan on 3 o clock for Skype for now, but it's subject to change. Love ya!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Stop Hoping and Help


How's it going Greene Family? Sounds like everyone's doing well. I really enjoyed the packages this week. I actually got the ornaments first and so I was a little confused but the tree came too! I'll send pics when I can. Also the CDs came and I love em, I'm very grateful for a Dad with good musical taste. Just so you know mom, Elder Ocasio's last transfer is coming up, he goes home in January/February. The next time I'll write you I'll know whether or not we're both staying here another transfer! Crazy. By the way, I had cow tongue this week, it was actually really good! But I think the woman who cooked it, Sister Guzman, could cook dirt and it would taste good.

Well this week was full of miracles! Well pretty much every week is, but this week I felt extra blessed. The mission was looked at by the mission department last week and that brought a lot of changes. We now teach and invite differently, some rules are different even (like we can listen to music that isn't MoTab or classical again!) But the added training we received is really helping everyone.

So the biggest change was our mindset to stop "hoping" that people will change or do something, but to "help" them do it. So it was more in depth than that but we taught a woman named Cristina this week. We taught the Restoration and the Spirit was real strong. We asked her to be baptized and she said yes. Then came asking her to say the prayer at the end. She looked at us and said she had never led a prayer, or said one out loud at least. It took a good 10 minutes of testifying, and honestly I can't remember what we said (that's the Spirit), and she finally said a prayer out loud for the first time in her life! It was so sweet! So that was a big testimony to me that we need to help people pray, not just ask and hope they will.

The second huge miracle happened last night actually. There is a pretty inactive Mexican family in one of our wards called the Mancilla family. They haven't been to church in a couple years for sure. We have gone over there and shared testimonies and messages but they never really do anything, won't read or come to church. Then yesterday we had a lesson fall so almost on a spur of a moment we dropped by. They let us in and we started talking (they are hilarious and I really like being around them) but then it was time to get serious so I opened my scriptures to 2 Nephi 31:13-16 that talks about enduring to the end. (I know it was the Spirit from here on out.) We got more bold, I asked them if they felt like they were enduring to the end and they knew they weren't. Their doubts started to really come out, which were that they didn't really know if God existed anymore. It was emotional but the Spirit was so strong when me and Elder Ocasio testified. It was the most I've ever felt like an "instrument" on my mission so far. We finally got them to accept reading the Book of Mormon again and to start praying to know if it's true. I left the house so drained! But it was a great step in the progression of the Mancilla family.

Well I wish I could talk more, those weren't the only miracles! It sure is hard sometimes, but I really feel like I'm growing every week of my mission! I can't believe how fast it goes (my trainer goes home next week!) Anyways, I love you all, Merry Christmas (I'll say that a couple times)!

-Elder Greene

Ps. I invited a 95 year old guy named John to get baptized while on an exchange! It was sweet!
PPS. I'll keep you posted for what time Skype will be on Christmas, is there a time that would be best? Like 3 o clock?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lord Makes Up the Difference

Oh hey,

So I'm not going to lie, this past week was rough. Don't get me wrong, it was a good week, but some weeks are just stressful, hahah. I started doing exchanges this past week and since I'm supposed to HELP the missionaries in my district, bringing them to my area is mostly ineffective. So I go to their areas and try to show them how to do the one thing I've never done, English work! Hahah, no it actually went well and I was surprised how Spanish missionary work and English missionary work are the same essentially. One cool thing was going to a lesson with Elder Dahl with a member present. The member was actually Jason F. Wright, a New York Times bestselling author, kinda cool. Anyways, all in all the week was a good one and I learned a lot.

So just so you know, I got Insulin and strips this week (I ordered them) thankfully United Healthcare's operation seems a little smoother these days on shipping supplies. I also got pods. I'm not sure I need them quite yet, I have 50 I haven't used (so now I have a 100.) Also sorry Dad, I actually haven't noticed the pattern, missionary work is like a time void. Weeks are months and months are weeks. Oh and we will be getting 4 more Spanish missionaries, not a ton, but thats ok. No we don't have decorations Mom and the only other thing you could send me is more music I guess. Christmas music can be whoever as long as the lyrics aren't romantic and still focus on Christ or Christmas. Also I wouldn't mind a burned CD of George Winston music or similar stuff.

So I don't have a lot of time today sorry, but I have a good story. This week I was driving at about 7:30 at night and I parked so we could knock some potential investigator's doors. I parked and I heard a pop. I knew I didn't hit the curb so we got out and looked at the tire. I had run over a beer bottle hidden in some leaves and big shards of glass were sticking out of the tire! I started laughing cause laughing works a lot better than complaining. We left for a bit and knocked our potential's doors, nothing. So we decided we better change the tire, Elder Ocasio has a pretty bad knee so I was more than happy to change it. The problem is that these Corollas don't come with the cool jack we have at home, you get a flimsy one. I had to raise it up 3 times so that it wouldn't lean and bend! Finally I changed the tire and I put the car back down. It was 8:55 so I looked at Elder Ocasio all excited and said "We can still knock one more door!" Then he looked at me like I was crazy. I realized I had black on my shirt, dirt on my pants and shoes, my tie was in the car and my hands had dirt and some blood from grazed knuckles. I then said you're right and we had to go home. But that's ok, because we found 5 investigators that next day! So I know the Lord knows when we are working hard and He makes up the difference.

I wish I had more time, but no. Anyways, I love you all and I pray for you all. I will pray for you too now Mom, sorry about the veins.

Elder Greene

Thanksgiving did its damage, its ok, it's gone now!

Tired but victorious!

My comp made a pie for a family in our ward, ha ha

Monday, November 26, 2012

3 Thanksgiving Dinners

Hey Greene Family!

So another week has come and gone, I've said it once and I'll say it again, time doesn't make sense in the mission. Thanks for the letter mom, just to make sure I'm not missing anything, I didn't get a letter from dad. It's totally fine, I just want to make sure his letters aren't getting lost. I can't believe all those people are going on missions! I'm so excited to be a missionary at this time. We'll be receiving somewhere around a 100 missionaries these next couple months, so basically every missionary will have to train here hahah. I feel for Trevor, BYU's going to be an empty campus, hahah. Nah, he'll find someone real fast I'm sure. I'll keep Holden in my prayers, that's so hard.

So we had an awesome meeting this week, the Spanish missionary meeting basically. First one ever, but all 16 Spanish missionaries went to a meeting in Columbia, Maryland (a nice long drive, let me tell you). It was so cool! Felix, my old ward mission leader was there and he gave me a Christmas present. Elder Gill, the missionary that replaced me there in Baltimore told me that Grisel is getting baptized! (She just did yesterday I think) Grisel was a woman we found and taught while I was there but then I left! I'm so stoked for her. But anyways it was nice to be with all the other missionaries and talk about the challenges of Spanish missionaries and how to overcome them.

Thanksgiving was sweet, but I'm never eating that much food again. We ate three dinners and I was so full at the end of the day. We had 3 pies and a bit of everything for leftovers, but I must say I was missing turkey taquitos. 

So I wish I could tell you we went to the temple but Sister Arias went to the hospital last week with a UTI. She lost a bunch of blood. Keep her in your prayers, she's getting better but she's still real weak.

So we had some awesome lessons this past week! We went to Elsa's house and had a lesson about the Plan of Salvation. She saw that it made a lot more sense than everything else she's heard and she said, "Entonces, yo necesito ser bautizada." or "So, I need to be baptized." So she needs to get off work and hopefully she can come to church soon, so she can be baptized this December! Huge miracle. The other awesome miracle this week, Maria. She was a former investigator that we have been meeting with but we weren't seeing much progression so we were about to drop her. We had our last lesson and I asked her if she had read the Book of Mormon. She has 5 kids and 3 of them were yelling and going nuts (one was yelling some very bad English words) but she said yes, so I asked her if she had prayed to know if it's true. By this point I had a kid climbing on my shoulders and another yelling more bad words on the ground. She looked at me very serious and said I know that this book is true. It was the best feeling ever, even though the atmosphere was crazy. There's still a long road to baptism (she needs to get married) but we're on the right track!

Well thanks so much for all the prayers and letters. I hope Macey gets better. Love you all.

-Elder Greene

Monday, November 19, 2012

Insights on Holy Ghost

Que pasa familia?

So it's true, I'm twenty now. It's kinda a weird age and it makes me feel old but I don't know if it's hit me really yet. It hit me harder when I talked to a new Elder in our zone who graduated in 2012. Time seriously just flies. But I wanted to say thanks so much, for all the gifts and letters. I know dad thought B-days were kinda lame in the mission, but honestly the night of my birthday I was as happy as any other birthday. The frame is on my desk, and I want to read that Book of Mormon so bad, it's so cool. (We sent Zach a replica of the first Book of Mormon printed) Ties and slacks are all awesome. And the Elder Eyring talks we're amazing, they answered some questions I had. Seriously, I have the best family ever. But yeah, we went to our recent convert (Arias Family) family's house for my birthday dinner and they cooked taquitos and a cake named "impossible". It was fantastic, and more importantly, we're going to the temple to do baptisms for the dead with them this week! So pumped (last time he had to work, so this time it will happen.) 

To answer questions, I'm the district leader of Winchester Spanish (Us), Front Royal, Luray, Petersburg, and Woodstock. So 5 sets of missionaries, all English speaking except us. Yes I went straight from Junior comp to District leader, but it hasn't been a problem.... Yes we have Thanksgiving set up, or 3 hahah. As for Christmas stuff, a GPS would be perfect and I wouldn't mind a blue scarf? Other than that, I'm not sure. Have fun!

Well this week was amazing! It was a week of firsts. My first 20th birthday, first week as a district leader, first time I've dedicated a house (cool huh?), and first time we had investigators to church in this area! We're so blessed and we're hoping God will continue to bless us this week. 

I wanted to share somethings different this week, instead of a story, something I've learned. As a missionary we can be in tune with the Spirit more than any other time in our lives previously (at least for me). As long as you're obedient and looking for Heavenly Fathers help, you can have the Spirit with you. I think before my mission I thought of the Spirit as a comforter and someone that tells you the truth. Now I realize He is so much more than that. He can open your mind to new things, or give you direct guidance. He can just give you a feeling in your heart, to go a certain way. He can enable you to convey a message with a lot more grace than normal. He can give you peace and joy in hard times. I can't even list all the ways the Spirit has helped me on my mission. And it's helped me to realized what would a mission be like if we didn't have the Spirit? I personally believe it would be a lot like my birthday cake, "impossible". Finding, teaching, planning, all would be so much harder and ineffective. If there was anything that has brought me the most joy in my mission, next to seeing people change, it would be feeling the Holy Ghost work through me. I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to serve a mission. I know that this is the restored Church of Jesus Christ and I know that only by listening to the Holy Ghost can we progress and endure to the end.

Sorry it's a little different, we had good experiences and lessons this week. But I just wanted to share that. Keep Elsa, Braudelio & Cecilia, Pedro, Ramon, and Carmen & Estela in your prayers. There's a lot more that I could name off, but that's probably all I have time for. Thanks again for everything. I'm so grateful that my family is in the right path and that we can all live to together again after this life.

Con amor,
Elder Greene

PS. Thought you might want to hear the sweet news! We can skype for a our Christmas call! We'll work out times and stuff later. 


Zach's birthday package 


Zach after opening birthday package

El Pastel se llama impossible
(translation: cake called impossible?)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy 20th Birthday!

Good afternoon Greene Family!

Well as you may or may not know, this week is transfers. I got the call today at around 11 that neither me nor my companion will be leaving! So that's pretty sweet, change can be hard. (Not that I know what NOT changing is like, I've never had the same companion two transfers in a row...) But ya know, God has a sense of humor and as soon as you feel you're safe, ya get something thrown at you. I got a call from President asking me to be the new district leader, hahah. (This is what happens when you live with Zone Leaders) But I'm excited to push myself and I'm sure this week will be full of even more prayers. As a Spanish Elder working with all English elders it should be interesting!

Anyways, got your Amazon package, sorry, I opened it. Thanks for the ab wheel and bands! My abs could definitely use it hahah. I think I'm weighing in in the high 170's right now. Thanks so much for the update on the friends with calls! That's so sweet. To answer your question, Mom, on how do we find Spanish people, that's a good question. There are all sorts of ways, they don't hide really. Boots outside the door, trailer parks, bikes outside the door, Dish "500" (international language tv dishes), and then just referrals. You ask any white person where all the Spanish people live and they will tell you every door usually. Now the trick isn't finding Spanish people, it's member present lessons and getting them to church!

This week we had a way cool lesson with Elsa. I'm not sure what I've said about her but she's pretty awesome. We got to her house for our appointment and the house was black inside. Of course we knock the door anyways. Nothing. We call her house phone. Nothing. Finally we call her cell and she answers! She had been sleeping cause of a migraine but she got up and came down. (She's so awesome.) Then turns out her husband wasn't home, can't go in. It is 45 degrees outside and she has a migraine and just woke up, but she still says lets open the garage and have a lesson! So we started to teach and right then her husband (who we haven't met before) came home. He turns out to be super cool. He's just a white dude from Virgina named Mark. We taught the rest of the lesson inside, but I was just stoked how cool our investigator is.

I wish I could tell you about all our investigators but it would take too long. We taught our investigator out in West Virginia this week, Reymundo (goes by Taco or Tigre). He got ran over by a car that morning (darn Satan) and ended up having a whole lot of broken ribs. He still wanted us to come over and we gave him a blessing in his super tiny room, seriously it's as big as mom's closet maybe. Also it's a little crowded cause one wall is covered with Jesus and Mary stuff and the other with pictures of tigers and other tiger memorabilia. He's hilarious.

Welp, that's about it. In other, less missionary important news, I can't believe Obama won (you can cut this out if you want). So dumb.

Anyways, love you all, thanks for everything! I can't believe I'm turning 20 this week, I don't feel that old at all. Time just keeps passing by like crazy.

-Elder Greene

Monday, November 5, 2012

Wussing Out


Thanks so much for all the letters! I am feeling pretty blessed this week and maybe it's just the November spirit of things but I am just so grateful for such an awesome family. A mission really wakes you up to how much you've had in your life. Jared your story about the dance made me laugh pretty good. My comp was looking at me funny. Mom I'm sorry about the flu, you'll be in my prayers (even more). To answer your question, yeah it snows here in Winchester from what I've heard. We kinda skipped Fall here it feels like. The cold is totally different from the cold of Utah. It seems to just go through your clothes, needless to say, I've been wussing out lately and wearing a coat. Dad don't worry I'm getting all your letters now, I told Google you were a good guy.

I just got done playing volleyball actually! It's always nice to play, although it reminds me how out of shape I'm getting, hahah. Elder Ocasio has a bad knee and can't run, but I got somewhat of a diet going so no worries. 

We had kinda a shortened week this week, because of the Hurricane... We had some trees fall over but nothin major in Winchester. We had a good week though! We went to Front Royal (the home town of my first companion (MTC). We found some really cool people! One is named Raquel Foster, she's from Chile and she's way funny. I was explaining an experience I had with the scriptures and bearing my testimony, really pouring my heart out, hahah. Then she interrupted me and asked where I learned Spanish, hahah. She's great though, she's reading in the Book of Mormon now.

We went on exchanges, which was ridiculous hahah. Our district leader is English speaking and he came with me to our area. So basically he sits there all day and I teach the lessons! It was fun though. We found a woman in wheel chair named Ginger and had a prayer holding hands (she insisted) in the street. It was a fun day though! We found 3 new investigators.

Well thanks so much for everything! You're all so amazing. How go the house designs by the way? Are we going to have a pool? Is my room in the basement?

Love ya!
-Elder Greene

Comp doesn't like the cold, ha ha!

Grounded, is this a good activity?!

Halloween outfit

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Safe, But Bored!

Hey Greene Family!

Greetings from a very cold and rainy Winchester, Virginia! So yes it's true, we were grounded for a day and a half because of the hurricane/tropical storm thing. It really wasn't too bad where I was, which is good and boring at the same time hahah. We actually stayed at one of our mission leaders homes for the day and even slept there. He's not married and has no kids so it was fun, but pretty boring too. We played church videos, played on the ward mission leader's guitar (Bro. Goode) and built with Lincoln logs. Really took me back to my childhood hahah. But all in all, everything is fine.

So yeah I actually was going to write about Sister Presnell (Gretchen Robinson) but I guess she already talked to people. They are a nice family, although we've never eaten in their house so I'm not sure where that came from... We did eat at their ward activity with them, a trunk or treat type deal during the day. It was a lot of fun and it was good to meet more people in the ward. I met one couple from Mesa, the Hornbargers. They're pretty cool. It was weird to think it is Halloween (tomorrow). What's everyone being this year? hahah. By the way, I totally was Set in the Egyptian thing in 6th grade. 

Well this past week we had a lot of success in some areas and not as much in others. We made a goal to invite everyone we talked to to come to church. We really have been lacking in having people there and sometimes it frustrates me (not in a bad way, in the way that I want to work harder). So we invited everyone. Sunday came around and still no one showed up. It was kinda hard to be positive after that but we decided to not get down but to just keep working. It ended up paying off and we found 11 more people to teach last week. One of them is named Elsa. She is so cool. We couldn't enter her house cause her husband wasn't home, so she opened the garage and we taught her. She loved the Restoration. Afterwards, she asked us for a favor. We said sure, naturally. She asked us if we could help her quit smoking! We sure were excited after!

It was also announced recently that we can do baptisms for the dead (or watch them do baptisms) with recent converts. We have a cool family, the Arias family, that we will be hopefully going the 8th of November with us! I'm really excited for them and for their chance to do their family names. Also it will be cool to see the DC temple again.

Well I love you and I hope you are having a good warm time in Arizona! I'm wearing two pairs of socks today, hahah. 

Love you guys,

Elder Greene

PS I don't know if you already sent a package, I doubt it, but It would be cool if you could send me a November Ensign. I don't know if we'll get one here... If you can't it's all good.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"Zach" Knows Spanish

Oh hey,

Well sounds like you're trip was way awesome! I'm a little jealous but don't worry, things like that don't really bother me, haha. So I looked in my inbox to see Dad's letter that Mom was talking about and I didn't see it so I looked in Spam and there was a letter from Taggert and two from Dad! I was kinda frustrated but it's all good! I found them and that's what counts. We had a way sweet week again this week!

So we started doing service at this kinda "give to the needy" place. The English Elders that live with us go there once or twice a week in the morning and help put away clothes, so they invited us. When the head people over there found out me and Elder Ocasio speak Spanish, they looked at us like gifts sent from heaven. Many of the people coming in to find clothes and food are Hispanic, and they don't have anyway to communicate with them. (Well they tried translating with google translator, it's horrible) So they asked me to translate directions to the Spanish people and they we're so excited about it. They want us to come in everyday (we can't hahah). It really hit me hard afterwards how I know Spanish now. Before it was just, well "Elder Greene" knows Spanish. But translating in normal service clothes, kinda made me realize that "Zach" knows Spanish, it was kinda bizarre. We get lots of opportunities to speak Spanish and finding the Hispanos here is easy, you just ask any door you knock and they'll tell you everyone they know that's Spanish. But yeah Dad, we cover a huge area. We are stake missionaries, it would take an hour and a half to get to the end of our area by car. We translate two sacrament meetings every week. We often go to West Virginia even to teach an investigator, Reymundo. He's had some troubles in life (11 years in jail for murder) but he's trying to change and he's a good guy. The problem is just driving almost an hour to have a lesson with him...

Way cool experience last night, we had to turn in our key indicators to our district leader but he wanted them at 8:35. I thought that was ridiculous because proselyting time ends at 9. But we sent the indicators in and then I told my companion lets go find another investigator. So we knocked on another door and a woman named Florina answered the door, and she's a new investigator hahah. The Lord truly blesses us the most when we give the little extra bit we have left. The other way cool investigator this past week was Pedro. He was a Sergent in the Peruvian army and now he's here in Winchester. We gave him the Book of Mormon and asked him to read the introduction. We called him last night and he said he had read the introduction, and the testimonies of all the witnesses, including Joseph Smith! We're way stoked about it.

I got my A1C done and the doctor still hasn't called me back, that whole experience was a joke but I won't go into it. He did prescribe me heartburn medicine and it helps a ton. I also have been eating healthier and I feel a lot better these days. Trevor is right though, Hispanics love to give you Orange Fanta (and it's like the worst for you of all sodas)

Well I love you all! Have fun in school!

-Elder Greene

Luz and her Family 

Sandoval Family

Pizza in the car with Elder Ocasio

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Love Winchester!

Hey Greene Family!

Sounds like you're all having a blast in New York! That's so cool. But I'm really not that jealous, this week was one of the best in my mission so far. I love Winchester! Me and Elder Ocasio have been working real hard and the Lord blessed us a lot this week.

But first here's some answers to questions. I go to the doctor today mom, I sent another e-mail with pictures and something saying about the doctor but it failed, so yeah. I'll try to send it again but we'll see. We live with the Zone Leaders actually, they're English speaking. They're way sweet. Elder Ocasio has been out 20 months and he speaks both Spanish and English. Also he changes his Puerto Rican accent so that the people can understand him, Puerto Rican's Spanish is ridiculous. But he was born in New York and grew up in Puerto Rico. He likes English better I think, but I make him speak Spanish anytime we're not with English speakers. Hahah, yeah my Bishop talked to me about Jeff! I didn't know they come out here though! I've been to that Sonic actually, Elder Ocasio had never been, so we went. And about a visit from Jeff and Annie, I won't refuse treats from anyone... hahah.

I had some funny stuff go on this week. I found Honeycrisp apples here and I was so excited. I also pulled out a card to give to an English person this week and I looked at it and it had Shawni Pothier on it, haha, I was weirded out. Then I started driving to appointments and I realized I hadn't driven in 5 months! Then I went to Church (which is in English so that's weird too) and the first returned missionary I meet went to Nicaragua South. His name is Brad Hoke.  I don't know if Trevor remembers him...

So anyways, we had a way awesome week this week. We set the goal to find as much as possible this week to make up for the lack of investigators we had coming in. We ended up breaking the Winchester Spanish record with 9 new investigators! It was so cool and it really boosted my faith. We had one really cool experience this week. We went to find an inactive member and I was driving. I saw a dirt road and I had this real strong feeling that we needed to go down it. But we went to the inactive member first, he wasn't there. So I turned around and said we need to try this dirt road. On the way back we couldn't find it, it was pretty well hidden in some trees. So we almost said forget it. But I still had the feeling so I said one more try. We drove down and found it! We parked and knocked the first house (of the four that were on the street). He was Spanish and didn't want much with us but he did refer his neighbor. Went over and found a new investigator, David! He's way cool, and wants to read the book of Mormon and find out more about our beliefs. I am very grateful for the guidance of the Spirit and for the help we received this week. I went to bed last night just so pumped I couldn't sleep! I have some high hopes for Winchester!

Anyways, I gotta go, love you all! Have fun on vacation and take some pics! 

-Elder Greene

Monday, October 8, 2012

Don't Wait to Be Happy

Hi Ho Greene Family!

Yep I'm in Winchester Virginia, a nice 45 degrees today. I'm gonna die. Hahah, nah it's all good. Winchester is vastly different from Baltimore, in pretty much every aspect. The people, the Hispanics, the weather, the missionary work, the apartment, the companion, etc. But there are a lot of things I love in this area! We have Walmart real close, a volleyball net right outside the apartment, and though a car isn't my favorite, it sure helps with missionary work.

Saying goodbye was a little hard, especially because Baltimore had become my home. But I knew I was needed elsewhere so I said my goodbyes to some of my favorite families and investigators and packed my bags.

So I'll admit coming to a different area was a little overwhelming at first. Especiallly Winchester. The Branch has recently been dissolved here and so we basically bring Spanish people to English Wards (yes multiple hahah) and translate. I got here and we had two investigators, that in itself was a little daunting. Then on top of it all, our area covers a whole stake! So yeah by Saturday morning I was feeling a little overwhelmed and frustrated. But Heavenly Father knows what we need and let me tell you, General Conference was the best weekend ever. I feel recharged and ready to face the challenges of the next six months!

Right off the bat, Elder Uchtdorf's talk made me feel a million times better Saturday morning. That talk was so good and I really am trying to work on "not waiting to be happy". I really like how he said "External circumstances don't determine happiness." So right away the answer to my questions and prayers came in Conference. But it was added upon in a whole lot of other talks. I decided that an evidence that these men are prophets is the fact that we can make so many applications of their words to our own individual lives. I've only experienced that in the scriptures and it's a testament that the prophets in the scriptures are the same as the one's on the earth today.

President Monson's announcement of the age change for girls and guys was crazy! There were six of us Elders watching conference in the stake center by ourselves and we looked around at each other super excited. I realize this would give Jared the opportunity to leave after High School and I would say college helped a ton before going on a mission. But I would say make it a matter of prayer and ask Heavenly Father what He wants you to do.

I don't have many stories really for now. We did go eat at a funny man's house the other day. He's white by the way. He immediately invited us downstairs when we arrived and gave us a hot wheels car. Then we went into a room where he has almost every hot wheel car ever made since 1996 or something. It was nuts, I found 3-4 of the hot wheels me and Jared played with as a kid. But yeah he proceeded to feed us one of those Mountain House meals you eat while camping. Then his wife joined us in her bath robe. Overall I decided Winchester is pretty strange, but I really love it.

I can't believe Trevor is home! Hopefully Ava gets better... But yeah I'll let you know if I need a GPS mom. Let me know if any of the girls I know are really going on missions! That would be crazy. Oh and one of my Bishops, Bishop Aldous works at Exxon, I told him I have an uncle there and he said he'd look for Jeff haha. Yep that's about it, gotta go, love you all!

-Elder Greene

PS Larry Echo Hawk is the coolest name ever.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Winchester, VA!

My new companion wanted to make sure that you guys knew where I was so we hit the computer real quick! I am in Winchester Virginia! The opposite of Baltimore hahah. My address is 1900 Taylor Dr. Apt #3 Winchester, VA 22601. Although we are in car, I already love this place and I'm so pumped to work here! My companion is Elder Ocasio. He is Puerto Rican. He's a hard worker and just real chill. He also got on my good side real quick because he bought me buffalo wild wings and put it in the fridge. But yeah, I refuse to take more time (sorry) so I'll email you again on Monday with all sorts of good stuff. Oh and mom I am going to a different doctor on Monday, Dr. Fisher. I am going to ask him some questions cause diabetes has been throwing me for a loop lately, also having some heartburn pretty frequently. But don't worry I'm fine! Love you guys!
-Elder Greene

Monday, October 1, 2012

Leaving B-Town!

Sorry this letter is coming in a little late, we went to the zoo and we just got back from doing all the other stuff. Also because it's transfers this week, we wanted to know if we were leaving or not before we e-mailed. So turns out I will be leaving B-Town this week. It's hard to hear that you have to leave an area where you've grown so close to everything, the people, the places, the food, the companion, etc. But I'm ready for new things and I know that I'll be able to grow more If I leave. So yeah don't send anything to my Linwood address this week. I'll let you know where I'm at next week.
I'll start off by saying that I'm offended that Mom thinks I don't know who Imagine Dragons are! Though I have lost much of my musical knowledge, I still remember a lot, hahah. I also got your letter and your package, thanks so much! Jared, nice job getting kicked out of the dance again! Sometimes Elder Martinez reminds me of Jared/Taggert. He loves talking like an Asian, he has this no worry attitude, and he can't stop making noise whether it's singing, whistling, beating something with his hands, etc. Oh and yes I understood Tyler's letter, Mom, haha. Thanks for the insight Tyler, it really did change how I thought about missionary work and the Plan of Salvation. Also, I'm stoked you used "chevere" because I think that's one of my favorite Spanish words.
Well one crazy thing that happened this week was we had a homicidal shooting in the neighborhood, and by neighborhood I mean our directly across the street neighbors! There were a lot of police, and detectives even knocked on our door to see if we knew anything. But yeah there were helicopters flying around and all kinds of police cars.
So this week was pretty cool. I went on exchanges with Elder Mardock and we weren't having much success towards the end of the night, so much so that we ran out of contacts on the plans for the day. So I said, Let's go see if Melvin is home. Melvin was my first investigator ever, we couldn't find him much eventually so we had to drop him. But we went and it turns out that he moved to Seattle. Jose, another investigator we taught, was there though. We talked to him and it was honestly such a bizzare experience. I remember Jose being real hard to understand but going back two months later I understand him perfectly haha. It really tripped me out. I didn't realize that my Spanish was progressing until it already had! Nevertheless, my Spanish got put to the test yesterday! 15 minutes before church started Presidente Diaz asked if I could teach the Young Men because they requested me. (actually that was in English cause they are all in public schools) It went good, but then 10 minutes before sacrament, Felix asks if I can give a 10-15 minute talk, hahah. I said of course and started thinking of what I could share. I ended up talking about attitude and how if we think more of others we're going to be more happy. But all in all, Heavenly Father has blessed me a ton with Spanish.
We are still working with our investigator, Luz. She is an amazing person who just fits right in in our little branch. We went and taught her more about the Book of Mormon this week and it was such a sweet lesson because she really wants to know more. She's been praying with Juan and reading at night as well. She says she can feel her life changing and I just was amazed at how you can see it. She just looks different and though she still has a lot more to learn, she's happy. And it's just the coolest feeling in the world to see someone's life start to change like that. I'm sad I won't be able to work with her anymore but I know the next Elder that comes is the one who will help her more.
The zoo was pretty funny today. Everyone either thinks you work there or wants to know who you are. Also tons of people said "Hey Elders!" which was fun. (We don't get a whole lot of that in the city).
Thanks for everything! I'll let you know where I'm going when I can, probably a week from today. Love you guys, have a good week.

-Elder Greene


Big Boys Bail Bonds shirt with Elder Knudsen

Squirrel fishing, the best sport ever

Ghost Pepper Ramen

Monday, September 24, 2012

What Are You?

La Familia Verde,
Well thanks for all the letters but at the same time, what the heck?? Hahah. I can easily take that you guys are going on a trip without me, and that Dad has a sweet new phone, but we're moving?? (we technically aren't moving yet, we bought a lot, some dirt, in our same ward boundaries!) I can't believe it. But I'm glad everyone is doing good, and I'm way pumped that Jared is playing Libero now! I got the (volleyball) missionary newsletter mom, thanks a bunch! But yeah I'm still kinda shocked we're moving...
Anyways, those things aren't that important right now. I'll try to answer some questions first. So three pairs of missionaries go to my little branch here in Baltimore. Also we do our laundry in our house, so that's sweet. Mom your comment about Trevor and how we have the same problems made me laugh. You don't know the half of it! Our old Elder's quorum president went to jail this week cause he got in a car accident. (I think I remember one of Elder Ward's investigators going to jail or something). I can't believe that he gets home soon! (Zach's cousin comes home from Nicaragua on October 6!)
So one awesome thing we had happen this week was that Luz accepted a baptism date! We are so pumped, even though there are still a lot more things we need to overcome. (Divorce, Marriage, Law of Chastity). But hey, we got Heavenly Father on our side!
The other cool thing we had going on this week was a lesson with an investigator named Rina. She has a son who is deaf and so that has been a real challenge in teaching their family. But this week we finally had some Elders from DC North come up who know sign language and we had a real amazing lesson. We had Rina speaking Spanish to us, us speaking English to the other Elders, and then they spoke sign language to her son, Eduardo. (and vice versa) It took a little more time than the average lesson but it was one of the best experiences I've had in my mission so far. The Spirit was so strong and we really helped this family start working out some problems and help them on the road to Jesus Christ. I can't wait to do it again this week.
Alright I'll end with a laugh. We met a black dude named Lut this week. He told us lots of great stuff about the Bible (most of which I wouldn't agree with) but he was one of the funniest people I've ever met. Here's a summary of a quote for ya. "Yeah I got a bunch of friends, Crips, Bloods, you name it. But they's all into what everyone else is into. Right now a bunch of em have come to me and said yeah I'm a muslim now. (for anyone who has been to Baltimore, this is very true, all the black people say they're Muslim but then they'll quote the Bible). But then I ask them, Just last week you were a Crip and now you're a Muslim?? What are you, a Crip Muslim?" Hahah, he was hilarious.
Things are great here in Baltimore! Mom I'm not sure I got the info for the Doctor. Maybe resend it... Love you guys!

-Elder Greene

PS Just so you know, President Richards made a rule that we can only listen to Classical and MOTAB so I might send you some contraband eventually!

Monday, September 17, 2012


Oh hey,
Nice to hear from you guys again! Sounds like lots of fun stuff with a lot of setbacks going on in the Greene household! Sorry about the boat, and the mis-timing of homecoming. That's life yeah? I received a sweet package this week from our Ward's Miamaids and a letter from Brother Smith and others. I'm so grateful to have such an awesome and supportive ward. I have really learned how awesome our ward really is out here on my mission. Oh, also your comment about Tagman receiving the priesthood in 5 months was crazy. I seriously didn't believe it for a second. Everyone's growing so fast!
As always, we had some pretty cool miracles this week! Dad, I loved your comment about not focusing on numbers last week, I tried to apply that more this week and to just serve and be a missionary. And it paid off! About 8 weeks ago, me and Elder Rose found a family while knocking. The father turned out to be a member that wasn't on record, his name is Juan Gomez. After a lot of tries to try and get a hold of them again, we kinda lost hope. But on this past Saturday, me and Elder Martinez knocked the door and the whole Gomez family was home. We taught them and they decided to come to our Branch activity that night! After that lesson we had to go to the Church to help prepare. It was hard to sacrifice some time teaching to help our members but after that night I'm a big believer in service. We had the Gomez family there, two women and their kids, and another family, the Barahonas. In total we brought 18 people to the activity! It was such a sweet  miracle. Plus the party was way cool, it's basically a fiesta celebrating the independence of all the Latin American countries (maybe Elder T. Ward was doing the same thing!) I even ate a bunch of that corn you see on Nacho Libre (Jared knows what I'm talking about).
Anyways, the next day was Sunday and the Gomez family ended up coming to church too! They seemed to really like it. The mom, Luz, of this family isn't a member and we want to keep working towards baptism with her. But the problem is that they aren't married. Come to find out, yesterday, that Juan has a wife named Alejandra (Non-member) that he hasn't divorced yet. But God works by small means to bring about miracles and somehow, Alejandra came to our branch because she was invited by a super inactive member that decided she wanted to go to Church yesterday. So turns out, that Juan and Alejandra talked yesterday about getting divorced so that Juan and Luz could get married. I can't believe how miraculous some of these "coincidences" are. We are way excited about this family.
We had another super sweet opportunity this week too. One day while we were studying this young white guy (this is strange in Baltimore) with shaggy hair knocks on our door. Turns out he is a Lutheran pastor and has a small group of people who meet every Thursday at a bar to talk about God. His little gang wants to know more about Mormonism and he wanted us to come to talk to them. So after talking to President Richards we got permission to teach about 10 Lutherans outside a bar about the basics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Obviously this was in English and let me tell you, it was hard sometimes. I rolled my r while saying Terrestrial kingdom and they all laughed, hahah. But it was a lot of fun to teach them and they were genuinely interested so that helped.
We meet some of the coolest little kids out here on the mission. Especially in Spanish work cause everyone has like 50 kids. Yesterday we were at the Sandovals house, one of my favorite member families. Their son Christopher is 5 or 6 and he is completely fluent in Spanish, obviously, and English, but it's all from Nick Jr. haha. Last night he said,"Elder Greene, you know what? I have my own dance, it's called the Christopher shuffle and it's only for winners!" I was dying but also, it made me think of Taggert, hahah.
Well I gotta go, love you guys!
Warm regards,
Elder Greene
PS I got a letter from Alex this week! I can't believe he's still in Alabama, hahah.

Chaps Pit Beef- on Man vs. Food (tv show)

Elder Martinez being a goofball!

Fiesta! They basically set that up all themselves (Zach, Elder Martinez, and Felix (ward mission leader)

Mis Amigos son Hispanos!

Zach and Elder Martinez at the Harbor