Friday, May 25, 2012

4 Pounds and Counting

Hola mi familia!

So another week has come and gone in the MTC! Crazy, times goes so fast. One Elder put it best, "the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days." So thanks for all the letters this week, I will get around to writing Jared and Macey back today hopefully. Mom you gave me advice on patience and Dad you gave me advice on charity. We must be on the same wavelength because those are the exact things I have been stressing in my prayers lately.
This week I got to see many of my friends come into the MTC! Elder Kyle Allen, Elder Jacob Olsen, Elder Sterling Rogers, and Elder Zach Smith. I am so blessed to have so many friends serving missions. I read a couple verses in DC 121:7-9 that really hit home with me. It talks about everyone going out, working hard and bringing people to Christ and when we get back our friends will all be there to welcome us (at least that's what I got out of it yesterday, I didn't bring my scriptures to the computer room). So I found out something really crazy but really cool this week. I am the only Maryland, Baltimore Spanish speaking missionary in the whole MTC! It’s really cool but also kinda humbling. It made me realize how important every missionary is to this work.

So this week we started two new "investigators", Roberto and Rancho. It's more work to try and prepare lessons for multiple investigators but I love teaching and trying to use more Spanish. Many times though I walk out of an appointment, thinking, "I don't know half the things I just said." It's amazing how much the Lord blesses us if we put the work in. One cool lesson we learned from one of our teachers this week was "If you're happy, notify your face!" I loved that and I am trying to work harder at showing my happiness. So right now we have 11 Elders in our district and 23 people in our zone. We lose 4 from our district next week as they are leaving for the Guatemala MTC and we lose 6 more missionaries from the other district because they are going to Texas, their 9 weeks are up. So to fill in those missionaries we're getting two districts next week! It's crazy cause the majority of our zone will be newbies.

I am trying to not get fat here at the MTC. I have already put on 4 pounds sadly. One of our teachers told us about the MTC's secret agenda to put 10 pounds on every missionary before they leave. Not sure if it's true but it's easily believable based on the food options. Elder Mower and me go on splits sometimes and workout in the gym. Elder Mower has become one of my close friends here at the MTC. I usually play basketball if I don't work out. Every once in a while I play volleyball for a bit cause I met a Polynesian guy that's pretty good but doesn't speak English. On our team of 6 I pass, he sets, I hit, or vice versa, haha. It's still not very fun because no one comes close to digging either of us. But it's all good.

President Rasband, of the Seventy spoke on Tuesday at devotional. He gave an awesome talk on how the Spirit is required for missionary work. It's so cool how much the Church invests in their missionaries. Well I gotta go, times running out. Oh one other cool thing, we have a new second counselor in our Branch presidency, his name is Brother Jennings. Turns out he is the father of Ken Jennings, the guys who won Jeopardy all those times! Crazy huh?

Love you guys,
Elder Greene

Friday, May 18, 2012

El Don de Lenguas (Gift of Tongues)

Hey guys!
It has been so great to hear from you guys in your letters! My district can get frustrated with me because I have received 14 letters since coming to the MTC... I am very grateful for such great family and friends. Oh before I forget, mom I'm sending you a letter today because I am a terrible son and didn't say anything last Saturday about Mother's day. I'm so sorry! Also tell Grandma and Grandpa Greene or Tyler that my service leader guy is Brandon Benally, he knows them.
So this week has been soo much better than the first couple days. The first couple days you have no idea what's going on, your Spanish is poor and the schedule is intense. But once Sunday came around, everything changes. Sundays are packed with spiritual meetings and studying but it is such a great day. Honestly the Spirit is so amazing here, it is so constant it is incredible. Sounds like we had a tough loss last Thursday, sorry bro. All I can say is that after high school, none of that matters, especially on the mission. I am so sorry that Jared has to get surgery. I can't believe it will take that long for recovery... But at the same time when I read mom's letter I was comforted and I knew things would work out. I'll keep praying for you Jared! Mom your scripture of the week was great, that verse for a long time has been my favorite scripture verse. A verse I like that's along those same lines is 2 Corinthians 12:10. Oh and for my missionary verse I decided to use Alma 29:9. I feel like it's just an inspiring scripture for missionaries.
So back to this week. We have been studying our butts off. But seriously, we go to bed at night and we all agree that Spanish runs through your head non stop and when you wake up, more Spanish runs through. It's the craziest thing but I believe it is a sign of the Gift of Tongues or el don de lenguas. We all pray for this gift in our prayers and it is really starting to show. Our teacher, Hermano Taylor, says that we are by far the most adept at Spanish district he's ever had. Which doesn't mean we get to slack off, it means we get to progress our Spanish farther! So we have been using our newfound Espanol to teach a volunteer investigator, Santiago. We have met with him four times and me and my companions helped him to commit to baptism last night. I say help because in the end, missionaries aren't the ones telling them it's true, the Holy Ghost is. Even though it's not a real investigator it's an amazing thing to watch the progress someone from unbelief to preparing for baptism. But I think last night was our last night with him so we will get two new investigators next week.
Dad thanks so much for the letter, by the way my Elder Wright is from Virginia and Elder Ziegner is from Oregon. Their assignments are Anaheim and Long Beach respectively. I am learning to love them more and more. My district is starting to become some of my closest friends. I honestly can say that I will miss all of them when the time comes to leave the MTC.
I saw Elder Alex McBride on Wednesday! He looked good, better than his companion anyway, hahah. His companion looked a little deer in the headlights. But it was almost not believable that it had only been a week since I had come to the MTC. You learn so much, you feel like you've been here for a month. but the days are fast and it feels like I was just writing you yesterday. We get to have gym time here and although my companions don't usually want to go to the gym, I am trying to stay in shape. The food here is like BYUs but worse for you. Most of the time I play basketball. Although sometimes I’ll grab a volleyball if there’s an open court and just toss a ball to myself to get some hits in.
Lately my favorite part of the day has been personal study time. I feel like as a missionary you have this clarity when you learn, study, pray, etc. So now when I read my scriptures I can understand so much more. I am reading the Book of Mormon to better understand some things as well as to find scriptures for the Preach my Gospel lessons, then I switch to my Spanish scriptures and mark them for future use. I am really excited about it! I am so grateful to be a missionary and I know the people of Maryland need to hear the message Jesus Christ has for them.
Love you all!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Joy in the Little Things

Hola mi familia!!

Well I already sent you a letter this week so that I could get my immunizations. But today is P-day for this week so here's another letter! As I said before the first two days of the MTC were really difficult. They work you right off the bat and you don't know what's going on. Initially I thought that I hadn't prepared enough and that I was not ready. But after some work and a couple days of praying very hard, it got much easier. They only teach in Spanish in our classes most of the time and it can be difficult but I have already learned so much. I learned how to bear my testimony and say a prayer in Spanish! It's not like high school Spanish at all. It's challenging to learn so much at one time but I find a lot of joy from progressing towards a goal. Last night me and my companions, Elder Wright and Elder Ziegner, taught an "investigator" in Spanish. I talked about them in my first letter home but I didn't know them very well. They are both amazing people, they both took 6 years of Spanish so I get a lot of help from them. We taught a man named Santiago and he is from Argentina, I gave an opening prayer and we proceeded to teach him about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. Though my companions spoke more than me in the lesson I was able to challenge him to read El Libro de Mormon and he accepted! He asked us how long we have been learning Spanish and we said 2 days, hahah. He was very impressed. Even though the whole thing is kinda fake, it's an amazing training of teaching the Gospel and we came out of there so excited! We went back to the classroom and talked to the other Elders in our district about how there lessons with Santiago went. My district is awesome, we have me, Elder Wright (Anaheim, CA), Elder Ziegner (Long Beach, CA), 4 Elders going to Honduras, and 4 Elders who will leave in 3 weeks to the Guatemala MTC. I already love many of the Elders in my district.

Gym time is nice. Most of the time we have it in the mornings. I worked out once already and that was nice but the gym with free weights is in a different building than the gym with the track, basketball games, and 4 square, so we don't always go to the gym. Connor was right, volleyball sucks here. So I play basketball and sometimes 4 square. My room is cool cause it's just me and my two companions sharing a room with 3 bunkbeds, so no sharing for us! We don't get to be in our room much anyways so it's not a big deal. It's crazy how back home I would sleep for 6 hours or less at college and be less tired than 8 hours of sleep here at the MTC! I go to bed at 10:30 and I'm out!
I am so grateful for how much the Lord has blessed me here at the MTC! We truly do learn at an amazing pace and the Spirit here is so strong. My P-Days from now on will be on Friday, today we only have kinda a half P-Day because we're the new guys. I have seen a bunch of friends here though and I can't wait til Alex become Elder McBride this week! Many Elders hate it here but you learn to find joy in the little things. Well I am almost out of time, but mom could you please mail my immunization record? Also can I send pictures while in the MTC? I'll figure it out. Thanks so much for your letter and let me know if you get mine! (This one and the physical letter I sent) Feel free to Dearelder me as well because we get that right away, instead of waiting til next Friday. I love you guys and let me know how volleyball went as soon as possible!

-Elder Greene

Thursday, May 10, 2012


May 10, 2012

Hey Family!

So we get to write you a letter instead of email because we don’t have pday til next Friday (18th) First off, Mom there is a slip of pink paper in here.  I need you to mail my immunization record back to me.  Also, I totally spaced packing my oil on a key ring, it’s in the front pocket of my backpack.  If you don’t want to send it I can just get some from the bookstore. 
            So the first day at the MTC was… overwhelming.  Right away you’re picking up books and heading to a classroom with a teacher who only speaks Spanish. (she speaks English, she just teaches us in only Spanish.) I met my companions, yes it’s plural, Elder Wright and Elder Ziegner.  They are both interesting guys, I will learn to love them.  Elder Wright is from Virginia, he is going to the Anaheim mission.  Elder Ziegner is from Oregon, he’s going to the Long Beach CA mission.  Apparently he knows Devyn Zebe? Anyways we learned Spanish then headed over and heard from the MTC pres.  Dinner (which is at 4:30 pm!) was pretty much Cannon Center to me.  Then we met “investigators” (actors) and met with them in large groups for two hours.  Then we met our zone leaders, they are pretty cool.  Oh and my district is interesting.  4 kids will go to Guatemala in 3 weeks, another 4 will go to Honduras in 9 weeks and then there’s me and my companions.  All in all the first day was one of the longest days of my life.  However I felt peace as soon as I entered, many times I was doubtful of my preparedness because of the intensity and amount of information.  But the Lord always gives me peace and courage. 
            Change of plans, we will have pday on Saturday this week, and Friday all the rest.  I just got your letter! Thanks so much!  Please tell me how volleyball goes!! Mom, you and me had the same feeling, which I greatly appreciate.  Today went much faster and I am starting to get more excited about missionary work. I played volleyball, Connor was right it sucked.  I have seen so many friends here already! Elder Colin Montgomery, Elder Zach Anderson, Elder Ryan Callister (BYU), Elder Tyler Ottawagen?, Elder Nick Curtis, oh and I see Sister Nelson from our flight all the time.

Well my hand hurts so I just want say I love you guys and I know I’m in the right place.  I’ll email you on Saturday.  (This will include my tribute to mom!)

Con amor,

Elder Greene