Friday, June 29, 2012

Alma 29:9 Coincidence

Buenos dias! (It's 7:00 am)
Thanks for the letters mom and dad! I can't believe Elder C Ward is in New Zealand! I can't wait to get that letter mom, hopefully it comes today. I heard the Wards were at the temple from Elder Allen, hahah, (or Aw-Yung Jung-Low in Cantonese, at least that's what it sounds like). Too bad I didn't see them. So glad to hear Jared is recovering super fast! I wish I could be there when you plant one, ten foot line your senior year. (While I get fat and can't jump). Oh, they "scooped" my wart out this week! Little did I know scooped meant scalpeled! He cut off the surface and then said oh yeah this ones deep! So he proceeded to scalpel my foot and I just had to laugh it off (Holden Greene style). But I'm all good now!
But guess who I did see this week?? Dr. Ray Peterson, Zoe's dad! He happens to work at the same building Elder Wright does physical therapy in! I saw his name on the directory so we went to the dermatology office and I talked to secratary and she let me back in his office! Hahah, he got a picture of me and him and sent it to Zoe. He also says that him and Shawn Peterson were talking about dad recently and now Ray remembers dad more. Anyways, crazy stuff!
This week I got to meet my Mission President (and his wife)! They are so awesome! The meeting was in the room that I have class, probably cause I had been here 6 and a half weeks and the English speakers had only been here for a half a week. President Richards told me there are only 12 Elders that speak Spanish in the mission, out of a 120 or so! I am so pumped hahah. They are actually taking a 13 year old daughter and a 16 year old son out there as well, crazy yeah? But meeting my mission president just affirmed once again that I am supposed to go to Maryland Baltimore. He has many ideas as to how things are going to go and one thing he said was our "mission scripture" and it's Alma 29:9! Which is my mission scripture on my plaque! So that was awesome. Then later at the devotional on Tuesday they looked for some of their missionaries (there was me, 6 English I think, and a new Spanish speaker, he'll get there 6 weeks after me.) But anyways they could only find me so they took a picture with me hahah.
I think I'll have travel plans by tomorrow or Monday so i'll let you know when I'm flying out!
Devotional was awesome. We had 10 Apostles in the room!! All except Elder Packer and Elder Hales. That's insane. Elder Perry spoke using a slide show based on lots of research from various groups. My favorite one was that as we receive higher education, we are more likely to be active in the Church, whereas ALL other churches are less likely to be active with more education. To me this is just another testimony of why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church on this Earth. The more I study and the more I learn here, the more I realize that the Plan is perfect for us. That the Gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect. That we are the only Church led by an Omniscient Being, Jesus Christ. Elder Packer said many more things that I wish I could tell you but I don't have time, (so maybe ask me after the mission). But one other thing: Technology has become vastly more complex since 1830 (when the church was restored) "this is no coincidence." I just thought that was pretty cool.
What else... Oh the MTC has smelled like a camp ground for the past couple days. We've been told there are fires in Utah and Colorado? I don't know, but it's pretty crazy. Ash falls from the sky and everything smells like campfire. The sky is all nasty as well. So it will be nice to leave to Baltimore!
Well I am just living up every day here! I seriously feel like i've been here for 3 weeks, not 7 and a half! I love you guys and love your letters and insights! Have fun in California!
-Elder Greene

Friday, June 22, 2012

Men Are That They Might Have Joy

Mi familia!

How's it going?? I can't believe how fast time moves here. Seems like it was two days ago when I wrote you last! I'm down to 2 and a half weeks!! I'm nervous but so excited! I'd like to thank everyone for letters! Especially tell Grandma and Grandpa Peart thanks! I'm glad Jared is doing well, seems like a lot of prayer and inspiration went into his surgery. You kinda left me hanging for 6 days on whether or not it went well! (Disclaimer: Sent a surgery update the day of surgery through but apparently Zach never got it!) But I figured it probably did considering no letters. How is Elder Connor Ward's visa coming along? Any news?

First off, Mom I got the pants, sorry I kept forgetting to tell you. I love them, they are way sweet! Thank you! Sounds good with the necklace! (medical id) In addition to the Elder Wards and Elder Haviland, could you get me the Ogdens home address? Thank you! No rush by the way. Also, I'm thinking I might want to get a new set of English scriptures here, is that ok? It would be like $35, let me know.

So I'll start with some funny stories. I was walking in the bookstore with my companions and guess who I saw?? Mr. B!!! The Greenfield Elementary art teacher! I don't know when he stopped working there but he hasn't changed a bit! Him and his wife are going on a mission and they were cracking up that, even here, someone's stopping them to say,"Mr. B!"

So this week and last week brought many friends into the MTC! I saw Elder Daren Woodward (Zach's BYU roommate) and his companion this past Monday and I said hi. Then I looked at his comp’s name tag and guess who? Elder Chase Plowman! Hahah, small world people.

This past Sunday I got made District Leader... It's been something new and I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn. So it turns out, this week is the best week to be here at the MTC. All the mission presidents are coming on Saturday along with the apostles and possibly the Prophet!! I will be able to meet with my mission president in a several hour meeting tomorrow night. And unless some English speaking Maryland Baltimore missionaries came on Wednesday, I will be the only one in the meeting... Hahah.

So I don't know how much I've told you but Elder Wright's knee has been pretty messed up lately. For a while they thought it was a torn minuscus but it turned out to be a bruised bone. He does physical therapy twice a week and for about a week he was on crutches. Let me tell you, in the MTC, crutches are a pain. But it was nice to hear it wasn't a torn minuscus after many doctor’s appointments, x-rays, and an MRI. So he is on the road to recovery! Moving slow with mi companero roto was patience trying at times but I was reminded of my setting apart. I believe he said something along the lines that I would not always be able to move at the pace I wanted to because of my companions. Hahah.

This past week we talked a ton on the Spirit and revelation. I must say I am so so grateful I got to do that farewell talk because it has come into my life so many times here at the MTC. So some things that I really like that we learned: The Spirit is a member of the Godhead, he should be treated as if God or Jesus Christ were helping us teach.- Paraphrased Elder Holland, I think this is awesome. Too often we take the Spirit for granted in our lives! Another thing I loved is that many times personal revelation won't just come to us on our knees while we're praying. Most of the time we need to be pondering our question and studying the scriptures for the answer! You wouldn't believe how much the Spirit and revelation comes into play with our teaching. Essentially the first lesson should come down to, Christ's church is restored on the Earth today and you can know of this truth through revelation, through reading the Book of Mormon, pondering and prayer. So I just want you guys to know that God wants to give us things, he is anxious to give us blessings, but we need to work for them!

Well I can't believe how fast time goes! You guys are going to the beach next week?? I'm jealous but not that jealous. "men are that they might have joy" and let me tell you, the most joy I can have right now is spreading the Gospel (or preparing to!) Alma 29 talks about this, check it out!

Love you guys!
-Elder Greene

Friday, June 15, 2012

"Turning Out"

Hey guys!
Another week come and gone! Hope Macey had an awesome birthday, sounds like you guys had fun! I'll be writing a letter today for Macey and Dad today so check the mailbox. Thanks for the medical help mom! I got my test strips. I haven't gotten any letters about Jared yet but hopefully I will today. I hope he is doing well, I've said many a prayer in his behalf. (Note: Jared had surgery on his shoulder (too much volleyball!), literally as Zach was sending his letter. Surgery went really well, better than we could have hoped. Just no volleyball for a long time.)   I hope Connor gets his visa soon! I met an Elder from New Zealand this week and he was way cool.
Well we are currently 5 and a half weeks into the MTC, it honestly is hard to believe. Time flies here! We watched an old devotional film in class the other day by Elder Holland and I think it's known as the "Don't Go Home" talk. He talks about how he would tie each missionary down to their chair if he was allowed to because his mission meant so much to him. (Gotta love that guy) But it got me thinking, how much does my mission mean to me already? The past 5 weeks have brought more growth and change into my life than any other time period ever. I can honestly say I'm not the same person I was when I came in. Now thinking of all the progression that's possible in the next 22 and a half months, my mission just seems to be more important to me every day! I can't wait to go serve the people of Maryland!
This week we also watched one of the best devotionals I've ever seen (another film). This one was Elder Bednar and it was called "The Character of Christ". In it he talked about how we as humans are very "turned in". We think only of ourselves or occasionally our family or friends. He proceeded to talk about how one reason Christ was perfect was that he was constantly "turned out". Think of when he suffered in the Garden and came out and a bunch of guards are there to take him. One of his apostles chops a guys ear off and Jesus heals him! He doesn't complain or think about his sufferings, which was the greatest of all suffering. He had just bled from every pore yet he is concerned about a man, who wants to kill him, and his ear. Christ is such a perfect example and I'm so blessed to be able to represent him and share his Gospel. So my challenge would probably be this week, try and turn out, not in. I'm trying and honestly I'll be trying for the rest of my life because it is so hard!
Well as of this week my district is the oldest in the zone! We are doing well, Elder Young and Elder Permann are the zone leaders and they are awesome. I wish I could send you pictures but it will just have to wait til Maryland. (We can't even print them anymore here). Next week we'll host for the first time. This means we get to pick up an Elder's luggage when he first arrives and guide him through! We're all pretty excited.
Me and Elder Young convinced our district to start playing soccer a couple days a week, hahah. Although I've been getting a lot better at basketball (we play every day), I just love soccer. Plus it's out in the sun and let me tell you, you don't see much sun here. So we've been having a lot of fun with that. Elder Young played in high school so he's pretty good. I also got to go to physical therapy with Elder Wright this week. Which essentially means I got to work out for two hours straight! I loved it, they have treadmills and machines and free weights. So I'm excited to go again this week. The only part thats hard is there is two TVs there playing ESPN. I resisted the temptation, hahah.
Well I hope all is well in the Greene home! Sounds like California was awesome! Sorry its 109 mom, all the kids here are like, wow it's so hot. And I just laugh cause they don't even know. But theyre all going to Honduras so they better buck up! Out of time, love you guys!!
-Elder Greene

Friday, June 8, 2012

Covenants and Faith

Verde Familia!
Thanks so much for the package! Food is of great worth here and I'm kinda rich in between you and my friends! Thanks Taggert for the letter! Azul is actually blue but good try buddy, hahah. The pictures were awesome! I have such a good looking family!
K so this past week has been nuts to say the least. I will try my best to get it all. So first off, Elder Andreason in our district has been reassigned from Guatemala to Des Moines Iowa because of his inability to sleep (the word escapes me right now). He was one of my favorite Elders in our district so it was sad but thankfully he's still in our Residence hall. So he went to another Zone last Saturday, (he's english speaking now). So that left his Guatemalan companion, Elder Rockwood, with the choice of one of the Trio of who his companion was for the next four days. He picked me. So me and him were companions for the 4 days he still had until he left for the Guatemalan MTC on Tuesday. It was fun being in a companionship of two and getting a feel for that. PS. Elder Andreason's new companion is Elder Day who know's Rhett and Leslie! Apparently him and Elder Reese were in their ward?
So on Monday I got my wart injected craziest thing ever. He numbed my foot from my ankle and then from the side of my foot with the tip of the needle going to the center of my foot! It was nuts. This guy was like,"Hey tell me when this needle tingles cause if I go into your nerve it's going to feel like you touched an electrical fence." He said a lot of stuff like that. The whole thing took like an hour and a half but the shuttles take forever so me and Elder Rockwood were gone for 3 hours! But so far so good, it's starting to get red and once it turns black (this stuff is a form of chemo apparently?) they scoop it out!
So Elder Wright sprained his knee... 7 years ago. Yeah it started hurting more this week and now he has to go to physical therapy every other day. So Elder Ziegner went with yesterday and it turns out we get to workout while he does therapy! Cool huh? But yeah things have been crazy this week medically!
This parts for Jared, guess what bro?? I played volleyball for like 10 minutes the other day and I got this perfect over pass. This kid tried to block me (he had no idea what he was doing honestly) and so I hit the ball when it was just over his fingers. Afterwards he was holding his hand, I thought I jammed his fingers but it turns out I ripped his fingernail completely off!! I felt really bad but at the same time I was a little proud...
Oh and Yes I know Elder Webster, he played volleyball for a year or so. (A missionary from Gilbert, AZ that is serving in Baltimore, MD.)
So this week I learned a lot (as always). One member of the Seventy, Marlin K. Jensen gave a talk just about missionary work. He also talked about covenants (Mom) and said,"How dare you wake up late when you raised your hand to the square and convenanted with your Father that you would be obedient." Super powerful. I was pretty grateful I wasn't one of those kids whose face said, "Busted." Obedience is something I have gained an even better testimony of here. Also my teacher Hermano Taylor changed how I think about a lot of things this week. Our district talked about Faith for 2-3 hours one night and it made me realize how little I really know. One thing I thought was cool is that at some point we stop praying for faith. We believe we already have enough or something. So my challenge to you guys (and myself) is to pray for faith more often in your prayers.
The Spanish keeps coming along! Hermano Taylor says that I am doing very well for how much Spanish I took. I credit it all to my companions and Heavenly Father. One funny thing I realized was that I went to Playa del Rey (beach of the king) when I was a kid, I wonder if that helped at all? Hahah
Well I love you guys so much and the pictures made me realize even more how blessed I am to have such an amazing family! Macey Happy Birthday on Monday! Oh and glad you guys had fun on trek!
- Elder Zach Greene
Ps. The health office people want me to get a medic alert bracelet/necklace. I normally would say a flat no but I'm trying to be obedient yeah? So mom could you look into a medic alert necklace? Honestly just a long chain and something that says I'm diabetic? Thanks!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Warts and All

Hey guys!
Another great (and extremely fast) week at the MTC! I can't believe I'm in the middle of my fourth week! So trek this week huh? That's awesome, trek is hard but I loved it so much. Can't wait to hear stories! Yeah I have a Plantar wart? on the bottom of my foot, I get it injected on Monday. It's almost as bad as Elder Ward's MRSA. Hahah. I'm getting my haircut today so keep me in your prayers... Oh before I forget, Mom I am running low on test strips, should I use my prescription at the Health Center? That's awesome Jared gave a talk! I'm sure it was awesome, I can't believe Chase Adams is already home?? Time sure does fly. Dad I'm super jealous about the concert, and it definitely isn't sacreligious to say it's a spiritual experience. Cause it is. I already asked my district if anyone had even heard of Of Monsters and Men and nope, no one. All good though. Elder Mower is from Sandy Utah and he is going to Honduras the day before I leave. He's the new District Leader and he's going to be great!
Well this week was a lot of fun and a lot of learning. Last Sunday I got asked to give a talk. How they do it is everyone prepares a 5 minute talk on one topic, The Restoration in the case, and the Branch President picks two people to speak when he announces sacrament. So me and Elder Young (way cool guy in my district) had to give talks, all in Spanish. Hahah, it went fine. It makes you feel like a primary kid again cause your talk is so simple. One thing that we now have the opportunity to do is teach volunteer members here at the MTC. It's seriously one of my favorite parts of the week! The members are so fun to talk to and it's more chill because you don't have to pretend that the investigator's eternal salvation is at stake. One guy we talked to this week served his mission in Nicaragua North and has a friend (Elder Russel?) that was companions with Elder Ward, or so this guy said. Last night we found out that one of our two teachers, Hermano Christofferson, is the nephew of the Apostle D. Todd Christofferson!! Crazy huh? I love both of my teachers and they teach us so much, both Spanish and Gospel things. The MTC would be a pretty sweet place to work after the mission.
This week I learned a lesson that I'll never forget. We taught Rancho (Hermano Christofferson) and things weren't going well. I was slightly annoyed at one of my companions because he taught my whole section of the lesson, and Rancho asked several questions that we couldn't answer very well because we didn't know the words in Spanish. I came out of the lesson feeling annoyed and disappointed. So we had a companion study and started talking about it. Randomly a teacher popped in our room, Hermano Haderlie, and he kinda just said, What's up? We told him what happened and he told me something that humbled me. He said it doesn't matter who says what in a lesson, all that matters is what the Spirit says. Now most people reading this probably think, well duh? But this was a valuable lesson to me and it taught me how much more important the Spirit is than the lesson we give. We got to teach him two more times this week and not only answered all his questions but he is going to Church on Sunday.
On another note, we got to go to the health center this week! What's funny is it wasn't for me. Both of my companions have medical needs so we got to go and get some pills. It was weird going to the Health Center cause just a couple months previously I went there with Romney and Zoe at BYU. But it was good to get off the MTC, barely, for a half hour.
Well times up, I love you guys so much and thanks for all the support!!
-Elder Greene