Monday, July 30, 2012

Never Miss A Day

Familia Verde!

Can't believe another week has come and gone! Things really do move so fast here. I can't believe school starts next week! Thanks for all the letters, Macey sounds 2 years older already. Dad thanks for the things you shared, I know I don't always give a lot of feedback but I want you all to know I read and think about your letters! It's funny how you mentioned the Olympics, Dad, cause we were just at lunch and they had Olympic volleyball on TV. I haven't ever been tempted by TV until today. Satan found my weakness, hahah. Also to answer some other questions, the other Elders in our apartment are Spanish, they are West Baltimore, our apartment is just in the center-ish. Also yeah we just E-mail in a library, then we go do grocery shopping. I think grocery shopping is one of my favorite parts of P-day, hahah.

So this week was a lot of hard work (as always!) Last Tuesday I went on exchanges with a Zone Leader. He's English so it was pretty different, we had a car, we talked to a bunch of cool black people, and I could say whatever I wanted cause I speak English real good! We taught one guy who is an MMA fighter. He has a baptismal date and he's way cool. Then we taught an 80 year old minister, explaining the first vision to him was almost impossible. But at the end of the day, Elder Holmes (the zone leader) told me that he hasn't seen any new missionaries talk as much as I do. I told him that when you can speak their language you better take advantage of it, hahah. That day was hard though because my pump was broken or something and so I was high (blood sugar) all day. So hopefully that doesn't skew anything for the A1C, which I'm not too excited for.

I also got to go on splits one night with our branch mission leader because we had too many appointments. His name is Felix and he's pretty much the coolest guy ever. He just got back from his mission like a year and a half ago and he's only been a member for like 4 years max. He has ten brothers and sisters, none of which are members. But he is just a happy guy that knows how to do missionary work. We taught a lesson and after we left, our other lesson fell through, so we we're walking to a back up when we saw his next door neighbor, Toribio, in the street. He had a watermelon and he was dancing. We talked to him and asked if we could walk to his house and share a message. We did. First we asked if we could start with a prayer. He said of course, jumped up and went to his knees and started praying for us! Then we started a restoration lesson, halfway through he asked if he could sing a song for us and without further adieu he started belting a song about not having fears. He's pretty much the funniest guy ever. So we're working with him now!

This week I decided that I think my favorite part of the day is when I get to do personal study. I just can't get enough and after an hour I feel I've barely had any time to study. There is so much we can learn from the scriptures if we just study them. So my challenge to you (family and whoever else is reading this) is to make sure you are reading your scriptures EVERY DAY. Never miss a day. If you have to read a verse before you crash that's fine, but try and study the scriptures every day. I'm so grateful to have had seminary and church leaders who encouraged me to do this before my mission and I have learned to love it even more on my mission.

I love you all and I know the Lord is blessing my family when I am here. I pray for you everyday.

-Elder Greene

P.S. I may need to buy a bike eventually, is there enough money on my card? 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting Kind of Homey

Well sounds like everyone's partying in Tahoe! I'm a little jealous but I'll be ok, hahah. Thanks so much for the package, the blanket is awesome. And food is always welcome in a missionary's life. Especially since we walk so much that my insulin ratios are at an all time low! (60-70% of what I usually do, pretty soon I won't be diabetic!) Me and Elder Knudsen (an Elder who lives in our apartment, he plays volleyball) are real excited about the volleyball. That's so crazy that Jeff (Chapman) is leaving that soon! He'll be a Catracho! That's what Hondurans call themselves, I've met a lot of them. Is he San Pedro Sula? Or Te Guzi Galpa? Also thanks for the hymn Mom, I do love that hymn, my district sang it in the MTC as a special musical number.
Well this week was super sweet! We've been working really hard to find new investigators and to really get things going here in East Baltimore. We met one woman named Rosa Chavez. We contacted her in the streets and she asked us why there are so many churches and which one is the true one? Yeah it was pretty sweet, haha. So we set an appointment and talked to her on Saturday. She had read the whole Restoration pamphlet and highlighted things she had questions on. She still has doubts but me and Elder Rose have a lot of hope that she will be able to overcome those.
The weather here is a little crazy, some days it's hot and other days it pours rain. Rain that I've never experienced at least. The thunder is also crazy. But we had a couple good days of tracting and teaching in the rain this week, which made me feel like a true missionary hahah.
Spanish is coming along, it can be frustrating sometimes because you just want to be fluent all ready but I know I just got to be patient with myself. I have had some pretty cool experiences with Spanish already! Like by Tuesday of this past week I had already done an anointing and a blessing in Spanish! (I'm sure it didn't make sense but hey, it's the thought that counts). I also got to bear my testimony to our little branch yesterday!
The Pedro's Tacos shirt is so sweet! Though I do miss my little California burrito, I get fed a lot of food here. My favorite so far are called Pupusas, they are like Indian Fry bread with pork and beans inside, then you put lettuce and hot sauce on top. It's actually kinda sick how much we eat, I want to throw up a lot of times but you can't cause you have to spiritually uplift a family not give them something nasty to clean. Also I've had to return to soda because they offer it to you all the time here. Elder Rose says if you're not putting on weight you're not a good missionary and I"m starting to think he's right.
This week I've really begun to realize how short a mission is. Elder Trevor Ward gets back in two and half months! And every week is starting to get faster and faster here. I used to always think that two years is a long time but I've talked to many Spanish people who haven't seen there families for much longer than that. One woman, Catalina, hasn't seen her extended family, including her parents for 14 years since moving to the States. I thought how hard that must be and I am so glad and so blessed to live here in the US and to have such an awesome family. I love you guys (including all the extended family!) and I'm so grateful to be a missionary. I think that East Baltimore is actually getting kinda homey!
Elder Greene


Reminiscing about Zach's bunkbed boxspring (?)

Downtown Baltimore

Rainy Day Baltimore

Monday, July 16, 2012

Who Said I Couldn't Go Foreign?!


This past week has been so awesome! I won't mince words cause I'll try to tell you as much as I can!

I am serving in the most ghetto (and most fun) area of the mission, East Baltimore! My address is 24 N. Linwood Ave. Baltimore, MD 21224 (for my package(s) and so you can look this place up on Google Earth or something). Anyways this place is awesome. Its so opposite to everywhere I've ever lived. For starters, everyone is either black or Espano. The Spanish people are usually from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala. Oh and if you find white people they're usually drunk or high. The city has trash everywhere and there are always sirens going off (honestly cause this place is bad news bears, my companion calls it Babylon). J-Walking is our missionary way of travel, no bikes or cars. Sometimes bus though. Oh and there are huge foot-long rats here, they're sick! My companion is Elder Rose. He is from Morgan, Utah and he is an awesome missionary. He served in Baltimore West and Toussen (the other areas of our district) but he has never served in this area. It's called shotgunning I guess, when two missionaries enter an area completely new. Anyways we got to the apartment, unpacked for 15 minutes, and hit the streets. It was crazy that first day. I couldn't understand much, and we contacted a lot of people. But after doing stuff all day, we eventually met Melvin, Sulema, and Jose. We taught them the first discussion right there on their patio. Melvin was the most affected, he's 20ish and they are from Honduras. I even got to recite the first vision and bear my testimony! But yeah they became our first new investigator. (Melvin is the only one who is progressing now). 

At first missionary work was hard. And not for the reasons I thought it would be. I thought street contacting or knocking doors would be the hard part. The hard part is really just telling your body to not be tired and to just work. But after 4 days or so I'm not as tired and I am really starting to love missionary work! Spanish is coming right along, you learn fast cause you're talking to Spanish people all day. (Me more listening than talking, but give me a couple more weeks). But yeah I can street contact by myself now, as long as they don't say anything too unusual that I don't understand. I also got to challenge a woman Maritza yesterday to baptism! So I'm still getting to do all the fun stuff, haha.

Our branch is small but awesome. The whole congregation is probably smaller than the young women in our Ward. But we have ten branch missionaries! They are going to help a ton. I love it here and even though this place would normally be kinda scary, I'm a missionary and honestly I've never been afraid here, hahah. 

It sounds like everyone is doing awesome. Macey's EFY sounds sweet! It's crazy to hear how everyone is getting older and I'm not around, I'm not sad or anything, it's just weird. Jared props to you and all your accomplishments hahah. I love all of you, I don't have a whole lot of time to E-mail everyone but I'll try to send some letters out in the next couple weeks. Have fun in Tahoe!


Elder Greene

Zach's District in the MTC

Zach's companions in the MTC 

Elder Mower and Elder Burwell (Missionaries in Zach's district)

Zach getting mail!

Elder Greene in Baltimore!!

PS: Tell me if these photos work! Oh and put my address on Facebook! I'll try and get a picture of me and Elder Rose soon, he's awesome!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Last Letter from MTC!

This is it! Last letter I'll write you here in the MTC! Sorry you didn't get this yesterday, our P-Day switched because yesterday was in-field orientation. Thanks so much for the letters, Connor's letter was great and it was awesome to read the (volleyball team missionary) newsletter. I'm so grateful to have so many examples for me, especially my cousins.
So here are the details for my flight. I arrive at the travel office at 6am with 6 others (all the English speakers). I should be at the airport in my terminal between 7:30-8:00am, this is when I'll call you and I will buy another calling card just in case that one runs out. My flight leaves at 10:00 am and it's a direct flight to Baltimore, arriving at 4:15pm (Maryland Time). So be ready for my call! I'll call the home phone but if that doesn't work, I'll call the cell phones. Be ready with questions hahah! And if you want to tell me anything you can write a dearelder today and I'll get it on Monday.
My insulin should come the day I get there, my mission president has been directed to put it in the fridge. Mom will you change the address for my Omnipod stuff or what? Let me know? Also when will you send the blanket? I should be able to send you a letter on Tuesday or Wednesday I assume. With the blanket, I'd also like some more gel. Also it seems I forgot a normal sweatshirt, I have my green jacket and a wool coat, no sweatshirts. So do you want to send me one that I own or should I just buy a new one at Walmart or something?
Well I'll admit it, I am a little jealous you were all at the beach house this week. At first I didn't care but then on Wednesday, we got to watch the fireworks coming from the Stadium of Fire until like 11. But once morning came all was well, I realize that I'm doing a lot more important things (no offense). But I hope you all had fun! I'm sure Jared is better left handed than I am right handed now. My goal in Maryland is to not be fat anymore. (Besides baptizing everyone)
This week Elder Phyl Curtis came in! And guess what?? He is in my Zone!!!! It's nuts, but I leave on Tuesday so it's short lived. Good to hear that Cory is getting ready to go! Elder Kyle Jarvis and I thought he came in this week so we were sad when he didn't come. Oh well. He'll be a great missionary!
There isn't a whole lot to say in this letter. This week we had a new goal, when you have a tie on, you have to speak Spanish. It's hard but way fun! Other than that it was a pretty normal week. I played a bunch of soccer, studied, and taught "investigators". We're going to pack a lot today and I have to get another haircut... so a bunch of fun stuff, hahah.
As the time gets closer to leave, me and my district are all pretty much the same. Sometimes we're so excited we can't sit still and other times we're scared out of our minds cause this is crazy, hahah. But I know I just need to trust in my Heavenly Father and realize that I am on his errand. He'll protect me and help me. I loved your scripture by the way mom, "doubt not, fear not." I don't know if I've told you guys this but I've decided that Faith isn't having no fear, but doing things in spite of your fear. Anyways, I'm so excited to go out to Maryland and start this crazy adventure. It's possible I might be doing service my first week! That storm sounds crazy. Utah has been having problems itself, with the fires and what not. It finally rained on Thursday so hopefully that helped (I have no way of telling if it did, except that it doesn't rain ash here anymore.)
Well I'm gonna write Elder C. Ward now so I'll cut this letter a little short. But hey we'll talk on Tuesday! It'll come fast I'm sure! Love you, hope everyone is well!
-Elder Greene
P.S. Best of luck Dad on your presentation!