Monday, August 27, 2012

Octopus, Squid, and Clams... Oh My!

Greene Family!

Your letters were awesome, I had some pretty good laughs here in the public library. Jared's story about how everyone calls him Rick is still making laugh. Also Jared, you may have no first hour, but basically you have no 2nd hour, Mr. Sickmiller is a joke hahah. Good luck with Muha! Dad you're comment about how we're brainwashed is perfect cause just this week we were walking--a man rolled down his window and yelled, "You're brainwashed!" If he wasn't in the middle of a busy Baltimore street, I would've given him a card. That's crazy Trevor (Zach's cousin) got transferred, sounds similar to what happened to him almost two years back. Oh and Romney (Zach's BYU friend) is doing good Dad, he wrote me a letter and says he's getting fat but, hey, that's like part of missionary life.
So the moment you've all been waiting for, my new companion is... Elder Martinez! He is from Houston, Texas but his family is from Mexico and Honduras, so he is fluent in both English and Spanish. He only has two transfers left in his mission but he is a funny missionary that likes to work hard. I told him he's going to make sure I'm fluent by the end of the transfer. Elder Rose actually ended up becoming an assistant to the President! He's nervous about English work but he's a great missionary and he'll do great. Once Elder Rose left though the area was basically in my hands. So last week was one of the more challenging of my mission so far, in a good way though. I had to say a lot of prayers that the plans I had made would work out.
This week ended up being way cool. The last day I had with Elder Rose we ended up teaching some awesome lessons and met all of our goals for the day. One of the coolest parts was finding a man who had had lessons before and now he wanted to learn more. He even had the pass along card from 3 years ago! His name is Nicolas and we're hoping to start working with him more this week.
Baltimore West (I'm East) had a baptism this Sunday! It was the first in some months and we took it as the beginning of something sweet in our branch. Her name is Guadalupe, she's way cool and wants to serve a mission when she turns 21 (she's 16 I think) but I got to be a witness and I thought it was awesome.
So let me tell you, I've eaten some really good things here and I've eaten some not so great things. But this week, I had the worst food I've ever had! It was Peruvian Ceviche, it's raw fish, "cooked" in lemon juice and onions and it was served with octopus, squid, and clams mixed with rice. Nasty. But I recovered so don't worry.
The best part about this week was Rina. Me and Elder Rose taught her on his last day and we had an awesome lesson about being an example and choosing the right. She got emotional and really felt the Spirit. She accepted a baptismal date too! There's still a lot of work to do with her and her family (she still hasn't been to the Spanish branch) but we're feeling hopeful.
I love hearing from you and I'm sorry if this letter is a little short, we ordered a pizza and we got to go pick it up, hahah.
Love you guys,

Elder Greene
PS Elder Rose might sell me his bike so don't worry about the card thing, I still have cash that you gave me for baggage emergencies too. But I do think I'll be buying a sweatshirt today.  Anyways love you!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Interesting Characters and New Changes

Buenas tardes!

Sounds like the Greene Family is having a great time! F1, the lake, volleyball... I'm a little bit jealous but not really, I'm a missionary!! Mom you are right, the weeks fly by! I can't believe I just finished my first transfer! It has been an adjustment to missionary life but I feel that I'm starting to figure it out. But you know, when you start to get a little comfortable, the Lord gives you something new to figure out. We got the call today, Elder Rose will be leaving me. I'm going to miss him a whole lot, he taught me a lot and has pushed me to be my best. I'll have a new companion by Wednesday but he won't really know the area, most likely, so I'll be having to do a whole lot more work! I'm excited to challenge myself and keep the work going!

Mom thanks for the advice about repetition! I really needed that. Sometimes as a missionary, you say so many prayers during the day that we get stuck in a groove, especially in Spanish! Also I wish I had pushed the piano thing more too! PS Felix Martinez is my Ward Mission Leader/2nd Counselor, he is pretty much the coolest guy I know, so I'm glad you accepted him as a friend!

So as always in Baltimore, we met some pretty hilarious people this week. First up, Cambell Green Money, he's a black rapper who thinks missionaries are awesome. He started talking to us about his new album coming out and how he's going on tour with Jay-Z next month (99.9% chance that's not true). He also thought showing us his $5000 dollar necklace was of the utmost importance. He's pretty cool, but sadly we don't teach people who don't speak Spanish. Next, Charles "The Rock" The Prophet. Yep, just by his name you know he's crazy. We were knocking a door and he saw us so he called us over. He introduced himself and said that God had permitted him to speak with us. We asked him why he needed permission and he told us he was a prophet and "the beginning of the Third Testament". He also said that everything God made was good, so cocaine is good. Hahah, don't worry, we meet a lot of normal people too.

This week we had the craziest storm I've ever been in! I was on exchanges in Towson with Elder Pitt. It started raining, then pouring, then I just thought we were basically swimming. There was a tornado warning too so we got to pull all our mattresses into the main room and have a little sleepover. (Missions are the best).

We have been working with one family, la familia Barahona, for several weeks now. Most of it has been service so finally we've been able to have some solid lessons with them. They are going to get married soon, and they have 5 kids under the age of 6! Their house can be a little crazy but for some reason it's homey for me, maybe just from all the family gatherings we have had with crazy little kids! So hopefully we can get them really progressing. The picture Felix put up are us in their house making Pupusas, the best Salvadorian food (and maybe the best Spanish food) ever.

We have been working really hard with investigators, inactives and members for the past 6 weeks and it really has been paying off. When we arrived our branch only had about 45 people at church, but this past Sunday we had 90! So we are really pumped and so are the members in our branch!

I don't exactly have a spiritual thought this time. By the way, I have learned something else on my mission! Church magazines are awesome! Why didn't I read those more at home? It's like scripture, but new scriptures, every month! So I guess I'm just saying don't forget we have prophets and apostles cause no one else on the earth does!

Time to go, but I love you! I'll let you know next week what happens, keep praying for me and I'll keep praying for you!

-Elder Greene

Elder Greene making pupusas

Elder Greene with his trainer, Elder Rose

Elder Greene/Elder Rose at Baltimore Orioles game

Elder Greene at Orioles game

Monday, August 13, 2012

God Looks Out For His Children


Well another week come and gone! I can't believe I've been here a month! This week was filled with all kinds of good stuff (and miracles of course!) I heard that Mexico won gold in soccer, a lot of our members were pretty pumped about it. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! Thanks so much for all that you've taught me and continue to teach me. Your quotes and scriptures are always great.

To answer your question Dad, the weather here can be humid and hot sometimes. I'd say the weather isn't as bad as AZ though, even though you sweat more here. This week we had a crazy storm that soaked just about everything I own (except my scriptures, thankfully).

Here's some good stories from this week. This week we were walking towards an investigators house and this kid was sitting on his steps of a house on the way. He saw us and immediately asked us for our autographs. We we're pumped so we pulled out a card and signed it. His name is Nick and he's like 7. On our way to the Orioles game me and Elder Rose sat in the back of the bus. (the bus is the
best) And sitting back there was a guy who was definitly on drugs (he was slipping in and out of conciousness) and had tons of tats. I wanted to talk to him cause it seemed like the missionary thing to do. So I started up a conversation and he spouted on about how he was in prison for 7 years, how he got stabbed and was on life support for 6 months (he showed me all his scars by taking his shirt off on the bus), he's a heroin addict, and then proceeded to tell me that he was
a democrat. I gave him a card.  Being a missionary is the best.

Just so you know the Orioles game was soo sweet!! We had 11 non-members there with us! We ended up killing the Royals but here was the coolest part. Manny Machado is a new player on the Orioles, he had two home runs right next to us! The same guy caught both of them! You need to look on YouTube and see if you can see me and Elder Rose when
this guy catches the home runs!

We did tons of service this week. Hermano Calderone is the Elder's Quorum president and needed help tearing down walls in his house. It was so much fun to just destroy stuff! I also got to translate for a guy named Charles this week, it was hard but I think I did an ok job! Then we translated for another Hermana who got in an accident earlier in the year and need help with forms. Then this same Hermana talked to
her non-member neighbor who had a heart problem recently and we went over there to give her a blessing.  It was a lot of work but it felt good to serve our members!

We had some amazing miracles this week too. One day us four elders were leaving to go to the bus stop, one Elder had a letter he needed to mail so we went in a different route. We got to the mailbox and there was a member who says she needs Elder Rose to call 911, not ten seconds before we got there she had started bleeding real bad. She had a miscarriage. We called 911 and she was taken to the hospital.She lost a ton of blood and the baby but she ended up being ok. We are practically the only people she knows who are completely bilingual and it just so happens that we cross paths when she was in trouble. God looks out for his children, let me tell ya!

This week we set up an appointment with Rosa whom we haven't seen in a while. She was on her steps when we got there and she had her Book of Mormon. She proceeded to try and give it back and tell us she just wasn't interested. Elder Rose talked with her for a while and showed her how the Book of Mormon testifies of the same truths that the Bible
does. (I didn't say much, Spanish on the fly is hard still) But at the end, Rosa decided she needed to read more of the Book of Mormon. It was a miraculous change of heart. The Spirit is amazing!

I gotta go, but I love you guys!

-Elder Greene

PS Is Alex still in Alabama?? 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mourn With Those That Mourn

Hey guys!
Sorry this letter is couple hours late! Today we played volleyball with a bunch of Elders in our zone! It was so good to play again. Sounds like volleyball is rollin' right along for you guys as well! The stories about Oliver are classic and thanks for the quote mom, it was great!
So because my companion is the District Leader, I go on exchanges once a week with an Elder in our district. This week I went with Elder Foell. He's a funny Elder from Sacramento. Anyways, I was in his area (Towson) and let me tell you, it made me appreciate my area a whole lot more! We had a car for one, which makes it so you can't talk to anyone! And we had to knock doors all day just to contact a couple people! But in the end we had some sweet lessons. One's name is Noe, he invited us right in (his brother is already being taught by these missionaries) and he said that he wanted to quit drinking. So it was a cool experience to share the Gospel with him and how Faith and Repentence could help him through this addiction. Even though we had some awesome lessons, I was glad to be back in my area where everyone sits on their doorstep and you can contact whoever you want on the bus!
Right now we're working with a Catholic woman named Rina. She was a referral from a returned missionary from Vivint, hahah. At first she wanted nothing to do with us (as far as religion goes) but she did want help with her kids. One is deaf (Eduardo) and the other isn't (Marcos), but he is the only one in the house that speaks sign language. And they can't stand each other right now. It's almost impossible to comprehend. Imagine if you were deaf and the only person that understands you is your brother who you fight with all the time. Not just play fighting either, last week they fought and one had to go to the hospital for stitches. It's very hard on Rina (imagine not being able to talk to your own son). But we have the English missionaries teaching her kids right now. Me and Elder Rose are teaching Rina. Rina says that if we can help her sons that she will "become a Mormon"!
We had an awesome miracle this week too. Last week we taught a man named Regorio, he's an old dude from El Salvador. He liked the Restoration but I don't think he was that into it. Well on Saturday Elder Rose decided we should go visit him. It was a weird decision considering we weren't that close to his house and he wasn't even on our list of people to see that night. But we went. When we arrived his wife invited us right in (whom we've never met before). Come to find out that the older brother of Regorio had just died the night before. It was a great experience to teach a little about the plan of salvation and to just "mourn with those who mourn." I am amazed by how much Heavenly Father guides missionaries.
I made a cool friend on the bus this week! His name is Alexis, he is from the only area of Mexico that I have ever been! We hit it right off. He has 6 kids and a wife all in Mexico and he is here in Baltimore working. He doesn't like that I'm from Arizona though (most Espanos don't) but it was cool to just be having a normal conversation in Spanish on a bus traveling through the streets of East Baltimore! I love being a missionary!
Well that's all for today, thanks so much for the letters and prayers. I'll be praying for Connor, and Trevor too, since he's coming up on his last transfer! We have Mormon Night this Friday at the Orioles game so if it's on TV look for me, haha. Love you guys!
-Elder Greene