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

Monday, September 10, 2012

Right Place, Right Time


It's always weird when you teleport into the future and all of a sudden you're 4 months into your mission. But hey take advantage of every minute yeah? Baltimore is finally starting to cool down and it feels amazing! I'm ready for some Fall (maybe not Winter, but we'll see). Mom your thing about Taft and the peanut butter is crazy! Ever since college I've lived on peanut butter. Spanish is coming along just fine Dad, I can understand most of what's being said, now it's more a matter of making sure my own Spanish keeps improving. One struggle I've found out here is that we talk to hispanos from all over, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Argentina, Domincan Republic, Puerto Rico, mostly. So what happens is that some people have different vocab for different words. But no worries, hola is always hola.
This past Saturday me and Elder Martinez went to a buffet with the Familia Vasquez. Actually they had to back out because things came up but it was paid for by them. (ask me about them someday, I have some good stories). Anyways, me and Elder Martinez decided to be Chanchos and eat as much as we possibly could. Wasn't the best idea I've ever had but I ended up eating 6 plates of food and Elder Martinez ate 5. I was full (understatement) for the whole day. It was pretty fun despite the stomach pains later in the day, hahah.
We found a lot of new people to teach this week! One person we found this week is named Grizel. We talked to her in the street one day and she seemed real nice so we got her info and set an appointment. Yesterday we knocked her door and a drunk dude answered the door. Grizel came and let us in, we went to the back of their little apartment because there was a lot of drunk people playing cards in the front part of the house. We started to teach despite the irreverant atmosphere. Eventually a fight broke out in the card game and a woman started attacking another man. It was pretty crazy! But things got back under control (as controlled as a dozen angry drunk people can get) and we kept teaching. As we shared the Restoration and the first vision this woman felt the Spirit. She even became a little emotional. I was amazed at how the powerful the Spirit is and how he can touch hearts of people, even in the places we don't expect.
Alright so this week we were part of a miracle that was a little different in terms of what we expect with missionary work. We had just taught a couple people in an area kinda farther away. We got back to the bus stop to head home and all of a sudden I had to go to the bathroom real bad. So we walked up into this pitch black park at 7:30 at night to find some restrooms (trees). We started walking back and all of a sudden we saw a man laying in the grass. We almost stepped on him, it was that dark. Finding people passed out in the grass isn't all that irregular, there are a bunch of drunk people in Baltimore. But upon further inspection we found he was bloody and his pockets were turned inside out. Now we were questioning if he was dead. All of a sudden he moved and we started talking to him in English. But... turns out he's Spanish! So me and Elder Martinez start talking to him and he tries to stand but basically collapses. So I called 911 and we had a police officer come. He didn't speak Spanish so we translated everything for him. Ulysses (the Spanish man) was walking through the park when 7 black kids beat him with bottles and knives. They took his wallet, his phone, and his shoes. The ambulance came and they didn't speak Spanish either so we translated for them. Ulysses tried to go home but the medics said no. Moral of the story, God is going to use you in various manners, saving spiritual lives and maybe even temporal lives! Don't worry, we have his address, he'll be baptized before you know it.

Thanks for all the support! I love you guys!

-Elder Greene

PS yeah the diabetes is fine. It's never been this hard to manage but I'm doing good don't worry!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Missionaries Can't Be Confounded!

Hey guys!

Sorry this letter is coming a day late but with only a local library and no car, what can you do? Sorry you had a hard time with the doctor business. Sister Gibbons was calling me too and eventually she said she was going to ask President Richards if I could call you, hahah. Didn't happen, but I guess we're all worked out. Yeah the pictures came! Sorry. Jared's hair is crazy!

September rolled right around yeah? Crazy. Seems like President Richards is getting the hang of things cause he is setting all new goals for the mission and really pushing the mission forward. One thing he wants is for us to do 4-5 hours of service a week. In some areas that would be hard, in ours, it's a regular occurrence! Though we aren't teaching as much when we're serving, good things always come
out of it. This week we got a call in the middle of study from a woman in our branch. She needed translation (this is REALLY common, we help little kids with homework, translate mail, meetings, you name it)  Anyways we rode bikes to her house. I rode Elder Rose's old bike that he left in the house. Turns out it has half broken pedals, broken brakes and a clicking chain. (If I can't fix it I'll buy a bike eventually) So it was a hard bike ride. Just when we finish, another woman calls for translation on the other side of town. SO we ride up there and translate. Between the two visits we missed our window to go
to another area we had planned on tracting. So we were a little bummed we had to stay more local for the afternoon. But we put the bikes away and hit the streets. Almost immediately we found a man named Sergio. He invited us right in. He just moved in and we taught him the Restoration. He seemed to really like it and invited us over for dinner the next day (we couldn't go sadly). But It just made me think of how the God really does all the work in missionary work. All that led up to finding Sergio was a bunch of crazy events! I just can't believe how it all works sometimes!

This week was tough in some aspects. We taught a Dominican man named Angel, he seemed way cool the week before when we planned the appointment... but we we're pretty wrong when we got there. He ranted and raved for a solid 45 minutes about how he believes in the Bible and we need to put away the Book of Mormon. Then the day after we
found a woman who invited us right in, real kind like. She had just lost her mother so we were getting all ready to teach the Plan of Salvation. But then she tells us she already prayed about the Book of Mormon and the Virgin Mary came to her in a dream and told her we were wrong. Then her minister came in and told us we prayed to Joseph Smith. All in all it was a hard to sit through those lessons. But it really strengthened my testimony after. Because these people were exactly like bad guys in the Book of Mormon, they were trying to lay
traps with their words and trip us up and everything! But the Lord guided us in those lessons. Angel agreed to read the Book of Mormon and though the other woman didn't respond to our short teaching, me and Elder Martinez both had the strong feeling that she hadn't ever read the Book of Mormon. So even though missionary work is hard sometimes, it doesn't matter cause missionaries can't be confounded!

Thanks for the letter and I'm glad everyone is enjoying school and volleyball! Have a good week!

-Elder Greene

Sorry I don't have pictures, I used to use Elder Rose's card reader.
I'll have to find one the next time I'm at Walmart...