Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Safe, But Bored!

Hey Greene Family!

Greetings from a very cold and rainy Winchester, Virginia! So yes it's true, we were grounded for a day and a half because of the hurricane/tropical storm thing. It really wasn't too bad where I was, which is good and boring at the same time hahah. We actually stayed at one of our mission leaders homes for the day and even slept there. He's not married and has no kids so it was fun, but pretty boring too. We played church videos, played on the ward mission leader's guitar (Bro. Goode) and built with Lincoln logs. Really took me back to my childhood hahah. But all in all, everything is fine.

So yeah I actually was going to write about Sister Presnell (Gretchen Robinson) but I guess she already talked to people. They are a nice family, although we've never eaten in their house so I'm not sure where that came from... We did eat at their ward activity with them, a trunk or treat type deal during the day. It was a lot of fun and it was good to meet more people in the ward. I met one couple from Mesa, the Hornbargers. They're pretty cool. It was weird to think it is Halloween (tomorrow). What's everyone being this year? hahah. By the way, I totally was Set in the Egyptian thing in 6th grade. 

Well this past week we had a lot of success in some areas and not as much in others. We made a goal to invite everyone we talked to to come to church. We really have been lacking in having people there and sometimes it frustrates me (not in a bad way, in the way that I want to work harder). So we invited everyone. Sunday came around and still no one showed up. It was kinda hard to be positive after that but we decided to not get down but to just keep working. It ended up paying off and we found 11 more people to teach last week. One of them is named Elsa. She is so cool. We couldn't enter her house cause her husband wasn't home, so she opened the garage and we taught her. She loved the Restoration. Afterwards, she asked us for a favor. We said sure, naturally. She asked us if we could help her quit smoking! We sure were excited after!

It was also announced recently that we can do baptisms for the dead (or watch them do baptisms) with recent converts. We have a cool family, the Arias family, that we will be hopefully going the 8th of November with us! I'm really excited for them and for their chance to do their family names. Also it will be cool to see the DC temple again.

Well I love you and I hope you are having a good warm time in Arizona! I'm wearing two pairs of socks today, hahah. 

Love you guys,

Elder Greene

PS I don't know if you already sent a package, I doubt it, but It would be cool if you could send me a November Ensign. I don't know if we'll get one here... If you can't it's all good.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"Zach" Knows Spanish

Oh hey,

Well sounds like you're trip was way awesome! I'm a little jealous but don't worry, things like that don't really bother me, haha. So I looked in my inbox to see Dad's letter that Mom was talking about and I didn't see it so I looked in Spam and there was a letter from Taggert and two from Dad! I was kinda frustrated but it's all good! I found them and that's what counts. We had a way sweet week again this week!

So we started doing service at this kinda "give to the needy" place. The English Elders that live with us go there once or twice a week in the morning and help put away clothes, so they invited us. When the head people over there found out me and Elder Ocasio speak Spanish, they looked at us like gifts sent from heaven. Many of the people coming in to find clothes and food are Hispanic, and they don't have anyway to communicate with them. (Well they tried translating with google translator, it's horrible) So they asked me to translate directions to the Spanish people and they we're so excited about it. They want us to come in everyday (we can't hahah). It really hit me hard afterwards how I know Spanish now. Before it was just, well "Elder Greene" knows Spanish. But translating in normal service clothes, kinda made me realize that "Zach" knows Spanish, it was kinda bizarre. We get lots of opportunities to speak Spanish and finding the Hispanos here is easy, you just ask any door you knock and they'll tell you everyone they know that's Spanish. But yeah Dad, we cover a huge area. We are stake missionaries, it would take an hour and a half to get to the end of our area by car. We translate two sacrament meetings every week. We often go to West Virginia even to teach an investigator, Reymundo. He's had some troubles in life (11 years in jail for murder) but he's trying to change and he's a good guy. The problem is just driving almost an hour to have a lesson with him...

Way cool experience last night, we had to turn in our key indicators to our district leader but he wanted them at 8:35. I thought that was ridiculous because proselyting time ends at 9. But we sent the indicators in and then I told my companion lets go find another investigator. So we knocked on another door and a woman named Florina answered the door, and she's a new investigator hahah. The Lord truly blesses us the most when we give the little extra bit we have left. The other way cool investigator this past week was Pedro. He was a Sergent in the Peruvian army and now he's here in Winchester. We gave him the Book of Mormon and asked him to read the introduction. We called him last night and he said he had read the introduction, and the testimonies of all the witnesses, including Joseph Smith! We're way stoked about it.

I got my A1C done and the doctor still hasn't called me back, that whole experience was a joke but I won't go into it. He did prescribe me heartburn medicine and it helps a ton. I also have been eating healthier and I feel a lot better these days. Trevor is right though, Hispanics love to give you Orange Fanta (and it's like the worst for you of all sodas)

Well I love you all! Have fun in school!

-Elder Greene

Luz and her Family 

Sandoval Family

Pizza in the car with Elder Ocasio

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Love Winchester!

Hey Greene Family!

Sounds like you're all having a blast in New York! That's so cool. But I'm really not that jealous, this week was one of the best in my mission so far. I love Winchester! Me and Elder Ocasio have been working real hard and the Lord blessed us a lot this week.

But first here's some answers to questions. I go to the doctor today mom, I sent another e-mail with pictures and something saying about the doctor but it failed, so yeah. I'll try to send it again but we'll see. We live with the Zone Leaders actually, they're English speaking. They're way sweet. Elder Ocasio has been out 20 months and he speaks both Spanish and English. Also he changes his Puerto Rican accent so that the people can understand him, Puerto Rican's Spanish is ridiculous. But he was born in New York and grew up in Puerto Rico. He likes English better I think, but I make him speak Spanish anytime we're not with English speakers. Hahah, yeah my Bishop talked to me about Jeff! I didn't know they come out here though! I've been to that Sonic actually, Elder Ocasio had never been, so we went. And about a visit from Jeff and Annie, I won't refuse treats from anyone... hahah.

I had some funny stuff go on this week. I found Honeycrisp apples here and I was so excited. I also pulled out a card to give to an English person this week and I looked at it and it had Shawni Pothier on it, haha, I was weirded out. Then I started driving to appointments and I realized I hadn't driven in 5 months! Then I went to Church (which is in English so that's weird too) and the first returned missionary I meet went to Nicaragua South. His name is Brad Hoke.  I don't know if Trevor remembers him...

So anyways, we had a way awesome week this week. We set the goal to find as much as possible this week to make up for the lack of investigators we had coming in. We ended up breaking the Winchester Spanish record with 9 new investigators! It was so cool and it really boosted my faith. We had one really cool experience this week. We went to find an inactive member and I was driving. I saw a dirt road and I had this real strong feeling that we needed to go down it. But we went to the inactive member first, he wasn't there. So I turned around and said we need to try this dirt road. On the way back we couldn't find it, it was pretty well hidden in some trees. So we almost said forget it. But I still had the feeling so I said one more try. We drove down and found it! We parked and knocked the first house (of the four that were on the street). He was Spanish and didn't want much with us but he did refer his neighbor. Went over and found a new investigator, David! He's way cool, and wants to read the book of Mormon and find out more about our beliefs. I am very grateful for the guidance of the Spirit and for the help we received this week. I went to bed last night just so pumped I couldn't sleep! I have some high hopes for Winchester!

Anyways, I gotta go, love you all! Have fun on vacation and take some pics! 

-Elder Greene

Monday, October 8, 2012

Don't Wait to Be Happy

Hi Ho Greene Family!

Yep I'm in Winchester Virginia, a nice 45 degrees today. I'm gonna die. Hahah, nah it's all good. Winchester is vastly different from Baltimore, in pretty much every aspect. The people, the Hispanics, the weather, the missionary work, the apartment, the companion, etc. But there are a lot of things I love in this area! We have Walmart real close, a volleyball net right outside the apartment, and though a car isn't my favorite, it sure helps with missionary work.

Saying goodbye was a little hard, especially because Baltimore had become my home. But I knew I was needed elsewhere so I said my goodbyes to some of my favorite families and investigators and packed my bags.

So I'll admit coming to a different area was a little overwhelming at first. Especiallly Winchester. The Branch has recently been dissolved here and so we basically bring Spanish people to English Wards (yes multiple hahah) and translate. I got here and we had two investigators, that in itself was a little daunting. Then on top of it all, our area covers a whole stake! So yeah by Saturday morning I was feeling a little overwhelmed and frustrated. But Heavenly Father knows what we need and let me tell you, General Conference was the best weekend ever. I feel recharged and ready to face the challenges of the next six months!

Right off the bat, Elder Uchtdorf's talk made me feel a million times better Saturday morning. That talk was so good and I really am trying to work on "not waiting to be happy". I really like how he said "External circumstances don't determine happiness." So right away the answer to my questions and prayers came in Conference. But it was added upon in a whole lot of other talks. I decided that an evidence that these men are prophets is the fact that we can make so many applications of their words to our own individual lives. I've only experienced that in the scriptures and it's a testament that the prophets in the scriptures are the same as the one's on the earth today.

President Monson's announcement of the age change for girls and guys was crazy! There were six of us Elders watching conference in the stake center by ourselves and we looked around at each other super excited. I realize this would give Jared the opportunity to leave after High School and I would say college helped a ton before going on a mission. But I would say make it a matter of prayer and ask Heavenly Father what He wants you to do.

I don't have many stories really for now. We did go eat at a funny man's house the other day. He's white by the way. He immediately invited us downstairs when we arrived and gave us a hot wheels car. Then we went into a room where he has almost every hot wheel car ever made since 1996 or something. It was nuts, I found 3-4 of the hot wheels me and Jared played with as a kid. But yeah he proceeded to feed us one of those Mountain House meals you eat while camping. Then his wife joined us in her bath robe. Overall I decided Winchester is pretty strange, but I really love it.

I can't believe Trevor is home! Hopefully Ava gets better... But yeah I'll let you know if I need a GPS mom. Let me know if any of the girls I know are really going on missions! That would be crazy. Oh and one of my Bishops, Bishop Aldous works at Exxon, I told him I have an uncle there and he said he'd look for Jeff haha. Yep that's about it, gotta go, love you all!

-Elder Greene

PS Larry Echo Hawk is the coolest name ever.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Winchester, VA!

My new companion wanted to make sure that you guys knew where I was so we hit the computer real quick! I am in Winchester Virginia! The opposite of Baltimore hahah. My address is 1900 Taylor Dr. Apt #3 Winchester, VA 22601. Although we are in car, I already love this place and I'm so pumped to work here! My companion is Elder Ocasio. He is Puerto Rican. He's a hard worker and just real chill. He also got on my good side real quick because he bought me buffalo wild wings and put it in the fridge. But yeah, I refuse to take more time (sorry) so I'll email you again on Monday with all sorts of good stuff. Oh and mom I am going to a different doctor on Monday, Dr. Fisher. I am going to ask him some questions cause diabetes has been throwing me for a loop lately, also having some heartburn pretty frequently. But don't worry I'm fine! Love you guys!
-Elder Greene

Monday, October 1, 2012

Leaving B-Town!

Sorry this letter is coming in a little late, we went to the zoo and we just got back from doing all the other stuff. Also because it's transfers this week, we wanted to know if we were leaving or not before we e-mailed. So turns out I will be leaving B-Town this week. It's hard to hear that you have to leave an area where you've grown so close to everything, the people, the places, the food, the companion, etc. But I'm ready for new things and I know that I'll be able to grow more If I leave. So yeah don't send anything to my Linwood address this week. I'll let you know where I'm at next week.
I'll start off by saying that I'm offended that Mom thinks I don't know who Imagine Dragons are! Though I have lost much of my musical knowledge, I still remember a lot, hahah. I also got your letter and your package, thanks so much! Jared, nice job getting kicked out of the dance again! Sometimes Elder Martinez reminds me of Jared/Taggert. He loves talking like an Asian, he has this no worry attitude, and he can't stop making noise whether it's singing, whistling, beating something with his hands, etc. Oh and yes I understood Tyler's letter, Mom, haha. Thanks for the insight Tyler, it really did change how I thought about missionary work and the Plan of Salvation. Also, I'm stoked you used "chevere" because I think that's one of my favorite Spanish words.
Well one crazy thing that happened this week was we had a homicidal shooting in the neighborhood, and by neighborhood I mean our directly across the street neighbors! There were a lot of police, and detectives even knocked on our door to see if we knew anything. But yeah there were helicopters flying around and all kinds of police cars.
So this week was pretty cool. I went on exchanges with Elder Mardock and we weren't having much success towards the end of the night, so much so that we ran out of contacts on the plans for the day. So I said, Let's go see if Melvin is home. Melvin was my first investigator ever, we couldn't find him much eventually so we had to drop him. But we went and it turns out that he moved to Seattle. Jose, another investigator we taught, was there though. We talked to him and it was honestly such a bizzare experience. I remember Jose being real hard to understand but going back two months later I understand him perfectly haha. It really tripped me out. I didn't realize that my Spanish was progressing until it already had! Nevertheless, my Spanish got put to the test yesterday! 15 minutes before church started Presidente Diaz asked if I could teach the Young Men because they requested me. (actually that was in English cause they are all in public schools) It went good, but then 10 minutes before sacrament, Felix asks if I can give a 10-15 minute talk, hahah. I said of course and started thinking of what I could share. I ended up talking about attitude and how if we think more of others we're going to be more happy. But all in all, Heavenly Father has blessed me a ton with Spanish.
We are still working with our investigator, Luz. She is an amazing person who just fits right in in our little branch. We went and taught her more about the Book of Mormon this week and it was such a sweet lesson because she really wants to know more. She's been praying with Juan and reading at night as well. She says she can feel her life changing and I just was amazed at how you can see it. She just looks different and though she still has a lot more to learn, she's happy. And it's just the coolest feeling in the world to see someone's life start to change like that. I'm sad I won't be able to work with her anymore but I know the next Elder that comes is the one who will help her more.
The zoo was pretty funny today. Everyone either thinks you work there or wants to know who you are. Also tons of people said "Hey Elders!" which was fun. (We don't get a whole lot of that in the city).
Thanks for everything! I'll let you know where I'm going when I can, probably a week from today. Love you guys, have a good week.

-Elder Greene


Big Boys Bail Bonds shirt with Elder Knudsen

Squirrel fishing, the best sport ever

Ghost Pepper Ramen