Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Miracles!

Hey there Greene Family!

So Christmas is come and gone. It was different but I was just as happy, if not more, this Christmas in comparison to others. Thank you so much for all the gifts. I am already using the GPS, and I love the calendar. Also scarves are just the best, it's cold here. Mom, thanks for your comments about "regrets and resolutions." It was actually my favorite talk of conference and I have a quote from it on the front of my agenda. 

So yeah I went to the doctor this morning as a matter of fact, with Dr. Li (I call her Doctur Ree, Jared will know why...) Anyways, she's nice, she gave me a lot of tips on how I can get some of my numbers down. She wants me to start eating less carbs at night, so I'm going to do my best. She also said I need to count carbs and enter them into the pump instead of doing it in my head. I will probably have to repent cause I told her I would try. Also she wants me to come back in a month, I'll talk to Sister Richards about it tomorrow.

So we had a bunch of miracles this Christmas week! But to have miracles, you got to make sacrifices. The day after Christmas, it was snowing pretty hard so we got grounded, no cars, but we still needed to work. So it was a day of walking and shoveling for service! The snow turned to rain that froze when it hit things too. My hair was frozen, it was crazy! We still ended up having a good day, but the big miracles came the day after. The next day we could drive so we went to an old investigator named Pedro. He answered and he had an eyepatch. He'd been having some tough trials lately with his family and health. He let us in and my companion asked if we could give him a blessing. He said yes with a lot more faith than I was expecting. We explained it and gave him a blessing of health. After we finished, he had tears in his eyes and he was very grateful. We're hoping this will open the window to us working with him again! Then two hours later we found one of the coolest couples ever! Luis and Estela. They let us in and they both sat on the couch with their two little kids and we taught them the Restoration. They both go to different churches (sometimes) and so they really liked the Joseph Smith story. It really was a tender mercy to find them.

Another quick experience this week. We knocked on an investigator's door this past Saturday to at least say hi but it was just the grandma home. So we couldn't do anything really but I asked her if we could shovel her walkway. She didn't have a shovel, sadly. So I looked for a shovel in the front yards of people close by. I found one, knocked the door, and we found Leonidas! We taught him, and after we left we borrowed his shovel to get rid of the snow at the other investigator's house! Hahah, service is the best!

Well I love you, thanks so much for everything you gave me, have a great week!

Elder Greene

8 Foot "Buddy" the snowman

So Excited for District Meeting/Christmas!



Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Feliz Navidad! O feliz Noche Buena!

So yeah you still get a letter from me, don't worry. And yeah 3 pm my time Skype tomorrow. Can't believe it's Christmas Eve, sure doesn't feel like it. Tomorrow will be a more or less average day as far as schedule goes, maybe with more food and of course with skype and opening presents. Don't worry about the package thing, Trevor had to wait what like 5 or 6 months for a Christmas package? Yeah I'll be ok, hahah. But that's crazy about Taggert, I hope he's doing ok. (Taggert was tackled into a fence and required some Dermabond to glue his wound together on his head!) Anyways I had a pretty good week this week! I saw Jeff, that was way funny. The only reason I was even still around the apartment was cause the night before was that Christmas Party for the mission and we didn't have time to do laundry the day before. But yeah the party was great, we had an awesome testimony meeting with the departing missionaries and after a sweet dinner with a talent show. Oh and the tight end for the Baltimore Ravens, I think it's Dennis Pita, he came too, so that was cool.

So I'll start with something hilarious from this week. We went to an inactive family's house to drop by and they invited us in. The wife basically said hey I'm glad you all survived the end of the world (this was the day after December 21). We laughed but the father, Hermano Mancilla said no we didn't survive. I laughed and asked him so we're all dead then? He said we were dead but "fuimos resucitados por Goku, el uso las bolas de dragon." or we were resurrected by Goku, he used the Dragon Balls. I thought it was hilarious, but maybe only to Jared and the older cousins...

So I went on exchanges this week in Front Royal. I interviewed a man named Jimmy to be baptized, he's super smart and we're stoked to see him be baptized. Anyways later on at night, the Elder I was with wanted to go with some Ward Carolers to carol to less actives and investigators. I wasn't sure it was going to be a great use of time but I gave in and we went. We went to various houses and then one sister said, "Let's just knock on that house and sing and give them cookies!" The other Elder said no this neighborhood hasn't taken well to us knocking here. Now I don't know if it was the Spirit or I was just annoyed he was trying to get out of knocking a door but I said Yeah let's go! So we knocked and out came a Spanish guy! I started to speak in Spanish to him after the song and his name is Salvador and really wanted us to come over soon (Primary kids handing you cookies softens your heart).
Also, as if Heavenly Father hadn't already given us a bunch of miracles this week, we had two random Spanish guys walk into one of the wards we translate for. Their names are Marco and Leo. They have been going to a ward in Kentucky for a while and they just moved (and still haven't been baptized). We hopefully will be teaching them after Church next Sunday! And as icing on the cake, Elsa set a goal to be baptized in January. So I am so excited with what's going on the area here, we should be seeing some baptisms in January and February. 

So all in all, just loving it out here in Winchester. I've been using pretty strong will power to keep it relatively warm here, hahah. Anyways, I wish I could send you all something for Christmas but it wouldn't make a ton of sense cause you could probably buy the same things over there. But I want you all to know that I love you and I pray for you almost everyday. Can't wait to talk to you all tomorrow, have questions ready if you have em!

-Elder Greene

Monday, December 17, 2012

Singing a Solo

La Familia Verde!

So thanks for all the letters! It's so nice to hear from everyone, I love hearing about volleyball. Also I really can't believe how close we are to Christmas. We walked past a house that said 10 days til Christmas and I did a double take cause I didn't believe it! It's like dad said, life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.

So this week was an interesting one, transfers are today. We had an Elder, Elder Mace, in our apartment and he's leaving so that was weird to watch a missionary "die". Also we got callouts last night at 9:30 so it's been crazy just waiting to know who stays and goes. Ends up that me and Elder Ocasio will be here another transfer together! So I get to be with Elder Ocasio his last transfer actually. It will be great and we're already setting all sorts of goals. One is with the whole apartment. We're going on a diet. We're going to eat a ton today but after today our goal is to get Elder Ocasio looking good for his arrival in Puerto Rico, Hahah. But anyways, transfer meeting is tonight along with the mission Christmas party so it should be a blast. Even though my trainer goes home! Elder Rose!

Speaking of Christmas parties, we just had one recently in one of the other wards we translate for. And though this story may sound more like a lie than Elder Ward's "saving a girl from a tornado" story, it's true. Us 4 Elders in the apartment sang a song for the party, and I sang a solo in Spanish. Yep it was terrible, but people liked it cause it was Spanish. Hahah, but it really reaffirmed how bad I am at singing.

So we had an awesome week actually. Elsa came to church with her kid Julian, who I call Russell cause he looked like the kid from Up. She liked it a lot. Also we found a ton of cool people this week! One was Yadira, she's so solid. She understood the Restoration better than almost any other investigator I've met! 

Another couple we found is Lazaro and Raquel. It was a miracle just finding them but then we go in and they have artwork on their walls from Mormon artists! And one of the paintings is on the Restoration pamphlet! We started teaching them and they told us they knew all of these Spanish members in our wards! It was just coincidence after coincidence. Which is to say, not coincidences but blessings from Heavenly Father. 

Welp I gotta tell you. I just love being a missionary, there isn't anything better. It's hard, but it's so much fun. There are some nights I'm so tired but I just can't fall asleep cause I'm just so excited about things that are going on in the area. I am so grateful for you guys and for your letters!

Elder Greene

So I will say plan on 3 o clock for Skype for now, but it's subject to change. Love ya!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Stop Hoping and Help


How's it going Greene Family? Sounds like everyone's doing well. I really enjoyed the packages this week. I actually got the ornaments first and so I was a little confused but the tree came too! I'll send pics when I can. Also the CDs came and I love em, I'm very grateful for a Dad with good musical taste. Just so you know mom, Elder Ocasio's last transfer is coming up, he goes home in January/February. The next time I'll write you I'll know whether or not we're both staying here another transfer! Crazy. By the way, I had cow tongue this week, it was actually really good! But I think the woman who cooked it, Sister Guzman, could cook dirt and it would taste good.

Well this week was full of miracles! Well pretty much every week is, but this week I felt extra blessed. The mission was looked at by the mission department last week and that brought a lot of changes. We now teach and invite differently, some rules are different even (like we can listen to music that isn't MoTab or classical again!) But the added training we received is really helping everyone.

So the biggest change was our mindset to stop "hoping" that people will change or do something, but to "help" them do it. So it was more in depth than that but we taught a woman named Cristina this week. We taught the Restoration and the Spirit was real strong. We asked her to be baptized and she said yes. Then came asking her to say the prayer at the end. She looked at us and said she had never led a prayer, or said one out loud at least. It took a good 10 minutes of testifying, and honestly I can't remember what we said (that's the Spirit), and she finally said a prayer out loud for the first time in her life! It was so sweet! So that was a big testimony to me that we need to help people pray, not just ask and hope they will.

The second huge miracle happened last night actually. There is a pretty inactive Mexican family in one of our wards called the Mancilla family. They haven't been to church in a couple years for sure. We have gone over there and shared testimonies and messages but they never really do anything, won't read or come to church. Then yesterday we had a lesson fall so almost on a spur of a moment we dropped by. They let us in and we started talking (they are hilarious and I really like being around them) but then it was time to get serious so I opened my scriptures to 2 Nephi 31:13-16 that talks about enduring to the end. (I know it was the Spirit from here on out.) We got more bold, I asked them if they felt like they were enduring to the end and they knew they weren't. Their doubts started to really come out, which were that they didn't really know if God existed anymore. It was emotional but the Spirit was so strong when me and Elder Ocasio testified. It was the most I've ever felt like an "instrument" on my mission so far. We finally got them to accept reading the Book of Mormon again and to start praying to know if it's true. I left the house so drained! But it was a great step in the progression of the Mancilla family.

Well I wish I could talk more, those weren't the only miracles! It sure is hard sometimes, but I really feel like I'm growing every week of my mission! I can't believe how fast it goes (my trainer goes home next week!) Anyways, I love you all, Merry Christmas (I'll say that a couple times)!

-Elder Greene

Ps. I invited a 95 year old guy named John to get baptized while on an exchange! It was sweet!
PPS. I'll keep you posted for what time Skype will be on Christmas, is there a time that would be best? Like 3 o clock?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lord Makes Up the Difference

Oh hey,

So I'm not going to lie, this past week was rough. Don't get me wrong, it was a good week, but some weeks are just stressful, hahah. I started doing exchanges this past week and since I'm supposed to HELP the missionaries in my district, bringing them to my area is mostly ineffective. So I go to their areas and try to show them how to do the one thing I've never done, English work! Hahah, no it actually went well and I was surprised how Spanish missionary work and English missionary work are the same essentially. One cool thing was going to a lesson with Elder Dahl with a member present. The member was actually Jason F. Wright, a New York Times bestselling author, kinda cool. Anyways, all in all the week was a good one and I learned a lot.

So just so you know, I got Insulin and strips this week (I ordered them) thankfully United Healthcare's operation seems a little smoother these days on shipping supplies. I also got pods. I'm not sure I need them quite yet, I have 50 I haven't used (so now I have a 100.) Also sorry Dad, I actually haven't noticed the pattern, missionary work is like a time void. Weeks are months and months are weeks. Oh and we will be getting 4 more Spanish missionaries, not a ton, but thats ok. No we don't have decorations Mom and the only other thing you could send me is more music I guess. Christmas music can be whoever as long as the lyrics aren't romantic and still focus on Christ or Christmas. Also I wouldn't mind a burned CD of George Winston music or similar stuff.

So I don't have a lot of time today sorry, but I have a good story. This week I was driving at about 7:30 at night and I parked so we could knock some potential investigator's doors. I parked and I heard a pop. I knew I didn't hit the curb so we got out and looked at the tire. I had run over a beer bottle hidden in some leaves and big shards of glass were sticking out of the tire! I started laughing cause laughing works a lot better than complaining. We left for a bit and knocked our potential's doors, nothing. So we decided we better change the tire, Elder Ocasio has a pretty bad knee so I was more than happy to change it. The problem is that these Corollas don't come with the cool jack we have at home, you get a flimsy one. I had to raise it up 3 times so that it wouldn't lean and bend! Finally I changed the tire and I put the car back down. It was 8:55 so I looked at Elder Ocasio all excited and said "We can still knock one more door!" Then he looked at me like I was crazy. I realized I had black on my shirt, dirt on my pants and shoes, my tie was in the car and my hands had dirt and some blood from grazed knuckles. I then said you're right and we had to go home. But that's ok, because we found 5 investigators that next day! So I know the Lord knows when we are working hard and He makes up the difference.

I wish I had more time, but no. Anyways, I love you all and I pray for you all. I will pray for you too now Mom, sorry about the veins.

Elder Greene

Thanksgiving did its damage, its ok, it's gone now!

Tired but victorious!

My comp made a pie for a family in our ward, ha ha