Monday, January 28, 2013

Breaking Into Apartments?

Querido Familia Greene,

How is everyone feeling? I was a bummed to hear about Dad and Jared being sick. I wish I could have been praying for them to heal this past week, but I will start today. This sickness thing is crazy, it's all over, even here in Virginia. EVERYONE we talk to has had it or has it. We just had one of our investigators, Y., go to the hospital this week for it. My companion has been sick for what seems like the whole transfer on and off. Somehow I have been amazingly blessed and I haven't ever gotten sick. I also take a vitamin C pill every morning, haha. But yeah it has been freezing here, we saw it at 16 degrees this week. It may be the coldest I've ever felt before but I've been fine. The only thing I need is more gel and maybe Cetaphil, unless you prefer I buy Cetaphil here. I can't believe it's Taggert's birthday this week! I'm writing him a letter today so if I don't write much here, don't worry. Happy Birthday Tagman!

Well this week was cold but I felt real good this week. We had leadership training this week with President Richards in Fredrick Maryland. This training was super amazing because basically it was meant to pump us up and to help us be even better missionaries. One of the things I really liked was having an attitude more like Nephi, where we won't make excuses no matter what. It's amazing how the natural man just wants to make excuses for not doing something right or not meeting a particular goal. But I really am trying to be an even more positive missionary and to try even harder to bring souls to Christ. Another reason why that meeting was great is on the way back we picked up burritos from the newly opened Cafe Rio in Fredrick. I think I almost cried a little. Me and Elder Ocasio are already planning on eating there after the doctor next week. (I can't remember if I told you that the doctor wants me to go every month, which I hope she'll change cause it's a hassle)

This week was a lot of little miracles but I wanted to share a couple cool ones with you all. The first was with Hermano R. I'm not sure what I've said about him but he is a Cuban that has no teeth so is almost impossible to understand. He lives in a run down apartment and he lives with untreated type 2 diabetes. Basically he has a rough life. But we try to visit him once a week. The only thing is the only way to get in his apartment complex is we have to call him and he has to come down and unlock it. Anyways, right now Hermano R. doesn't have a phone, so you can see the problem here. But we felt that we should go see him, so we went. We got there and tried the front door and it was unlocked! There is still a second door that is usually locked as well but that was open too. So we walked in, (which may have been illegal, but if the Lord can say to chop off people's heads then he can tell us to break into apartments). We knocked on his door finally and we woke him up from his nap, but he smiled and asked how we could of possibly gotten in, hahah. There were more miracles, like that same former Branch President and his family came to church again, then they invited us over for Sunday lunch (which was delicious). I also got to interview a 15 year old girl named L. for baptism. We also found four new investigators yesterday! So all sorts of miracles.

Well I will keep praying for you all this week, I know Heavenly Father will take care of you all. Are tryouts for Vball soon? 

Love you all,
Elder Greene

Monday, January 21, 2013

2 Timothy 1:7

La Familia Greene,

What's going on? Life keeps rolling along here in Winchester. Last week was one of the longer ones of my mission, but challenges brings blessings so it's all good. Just so you know, transfers are an extra week longer this time, so Elder Ocasio goes on February 6th. It's weird, it doesn't feel like we've been together that long, nor that I've been here for 4 months! But yeah I sent a letter to Elder Ward last week actually, just to comment on how he's been out a year, hahah. Sounds like some crazy stuff out in New Zealand! Oh and congrats to Lauren and Tyler on the baby, it's strange that he/she will be born before I get back.

So a cool thing this week. We had a family on our meal calendar that I'd never met, the F. family. I talked to the Winchester Elders and he said they are less active and they don't ever sign up to feed them so he was confused why she signed up for us. Anyways, we called to confirm the appointment and Sister F. answered and after confirming the time, she asked me if I was the one with diabetes. Turns out her daughter was diagnosed on New Years Eve. She's ten. When the dinner appointment came, she (the mom) asked me a lot of questions and I think I helped. Their situation reminded me a lot of my first months as a diabetic, counting everything exactly, buying different food, Mom being more worried than I ever was (or would be), etc. But we shared 2 Timothy 1:7 at the end and it turned out to be a good lesson. I also gave her your number, Mom, in case she ever wanted to talk to someone!

So as you know, the Spanish Branch recently got disassembled last year. It's been kinda hard to see the effects, one being that the old Branch President and his family went inactive, the D family. Me and Elder Ocasio have visited them many times in an effort to help them back. They've gotten better. Anyways, I got to Winchester Ward to translate (me and Elder Ocasio separate now every Sunday to cover translation for both wards) and I was hoping to see some investigators come in. No one ended up coming sadly, but the D. family comes strolling in! I probably had the biggest, goofiest grin on my face but I didn't mind too much. It was such a huge miracle to see them there after 2 or 3 months of saying they would never come again.

We really have some amazing things happening here and I'm learning more and more to just be patient and work as hard and as smart as you can. Success is a gift, as Elder Bednar has said. We found a really amazing family of 4 this week (actually I was in Front Royal on exchanges, which we invited a guy from the Baltimore Ravens to baptism, named W. T., he doesn't play now though.) but anyways they are super solid according to Elder Ocasio and they are from Nicaragua! So I'm super excited to meet them, and even more cause I have never met Nicaraguans on my mission. 

Anyways, I love you all! I wish it were warm here like in Arizona but hey I'll live. Hope you all have a good week, I'll keep you in my prayers.

Con amor,
Elder Greene

Monday, January 14, 2013

True Happiness=Having the Spirit


 So I will apologize right now, sorry for the short letter. I would explain but it would just take from this letter, hahah. Anyways, I've had some amazing miracles this past week and I'd love to give you a normally sized letter that you can enjoy. Just to answer questions, E. is doing good. We've been working with her to find her answer if the Book of Mormon is true. But the biggest problem has been she hasn't been able to go to church for various reasons. But we are working with some other awesome people too. Also somehow I've never gotten sick so far, I had a small cough for two days like a week ago but I just got some cough drops, blessings yeah? Yeah, we went to a less active's house for New Year's Eve, it was good. Also they celebrate something called El Dia de Reyes which is on the 6th of January. We ate Mexican bread and looked for baby Jesus dolls, hahah. 

So first thing, yesterday we went to see this guy M. yesterday, I believe I wrote about him a little last week. He's awesome. We went to his apartment building to teach him and this lady was coming out with a cart in the front entrance, I thought I'd be nice and open the door for her. It was locked and she gave me a death stare and told me that if I knocked a single door in the complex then she would call the police on us. M. saw this as he was coming down the stairs to let us in and he told her off. Hahah, that's when I decided I might grow a mustache and move to Mexico where people are nice and believe in God. Anyways, we started talking yesterday and he was just all over it, apostasy, Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon, he understood it all. His only question was how he could know if it was all true? So naturally we talked about the Spirit and how Joseph's/Lehi's experiences are similar to his. 

So huge miracle this week. Several weeks ago we were talking with this guy R. who is Boriqua (Puerto Rican). Nice guy, has a girlfriend who has kids of her own and they're trying to make things work. We never could get a lesson with them. But one day, like two weeks ago, we find him outside arguing with his girlfriend. He had been drinking but we went over and started talking to him. Turns out R. is an alcoholic of 26 years, never has gone a day without alcohol. He had drunk 20 or so beers that morning (it was like 12pm). We started testifying of how he could change and about the atonement, and basically how he could be happy. We said a lot of bold things, which I'm sure was the Spirit. But he was hard hearted so we left. This week, we're in their block of houses just walking and we saw his girlfriend so we went to say hi. With unexpected warmth she came up and said "I don't know what you two said to R. (she speaks English and he spoke in Spanish to us when we were testifying) but he has not touched a drop of alcohol since that day you talked to him". Me and Elder Ocasio were stunned and we know that the Lord worked on him. It was such an amazing experience and we're hoping it opens the door for teaching them.

Anyways, that was just a couple miracles of the many. I hope the Greene family is doing well, sounds like you're all mostly healthy. I pray for you everyday and I know the Lord blesses you. Mom I really like that scripture about the Spirit. I have felt that principle many times in my life. I guess my only thought is that they (your new Laurels, congrats by the way) need to know that the only way to have true happiness is by having the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 is pretty good.

Well I love you all, have a great week!

Elder Greene

Ps How is Trevor doing? Is he at BYU? Does he have a car?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Million Apologies

(Editor's note: due to the nature of this blog being public, we have decided to only use initials when Zach refers to his investigators!)

So you all are going to not be too happy with me this week. Things got mixed up today on p-day and long story short I have like 5 minutes to write so here it goes!

Yesterday was church and this guy named M. came, he's from Mexico, but he came from Kentucky. He was there going to the ward there for 4 years and then he came here. Anyways I taught him with another Spanish speaker in the ward the restoration after church and he's on date for January 26! Crazy! Also we drove with a member to see his friend and taught him the restoration too yesterday (all the way in Woodstock) and he agreed to baptism as well! Amazing miracles! 

Well I know you all are going to be disappointed, sorry. I will write a really awesome letter next week. Tell everyone in the ward and in our extended family that sent me things thank you! I'm so grateful. Also dad, send me some tips on how to lose weight and what to eat after running.

Love you, million apologies

Elder Greene