Monday, March 25, 2013

Christ Saves Lives Spiritually and Temporally

My Dearest Family,
Como estan? Seems like our family can't escape disease week by week but as long as everyone recovers week by week it's good right? I have stayed healthy, despite the cold! It snowed like 5 inches this morning out of nowhere. They grounded our cars for half the day... But thankfully the snow melted on the streets. We played soccer this morning with the Spanish Elders and Felix. Felix leaves tomorrow for Utah, I'm going to miss him. But thankfully I can see him again. It's funny you should ask if I am losing my Spanish. This morning I felt like I couldn't talk very well. Its kinda depressing, but I think it will come back quick when I return. Tomorrow I am going on an exchange in my old area so that will be my test! To answer your question our apartment is actually a single companionship (my first). It's slightly less fun, but it helps you to get work done. It's kinda in some hood, our neighbors play loud music during studies and sleeping time. But it's all good! I'm learning all sorts of cool hood phrases that I'm going to try and incorporate into my Restoration lessons. (joking)
This week we had some amazing miracles (like always) but I would say even more than regular. I'll start with some funny experiences. I was on an exchange with an Elder in our Zone and we were in my area. We parked the car and an old kinda crazy black guy came over to the car window and pointed to his pants. It was kinda awkward but curiosity overcame me and I rolled down the window. He asked us if we had any underwear. I responded no, sorry, but we do have cool cards about Jesus. He took one but seemed confused as to what to do with it, hahah. Gotta love B-More. That same night we stopped to get gas and we saw a woman peeing by her car. These were both in downtown Baltimore so it's a lot like another country haha.
On a more spiritual note... We found some amazingly well prepared people this week. One is T., he is from Camaroon and basically just loved the whole Restoration lesson! We're super excited to work with him this week. Another is a younger guy named K. He is the cousin of a recent convert. We got fried chicken with him, his cousin and another non member named R. You could say we're pretty much just a part of the gang. Except we're white. and we wear ties. But other than that we fit right in.
On Sunday we had another really special miracle. It was getting towards the end of the night and we weren't sure where to go. We really had no idea. So we just started driving towards where we needed to be to report at night. As we drove I was thinking about who we could visit and then one of our investigator's names popped in my mind. Elder Fast promptly called him and he said we could come visit. When we got there things were lighthearted but after we prayed the Spirit was in the room. Our investigator, G., opened his heart and told us the struggles he was going through. Although usually quite reserved, G. expressed that a couple days prior he had contemplated suicide. (By contemplated I mean had all the pills and the blender out to make a little drink to poison himself.) We testified to him how his life has a purpose as well as after this life. We told him how he could find greater peace and joy in this life through the Gospel. He felt the Spirit and seemed to have more hope. I pray that he continues to progress.
Jesus Christ saves lives, both temporally and spiritually. I am privileged to be his servant and representative here in Baltimore and I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father can use me to help other people. During this Easter time, I am especially grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that makes all of this possible. Have a great week and stay safe! I love you all.
-Elder Greene

Me and Elder Mardock

Me and the P's (baptism April 20th)

Me and Felix (Gave me this jersey, other side says Corona)

El Templo (Washington DC Temple) 

Me and Kinsley Osunwa

Me and R. and J. (his dad)

Monday, March 18, 2013

"Around the House" Work

Hey Greene Family!

How's the weather over there? It's mid-March and its still pretty cold on this side of the states. Kinda sad but I'll live. I'm so grateful for your letters this week. They seemed to read my mind several times and provided some good help as to what I need to do. This past week was hectic. I've never been so pushed mentally in my life! Shotgunning into an area takes some serious work (Now I feel for Elder Rose a little more when we shotgunned my first area!) But it has been great and sometimes I've just had to smile or laugh because it's so crazy. My new companion is Elder Fast from Mesa. He is a great missionary and it's fun to be from the same place. We have both had to change our whole way of doing missionary work in this new area (you were right on target Dad). Normally a missionary is family focused. Normally a missionary can knock doors when all else fails. But this area is single focused and knocking doors won't work because you don't know if they're young and single! And on top of it all, this week is Spring Break for most of the colleges around here... Hahah. All in all, we had a lot of growing experiences and many miracles.

The best part about the younger generation is they are real with you, kinda like you said mom. We went contacting by a college and the college kids did one of two things. They either say "yeah I'm interested, come at this time", or "No I will not take your card." There's no "Well you could maybe come this time, but I have a bunch of things to do" or the billion other half excuse/half lie responses. They're either open or closed, no halfsies, haha. So I've really enjoyed that aspect. Singles wards are really chill too. We went to a meeting on Sunday and it was like 20 minutes long. Elder Fast was getting all flustered because he's never been to a Singles Ward and it kinda freaked him out, hahah. But I thought it was a lot of fun and I already knew a couple members from my time at the Spanish Branch (meet in the same building).

This week was a lot of "around the house" work because starting a new area and zone takes some prep work. I would rather be out all day but it was necessary to sit down and make some plans/organize things. So when Saturday came and we finally were done with in the house stuff, I was just dying to go out and work all day, also, we had a huge miracle and a member invited us to the temple that night with her non-member friend, T. Our first appointment was to do a baptismal interview for an area in the Zone. As we headed into the city, my companion took a turn too sharp and hit a curb, hard. We popped our tire right outside the meeting place for the interview. I had to just smile to keep myself from being frustrated. We did the interview, changed the tire, and went to find Pep Boys. We got to the closest one and they said they couldn't see us until Sunday. So we called some places and found one 10 miles from us. So we went and they told us it would take a while and we had to be back at the church to be taken to the temple. It was a trial of patience, but long story short, it worked out. We then went to the temple and I felt like the frustrations of the week were lifted off my shoulders. T. felt the Spirit as well as we walked around the temple and watched the Joseph Smith movie. She wants to prepare for baptism. (Sadly after the trip we found out she lives in the Annapolis stake, but maybe she can get a boundary exception, hahah) Anyways, it was a huge miracle and I felt like it was good practice for later in life when I'm like dad driving out with the boat and I get two flat tires on the boat trailer. Hahah
Side Note: I saw an "Hermana" that looked familiar at the temple and it turned out to be Sister Demoree Brown, who went to my high school, she's like Trevor's age. Kinda funny.

Despite the split, our new little Zone did awesome! We had a great week with two baptisms. I am so blessed to be here in Baltimore. Thanks for your letters and I hope you all have a great week!

Con amor,
Elder Greene

PS Mom I am no expert on talks really. I have only given one talk on my mission and it was prepared in 5 minutes before sacrament meeting. But I do know when I prepared for my farewell talk that I took time out of every night to study, pray and write my talk. I think spreading it out over two weeks is easier than writing it last second the day before, hahah. But if I think of anything else I"ll let you know. Also, please don't send me pods. I have 50-60 right now and transporting any more than that wouldn't be fun, maybe in like two months you can send me some? Oh and our ward has like 50-60 active members to answer your question dad.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Packing Again!

Hey Greene Family!
How is everyone feeling? Hopefully that California air is healing some sick people. Macey, I hope you feel better soon, you're in my prayers. As well as Grandpa Greene. I hope he recovers quickly! Thanks for the letter mom, I appreciate it a lot. We actually used that analogy of Nephi in our last Zone Training to help highlight some principles. One thing I thought about is how many "straight sticks" have I seen in my life? I bet it wasn't just a couple hour process for Nephi to build a bow, but he had faith. He couldn't have a perfect knowledge that if he found a straight stick that he would be able to kill food with it, but he believed in something that he couldn't see. Thanks mom.
So this morning was a little mini adventure. We got call outs and they said that Elder Gundersen was being transferred. We were pretty bummed because we have had a great time together. Then we got a phone call from President and he said that they were splitting the Zone (because of the abundance of missionaries). So Elder Gundersen was going to the Baltimore YSA. Then he paused and said wait a minute. He then said, I changed my mind. Elder Greene is going to the YSA with Elder Fast and Elder Gundersen is staying. This way I have the Spanish District in my Zone and I can help them out. It was kinda crazy but I feel good about the transfer. I know Elder Fast because I lived with him in Winchester and he is a good missionary. We're going to shotgun the area but should be a fun time! Hahah. The mission is hard, but challenges like this are the best because that's when you grow the most. (and the YSA meets in the Spanish Branch building so I'll see a lot of my old members! In the words of my people,"that's whats up")
It's going to be hard to leave this area! So much stuff going on, but it will all work out. Me and Elder Gundersen found 3 members that weren't on the records this week! The stories associated with finding them would take too long but I will tell you that they were complete miracles directed by Heavenly Father. One of these inactive members name is T. He is a super cool guy that was baptized when he was a kid and now he doesn't remember much. He asks awesome questions though and really wants to understand. We taught him this week and we were talking about the Book of Mormon. For some reason I had the impression to ask him where does his ancestory come from. (T. looks African American, just slightly lighter skin). I asked him and he said that he is mostly Native American. It was way cool because then the Book of Mormon took on a lot more of significance for him! The Lord works in mysterious ways.
Last night we went to R.'s house to talk to him about the priesthood some more. He received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday! He is such an awesome kid. Anyways, someone gave him a Preach My Gospel yesterday so we ended up going through that with him as well. He began to get excited about it and said he was going to study it so that he could be "on point" at Priests Quorum. He then said that in two years he wanted to serve a mission! Me and Elder Gundersen were so excited and R. called out Elder Gundersen cause he looked like he was going to cry, hahah. The Gospel changes lives in ways I can't even comprehend.
Well I'm not too excited to pack today but I am excited to work hard and learn how to be a better missionary and leader. I know the Lord wants me in the Baltimore YSA. I love you all and I hope you all are healthy and safe this week.
-Elder Greene
PS. I should be sending a package today. The return address won't be correct though (cause I'm moving). I'll try and let you know my address soon, it's not too far.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Theme Songs

Hey Greene Family!

So good to hear from you all! I am sad to hear that Macey got sick, hopefully she gets better soon. I wanted to say Happy Birthday (early) to Mom and Jared this week! I think I'm going to send a package home with clothes I really don't need and I will put some gifts in there too, but I might have to send it next Monday so be patient (using mom's letter against her). Actually we ate some Chinese food today and Elder Gundersen's fortune said "Genius is eternal patience". I'm not sure what that means but hey it goes with the patience theme. That's so sweet that Jesse Aubrey is coming to the best and most obedient mission in the world! PS. There is an Elder here named Elder Jeremy Gratil that went to Mesquite and we also found a guy named Craig Reeder that is also from the same area, anyone know em?

So I explained the week before last week as a long week with struggles and a peak on Sunday. This past week has been a lot like the awesome drop, after the hard push to the top. We had so many awesome miracles and me and Elder Gundersen were just so excited this whole week. We taught R.'s family this week while on exchanges. I was with the above mentioned Elder Gratil and we were also with Brother Perrin who speaks French. Because R.'s parents don't speak a ton of English, we had some awesome translation going on. I taught the Restoration very basically and Brother Perrin translated. As I recited the First Vision I could tell the parents could feel the Spirit, even though they couldn't understand me. I could understand bits and pieces of the French though, which was cool. R. loved that lesson and he was kinda freaking out cause he wanted to know how we knew to bring a translator and teach the first lesson. He kept saying things like, "Elder Greene, the Spirit told you to teach this lesson huh?? Oh man that be crazy yo!" R. just got confirmed yesterday as well! We'll be working with their family more, the parents will need a lot of help.

So the first week or so of my transfer here we taught a guy named D. He is the Godson of a less active. He was super chill and really took things serious when we taught them. We probably taught him like 3 times before we handed him off to the Baltimore YSA Elders because D. is 20 or so. Yesterday actually ended up being D.'s baptism. It was such a cool experience and me and Elder Gundersen got to go and watch. In his testimony he mentioned how before he had trouble remembering to pray and then he said that "Brother Greene told me to put a rock in my pillow to help me remember." Hahah, he is such a stud and will be a great example to his family.

Quick Laugh for ya: We saw the R. family this week and they were all sick so T. (the father) wanted blessings for his whole family. We agreed and each of the 4 children got a blessing of health as well as his wife. Then it was T.'s turn. He had been playing on his phone between blessings and as soon as his wife was done he looks up and presses a button on his phone. Some intense techo beats start coming out of his phone full blast and he stands up off the couch and he raises his arms life he just won something. He simply says,"my theme song" and walks to the seat where we were doing the blessings. Me and my companion wanted to rebuke him but several days later I'll admit it was hilarious.

The P.'s are doing well (despite a crazy incident with a member that I'll tell you about one day), they have set a baptismal date for the 23rd of March! Me and Elder Gundersen pray pretty much everyday for another transfer together here because things are going so well. (Transfers are next week!!!) We both agree that we have never been more happy to be missionaries and we know part of the reason we are seeing such huge miracles is because of our ability to work together. I know that this Gospel is true and that if we simply abide by the teachings of Jesus Christ, we can have peace and joy in this life and the life to come.

I love you all so much, I'll send you a package next week!

-Elder Greene