Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Know And Love The People

Thought I wasn't going to write you all huh? Well I am, we just had exchanges yesterday so I didn't have time til today. But you're welcome. Thanks so much for the package! That shirt is so cool, despite the poor vocab! Also the articles were real cool too. And the Ensign will be my best friend for the next 5 months or so. Yeah I heard that Emma and Carson are engaged! November 1st. Crazy. I feel super old.
So the week before my mission I vividly remember having a conversation with dad about golfing on missions. Finally that dream was realized on Monday! We borrowed our High Councilmans clubs and went to this sweet park in Walkersville where you can play nine holes, wait for it... For free! Yeah, there are just flags and no greens so it's like playing in the rough for 9 holes but it makes it fun. Once you get within 10 feet of the flag or so we call it good. I won with a score of 37! Hahah it was us 4 in the apartment and it was a blast.
So I'm going to keep this letter short, sorry. But we did have a real great week last week. We started teaching a Nicaraguan family named C. and R. C. They are super cool, he is a computer programmer and she worked in banking. (they use some big spanish words like,"infrastructura", which is uncommon). So some real growth people here. They talked to missionaries for years in Managua and then moved a lot and lost track of them. Now they're here and we are teaching them! So we had an awesome lesson about the tree of life. We talked about how there is only one way to get to the tree and you can't walk in between the great and spacious building and the tree. They both expressed desires to be baptized without us even saying anything! We will be seeing them again tomorrow night, so I'll let you know how it goes!
Just one last thought. Lately I've been realizing how lame the mission would be if I came out here to just teach people about God. A lot of missionaries think that is what it is. But really one of the best parts, and one of the most important parts, is to get to know and love the people. It makes it so much fun and I think it's some of the best advice I could give to an incoming missionary. Anyways, just a thought I had. I hope you all are having fun with EFY, priest quorum, and other summer stuff. But I'm still having more fun than you!
Love ya Greene Family!
-Elder Greene

My "I'm so excited I got a state shirt" face

Comp Unity, playing in proselyting clothes



Monday, May 20, 2013

Physically Sick But Spiritually Great

Hey Greene Family!
How is everyone doing? I can't believe that graduation and all that is going on. It all just moves too fast. This past week was kinda crazy! Me and Elder Knudsen both got sick yesterday with what we think is food poisoning. We endured the whole day (Sundays can be busy, especially yesterday). Last night I had a fever pretty bad and I just prayed I wouldn't throw up. But we're feeling a little bit better today. Anyways, I appreciated your thoughts and letters mom and dad!
So I bought a bike off a missionary for $75. I will just use cash. It's not the best bike but then again, I have only biked like 6 days of my mission.
So I got some funny things that happened this week
1) I convinced a Spanish woman that I was from Honduras! This either means my Spanish is getting good or she's super gullible.
2) I met an 80 year old Salvadorean woman on the street who looked pretty weak and feeble. It turns out that she had just been at the bar at a drinking contest with a Mexican guy. She had won.
3) We got a call from this 22 year old member who only speaks spanish. He was in the car with a member girl his age who only speaks english. He wanted us to translate their conversation for him, hahah. I just told him that he just needs to speak the language that everyone speaks, the international language. We hung up and had a good laugh.
So we've been teaching this man named Hno A. for the past two weeks. He feels like God has abandoned him and it makes him really depressed. When I taught him this past week he admitted that he had thought about killing himself that morning. We turned to Doctrine and Covenants 121 and 122. He liked it a lot (he's a member by the way) and asked me if I had spent all night looking for those scriptures because they applied so well to him. The Spirit was so strong and although he has a long way to go, I'm grateful the Spirit was able to guide us in helping him.
We also ate lunch with G. and her son this week. Her son is 15, his name is B. We have been going slow with G. but it is amazing how the Spirit is working on her. She already read several chapters of the Book of Mormon and we gave one to her son too. I can't wait to see her one day in church, because I know it will happen.
Last thing real quick. So as Zone Leaders we have a lot of extra stuff to do. Yesterday we were invited to attend the Stake Youth Council as they talked about their missionary activity coming up in June. (I found this meeting to be weird because I felt old when I was in SYC but all these kids looked so young!). After the council, we were invited to sit on the stand at the Fireside last night, also focused on missionary work. Me and Elder Knudsen weren't super excited for it just because we rather be out working but It turned out to be one of the best firesides I've been to. 3 former Stake Presidents spoke and the current one. The Spirit was amazing as they shared their conversion and missionary experiences. I felt physically sick but spiritually I felt great!
Well I love ya all! Thanks for the prayers and I'll be sure to look for that package today.
Con Amor,
Elder Greene
PS I met some Nicaraguans this week and I talked about Trevor with them. They got excited and asked if he's had Pinolio? Someone will have to ask him, hahah.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ups Outweigh Downs

Querido Familia Greene,
It is kinda weird writing you a letter when I just talked to you but I saved some good stuff. I can't believe how much everyone is growing and it was weird to hear Taggert's voice deeper. I think I was pumped about winning states for the past like 24 hours or so. (Jared's volleyball team won the state championship on Saturday) We played volleyball today for p-day and I was extra excited because of the championship and also I haven't played in like 6 months (or it seems like it). Anyway it was fun, definitely didn't hit a .400 though. I can't jump at all. Hakuna Matata.
So this week had its ups and downs but the ups definitely outweighed the downs. One down was that C.'s grandma and mom are now prohibiting him meeting with the missionaries or going to church. Bummer. But he has been reading the Book of Mormon every day and I know he'll one day be a member of this restored church. The other down was that for dinner on Thursday we had soup with chicken feet, kidneys, and livers. Chicken feet aren't that bad, it's the livers that are nasty. I kinda thought maybe I should just eat a chicken pancreas too just to see if it cures diabetes...
The Ups: So we knocked into this Spanish guy and he didn't want to see us but he referred a neighbor of his. So we went and talked to her at the beginning of this week while it was dark and pouring rain. She agreed to setting up an appointment for several days later. That day came and we went and met G. She was nice but very Pentecostal. We found out that the man that referred her is her alcoholic ex-husband. She told us a lot about her life and then we began to talk about religion and her beliefs. She expressed that she's met with sister missionaries before and knows all about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Surprise. We kept talking and she said this was 13 years ago in another town in Maryland. Then she was saying how she went to the church a lot and even got baptized. Me and my companions mouths fell open I think, hahah. Were looking for her records but it sounds like G. is a very inactive member! We'll be seeing her on Tuesday and we're super excited.
Another up was visiting a recent convert single mother who has been having a rough time lately. When we got there (I was on exchanges with an Elder that only spoke English) she asked if I could help her son with his homework. I guess he normally refuses to do his homework unless one of the Elders comes over. It was fun to help him read and fill in answers. He reminded me of a younger Taggert. I really think it's amazing how missionaries can just be a tender mercy for other people.
I love you guys. This weekend was great to hear about your lives and to see you all. I'm especially grateful for a mom who has taught me so much and raised me in the Gospel. I hope you all have a wonderful week. Rest up that shoulder Jared!
Elder Greene
PS. I want to buy a bike soon. I will try to pay in cash but if not I assume my card has money on it?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Magical Taquero Man

Hey Greene Family!
Sounds like everyone is pretty busy! Just reading about volleyball finals going on made me all excited. I can't wait to hear what happens this Sunday. So we just barely got any information on Mother's day. Turns out we can Skype for an hour again on Sunday. I will give you a call probably on Friday or Saturday to let you know what time I will call. I will probably call sometime between 6-8pm my time.
So I had some sweet experiences this week! We went to the birthday party of M's daughter (she's four). We figured it would be a good way to show our name tags in a setting that wasn't a door aproach. But the best part about the whole thing was that they had a taquero. A taquero is a magical man who makes unlimited tacos for the enjoyment of everyone at the party. And were not talking about lame American style Taco Bell tacos, we're talking about the real deal here. Me and Elder Knudsen were in heaven.
On a slightly more spiritual note, I dedicated a grave this week, which was a really special experience. There is an investigator in the Zone and he's getting baptized soon. His aunts and dad's graves have never been dedicated even though they died years ago, so we had the opportunity to go dedicate them. I remember feeling stressed about some unrelated things that morning and when we got there the Spirit was so strong, I immediately just had so much peace.
The biggest miracle of this week is C! I think I talked a little bit about him in my last letter but he's the 14 year old friend of a member in the branch. He's a real mature and sincere kid. We taught him in the member's home this week and he told us how much he wants to be baptized. So we invited him to a date in May, but tenatively because we still needed to call his mom. We called her and she's fine with us teaching him but won't let him be baptized. (Until the Holy Ghost softens her heart.)
Well it's been another fast week! I'm sure I'll be talking to you all in no time. Come up with some good questions I guess hahah. I love you all. Sorry if this letter is shorter, I have to take a survey for the mission...
Elder Greene

B-more Spanish District

Me and E (YSA member)

Me & Elder Knudsen (ready to serve our hearts out in yard of Hermana C)

Me & D

My Playground