Monday, July 29, 2013

Work of Salvation

Hey Greene Family!

Well last week sounds pretty rough for you all! Haha, just messing. Although no Char Pit shakes is pretty lame, those slackers. Thanks for the letters Macey and Taggert! It's crazy you all start school so soon. I also can't believe Holden is bigger than Jared, that means I'm probably the shortest... Thank goodness for the Ward cousins who still help me have self esteem. To answer your questions mom, Elder Green is from Bountiful Utah and Columbia is the name of the area, the Branch, the Stake and it is also a city we spend time in. 

Well this week had some pretty awesome miracles! The first one starts with Hno "C", an older man who wanted to buy us dinner. He decided we would go to Costco to get pizza (which for some reason was the 4th day in a row I'd eaten pizza, you'd think I speak English!) So we drive and it takes a while and after we get the pizzas he doesn't sit down. He goes out to the car. He said we were going to eat at the Church. I was getting a little antsy because between driving and ordering this was taking a while and we still wanted to do other things that night. But I just sat tight and we went to the Church, even though none of us have keys to get in. We got there and there were a bunch of cars for an Eagle Court of Honor. So we found a little room and ate with Hermano "C". After 5 minutes or so the Stake President walks in and says, "Elders, everyone at this Court of Honor is not a member, could you go out and talk to them?" So we finished eating and went and it turns out all the people there were Spanish! A young man in the other ward who is Spanish got his Eagle and all his family was there! We met a ton of people and we may have a family night/dinner set up with the boy's non-member mom for this week! God definitely works in mysterious ways.

The other cool miracle came several hours later. We were looking for a less active family but their address didn't exist. So we were looking everywhere for them. It was getting late and we thought maybe we should try someone else before the night was over. But I really felt like we needed to find this family, so we did one more loop around the area. We found a house that had a similar address and decided to go and knock. The father of this family answered and we had an awesome lesson with him and his wife! I know that God wanted us to be there that night and I believe we will be able to help them come back to church, with God's help of course!

Last night we had a General Stake Priesthood meeting and the Elders were asked to go. At first I was a little disappointed because I just wanted to work for the rest of the night. But we went and I'll be honest, I don't think I've ever been to a more powerful Stake meeting. We talked about the Priesthood and missionary work. The Stake President said something (and many other things) that struck me. He said, we need to realize that there isn't missionary work and member work. There is only the Work of Salvation, it is one work and we're all working towards one purpose. I've thought about this a lot on my mission and it's true. Temple work, home and visiting teaching, family night, church meetings, missionary work, member work, callings, and youth programs all have the same "big-picture" goal in mind: to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I know that this is Heavenly Father's work and glory, and I feel so blessed to be able to help!

I hope you all have fun these last days of summer (fastest summer of my life)! I love you all!

-Elder Greene

Monday, July 22, 2013

Leaving Frederick

Greetings from Columbia Maryland!

Sounds like you all have had a crazy week. I was sad to hear about Ole, but you're right mom, we have so much more peace in our lives because of this Gospel. Thanks for the things you wrote mom and dad, I haven't read that book before so if you want to send it out that would be awesome. One way we have been seeing miracles with member missionary work is through the Hastening the Work videos. It brings the Spirit and really helps people to think how they can be better missionaries. This transfer was huge! We ended up having 40 new missionaries come in, 6 or 7 of which are waiting for visas to various locations. Out of these 40 included Elder Aubrey and Elder Dutson, my hijo! Elder Dutson is awesome, he lived down the street from President, so President already knew he's a stud. He reminds me of Jared sometimes because he's super skinny (for now) and his jokes are hilarious. He has a very humble and willing heart and so he's easy to teach. Elder Green is awesome as well. He doesn't need much training from me that's for sure, hahah. Overall, these past couple days could've been a lot more stressful but having a sweet companionship made it easier!

The branch here is great! They are really united and focused on missionary work. They also have the only set of Spanish sisters in the mission (both visa waiters). I won't lie, the branch loves their sisters, so we're trying to even out the love right now, hahah. Our goal for this past week and this week to come is to earn member's trust and to get them excited! They get a kick out of having two Elder Greens, I'm thinking about trying to get a tag that says Elder Verde or Elder Verdecito so that they can distinguish haha. But anyways, the work will progress quickly here, I can tell. The area we cover is pretty big and so we may ride bikes more to save miles to go to farther places. I am pretty sure I have only biked 6 days of my mission... 

I think I jinxed the whole "it hasn't been that hot here" comment because this past week was so hot and humid! We fixed a woman's shed and I don't think I've ever sweated so much from just hammering things. One day we had been working around an area for a while before dinner and we were all sweating a bunch. We decided to eat at Sam's Club (we didn't think you would need a card to just eat the food). We walk up and the lady that checks your card looked at us all sweaty and gross and told us normally she doesn't let people in without a card to eat but she would make an exception for us! Tender mercy for sure!

So this week we had a pretty cool miracle! It was the third day we had been here and we decided to see a less active family on the list. We got there and the mom didn't seem that thrilled to see us. But we just got to know her and we were friendly, then we asked what we could do for her. She opened up a little more and said that her son was sick in bed, and if we could give him a blessing. We gladly stepped in and gave him one (Elder Dutson reminded me of the beginning of my mission because he did his first anointing that day). They were grateful and I know it will open the way for us to come over again in the future.

Leaving Frederick was hard, it had been one of my favorite Branches. Tuesday me and Elder Foell said bye to a lot of members and investigators so that they wouldn't be weirded out when two new missionaries came in. It was a great day and we even ended up giving a blessing to the cousin of a woman in the branch. Her cousin also happens to be a Stake President in Puerto Rico here visiting. It was one of the more powerful blessings of health that I've given and I know it was because of the faith of that Stake President.

All in all things are moving right along in Columbia! Hope you all have a great week in Lake Tahoe!

-Elder Greene

"B" Family

"L" Family

"C" Family

Hno "S", fueled by haters

Hno "A", he was pretty bummed

"F" Family

The Gang (Me, Elder Green & Dutson)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Elder Greene, Elder Green and a Greenie??

Oh hey,
Awesome letter mom, thanks! I really enjoyed the wisdom teeth stories. If I remember my story was more like Macey, also, I don't remember my wisdom teeth hurting that bad. Gum graft, yeah that hurt. Hopefully everyone is healed up quick, I'll be praying for no dry sockets for you all. Also your scripture is great, I've used it many times with members and investigators. One cool thing we learned from a General Authority is that "remember, remember" is only found 6 times in the scriptures and it would be wise for us to know them. I have found 5 without the computer (no cheating). The weather hasn't been too bad here though. Maybe it's just because I'm in a car but this summer doesn't feel quite as bad as last summer!
So I'm sure you all are on the edge of your seats to know if I'm being transferred. Well, as always, it's kinda crazy. First, Elder Foell got a call yesterday and was told he will be a traveling assistant! I'm really happy for him, he'll do awesome. So I'll admit, I thought I was in the clear. But a couple hours later President called me and told me I will be transferred as well. I'm going to Columbia, speaking Spanish, shotgunning, starting a new zone, training a new zone leader, AND... wait for it... training a new missionary! Yep, Me and my new companion, whose name is Elder Green, will be zone leaders and we will have a third Elder with us that we will train together. Pretty unique! I'll admit I'm really sad to leave Frederick, I love the people here a lot. But I know the Lord needs me in Columbia (more specifically Ellicott City, I'll get an address to you next week).
I wanted to throw in a couple reasons why I love Spanish Branches.
-Dad's saying of "play the classics" is taken very seriously here, I have sang himno 118 Asombro me da, 4 or 5 weeks in a row.
-Many hispanics can relate with my diabetes, because their family all has it. Many have tried to offer me "cures", including small bugs or mystery pills. Also, according to these experts, pancakes, rice, bread, and potatoes are all good foods to eat because they don't have hardly any sugar. (don't worry I'm not swayed)
-Spanglish is a must when serving in a branch. Common phrases include: "Esta muy nice", "hasta la next", "voy a darle un punch" (poonch), and "I wish que..."
-You are one of the best singers no matter what.
Hahah those are just a few. Spanish people are awesome.
So this week was up and down but we saw some tender mercies for sure. We went to Hermano A's house and he was cooking so he was a little busy. So we started talking to his son, J., who is his less-active 18 year old son, who was visiting. At first he asked a lot of challenging questions to try and get us to admit we didn't love our missions, or we were out here for some other purpose than to serve Heavenly Father. But we just answered honestly and we were ourselves. We started talking about his life and his experiences with Church. He opened up and he liked us a lot. We were going to eat lunch with him this week! I know that if we are just ourselves when sharing the Gospel our testimonies have a lot more power!
Well I would write more but I got packing to do, again. I love you all, hope you all have fun in Tahoe! Catch a crawdad (sp?) for me.
-Elder Greene

Monday, July 8, 2013

Scriptures are Saved!!

Hey Greene Family!
Sounds like the beach was sweet! I'm proud that Jared and Collin were showing up all the natives, makes me remember 2 years ago when me and Mike went undefeated. Mike made a joke about how he is old and I have a pump on my arm and how they will underestimate us, hahah. But honestly Trevor is right, I really don't care too much that I'm not at the beach. This 4th of July week was an adventure for me too that's for sure. I can't believe dad will be the Ward Mission Leader! That's awesome. I have developed a lot of relationships with members but some of the closest ones I have are with old mission leaders. Dad you really will have an affect on those missionaries' lives. Be their friend! (I know you will). Study preach my gospel chapter 8, 12 and 13. If you can, watch "the district", it is a great example of how to work with the Bishop and with missionaries. I'll try and think of more things but I think those are the most important. The best mission leaders I've had just love the missionaries and love the people they are teaching. Oh also the work of salvation website is a great way to get members excited!
So this week we had the 4th of July. Every year in Frederick, President Olson (1st conselor in the stake presidency) does a big thing honoring veterans and things (not a church event). But he asks the missionaries to help every year as well. So on the 3rd we didn't proselyte (which drove me crazy), we just worked all day on his house setting up, cleaning, painting, and cutting grass. Then on the 4th about 500 people came and celebrated Independence day. It was a lot of fun! President Richards even spoke, pretty cool. So these two days were pretty crazy. But then on Friday we moved apartments! Me and Elder Foell moved almost everything we owned in about 5-6 trips with the Subaru. We even held on to our mattresses on top of the car as we rode over! Hahah. But it's great to be in a new apartment. Still looks pretty sparce but I love it. My address is 1466 Key Pkwy Apt 102 Frederick, MD 21702.
Although we definitely had less proselyting time this week, we saw amazing miracles! So remember M. C.? The woman whose house burned down? Well she was looking through her burnt stuff and all of it was ruined. But the people helping brought out one case that hadn't been too burned. She opened it up and it was her scriptures! Crazy! Anyways, through this experience she's decided that she needs to come back to church! And so yesterday there she was, sitting in the bag of the sacrament meeting! It was a complete miracle, M. C. hasn't been to church in years from what I understand.
We also have been working with a real awesome guy named Hno G. He is from Peru but got baptized in Japan. He went to an english ward every Sunday just because he felt the Spirit (he doesn't speak a  lick of English). He was baptized and now he's here visiting his daughter P. (also a recent convert). We were teaching him and I had the impression to ask him if he had been to the temple. He hasn't ever been to one! So he got his temple recommend yesterday and will be going to do baptisms for the dead in the next couple weeks! He's so awesome!
All in all I'm really just loving my mission. I've realized a lot more lately that a big part of being happy is progression. If we aren't moving forward we tend to not be as happy. I know if we set goals in our own lives and always seek to be better that we will have "eternal joy". I hope you all have a great week!
Elder Greene

PS: 8 YW is like 3x more than what we have in our branch, hahah, so keep trying.

Nothing Says Home Like a Member's Old Table and a Candle from a homeless shelter

Me and Elder Foell being investigators at Youth Conference

I've Always Wondered Why We Even Have Bed Frames, just put them on the ground!

Somos Los Soldados Que Combaten Error
(We are the soldiers fighting (sin)?) Rough translation from a non spanish speaking Mom

Just moving our things!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Catch the Wave! (both the literal ocean wave and the metaphorical wave of missionary work)

Hey Greene Family,
Hopefully no one is sunburnt yet! I loved your letter mom. Congrats to Tyler and Lauren on their baby! I feel like you told me Lauren was pregnant last month, but maybe that's just time going by fast. I got your package! The pictures were so awesome, I was getting chills just looking over them. I would've given a lot to be there but I'll be there when Taggert wins state. Macey you look like you've gotten 3 years older in the past three months! Anyways, I should be moving on Friday, I'll let you know my address next week, this week will be crazy!
Well I'll start with a funny/nasty story. We got a call from our Branch President to do service at a man's house. This man's mom needed help moving. So us four Elders went in the morning. We got there and it turns out this man's mom had lived in this apartment for 31 years. And they are hoarders. It was filthy. But we put our shoulder to the wheel and started making many trips from the third story to bottom story. We worked for 3 and a half hours, and I sweated buckets (humidity playing a factor). Well we managed to move half of it. But we had to go because another family wanted help moving some things as well. So we left and worked for 3 and a half more hours at another families house, moving furniture. I haven't worked that hard in forever!
This week was just awesome. As I told you, I was able to help with youth conference this year in the Frederick Stake. We organized 20 missionaries to teach 160-200 youth about teaching the Gospel (mostly the first vision). It was so cool! But the part that excited me even more was them teaching "investigators". Many members from the stake came in and pretended to be investigating. Even me and Elder Foell put on normal clothes and took off our tags to be investigators! A pair of youth taught me and invited me to baptism! Hahah, these youth were so pumped afterwards and it carried to yesterday. Our Branch President asked several youth to get up and one said he was just going to serve because his parents wanted him to and now he wants to go because he knows it is true! Our whole branch is so excited to do missionary work. I also got an e-mail from Sister Suhaka (the woman who organized everything for the conference) expressing thanks to us and the other missionaries. Really awesome.
Also, on a side note, we have a new second counselor who is english (still trying to remember his Spanish from his mission) so me and Elder Foell get to translate for his wife. It's pretty fun, I've done it a lot of my mission!
So we had a great miracle this week with Hermano A. Lately he has been getting better, bit by bit. We got to his house this past week and he was so happy. He has been saying his prayers more and he has been seeing more blessings in his life. I can't wait until he finally makes that step to come back to church, because I know it is close. I know that a big reason I have been here in Frederick was for him and it has been a big blessing for me to see his progress. The Spirit has helped him a lot.
I love missionary work. I hope you all have a great time at the beach house! Watch out for sting rays.
-Elder Greene