Monday, September 30, 2013

Understanding Our Heavenly Father

Hey Greene Family!
How's everything going out there? Sorry about your toe mom, I've been praying for you. It sounds like everyone is doing well though. You'll have to record a bit of Taggert's volleyball games so I can see some of it later on! Taggert probably has a higher vertical than I do, haha. Jared seems to be doing well, from his letter, he has a flourishing college life!
Smaller medical report: I'm doing good, my numbers have been pretty good and my diet helps me make good decisions. I got my A1C this morning so we will see, I'll let you know next week. Thanks for doing research on the CGM thing, sadly I can't do that kind of research. But yeah if it isn't covered and it doesn't even work well than it's a no go! Oh also my cold is basically gone and I put lotion on my legs and it helps a ton with the pods, much less itchy and red, if at all. And trust me, health doesn't get in the way of missionary work if I have anything to say about it.
Last P-Day we went to the driving range! It was a blast. Elder Green played a ton in high school so he was teaching me some things. We had a 50 yard chipping contest and I won, hahah. I bought a $3 "Golden Bear" P-wedge at Goodwill, definitely one of the better purchases of my mission. I believe I mentioned that we have a gym as well and this week I ran a 14:52 two mile, I was quite proud of myself.
And the painting practice still keeps coming in handy! This week we helped a family paint their bathroom, it was a bunch of fun! They didn't have any painter's tape so they just said go for it. So we freehanded the ceiling, the bottom, and the door frame. So when your house doesn't get done until early May and I am there to help you move in and paint free hand, hahah.
One cool miracle that happened this week was "D". We went over and talked about what he had read and then he started having questions. He opened up a ton and talked about how he believes that God exists but doesn't know if he believes in Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost. I could also tell that "D" didn't understand who Heavenly Father is. So we talked about prayer and the Holy Ghost. He actually has even told us about an experience where he felt prompted to comfort his Dad, which he realized may have been the Holy Ghost. He made a lot of progress in that visit and it was amazing how much the Spirit guided it all!
I wanted to write a short note on the part about not understanding who our Heavenly Father is. I've thought a lot about how my mission has changed me and I believe my relationship with my Heavenly Father is one of them. I heard a quote from "Lectures on Faith" recently that says that we can't have full faith in Someone who we don't have a correct perception of (or something along those lines). After a lot of time in prayer, I know that my Heavenly Father is my Father in Heaven. He loves me so much that He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer for my sins. He listens and he encourages. He doesn't get angry when I make mistakes, but wants me to repent and improve. He gives me trials to make me stronger, not out of a lack of love. Above all, he wants me to succeed. Now, no one can come to have faith in our Heavenly Father if they misunderstand who He is, and so my calling becomes so much more important to me. We are the only Church to have the full, restored truth of who He is and people need to have that!
Another blessing I saw this past week was when Elder Dutson made the call to go to a certain area before dinner to look for more people to teach. We went and we didn't walk a block after parking our car before we met "R"! He's a real nice guy from Mexico. We started talking to him about life and he says he doesn't belong to a certain religion but that he believes in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He seems pretty prepared as he just quit drinking a couple years ago. We're excited to go teach him next Saturday in between conference sessions with his wife! Tender mercy from the Spirit that's for sure.
Well I love you all! Have a great Conference weekend in Utah! I'm so excited to listen to the modern day prophets!
-Elder Greene
Awesome quote I heard two weeks ago: "If we regret the past and fear the future, we never live the present." 

There Is A Green Hill Far Away


It's like a Spanish Thanksgiving! Don't worry I didn't eat much of the pie (but they made it sugar free none the less, I think I may have been low after!)

Mis Canas (My gray hairs) Got paint in my hair and went straight to proselyte... I had a good look going all day!

Monday, September 23, 2013

I Got The Black Lung, Pops

Welcome to Elder Greene's Letter.
I'm running out of clever ways to start my letters. Sounds like you all had a fun week! Well somewhat, sorry you broke your toe mom! That's crazy. How long is the recovery time? I loved the Greene Family Ward mission plan, I wouldn't add anything. Will the plan be edited once you move? (I don't know when you plan on doing that, do you have an ETA?). I received a letter from Brother Smith the other week and I wanted to give him a shout out, love you Brother Smith!
Well here is the Health Report:
So I wasn't sure how long it would be for me to get into the Endocrinologist so I went to a normal doctor for the infections. I still had a cold and when I went in it turns out a had a fever (99.5 I think) so they looked at my legs and did some blood work to make sure the fever wasn't caused by infection. Anyways, long story short and after sitting in a cold chair in a hospital gown (the things aren't as fun as they look) he told me that the redness and itchiness is actually skin irritation and not infections. I guess my legs are dry and so the pods irritate them. Kinda lame but hey, the doc said I did the right thing in making sure. Well about an hour later I get a call that someone canceled and I was going to be able to go to the Endo Doc the next day. So I met my new doctor, Dr. Khan. She is pretty cool and she told me straight up what we were going to do. So I'm getting an A1C at the end of the week, I'm writing all my numbers down for her to see each week and I have a special diet of 60 carbs or less a meal. I will be going to a carb counting class in October to brush up on counting and my next actual appointment in December she may want me to get a Continuous Glucose Monitor if insurance covers it (sounds pretty sweet). Anyways, Sister Richards and I talked and for now I don't want to eat with members so that I can get regulated, but when I told the members that--there was a Branch wide uproar and last night I ate a pretty delicious soup of only veggies and chicken. So I believe the Branch will be able to take care of me, if not, I always got my backup sandwich. Despite my higher numbers, Dr. Khan says I'm pretty healthy and that I don't have any nerve damage, which is impressive according to her. Oh, and I still have a cold, which may be the longest I've had a cold. No worries though, I'm feeling pretty good overall!
Ok back to the good stuff.
So this week I went on exchanges with the Elders in Eldersburg. I was sick as a dog but it went great! One funny part was when they asked me if I wanted to visit Dennis Pitta (LDS pro football player). I laughed because it was tempting to go visit Dennis Pitta since we were .2 miles from his house, but I asked them what does the Spirit wanted us to do? They kinda groaned but we ended up visiting a less active and I really feel like she needed that visit that night, so that was pretty cool!
There is a less active man, Hermano "H", in our Branch that I love and he said he was going to paint his deck. I was pumped because that was my summer job (ok half summer job, I didn't really work a whole lot). So on Saturday we went to it and I was having a great time painting this huge wood deck. Hermano "H" was happy to have us there and we had a good time. Storm clouds came in when we were leaving (it's a big deck, we only could paint a third that day). I said hopefully it doesn't rain! He responded, well at least the paint will be really clean! Hahah. They may be moving back to Mexico soon but I know service softens hearts, hopefully we can help him and his wife come back to church a couple times before they go!

We visited with "D" this week again. I went with Hermano Rodriguez while my companions went to visit some other people. Hno Rodriguez and I saw "D" and they hit it off right away. I learned a lot of new Spanish slang from Guatemala because they are both Guatemaltecos. It was getting late and I knew we couldn't finish the whole Restoration with "D" so I asked him if he prays. He said he doesn't really. The Spirit came in really strong and I taught "D" how to pray and Hno Rodriguez invited him to pray with Hna "C" as a couple. He felt the Spirit and we possibly will be seeing him tonight.

Well I feel like I had to spend a little to much time on my medical stuff but I thought you would want a good update. By the way, I've been borrowing an amazing book from one of my companions, Believing Christ. It is so good, you all should read it! I love you all and I will be praying for mom's toe this week! Hopefully Jared is staying out of trouble, hahah. It sounds like his Sunday schedule is similar to mine, except I don't get home until 10:20, hahah
-Elder Greene

Monday, September 16, 2013

The 3 W's

Good morning Greene Family!
 Well this week was just a big long blessing from Heavenly Father. I received my new PDM on Tuesday, the pods are sweet! We moved on Tuesday, which also happened to be the hottest and most humid day of this past week. It was fun experience, we moved from 1:30 to 5:55, ate a bowl of cereal in 10 minutes and left to work without organizing a thing. But the apartment is awesome, and it even has a gym with treadmills, machines and weights. (PS, I was a little off on the address, it's 10312 Hickory Ridge rd. Apt 226.) Test strips came to the old apartment and we picked them up. Tender mercies all around. Glad to hear everyone is having fun at school, volleyball, work and golf trips. Elder Green is a really good golfer and me and him practice our chipping on the carpet of our apartment. If it weren't raining today we would have gone to the driving range today!
As you know I was struggling with my health last week. I had a blessing of comfort last Sunday morning and a blessing of health on Tuesday I believe. I prayed a good amount too. After making a couple adjustments with diet and insulin, I had an average blood sugar of 129 this week. I think I may have figured it out. The only thing that hasn't worked out is that the doctor's office that was recommended didn't have availability until January... But Sister Richards told me to call again (see bottom of letter). All in all, I am extremely grateful for the challenges I've had on my mission. They have helped grow and learn important things about myself and about the Plan of Salvation. And yes, Heavenly Father is definitely looking out for me!
I went to leadership training this week and started talking to Elder Knudsen, who is serving in the BYSA. Turns out that "D", one of the recent converts that I was close to over there, has decided to serve a mission!! I was so pumped to hear that! It is truly amazing how the teachings of the Gospel and the Spirit changes lives.
This week was maybe one of the greatest highs of my mission so far. There were a lot of amazing miracles. One of them was with M.E. She was a member referral from our Hno R, and last Monday we had our second appointment with her. We went to her house with Hermano and Hermana S. At first, M.E. was pretty stand offish, almost a different person from the first time we taught her. I just prayed in my heart the whole time that this lesson would help her. The S family did amazing at loving her and we started into the Restoration. After 10 or 15 minutes she was feeling the Spirit and even admitted that she has always felt a peace when the missionaries come (she's been taught before, like 4 years ago). By the end she was a lot nicer and the lesson went well. We have another appointment tonight at the S's home!
There is a less active family in our Branch who we have been working with for a while now. Only the mom has come to church so far. Her kids' attitudes range from interested to don't talk to me. We also have gotten to know the mom's non member boyfriend, "D". Anyways, last Saturday we went over to this family's house. Their son, "A", who is more on the "don't talk to me" side of the scale, came down to eat. We started talking to him about his interests and all of a sudden he was sitting down chatting with us about boxing and high school. He's really a cool kid. He left after a half hour and that was fine because then "D" walks in. This was the first time that "D" would let us talk to him about our message. (Usually "D" just likes to talk to us about everything not the gospel because it amazed him how we speak Spanish, hahah, but now that were good friends, he wants to listen.) So we shared about the Spirit and families. And he felt it, big time. I asked him how he felt and he said, "I feel very peaceful, I haven't felt like this in a long time. You all need to come over more often." I think Hna "C" (the mom) just about died with excitement. The Spirit is an amazing thing. To further show how the Spirit changes hearts, the next morning we talked to J.R. He said,"Hey I got a text from "A" last night and he wants a ride to seminary." What time did he send that text? Appoximately 5 or 10 minutes after he talked to us about boxing and high school. I love being a missionary.
I'm quite honestly just loving life! I got a cold but hey, one of my goals is to learn how to be learn how to not be affected by the 3 W's, wearied, worried, or whining. (It's in a President Uchtdorf talk) So really, God just loves me enough to give me a cold so I can practice!
Hope you all have a great week!
Con amor y buen animo,
Elder Greene

PS I got to leadership meeting and there were two more PDMs there that were sent to old apartments. I don't know if we were charged for them or not? If not, I'm going to keep them for backup.

After the Big Move, we were sweating real good!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Trials Affect Us For Good

Como estan?

It's been a crazy week here in Columbia but a good one! I am pumped to hear about Collin's mission call! (Zach's cousin Collin got called to the Spain Malaga mission) I guess Connor just didn't follow the trend of cousins speaking Spanish, haha. But tell Collin how awesome that is and that I'm proud of him, I can't believe I won't see him for more than four years! It seems you all are adjusting to having two kids around, which sounds weird to me too. So side note here, me and my companions are moving to another apartment, tomorrow. Kinda crazy, we found out on like Friday. I have to call Fedex and get the pdm shipped to the new address (no worries there, I got it taken care of) but I also am not sure what to do about the test strips coming... Anyways, my address is 10300 Hickory Ridge Rd Apt #203, Columbia, MD, 21044. I think I'm going to break a record of apartments lived in, tomorrow will be my 9th, hahah.

Always good to start a letter off with some good food stories. One night we ate flautas, they're kinda like really good hot pockets. While we were eating, Hno "V" asked me if I'd ever eaten "calzones". I said yeah of course, they're delicious. He and his wife smiled and asked where I had eaten them and I talked about it a little bit. Then I said,"Una vez, yo comi una calzone asi de grande" using my hands to show that I ate a big calzone one time. They started busting up laughing, and I didn't know why. Then Hermano "V" explained to me that Calzon in Spanish is woman's underwear. Yeah he got me pretty good. Another night this past week we ate fish soup with a couple in our Branch. It wasn't bad, but it was strange to look at a fully scaled fish face looking at you in your soup.

Well Dad, you are practically famous (just kidding) over here in the Columbia Spanish Branch. Every member of the Branch Council is reading "El Poder de Misioneros Cotidianos" or "The Power of Everyday Missionaries" because I told President Flores to do so. He read half of it in two days and now he's fired up, hahah. I love this branch so much!

On Sunday we had some really cool miracles. Hermano "C" came to church and loved Gospel Principles. We had another investigator come as well, "D". The "E" family, who I believe I've mentioned in a past letter, have been to church 4 times in a row and now are "reactivated"! The branch is on fire and I'm amazed at how much God has done these past two months while we've been here. One factor that helps a lot is that many less actives are coming back to church just because people are loving them, instead of telling them why they need to come to church.

Last night we visited with a woman in our branch outside her home. She is an amazing person and has had some very difficult trials in her life. Her husband has had Parkinsons disease for the past ten years, her son can't work because his papers are still coming through and finally her daughter just went through a rough divorce. Yet, as we talked with her you could just feel how much she relied on the Savior. As we left we said a prayer and the Spirit I felt was really strong. I thought about that experience for a while last night and it really strengthened my testimony of how trials affect us for good. Here was a woman that had been through more hardship than your average mom and yet the spirit that she had was one of strength and hope. I know that the trials that we have in life are for our benefit, and that if we choose to learn from them, that we will progress and become stronger sons and daughters of God.

Well we got some packing to do, but have a great week! I love you all!

-Elder Greene

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Voice of a Minister

Buenos Dias!
Well not that your hope for a letter is gone, here I am, with a letter. Obviously couldn't e-mail on Monday and yesterday we had some team-ups with Sisters, so here ya go, Wednesday morning surprise. It's been a great week (and a half) and I'm just loving Columbia. I would be content to stay here for 3 more transfers. Thanks a bunch for the letters and the pics! The pictures kinda freaked me out, not gonna lie. Jared looks older, Macey looks a lot older, and Taggert looks way older! Not to mention Holden looks like he has been eating his Wheaties, he's huge. Anyways, I got your package, the pants fit, so no worries! The black ones go well with my suit coat and the other ones are sweet! Thanks! The book you sent Dad is awesome. I read it all by Monday. It changed some of the ways I think about missionary work (like inviting non-members to serve with us!) and also made me want to be an awesome member missionary when that day comes. I think your Ward Mission Plan looks awesome, and I know that you and the Bishop will receive revelation to carry it out. Also, I got the new pods, but the new PDM hasn't arrived yet. So if it doesn't come to today I will call and make sure it is coming. Also, could you get some more test strips (not the "Light" kind, just as a reminder) sent out? I'm running low. No worries though, I have tons of the "Light" ones that supposedly don't work (which I used for 2 years).
Well I'm not sure if I included it in my last letter or not but me and my companions are all staying here in Columbia! We love this Branch. We had a really cool experience this weekend with Hermano R. Him and his wife invited a non-member woman, M.E., and her son who is a member. We had a sweet brunch and afterwards we shared a short message with M.E. Both Hermano and Hermana R bore powerful testimonies and the Spirit was super strong. M.E. agreed to allow us to teach her and help her and her family to have more peace and happiness.
So that same day we had virtually no miles left, it was the 31st. So after getting back from our Ward Mission Leader's house we were forced to walk (bikes weren't an option, long story). So we walked around trying to talk to everyone. It was highly ineffective. 8 o clock rolled around and we were getting a little discouraged because we were essentially forced to knock doors at this point. I haven't knocked a door without it being a referral in maybe 5 months or so. But we went to a complex and knocked three doors. On the third one, a Spanish woman answered and invited us in without us saying two words. Her husband was sleeping in the other room but we started talking to M. (Yes another one). She was really friendly and by the time we left we had another appointment set up to eat Tamales and teach her the rest of the Restoration! It was a really amazing miracle to find her.
Yesterday we went on team ups with the Sisters in Hampstead. We visited their investigators, the M's. They have only met with them two or three times but they are really nice. He has two Porshes, one a '66 and the other '95. I got to sit in the '95 for a bit which was sweet. After the lesson, Sister M asked me to say the prayer. I did, and afterwards she looked at me and said that I have the voice of a minister. We all laughed, and then I told her,"Would you believe me if I told you that was the first prayer I've said in English in a couple weeks?" hahah. But yeah, I'll let you know when I start my own Healing Ministry, I've been thinking of a couple different names,"The Great and Spacious Church" is one that comes to mind.
Well I hope you all have a great day! Let me know where Collin is going! We really got the order off when we numbered ourselves, hahah. I love you all!
-Elder Greene

Elder Gundersen went home! (I got to go to transfer meeting because we are in charge of setting up/taking down, considering we live in Columbia) Look for him on campus, Jared!

All the Elder Green(e)'s in the mission!

Today's advice comes from the Nehemiah House Ministry, you heard it kids. Couldn't have said it better without myself!
(Macey informs me that is a movie quote?)