Monday, October 28, 2013

Lots of Fish and Bathroom Remodels

Que pasa Familia Verde!
November is coming quick that's for sure. I was jealous of your 90 degree high for this week, we have been having 60 degree highs and a nice wind chill. Maryland has solidified my testimony of Arizona. Anyways, I get by, hahah. What's everyone being for Halloween? We were just e-mailed by President Richards that we will not be able to proselyte Halloween night. I guess it's too high of a chance of drunk drivers, hitting a little kid in our car, etc. So now me and Elder Greene have to plan out Halloween night... It's going to be a little different from last year when me and Elder Ocasio taught Spanish people who didn't celebrate Halloween in the slums of Virginia. Anyways, crazy that Hayden and Karson are home! I'm sure Hayden could help you out with missionary work in the Higley Groves ward!
So my funny story of the week begins last Monday. We went to Costco just for kicks to see if we wanted to get anything. We roamed around the meat section and Elder Green possibly wanted to buy a salmon (special occasion, he hit 1 year this week). As we debated over buying a $14 salmon, a woman came up and said Hey Elders, are you going to buy that fish? (this may be more common in Utah or Arizona, less common in Maryland.) Long story short, she bought us our 1 lb 4 oz salmon! So Tuesday night, we marinate the salmon with Teriaki sauce and the next day we cook it in the oven and then on the frying pan. 10 oz of salmon each, delicious. The rest of the afternoon we were nice and full of fish, but we still joked about eating more fish, it was really good. Anyways, we get to our member's house to eat at 5 and as soon as we enter the house we had a wave of fish smell hit us. We both looked at each other pumped! They cooked us Mojarra frita or in english, fried Tilapia, scales and all. (I took a pic but forgot my camera today so I'll send it next week). After eating the first one they said, Elders do you want more? We said sure, although we were pretty satisfied (gotta earn trust/win hearts). They gave us each another full tilapia, bigger than the first. Needless to say, it was the most fish I've eaten in one day, haha!
This week we did service for a semi active member, Hermana "C". She's the only woman from Spain that I have met on my mission. We have adapted saying "Vale" and "Como estais?" in our day to day language. Anyways, we knew we were doing service but we didn't know what. We got there and she wanted us to take out and replace the baseboard and fish (?, finish maybe?) the ceiling plaster, hahah. Would you trust me to remodel your bathroom? But after having her sign some liability forms (kidding) we went to work. In the end it didn't look to shabby!
We had a huge miracle with a less active this week, Hermano "V". We had an appointment but we knew that we wouldn't be able to get him to open up if his family was there, so we said a prayer in our hearts as we drove over. The family wasn't there! We had one of the most powerful lessons that I have felt in my mission. The Spirit guided the whole thing and me and Elder Green both left not entirely remembering what we said. But in the end, Hermano "V" set goals to become active in the Church. This was a huge step from when we first met him and he was bitter about the church and it's leaders. I know that with time he will be a wonderful active member.
Well it's been a great week all in all. We had an awesome leadership training and they announced that there has been a 43% increase in missionaries in total, a 54% increase of missionaries serving in the Northeast States and a 120% increase in missionaries in our mission. It's been a wild ride getting that many missionaries, it makes me and Elder Green seem a lot older than we are. (3 missionaries have asked me if I go home this transfer hahah). But I love my mission, and I love the time in which I am serving my mission. The Lord is hastening his work, and I'm so grateful that we as a family can be a part of it. Keep it up!
I love you all,
Elder Greene
PS. I really don't know if I need more clothes. You could send me two or three pairs of socks maybe. Or if you want to make your life easier you could send me money and I could buy things if needed. Anything you don't spend you can put in a jar that says,"Elder Greene's 21 1/2 birthday money- May 15th" hahah because I'll need more stuff then.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Conference Isn't Over, Just Begun

Hey Greene Family!
Sounds like everyone had a busy week! Me too, but that is always a good thing. Yeah Robby's picture could have been from before his mission, hahah, but it's good to hear he is doing well. Hearing about your friends coming home kinda of hits you like, oh yeah, missionaries go home... Hahah. Anyways, sorry you all lost the Championship (Jared, Collin and Trevor)(BYU intramural volleyball), maybe in like two and a half years we could all play on a team and win (Trevor would have to go to law school or something) hahah.
Anyways, it's been a great week. I started the week by going on an exchange on Tuesday. We had some really cool experiences. They found a Jewish man named "A" two weeks ago and since then he has been to church, watched all sessions of General Conference and read parts of the Book of Mormon. He then started praying in the name of Jesus Christ and even said that he now believes in Him. He is an awesome guy and we had the chance to teach him while I was there.
We have been working with a less active family, the "N's", since we got here. They have come to church one time but other than that, no real progress sadly. So this past week we decided to teach them about faith and instead of inviting them to come to church, helping them to do other, smaller commitments. So we went and as we talked about faith/progress the Spirit was really strong. At the end we asked, what is one thing you as a family can do to increase your faith? The youngest girl (she's like 4) said "Go to church!" (Correct "N", 10 points for you) but the other daughter said, "Read our scriptures." We talked about that and the family set a goal to read as a family every night this week! It was a sweet experience and we hope that doing the small things will help them to do the bigger things.
I've been looking over my General Conference notes as well and I'm really excited to read the Ensign with all the talks. Thanks for the quotes and thoughts that you both have sent. One thought I wanted to share came from our Stake President in a meeting we had with him yesterday morning. He said,"General Conference isn't over, General Conference has just begun." How true that is! I've found, especially on my mission, that the 6 months after a session of conference is filled with opportunities to learn from those talks.
Me and Elder Green were given a bag of Masa and we have been making tortillas, pupusas and arepas, it's been pretty fun. I will make you all some delicious Spanish food one day. Also, I make a mean habanero chicken, hahah.

Well time moves scary fast. This weekend they announced a trunk or treat and I thought I heard wrong at first. I didn't realize that October is almost over. I guess I should of noticed seeing as all the leaves are changing colors and I'm always cold (it's only like 55 but I'm a wuss). I asked Elder Green when we could wear coats (he's from Bountiful) and he said December... I guess I will have to man up. Anyways, I am glad you all are doing well and I hope you all have a great week!
Elder Greene
PS To answer two questions a little late, my A1C came in at 8.0, so better, but I'll keep working on it. And my shoe size in Nikes are 11.5, i didn't know so I had to look in my shoes. Oh, and my shirts are doing great, Stafford is boss.
PPS We were in a lesson last night and it was going really well. Our phone started vibrating so I glanced at it real quick and it said President Richards. I didn't answer it because we were in the middle of the lesson but the rest of the lesson I was thinking,"alright either something happened in the Zone, or one of our family members is dead." Hahah, maybe not that extreme but I was just a little anxious. We got out and we listen to the voicemail and it's Elder Rose (my trainer) visiting the mission. It was a bummer I didn't get to talk to him but it was a cool voicemail!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Columbia 3 Branch

Well Columbus really ruined the whole write your family thing yesterday, sorry about that. It has been a crazy day today, we had District Leader Council and then Zone Training this morning and President decided to attend both. Now I'm on exchanges with one of our District Leaders so I may write a shorter letter. Which is a bummer because we had an amazing week! Thanks so much for the quotes and scriptures. Mom, not sure if you knew or not but Alma 29:9 is my mission scripture haha, I love it.
Well Mom and Dad, I know how you feel to send your kids off. Me and Elder Green are empty nesters. But we still keep a framed picture of us three on our counter, hahah. We had a lot of fun activities this week so it kept us from missing Elder Dutson too much. Elder Jones (the vehicle coordinator) asked us to test drive the new 2014 Chevy Cruzes; it was weird being in a car by myself! Afterwards Elder Jones wanted to buy us lunch for our "service" hahah. Another fun thing we did was pick up a families new arm chairs, love seat and couch... while it was pouring rain (Maryland pouring rain is quite different from Arizona). It was an adventure! Last thing that made me laugh was my carb counting class my doctor told me to go to. It was me, my companion, and like 3 old black women in the class. I didn't have too many questions, but boy did these women have some high level questions. "How bout watuhmelon? Is that good to eat?" or "How many carbs does shellfish have?-response None- Oh ok, yeah I don't like shellfish." and finally "My A1C was 11, is that a good level?" (Not Zach's A1C!!) Needless to say, the Carb Class held my interest about as long as Ms. W's math class. (probably should delete that last sentence)
Anyways, Elder Green and I have seen so many miracles this week! We went over to visit "D" with a member last week and he has been praying and read the introduction and first chapter of Nephi. He wants to know if it is true! We had a powerful lesson and afterward the member was ecstatic. He knew "D" when he was basicallly anti-religion and to see him change from that to now is just incredible.
We went to visit the "C"'s and after dinner we asked if they had watched General Conference. Hermano "C" just lit up and talked about all his favorite talks and speakers. He went on for 20 minutes straight of how much he loved President Monson and President Uchtdorf. It was so amazing. He asked about prophets a little bit more and we talked about the Restoration once more. It was then that the Restoration really clicked for Hermana "C" (who is less active). It was a miracle visit.
All in all the work is going amazing here in the Columbia 3 Branch. 9 people have been reactivated since July and we are teaching 4 part member families right now! (Not counting our other investigators) The Lord has been blessing us a ton and I am just loving my mission.
Well I'm going to finish up and send some pictures. I love you all!
-Elder Greene  

In Living Memory of Elder Dutson

Saying Goodbye to my son...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Stick With the Honey Baked Ham

Buenos Dias!
Conference is the best. I'm jealous you all got to go and be there! There were so many amazing talks and I know that those men (and women) who gave talks are called of God. I think one of my favorite talks was President Uchtdorf's "Come, Join With Us" talk (not sure if that's what it will be called, but just guessing). Elder Dube's talk got me pumped and Elder Vinson's talk was the closest I've come to watching Harry Potter on my mission. Oh and Priesthood session I sat in the same row as Dennis Pitta. All in all, great conference with a lot of focus on missionary work!
Well I guess you're wondering about transfers. Given my track record there was little hope... But the Lord needs me for at least 1 more here in Columbia! So me and Elder Green are both staying, and Elder Dutson is going to West Baltimore to finish training. Although we are sad to say goodbye to our son, we realize that he needs to leave the nest. They grow up so fast. Despite our sadness, Elder Green and I are pumped to stay for another together! Elder Green was extra nervous because this past week was his birthday and he received 20 lbs of food from his family, non transportable really. His birthday was over the top, his parents sent him an 8 lb Honey Baked Ham and enough sweets to put me in the hospital. (Don't worry I did not partake, although I have eaten a lot of ham)
Speaking of food, so I have been doing pretty well with my special diet. Hispanics love meat so they're glad to cook it for us. One memorable meal this week was birthday lunch for Elder Green. We went to the H's, an awesome family that's slowing coming back to church. She decided to cook us pork skin tacos. The pork skin was boiled in lard. I won't say to much about the experience but let's just say, stick with honey-baked ham.
We had a way cool miracle this week. We texted a less active, JC, if we could come over and see him and his mom (active). He said, "Nah, I'm at my cousins house. Want to come here?" Well let me think about that JC, yes I think we can fit it in. We sped as fast as our car-monitoring Tiwi would allow to his cousins house. We got there and recognized the house, it was a less active we had never gotten in with. We went in and sat with JC and his cousin J. JC told his cousin that J's dad is a member, J was really surprised, he thought his dad was Catholic. So J decided he wants to learn more! We're going over tomorrow night! Super awesome miracle.
Another tender mercy was with Hermano "V". He has been less active for years but over the past 3 months or so we have developed a really good relationship. This week he wanted help at the court, he needed translation to get out of jury duty (can't be on a jury if you don't speak english...). So we went and translated, it took a short time but after he took us to breakfast. As we talked at breakfast he opened up about why he doesn't come to church and how he knows he needs to change. It was really amazing to see how the Spirit worked on him. We hope to be able to help him back to activity this transfer.
Well I guess I better close. Thanks so much for your prayers. I know that this Church is the Church of Jesus Christ! I love you all!
Elder Greene
PS. Yeah I forgot to talk about the BYU stuff last letter. That's a bummer that I have to reapply, but hey, I probably should've focused more in college. At least Jared will know what not to do. Let me know what I need to start doing and I'll get on it.

Ever swept the carpet? Just cleaning up Elder Green's exploding birthday package.

These are the faces we would  make if we were singing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Greetings from the Greene(s) family.  Could be a future Christmas card.