Monday, May 5, 2014

See you on Thursday!

Hello Greene Family,
Welp see you on Thursday. I was tempted to stop my letter right there but I guess I will finish with a good one, hahah. Still doesn't feel real!
So this week was pretty awesome. I went to a lot of specialized trainings in the first part of the week for the Spanish Elders. I stayed with the Frederick Elders for two days, Elder Green and Elder Hitchcock. So the first morning I woke up and I had a cold and my voice was all deep and raspy. So on the way to specialized training, we had driven about a mile or so when we stopped at the intersection but there was a mini van just stopped in the middle. Rain was coming down really hard and all the cars were honking at the woman in the van. Well we parked at the gas station and ran out to push her, she was out of gas. The rain got going so hard and by the time we got the car to the gas station we were soaked from head to toe! The woman got out and thanked us, just as I was about to give her a card she asks what ward we are in. Hahah, she's a member. Pretty cool. Even though I was wet and sick, it was such a rewarding moment. After our meeting we got back and ate dinner quick to go help a woman move. So once again we went out into the rain and carried furniture through the rain. I loved it, especially being with two former companions.
So ever since I served in Baltimore East as my first area I had this dream of being able to serve there again my last couple transfers. Obviously that didn't happen. However, the last area that President wanted me to go to this past week ended up being Baltimore East. It was so awesome. I got to see a lot of old friends, including Felix. It was a blast. The first day our plans got shook up and so I felt inspired to go out to Essex and try Rina, who I taught a year and a half ago. We went and she and her sons let us right in. We had a really good visit and she agreed to listen to the Elders again! 
On Sunday the Gospel Principles teacher didn't show up so Vicente turns to me and asks if I can give the class, 2 minutes before it starts. Hahah, classic Alameda Branch. So I winged teaching about Priesthood. We all took pictures after church, I am going to miss them all a lot.
Well Family, I don't really feel like I'm actually going to see you this week. But I'm excited nonetheless! I have learned so much from my mission. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and that He loves us. 
See ya soon!
Elder Greene

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bed Bugs Are NOT a Myth!

Well hello there,

You all are trunky messes, but I forgive you. Thanks for the letters, I really enjoyed hearing about Jared and Dad's testimonies and Mom's experience with prayer.

This week was crazy! I think I say that every week but maybe that is just me. So my first exchange I get to Winchester at 9pm, that next morning we find a bed bug on the wall next to Elder Zander's bed. (Terrible timing for an exchange). For those of you who thought bed bugs were a myth and it's just something clever you mention when you go to bed, you are wrong. Just finding one is an epidemic. So we proceeded to move all of the furniture and beds (we found like 4 more). We packed all of the clothes in the whole apartment (including my things) and dried it on high heat. We set off two fumigation cans in two different rooms. We sprayed all the baseboards with bug killer and sprayed again in the bedroom. We sprayed virtually everything with isopropyl alcohol. We even caulked the walls for cracks and holes. I'm not going to lie, it was kinda stressful. But I was pretty confident that I was bed bug free.

Despite the amount of pest controlling, we had a great team up. There was a funeral for Brad Hoke's grandpa (Brad Hoke served in Trevor's mission) and all the missionaries, both Spanish and English, were asked to be the Pallbearers. Well there were seven and when I got there the Bishop (who I know pretty well) said that I would be the eighth. It was a really cool experience. Several times during the service the speaker spoke about how missionaries are representatives of Jesus Christ. How fitting that 8 representatives of Him are the ones carrying this man's casket. The Spirit was amazing.

I went to Braddock Heights in Frederick after that. We had so much fun. We went to a BBQ hosted by a counselor in the Stake Presidency, President Olsen. We had 10 missionaries or so there and a lot of non-members. We all ate in a big barn. At the end, all the missionaries sang Called to Serve and Families Can Be Together Forever with a Hawaiian guy accompanying on a Ukulele. The Spirit was so strong and I know a lot of the non-members were feeling it. 

Life is great! Still hasn't really hit me that I come home in 10 days (thanks for the number crunch on that one Dad). I love you all! 

Elder Greene

PS So I'm not sure if Sister Pascoe already emailed it to you but I arrive in the Phoenix Airport on Thursday at 12:45 PM from what I can tell. I have a layover in Minnesota (no I won't be calling you during that time) and I will be traveling with another missionary from AZ. Also, yeah if you could order insulin to be sent to the house that would be perfect. I have one vial left and I am using it. So pretty much don't have to worry about extra!

PPS What am I speaking on for my homecoming talk? I wouldn't mind planning a couple days in advance... but if you don't know then I'll just wing it hahah

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Greene Family!
Such a great weekend. I hope you all enjoyed your Easter as well. I got to color some eggs this week with a part member less active family and it was a blast. We shared "Because of Him" with them (as well as 10 other families) and the Spirit was awesome. We also got to go to a choir event called "An Easter Cantata" and it was awesome as well. More on that later.
So this week I was in Martinsburg, West Virginia. I have never served in that zone but I feel like I've been on enough exchanges up there to be a true red neck. We tried by a former investigator, "E", this week and when we knocked on the door a small old man came to the door. He invited us right in and at first seemed just like your average old West Virginian man. But after a couple minutes he goes into how all the animals are being mistreated and how they need help. Then he explained how we need to invite the Pope to come to America and "bless all the animals, and the humans." So we decided to invite him to the Easter Celebration and head out. Turns out that in one of the last lessons that the previous elders had taught him he brought up how we need to kill all the vampires and then chop of Satan's head. Good idea "E".
Earlier this week we went to visit a part member family. The father served a mission but hasn't been back to church really since his mission. The mother and the 14 year old son aren't members. Well we were visiting with the father and son and all of a sudden we were talking about the son's spiritual life. We started talking about what he believed as far as religion and God. The Spirit was super strong and I could tell that the whole conversation was guided by Him. The biggest miracle was when the father even said that he would support his son in taking the discussions! It was really amazing and the son even came to church with his grandpa this past Sunday!
We went to visit a less active family this week and the husband was laying on his stomach on the couch, and he couldn't move. He had just figured out that he had compacted discs in his spine and that his pelvis is off center, so the doctors are trying to rotate it slowly, but it's really painful. So he said we could give him a blessing. We did and talked to them about some neighbors that they invited to go to the Easter Cantata. Well we left and that night we went to the Easter Cantata. Just before it starts this brother walks in slowly with his walker! He said he felt better. It was a really cool experience with the power of the priesthood.
I am loving every week of my mission! This week I will be in Winchester and Frederick with some English speaking elders, so should be pretty fun! Sorry for the shorter letter but hey, like mom said, you already got like a 100 of these things. Hahah
Have a great week!
Elder Greene
PS I met Ty Olsen's uncle in Martinsburg this week. He's the Elders Quorom President and his name is Brother Selman. Funny stuff.

My Eggs (Coincidentally, Macey made an egg exactly like his Spiderman egg)

Our Aprons: Me, Elder Allsop and Elder Peacock (awesome missionaries)


Monday, April 14, 2014

I'm A Real Missionary!

Well hello again,

I start off with a shout out to Connor, Oh hey. Anyways, can't believe how fast this past week went. Kinda made me have a mini panic attack. I think a lot about the quote from Ferris Bueler that Dad used in his testimony. "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around every once in a while, you might miss it." So I've been trying to "look around" a lot. I have been having a blast.

This week I was in Annapolis and then with Frederick Spanish. Most of my letter will be comprised of my visit in Annapolis.

Funny stories to start, so we are doing service for a family, just raking and doing yard work. Well a woman from the ward drives up and sees us working. She doesn't recognize me and she asks if I'm in their ward now. I said, no I'm just visiting. She then asks, oh well what ward are you in then? I reply that I don't have an assigned ward, but that I live in Savage Mill. Her facial expression changes and she says, Oh! That's great! There is a boy in our ward who has some special challenges, he should really look into doing something like that! (I'm trying not to smile) I say, yeah that would be great! Then Elder Park (one of the missionaries I was with) says, Oh he's a real missionary Sister so-and-so! She hastily replies, Oh I know! Of course he is! After she went inside we all busted up laughing.

Same day we are walking into a neighborhood on a sketchier side of town. Well several weeks previously the Elders were pulled over in this neighborhood because the cop thought that they were either buying, selling, or trafficking drugs. (I guess when you walk in and out of apartment buildings you look real suspicious) Well we we're in this neighborhood for 15-20 minutes and when we turn back to go out and walk to our car, there is a cop car at the end of the street. Elder Park wasn't looking forward to passing this cop because it was the same one who had given him a pat-down the week before. Well we walked by and the cop stopped us. He asked us some questions about who we were visiting and then asked the same questions a different way to see if we would mess up. Well he finally said, so you two are the real deal then huh? And let us go. So not only was I confused for being special needs, but also a drug dealer. Oh the life of a missionary!

We visited a less active woman on the records the night before. She came to the door some what friendly, but I wouldn't say overjoyed to see the missionaries. Instead of trying to slam her with the Gospel we just talked to her and then asked if we could help do her yard work. She looked at us differently and said she would love that. She then began to cry. Through some tears she explained that just a couple hours previously she had been calling different places to get an estimate to do her yard work. All of them had said over a $1000, which wasn't in her budget. She told us she knew that God had sent us. It was really cool. Plus we only charged her $600, so we totally gave her a steal. (Just kidding)

I finished the week with Elder Green and Elder Hitchcock. It was a good time. Going to church with them was great and I got to see all the members that I loved.

Well this week I will be in Martinsburg West Virginia. Should be a nice little drive tonight, hahah. Praying for me to drive safely is always appreciated!

I love you all, good luck with school, work, and whatever else you have got going on!

Elder Greene

PS So I thought you weren't going to sell the house, but now you are? Not a big deal to me, just curious. Also, I'm pumped we're going to Canada! That's going to be way sweet. You are right, it doesn't matter where you go as long as we're together. And as long as Canada is warm this time of year, hahah just messing. Oh and we can save a bunch of money if Jared just uses all my mission stuff! He can use my shoes, shirts, garments, etc. hahah, joking.

Actually that reminds me, do you care if I trash my sheets (not the home-made blanket) and my dirty shirts before I leave? I assume not but let me know.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Terrible Joke, President!

Oh hey!

Thank you for the letters and conference quotes! I loved General Conference so much. By the end of the Priesthood Session I was just shaking with excitement and energy. I learned so much and I set some goals to become better from the counsel given. Some of my favorite talks were Elder Nelson's, Elder Oak's, and Elder Ridd's. But of course they're all amazing.

Sorry the nice tile is too expensive mom. Maybe you could get some dark green shag carpet?

So on Tuesday, President messaged out to the mission,"We will have a special meeting on April 11th to pick up your iPads!" For 3 minutes everyone in the apartment was going nuts. Then I stopped and said, oh no, it's April Fools day. I texted President,"If this is some kind of cruel April Fools joke I will need to see Kyle Oswald." (He's the guy who helps with depressed missionaries) He texted back,"Well then I will send you his number so you can schedule an appointment." Terrible joke President.

Well this week was a blur of exchanges and long car rides. Elder Despain and I left on Monday night after some office work. We drove for 3 and a half hours to get to Petersburg, WV, the most western area of the mission.

To put it frankly, Petersburg is redneck. I was meeting people with names such as Peanut or Buckshot quite frequently. It was a blast. My favorite part was eating dinner with a recent convert and her recently reactivated husband. They started dinner off by playing us a little song on their fiddle and harmonica. Then we ate bread, potatoes, and shiner (water) for dinner. We taught a short lesson and then we went outside and raked leaves. All of this took place in a little house in the middle of a West Virginian forest. Kinda different from Ellicott City, hahah.

From Petersburg we went to Winchester. I went with the Spanish Elders and we had a great time. It was weird going back to my old apartment. Your Christmas tree and mini ping pong table are still in the closet, hahah. We saw a lot of members that are close friends, including Hermana "G" and a guy I knew named "R". One of the coolest parts of the exchange was visiting "E". I had been teaching her a little over a year ago and we went and talked to her on her doorstep. We couldn't go inside because her husband wasn't home, but it was a great beginning to have the Elders start to teach her again. 

On Sunday morning we drove back to Columbia and ate brunch with the Richards. We then watched the morning session of conference. President told us to split up in Columbia for the night (which usually we don't do team-ups on Sunday nights). So I went out with the Columbia Spanish Elders. At like 7, we were walking and I saw a less active that I recognized. I called out his name and we started talking to him. He hasn't been seen in like 6 months because he moved but we didn't know where he moved. So we got his address and the Elders are going back there this week! I love how God puts us in the right path at the right time.

Well, I'm excited for another week of adventure. I'm just loving life out here in the MBM. Love ya!

Elder Greene

PS Got the pods, thanks!

PPS I think I'm just going to stop sending picture so that you'll have more to look at when I get home. Hahah

Monday, March 31, 2014

2 Weeks Packed in One

Good morning Greene Family,
Thanks mom for sending a letter even though you had a late night with my classes! I appreciate it and thanks for finding good teachers too. Well this week was difficult but rewarding. Transfers and picking up missionaries seemed like one week and exchanges seemed like another week, all packed in one, hahah.
So Tuesday we go to the airport with the Richards. While we wait for the missionaries to arrive we talk to people around the airport. Elder Shaw (an office assistant) and I sat and talked to a Russian physicist named "M". He was nice but he had to run off, we stayed in our seats and a spanish guy sits down! I was just giddy seeing as how I hadn't seen a spanish person the whole time at the airport thus far. So I started talking to him, his name is "J", and he is a chemist/pharmacist from Monterrey Mexico. We talked for like 20 minutes about God and life. He told me he lives 3 blocks from a LDS chapel! So I invited him to go. If I ever go to Monterrey I'm looking him up hahah.
Shortly after the new missionaries arrive and we go back to the mission home and eat dinner with them. We have a testimony meeting and President interviews them while we get to know them/answer their questions. Then after all that is done, they go to bed and we talk with President about who will train who. Pretty cool! I'll tell you what though, I got home and felt like we had just been working all day, hahah.
The next day was transfers and we get up early to eat breakfast with the new missionaries and take them through more training at the church. After it was over, Elder Despain and I went to Annapolis with some Elders on exchanges.
On Friday we went to Baltimore on another exchange. I went to my first area, Baltimore east. Right off the bat we go to visit a non member man named "H" in the hospital. I kinda knew him when I was here because he lives with members and we always said hi. Well "H" had some heart failure and had lost a lot of weight, so we went to give him a blessing. It was an emotional experience for him. He told us he thinks he should be leaving in a couple days.
That night during planning Elder Donoso said he felt like we needed to go back to "H" the next day. I wasn't exactly convinced (it's a little ride by bus and that can take a lot of time out of your day) but I said why not. So the next day we went to "H" again. He got emotional again when he saw us and expressed that he had a lot of regrets and wants to change. We shared some thoughts with him and then the Dr walks in, with a translator. I recognize the translator as a recent convert from the Jones Falls ward, kinda crazy considering Johns Hopkins is massive. Anyways the doctor then proceeds to tell "H" that he has days, possibly weeks to live. It was pretty sad, but it would have been much more sad if we hadn't been there to give him a little bit of support. It's amazing how God guides us through his Holy Ghost.
Well thankfully Baltimore wasn't all sad experiences, I got to see a lot of members that I hadn't seen in a long time. Also I saw Felix (which explains the picture) and Davonte. Between the missionaries I was with and all the members I think I recieved the butt end of at least 50 going home jokes. I had my fair share of old companions and it was a lot more fun to make the jokes than recieve them, hahah. Oh well.
Well, I hope you all have a great week. Hopefully Spring comes in April.
Elder Greene
PS That's a funny April Fools joke about Makinsey getting married mom. hahah Just kidding. Crazy stuff!

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Spirit Helped Me Forget

Dear Greene Family,

Thanks again for the letters. It was really sad to hear that Travis Williams died. He was one of my favorite young mens leaders growing up. Please let the Williams family know how grateful I am for them and for Travis. I'm so grateful to have a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation and that we can all be together again someday.

Well it was a crazy week with transfers! We spent a good while organizing transfers. Elder Despain and I are staying together and we will continue to travel the mission. It's funny, I actually like sleeping on my little roll out mat more than the mattress at the apartment. Also, I have ton of energy these days! I am having a ton of fun.

This week I started in Hagerstown with the spanish Elders there. We had a really good exchange and at the end of it we had a really cool miracle. We decided to go to Hancock on the Pennsylvania side (finally got to go the only area in the mission that covers Pennsylvania!) and try a family that came to church two Sundays previously. Well we got there and they weren't there and wouldn't answer their phones. So we started heading back but then the family called us back! They said we could come over! So we went and had a great lesson with them and they are all investigating the church now! They have a ton of questions and are really prepared. 

From Hagerstown I went to Charlestown. I was at both of these areas at the beginning of the transfer by the way. So when I got with these Elders we saw the man that we had found together 5 weeks previously, "A". Well he has been progressing a ton and he was super excited to see me. He kept asking me to stay in Charlestown for a couple weeks, hahah. We ended up watching part of the Restoration with him and his friend "T" right there in the store, during business hours haha. I wish I could have taken a picture.

The next day we went and visited with a less active woman named Hna "Z". Well I didn't know she was less active when we went in, I had forgotten to ask (but I think that was the Spirit that helped me forget). We started talking about her kids who are veteran Marines and college students and she really opened up about her trials. Well I felt directed to read Alma 7:11-12 about the Atonement. We testified of the power of the Atonement and how it is able to heal our pains. It really touched her. We left and the Elders tell me that she has been less active since last year since her husband died. It was a really cool experience with the Spirit, and I hope that this will be the first step for her to come back into activity.

Last night I went to a Porque Yo Creo (Why I Believe) in Frederick. It was really fun to see a lot of friends, both missionaries and members. I saw Marcos too. It's amazing how many relationships you build on the mission, I really am grateful for all the friends I've been able to make.

Well I love you and I hope you have a great week. Pray that your sunshine is spread to Maryland because supposedly it might snow tomorrow... Crazy.

Elder Greene

PS I will send a separate email in a bit with the classes I would be good with taking. Hahah this will be interesting.

Monday, March 17, 2014

3 Kingdoms and Smart Kids

Hola (or should I say Aloha for Macey?)

Thanks a bunch for the letters. I'm glad everyone made it back from their various vacation spots. Funny to compare Macey relaxing on the beach while the boys are all skiing in Utah. Hahah. Speaking of snow, Maryland seems to think it's still Winter. Either that or it's trying to decide, because one day this week was 75 and two days later it was 19. 

This week was different. Well I guess every week is different when you don't actually have an assigned area. Elder Despain and I started in Cumberland and Lavale this week. Which means last Monday I drove 140 miles across the mission. It was a fun little road trip. While there we had an awesome exchange with two sets of missionaries. I really did have a miracle with these missionaries but I kinda feel like the details are a little personal so maybe I'll have to tell you all in person one day.

When I was with them we went to visit a less active family. We were going to teach the 8 and 6 year old daughters, specifically. It was going pretty well until we got to the 3 kingdoms part. We explained that we all wanted to go live with Heavenly Father in the "Sun Kingdom" or the Celestial Kingdom. The 6 year old daughter gets a confused look and says, "Why would we want to live there? We'll all burn! There's not even any water there!" Hahaha. It was fun trying to explain how it's not a literal sun... Then we explain how the Moon Kingdom is the Terrestrial Kingdom and the Star Kingdom is the Telestial Kingdom. Now the 8 year old daughter looks confused. She says, but the moon isn't as bright as the stars, shouldn't it be worse than the stars? Her mom explained that the moon is definitely more bright than the stars. But the daughter said,"No, the moon doesn't even have any light, it just reflects the suns light!" Hahah, crazy how smart kids can be these days.

During the last part of the week I went with Elder Dutson and his companion, while Elder Despain went with english Elders in Martinsburg who live with Elder Dutson. Well after about an hour of being separated from Elder Despain he calls me and says that he just threw up a ton and I need to come babysit him. So pretty much all of Saturday and most of Sunday I spent in the apartment going almost insane. Somehow I've never had to stay in on my mission for sickness and let me tell you, I'm grateful. I was bored out of my mind. I couldn't even  make phone calls because I don't have an area. But in the end, Elder Despain healed up and we got to go out Sunday night.

This week will be interesting. The next two days we will be in the office a lot with President working on Transfers. Kind of exciting though! I'm pretty positive I will be staying in my current position this last transfer coming up, just in case you were wondering.

Well I hope you all are ready to go back to school and work, hahah. Have a great week, I love you!

Elder Greene

PS Mom is there a way you can send me just 10 pods? I'm going to be like 2 pods short when I leave but I don't to get like 50 and have to transport them all... Let me know.

PPS Hawaii huh? Hmm I'll see if I can fit you in my schedule but I'll let you know. Hahahah

PPPS Any word on if you're moving before or after May 8th? Just curious.

Mire Este Chancho (roughly translated? "look at this pig"

Just south of Lavale is the smelliest paper plant, had to take a picture!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pro Mover


I think I'm just going to start emailing every other week because I feel like I email you all everyday. Hahah, just kidding, mom would kill me. Anyways, sounds like you all are really having some rough times! Disneyland, Hawaii (note: just Macey not the rest of us), ski trips, volleyball matches, and birthdays! I had a good week too! 

I started my week with the big move! Considering this is the third apartment I've had to pack, move and clean, I'm getting pretty pro at it. Despite my talent, I really don't like moving until it's over. Then it feels great. Anyways, we spent all of Monday and Tuesday doing the move. I do like the new apartment a lot, however, I only sleep there 1-2 nights a week. Hahah. The address is 7511 Weather Worn st Columbia, MD 21048 But maybe double check the zip code.

On Wednesday we did a meeting with all the new missionaries and their trainers. It went really well and afterwards I got to go with the Spanish Elders in Frederick. And they just happen to be some of my greatest friends in the mission! Elder Green and Elder Hitchcock! It was a delightful reunion, we had a lot of laughs. Ex: I found one of those little poppers that you pull the string and they pop and shoot out streamers in the back seat. So while we were parked, I said, "Does that guy behind us have a gun??" and shot off the popper. They both freaked out hahaha. I guess they were both scarred from serving in Baltimore.

One of the first people we went to visit was Hermano "A"! He is now attending church regularly and wants to go back to the temple! We had a great lesson with him. He still fights with a lot of the same struggles he used to have, but I can tell he's made a lot of progress since I last saw him. Later that night we went on splits with branch members. I got to go with R. F., who was one of my best friends from Frederick. We went and tried to see the people we were assigned to see but no luck. So he brought me to one of his friends and we set an appointment in the door and then I told him, let's go visit Brother "C". Well Brother "C" was busy but really excited to see me and Brother "F" so we sat for 5-10 minutes and he agreed to having the Elders come by again! Some good tender mercies that night. We ended up eating dinner with the "F's" later that week because Hermano "F" wouldn't let me leave until we had all eaten some carne asada together again. Hahah

Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of the week was going to temple on Saturday! I had missed going, the Spirit there is amazing. And the newest video was amazing! 

After the temple we went to Brooklyn Park in South Baltimore for our last exchange. We ended up getting there right in time for a wedding of a recently activated member. It was hilarious. Everyone there was from the Philippines. I kept hearing phrases that I could understand because of Spanish. Kinda crazy. But the food was amazing, they even brought a 57 lb pig for us all to eat. Elder Latu, my favorite Elder who is straight out of Tonga, ate more than I thought humanly was possible. It was fun and afterwards I got to go teach people in the hood so you couldn't ask for a better day.

I got word this morning that the "R" family in Columbia 3rd branch is doing great and that "S" will most likely be baptized the end of the month or beginning of next! So awesome to hear about. Hopefully I will be attending a couple baptisms these next couple months!

I love you all! Stay safe in your various fun activities!

Elder Greene

Mom I hope you had an amazing birthday. I can't believe you are 29 already. Hahah. But seriously, I'm so grateful for an awesome mom who showed me how to live the Gospel. I have worked with several missionaries these past couple weeks who really don't have a mom who supports them. Thank you for all you have sacrificed for me, I love you!

Monday, March 3, 2014

ROUS's and Hip Hop Chicken

Que honda Familia Verde?
Welp I almost wasn't going to be able to write you because there was a big snow storm last night/this morning, plus my companion is sick like a dog. But I'm here! I'll try and write a good letter in the short time I have. Thank you for the thought mom, I really liked it. It was awesome to hear you recount what happened at the Celebration/Dedication! I actually had my recommend renewed this week by President Richards, we may be going to the temple this Saturday.
First off, happy birthday Mom and Jared! Due to lack of time, I'll focus more on your birthdays next week. But I'll be thinking about ya!
This week I started in Columbia with some English Zone leaders and then got to go back to Baltimore and stomp around the streets of West Baltimore. I had a great time. It was pretty weird to be back there again. I even got to see Felix for a half hour. During the teamup I told the Elders I had a goal to see a big Baltimore rat again. We looked down alleys as we crossed streets and finally I saw one on the last night I was with them, hahah. They are like ROUS's in Princess Bride. On the way out of Baltimore Elder Despain and I wanted to grab something to eat. We decided on Hip Hop Chicken, the greatest of all fried chicken places. Well we parked a little ways off and got our food. When we came back we had a tow truck about to pull away with our car. Well we had to pay him $165 in cash to drop us (better than $330 if he had taken us to the pound). I think in another time I would have been frustrated with it but I really just wasn't too affected by it. Yeah I lost $80, but in the big scheme of things it's really not something to fuss over. Elder Despain and I joked that each chicken tender was worth about $10 hahah.
On Saturday we had a Spanish Zone Conference. Essentially every Spanish missionary, plus several stake leaders and President was there. For three hours I got to lead a discussion on the things going well/not well in the Spanish Branchs. It was a great meeting and it was really cool to see all the spanish missionaries in one place. I feel like they are all my brothers! I talked to the Charlestown Elders and they said "A" is progressing a ton, which was really cool to hear. Also, Hermana Tinti, a new Hermana in Columbia, told me they went to the "C's" and Hermano "C" said he is ready to be baptized! So hopefully he will have a date this week!
After the meeting we go to get lunch and as we are getting back into our car with the Annapolis Spanish Elders, a man says,"Hey you boys have dessert yet?" I looked up and saw a bigger guy with a mustache and his small son. I responded,"No we haven't" and he took a box of Girl Scout Somoa cookies and tossed them to me. We thanked him and I asked him what his name was and he responded,"Mike Ditka, football coach." And he got in his car. We died laughing as we got in our car, hahah. Sadly, I don't think it was actually Mike Ditka, but he sure did look a lot like him!
So my last teamup was with those two Spanish Elders in Annapolis. We had a really cool experience where we really were running out of plans and so we tried one more house. A man answered the door and told us that the person we were looking for didn't live there anymore. As he was closing his door I asked him if I could use his bathroom (I really didn't have to go that bad but hey, you gotta get in somehow). He said sure and we all walked in. Well in between me and the two other Elders using their one bathroom one by one, we had a good little discussion going! We talked for 10 more minutes and by the end of it they were really interested in hearing more and have an appointment this week with the Elders! It was a really cool tender mercy.
Well all is well! Tomorrow we are moving and Wednesday we are instructing at a new trainee/trainer meeting. After that, who knows? Hahah. I love you all and I hope you have a great week!
Elder Greene

Monday, February 24, 2014

Blessed With Charity

Greene Family,
Como estais vosotros? Hahah. Wow it's been a blur of a week but I feel like I packed a month into 1 week. Sounds like your week was pretty crazy too! The temple dedication sounds so amazing. Brother Smith sent me some pictures of all the youth practicing, crazy how much they all grow up!
To answer some questions, yeah we do a lot of driving! I drove about 800 miles this past week. It's kinda like going on a surprise vacation to Disneyland but instead of going on rides we teach people the Gospel in the middle of West Virginia. Also, to answer Dad's question, we have little roll out pads like the ones we use for camping. I learned after 3 days of that that you need to be creative to be comfortable. So lately my new thing is to find couch cushions and put them under the pad, sleep like a baby.
So this week we started out in Hagerstown West Virginia. I was with two awesome Spanish missionaries. We had a good time and did lots of service but after 2 days I went to Martinsburg because of some disobedience issues going on there. So I got to be with another set of Elders for 24 hours. Being with them really taught me about how we as traveling assistants are called to preach the gospel to not just non-members but also to missionaries. Sometimes we struggle to understand a certain doctrine, or haven't developed a testimony of that doctrine and we need help to learn it. As we learn, our testimony grows. Well we had a good talk and the missionary that is struggling is making progress. I really felt that God blessed me with Charity during this week because I can honestly say I love all of the missionaries I was with this week.
From Martinsburg I went to Charlestown. Charlestown used to be part of my area in Winchester but they just seperated it into two areas. So I came with Elder Reber and Elder Bradshaw for two days to help them with starting a new area. We saw some amazing miracles! They weren't sure how to find the Spanish people so I said, let's go look for a tienda latina (latin store?). So we went to where I thought I saw one like a year ago and when we got there we found two. We walked into one and found a guy named "J". He was really nice and I asked him if he knew a man with a tiger tattoo (because I taught him a year ago in Charlestown but I forgot his name). He said he did, his name is "T" and he works next door! Hahah, so yeah I remembered his name was "T" and the Elders are going to look for him this week! Anyways, after talking to "J", we went across the street to the other store and found "A". We walked in and started speaking Spanish and he was blown away. He asked us if we were taught since we were kids and Elder Reber convinced him he was from Mexico before admitting that we are from Arizona (he went to Gilbert high school). Well the whole Spanish thing really opened it up and we taught him right there and gave him a pamphlet to read. I found out yesterday that he read the whole thing! So prepared, he has a wife and 4 kids too.
After Charlestown I actually went to Winchester. It was trippy being in an area where I've served. Shortly after arriving, one of the Elders, Elder Johnson, started throwing up, etc. So we dropped him off with angelic members and me and Elder Ayon went to work. Elder Ayon is from Baja California Mexico and is one of my favorite missionaries hahah. We taught several people that I used to visit back in the day, including "H&M", Hermano "R" the Cuban, and the "A" family. It was great to see them all. The next day was Sunday and Elder Johnson was still messed up so Elder Despain stayed with him and I went with Elder Ayon to Winchester and Shenandoah Wards. I saw a lot of old friends, the "B's", the "D's", and Hna "G". I even had the honor of translating Relief Society, which I haven't done for a while. Let me tell you, it was much easier after a year more of experience! Hahah
All in all we saw a bunch of miracles this past week. I really enjoy working with missionaries and just loving them. I know this new assignment is helping me to grow and I'm so grateful for the opportunities that Heavenly Father has given me. I love you all and I hope you all have a great week!
Elder Greene


Me and Hermano "R"

Elder Reber & me, Gilbert buddies

Me & Elder Bradshaw, he's brand new and he's hilarious!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Back to "Home"

Happy President's Day Greene Family,

Normally I wouldn't be able to e-mail you today but now I am in the mission office on Monday mornings so I won't ever really miss a Monday! Hahah. I'm so pumped about Jared's call! It's going to be so much fun to speak Spanish together. Except I need to maintain it after the mission, hahah. Also, I'm feeling a lot better. Last Monday I only ate Saltines and water and I lost like 7 lbs. But the next day I felt better and a member surprised me by making us pork fat and cactus as a going away meal. So my stomach got pushed to recovery real quick! Thanks for the prayers, I felt them.

So yeah this week has been a blur of craziness. So to explain better, there are two assistants who have an area in Savage Mill/Laurel, Elder Steed and Elder Shaw. They handle more of the office stuff and zone conferences. Then there is me and my companion, Elder Despain, who I flew out with. We're all great friends and we all live together. Basically Elder Despain and I have a meeting with President and we decide where we will go for the week, then on Sundays we come back to Savage Mill and eat dinner with President and his family. Then on Monday we start it over again. It keeps you on your toes and I love it! Most of the time I will work with Spanish missionaries, but occasionally with English as well. The weirdest part about it is not having an area. I knelt down on Wednesday night to say my prayer before bed but then I stopped and asked Elder Despain,"Wait! Who do I pray for then??" Hahah, kinda joking, but it's different, let me tell ya.

So yeah the first night as an assistant it snowed like crazy! We were in Savage Mill and there was about 14 inches of snow when we woke up. So we basically worked all day shoveling and getting rid of snow around cars in the neighborhood, because we couldn't drive and do an exchange. We met a bunch of cool people from doing service and hopefully the other assistants can teach them this week!

After the snow calmed a bit, we were given the assignment to work with the brand new Columbia 3 Spanish Sisters. They are both new sisters to the mission (thankfully they know Spanish) and they had no idea on how to get anywhere. So, me knowing a thing or two about Columbia 3, were assigned to be their tour guides. Well they didn't have any plans because they didn't know anything so we all got in the car and I started taking them to everyone I knew, hahah. A lot of the members were really excited to see Sisters. (and me of course, hahah) I got to eat dinner with Marcos and visit the "C's" as well as visit with the "F's" and "N's" (just to name some). The Sisters seemed less deer in the headlights after all was said and done, which was good. During that time we slept at the Elders apartment (the one I just barely moved out of) and 1 Elder would come with us each day. On Sunday we went to an english ward because President said if I went to the branch I would hog too much attention, hahah.

This week should be tons of fun and I woke up this morning with a ton of energy because I just want to go out and work! I love being a missionary. Thanks for all the support and letters, I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Greene

Let me know about the BYU apartment situation. Hopefully I have a room this week hahah.

Here is where I "live", you can send packages/letters here and I will open them on Sundays most likely. Also we could be moving in a month or so, so I'll let you know.
9170 Hitching Post Ln #K
Laurel, MD 20723

Monday, February 10, 2014

Moving Away From "Home"

Mi querida familia,
Como estan? Well I feel like I have too much to write to you all but I will try to get it a good letter going that doesn't sound scatter-brained, hahah. First off, here are my picks for where Jared is going:
I can't wait to hear where he is going. But you all are probably more antsy than me, weeks are like days over here.
Well, I guess I better tell you where I'm going. After 7 months and almost 11,000 miles on our little Chevy Cruze, they're taking me out of the Branch. I recieved a call on Saturday night from President Richards (a little early to be called for transfers). He started to talk to me about how I'd asked to renew my temple recommend. But then he said, well it will be easy to interview you because I'm going to be seeing you a lot more, I want you to be the Spanish Traveling Assistant. Hahah, I didn't sleep good Saturday night. I'm excited though and it will be a new experience, that's for sure! I'm sure I'll have a lot to tell you next Monday. Oh and they are taking Elder Hitchcock out as well. He will be with other Elder Green and they will be the new zone leaders (in Frederick) of the recently created Spanish zone. The branch will be receiving two sisters and three Elders.
This week was awesome, a great way to finish off my time here. We were on exchanges with some English Elders when an ice rain storm swept threw Maryland. I'm not sure how it works but the rain falls as liquid and as soon as it hits something it turns to ice. I got pictures to show an example, ice storms must seem like big foot or unicorns for people living in Arizona. Anyways, my companion was up north with the other english Elder so I got to make a bunch of calls and make sure no one was in trouble. We ended up having 3 companionships without power and one of those companionships lost cell phone service. Crazy morning!
After making sure no one was dead we went to our appointment with Hermano "H". When I got here he was less active and his wife was too. Well he got in a crash and broke his shoulder and his wife took care of an older woman but the woman died. So they were both left without work. It was a hard time but they both got active again, to the point that Hermana "H" went back to Tijuana to convert her family. Well when we started talking to Hermano "H" this past week it was really cool because his daughter and granddaughter will both be getting baptized in two weeks. On top of that, Hermano's company that he works for feels bad that he hasn't been working for 5 months so they are teaching him chemistry so that he can spray all the grass on the golf course. Soon he will be making much more money than he used to be! It is amazing how God gives us challenges and it ends up blessing us.
Yesterday we told the Branch we were leaving and it was bittersweet. I love this branch like I grew up here. I will most definitely be coming back to visit sometime. We went to the "C's" last night and we were talking. Hermana "C" was asking us questions and then one of the daughters asked something. Hermana "C" cut her off and said,"shh! Estoy hablando con mis hijos!" hahah or, Shh, I'm talking to my sons! Just before we left, Hermano "C" said, "I want to thank you for all you have done for my family and for me. I am going to be baptized soon and you two played a big part in that decision." So awesome, I told him if he get baptized in the next couple months that I will be there.
I love missions. I love you all and can't wait to hear Jared's call this next week.
Elder Greene
PS So yesterday I must have eaten some bad food because I was the one throwing up this time. It was not fun I won't lie but I'm starting to feel a little better. I haven't really eaten anything since last night at like 6. I haven't thrown up since 1 last night. I'd appreciate some prayers that I can make a quick recovery before transfers.
PPS So Romney said that his mom signed him up for the gross place but then he told her to sell it and put him with me. You might want to call her again today. Romney said it will be good to broaden our social circles hahah.

Frozen Trees, Pretty Beautiful huh?

Ready for Church! Peruvian tie and Guatemalan Morral

The "S" Family

"C" Family

Pinargotes, he's the new branch president!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Only McDonald's for Ice Cream

Hey Greene Family!
Thanks for the thoughts and letters, you all are the best! And before anything I'll wish a Happy Birthday to Taggert! So yeah you and I both had busy crazy weeks. But that's a good thing! Can't believe Connor is home. Time is a scary thing. What's his plan? Where's he going to school and what not? Maybe he should answer these questions. Hahah
Well I didn't know you all would hear about the Columbia Mall shooting, but yeah pretty crazy stuff. I know three members of our branch that work there but both were fine. We actually live super close to the mall (half mile max) and we were on our way to the library next to the mall to do a report that day. But then on the way Marcos texted us and said don't go near the mall, there was a shooting. God sure does protect his missionaries!
So we had a really cool experience on exchanges. I was with Elder Smith, (who is from Mesa and graduated Mountain View in 2012 hahah) and we went to see a less active who just popped up out of no where at church last week (I didn't even have a valid address for him before that). Well we got to know him and he started opening up. Turns out he was baptized when he was 8 because his whole mom's side is LDS. He fell away in adolescence and came to the states. Well recently his father was baptized and since then has been a super awesome member, and "D" (the less active) has seen a big difference. So he told us he wants to become active in church again! Super cool tender mercy and I'm excited to help him.
Last week we had an awesome lesson with the "C's" about sacrifice, we watched the John Tanner movie. Afterwards Hna "C" was really hit with the Spirit. We invited her to talk to her boss and ask for Sundays off. She said she would! Well this past Friday we went over and we asked her if she had talked to her boss. She smiled and said that she had and that she doesn't work Sundays now! It really will be a sacrifice because her boss is lame and won't give her a different day, but I know the blessings will far outweigh the sacrifice. They all came to church this past Sunday. Awesome family.
This past Saturday Elder Hitchcock wanted to go eat McDonalds. I gave in, because usually I say no (I'll pay the extra one or two dollars for something good). So we went. Well about an hour later Elder Hitchcock felt gross but we kept working. We got home at 9:25 and Elder Hitchcock basically went straight to the bathroom. He threw up all night. He toughed it out the next day though and didn't throw up again. I was grateful I didn't get food poisoning! The moral to the story is only go to McDonalds if you're going to get ice cream.
So many awesome things happening it's hard to fit it all. "N's" continue to progress, "R" family too. "B" had some doubts this week but her member friend bore strong testimony and resolved "B"'s doubts. I can't believe how much the Lord is blessing us, but I'm super grateful to see it all happen. I hope you all have a great week. Congrats on putting in the papers Jared, I can't wait!
-Elder Greene

Taggert: Not sure if you check your email so I thought I'd just put something in here. Happy Birthday! I can't believe you are 13. I love you a ton Taggert and I can't wait to hang out with you this summer. It will be a blast. What did you get for your birthday? I heard you went to F1, thats awesome. Well hey I hope you have an awesome week! Love you!

Dad's message on Charity made me think, well I should probably send pictures because I love my family!

A member had a five lb chocolate bar... hahah

I made spaghetti... from squash! Impressive yeah?