Monday, January 27, 2014

John Tanner Movie and Sacrifice

Well I feel like I wrote you all yesterday. Thanks for the letters (I'm talking to you Jared and Macey)! Exciting to have grandma and grandpa there at the house too. I was reading some church news the other day and all the talk about the temple made me jealous I don't get to be a part of it! But the great thing is is that I can go through it when it's fully operational.

Welp it's been an awesome week. I'm not sure if there's something in the cold air or the salt all over the roads but people keep progressing a ton right now! And it's getting the branch really pumped. In July the average church attendance  was 85-90. Last week we hit 114!
Elder Nielsen's conference was amazing. He is a very animated and inspired leader. He talked a lot about covenants and also about being part of the solution and not the problem. I wish I'd brought my notes to write more of what he said but maybe I'll just have to show you another day. But it was an amazing conference that I'm sure I will remember for the rest of my life!
So we are teaching an investigator that the Sisters were teaching before they left to Argentina. Her name is "B" and she is super awesome. We had a super solid Restoration lesson the first visit and this past lesson we prayed and she said,"I have been praying about what you told me and I feel like God wants me to join with you, what do I need to do?" It was really amazing and we have a church tour this week to show her what church will be like. Good stuff!
A part member family moved in about 4 months ago, the "R" family. The parents haven't attended church in about 10 years and the son, "S", has received little to no education on God. Well we had a lesson on Friday and we really focused on "S"'s needs. It turns out that he really doesn't know if there is a God, but he does have to desires to find out. After teaching about the Godhead we invited "S" to say the closing prayer. He did and boy did he say it. He asked for God to give him faith to believe and really sincerely asked if God was there. The Spirit was really strong. They all ended up coming to church on Sunday and once again, the branch swarmed em. Miracle!
The "N's" and the "Cs" continue to progress as well. All of them came to church for all three hours again, except for Hermana "C". However, Hermana "C" has now committed to talking to her boss about not working Sundays! We watched the John Tanner movie with her family and she just sat there stunned. We talked about sacrifices and invited her to not work Sundays. Super spiritual experience.
I just love missionary work and I love this branch. We ate with Marcos (our Branch mission leader) and his family yesterday and he asked about transfers and things like that. I told him that if they take me out that the branch will have to make me a plaque and say where I'm serving because I'm part of the Branch family, hahah. Marcos agreed and then said that I should just stay and we'll send Elder Hitchcock, hahahah.
I hope you all enjoy your week and give Elder Connor Ward my love. I remember hugging him in my dorm hall like it was yesterday! Time flies.
Elder Greene

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Walked 10 miles in the Snow

Hey Greene Family!
Well sorry it's a little delayed but here it is, my weekly letter. Monday was MLK day and of course the best way to honor those who fought against racism and segregation is by closing down libraries. Then yesterday we had a crazy snow storm come in. We got about 6 or 7 inches of snow. Needless to say they closed down everything and we couldn't drive. But more on that adventure later! Thanks a bunch for the letters and notes, I really liked all the comments about the temple. Also I feel super sorry for your 76 degree weather mom! You should come out to Maryland and bask in the sun and enjoy the cool 5 degree breezes, hahah.
This week we received some really exciting news! Elder S Gifford Nielsen of the Seventy will be coming to instruct us on Friday! Should be an experience of a lifetime, I'll let you know about it next week!
So back to snow storm, we got out of the house after lunch all bundled up and ready to go. Due to the fact that our area covers a stake and Spanish members live in little pockets, we had to walk quite a bit to get anywhere. In total we walked 10 miles in the snow. We pushed cars that were sliding all over the place, including a little Mercedes for a half mile uphill. By the time we got back for dinner I was sweating like crazy! But we had a great time and laughed all day!
This past week was pretty awesome. I'm sure I say that every week but it really was. So this past Saturday we went to visit a less active family, the "C's", just to invite them to church. We got there and they were having a little birthday party. So we talked to everyone in attendance and had a good time joking and talking. Before we left we invited everyone to church if they wanted to. No big lesson or anything. From there we went to an appointment with a less active family, the "N's". The "N's" are awesome. They are super friendly and I've really grown close to them in the past 6 months. Well they have been progressing pretty well but they still haven't been to church more than once in the past year and a half or so. We the Spirit was really strong in this lesson and we all knew it was time for them to come back. So we invited them to church and they said yes! It's amazing how far they have come in the past months.
So then came Sunday. We went into Sacrament meeting and talked with all that came in. Then the "C's" came in! And it wasn't just the mom (who comes about once a month) but 3 of her kids and a non member friend of theirs! One of the kids hasn't been to church in all the time I've been here. The young men and women swarmed them after the meeting. But after the "C's" came walking in the "N's" came! Everyone was so happy to see them. I really think this is a turning point for them. In total there were 11 less actives at church on Sunday! Such cool miracles are happening in this Branch.
Well I don't want to take too much time since it's a Wednesday and we are on exchanges. But I love you all and I hope you have a great week!
Elder Greene

Let me know when I need to register for classes or when I should start thinking about it.

PPPS I need more gel (last time I ask I promise) but is there a store here that I get buy it at? I could save us a couple bucks if Becky knows a store that sells it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

"What Can We Do For You?"

Hello my dear family,
Thanks so much for the letters, I really enjoyed the updates and spiritual thoughts. I especially enjoyed dad's thought about even years, hahah, it kinda blew my mind that all those things happened in even years. You could even add "diagnosed with diabetes"! Anyways, this week was a blur of miracles. But seriously, things are exploding not only in our area but in our Zone too! Also, President Richards announced that we will now be able to go to the DC temple once every 6 months!!! I can't even express how excited I am. Hopefully they don't schedule me for June yeah? hahah
But before I get to the miracles, I have to say, holy cow this past Tuesday was cold. It broke records, 5 degrees Fahrenheit and with wind they say it "felt like" -15 degrees. Thankfully we had the car and a whole lot of appointments so we didn't have to be outside to much. Be grateful I'm alive and have all my toes and fingers.
Also for mom's benefit: This week we went to the northern district meeting to see how our new district leader was doing with his district. Before the meeting started he asked if anyone could play prelude. No one played a lick of piano. So I summoned up what I could and played two hymns for 5-10 minutes of prelude music. Hahah, your dream was realized mom. (although we sang acapella for the actual hymns)
This week we went to the "V's" and we shared a lesson about DC 122 as well as enduring to the end. Hermano "V" continues to have his tumors pop up and yet he somehow keeps going. As we shared this the Spirit filled the room and he started to shed a couple tears. He has made a ton of progress from the time I got here and even though there is a ways to go, I know he is on the right path. He wants us to come once a week to help him progress more.
Maybe it's just our mission but I imagine the missionaries at home ask you constantly,"what can we do for you?" Well 9 out of 10 times people say, nothing or pray for us. Well as much as I love praying for everyone, I like to be a little more productive! So we asked a family this question and they answered, could you paint our mother's (so the grandma basically) room? YES!! So we went and painted on Saturday morning after recieving a delicious Salvadoranean breakfast. Here's the best part, the father is inactive. He has told members he doesn't believe in God and that he has doubts about a lot of things. Well me and every companion I've had have visited him almost every week I've been here, but we never talk about the Gospel. Well finally, as we talked about life and the world this Saturday morning, he opened up and said, I'm starting to see the revelations in the Bible being fulfilled, the Church isn't changing it's rules to adjust to man's rules. Sounds simple, but this is a huge step for him. I hope that this can continue to progress!
We visited a recently moved in less active family this week. They haven't been to church in about 10 years or so. But they want to come back and so we went over and established some expectations with them. Well the best part was that their 17 year old son, who isn't a member, sat in as well and has agreed to learn about the Gospel!
Yesterday was a great finishing day to this miraculous week. We went into sacrament and a lot of people walked in after. Hermano "C" came for the 3rd week in a row and stayed for all 3 hours again. "D", a sister of a recent convert came with her less active mother. Finally, a family of 4 who haven't come to church in well over a year came and stayed for all 3 hours. The branch just absorbed them right away. The Lord seems to be pouring out huge blessings on this branch. I'm grateful for all the prayers that you have been offering for the work here, because I can feel them. Thank you!
I could go on with even more miracles too! But I will finish here. I love you all and I'm grateful for each of you. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. I know that he lives and that we can be perfected through him.
Elder Greene
PS I'll let you know info for Romney's mom soon. Also, I haven't gotten my A1C yet, this office is slow about it. But I'll let you know.

Nothing say "New Years" like a green mustache!

I'm the Mask (Party City is a great P-day activity)

Blue Steel (I was super tempted to buy these panda glasses)

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Branch President

Hello Greene Family!
Sorry I haven't written you since last year, things got busy. Hahah. Crazy that it is 2014 though. This past week was another weird one with the holidays and a couple snowy days. I'm excited for it to calm down on all of the party stuff and just be able to be in the rhythm of missionary work again!
Our branch had a news years eve dance/fiesta thing. We couldn't go obviously but tons of our investigators and less actives went! It was "the highest attended branch activity in the history of the branch" according the members. So cool. The reason I tell you this is because the "C's" went as well. So on Friday when we were teaching them we asked how was it? Hna "C" got excited and then emotional as she expressed how everyone was there and how happy everyone was, especially her daughters. She realized that she needs to support her daughters and become active again in the church, even though she may have doubts. Huge miracle!
This week we focused a lot on helping our members get involved with investigators and less actives. We brought 3 different members to three different less active families, that these members are assigned to home teach. We had a lot of cool experiences with each one but one that stuck out was last night. The family is less active but one of the sons has been really struggling to know if God exists. At the end of the lesson the Spirit was pretty strong and his mom asked him to say the closing prayer. He hesitated for 10 seconds or so but then he offered a simple sincere prayer. It was a tender mercy for me to see that step of faith.
After being here for 6 months I love the members of this branch more than I could really express. One family that has taught me a lot is the Flores family, and President Flores is the Branch President. Well yesterday in sacrament meeting everyone was surprised, including me, when President Flores was released. They then called a new one, President Pinargote. Many members of the branch were sad and happy to see the changes. President Pinargote will have a lot on his plate, especially for the next couple weeks. I think that change was part of the reason that I still need to be here in Columbia, to help out with the transition in any way possible! I want you all to know that I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ, and that it is led and directed by Him and the men and women he has called. I know that my own calling to serve in Maryland was inspired.
Well I can't believe Collin is gone and that Jared will be getting is call in a little over a month! Take a video and pictures. Mom and Dad going to skype again to watch him open it?

Anyways, I want you all to know that I will be praying for Brother Williams as well. I'm not sure why, but I was thinking about him the other day, wondering how he was doing. I think a lot of times the Spirit guides our thoughts to people who need our thoughts/prayers. Please keep me posted.
I love you all, have a great week and stay out of trouble (this is directed towards those that seem to always be in trouble, you know who you are)
-Elder Greene

PS So Romney, and our friend Austin and I are all down to live together. I'm sure we could find another person too but how many people live in these apartments? Should I get Romney's moms info for you? Let me know how to coordinate. Also as far as looking for an apartment, ask Trevor. Please! Love ya mom!