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?