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