Monday, December 30, 2013

A dead badger, five pheasants, and loads of cows and sheep!

Merry Christmas! Thank you for all the cards and packages
and for the messages on our Christmas tree!

It was so great to see you guys on Wednesday. It feels so strange for me, because it honestly doesn't feel like long since I've spoken to you guys. It's kind of bittersweet to recognize how fast it's going for me out here...

We did have a nice rest of the week. Boxing Day was good -- we had a few members invite us over for lunch and dinner, which was nice. It's hard getting things going sometimes with four elders, but we saw that when we did step it up and go out trying to work we saw miracles. When we got home from Brother Coronado's house, we had twenty minutes before our lift home was going to get there. I felt twenty minutes was way too long to be sitting in the flat, and so I grabbed Elder Dyck, and we went outside contacting. Lo and behold, the first person we saw walking out the door was golden. We walked up to him, and he was off somewhere, but willing to talk to us for a few minutes. He studied at a University down in Devon (where both Elder Dyck and I had just served) and, while there, had a very good Mormon friend. Coincidence? Hopefully Chichester will be meeting with him soon.

Move calls just came. Elder Sorensen and I will both be staying another transfer, but Elder Cullen's taking off for the Digital Zone.

This week's been really good, otherwise, though. We've been working with one Fijian family that's really cool. Sister Vatubua's been a member her whole life, but her husband isn't. We've been working with him a bit, and he's just such a solid guy -- totally open to reading the scriptures, and most of the commitments we extend to him, he's already doing. It's pretty cool. He even came to church on Sunday without us inviting him. It's really exciting.

We had a few other cool experiences this week trying new things. We decided we'd go up to East Meon, as we'd never been out there before. What a great day -- I saw a dead badger, like five pheasants, and loads of cows and sheep. It was so nice being in the countryside again. And the people are so friendly! Holy cow. Totally threw us off our guard. We got lost, because we'd forgotten the map, and so we just kind of tried to get our bearings. We stopped and asked some guy who was out with his horses if he needed help with anything, and instead of saying no and going back to what he was doing, he came up to us and talked for five minutes. And we asked another guy if there was anything that we could do for him, and he invited us in for tea and cake. Turns out, he works with the guys up in Aldershot ward to teach Gurkhas (Nepalese soldiers for the British army) English in their chapel. Neither was very interested, but it was just so nice having people that were so friendly.

We've been trying to see if we can make it to another church's service each Sunday, just to get our name out there and look for service opportunities, as well as to understand the people a little better and hopefully break down some walls. We missed the Church of England Evensong last night, but we're hoping to make it next week, and we'll be hopefully finding other churches to go to as well.

I'm getting my haircut today so don't worry. Also, hopefully it'll get fixed later today, or tomorrow, but we've been having the wonderful experience of our ceiling leaking! The guy came this morning, and it should be fixed soon. It's just wind and rain like crazy here.

Our pots and pans collecting the rain that is inside our flat.
This is supposed to be my "Joseph Smith" picture. I forgot to tell you, but since Stella (AKA Louise)
pointed it out, now everyone has twigged to the fact that I look like Joseph Smith.
Elder Brown won't even refer to me as anything but Elder Smith.

 Well, love you guys.

-Elder Green

Catching up...sorry Mom's been busy!

From December 16th...

Elders Sorenson, Dyck, Cullen and Me at the the London Temple.
This week we were blessed to attend a temple session and then enjoy a Christmas Dinner at the mission office. It was fun meeting with missionaries from all over the mission.

Sorry to hear you've been sick mom. I had a bit of a cold last week as well, but by overdosing on clementines, cough drops, this "Lemsip" stuff (which is so disgusting) and taking a few naps at lunch, I was able to rid myself of it. So, try doing that...especially the naps!

This last week has been extremely rewarding. Steve and Terena took Elder Sorensen and I out to the aquarium and to dinner. It was good fun spending time with them--it really helped me to refocus my desire to help more people. I was just jealous that I didn't get a chance to stay in the haunted hotel they spent the night in.

We saw a lot of blessings in strange places, this week, though. We found that many days, we weren't finding many people to teach, and that things weren't quite going the way we planned them. It was honestly kind of annoying for a little while. But I learned so amazingly much.

One thing that came to me quite clearly came as a result of our trip up to the temple. While there, we ran down to the distribution center, as we had to pick up some things for some less-actives we've been working with. Looking around, I saw the mini Book of Mormons that they had for about £2, and decided I'd pick one up, as I wanted one I could carry around with me. I've started from the beginning again, and have been trying to mark all the little things that I learn in my reading of it this time through. If you look at the very first verse in the entire Book of Mormon, Nephi gives a quick background of his life. He speaks first of his parents, who have done so very much for him in teaching him what he needed to know regarding the gospel and regarding things of the world. That really made me appreciate you and Dad and how much emphasis you two have put on learning. But then, he talks about how he himself has faced "many afflictions in the course of his days". I looked down at the footnote for afflictions, and it gave three topics: affliction (duh), blessing, and gifts of God.

If I've learned anything on my mission, it's that hard times need not be feared. Ever. Of course, let's not bring them upon ourselves--that's not worth doing. But, it's through our hard times that we learn so much. And we gain so much. Honestly, I am such a different person from the Braiden Green who left on that plane nearly six months ago. But, none of that is my doing. It's all because of Him. It's Heavenly Father who has done these things for me in my life. We can't do anything of ourselves, and that's why when we give everything we can to Him, we gain everything He has in return.

I love you guys so much, but I'm glad that I'm here. I love the States, and I love the UK. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior.

Happy Christmas, guys,

Elder Green

From December 23rd ...

The Christmas program here was quite nice. We had the Bishopric speak, and instead of Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society, we had a nice Nativity for church. Brother Taylor in the ward is a carpenter, and so he made up an entire stable, which was quite impressive. We were able to throw it all together in about ten minutes, and then the Nativity Program (performed by the primary and Youth) proceeded. It was really quite nice. I've really grown to love this ward.

Well, we've been contacting quite a few potentials this previous week. With focusing on knocking around every member's house for the past while, we've not been able to keep up with our potential investigators, but we're starting to work through that now. We've seen a bit of success, but we're just waiting for our little harvest to explode. I understand, though -- it's awfully hard around Christmas for a lot of people, as there really is so much to do. We know that we'll be seeing good success soon.

We did have one miracle working up in Petersfield, though. We were knocking around before an appointment, and met a woman who knew a little about the church already. She lives in what used to be a very small church, and is herself Church of England. However, she was very very interested in the Book of Mormon, and after a little while was asking how she could get one herself to read. We'll be following up with her, and a few others up in Petersfield, after Christmas.

As for what's going on this week -- we only kind of get Christmas "off". We've still got to maintain the same study schedule, and such, but we'll be off to the Grants' home at about 9:00. I can probably call you from there just before we leave... I don't want to have to wake you too early, but we'll be there until about 3:00 (or 5:00 AM your time), and with Sister Grant having the majority of her relatives in New Zealand, she has unlimited international calling on her plan. So, a quick call then, and then we'll probably Skype two hours later at 7:00 AM your time while I'm at the Powell's, if that's okay. Sorry, time change is difficult. But, I think we should get around 40 minutes to an hour... Not quite sure. White Handbook says preferably no longer than 40 minutes, but I'll wait on Elder Dyck's word.

Oh! We also had a Christmas Carol concert on Saturday. Big surprise here: I actually didn't do much. I've been so used to the Musical Firesides in Newton Abbot where I performed on every other number because they needed me to, and now we've got quite a decent choir here, and a number of musical people. So our choir sang for the majority of it with readings and a few solo acts in between. They wanted "one of the American missionaries" to sing the solo on The Christmas Song, though, and so I was asked to do that. It was alright. I think I overdid it. Oh well.

Well, this weeks going to be lots of food. We've got at least one dinner appointment everyday but today and Sunday -- two on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. So... we'll be doing quite well. The ward has been so good to us. I want to cry because of the many gifts they've bought all of us. Know that your son is being taken care of.

And yes -- we did get the package. Thank you so much. I've been telling anyone who will listen about it. Elder Sorensen was quite grateful as well. Gratefully, the Lord has blessed us with desire to work, and less homesickness than we might otherwise expect.

I love you so much, and can't wait to see you Wednesday.

Happy Christmas, Ron.

-- Elder Green

Monday, December 9, 2013

No rain, a great surprise, and a trip to's going to be a great week!

Looking pretty 'English'...Elder Dyck, Elder Green, Elder Cullen and Elder Sorensen
posing outside St. Faith's Church on the High Street in Havant. This church was one of only two structures left in Havant after a fire in the 1700's destroyed the town. The oldest, undisturbed parts of the church date back to the 13th century and some of the foundations date back to Roman times...amazing!

I'm sorry to hear it's so cold there. It has been here, but there hasn't been rain for weeks (knock on wood), so we've been alright with it. Plus, that jacket I bought a few weeks ago is perfect for being out all the time. It's got little armpit zippers for ventilation...Yeah!

Work's been going great here! We've been trying our best to finish doing all the 10 doors aside each member, and we did a workover with the Chichester Elders up in Petersfield on Saturday to get a lot of it done. It was a huge success. We've got quite a few people up there to visit now. And with us coming to the end of this list (not really, we've still got nearly forty to do....) we're actually able to spend more time meeting with the people that we pick up from the knocking.

We've also seen a few really cool miracles lately. Elder Cullen and I were going on exchanges last Monday, and swapped over after P-Day was over. On our way from the flat, the four of us were talking about things, and we happened to walk past this woman. Elder Cullen felt impressed to say hello to her, and because of his 'Australian-ness,' struck up a conversation. As we neared the bus station, we finally got to the topic of the gospel, and she just broke down crying. She expressed how difficult this last week had been, and how she's been struggling a lot lately, and just how much of a sign she took our meeting her to be. She was so excited she gave us a hug, which can be a frightening experience for a missionary. But, in a judgment call, we figured it was okay. I've got to call her today, and we'll hopefully see her this week.

Also, we're finding random less-actives again. A woman texted us the other day asking if we could come down to Thorney Island and visit her and her family. She is a member from Fiji whose husband is serving here on the military base down on Thorney Island. We'll be coming by again sometime this or next week to see what we can do about getting her a lift to church.

It's so funny you mention Steve and Terena. They're actually just waiting for us to finish Emailing so we can go to the aquarium together. They decided to spend a day of their honeymoon visiting, and man, are they the greatest. I was a bit worried that their coming might distract me from the work, but it's just given me more resolve to do all that I can to serve people, because I know what an amazing difference it's made for them, and what an amazing difference it can make for everybody, whether in Newton Abbot, or Havant, or West Hills, CA. (Steve and Terena are a couple from Braiden's last area, Newton Abbot, that were just married on Saturday and will be getting baptized soon. They stopped by Havant to suprise Braiden and took he and his companion for an outing to the aquarium in Portsmouth for P-day. Braiden was so excited to see them!)

"The Green's"...Elder Green with the new couple Steve and Terena Green from Newton Abbot.

It's starting to feel like Christmas here too. Last Friday we attended the ward Christmas party...unfortunately, due to our having to be home at 9:00, we only had enough time to make all the food for the party (I will have to check with Braiden if that means they actually made the food for the party or ate the food...I can't imagine him making it???), watch some people embarrass themselves trying to line dance, and then take off. But, it was still fun. We've got our Christmas tree all set up, and other little decorations around the flat, and it has really made it feel good. Sure, I'm missing you guys, but I'm really grateful to have a ward family that's taking good care of us.

Oh, and we're off to the London Temple on Thursday. They'll be having a session for us in the morning, and a big Christmas dinner. I can't wait.

Love you,

Elder Green

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I am thankful for my Savior

A random little garden we found in the middle of Havant.
It was hiding right behind some shops on the High Street...who knew?

Hi, by the by. I'm glad Thanksgiving was so much fun for you guys. It was weird being here in England, because no one really thought anything about Thanksgiving. We were invited over for a DA that night, and had Sausage and Mash, which is delicious, but I can't say that it was the same.

We attended Zone Conference this last week, and it was really good. We had Elder Teixeira, the Europe Area President, running the entire conference. He was a great speaker, and introduced us to a lot of new things that we can do to improve our missionary work. I was really quite grateful for his help, and we're going to be doing our best to apply these things and improve our own work.

We've not really got any new investigators. We have tons of potentials, but we're in kind of a rush to finish knocking 10 doors on either side of all the ward members houses, so we haven't had as much opportunity to go back and teach too many of them, which is a bit of a shame, but oh well, the Lord knows what he's doing.

So I learned a very important lesson this week that I'd like to share with you guys. Being on a mission can be difficult. How many times have I said that already. When I set out, I decided I was going to be hardworking, and diligent, and exactly obedient...basically, I was going to be the perfect missionary (though I didn't so much phrase it that way in my head). But what I forgot about is that I am an imperfect person. I'm not meant to be perfect now, and asking perfection of myself is...well, insane. But, looking back, I've realized that I've asked for perfection far too often.

About two thousand years ago, something amazing happened. There was a woman named Mary who gave birth to a child named Jesus. He grew up and became a great teacher, helping many people to become their very happiest. But his greatest work wasn't his teaching. When he was only 33 (which is quite young, even if many 33-year-olds wouldn't say that themselves) he knelt down in the middle of the night in an olive orchard, and prayed to his Father. In this prayer, he ended up taking on a lot of pain, and suffering, and grief, and sickness, and hardship. He suffered these things, so that we would never have to suffer as much.

When I remember that He already took all this for us, I remember that I don't have to do things on my own, and frankly, I shouldn't. I was sent here to earth to be happy. I was sent here to England to help others to be happy. And now, I'm much happier. I don't need to worry, because it's all taken care of. That doesn't remove my responsibility to do all that I can, but I know that my Heavenly Father never expects me to do more than I can.

I'm really glad to know that you guys are doing so well back home. I can't wait to Skype you in a few weeks. I love you guys so much, and am so glad that you always pushed me to come out here, because I know that there is nothing I'd rather do right now than be out here.

Love you all,

Elder Green

Cutting across a football field up in West Leigh.
Thank you Elder Sorensen for taking pictures...since Braiden isn't.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Little Things...

Things have been going really well here. We're starting to see miracles all over the place, but I'll get into that in a minute.

That's so fun about Thanksgiving. I don't know that we're really doing anything for it here... We have a dinner appointment that night, and she's a fantastic cook, but I don't know that she'll be doing anything for Thanksgiving. We'll just have to catch a pheasant or something and eat that ourselves.

 So, we've really been feeling quite good this last week! We've seen numbers of miracles and it's really exciting. We've started trying to memorize a scripture every day to focus ourselves more on the work, and the one that's stuck with me most so far has been Mosiah 28:3 - "Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble." Reading and memorizing that really made me desire to put forth more effort, as these really are my brothers and sisters out there that I'm seeking to help. When that attitude changed, we got eight lessons in one day. Most days we get one, maybe two. And I know that numbers don't mean much, but the fact that we were able to do that much more work really shows that the spirit will be with you when you really desire to help others.

We really don't deserve the opportunity to do such great work for the Lord, but I am so grateful that he allows us to do it.

It's so apparent to me that the little things are what's going to get this work going, too. A story was told in Priesthood yesterday of President John F. Kennedy. Throughout the campaign before the election (I'm not sure whether Presidential or Senatorial) President Kennedy found himself busy running from one event to the next. Wanting to help, his mother decided she would try to arrange a tea evening in every city that he went to, where people could come and meet the candidate personally. In these short tea evenings, Kennedy was able to make contact with 50,000 people, which isn't much for an election. However, he won the election by 50,000 votes. Those tea evenings made just enough difference to get him into office.

As a missionary, I've noticed that it's through following the small rules that I've gained the most strength. Nearly every missionary is good about going out and teaching lessons, trying to keep busy, etc. However, it's really easy to slack off a bit when it comes to exercise at 6:30 in the morning, or getting to study on time, or not singing Jack Johnson songs in your head. But that is where the strength lies. That is where we're given the power, and put in the right places so the Lord can work miracles.

For the everyday person, it's in being a good example. It's in calling up that friend that you haven't seen in a while. It's in stepping out of your everyday routine to help someone that you wouldn't normally. It's in smiling. You don't know what smiling can actually do for others.

I know that these things are what make all the difference.

Anyhow, Love you guys so much,

Elder Green

A beautiful English sunset.

Elder Cullen and I on exchanges down in Bognor Regis. This 'selfie' is for you Mom,
since you love them so much...not!

Bognor Regis is a British seaside holiday town between Portsmouth and Brighton.

Monday, November 18, 2013

"If you want something you've never had..."

I love sheep!

Well, I am sorry to report that our 16-year-old investigator dropped us this week. We had a cool experience, though, that came out of that. We stopped by a bit early...hoping to be able to get back home on time since our bus passes had expired...and she was in the middle of dinner, so we went up the street to a less-active/part-member family and visited with them for a while. When we came back down the street, and she said that after some thinking she had decided the church wasn't for her. We took it as a pretty good blow, and headed on our way home. As we were walking, we realized we were very close to a potential investigator who we'd been unable to meet with before, and felt prompted to try by him, despite how late it was. When we knocked, his father came to the door. We talked a minute, and he said that they'd be happy to have us meet with the whole family in a couple of weeks. So, we'll try our best again!

We do actually have one new investigator who's doing well. Her name's Velda. We met with her last week, but weren't quite sure what to think, as she listened to all we were saying with wide eyes and a dropped jaw. She said at the end of the lesson, "Wow, you guys have opened my eyes so much [and she didn't mean literally]. I'm going to stop reading all of my other books, and read that book that you guys gave me. I've just felt so warm inside through this whole visit." It's really faith promoting to see miracles like that.

But, at the same time, I've recognized that faith is not, and should not be dependent upon miracles. Yes, miracles are often a result of faith, but they are not the evidence of faith. Often Heavenly Father really does have better purposes for us, and is trying to stretch us, and to help us grow strong. It's definitely hard sometimes, but I don't know that I can expect anything else from a mission. I don't know if I've quoted it before, but I thought Dad might really like this quote by Thomas Jefferson, "If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done.” If I want to help people, I must be willing to devote myself more fully than I've done before. That, is true consecration--giving yourself completely.

Our district...Elder Sorensen and I are the bookends...and our wonderful senior couple, Elder and Sister Powell.

Love you all,

Elder Green

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Q & A

Mom needed some more information, so I sent Elder Green a list of are the answers...

1.  You said your flat has 2 bedrooms and you have a queen sized bed, does that mean you have your own room?
No, I don't have my own room. The white handbook says that companionships are to sleep in the same room, probably to foster unity, and to make sure you aren't just trying to get away from your companion all the time. As any missionary will tell you, the only way to get away from your companion is taking a bath. I've been blessed with such great companions, though, and so I've not felt a need to get away too often.

2. Do you have to walk far from your flat to bus/train?
It's so nice, we only have a two minute walk down the road to the train station, and maybe five to the bus station. What takes the most time is the actual waiting for buses and trains. So far, I absolutely love train travel. It's so relaxing. I'm always sad when Zone Conference is done with, because that means that we don't have any more train rides that last more than fifteen minutes.

3. What is your ward it very big? Many youth?
Our ward is pretty small actually... Maybe 50-60 active members. Our Youth are composed of the bishop's family, and a few others... Unfortunately the majority of the ward is less-active, which is something we've been working on.

4. Is church different in England, than here?
Church is the same pretty much worldwide. The only differences I've seen are that my last ward did church in reverse (Priesthood/Relief Society, then Sunday School, then Sacrament Meeting) and that they sing four hymns in sacrament rather than three. The choir doesn't perform as much either.

5. What do you eat, when you cook for yourself? Are you eating enough?
What do we eat? Hmm... Lots of rice. Rice with soup. Rice with Curry from a jar. Pasta with some kind of sauce I manage to make up. Beans on toast. Frozen Pizza. Omelettes. I've been trying to be creative, so we made beef stroganoff the other day. If you've got any quick, fun recipes, send 'em my way. Or, crock pot recipes. We've been wanting to use our crock pot.

6. Do you eat much with the members in Havant?
We haven't eaten much yet with the members... The problem is that we had our first two Sundays as General Conference and Stake Conference, so we had maybe one DA each week for the last three weeks. But, we've got plenty more lined up, so we'll be fed well soon.

7. Is the island in your area?
Yes, Hayling Island's in our area, though we don't get out there too often. We've just started working with some less-actives out there, though, so we'll be back at least once a week.

8. Have you seen any cool old places in your new area?
Hmm... Well, there's the wall outside the Chichester flat that was built by the Romans, and the Chichester Cathedral (sorry, I forgot to take pictures...) I found out that Jane Austen's house is not too far away, and we've been meaning to try to get out to some castles in the area. Our flat's pretty old... I think someone said 1600's or 1700's.

9. Best thing you've eaten? Worst?
Best thing we've eaten: Collette Julian's ham. Oh my days. I miss that family so much, and miss going over each Thursday for dinner there. Worst thing: Barley cup. It tastes like burnt popcorn water.

10. Have you gained any weight? 
I don't believe so. I'm on my way to a six pack, though.

11. Are you staying dry?
No. England is wet, end of story.

12. Do you know your release date?
I don't know my exact release date, though I would assume it's the 25th of June, as that would be 17 transfers after my entry.

13. Have any General Authorities come to visit?
I know that a few General Authorities visited while I was in Newton Abbot, but I didn't get to see any of them, because Plymouth Zone is in the boonies of the mission, and doesn't get invited to anything.

14. Will you get to celebrate Thanksgiving?
I sure dang hope so!!

15. Coolest thing that has happened to you? Worst thing? Scariest thing?
Coolest thing? Seeing a miracle take place in the life of one of our investigators after I gave her a blessing. Worst thing: Having Charlie tell us he couldn't keep meeting with us. Scariest: Refer to the story about the spiritualist man.

16. Best thing about being a missionary? Least favorite thing about being a missionary?
Best thing about being a missionary: really seeing people progress, and seeing that the gospel does bless every single person in their life. Least favorite thing: Well, just that I can't seem to measure up to where I feel I ought to be all the time. Thank goodness for the Atonement.

17. What can we do to make the holidays special for you?
Just send me letters from people! As much as I appreciate the packages and things, I much more appreciate hearing from family and friends. Oh, and pictures are always appreciated.

18. Best thing you heard at Zone Conference?
"The Atonement was accomplished when one god prayed to another god. That is how important prayer is--even gods do it."

Monday, November 11, 2013

Our efforts will not be wasted

No pictures this week, so Mom is putting in some 'pre-mission' photos. I sure do miss this boy!

So, lately we've been losing a lot of investigators...again (yes, that includes the guy with the Book of Mormon. We've not been able to get back in contact with him since.) We've been struggling to keep them in this area, which is kind of a trial sometimes. We've been working really hard to find new ones, though. The plan of action for the past few weeks has been to contact every less-active member that we don't know anything about, and to see if they're interested in meeting with us. Following that, we knock 10 doors on each side of them, and record any miracles that we have. What's amazing is that we've found two less-active members who weren't on the ward list that way, and another one in travel to see another less-active. They're seriously popping up all over the place. And! We got a solid new investigator from it. She's 16, and is very interested in what we've got to teach her. And her parents are okay with her learning about the church, which is wonderful. We're hoping to bring the Young Women's president along in the future. Needless to say that's exciting.

Now, one thing we've been trying to work out also is how we can contact new investigators better. We've grown a bit tired of door knocking, and have been trying to see what we can do to employ other methods. So, this is totally open to suggestions from anyone, anywhere. We're trying to see if there's any way we can use music. I tried playing piano in the mall the other day, and it made a real impact on some people, and one old woman stayed the entire time, and then asked who we are, what we're doing, etc. Anyway, if you've got any ideas, please let me know.

One thing that I've been quite impressed with this week, though, is just the fact that I can only do what I'm able to. It's difficult to see sometimes that you put a lot of effort into something and the rewards aren't evident at the moment. But as I've put much time into prayer, study, fasting, etc. I've come to the conclusion that these efforts will not be wasted. If everyone in the city were to drive us out with pitchforks, torches blazing, I would have become something more from my trying to help these people. My favorite scripture says, "Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me; and none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost." (D&C 50:41-42) The Lord has an understanding of what we need, and what others need, and I'm so grateful to have been put in such a place that I can learn where I need to be, and what I need to do.

He's already for England with these cool socks!

Love you guys,

Elder Green

Monday, November 4, 2013

"Be of good cheer, for I am with you"

On the way to Chichester.

I'm glad to hear that so much good is going on back home. Halloween was kind of whatever here. It's geting bigger, but apparently they've only really been celebrating it the American way for the past six years. This year was the first that any substantial Trick-or-Treating was being done. We were just told that we should just go in when work was no longer effective. We had a dinner appointment that night, and part way through it, they started getting people knocking at the door. So, we just stayed there for the rest of the night.

That's so cool hearing about Jesse Waite Owens. I would love the article, if you could send it. (We think Braiden's great great grandfather served a mission to England in the early 1900's...we are trying to find out what area he may have been. Also, we found some information about other family members that were converted in England in the 1860's and then traveled to join the saints in Utah.)

I mentioned last week something that Uncle Ben said to me in a letter, and I've been thinking a lot about it this week, as well. He was talking about how when he was on his mission, he made sure to be Positive, Obedient and Working hard (or as he puts it, POW). It's amazing just how true that is. These past few weeks, I've just had this huge desire to just work as hard as I can. We all know I was pretty lazy back home, and that's one of the reasons that I've been so focused on that. I've seen now that I can accomplish so much more when I'm actually giving it my all, than when I would put forth the minimum effort required to get something done.

With the obedience, that's something that Elder Schorzman really impressed upon me. I've just seen that when I decide I'm going to be exactly obedient, I am able to do so much more, as well. If you've ever seen a copy of the white missionary handbook, you know that despite it's small size, there are quite a few rules. So often, it's easy to rationalize, and say "Oh, well I'm not listening to inappropriate music, I'm just singing it." or "Well, this song has a good message, so it's not a problem if I'm playing it through my head all day." etc. (Mine are all music related, pretty much). However, it's such a blessing to see what stronger impact the spirit has on your life when you do follow every rule. As they say, "Obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles."

But what I've noticed, is that the glue that holds it all together is a positive attitude. You can go out and try to work hard, and do your very best to be exactly obedient. But it can weigh on you if you let it. Missionary work can be hard work. It can be long days sometimes, because sometimes, as Brady Hanson warned me, every appointment will cancel. And you'll be walking from door to door in the pouring rain, and no one will want to listen. But what's amazing is that you can either love it, or hate it. It's your decision. You can say, "That's one more slammed door closer to someone who'll listen." You can, and should, have fun doing the work, and that's not inappropriate at all. Brad Wilcox points out that there is really a difference between light-heartedness, and light-mindedness--the former being such a saving grace, and the latter taking your attention from where it ought to be. I think about how often it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, "Be of good cheer, for I am with you." We're here on earth to be happy, and if we're not, then we always can be.

Anyway, that's my spiel for the week. We're still working on strengthening the ward. We see so many miracles every day--I wish I could enumerate them just to show you how amazing it is.

I love you so much, Mom. Thank you so much for all that you've taught me. If I do anything good out here, it's truly only because you and Dad have raised me to be who I am now, and because you've helped me to turn to Heavenly Father.

Love you all,

--Elder Green

Monday, October 28, 2013

An Optimistic Attitude Helps with Everything!

Just so you know, Mom, I got everything in the packages alright. I was extremely appreciative of the burritos...Really! Tito's burritos here in England! Mexican food is so amazing! (Apparently this was a miracle that frozen burritos and salsa cleared customs...but the package sailed right through...I guess this missionary mom was lucky.)

Portsmouth Zone Conference. President and Sister Millar are right in front,
and I am behind the elder with the bright red tie.
This week was another week of just crazy weird miracles. We started out with Zone Conference, which was absolutely fantastic, as always. I'm amazed at just how much simple things that people have said there apply exactly to what we need in our area. We're working hard on getting to know the members a lot better now, as we realize just how important that is. If we can establish a good relationship with the ward, then we can begin to help less-active members return more easily. Once we do that, we begin to make a bridge to new investigators. Plus, it really is so nice having a good ward family to rely on. Missionaries miss having family members they can turn to, and so the next best thing is a good supportive ward.

We came up with a few good ideas that we're working on implementing to get closer to ward members: spending P-days with them, taking part in doing service for them, and the "Reverse Dinner Appointment" where we essentially invite ourselves over to cook them dinner.

We've also been pushing forward trying to utilize the zone's Preach My Gospel Area List that Elder George came up with. It's a fantastic idea. Basically, it involves prioritizing where our efforts will return the most results. It's really helped for us to get to know which less-active members we're working with, and really getting to help them better.

On Friday we helped out at Sister Edna Jones' memorial service. I only had two chances to meet her, but from what I know about her, she was such an amazing woman. She and her husband served in a bishopric, stake presidency, temple presidency and mission presidency. Their son is in our mission presidency as well. It was a great service, and really made me feel appreciative of our knowledge of the Plan of Happiness. Those who spoke at the service were so optimistic. It turned the funeral from a sad occasion to a glad celebration of her life. I can't believe how grateful I am to know that this life is not the end, but merely a part of a greater plan that's pushing us towards our greatest potential.

Following the memorial service, we were able to give further service by giving a blessing to a man in Chichester Hospital who is a member of the Worthing ward. It was so cool, though, because not only were we able to give this man comfort and help him in this time of difficulty, but he happened to be the father of one of the less-active members that the Chichester elders have been trying to contact. Furthermore, the man who asked if we would come with him to give the blessing has a connection to our family friends here in England, as his wife works with one of them.

It's just amazing how these little things add up.

Saturday was spent on exchange with Elder Cullen. We went down to Wittering, and holy cow was it stormy... A huge storm rolled in this weekend, and so walking around Wittering (which is right up against the coast) was quite an experience. Brought back a bit of homesickness, though, to walk into "Wittering Surf Shop" and pick up a bar of surf wax, and then to walk down to the beach and actually see people surfing.

Surfers on a stormy day in Wittering!

On exchange with Elder Cullen in Wittering.

If there's one thing I've learned this week, though, it's how much an optimistic attitude helps with everything. Uncle Ben wrote me the other week, and said that the three things that helped him out on his mission were being Positive, Obedient and Working hard. I can testify that those three things help us so much not only on a mission, but in life in general.

So glad to be out here serving the Lord.

Love you,

Elder Green

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Week Full of Miracles...

Can I just take a second and talk about all the incredible miracles we've seen this week? So, on Thursday, we just saw one after another... It started when we went to the bus station, and were trying to figure out which monthly bus pass we were supposed to buy. This woman walked up to us and asked if we were Latter-day Saints. She then told us about how she had seen us out on Hayling Island, and how the church had literally saved her life. She had been in a coma, and everyone in the church prayed for her and raised money for her operation, and now she and her son are alive. We told her where the church was, and she wouldn't stop thanking us. After that, we had an appointment cancel, and just in talking to some people on the street, found a woman who hadn't been active since she was a child, and was somewhat interested in coming to church again. Then, we met this guy, and tried to tell him about the Book of Mormon. He said it wasn't for him, because it wasn't the Bible and then walked away. We continued on, and not a minute later, he ran down the street trying to catch us. He told us he hadn't given the Bible a chance at first either, and wanted to learn more about the Book of Mormon. We're coming by this week.

There were more that day, and more throughout the week, but wow! I'm so glad to be a missionary.

I haven't had as many opportunities to use my music here yet... I'm going to frustrate you, Mom, but I've already got a guitar and ukulele that are mine. I'm working on getting a Mandolin... Hahaha, just kidding. The guitar was only £20 from a member in Newton Abbot, and the Ukulele was a gift from Ashley and Jade. Every once in a while I stick the uke in my bag and take it proselyting with me. I should be playing this week at this lunch club thing a member wants us to go to. He's really hoping it will open some doors for us, and I'm praying it will be good.

Here are a few pictures I took this morning. I don't know what happened, but none of the pictures that I have taken in the last 3 months are showing up on my SD card. I hope they can be recovered...but I have a feeling they won't. Good thing I've sent a few pictures home.

19 Leigh Road...Where I live.
The outside of our flat.
At the train station, this morning.
Haircut day!

Well, I love you all, and can't wait to hear back from you.

Elder Green

Monday, October 14, 2013

"The only thing I miss like crazy is Mexican food..."

We've had a great week here in Havant. We're working our very hardest. It's a little bit hard being in such a new area, and not having any clue what to do with it, but we're working it out quite quickly. You know, the Lord is going to bless you with the knowledge you need to really do anything, but especially to do His work.

Havant is a bit rougher than I was used to in Newton Abbot. Not like it's a sketchy place or anything, but it's definitely not beautiful countryside. It's also not been as easy finding people to teach, but it's picking up quickly. The Lord provides us with miracles every day, and it's so amazing to see these things coming to pass.

I'll share a cool story with you. So this week, we went up to Petersfield to visit a woman who hasn't been out to church for a while. When we left, we asked if there were any roads in the area that she would recommend we knock. She gave us a few of them, and we set off to go knock one. We prayed to teach three lessons and to find a family to teach. We were only able to really teach two lessons, but we found a family that has been so prepared to hear the gospel. I'm so excited about it. We'll be seeing them this Saturday.

Sorry this isn't too long, we don't get a ton of time to Email here in Havant... The computers at the library only give us an hour (instead of the two we got back in Newton Abbot) and the computers are super slow... I'm doing my best to get all my emailing in.

I don't think that I need anything from home... The only thing I miss like crazy is Mexican food, and I'm not going to ask you to put gas station tacos in a package and send them to me. (I know he loves to hear from friends and family if you would like to write, here's his current address...)

Elder Braiden Green
5 Elmleigh House
19 Leigh Road
Havant, Hampshire, UK
P09 2ET

Here are a few pictures...I will try to send some better ones next week!

A picture of our beautiful flat...which is even more beautiful when it's clean!

My new companion, Elder Sorensen with his Rindfleischsuppe
(or Rind Flesh Soup, as we Americans interpret it.)

From our trip to the Portsmouth Historical Dockyard.

Love you!

Elder Green

Monday, October 7, 2013

Area 2: Havant (pronounced like "haven't")

Havant is a little seaside town located between Portsmouth and Chichester.

The new area is fantastic! We're in more of a city area, which is kind of strange to me. We walked down the street from our flat the other day, and I started freaking out because we passed a shopping mall... I guess that's what living in the country has done to me.

Elder (Miles) Sorensen is a great guy. He's from Parker, Colorado, and is a great missionary. He's only been here one transfer, so neither of us know the area as well as we wish we did, but we're working through it. He reminds me a lot of Tahoe, for some reason. We have a lot in common, and though I'm going to miss Elder Blackner and everyone else in Newton Abbot, I'm not going to let that stop me from working hard in this area.

As you guys know, General Conference was this weekend. Honestly, it's so amazing watching it as a missionary. When I can, I'm going to put it all on a USB so that we can watch it in our flat over, and over again. I'm so grateful for the messages about missionary work. I can testify as to how much of a difference it really does make when members get involved with the missionaries.

But I've noticed it's not just going out with the missionaries that does the job. One of the biggest things that members can do is their home and visiting teaching. I could go on and on and on about how dang important this is! Oh my days. (Must be like "Oh my heck" in England...I've never heard him say this before!) I don't want to sound preachy, but when home teaching numbers are down, less active numbers go way up.

Anyway. We're still by the seaside, which is nice. Today we're headed down to a naval museum with the rest of our district (AKA our district leader and his companion). It's a small district. And I didn't think that anyone could live up to the McMurtry's, (and no one can), but it's nice to know that we've got another fantastic Senior Couple in this area. The Powell's are so good to us, and it's cool to know that I can get all the embarrassing stories about Elizabeth Powell (a friend from BYU) from them. Just kidding.

Anyway, I'm so grateful for the blessing of the gospel in my life, and even more grateful for the opportunity to share it with others.

Saying goodbye to the Turney's..."Farewell Newton Abbot!"

Love you all,

Elder Green

Monday, September 30, 2013

"I'm off to Havant!"

It's been quite wet recently, but that's just fine. I don't mind the rain in the slightest. We actually had thunderstorms the other night, which was wonderful.

 This week has been easier in some respects, and harder in others. It's been easier in that we've not had anything crazy happen, as has happened in the weeks before, but it was hard in two respects--one, we had a two day exchange (which is a lot) and two, we didn't know what was happening with transfers.

The two day exchange was because of baptismal interviews that needed to get done. It was a long process, and I'm sure it felt longer for Elder Dyck who had to perform them, but Stella and her family are all doing fantastic. The baptism was Saturday, and the confirmation was Sunday. I had the opportunity of baptising Brandon, the son, and Alisha, the little girl, and confirming the two of them. I was quite nervous about the confirmation, but it really was quite fine. The words came easily. I suppose that's what fasting and prayer will do for you.

We've got a new family in the ward--the Doherty's. They're from southern Ireland, and their son Michael's off on his mission to Provo in a few weeks. We took him out to see the first member of our ward who's in a care home out in Dawlish. It was really cool, because his son, who hasn't been as active, was there, and we were able to speak to him. I don't know that Michael thought too much of it, but it was a great experience in seeing just how much the Lord really does prepare situations that way so that His children can have opportunities to return.

We also have started doing music lessons in the ward, kind of. Sister Hockaday in the ward asked if we would start coming over on Tuesdays and teaching her children the hymns. It's a cool experience, as they are a part-member family, so hopefully we'll see what music can do there. Sister Hockaday's amazing though, and so I'm grateful to do that for them.

So, the big news: I'm moving. I guess I'm off to Havant now, in Portsmouth zone. President called us this morning on our way out the door. I'm excited, I suppose. I will so miss the wonderful people I have come to know and love in this area...and my companion Elder Blackner...but I am happy to serve wherever the Lord wants me to!

The Julian's, one of the families that have been so wonderful to me while in Newton Abbot!

Love you all,
Elder Green

Monday, September 23, 2013

Three Months!

The view of Teignmouth from Shaldon, a village located on the south banks of the River Teign.

Isn't it crazy? Officially three months on Friday. I can't believe it's going by this quickly. Sister Nelson in Teignmouth goes home next week, and I may very well move. Who knows. But, I'm pushing hard regardless.

I'm glad that there's some work going on there. I'm excited for that work to be moving forward. And I'm glad Uncle Ben--sorry, Bishop Grasteit--has been pushing that. I knew he would.

The first half of last week was actually quite good. We've been seeing Steve and Terena a lot more, as well as our investigator Brandon. Brandon's scheduled to get baptised (english spelling) with the rest of his family this Saturday! He's a super cool kid, and we're way excited for him. He even asked if I would baptise him, which is really nice.

We got to go on a tour of one of the Church of England churches in the area. We see one of the readers from the church quite often, and he offered a couple of times, so we took him up on it. It was really interesting hearing about the history of their church from a member of the congregation, rather than from a history book. We told him a bit about how our church started, and he even said that he wanted to dust off the Book of Mormon he had at home. Pretty cool.

The rest of our week was difficult, to say the least. We've been asked to give a ton of blessings... I mean, it's weird. Between Elder Blackner and I, we've given or assisted in at least seven blessings in the past two weeks. It makes me feel quite glad to be able to exercise the priesthood I hold, but many blessings aren't easy to give.

Our plans have also been falling apart a lot of days. Which isn't always a bad thing. We've seen so many miracles from following the spirit rather than the plans we set, but after a day or two of your plans kind of going all over the place, it can be a little hectic.

Despite any stress this might cause, though, I've been doing well. The Sisters have been super supportive, as has our Ward Mission Leader and District Leader. And, I've been finding so much comfort in reading the scriptures. This morning I was reading in 1st Nephi 21, which is one of the chapters in which he quotes Isaiah concerning Christ. It wasn't until the other day that I really could understand what a word in the chapter meant, and it wasn't until today that I understood just how significant it is in my own life. We're all going to face trials--that's just life. But knowing that Christ is always there, and I mean He is always there, is the most amazing thing.

I'll just quote one of the verses from that one in closing: "For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands;" (1 Nephi 21:15-16).

Love you all,

Elder Green

More pictures from our trip to Shaldon.

Monday, September 16, 2013

I Love Blessings, I Love Prayer, and I Love these People!

The view from the bus stop up in Dawlish (North of Teignmouth.) You can see Weymouth far off in the distance.

First off, I am super excited about Kyle. Iowa Des Moines will be awesome! And I'm only slightly jealous about the weather. (It's been almost 100 degrees at home this weekend, and in the 50's here.) Though I would prefer the ninety degree weather in a t-shirt and board shorts, it's not as enjoyable in shirt and tie. But oh well. And I'll get those trousers myself. (The ones I tore on our trip to Dartmoor.) It was my khakis. It's not a problem. Though I might have you get me some Altoids on I'll let you know if I find anything that's a good enough substitute here.

The week has been quite good. Elder Blackner and I keep getting to the end of the week and feeling like we haven't done much, and then we look at our numbers, and they're not bad at all. We're really accomplishing a lot, but there's always more we can be doing. But I suppose that's life.

We played volleyball on Monday with the Sisters in Teignmouth, the Elders in Paignton, and the McMurtry's. It was definitely fun, but my wrists are all bruised up now from it. Afterward, we had a fantastic family home evening with Steve and Terena. We went up to their loft afterward and got to play with Steve's model train set. It's actually way sweet. Elder Blackner and I kept racing different trains around the track, and Elder Blackner ended up breaking one of them... Oops.

We've been trying to figure out how I can use music more in missionary work. Since President Millar counselled me at Zone Training to do so, I've been trying to find new opportunities to. I've brought the guitar in our flat out to visit less active members, and that's been really good. A lot of them really appreciated it, and singing hymns with them has really brought the Spirit into our visits. Still, I know that I was given these talents partially to help people out--it says so in my patriarchal blessing--and so I'm trying to think of new ways to use them in the work. Busking was an idea, though it hasn't been terribly effective in the past. If anyone out there has any ideas, do let me know.

Elder Blackner and I had the opportunity to give blessings to a family that the Sisters are teaching currently. Giving blessings is honestly one of my favorite things, because of how strong and clear the Spirit's voice is. This family has been through a lot, and it really humbles me to see that, but what's so amazing is how willing they are to move forward. We're teaching their son now, and will be having Family Home Evening with them and the Sisters tonight. I'm excited for that.

We had such a miracle yesterday. So, Saturday night, we were doing our planning, and we saw that we had a follow-up appointment with a guy Elder Blackner had met on splits the other day. We thought about it, and decided that even though we had no one lined up, that we would pray for a member to come on the teach with us. Elder Blackner had done it in his last area, and he said it was amazing. So, we prayed, and said we'd do what we could. In attending to our duties, we didn't have a chance to ask anyone until about an hour after church had ended, and the only person we could have asked at that point was Bishop, who is busy enough. So, we went back to the flat and got something to eat. All of the sudden, Dann (who was on splits with Elder Blackner when he met this guy) texted asking if he could come hang out with us. We went out with him, and though our appointment fell through, we were able to teach two other guys on the street. I love prayer.

Also, the people in this area are so incredibly generous. Sunday one of the members of our ward bought us three steaks and mushrooms to go with it. Then Steve and Terena called and said they wanted to bring something by, and came over with a ton of groceries for us. We were sent home with the best brownies after a dinner appointment that night. Seriously, I love these people.

Groceries delivered by Steve and Terena...thanks so much!

Love you all,

Elder Green

Monday, September 9, 2013

Houndtor, Haytor, and the Power of a Simple Testimony

(First...answers to mom's questions...but you might be interested too...)
We have been getting a fair amount of rain. The raincoat I've currently got is just fine, so no worries there. And I abhor short sleeve shirts. Really, I do. I don't need any. We're allowed to roll up our sleeves, and that's just fine for me. And I got the haircut. I think it looks good. I'll have Sister Turney send you a picture of it. I believe she sent you a few yesterday. Her son is off on a mission to South Africa, and so she likes to keep in contact with this ward's missionaries' Moms as she knows how frustrating it is not knowing what's going on with your kid. Oh, and I'm going to ask President today if I can write my own blog posts. If it's reaching as many people as you say, then that's an amazing missionary tool. However, he may just say to leave you to do it, as this is working just fine now. How are the numbers currently? And I got the package. The photo album is so much appreciated. I look at it quite frequently. And Elder Blackner and I both appreciated the Robitaille's.

So we did get to go to Dartmoor last week. It was absolutely wonderful. It's so weird seeing rolling hills instead of mountains. And all the tors are so cool. They're basically these giant granite deposits on the tops of the moors. We climbed around Houndtor (where the Sherlock Holmes novel 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' is set) and then hiked from there, through a little Medieval village to Haytor. The Medieval village was awesome. It's only ruins now, but the idea that it's been there for a thousand years is unfathomable. And we were just walking around these people's houses! Wow. Sister McMurtry made us these pizza rolls that were absolutely fantastic. I must have eaten at least six... Maddie would have loved all the wild horses roaming about, along with the sheep and cows everywhere. Oh, and I ripped my service trousers, so I'm going to need some new ones...Oops.

Houndtor with Elder Blackner.

The ruins of a medieval village.


We had to move these wild horses out of the way so we could back the car out.

It's funny how the weeks have been going. For the past two weeks, I've been feeling like we haven't been doing as much as we should... I can kind of stress myself out thinking that I need to be stopping more people, and teaching every one about the gospel. The funny thing is, though, that we've been leading the district. We've always got plenty of work to do, and our investigators are progressing fantastically. Steve and Terena have decided to get married, which is wonderful. They'll be baptized, with Phoebe, shortly after that.

We had Zone Training this last Friday. It felt a bit long, but it was good to be able to see the other missionaries. One of the members of our Stake Presidency came and spoke a lot about how we need to get the members working on missionary work much more. His vision is to get the Stake to the point where we could take the missionaries out, and the work would progress at the same rate. We've seen so many blessings as we've tried to apply that principle. As Brigham Young said, "...when I saw a man without eloquence or talents for public speaking, who could only say, 'I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of the Lord,' the Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual illuminated my understanding, and a light, glory, and immortality were before me. I was encircled by them, filled with them, and I knew for myself that the testimony of the man was true." A simple testimony borne by a member is so much more powerful than any rousing speech by the most skilled of orators. Plus, it really helps those who can't look past our missionary badge, as it often does get in the way.

One other thing that I got from Zone Training came from President himself. He really helped me to realize just how important I myself am out here. He said to use my musical talents as much as I can--to bring my guitar to DA's (I think this may refer to dinner appointments), or play the piano for them. There's such a special spirit that comes from music, and I need to use it. Of course, I need to use it for good, not for mere entertainment. That's what I'm working on now. I wrote a version of 'Battle Hymn' for the musical fireside last night, and I'm hoping to start writing something that's a little more aimed toward the Jack Johnson style for the next fireside. The fireside went amazingly. I only did six pieces this time, instead of seven. I know, big difference. We did one piece called 'My Kindness Shall Not Depart from Thee.' It's so beautiful (or as they would say here, "lush"). The whole fireside was so powerful for those who came, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to perform.

Anyway, we should be off to play volleyball in a bit.

Love you so much,

Elder Green

Monday, September 2, 2013

"It's so absolutely incredible..."

Work's been going really well here. We've got five baptismal dates at this point--Steve, Terena, Phoebe, Jade, and a woman we met last week named Shana. Our other numbers haven't been as good, but seeing as we're focusing on our investigators a bit more, we're not too worried. It's so good being able to get out and work hard every day on helping others out.

I've been thinking a lot about how I can focus my teaching on the Savior lately. Rory and Scott told me about how their biggest regret about their mission was that they didn't focus as much on the Savior, which I completely understand. It's really easy to get caught up talking to people about Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon, and the Plan of Salvation--all of which we need to help people understand. But as Cleon Skousen said in his talk, "The Meaning of the Atonement," that is not our message. Joseph Smith testified of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. The Plan of Salvation is His plan for us. Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We're supposed to help them with everything else remembering that Jesus Christ is the center of it all. It's so absolutely incredible the things that He has done for us, and the things that we are able to do through His help. Anyway, that's probably enough of a sermon. I just get really excited when I think about how amazing that is.

We're headed up to Dartmoor today. We're hoping to go see Hound Tor and Haytor, and I'm super excited. It'll be nice to get out there while my family is camping in Big Sur...without me.

Here are some pictures of me this week!

In Chudleigh.

Can't you just imagine Dieter driving his tractor along these rolling fields?...
And Flavia riding "Gladys" along these roads?

In Teignmouth...we went contacting along the beachfront, which was so nice.

Love you much,

Elder Green

Monday, August 26, 2013

Talking Cars...and a New Companion

Our view from the bus stop, while we were down in Paignton.

I'm glad to hear Julius is doing well! I wish that we got a chance to read other missionaries blogs, but with how little time we ourselves have to Email and everything, it's probably better we don't. It's always inspiring to hear about these miracles that keep happening, though. Every time we get a call from President Millar, or a Zone Leader they're always asking to know about what miracles we've seen that day. It's really good to reflect on that and to see what good we're doing in an area, because despite challenges and difficulties, there are always miracles happening.

Please add (on Facebook) Ashley, and Jade, Josh and Holly if they added us as well. Ashley and Jade are two investigators that we're teaching, and they're way cool. We met him out on the street, and Elder Schorzman and he talked cars for quite a while. Jade, his partner, came out after a bit and we chatted with her too. We gave them a card with our Facebook info on it, and guess what? Jade spent all night on Those little cards we hand out really make a difference. They're amazing people, and it's always awesome stopping by their place. Jade's been reading the Book of Mormon now, and so we're really excited. And now their friends are interested as well. I think that's one of the best things about being out here: I mean, we're here to preach the gospel, but we end up meeting and talking to the best people. And then we want to share the gospel with them not just because we're on a mission, but because we really like them, and care about them, and want them to be as happy as they can possibly be. You start to develop the most amazing relationships with them.

And what's even more of a miracle is that Elder Blackner is perfect for them, and a number of other people in the area. He's from Beaver, Utah, and has only been out here for three transfers, so President obviously trusts us quite a bit to have someone who's half-trained leading an area, and someone who just got done training as my trainer. He's really into hunting, so we talk about that quite a bit. I'm teaching him guitar, also, so he can start playing in the musical programs with us. He's really coming along quite well. And we get along really well, too. I think the best thing that I learned from Elder Schorzman is to be as open with your companion as possible, and that has helped Elder Blackner and I to become good friends already. I know the Lord sent him here for a reason, and I can see that both of us are supposed to be here more and more everyday.

We actually do have some baptisms scheduled for Phoebe, Steve and Terena's daughter. She should be getting baptized on the 14th of September. We're really excited for that family, and have been so grateful for all the miracles we've seen with them.

I never did get that haircut scheduled... I might get it later today. We'll see.

Also, I'm going to try to send home some chocolate and things this next week. If you guys want anything in particular, let me know and I'll buy it next Monday. I'll probably send home some Cadbury and Angel Delite. I wish I could send Vimto, but it'd be too heavy.

Your package should get here soon, by the by. We've got Zone Training next week, so I should get it then, at the latest.

We spent P-day here at "Hannahs," a center for the disabled.  They have art exhibits, a big music room and garden and a fantastic view of Newton Abbot and Teignmouth.
Sister Nelson and I had to get a picture with that in the background (below).

Love you all so much,

Elder Green

Monday, August 19, 2013

"The Fourth Missionary"

This week has been so great. Really. We've kind of had some trouble with meeting with people, as quite a few have cancelled appointments and such, but we've been trying our hardest, and so we feel quite fulfilled.

We had one really amazing experience this past week. We went up to Chudleigh, as we don't often get to work out there, and talked to a ton of people. The buses run every hour up there, so when we missed the bus by maybe five minutes, we were kind of disappointed. Elder Schorzman jokingly suggested we get haircuts at the barbershop near the bus stop (as we really need them) and teach the barber at the same time, but we decided not to as the white handbook specifically designates that as a P-Day activity. So, we decided to try to reach a less-active member nearby. She wasn't home, but in her neighborhood we found a really cool potential investigator. He's going to try to make it to church, but we're going to be visiting with him soon, hopefully. We gave him a DVD full of Mormon Messages.

We headed back up to the bus station, and there was the barber sitting on the bench. We talked to him for a little while, and taught him about the Restoration and Plan of Salvation. He said we're welcome to come back for haircuts and another teaching appointment. We gave him our number, but then the bus arrived, and so we forgot to ask his. Usually, that means you won't hear from them again, but five minutes later, on the bus, we got a text saying (essentially), "Hey this is Danny, the barber. Thanks for talking with me, it was really uplifting. Just the fact that you guys are so happy is inspiring." The Lord really blesses us when we follow his standards, so rationalizing them is really quite useless.

A church (above) and pub (below) in Chudleigh.
For any of you that have read the Flavia de Luce novels...I am sure Chudleigh is "Bishop's Lacey" and that this church is "St. Tancred's."  The pub across the street is even called Bishop Lacy.

It's funny you wrote about my stubbornness, mom, because that's one of the things that has really been giving me a hard time lately... I think it really was what caused such a hard time between me and Elder Schorzman in the beginning. Don't get me wrong, I must be making it sound like we've not gotten on well. It's interesting, because it's really been kind of like me and Taylor were. We used to not get along much at all, merely because of how different we were. But as I've dropped my pride, Elder Schorzman and I have gotten along much better, and now we're really quite good friends. It really helped this last week--I was getting frustrated with myself over a lot of things, and so I asked Elder Schorzman if he'd give me a blessing (I'd been feeling like I should ask him for a whole day at that point, but kept rationalizing that it wasn't the right time for some reason). It was amazing, because in the blessing, one of the things that was said was that I needed to let the Lord have sway in my heart.

This morning I was wondering just how to do that, and decided to dedicate my study to it. Elder Schorzman had given me an extra copy of this little discourse given by a mission president (Lawrence E. Corbridge) entitled "The Fourth Missionary". You can find it online, if you'd like to read it. It basically talks about four different types of missionaries: the first is disobedient, and because of that goes home; the second is disobedient, but he strives to never get caught and stays for the two years; the third is a very obedient missionary, and willingly sacrifices his time, but never lets go of all of the things that he wishes he could be doing instead; the fourth gives his will completely to the Lord, putting away everything from back home and dedicating his might, mind, strength and heart to the Lord. It goes through the individual attributes of each, and basically talks about how the third and fourth both perform a lot of good for those in the area, and reap much, but only the fourth changes himself, and thereby benefits immensely from his mission.

I've learned a lot from Elder Schorzman, but the thing I've learned most is just how necessary it is to rid yourself of pride and to do what the Lord asks willingly. If we don't, we're not going to be able to help others, nor are we going to be able to benefit ourselves. I'm glad I learned that in these last six weeks, because now Elder Schorzman's moving on. He just got called as our Zone Leader, and so I'll be having another missionary come in to finish my last six weeks of training. I'm really glad we were put together as companions, and am glad I'll be seeing him on a regular basis.

Here is a picture of our Newton Abbot District. Elder Schorzman and Sister Clark will be transferred this week.

Love you all,

Elder Green