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