Monday, February 24, 2014

"Guess who's getting their British Drivers License? Take some deep breaths, Mom...I'll be fine"

Beautiful Leigh Park

I'm really grateful, we haven't had much rain this last week, but we've had tons for the past few weeks. Apparently it's record-breaking...the most England's had since they started recording weather, or something like that. I don't know, when you get all the news by word of mouth (or looking at Newspaper headlines) you can't really take anything without a pinch of salt. (Maybe he means 'a grain of salt'?...or maybe that's an English expression?)

Sounds pretty promising that the mission president came down, I wonder if they're planning on using Woodland Hills Ward for something big? Who knows. It's good to hear that work is going smoothly there, though. We're experiencing fantastic miracles at the moment.

Joss is doing fantastically, as always, her baptism is a week from this Saturday. We're really excited, she's really excited, the ward's really excited. It's really inspiring, too, because she's faced opposition from a few different sources, and yet still, she's standing pretty firm in her faith. It's great to see the ward gathering around her to help her feel welcome and loved.

Kathy's also progressing really well too! She was having some difficulty reading, but when we went by to see her last week, she had read up to 1 Nephi 10, which was really good to hear! The ward's been embracing her pretty well, also, and you can really see a change in her because of that.

Our investigator Jade has been fantastic too. Man, we haven't even been able to meet with her yet, and she's been taking the initiative to come to church, and even mutual! (Which is pretty incredible, since the youth program is pretty small in this ward.) I felt like such a slacker when she walked up to me this Sunday and said, "Hey, I need a Book of Mormon to start reading." Oops... Hahaha, we're pretty happy with how things are going.

Also, in other news, we had interviews with President Millar this week, and (though our interviews are usually pretty short) he told me a few cool things. First off, I got permission to go searching for gospel related sheet music, which is a total score. I talked to Bishop, and I'll be doing a solo in sacrament meeting soon. I'm trying to decide between a song, that's actually by Owl City, called "In Christ Alone", or an EFY song... Or if I should actually arrange something, though I'm no good at arranging for piano... I don't know.

"Three Green's" at Zone Conference

Anyway, the other exciting thing: I asked President if I could go to Kennnington. Apparently he didn't know that I spoke Spanish, and because he's low on Spanish Speakers, I'm hoping he'll put me in sometime.  So, I've ordered a Preach My Gospel in Spanish, as well as a subscription to the Liahona in Spanish to give me some practice, as I've felt like I should get them for a while.

And for the British food update of the week: refried beans and avocados are super expensive here... Even the dried pinto beans are expensive. Heck, man. So, Elder Gull and I are doing all we can to satisfy our Mexican food cravings.

The Nacho Casserole we made.

Near Langstone/Warblington. It's really pretty down by the seaside.

Anyhow, love you guys,

Elder Green

P.S. Guess who's getting their British Drivers License? Take some deep breaths, Mom...I'll be fine. I think I'll try for the manual license, but if not, I can just get the automatic.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Adventures in Cooking

Elder Gull and I are having a great time. It's really clear how little we're actually doing... Hang on, let me rephrase that, it's really clear how little we are doing in this area compared to what the Lord's doing. We are working hard, I promise.

Our investigators are really pushing along. We taught Joss the Plan of Salvation this last week, and when we finished, she looked at us and said, "That is absolutely amazing. Nothing has made more sense to me in my life." It's always really heart warming to be able to see just how much the Lord blesses His children. Kathy's doing wonderfully as well. She was able to make it to church this last week, and to a ward social the night before, where we relived our award winning presentation of our ward's roadshow. (I even won an Oscar for my performance in the Chorus.) The night was really fun -- except for when Brother Lush put on that song I wrote for his poem... Man, why's the guy got to embarrass me? Haha, no I'm joking. It sounded a lot nicer than I initially had thought. I'll send you guys the song as soon as I can. I've got it on a disc at the flat.

And something else wonderful came from that night! During our planning earlier this last week, Elder Gull and I decided that we really wanted to start working with the less-actives to find investigators, whether that came from referrals, or non-member family. Well, the Powell's invited along a family that we had worked a bit with before -- the mother's a member, but the children aren't. The Mom came along, partially because she wanted her daughter to have good influences in her life. And, well, she put it quite frankly: "If you want to meet a good boy, then go look for one at church." Well, her daughter (who is Kate's age) seemed to enjoy the night, and got acquainted with the youth of the ward. That next morning, Elder Gull and I were talking, and came to the conclusion that the family is someone we want to start working with in particular. To our surprise, she called and arranged a lift of her own accord to church that day. She enjoyed it enough, was a bit confused on some things (as is to be expected), but we're really excited to get that working.

Anyway, on a less spiritual note, Elder Gull and I have been quite adventurous with our cooking. In celebration of Valentines day (but not on Valentines day, because we couldn't wait that long) we slow cooked lamb heart, stuffed with sautéed mushroom, onion, and green pepper, and served with garlic mashed potatoes and loads of gravy. Man, just because your a missionary doesn't mean you're limited to pot noodles day after day after day. Elder Gull's also quite handy at hamburgers, and so we had teriyaki burgers as well. Wonderful. Elder Dyck is having us make lamb hearts again this week, because they'll be staying the night Thursday, as we have Zone Conference on Friday. It's cool, they're super cheap. We'll be looking for more fun things to eat, so keep posted. I'm going to try to get Elder Gull to eat Balut with me, (the Filipino woman next door told me where I can buy it). Who said English food is boring?

Elder Gull preparing the lamb hearts.

Ready for the oven...

Stuffed lamb hearts, garlic mashed potatoes and gravy...yum!

Make sure you check out last weeks blog...I posted some pictures there.

Anyhow, love you all so much,

-Elder Green

Monday, February 10, 2014

"Everytime Elder Green has a great idea, we end up knee deep in mud."

Things are going quite well here, storms haven't been too bad. We did have a bit of leakage coming through again, but not a ton. The guy's been over to do "temporary" work at least twice, so we're hoping he'll get it fixed for good.

We've picked up another baptismal date this week, which we were quite stoked about. That kind of makes five. We've not been in touch with Ariel and Lukas for a little while, and so we're not counting them until we go see them, which will hopefully be tomorrow. Anyway, the new guy's name is Nick, and he was a former investigator whose records we found in the closet. Quite a miracle story there, but we'll have to tell you that another time. We saw him a couple of times last week, and he's a pretty great guy. We committed him to give up smoking on the second visit. He gave us his packet of tobacco for us to throw away. (We actually forgot to throw it away, and accidentally took it to church the next day... Oops...)

Elder Gull and I are doing great. We get along really well. He's a really laid back kid from Salem, UT. And I think President's trying to convert me to hunting, because he's a big time hunter too. We now have his five point antler and grouse feet hanging from the chandelier, and his fishing pole on the wall. I'm cool with it, because he makes really nice food. We bought lamb hearts today, because they were only £1.50. But anyway, our relationship is pretty similar to how Elder Blackner and I were -- we work hard, and both stay pretty chilled about things. It's fun, he's got nearly as many stories as Elder Blackner does. Unfortunately, with the English distaste for hunting he has to keep it pretty quiet...

We went and did some work in some of the areas that we don't normally hit this week: Emsworth and West Meon. Elder Sorensen and I used to have a saying: "Everytime Elder Green has a great idea, we end up knee deep in mud." Well, apparently when you put Elder Green and Elder Gull together you end up waist deep... Not quite, but almost, I've never been more wet and soaked in my life. It was really chucking it down when we were in Emsworth. We got super lost without the map, and had to use Elder Gull's camera with the GPS on it to figure out where we were. Then, we took all the back trails to the main road, and ended up sloshing through tons of mud. Let me tell you, those shoes are pretty waterproof until you get water up to your ankle, hahaha. West Meon was pretty wet too. We didn't find anyone interested out there, we spent most of our time trying to see if anyone was in need of service. They had had some pretty bad flooding there, but the majority of it was taken care of. All the pheasants walking around made Elder Gull decide we're going to find a butcher and buy a whole one. I'm stoked.

The camera did arrive, and yeah, it's actually a bit nicer than the other one I had, so I'm not complaining. And now that I really do recognize the importance of taking pictures, I'll be taking loads. I took quite a few this week, but I'll keep taking more as I go. And we've had internet study for a while. We get an hour each week to review, look at Mormon messages, etc. I felt that would be a great one to post.

Oh, and thanks for what advice you had. I've actually put a lot of thought into my being named after Papa and Uncle Ben. I feel quite honored being named after the two of them. And I noticed a lot of Uncle Ben in me when Elder Sorensen and I were companions. He would get a little freaked out from time to time because I get super excited and start going off about some scripture that I just loved. I'm mellowing out a bit now...

Anyway, love you,

-Elder Green

Beautiful fields out in West Meon
Taking a break from finding out by West Meon church
My new companion, Elder Gull here at the library

An old WWII war bunker hidden up in the forest


Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Other Prodigal

Elder Gull and I found this during internet study this morning. Elder Holland's words are true:
"No one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another. I testify that He loves each of us—insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all. He doesn’t measure our talents or our looks; He doesn’t measure our professions or our possessions. He cheers on every runner, calling out that the race is against sin, not against each other."

(Also, I freaked out when I saw the Ryser's house.)

For the full talk, click here.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Farewell Elder Sorensen!

In case some of you thought Braiden didn't go to a foreign speaking mission...Elder & Sister Powell, the senior couple in Braiden's area, sent this little reading exercise out in their letter this week.
"Let’s go shopping!  Grab your muffler.  Leave the flat.  Get into the need for the SatNav or wishy-washies.  Arrive at the Hypermarket.  Grab a trolley.  Choose between the travelator and the lift.  Pick up plasters at the Chemist’s.  Don’t forget the jacket potatoes and baps.  Skip the nappies but stop by the loo.  Use the chip and pin device on the way out.  Put the lot in the boot.  Time for a kip before fixing some Bubble and Squeak."  
 Translation for opening paragraph:
Vauxhall-our car
wishy-washies-windshield wipers
trolley-shopping cart
jacket potatoes-potatoes for baking
loo-rest room
chip and pin device-dedit card reader
boot-car trunk
and finally…’Bubble and Squeak’-fried left-over vegetables from a roast dinner

Now onto Elder Green's letter...
So good to hear about the rain. Fasting is a fantastic thing, isn't it? I've seen so many great miracles from using it more out here in the field, and it's been such a blessing.
So, transfers are Wednesday. We're still waiting on the transfer document... Office Elders are sending it out to everyone, so we're waiting (im)patiently. Elder Dyck spoke with President last week, though, so we already know that Elder Sorensen will be leaving. My new companion's going to be Elder Gull. He's a farm boy from Southern Utah, and a really hard worker. I'm glad, because I'm ready to keep tearing this area up.

We've been seeing such good things, though! Fast and Testimony meeting was so good yesterday. Man, Joss got up and bore her testimony! She didn't have a ton to say, but she talked about just how much she loved how it felt every time she walked into the church. She mentioned to me afterwards that she was worried it wouldn't be the same this week, but as soon as she walked through the door, it just hit her in the face. I'm so glad it did!

We've been working with one of our less-active members named Alan recently. He's a really good guy, and we think he's really starting to understand how true it all is. We asked for a referral from him, and he told us to go visit his friend Kathy. We met with her this morning, and she has agreed to be baptized as well. I'm very happy.

Also, it's so good seeing how much the ward loves and trusts us. It's really come a good long way, and I think the growth is just going to be exponential. Having them see people like Joss who have been so prepared is really good for building their faith. It makes me so happy, honestly. I'm a little sad that Elder Sorensen has to go with all this progress, but I know that he's just off to start the fire elsewhere.

Our former Bishop's daughter is doing better, I think. She just ran her second course of chemo, and was able to make it to church this last Sunday. I'm hoping that all will continue to be well for her.

As for our food adventures this week, I just want to prove to you that I can cook. Attached is a picture of that egg casserole that you would make for us. I kind of just eyeballed it, and figured it out from there. It tasted quite nice, but I did forget the cream of mushroom... If you've got any good quick recipes for me, though, I'm always happy to try a new dish. And maybe a recipe for lasagna would be better, so that I don't botch it next time... I'll try to get you guys a custard recipe, though. You will be overjoyed.

Oh, I saw a fox today. They're like raccoons, here. They just wander about the cities. It was chilling in the vacant lot that was filled with rubbish near the bus station. Still haven't found my camera, so no picture of that...

Anyway, love you guys.

-Elder Braiden Green

Elder Green looking quite 'chuffed' to be successful at cooking!
Looks a lot better than the lasagna last week...

P-day trip to visit the Chichester Cathedral.

Burning old progress records...
"Old things are done away, and all things have become new." 3 Nephi 12:47

Our absolutely delicious discovery...fried white bread, rolled in cinnamon sugar and soaked in custard.
There goes my health!