Monday, March 23, 2015

Worth It!

Winchester Ward Missionaries...
Elder Law, Elder Johnson, Elder Mercer, and me

Portsmouth Zone with President and Sister Millar

Anyway, I know that all you want to know is what's happening with moves. Elder Mercer's going to be going off to Wandsworth, and I'll be here with Elder Fafita from Tonga. I'm super excited. As I remember, he's a professional Rugby player back home, so I'm looking forward to him helping me to become super ripped. And Elder Law will be moving out of Romsey off to Plymouth, and they'll be bringing in Elder Slade today. So, honestly, a super solid district, a lot of really good hard working missionaries, which I'm really excited about. I was honestly hoping I would get the opportunity to train, and it doesn't look like that'll happen now, but still, I'm well stoked about the kind of work we'll be able to get going this transfer.

It's been a good last week, actually. I'm really pleased with it. This marks the third time falling ill in the last six months-ish, which is kind of ridiculous, but I decided that I would use it as an opportunity to work really hard despite feeling sick. So, I worked through the headaches, and...! I'm even more ill now. But! We saw so many miracles from it that I don't even care!

One of the girls that Elder Mercer and Elder Treadway met, forever ago, texted us earlier this week, and said that she had been learning about the church in her American Studies courses at the University, and was wanting to meet up and learn more about it. It was a great lesson, and she went ahead and recorded the whole thing so that she could review it later. Pretty cool, huh? She came along to church on Sunday, and really enjoyed it, from what I could tell. She got on pretty well in the YSA class, even though she was only intending on staying for the first hour of church.

Also, we had a really spiritual teach with a homeless man we met on the High Street. He's a really great guy, and ended up really taking on board what we had to share with him. Unfortunately, he flogged the next teach, and then skipped out on church, and he'll be gone this week... But, I hope that the bit we were able to share with him made a difference. I was pretty stoked, because he gave me a copy of the Apocrypha, which can now sit on my shelf alongside my RLDS Book of Mormon and my Jehovah's Witness New World Translation of the Bible.

The coolest one came on Sunday, though, especially because it was so unexpected. We had met a girl  on the street a few weeks ago, and spoke with her and her Dad for a little while. Her father wasn't particularly interested in the Gospel, but we helped him loading up his van, and then spoke to them for a while. We were excited because the daughter told us where we could get root beer around here, but she also referred her mother to us. So, we tried by a few times, but couldn't seem to catch her in. But, we knocked on the door yesterday afternoon, and when she answered, we said, "Hey, your daughter told us you might be interested in hearing about what we have to share with people." and she invited us straight in, saying that she had been expecting us for a while yet. She's had some pretty incredible experiences in her life, and as we spoke to her, we found out that not only had she heard of the church, but she knew one of the members of our ward, and had read the Book of Mormon because one of the Young Men in the ward had given a copy to her son. The Spirit was super powerful, and she was so excited to be able to talk to us about everything, it was honestly amazing. So, we're meeting with her and her member friend on Tuesday again.

This week's taught me something. I know you're not going to be happy with me for having made myself a bit more ill, and now I'm pretty much going to have to give up most of today and/or tomorrow for it, but being sick has been amazing for me. When I first started to get ill, I thought, "Well, I can either rest up and give less to this work just because I'm a bit ill, or I can work even harder and see what miracles happen because of it." Well, now I'm actually decently ill, but we've found all of these amazing miracles despite that! The Lord will always bless us according to our diligence and obedience, even if now I have to pay for it a little. It's a worthwhile price, though.

Anyway, love you.

- Elder Green

Monday, March 16, 2015

"I just want to work with everything..."

It was definitely good seeing you guys yesterday ("seeing" being a relative term). But honestly, it was really good to chat, and I'm glad to see that people do miss me. (It was Mother's Day in England yesterday, and since he will be home so close to American Mother's Day, he got to skype with us this week.)

One thing I am grateful for, is that my testimony has been strengthened so much in the past few months. Elder Mercer and I have been researching the Gospel of Christ a lot, and trying to understand it -- he in a general sense, and me and in more specific -- but it's been phenomenal, and has changed me a lot for it. I think it's incredible that any and all problems can be sovled by the Gospel of Christ, and it shows that it's perfect. Problems arise when we choose not to follow it, in the same way they would if we tried not to follow gravity, or inertia. But, anyway.

Elder Mercer and I began working in a lot of smaller areas this week. We walked up to South Wonston, through a military field filled with unexploded ordnance. That was fun. We also did a bit of knocking out in Ropley, which is on the far end of our area. Like, way out there. I swear, some of the properties there are enormous, and absolutely gorgeous. I don't know what I would do in a house that size. I definitely don't know that I would enjoy it.

Elder Mercer and I out in the country.
Taking a close look at a dead badger.

We had Zone Conference on Saturday, with Elder & Sister Dyches of the Seventy, and it was really quite good. I think that the whole world is trying to get me to realize how close I am to coming home... I mean, President practically gave me a lecture on all the beautiful amazing Sister Missionaries that will be coming home at the same time as me, like Sister So-and-So, and this wonderful Sister... And then President Dyches gave like a half-hour presentation on the qualities we should look for in a wife/husband... But, aside from that, the Zone Conference was great! Sister Dyches is really wonderful. She totally called me out for not paying attention at the beginning of her talk (which I actually was, I was just staring off somewhere else as I listened...), and then called me up in front of all the missionaries for fifteen minutes to help her with something... But anyway, they had given this presentation on how to make origami missionary shirts to give away as thank you notes, and after my musical number (at this point, the Zone Conference had turned into the Elder Green show, and Elder Dyches was referring to me by name...) she gave me a really kind one talking about how well she thought I had done.

I'm setting goals now for the last three months of my mission, and I really want to drain my gas tanks. Like, I just want to work with everything. I'm not going to let anything get in my way, because I don't have time for that. I'll be done when I'm done.

Anyway, that's about it. I did think of one thing you could send me -- have Scotty pick out a nice Dodgers hat or shirt for me, I've decided I'm a fan and I'm tired of seeing the fake Dodgers hats that they sell here everywhere. I always try to use it as a contacting technique, and it goes like this:

Me: Hey! Are you a Dodgers Fan?
Them: What?
Me: Do you like the Dodgers?
Them: What are you talking about?
Me: ...Your hat?
Them: Oh, I just got this from Primark (low-end clothing store that's fashionable, but really, really low-quality).
Me: Oh. Can I leave you a card...?

Well, love you,
- Elder Green

P.S.- Here are the words to "Horace." This is a song that I wrote about my ancestor Horace Martin Alexander who left his wife and children at Winter Quarters Nebraska to go and serve in the Mormon Battalion. While he was away, his wife and newborn baby boy died, and his young daughters had to cross the plains in the care of a young woman. They eventually were reunited again in Utah.


Fire in his eyes,
As he rides under the cover
Of another day gone by.
Two men at his side
Sharing hope for the freedom
A new land would provide.

Longing for his wife,
And his two little daughters
That he left back in the ice.
And so he takes his flight
Having shouldered the rifle
And the pledge that he won't fight.

From ol' Virginia
Across the rivers
To California
God, deliver us.

Desperation cries
As she holds tight to the leather
And says her last goodbyes.
Yet another body lies,
But her soul escapes the heartache
Taking its place in the skies.

From ol' Virginia
Across the river
Out to Nebraska
God, deliver us.


Tears fill in his eyes,
As they focus on the dust clouds
Trailing those who have survived.
The two loves of his life,
Yelling, "Daddy! We made it!"
As he hugs 'em close and cries.

From ol' Virginia
Across the rivers
To California
God, deliver us.
Out to Nebraska
Through bitter winter
Among the Rockies,
God, deliver us.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Really Good, Weird Week

A hipster photo for this week...I'm sorry, I saw "Mainstream Court" and couldn't resist.
The ironic bit is that it's a dead end. Ha ha ha!

I can't believe that Tahoe got called to Rome! That's super legit. As I think about it, I think that Tahoe will do well in a place like that. If England's any kind of example of European thought, many seem to fall to one end or the other -- either devotedness to a certain faith (here in England it's pretty much uniformly Church of England), or un-budging secular humanism and atheism. I feel like Tahoe could relate to both groups of people, what with him being a fairly analytical and an intellectual person.

That's cool about running into Claudia. She actually went to Hamlin too, as I remember it. She was a grade younger, but we had AP Spanish together. It's kind of cool to hear that she's following what's been going on via Facebook. I don't really realize how many people might actually read this every week (especially since I haven't been following the pageviews in a little while).

I honestly can't think of much to send in the Easter package. I'm fine on deodorant, and I've found places to get a lot of the other stuff I need here (just found out that the Chinese Shop off the high street sells root beer. You don't know how excited we were, honestly. It's about £2.60 for a 1.5L bottle, but oh my days it's so worth it.) None of the kids in the ward I shared it with really appreciated it though. A lot of people here think it tastes like medicine. Oh well, their loss.

So, what happened this week? It was kind of a weird week, actually. A really good one, but a weird one. We picked up three people who committed to baptism, which is super cool. It was interesting, because all three of them were products of other people cancelling appointments. The first guy is from Brussels, and we actually met him right after that lady threatened to call the police on us last week. Between us talking to her at the door and putting a card through the door, we saw him walking up the way, and ran up to go talk to him. Apparently he has friends back in Brussels who are members of the church, and was invited to go along about 10 years ago. It was super exciting to hear that he's from Kinshasa down in the Congo originally. I'm definitely emailing Julius about that this week.

We also met another couple. We were just splitting up for an exchange with the Romsey guys down in Eastleigh, and our plans were to head up to Colden Common to see Leigh and her husband, but they had to cancel right around noon, as she was called in to work. But, seeing as the rest of our day was planned around that appointment... We were utterly lost. So, Elder Law and I sat down and said a prayer, and then resolved that we would talk to everyone on the way to visit one Less-Active member in Eastleigh, and following that, we would catch the train to Micheldever to visit someone we'd been asked to go by. We actually met a few really cool people on the way there, and were able to pick up a few return appointments. When we got to the Less-Active's street, they were standing there on the street with her little brother, so we approached them and asked if they believed in God, and if they knew anything about the Book of Mormon. They invited us into their place, and we were able to teach a full lesson, and at the end of it they both agreed to be baptised. It was pretty fantastic, really.

We've also had a ton of people giving us referrals this last week, which is really unusual. The one we were able to contact wasn't very solid, but we'll keep going by the others.

Also, Elder Mercer, Elder Law and I got to sing in sacrament on Sunday. I totally through that it was supposed to be for next Sunday, so I had to throw together an arrangement while I was in the shower on Tuesday morning, and then teach it to the other two guys over the next few days (which was tough, since I didn't have much opportunity to go through it with Elder Law. It went well enough, people from the ward were fairly impressed. I think it's been really cool to me to see just how much music can do in establishing trust with people. I'm still writing more, and actually just started a song about Horace Martin Alexander and his family this morning, which I hope will come out alright. I keep meaning to send you recordings of a few of the others I've done, but I only just figured out the reason why I can't play any of the songs on my voice recorder... And now it's out of battery. So, maybe I'll bring my guitar to the Pinney's on Sunday when I Skype.

Speaking of Skyping, I'll be Skyping you from their place on Sunday. (It's English Mother's Day.) We'll have choir after church, And so I'll probably just Skype after dinner's done at their place on Sunday, probably between 3:00 and 4:00 our time, so 7:00 and 8:00 yours. Otherwise I suppose I could try to do it really early that morning, around 8:00ish, or earlier, which would be the night before for you guys. I might actually vie for that one. I'll message you again at the end of the day and let you know.

Well, that's about it. Elder Mercer's getting tired of me using Thai Fish sauce in the flat, because it smells like dead rat, but I make a pretty mean stir fry now. Also tried my hand at chili this week, with some really odd ingredients (we were out of chili powder, so I tried spicing it with horseradish, mustard, and some balsamic vinegar), but it turned out quite nicely in the end. We're making more Mexican food for people this week, which is always a joy. But oh, Mission Burrito sounds so nice right now.

So, I look forward to seeing you Sunday!

Love you,

- Elder Green

Oh, P.S. You can tell all the girls that one of the members here said that I speak more like a British person, and have more British mannerisms than any other American missionary he's ever met. It kind of made a little piece of me die inside. No, that doesn't mean I've got a British Accent, as Americans understand a British Accent. I just say weird things like, "I don't want to, but I should do." and ask questions like British people do -- that is inflecting down at the end of a question instead of up.

Monday, March 2, 2015

100 days left...but who's counting?

Elder Mercer and I out in the rain!

Weather here's been really strange lately, actually. Right now I can see perfect blue skies up ahead, but yesterday started out this way and then featured scattered showers, hail, lightning... You know, the usual.

Man, it's so nuts to think about Tahoe and Walker getting their calls... I still need to Email Hen. I'll probably do that right after I'm done with this. And Tay'll get his call not long after that, so weird. Not ready for all of this "growing up" stuff.

The transfer's moving a bit slow for me as well. Well, I guess not really. We're on week three already, and today marks 100 days (I'm surprised you didn't bring that up). The last day of this transfer is the 25th. I've not been requesting an area. I told him straight up at interviews, "look, send me where the Lord will send me, but there's a few good opportunities here that you could pray specifically about." So, we'll see.

Work this last week has been pretty good. We had an exchange with the Zone Leaders, and so I was off with Elder Kirk who's from my group. It was fun being with him, and I sure learned a lot, but I find that anymore, when I work with certain Zone Leaders, they can't always see everything going on in the area. Still, I did learn a lot from him, and have been able to apply quite a bit, if not all, of what we did on exchange to the work here.

Eating lunch at the old Black Boy pub, on Wharf Hill in Winchester, with my district. 

You want to hear a crazy miracle? So, as Elder Kirk and I started our exchange, we were planning on going down to some little podunk town called Colden Common to go visit a member we'd been asked to go see. We were called up to do a bit of service moving a former member of the ward, and he gave us a lift down there afterwards (while telling us all sorts of stories of people being mauled by bears and lions and things). Well, we knocked on the member's door, and... Nothing. So, we went to go knock ten doors aside like we'd planned. The very next door we knock on, a guy walks up to the door and basically tells us that he's got his dinner on the table waiting for him, and to get to the point. Elder Kirk mentioned the Book of Mormon, and he said, "Woah, wait, Mormon? You need to speak to my wife." A few seconds later she came to the door, and explained that she was a member of the Church, and that she had been speaking to a Sister Missionary online for the past few months trying to get back to church, but that she knew it would be difficult. So we have an appointment with her this week.

After we finished up our knocking, the member who drove us down told us he would give us a lift back as well, and that it would take about a half hour. An hour and a half later, he still wasn't done... So, we went looking for a bus. And being as it was about 7:00 pm, there were none. So, we talked to one guy sitting in his car, who really wasn't interested, and were about to start walking towards Eastleigh (at least an hour and a half's walk) when Leigh's husband came walking down the road with his dog, recognized that we looked a bit lost, and offered us a lift back. We talked to him the entire way home, he's super nice, and is actually looking forward to seeing us Thursday.

What else... Had the police called on us. Some guy we met down in Colden Common sounded really interested and told us his name, he lived back in Winchester, and come visit Saturday at 11:00. Well, we showed up, and there were kids running around inside which made me really excited, because I was hoping to teach a family. Knocked on the door, no answer. Knocked again, a lady came to the door, "No, I'm too busy." And slammed the door. Awkward. So, I knocked again. Still nothing... So, I put a card through the door saying, "Hey! Sorry we missed you... Your wife was really busy, and I don't think she recognized us. Give us a call!" She texted a few minutes later saying, "I want to know how you got my address. So-and-so hasn't lived here in a long time as our marriage just broke up and I'm trying to deal with all of these kids." So, I told her we met her husband, and she said, "No, I just spoke to him on the phone, and he's never met you in his life." Then her husband called, and we had to explain it all to him, and she was wanting to know the whole story too... Back and forth... Pretty crazy, a bit disappointing, but the police haven't contacted us or anything, so I'm not too worried. It's not the first time that we've had to speak to police about people we're working with.

Anyway, that's about it for the week.

Love you!

- Elder Green