Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Parker didn't do a group email this week.  I think he is trying to write everyone that sent him Christmas cards and presents.  Thank you so much for all the support you give him.  He was so appreciative.  We had such a good time talking to him on Christmas morning.  He loves his mission and the people so much and hasn't allowed us to talk about him coming home, but he did tell us his release date is May 20 -- but who's counting?!? haha

Goofy Games at the Half-Mission Christmas Party
That's whip cream in the top of his hat and someone had to
throw cheeseballs into it!
The Saran Wrap is to protect his shirt and tie.
Having some fun on a busy Tansfers Day
The Transfers Moving Trailer that Parker pulls around with
his awesome Van!
A Very Sunny Day in Michigan  ;)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


hey everybody! how are you? hope things are going well! 

Merry Christmas everybody! thank you all so much for sending me letters and presents and things! i am attempting to write everybody back a hand written card so be patient with me! 

Things have been great at MSU. we have our half-mission Christmas Party tomorrow in Grand Rapids and Wednesday in Mt Pleasant. it will be great! there will be some short trainings from Elder Rhodes and me, many musical talents from the missionaries, and lots of mini games and jeopardy. it will be sweet. pictures to follow. 

Everyone here is doing well. Richard is attending church in DC and doing great. Mark is doing well too. Derek is home for the holidays as well haha. its basically us and like 5 people who are still here. but we still managed to invite lots of people to learn this week and find many new investigators so God is still blessing us! We have had some wonderful lessons with new investigators lately. 

Some thoughts I have had recently... I love this quote from a Neal A. Maxwell talk where he quotes another guy:

Becoming a true believer, however, means trusting not only in the Lord's plan for all of mankind but especially trusting in His unfolding and particularized plan for each of us. This means much more than merely acknowledging that God is in charge. Alma's warning that living without God in the world is "contrary to the nature of happiness" (Alma 41:11) was not just for agnostics but also for passive believers. Putting first things first is vital, as these eloquent words of Malcolm Muggeridge attest:
When I look back on my life nowadays, which I sometimes do, what strikes me most forcibly about it is that what seemed at the time most significant and seductive, seems now futile and absurd. For instance, success in all of its various guises; being known and being praised, ostensible pleasures, like acquiring money or seducing women, or traveling, going to and fro in the world and up and down in it like Satan, exploring and experiencing whatever Vanity Fair has to offer. In retrospect all these exercises in self-gratification seem pure fantasy, what Pascal called "licking the earth." They are diversions designed to distract in this world, which is, quite simply, to look for God, and, in looking, to find Him, and, having found Him, to love Him, thereby establishing a harmonious relationship with His purposes for His creation.[Thomas Nelson, A Twentieth Century Testimony (New York, 1978)]
Isn't that true? As i review my life, the saddest points are the times when i spent the most time for that which ended up being of little or no value to me. when my priorities were out of line. Serve others this Christmas season and throughout the year. It will bring you joy. Gain a spiritual witness from the Holy Ghost that God our Father lives and that He loves each of us. Find out for yourself if the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. These things are worth the time. Family is worth the time. Developing  a Christlike character is worth the time. 
Why does God command that we judge not? Is it because people's feelings get hurt? Possibly in part. Is it because we ourselves are not perfect? that definitely is true also. I think it is mostly because we would just get it so wrong. we know so little about a person. all we know is what they put off. we know nothing of their thoughts, very little of their past, and not much about who they truly are. God sees and knows all. This is why we must leave judging up to Him. He says, unequivocally, "of you it is required to forgive all men." (section 64: 9-11). no exceptions are made. we do not have to trust everyone, but we must forgive. "but they did this!" He lovingly responds that He will set it all straight. He can heal you. He will, in the end, make all things right. Forgive and forget. Ask God to heal you of the wrongs that have been done to you. Celebrate the birth and life of our Savior this Christmas by forgiving as He so patiently forgives us. 
Elder Green

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


No group letter yet this week but i guess the pictures tell what he's been up to!  He said the "Angry Assistants" pics are a tradition.  Missionaries and their pictures!!!

These two cute elders are Taiwanese Visa-Waiters that
taught on MSU campus with Parker last week.
And here begins the series of "Angry" pictures!

Richard's (Xlang Li) Baptism, December 6

Mark's (Chenyu Wang) Baptism, December 6

Derek Martindell's Baptism, December 13

Parker, Elder Rhodes, and Elder Derricott
on Transfer Day

Parker said some people missed the memo that they
weren't supposed to smile in this pic! haha

Monday, December 8, 2014


hey everybody! not a ton of time! 

life has been great! this week richard li and mark wang were baptized! it went so well. pictures to come in the near future. they are both incredible. they were confirmed that sunday and richard bore his testimony! he shared his conversion with everybody and about how at first he thought we were "fake monks" trying to get money from him. but after our first lesson he knew that we were sincere and that what we shared was good. 

he also told me, a few days before, that he never felt guilty for the things he had done until he met with us. i didnt expect anything more than that because he wasn't accountable for the sins he previously committed. I asked him that if all meeting with us did was make him feel guilty, then why would he want to be baptized? he told us that his life has improved immensely since he started living what we taught him. he said that since he comes from china and from a non-religious background that it would be very hard to convince him that God was real or that anything we taught him was true, unless he could see it change his life. he said that even though he was hard to convince and had no religious beliefs previously that he has felt such a change and a righteous desire that he knows it must be real. what an incredible experience to be able to teach  him.

derek martindell will be baptized this week. he is incredible too! 

gotta go! love you all! hopefully we can learn something from Richard's testimony! read and pray about the Book of Mormon! 

love you all! 

Elder Green

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Bro. John Hoover, Parker's former Branch Mission Leader 
and now 1st Counselor to the Mission President, 
stopped by our house for a visit and to deliver this Michigan 
Helmet for Parker!!!
He is a former School Superintendent, Teacher, and Coach
in Michigan.  He has collected sports memorabilia for 
30 years.  He was visiting his daughters in Orem this week :)
What an amazing man!

Xiang Li (also known as Richard), Elders Rhodes
and Derricott and Parker.
Richard took them to dinner at an awesome Chinese restaurant.
"Sparty," the statue.  Parker says this statue is a big deal!
Beaumont Tower on MSU Campus.
There is a WebCam on this tower that Todd and I
can look at a live feed of campus!
Maybe we will see Parker someday!!!

Downtown Detroit
Reunited with former Comp and Converts
during Zone Conference travels!
Back at Barb's with Elder Williams and
Hannah and her son :)

Looking so smug with Barb's son Andrew!
Hey everybody! Happy Transfer Week! 

This week Elder Derricott, Elder Rhodes and I planned with President Jacobsen where the missionaries would be transferred to and who their new companions would be. wow time flies! feels like I just did this a few days ago, but it has been six weeks already! that means its time to get back on the transfer van Monday and start moving some missionaries! we will be sending some missionaries home whose time has come (Elder Elwood being one of them). That also means we will be getting new missionaries! that is exciting! 

so things are going way too well with our investigators. Richard is doing incredible. he amazes us every time we meet. he took us to dinner last week and we are attending a baptism with him tonight before his baptism next Saturday. 

Mark is doing very well. He will be baptized on the 13th of December. It is incredible how perceptive these people are who have never learned of heavenly things before. 

Derek Martindale is doing great. as we taught him the other day, we asked him how he was feeling about his baptismal date for the 13th and he said, "it works." we all kind of looked around and let the silence hang there, looked back and him and he nodded again and said, "it works," with a smile on his face. he is doing so well! the incredible part of all this is that we deserve none of it. we have hardly had time to work in our area, and these awesome people have all come out of nowhere. 

We had to do some shopping and things today because we will not have pday again next week due to transfers. while we were out and about, i couldnt help but feel extremely on edge and tired the entire time. the world and all of its flash is exhausting. we dont often notice it until we are removed from it for a time. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Give me truths, for I am weary of the surfaces." How correct that statement still is. Compared to the truths of the gospel, the worldly cares and advertisements are wearying and they are simply surface things. 

Joseph Smith taught that the things of God are of great import and that it takes deep, solemn and ponderous thought to find them out. "Thy mind, o man, if thou wilt lead a soul to salvation must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and contemplate the deepest abyss." I encourage each of you to examine what things you prioritize in your lives and what things you hold of highest import. The truths of the gospel are deep and satisfying, you can feel that. The things of the world are simply not; they are salt water. 

How are we, in the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, to remain at peace? Follow and stick with the Brethren. Follow the counsel of the Living Apostles and Prophets. Read the words of Christ as they are taught in the Book of Mormon and other standard works of the Church. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most logical explanation for earth life, and it brings the greatest joys as well. If you have questions, find answers, not in the theories and ever shifting ideals of the world, but in the voices and words of oracles of God on the earth. Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God. 

Each of us is an immortal being. Your family members, friends, and even you yourself have outlived, and yet will outlive stars and galaxies. 

Have a great week,

Elder Green  (Talk of the Week: Neal A. Maxwell, "Pathway of Discipleship")

Monday, November 17, 2014


Even missionaries "Duck Face!" haha 
President Jacobsen with the Zone
Since Parker lives in Student Housing at MSU these are some 
of his fun college neighbors!
That's a lot of pairs of glasses in one picture ;)
poem i wrote this week:

Smooth water ne'er made
a man a great sailor,
but when winds and strong waves
and all things assail Her,

the sailor reacts
and learns as he goes,
and stronger, wiser,
more able he grows.

But should the sailor fail
to endure the rough seas,
should his heart and his mind
long to sail with more ease,

he never could learn 
what can only be taught
when the sky is pitch black
and the waters distraught.  

Hey everyone! having to email today (sunday) due to zone conferences this week! 

speaking of zone conferences... Elder Nash was unexpectedly reassigned this week and will not be able to attend our zone conferences! so Elder Derricott and i will be doing a lot of teaching haha we are working hard to prepare for this surprise opportunity!

This past week was great. our investigators are doing wonderful. Derek Martindale is hunting and was not able to attend church, but he has been coming to all the institute activities and is doing very well! we were blessed to find a few new investigators this week, which is always great. a few of them have a ton of potential (well, every human life has a ton of potential) but these people could be baptized soon. we will see how they pan out this next week, then i will let you know! 

mark (chinese guy wanting to go to BYU) came to church for the first time today. he is doing well! he needs to keep reading and praying to know if this is God's church and he needs to make it out to some of the many social activities the YSA ward has here. 

Richard is doing so well. He is signing up to feed all the missionaries like once a week haha he is great. he loves learning. a few times, we have taught him new commandments and he has issues with them. but he agrees to pray about it and try it out. he came back last week reporting on how he has been living the Word of Wisdom. He says that he used to have problems with insomnia, but not since he has been living the WoW. He feels much healthier and loves the way his life is going right now. He enjoyed church again today, is making lots of friends, and is really excited to be baptized. 

Saturday we blitzed the North Muskegon area and it was really fun. it has been snowing here like crazy, so we got all decked out in our winter stuff and went out and door knocked forever. it was great. the first door Elder Bagley and i knocked on was classic: it was a group of like 7 middle aged black guys having band practice so we went in and listened to them and one of them had a son that was Mormon haah he lives in SLC his name is Michael Williams. Look for him! haha it was awesome. 

Even though Alma had seen angels, he still felt it necessary to seek a testimony for himself. Alma 5:45 -46. read those verses. they are powerful. we each ought to do whatever it takes to obtain for ourselves that knowledge which is of most value: a testimony that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and that God the Father lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. We must make the effort. we must read the Book of Mormon, ponder it in our hearts, and seek after truth. We must pray fervently and sincerely. We must endure the test of time. We must fast in conjunction with our prayers. please follow this pattern. please seek a witness from the Holy Ghost that these things are true. 

the more i learn, the more i see that God is so willing to forgive our sins if we will but repent. in essence, the difference between the people in the telestial kingdom and the celestial kingdom is the ones in the Celestial Kingdom repented. they repented all the time. review elder klebingats talk from general conference and implement those principles into your lives. 

just another thought:
always be where you are supposed to be! if you are somewhere you ought not to be, get out! don't think you are strong enough to be amid great temptation and come out unscathed.

i love you all! 

have a great week.    
Trying to get a picture jumping


Why so Serious?

Monday, November 10, 2014


hey everyone! not a ton of time! some quick updates! 

richard is doing incredible. he loves learning and reading the BoM. he says things every lesson that blow me away. this guy is going to be the first Chinese Apostle. He is like... committing himself to live the WoW, turning down tailgating because he doesn't want to drink. he tells us that praying is good because he feels like for the first time in his life he is himself. he doesnt have to "wear a mask when he talks to God." he just says stuff like that all the time. he is awesome. we had two visa waiters in our misison who are heading to taiwan soon, so we picked them up and brought them to work campus for a few days and teach all our chinese investigators and it went soo well! it was awesome! fe chung hao! 

mark went to a baptism of a chinese girl named echo on saturday and loved it. he wants to be baptized too. 

we underestimate what it means that God will tell us the truth and will reveal the truth to us. were it not for that fact, we would be left to float aimlessly on a sea of information on the raft we have constructed out of our own shifting biases. (Pres Uchtdorf) there is absolute truth. we can know it if we but seek it. do not take that promise lightly. 

i have more to say.... but no time! maybe i have a second... haha brother robison had 2 athiest friends over for dinner. they were both prof at msu. he asked them a few questions. where did we come from? what is the purpose of life? they had no answers. if there was no purpose in our creation, there is no purpose in life. why do we love? no answer for that either. i invite everyone to watch the video on lds.org called, "all things denote that there is a god." 

i love you all!! sorry this was so scattered!

Monday, November 3, 2014


Transfer Day looks like a lot of fun!
And crazy!
Reunited with Elder Williams, a former Companion.
That's the 15-passenger van behind them ;)
Thanks to Barb for all the pictures!!!
She's the Best
what an awesome week! we have had so many miracles! i am very thankful for all these blessings! this week was so busy as we moved some missionaries and taught a lot. we went on trade offs, i spent the day here with E. Schmutz from Western Michigan University and then was with Elder Tuttle (who i came out with) at Central Michigan University. we had a great time. 

meanwhile, back at the farm, we have some incredible investigators. I told you about that guy a few weeks ago i think who said that China is not as happy as America because they dont believe in God and things. well, we started teaching him. his chinese name is xiang li but his american name is richard. we taught him twice this week and he LOVED it. These amazing chinese people are so thirsty for the Gospel. I wish you could hear them pray for the first time. they are so sincere and love learning about their Heavenly Father. i could talk about him forever. but he attended church this week, and fast and testimony meeting was wonderful. in sunday school he stood up to introduce himself and said, "what just happened in sacrament meeting was awesome" then in priesthood he introduced himself and said that he wants to come to church every week because he loves it so much and that he is willing to be baptized. he has recognized answers to his prayers and the chinese members of the ward have been great to him.

we are teaching so many cool people. one more miracle. yesterday bishop solomon (our bishop in the east lansing university ward) called us around 5 and asked if we could come to the stake center so we did. we walked in and found him talking with an 18 year old chinese male. his name is mark. he told us he wanted to transfer to byu. he had heard byu was a good school from his high school teachers in china. he went online, found where the nearest bishop was, biked clear from his dorms and walked in and knocked on bishops door in the stake center for an interview. we taught him the restoration and gave him a Chinese bom. he loved learning about God too and wants to continue meeting and reading the bom! we are being so blessed right now for no apparent reason.

everybody please go and read mormon 5:17-18. it is so true. one thing i have been thinking about this week is how the world tries to satisfy our spiritual needs for peace and joy. lets say peace and joy are fresh water. we need that to survive. if somebody is stranded with only salt water around them and they cannot find fresh water, their mind will tell them to drink salt water even if they have been taught never to do that. as they drink the salt water, it feels good. it soothes and curbs their thirst, albeit momentarily. what follows next is a vicious cycle. the salt from the water dries on their tongue. it makes them more thirsty than before. they become more desperate. they drink more salt water to satisfy that thirst, and more salt stays in their mouth. they continue drinking salt water until it eventually causes their death. if someone cannot find peace and joy, they may revert to satan's enticings and the, "vain things of the world," so called because they are vain, they do not satisfy. as they find transient happiness in this "salt water" they are enticed to drink more and more, never fully quenching their spiritual thirst. viewed in this context, it is easy to see why the Savior says that He will give us living water, which if we drink we shall never thirst. Only His teachings and His Gospel can satisfy our needs for peace and joy. It will last. it is the real thing. there is substance to it. i encourage each of you to seek this Living Water from the scriptures. pray, read and obey. 

i love you all!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


great week. we drove safe. everyone got where they needed to go! haha we were in Traverse City last weekend with the zone leaders up there and it was beautiful! we were door knocking on the peninsula and it was soo gorgeous! had a great time. we are going to teach a girl named Samiya tonight so wish us luck! 

the Book of Mormon is true. Read it. Read 3 nephi 1. the people were being mocked for their beliefs. they were going to be killed. even some that believed began to doubt. they were going through a trial of their faith. if anybody is going through a trial of their faith, just hang on. dont jump ship. read 3 nephi 1 and see how the Lord provided for the nephites and know that He will do the same for you. Just hang on and believe in good things to come. Please watch the church's newest Mormon Message on depression and encourage all around you, including yourself! Heavenly Father loves you infinitely. Do not allow the adversary to tell you otherwise. Here is a quote from Brigham Young, "If you have a bad or negative thought about yourself, tell it to go to hell, because that is exactly where it came from." it is true! push through the trials of your faith. use it as a time and an excuse to get closer to God! 

love you all! have a great week!

if i get a chance later this week i will email you all back!

Amanda Voyles from our stake here in South Jordan, who now lives in Parker's ward in Lansing. So thankful for her kindness!

Monday, October 20, 2014


hey everybody! what a great week on campus! serving on campus is super different, but super fun! this week is transfer week, which basically means that for the next 4 days i will be driving a giant 15 passenger van with a trailer behind it for about 1400 miles. so.. yeah... not a lot of missionary work happening this week haha. 
Why are all three of them squeezed into the front seat?!?
No explanation of what this is all about!  Missionaries and their pictures?
so we pc'd all week (personal contacted). that is where we walk around and talk to random people all day long and invite them to meet with us haha. it is basically like we are ping pong balls because we just bounce from person to person and group to group. we have a lot of fun. we set tons of return appointments and get loads of phone numbers. sad part is, not everybody follows through haha. so we were wondering how we can be more effective on campus. and we had this idea. we took a big white cardboard poster, made it look nice, and put, "what would you ask God?" in the middle of it. we walked around campus and asked students what they would ask god and had them write their questions on the board. then we told them we would hold a large group class this next week where we will answer a few of these questions each week. and it went awesome! we got some sweet responses and met loads of cool people.

here is what was so cool: we ask people all the time what the purpose of life is, and nobody wants to say i dont know, so they give a token response. but yesterday, lots of people wrote things like what is the purpose of life? why did God put me here? especially the chinese students. when we would ask if they think about their question often, they would say every day i wonder why i am here. or something like that! cool, right? so we are hoping this new idea works! 

i love James E Talmage. check out this parable of his: it is a little lengthy, but soo worth reading! please read it!

Sometimes I find myself under obligations of work requiring quiet and seclusion such as neither my comfortable office nor the cozy study at home insures. My favorite retreat is an upper room in the tower of a large building, well removed from the noise and confusion of the city streets. The room is somewhat difficult of access and relatively secure against human intrusion. Therein I have spent many peaceful and busy hours with books and pen.
I am not always without visitors, however, especially in summertime; for when I sit with windows open, flying insects occasionally find entrance and share the place with me. These self-invited guests are not unwelcome. Many a time I have laid down the pen and, forgetful of my theme, have watched with interest the activities of these winged visitants, with an afterthought that the time so spent had not been wasted, for is it not true that even a butterfly, a beetle, or a bee may be a bearer of lessons to the receptive student?
A wild bee from the neighboring hills once flew into the room, and at intervals during an hour or more I caught the pleasing hum of its flight. The little creature realized that it was a prisoner, yet all its efforts to find the exit through the partly opened casement failed. When ready to close up the room and leave, I threw the window wide and tried at first to guide and then to drive the bee to liberty and safety, knowing well that if left in the room it would die as other insects there entrapped had perished in the dry atmosphere of the enclosure. The more I tried to drive it out, the more determinedly did it oppose and resist my efforts. Its erstwhile peaceful hum developed into an angry roar; its darting flight became hostile and threatening.
Then it caught me off my guard and stung my hand—the hand that would have guided it to freedom. At last it alighted on a pendant attached to the ceiling, beyond my reach of help or injury. The sharp pain of its unkind sting aroused in me rather pity than anger. I knew the inevitable penalty of its mistaken opposition and defiance, and I had to leave the creature to its fate. Three days later I returned to the room and found the dried, lifeless body of the bee on the writing table. It had paid for its stubbornness with its life.
To the bee’s shortsightedness and selfish misunderstanding I was a foe, a persistent persecutor, a mortal enemy bent on its destruction; while in truth I was its friend, offering it ransom of the life it had put in forfeit through its own error, striving to redeem it, in spite of itself, from the prison house of death and restore it to the outer air of liberty.
Are we so much wiser than the bee that no analogy lies between its unwise course and our lives? We are prone to contend, sometimes with vehemence and anger, against the adversity which after all may be the manifestation of superior wisdom and loving care, directed against our temporary comfort for our permanent blessing. In the tribulations and sufferings of mortality there is a divine ministry which only the godless soul can wholly fail to discern. To many the loss of wealth has been a boon, a providential means of leading or driving them from the confines of selfish indulgence to the sunshine and the open, where boundless opportunity waits on effort. Disappointment, sorrow, and affliction may be the expression of an all-wise Father’s kindness.
Consider the lesson of the unwise bee!
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5–6).

what a lesson for us all! i hope you enjoyed that thought from Elder Talmage.
I love you all! wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


In the Mission Office with Elders Foust and Derricott

hey everybody! 

hope you are having a great week! so we have seen some awesome things this week and this week has been OFF THE WALL crazy. elder elwood and i taught a lady named traci that we found a week ago. we had to cancel our first appointment with her, but she rescheduled right then (that never happens haha). we went and taught her and she was super excited to be meeting with us. she loved the restoration and had great questions. she prayed for the first time at the end of our lesson. she prayed a very sincere prayer and asked that she would be able to, "believe the way these guys believe." how cool is that?? 

here is the problem with traci.... i got transferred. in the middle of the week i was suddenly abducted and called to serve with elder derricott on campus at msu as an assistant to president jacobsen. elder foust (the assistant i am replacing) is training me. he is the greatest so luckily i will be able to learn a lot before he leaves. we have been super busy and planning to call the missionaries and let them know where they are moving for transfers. we are also preparing to move all of the missionaries to their new areas. luckily we still got to go out on campus and find people. it was awesome. 
MSU Campus
we had a great stake conference this week, Elder Hamula came and it was incredible! 

we are working hard and having fun. Elder Derricott says hi! remember, he was my mtc comp. 

we are so weird, but today we went to the rare isotope beams laboratory for fun. and we took a tour from an awesome msu professor there. he was so cool and we talked for a while and learned a lot. at the end we asked him if he believed in God and he said yes for sure. he was a nuclear physicist and an astronomer. we asked him if he wanted to learn what we believed and we sat down and taught him a little about the pre earth life. i love that we can answer the question, "why did God make an earth and put humans on it? why did he create us?" was it for fun? an experiment? company? what was it? no, He created us to become as He is. He loves us infinitely, even though to Him, we are infinitely small. Choose to believe in His love. We don't have to know everything. We just have to know and believe that God loves us all (1 nephi 11:17). last thought: how do we avoid temptation? 1 nephi 15:26-27. the only way is to have our minds so caught up in other things. have our thoughts focused on righteous things. preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. think good thoughts. love you all. have a great week.

ps if this is the last longer email i send, i am sorry. life is about to get busy. well.. busier. 
MSU Hall of Fame
Spartan Stadium 
MSU National Football Champion Trophies