Monday, March 31, 2014

WEEK 7 WYOMING (WEEK 43 OF MISSION)

hey everyone! hope you all had a great week!
Parker and his companion, Elder Pena
 we had a great week here in wyoming michigan! haha that looks kinda funny. anyway, we were able to see quite a few of our investigators and teach some really great people! many of them attended church, including the entire Strong family (our investigator Gary's family). his wife is a member, so they brought their whole fam and it was great. Jontay was also there and he made some incredible comments in gospel principles class. He is understanding everything we teach and is doing really well! 

we had a great day yesterday. we ate at the stake presidents house and taught gary there as well before dinner. we also were able to see a few other investigators. things are really moving along quickly with our investigators. We expect to see a few baptisms and commitments to baptism in the next couple of weeks.

I am so stoked for general conference this week!! its gonna be incredible! speaking of incredible, we found out some groundbreaking news this week. Elder Holland will be coming to speak to our mission on may 20th!! he and Elder Hallstrom of the 70 will be giving a 3-hour conference to us and the Detroit Mission in Lansing on the 20th. it is going to be simply incredible!!

i wish i had more time (and energy) to write! there is so much happening with each of our investigators every day though, it is hard to keep track of, let alone write up in an email a week later! here is one crazy miracle that occurred this week. During lunch the other day I was calling through the contacts list in the phone. I basically just call anyone we dont recognize as being our investigator or a member of the church, because that means they have had some contact with missionaries in the past. it is really fun cuz you just never know what you are going to get haha. so i called a contact named Joel. Well, it was a wrong number. but it is always fun to try and parley those into invitations to learn. so i started to do that. the girl i was talking to was actually named makiya. as i was setting an appointment to meet with her, i learned she lived in lansing but i told her i could refer her to the missionaries there. so i did and the AP's went and taught her the other day and had an incredible lesson on the Plan of Salvation because her grandma recently passed away. she is now on baptismal date!! crazy huh??? incredible!!! what are the odds!!

the other day when we went over to the parsai's home (the nepali family who sara shati is the mother of) some really cool things happened. last time we had  a translator in on the lesson, sara shati told us to stop asking her if she was going to come to church... cuz she said she will be there EVERY WEEK. we dont have to ask every time haha how awesome!! she has no idea what is being said but she comes every week for 3 hours without fail. and she is trying to bring her friends. so when we came in the other day, over by her pictures of all her family, she had a picture of the Savior! soo cool!!! 

this week i was just thinking about how simple the gospel is. it is so simple, yet you could study it for a lifetime and never get to the bottom of the well. it is so simple a child can understand it, yet so profound that we cannot understand it on our own. it is so much fun to teach it, especially when you have a great companion because you can really help to open peoples eyes so the Spirit can touch them. 

the Book of Mormon is true. it is so plain it can teach anyone the right way, which is to believe in Christ and serve Him with all your might, mind, and strength and your whole soul. anyone who rejects the Book of Mormon without honestly attempting to account for the origin of its pages somehow, especially without accounting for their powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the profound spiritual impact that witness has had on what is now tens of millions of readers, has been deceived. (most of that was me paraphrasing Elder Holland and the BoM haha not my own words) there is no reason that the Bible should be all there is. We meet so many people who have been blinded by the subtle craftiness of men into thinking God doesn't live, that He isn't a personal Being. But I know, first and foremost because the Book of Mormon is true, that God lives and the He loves us. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and that He is working today to bring about His great and eternal purposes. I know that God wants each of us to be able to have eternal life. as missionaries we invite people to have eternal life. It is that simple. The road is straight and missionaries can show you how to get on the road and make it to the gift of eternal life. 

have a great week!
love you all


Monday, March 24, 2014

WEEK 6 WYOMING (WEEK 42 OF MISION)

hey everybody! another great week in wyoming! great news, elder pena and i are staying together! we are having a ton of fun and there are great things going on here! we are busy today so i dont have much time! but we are getting a third companion for this transfer today named elder bagley! (Could he be any relation Andie?!!! Of course no info on where he's from or anything else.) this is gonna be a great transfer!

we had awesome lessons this week with jontay and gary. they are both doing really well and progressing nicely. it is so cool to see younger people accepting the gospel and families accepting the gospel. because you can see the future ramifications of this decision! they will raise righteous posterity in the true church because of the decisions they are making right now! so cool! 
 
Parker's planner had been missing for a couple of weeks and Sis. Pawson kept saying it'll show up when the snow melts.
Well some snow melted, and there it was in their front yard completely destroyed!
One thing that has been on my mind a lot this week is how much the things we decide to do daily affect our eternal lives. of course not every decision will change eternity, but often things that we do not think about play a role in how our life turns out and if we will return to live with God again. For example, the clothes we choose to wear, who we spend our time with, and most importantly, if we choose to repent or not. The Savior, when He first appeared to the Nephites told them that if they would repent, He would gather them and forgive them. Sometimes we complicate the Gospel. It is that SIMPLE: repent. Repentance and change IS the plan of salvation our Heavenly Father has given us. When we read the scriptures, go to church, and say our prayers, the Spirit shows us how we can change our lives to become more like the Savior and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort. As we repent, we change ourselves to become more like Christ. we leave behind habits, activities, and choices that have previously brought us sorrow, heartache, and taken us further from God and where we want to be eternally. This is what we must do each day: read the scriptures, say our prayers, and then try our best to try and live more like Jesus Christ. As we try our best to change and become better, we are repenting. that is the essence of repentance. i encourage everyone to look inward and see what they can do to become more like Christ. 

Have a great week!

Elder Green

Monday, March 17, 2014

WEEK 5 WYOMING (WEEK 41 OF MISSION)

another great week here in wyoming! 

we got to teach jontay the restoration and the plan of salvation this week. he loved both of them and said they made so much sense! he agreed to be baptized on april 12th! we would have set the date sooner, but we can only meet with him a few times cuz he is so busy with his school musical. and the next week is general conference. but he is great! he read the BoM and it totally answered his questions. he was even bible bashing with his mom a little about it! haha I guess i shouldnt be happy about that...? 

anyway, things have been good! we had a half mission training this past week that elder pena and i presented at and it went well. those trainings are always spectacular. i finally saw elder devan peterson! after 9 and a half months!! haha we were so stoked to see each other and it was a great reunion! 
Bingham Baseball Buds Reunited!
I went on my last companion exchange of the transfer with elder wright (used to be my zone leader when i was in kalkaska and he was in traverse). it is his last week in the mission field this week! so its way cool i got to go with him as his zone leader and him being a district leader in this zone. it was great to talk with him about his mission and things. what a unique experience. 

one thought from the week. president hess is such an inspired and great teacher. he taught at half mission a little about how we can only use our agency in the present! we cannot use our agency in the past or in the future. we can plan for the future, but we still must act today! think of how many problems would be eliminated in our lives if we correctly understood that principle. we would all live each day more fully and let go of things we couldnt control. we would not be worried about the future because we would understand that right now is the only time we can choose to act in. i thought that was so profound and that will be something i am working on for the next few weeks! try to live that way as well with that as your mindset. we can only choose what to think, say and do in this moment, not in the past nor in the future. think about it. i wish i had more to say here, but it is still a developing idea in my own mind.

also one more miracle! we went with the stake president yesterday to do his home teaching. he home teaches a part member family named the strong's. sister strong is from london and has the BOSSEST accent haha. but as we spoke with her wonderful family yesterday, we ended up talking about the temple and how families can be together forever. no other church believes that. that is actually something people use as anti-mormon literature! haha that we believe our families can be together! crazy huh? but anyway, we are going to begin teaching brother strong and their children. they are a great family. the cool thing about the temple is we want EVERYONE to enter. but in order to be in the presence of the Lord, you need to be clean. just as you would need to shower and get ready to go to a fancy occasion, it is the same with entering the Lord's House. we need to repent, get clean, and be spiritually ready to enter! i pray that everyone will do what it takes to have their family and marriage be eternal through the power of God! wish i had more time to elaborate on this idea!

have a great week! love you all,

elder green

Monday, March 10, 2014

WEEK 4 WYOMING (WEEK 40 OF MISSION)

Another splendid week out here in Wyoming! it got warm for like two days and it was soo nice!! itll get cold again next week though haha.

So this week Chitra was going to bring a friend to church and get baptized. but he got sick, missed church, so has to get baptized a week later! i despise when things like that happen, but that is ok. (can we all agree that Parker needs to calm down here?!?, haha) sarashati came to church again this week. she is soo awesome. we are about to have the busiest week ever. we have been setting appointments with everyone and calling former investigators and things and it should be a great week.

this past week was the annual ward chili and pie cook off. it was great! there were so many people there and it was a really good time! the missionaries get to judge the pie eating contest too, so that is really cool! haha we had a great time eating a lot of pie.

dont have a ton of time, we have to prepare to help with the half-mission training on tuesday, but one quick miracle from the week. the bishop’s daughter’s friend, Jontay, who had been coming to church and things, hadnt been able to meet with us because he is very busy with being the lead role in his high school’s musical. He is awesome and was progressing so well, so it has been frustrating not to be able to meet with him and things. but this past sunday he came to church. and the lesson in gospel principles was about the restoration. it was awesome. everyone's comments were great and it was very clear. we hadnt had a chance to teach Jontay the restoration lesson yet because we couldnt meet with him, so it was his first time hearing it. afterward in Elder's Quorum, i asked him if he had any questions about what we just talked about, and he said "no, it all came together for me" which it did, the lesson came full circle to what he had had questions about before. he said, "it all made perfect sense. and now i know its all true." what?? soo sweet!! we will be meeting with him tomorrow after school and helping him continue to progress. that was such a great experience!

one quick thought. wouldnt it be great if we could control how we feel all the time? the thing is, we can. the secret lies in our thoughts. do you feel cruddy? what are you thinking about? i guarantee it isn't uplifting. If in our minds we constantly rehash the past, doubt ourselves, and think negative thoughts, then our future will become hopeless to us. isnt that so interesting? what you think is ultimately what you become. often times our thoughts are determined by things that happen to us. if we allow our circumstances to determine our thoughts, we are being acted upon and not acting. if something negative happens to us, it is our choice to change our thoughts, thereby changing our feelings and eventually our actions that stem from that initial negative event. when in doubt, think of the Savior. think of His teachings. these thoughts will always bring the Spirit of God with them. we cannot always force ourselves to have faith, but we can calmly resist the tendency to doubt. patience is the evidence of faith, just as impatience is the evidence of doubt. clear thinking and positivity are gifts you cannot give yourself. they come as a gift from God by remembering to make allowances for those around us (ourselves included). work on this! it takes effort! it is not easy but it is worth it!

love you all,

elder green

Monday, March 3, 2014

WEEK 3 WYOMING (WEEK 39 OF MISSION)

another great week here in wyoming!! we are teaching so much it is crazy!! we have no time to find, so no crazy finding stories haha. we are fasting and praying for some of our investigators to start progressing a little more rapidly, but quite a few of them are doing very well. count your many blessings you know??

sara shati came to church again this week. she is doing pretty well. chitra magar (another nepali) was supposed to be baptized this saturday, but for various reasons we pushed it to the 15th. hopefully once the nepalis see one of their countrymen get baptized it'll open the floodgates and they will all come into the church! we could start a branch with them all out here haha no joke!!

one of our newer investigators, autumn, came to church as well with her newborn baby. she is doing quite well. she understands everything we teach before we teach it and feels that everything we have taught her is the truth. we have a few hurdles to overcome with her before we baptize her, but she is great!
 
This is what can happen when you haven't played
basketball for a VERY long time and then get to and
get a little over zealous!!!
sorry i dont have a ton of time, but i did want to express this idea. one of the recent converts here went to a mega church yesterday to hear a famous televangelist preach. afterward we asked her what she thought of the preaching. she said it was good, the speaker talked about being positive, happy, getting the devil off your back, and not being stressed. but she said that it was weird, cuz the speaker never talked about HOW to do those things; you cant just start feeling that way all of a sudden. this is SOOO important. in our world today, nobody wants to hear about rules and commandments. everyone is looking to get something for nothing, especially when it comes to their eternal salvation. the attitude in some places is, "i want to attend church with my family, but i dont want to go for 3 hours. i want to attend church with my family, but i dont want to have a calling. " or even more pernicious, "i want to be saved. i want to have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. I want to inherit all He has promised, but I dont want to keep my end of the deal. I dont want to repent. I dont want to change. I dont want to keep the commandments." we can talk forever about how to be happy and how to get the devil out of your life, but we cannot actually feel that way or do those things until we are keeping the commandments. alma 41:10 states that wickedness NEVER WAS (nor will it ever be) happiness. (i love that he quoted this scripture because it was one of my mom's all-time favorites and i can't tell you how many times she quoted it to us growing up!) we cannot disregard the commandments, and ask God for peace. That is like skydiving without a parachute and hoping to land safe and sound. God gives commandments so that He has a reason to bless us! so keep them! the more commandments we live, the more we will be blessed! thus we should rejoice at being able to live the word of wisdom, the law of chastity, the law of tithing, etc! isnt that incredible! God loves us enough to help us be happy. He tells us what to do, what to avoid, and He will even reward us for doing so. I hope that was clear and that everyone got something from that.

have a great week!

elder green