Thursday, February 19, 2015

Earthquake and Intestines

The baptism for our investigator Empenitrez is on and I'm stoked! It will be this Saturday and she is so excited for this great change in her life and start her path towards the blessings of the gospel.
On Monday we were at a lesson and it was pitch dark outside and no electricity where we were. At the end of the lesson, the lady we were teaching literally pushed me back down in my seat as I tried to get up, and handed me a bowl and told me and my companion to eat. We tried to kindly say no, but she refused, so we reluctantly ate... Luckily I couldn't see the food, because I probably would have thrown up as I ate something very strange. Every time she or her family wasn't looking, I would fling a spoonful of it on the ground behind me where a dog was there to eat it for me. After we finally left, my companion asked me if I knew what we just ate... We ate intestines of some sort. Maybe of a pig, maybe of something else, but now I can say I ate intestine! I am still surprised I haven't felt sick at all! (Knock on wood...)
Today we went on a sweet hike an hour south of Santiago and found a huge water fall, way better than the ones I've been to so far. The mountains up there where we drove were amazingly beautiful! It was incredible! We ended up getting lost on the way back a little and found a road to the main town. We were running late, so we decided to run. My dream! One by one the other missionaries gave up and walked again. Then out of nowhere, the gua gua came and picked us up, so we ran for no reason. But at least I got to run! :D
We just had a 4.2 earthquake and shook the whole building.
Other than that, I am running late for an activity in Los Cocos tonight so got to go!
Love you all!

Elder Greer

cut my pinky pretty bad

Los Locos!

Soooo, I don't know what happened to the super calm, nothing ever happens "Los Cocos" because this week Los Cocos turned into Los Locos!
So first, one of our inactive members who we found and have been teaching for about 4 weeks decided to go on a rampage out of nowhere. He is usually a super chillaxed, nice 28 year old man, but something made him tick the wrong way last Friday. He exploded at his mom and attacked her with a machete. Luckily his mom blocked it with a chair, so it sliced the chair in half instead of her. He then left and his mom and her husband called the police (but they didn't do much to help them) and are still on the search for him to figure out why the heck he freaked out and where he is now living. We got there literally right after it happened, so she was kind of a mess. So we have been trying to help her as much as we can. But it's sad because she was so interested in the gospel and so close to coming to church with us, but now she is just distracted but her situation with her son :/ She seemed to be doing a lot better the last time we visited her and we took a member with us who lives by her so she could get to know a member and hopefully become friends with her.
Then on Sunday night, we realized that someone tried to break into our house through the windows. Our windows are plastic shutters basically and there are two on the top, two on the bottom if that makes any sense at all. The bottom two were locked, but the top two were not, so anyone could just open them and look right in our house and all the things we have. Our neighborhood is usually super safe and everyone looks out for each other. We are also super close friends with the neighbors across the street, two houses down from us who own a colmada (Dominican Snackbar thing) and are always outside/in the street. So if anyone saw someone weird try and break into our house, it would be them. But they didn't see anyone. Anyway, we could tell that someone tried to open/break our bottom shutters in order to reach in and grab something. We wondered what the heck anyone would want to steal from our house seeing as all we have is like scriptures and books in our front room. But then we realized that my companion's camera was sitting on his table right next to the bottom shutters, so that is what the person was trying to get. So now we have a lock and lock our front gate every day and night so that doesn't happen again.
A little bit later that night, right after our daily planning, we heard a bunch of gun shots. Sometimes the motors here make this weird popping sound that sounds like a gun shot, but this time we heard a bunch in a row that sounded more powerful and real, like gun shots. They shots got closer and pretty soon me and my comp were ducking under our study table. (Not gonna lie, I was kind of scared, but it was kind of a thrilling scared and it was kind of exciting ;p) the shots went right by our house and continued down the street. Apparently two guys were shooting at each other on their motorcycles. This went on for about 30 minutes and then we just went to bed figuring we would here all about it the next day. And we did. It was the talk of the town. Especially because the girlfriend of one of the guys was on the back of one of the motorcycles with him and was killed. She ended up being an old investigator of the missionaries before me :/ Way sad.
Now, enough of the craziness. On to the good stuff. We will be having the baptism for Empenitrez, our most progressing investigators, on the 21st. We were going to baptize her daughter too, but we feel that she needs more time to prepare and understand the gospel more and the significance of baptism. So we are postponing her baptism a little longer, but continuing with Empenitrez's on the 21st. We are also in the stressful process of planning the wedding of Rosario and Isidro for March 6th. We have to find all the paperwork and information they need which is way hard, and try and plan the party and all that fun stuff. We are having trouble finding help from our ward members because they are... kind of lazy and don't always like to take time to travel to Los Cocos, but my recent convert, Maritza has been awesome! I asked her to come to a lesson with us with Rosario and talk to her about the things she needs for the wedding and all that. She even took her to her house after the lesson to talk about it more, and show her pictures and lend her things. So grateful for her. Maritza has also been helping us with Empenitrez and wants to keep visiting our investigators with us. Her husband, Orlando, who is also my recent convert, has been great too and came with me to a couple lessons. I love the excitement and willingness to serve that the recent members have. We should always have that, not just as recent converts, but as members forever.
Rosario will then be baptized with her two young sons who also love church. I am working hard on getting Isidro to church and farther down the line, interested/committed to baptism as well.
Lots of things to look forward to! I am just praying they all end up going as planned. I would love your prayers for them all, especially that we can find/get all the information and papers we need for the wedding!
Love you all!

Elder Greer

So I think I need to work on my barber shop vocabulary, because this happened...

At least I wont have to cut my hair for a while! :)


I am being blessed with so much success right now! I had a baptism last week, another one this week, two more on the 21st, a wedding in March and 3 more baptisms the day after. I am so excited and love my area! Thank you for all the love and prayers and fasts!
So last week, we went to the house of one of the sister missionaries’ investigators who I am really close with. As we got to talking during our lesson, we came to understand that he hadn’t eaten in a while because he didn't have any money at all. He literally lives in a tiny, one-room room with only enough room for his bed, a tiny shower and bathroom, and a small sink. The whole room is about the size of a small public bathroom to give you guys a picture of just how small it is. So after the lesson, we went to a nearby colmada (Dominican snack bar thing) and bought him a meal and some juice. As missionaries, we don't have much money as it is, and this day we were literally almost out of our mission money which is all we have if we don't have a personal card, or money from home. We spent almost the rest we had on his meal but I just figured I would go to an ATM after and get just enough personal money to get by for the next two days until we get our money from the mission again. As we returned to his humble home, it brought tears to his eyes. It was a really awesome experience and I could tell he was truly grateful. He thanked us a ton and said we lifted his spirits with our message, and even more with the unexpected meal. We then called the bishop to see if he could take care of this man and help him out through our church program for the needy. The bishop took him shopping that night and took care of him. I am baptizing this man on Saturday and am so excited about it. After that, we walked to multiple ATM's, but none of them were working. Luckily we were able to make it the next two days without anything because Heavenly Father blessed us. Usually I always have some extra for emergencies and stuff, but we had to do a lot of traveling that week so we were super low.
I finally bought a Price Smart card so I can buy well worth it, expensive, imported American, name brand products! haha. So family, thank you for the money you all put on my card! I definitely used some of it well in Price Smart! It'll be nice to have something else in the house than the same Dominican things we eat every day. Especially from America! Haha.
Speaking of Dominican food, I have been realizing a lot lately that in our rice and potatoes and other foods, there are worms and eggs in them! So we are being extra careful about the things we buy now. We bought rice in the Colmada next to our house, and found worms in it. So who knows how long we've been trusting that food we have been eating/buying! We even went to a regular store to get potatoes that we could trust, but when I was cooking them, I found a bunch of eggs in one of them! So we had to throw them all away because when I looked at the other ones I was going to eat, they had worms too. So yeah, I don't know how I haven’t gotten sick yet, I guess because I am in the work of the Lord! :) But I mean, maybe the worms will give me a little more taste and protein to my diet?? ;)
So an interesting fact, the boss of our investigator with a baptism date is like a crazy voodoo witch lady that openly does satanic things! She asked our investigator for her blood so she could do a sacrifice! So yeah, we are definitely on the hunt for a new job for that investigator!
The other night as we were walking down the street back to our house when all of the sudden, ten feet away, this car and motorcycle crashed into each other and the people on the motorcycle hit a concrete wall and fell into a ditch! It was crazy because we usually walk on that side of the road, and where they crashed is exactly where we would have been! So big thanks to Heavenly Father for looking out for us! We ran over to help and they were all bloody and one of the guy’s foot was all jacked up way bad. In a matter of like 1 minute, the whole neighborhood was outside and someone quickly took them in their car to the hospital. The sad thing is that that's a totally normal thing that literally happens all the time so I wasn't even surprised.

I want to share a part of this email from one of my best friends from back home who is a convert. She says I am an example to her, but she is more of an example to me an everyone else than she even knows.

"I don't tell you & everyone else that's out in the field enough how great of examples you guys are to me and how much I admire all of you. Lately I haven't had many people to look up to. My testimony is still strong and I'm so thankful to be a part of this church. Although high school has just never felt more "high schoolish" then it does this year. I have to actually fight to be who I am which is kind of weird. The typical saying of "remember who you are" is something I actually apply to myself instead of just a head nod back to my mom. Although I've gained a new and different gratitude for the church at this time. The standards we all have are kind of actually hard to hold up to at times and are seen as weird and crazy. What's even crazier is how weird other kids really think our standards are. I've never given them a second guess. It's not too fun feeling different, which for some reason has never been an issue before for me until now. Although I know I'm given strength through Heavenly Father and that I have the holy ghosts with me. Knowing these truths have allowed me so much freedom because I already know who I am & I haven't had to make these decisions when they are thrown at me during a stressful time. The adversary knows how to make us tick. More importantly the spirit knows how to help us thrive. I have the constant companionship of the holy ghosts with me & he's a pretty darn awesome friend. I'm so thankful for weird stuff that goes on in my life. It's crazy and really sucks sometimes but it helps my testimony grow in ways I have never thought about before. I know we are all here with purpose and in keeping the standards of the church we will be blessed. Even though it seems a little hard to be different at times I think of how much harder it would be to not live the standards & a life without integrity to myself and heaven father.
One more thing I want to share is my testimony that Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways & wants us to be happy. Living a righteous life and being open to the spirit allows promptings which allows us to share our love and help with others in need. & I don't know about you but that's about the most rewarding thing in the world to me! True happiness is found when you love. Loving the sky, loving chocolate, loving your mom, loving fuzzy socks.
This scripture testifies how everything we have is a "witness" of god.

44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.
Alma 30:44

When you love the earth, people, & life you are loving god! This is happiness! LOVE!"
 I loved that email!
Well, somehow I have 6 months! Don't know how! Seems like I'm still a greeny!
 Love you guys!

Elder Greer

The baptism of Lesly Rosmeri Bonilla Romano!

A family home evening we had at my convert, Ruth's house.

A super huge bowl/pan that I thought was awesome!

When me and my companion were helping build a house.

Lastly, shout out to my hip Grandma for this awesome shirt and shorts!