Sorry in advance for being so honest, but I tell it how it is.A lot of people ask me about the area I serve in and what it is like here and crazy experiences and stuff. Well, let me just give you a couple of examples of the past couple of weeks. On the road we walk down everyday, this old guy got stabbed in the heart with a sword... A SWORD... We happened to walk down that road 5 minutes after it happened. Then a couple days later, another guy got shot in the head outside one of our members houses we go to a lot. Then a couple days after that, we were walking down a road and right when we turned the corner, we see this old guy chasing after this girl with a bat. We looked farther down the street and realized the girl was chasing a guy and the old man was chasing the guy as well. The girl turns out to be some sort of Olympian runner because she caught up to the guy who had like a 20 yard head start on her, then she throws him to the ground and starts beating him with a full on brick rock! The whole neighborhood was outside like cheering her on and bringing her more rocks to beat him with. Then she walked away with a smile on her face and spit out some blood and wiped off her nose and just kept walking back to her house as the whole crowd like congratulated her. Don't mess with a Dominican woman! Or in this case, don´t call them bad names in front of their families! Anyways, yeah those are just some examples of my hood :)
Luckily we have some not so crazy parts of our area that allow us to actually invite and feel the spirit! The spirit is so incredibly important in lessons and especially conversion. We have 5 solid baptism dates right now and all are people I have no doubt will get baptized. But I am really trying to focus on getting them to feel the spirit really strong and receiving that undeniable witness that will truly convert them. As of right now, they know the church is true and like it a lot. However I don´t know if they have truly received their witness of the spirit yet which is an unforgettable, undeniable feeling that Heavenly Father blesses us with if we truly seek it and are looking for the truth. I have definitely felt the spirit in a lot of our lessons, so I hope they are feeling it to. We are also working really hard with a man named Chi who has been an inactive member for a long time. He is about 38, has a daughter that lives with the mother. Chi is one of my favorite people here. I love him so much and love visiting and teaching him. The spirit is always there so strong and I know he can feel it too. He has a strong desire to start going to church again, but just has something holding him back. I don't know what it is yet, but we are working hard with him to really understand not only how important the gospel is, but how awesome and comforting it is.
Over these past 3 months being here, I have met and have made some unforgettable relationships. I can honestly feel so much genuine love for the people I teach. It´s like they are so much more than simply people I work with, help, serve, or teach. But I can feel an honest, deep love for them. It is something I have been working on my whole mission that has been hard for me because it is so easy to judge people. But as I read about Christ, learn about Christ, and realize just how imperfect I am even when I am trying to be the best I can be, I forget about the flaws we all have and am able to just love. And I am so thankful for that because it is so much easier to serve, help, and teach people when they feel like your family and you care for them all in such a great way.
In all reality, this area was not my ideal area when I first got here. But then I bucked up, got to work, loved, forgot about myself, and now I am falling in love with this area and the people. It is something that is really so important as a missionary. And something I will always be working at. Because it is something that we can always get better at.
Happy 4th of July America and remember how good we have it. Don't just celebrate the 4th because you want to see cool fire works or kiss your girlfriend and see the ¨sparks fly¨ but be thankful for how honestly great we have it in the states. It saddens me that sometimes it takes us going to other countries and experiencing 3rd world life to appreciate and understand that. I am so thankful for our independence and ability to worship freely. Don't forget our forefathers and what they fought so hard for! Lastly, America, don´t forget who truly gave us freedom and the opportunity to have freedom including religion; GOD. America, Do not forget God.
Love you all.
Elder Greer from San Diego, California, USA! #PROUDTOBEANAMERICAN #GOAMERICA #FREEDOM (if hashtags are still a thing ;D)