Sunday, September 20, 2015

General Authority visit

So this week was really awesome! We had Elder Civic from the 70 come to our mission and do a big "mission tour" and did a bunch of general authority things throughout the mission. We had a mission conference and he spoke. He laid down the rules pretty hard and what is expected of us as missionaries. But instead of just being like "you can't do this, you guys suck at doing this, you're not doing this like you should." He was super loving about everything he said. I think it was exactly what this mission needs. I think we are really going to see a lot more success and miracles as we as a whole start working harder and obeying the rules with exactness and especially are more disciplined. We also had a special office meeting with him that included my companion and I, the other two office elders, the married couple missionary companionship, president Castillo and his wife, and Elder Civic and his wife. He went one by one asking us all individual questions and we had to explain to him our jobs/duties and how we do them. He talked about how we are especially important to the mission because we are the ones that help run he mission and have a lot of responsibility because we deal with money and church information everyday. It was really cool and I could definitely feel his authority and spirit. He totally knows the prophet so that's pretty cool. Then we showed him our offices. Then on Saturday he and president and their wife's came to the baptism we had in our ward. It was a couple that were investigating the church for 2 years and went through a hand full of missionaries, including my companion and they finally got married and baptized yesterday. It was a really good baptism. We had to sing a special number. We sang "families can be forever" I think that's what it's called in English. President Castillo and Elder Civic both talked. It was really great. Elder Civic seemed pretty pleased. I am super grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know and meet/work with a general authority this past week. I think my schedule is busy... his is insane!! Haha. I don't know how he does it! He was telling me that they just visited Cuba this past week and it seems to be progressing in the process of expanding the church over there and eventually becoming a mission. So continue to pray for that because that would be a huge blessing for all those people who have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel.
On the teaching/investigators side, we have a couple that the missionaries in this area have been working with for a while. Their names are "Niño" And "Carrol" Niño is 19 and Carrol is 17. They have a baby girl named Grimsley. Such a beautiful, smiley baby. We are working to get them married and then baptized. They have the desire. It's just been hard because Niño got in a bad motorcycle crash the week before I got to this area and was in the hospital in a coma and then recovered super fast. We definitely saw miracles there. So now he is finally healthy enough to come to church. So they both came today! We are also working with these two boys who are about 13 and 14. The 14 year old, Pedro, is baptized but inactive but wants to be active again. And his brother the 13 year old wants to be baptized. Their mom is a member but just lazy and the dad has no interest. But both the boys are super awesome and talk a lot in the lessons. They were supposed to come today but never showed up. We also have a kid named Eddy who is like 14 or 15. He goes to seminary every morning at 6 am but doesn't ever come to church... I feel like it should be the opposite haha. But he is super awesome and would come to church except his parents (inactive members) show no support. He is progressing a lot though and I have no doubt he will be reactivated in no time!
I really love this area and our ward is awesome and super strong. We had a really fun family home evening tonight with a super cool family in our ward. The step dad of the family is not a member and there is a cousin of him living there that is not a member either. Last week I invited him to church and he came!! And the FHE tonight went so great! They all really enjoyed it and the dad shared and talked a lot! Hopefully we see a lot of progress with them.
So last Sunday while I was driving to church, my bishop called me and very seriously he said, "Elder Greer... I have been thinking a lot about you lately."
"Ahh ok..."
I thought he was going to tell me to pull over cause my life was in danger or something! Haha...
"I don't know why, but I have gotten a strong spiritual prompting recently that the ward needs to hear your words."
"Oh, ok."
"I wasn't quite sure when, but this morning one of the ladies who was supposed to give a talk called and said she couldn't come. So I feel very strongly that you need to talk today. Would you be able to do that?"
"Yes of course!"
"Perfect, thank you. You don't have a topic. Just say what the spirit has you say. And you have 15 minutes to talk."
So that was literally 5 minutes before church started so I had in total like 20 minutes to think of something. So I just prayed and asked for help knowing Heavenly Father would deliver like He always does. I immediately got two specific and different ideas. I couldn't decide between which one I wanted/needed to share. So I just decided to share them both. My talk was super long, like 20 minutes. It wasn't as great as I wanted it to be and I messed up on my Spanish a few times, but all in all it was good. Bishop was pleased and thanked me. I thought that was pretty cool that he had that prompting. I thought something super awesome would come from it like someone specific really needed to hear what I said or something. So far I don't know, but if nothing, I at least got to bare my testimony and share some cool experiences.
On to the best news; Shout out to my sister Maddie and brother in law Jason on their new baby!! And big shout out to my new nephew Keoni!! I love the name! Well done. Can't wait to meet him when I get back! Also I am super happy it all went well and that Maddie is healthy.
Love you all.
Next time ya'll hear from me I'll be TWENTY!! Weird!!

Elder Greer

The Church is TRUE!

This week has been really long. Monday through Wednesday was packed full of traveling and paying bills of the mission and figuring out why a house of two missionaries wasn't getting light and things like that. Then Thursday I and a bunch of missionaries from my group had to go Santo Domingo to renew our visas. I was way excited to go because the groups before us that had to go all got to stay in the MTC and go to the temple. So I was so pumped to go see Sav in the MTC!! But for some reason something just really doesn't want me to ever have the chance to see the temple in this country because the area presidency just told our mission that we can't ever go to the temple. Even if we are finishing our missions. We can't go to the temple and then fly home the next day. I am beyond annoyed and frustrated about it, believe me. You don't even want me to get going on a rant about this displeasing topic... It's like it's bad to go to the temple or something... So anyway, we went to Santo Domingo and were there for about 7 hours sitting in a government building waiting and then finally got in and they took our finger prints, pictures, then we signed a few papers and we were done in like ten minutes. Then we went all the way back to Santiago. I was a lot more bitter about it when we were there. But it still doesn't make sense to me why we couldn't go to the temple for an hour and make it a spiritual and fun trip since we were already down there in the first place. But oh well. Since I didn't get to see Sav, I had one of the old couple missionaries that went to the temple last week give her a letter I wrote to her and a big hug. Sister Francis, the old couple missionary, said that when she found Sav and told her I wanted her to give her a big hug and tell her I love her, Sav started to cry haha. I'm super bummed I didn't see her like I had expected and wanted, but she at least got to hear all about how cool of a cousin she has through Sister Francis ;)
The week finally picked up on Saturday when we finally got in our first lesson. I realized after that, that I was having such a long, stressful, unhappy week because I hadn't had the chance to teach any lessons. We also went around with one of the young men in our ward and he showed us and introduced us to a bunch of the inactive young men of the ward. It was great to meet them and talk with them and get them pumped up for activities and getting back to church. As we were walking on the street at 9:00pm, we passed this kid that is probably like 12. He was carrying a wooden shoe cleaner box going around just trying to make a few pesos. He asked me if I wanted him to clean my shoes. Then I started talking to him casually and it was just such a great feeling to talk to him and get to know him a bit. I told him my goals of having activities with a bunch of young men in the area and invited him to join us and to come to church the next day. Then we said goodbye and continued to walk. And then Sunday was amazing! We had planned and expected at least 3 less active and 1 investigator in church and even went around to pick them up, but they all ended up not coming and we were so disappointed. But then, right before sacrament started, I saw the shoe cleaner kid walk in with one of the less active boys we met the night before. I was so stoked! I jumped up and went over and shook his hand and talked for a sec. Then walk in another investigator and 3 less actives we are working with!! So it ended up being a more successful day than we expected! And if that wasn't good enough, the fast and testimony meeting was fantastic! The testimonies were all so great and spiritual. There were people crying. Our ward is two areas; Pueblo Nuevo (my area) and Rafey, an area that has been struggling for a while. Well, pretty much all of the people from Rafey got up to bare their testimonies and there were a few who were inactive and less actives for a while who said how they are so thankful to be back in the church and how the missionaries have helped them so much. There were 5 young adult men from Rafey who went up there together with the Rafey missionaries. It was so awesome and everyone really enjoyed what they all said. After, everyone was commenting about how great sacrament was. Then, if that wasn't enough, we had 4 really great lessons after church and we met a few more new people AND got two references!! I know the lessons we taught were filled with the spirit and if the people we taught weren't changed, I at least was. Yesterday just made me so incredibly thankful to be a missionary and have the opportunity to teach people with the power and authority of God and the spirit. And I realized that I just love to talk and interact with people. And as I do so with these young men I am working with, I realize that honestly, sometimes all kids need is love. Or attention they don't get at home. Someone to show them they matter and are important. So I am so blessed to be able to be that for these amazing kids.
The lady lesson we had was at the house of a lady with cancer who is a convert of my trainer, Elder Rodriguez. I remember almost a year ago elder Rodriguez and I went to her house to visit her because she was supposed to die soon. Well, she's still alive! We were there to talk and visit with her son, but she had just started to make dinner so we helped her. It was me, my companion, our ward mission leader, and one of the young men in our ward named O'Neil who is way awesome and helps us a ton. It was such an inspiring moment because this lady dying of cancer who has to use a walker to walk and can only use one of her legs, was just being so independent and not complaining. She loved our help. Then after we finished, we had a lesson with her son and then sang a bunch of songs with and for the mom with cancer. In that moment, I really payed attention to the words of the Hymns and realized how much I love to sing church hymns. I know this all sounds so cheesy and greeny-missionary like. But I am not at all ashamed. I love everything about being a missionary and being churchy and singing church hymns and being a follower of Christ. I definitely have a terribly embarrassing voice, but I will sing at the top of my lungs if I have to. This church is true. I am blessed. Amen.
haha. You may not all feel as passionate about these things as I, but you can and will if you just share and live the gospel with all your heart. So get on it!

These pics are from a while ago

The ones on the rock are in Santo domingo when we went. (Sorry Sav, but Santiago is wayyyy better;))

The other pics are when I went back to Salcedo for the baptism and when I visited one of my converts from my first area

Sunday, September 6, 2015


Time Is Flying By!

August 22, 2015

This has been one looooong week. All I can say is don't get in car crashes in other countries. Luckily it hasn't been too bad, just a big hassle. The Haitian man is in the hospital getting operated on his leg because it is pretty bad. So keep him in your prayers and pray that he will be able to walk again and use his leg and everything. Even though it was his own fault and the damage to his leg was done by his own motor, the church is paying for all the medical bills and working hard to help him. We also went back to the fruit stand that we hit to apologize and pay for the damage. I really love that because it really goes to show that when things like this happen, the church doesn't just say sorry, wasn't our fault and only take car of our own problems like our messed up truck, but we take care of the ones involved as well and make things right. The Haitian man said he is very grateful for us and that if it was anyone else, they would have just dealt with their own problems and say good luck to him. So it's really cool how that has worked out.
So recently I have been praying that we would have more opportunities to teach and get out in the field and have as much of the regular missionary schedule as possible on top of doing all our office tasks. Shortly after, President Castillo asked us all in the office to have a meeting to discuss how we can establish an effective schedule that permits us to get done with all our work every day earlier and have much more time to teach and be regular missionaries. So I'm really thankful for our goals and plans to accomplish that. The only thing is that we are "office elders" but we are not even in the office that much, but rather doing all our duties and background business out and about. It's funny because when people think of the office, they just think of AC and boring paper and computer work, when in reality that is only like 10% of it. It was a bit challenging planning a schedule when there are only a couple specific things we do on certain days and the rest when we can/have time. Regardless, I really feel like we are going to be able to accomplish our goals. I am also super blessed and happy and having a blast being so busy and serving so hard every minute of every day. The days are way longer and filled with so many awesome things but they fly by so fast.
We also just got a new AP, Elder Walker from the best state there is, good Ole California!  While Elder Vargas and my companion were on splits dealing with things concerning he crash, Elder Walker and I were on splits the whole day and got to know each other pretty well. He's an awesome, obedient, humble guy and is bound to do great things here as an AP.
So my peeps from Salcedo seem to be doing really great! Oscar should be getting baptized in the next couple of weeks! And Katali and Daricha as well. Rosa Maria and her daughter are close to being ready. I really hope they stay strong and keep their fire.
The whole country has been going through a super bad drought. If it doesn't rain soon we will be out of water... so the whole country has been cutting water back even more. It really hasn't rained in forever. So pray for rain as well! However there is a hurricane on its way. It got up to a 3 which is pretty bad and dangerous, but is supposed to weaken and shouldn't be too bad by the time it hits us next week. I just hope it's not too bad so Savanna will be able to get here!
I was going to write about this last week but I got a bit distracted with the whole crash. But the families of two missionaries who finished came and picked them up at the mission home after transfers. It was way fun seeing them see their families for the first time after two years. And their families were so excited to see them and emotional and stuff. And they got to meet President and his wife and talk a little. Then they left to go celebrate and vacation for a week. I was so very against doing that with my family but after seeing that it has made me re-think it a little. So we'll see. But I still got a solid 11 months so I'm not even worried about that business!
Shout out to my cousin Savanna for giving a bomb farewell talk last week and sending it to me to listen to. You're already a fantastic missionary and going to be for the next 18 months. So excited for you to have the opportunity to teach and become so close to these great people of the DR. You're gonna love it! Best place to serve without a doubt. And that's not just me being biased :) Maybe I'll see you around!?? Cross yo fingas and pray hard ;)

Elder Greer

Look Both Ways Before You Cross the Street!

Sunday, August 16th

I'll start off by saying sorry for the inconsistency in writing lately as well as the disorganization. I've just been all over the place lately. The week before and especially the week after transfers are extra busy and crazy. It really has given me great appreciation for organizations and companies. I never realized what it takes to run a mission. At least in a developing country. So many little things that you don't think about that are important. I really think that in my mission I have been serving many people in many different ways and sharing the gospel and putting together weddings and building houses and doing service projects and all the other things I've been doing thus far, but in all reality, of all the things I've been able to do, it's been the most beneficial for me. I have learned so much while being out here. Not only the gospel, but just life in general. My mission has been so life changing and awesome because I have been experiencing life in a completely different way. The office has already taught me a ton. And now that Elder Hollingsworth is gone, I am officially on my own. Just like how I learned so much my first couple months living here on my own (without my family/parents) I have been going through it again in a sense now that I don't have Elder Hollingsworth by my side training me what to do. It's hard and long and tiring work, but it's even more of a blessing because it makes me have to figure things out and especially put my trust in the Lord and know that He'll help me out. I have definitely been experiencing the blessings of trusting in the Lord lately. There have been so many times lately where I have just been like... ahhh... what do I do? Then I simply say a prayer and know that since I am living worthy and serving faithfully, everything will be OK.

Transfer day was pretty hectic. We had to drive all the missionaries around to their new areas as quickly as possible. Then we took all the "dying" missionaries back to the mission home to have their final day in the mission. (We did a bunch of other stuff but just a bunch of random, un-noteworthy duties) By 11:30 we were home from the mission home and then back at it at 4am to take the missionaries to the airport. This past group that left was a hard group to say goodbye to because there were a bunch of my good buddies in that group.

....Okay. I am going to take a quick pause. A slight change of events just occurred while writing this email. I was writing this email as I was sitting in the back of our truck as we were driving to a super cool waterfall in Samaná. Elder Vargas was driving, Elder Castillo in the passenger seat, and me and Elder Walker in the back. Out of nowhere a guy on his motorcycle pulled out in front of us, not looking both ways. We slammed on our breaks and Elder Vargas swerved and did what he could not to hit him. But as they say in the movies, it really did all happen so fast. We heard and felt a large bang and thump as we swerved half way off the road and took out a fruit stand. Elder Vargas was slamming on his brakes and we drifted a little. When the truck finally came to a stop on the side of the road, we all just kind of sat there in shock for a second. In all honesty, the first thing that I thought was, wow... that guy just died. There is no way he is still alive... I thought for sure he was dead. As the crash happened, I saw a bunch of liquid fly up and go on our car. I thought it was his blood. But it ended up being stuff from the fruit stand we took out. We all kind of just sat in shock for a couple of seconds and then got out of the car. In a matter of seconds there were a billion people around. We were in a small countryside town in the middle of nowhere. The ambulance came and took the guy we hit to he hospital. We wanted to see and talk with him but they wouldn't let us go over there in case the family members wanted to hurt  us or something. I tried to walk over, but they wouldn't let me go. Apparently all that really happened to him was that he broke his leg pretty bad. But we didn't know for sure. Our car was pretty jacked up and our front passenger side tire was completely exploded. We got towed to the nearest police station which was in Nagua. On the way, we just sat in silence. I could tell Elder Vargas was pretty shaken up. I tried to tell him that everything was going to be okay and that it clearly wasn't his fault and stuff. But he was still pretty sure the Haitian guy we hit was dead or in bad bad condition. So he was super stressed and in all honesty, freaking out. But this whole time I just had a calm peace and was remembering my words from the first part of this email.. hey, we are living righteously. We are being obedient. We are being faithful servants of the Lord. It was not our fault. We did all we could. So He WILL take care of us. I just wanted Elder Vargas to know the same. Eventually we arrived at the police station in Nagua. We had to figure out a bunch of insurance things and who's fault it was and all that and for some reason they told us we were like being held there, unable to leave and maybe have to stay the night there and stuff until they got the paperwork and everything figured out. We called the elders in the area so they could bring someone from the church to help us. Our president of the mission wasn't answering his phone. Luckily we called the elders here because if it wasn't for the guy they brang, they wouldn't have let Elder Vargas leave and we would have had to stay the night in the jail there even though it wasn't our fault. The police guy there was crazy and a huge jerk. And he like thought we weren't understanding him and stuff. So the guy that came with the elders worked it all out for us. Then we changed the tire and I drove back to Santiago. Right before we left, we got confirmation that the guy we hit was fine, just has a pretty jacked up leg now but that he is in the hospital and smiling and stuff. Once we heard that Elder Vargas was so relieved and the weights just lifted off his shoulders. On he way home we were all fine and back to normal and all felt pretty blessed that it wasn't worse and that we got everything figured out. Then President Castillo had us come over to the mission home to have pizza because we had not eaten all day, and to talk with us and make sure we were all okay. He was very understanding and encouraging. 
One of my jobs in the office is cars. I am in charge of all the cars of the mission. And the one we crashed today was mine. So now I get to figure out that fun car stuff that I know really nothing about.. like I said, Heavenly Father just really wants me to be less ditsy and more knowledgeable ;)
Lessons to be learned: Look both ways before you cross the street! I know it's annoying when your mom always tells you that when you're young, but unless you want to get trampled by a big Ole truck, listen to yo dang mamá!
"Todo estará bien." Is my new motto. "Everything will be okay." Cause it really will. If and as long as you keep yourself worthy.
Keep the Haitian man in your prayers. He is fine, but his leg is gonna take some recovering.
Hopefully next week I'll have a great story to tell about a family we teach or something more spiritual :) love you all.

Élder Greer

Here are some pictures of the secret beach we found a few weeks ago.  I'm definitely taking my family back here when they come!