Thursday, November 5, 2015

Hike to Los Cocos

Bannon sent us a voice recording for his weekly letter this week but I can't figure out how to get it on the blog so I will post it when I figure it out. Thanks for following!

Yesterday we went on a super long, steep, and hard hike in the mountains of Los Cocos. It was fun. My companion died. He was so tired! 

Elder McDonald and elder Tucker. Both studs. Both from my group.

I went and saw Ruth my convert and her family after the hike real quick :) they were all so happy to see me!

Yes... that is an old computer being used as a pot.


Not much has happened this week. We are pretty busy with my companions job. Houses. So we decided to work on and sacrifice our PDAY so we could get things done and hopefully see the blessings come from that. I'm really grateful for my companion. He's my best friend and we get along so well. He always surprises me with what a great missionary he is. Not many people are willing to work on and sacrifice their Pdays.
so I just want to share two quick emails that I got a little while ago. The first is from my sister Jordan:

"When you sent us that letter about the missionaries being bad in your mission and the acts 5 scripture it really hit me that seriously why are we so worried about what others think of us when really we are on this earth to be tested and we should really be worried about what God thinks of us. We even talked about this in ward counsel last week because our stake president put out a message that we should be planning everything in our ward with a purpose. Sometimes we focus so much on the attendance and participation of activities or visiting and home teaching that we don't remember that even if there is just a small amount of people doing what they should or coming to the activities those people are the ones that want to be uplifted and strengthen their testimonies. It is all about changing our mindset to not worrying about the small things and planning with a purpose so that the people that want to be there will leave with a stronger testimony."
I really liked what she said. And it is so true that we really need to look at the big picture of things and be constantly focused on others. Not just numbers. But the actual outcome and difference made by the initial action. The second one is from Becky Jensen. I thought her experience was super cool and that I should share it:

"We had a cool experience as we went back East.  A friend, and former business partner of Hal's has been asking us to come out and visit for years now.  We had some airplane tickets which were going to expire, and so we decided to go and visit he and his wife, and then explore Cape Cod.  We were so glad we went.  They are not members, and very wealthy, with children and grandchildren.  He, however, has bone marrow cancer.  They have the highest regard for Mormons, and said so often.  They have kept our family picture Christmas cards for years, and show them to people and say "see this is what Mormons look like".  Our conversation often incorporated some talk, which came up naturally, about principles of the Gospel.  At the end of the day our friend, said he was in such pain, he would take just about anything to get some relieve from it.  Hal offered him a priesthood blessing, and he accepted.  Hal gave him a beautiful blessing, as soon as Hal finished, our friend became very emotional, and just started to sob.  We all had tears in our eyes, he said his wife had never seen him cry.  In the morning, they told us they had been talking and they realized that they had given their children everything they could but they had nothing to give them that they had made a mistake.  As we went out to our car to go to church, our friend said "this may sound "airy-fairy" but I have to tell you as soon as you laid your hands on my head last night, my pain was gone, and it has not returned".  That was a real blessing to us, looking back, we felt that meeting with him was the real reason we planned that whole trip.  It was a cool experience and a real blessing to us to have been a part of it."

I really liked that. Priesthood power baby. It's real.
Thanks Jordan and Becky for the experiences and letting me share them. That's all for now. Love you guys.

Rosa Maria

Baptisms!! Yesterday I got to go back to my last area, Salcedo, for the baptism of Rosa Maria and her daughter Yokida! Rosa Maria wanted me to baptize her and Yokida was baptized by one of the missionaries there that only has a couple weeks in the field. Rosa Maria's full name is Rosa Maria Vazquez De La Cruz and the easiest name that I have had so far hahaha. Made it easy when I had to say it while baptizing her. Her husband Juan was there too. He has a lot of excitement to be baptized soon too, just needs a little more time. He's a bit bipolar sometimes and gets mad easily. I have been calling and talking to him ever since I left the area and he calls me a lot too because he has a lot of trust with me. I talked him into going to the baptism because he wasn't going to go. He was scared that Rosa Maria wouldn't want him to cause they have been having a few problems. But im so happy I talked him into going because it was such a great baptism!! He has even more of a desire to be baptized now. He has a date for November. So pray hard for him! Elder Bracken, one of the missionaries there in Salcedo, told me that he and my old Zone Leader of that area were talking about me when I was there and said that I basically saved Salcedo. I don't at all take any credit for the success in Salcedo. We just worked super hard and prayed faithfully, fasted, and did whatever we could for the people. When I first got there, Salcedo really was such a dead area... we had basically no investigators, and knew no body. So we bucked up, and got to work! And now we are seeing the results. Salcedo is now the number one baptizing and successful area in the mission! They are having a baptism almost every week which is unheard of here!!! And all of the people that are being baptized are people we found, contacted, and taught! Elder Bracken was like, "Elder Greer, thank you so much! You planted a ton of seeds while you were here and then left too quickly, so now I am seeing the results. I just came at the perfect time to help them continue to progress and then baptize them. Thank you. You saved this area." I'm so happy that all my hard work is paying off! I'm way jealous of them hahaha. But it's super awesome!
I want to share the story of Rosa Maria. It's a super cool story.
So when I first got to the area, I was freaking out because we had literally no body to teach. Whitewashing the area pretty much. So while in the process of doing everything I could to find more people to teach and serve, I searched our house and found a super old area book. ( An area book is a big binder filled with information of people past missionaries have found, taught, contacted, baptized, ect...) The area book we had and were using was super outdated and not kept up with. So I dug through the other area book. I ended up finding a paper with the name of Rosa Maria. I don't remember why exactly, but it interested me a lot and I felt that we should find her again. So I took the paper with me and asked a bunch of different people how to find her, where she lived, who she was. Everything. After like two weeks of this, I ended up on a long dirt road out in he middle of nowhere of my area where we had never been. No idea how we got there or why were were in that area. I just remember all the sudden realizing I had no clue where we were. I felt to walk down the dirt road a little more. (Again, no clue why.) Then we eventually came across a house. I went up to it and shouted, "Saludos!" Out walked an old lady. I asked for Rosa Maria (not knowing why I was asking her because I had no idea where we were or where this Rosa lady lived. Plus there are like a million Rosa maria's) The lady said that it was her daughter!! So we had a quick lesson with the lady and then scheduled a time to come back. When we came back the next time, Rosa Maria was there and instantly invited us to sit and talk with her. She was so happy we came back and found her again. She said other missionaries had visited with her a few times, but one day jut never came back and she didn't know why but really wanted us to come back. We literally found her in the exact, perfect time. She was super ready to accept the gospel and willing to change. She started coming to church with us and she loved it. We made a big effort to find her husband because she told us they were married. Like really, actually married by the law!! Which is like almost impossible to find here! So eventually we found Juan there at a good time and started sharing with them both. They had many different problems within their marriage, but I saw them grow so much! Rosa's two daughters were always present aswell and love us. One of the daughters, Nicole, is like 12 and pretty set on being Catholic with her grandma, but Yokida who is 8, was all for going to church every Sunday and being baptized! I loved teaching them so much! It was always a great time. I was so sad when I had to leave. And they were too. I remember when I went to their house to tell them that I was leaving and say goodbye. They all cried their eyes out and it was pretty emotional. But I can call them from time to time so that is nice. They were super happy I got to go visit then the last time and that I could go back for their baptism as well. The Lord literally led me to them. I had no idea where I was going nor how I even got there. But the Lord led me. The coolest and trippiest part to me is that when I went back to write more info on the paper that I had originally found that led me to her in the first place, it was nowhere to be found. I searched and searched. But I never again found that paper. Makes me wonder if there really ever was a paper in the first place ;) The Lord is awesome! And works in super cool ways.
I'm super happy and content with everything in Salcedo. I am really greatful for the missionaries there working hard and taking care of my people! I love Salcedo and am so happy that it is being pored on with success! To think that it was such a dead area just 5 months ago to what it is now is crazy! It's awesome what just hard work and dedication can do in such little time.

Elder Greer

Snuzy :)

Wow, this week has been great. 
First, conference was awesome. I never really, really payed attention to it much before the mission. Now I am asking my self what the heck I was thinking! Conference is the bomb! And Elder Haynie totally talked!! I was talking to some elders during the song before his talk and then all the sudden I saw him walk up and start talking and I was like, "WHAT THE! Wow, that's Sam's dad!!" Haha. Super cool and exciting!
Last Wednesday I got to go visit Los Cocos with Elder Rodriguez because he was saying goodbye to his past areas because he is going home soon. And I had to take some stuff to the house in Los Cocos. So we ate at my first converts house. She wasn't there because she was working, but her mom was. We are super close. She's like my DR mom haha. They consider me their son. And Elder Rodriguez too because we found them and taught them and became super close to them. So it was great to see her. We also visited a few other people and families we taught together. It was way fun. I Definitely miss that place!
That night, we had a really good lesson with an investigator named Javier. He's 22 and super cool and is a cousin of a member family. He seemed to really understand and be interested. But we haven't been able to find him in his house since :/ 
We got our crashed truck fixed! Her name is sexy Betsy ;) hahaha. My comp named her. The extra truck we were driving he named Susie. I told him that was my mom's name. So I renamed her Snuzy because that's my mom's nickname that me and my cousin Sidney gave her a long time ago haha.
So my job just got harder/more complicated because President has cut down zone meetings to only once a transfer. Usually we have like 3 or 4 and that's when everyone gets their mail because every Friday I go around to all the Zone Leaders houses and drop off mail. But now there is only one zone meeting every transfer so I might have to go to every District Leaders house which would take me the whole entire day. So we are trying to figure out what to do exactly. Super annoying because I have been doing everything possible to get all that done early on Fridays so I have more time to teach, because before we never had time to teach on Fridays. But I organized myself to be able to teach on Fridays after mail run. Now there is not much of a chance of that if I end up having to go to every District Leaders house. But I'll figure out something!
Saturday was fun. We went on a a hike to a cool waterfall. There were a bunch of cool wooden bridges we had to cross to get there.
Later Elder Castillo and I got home and realized we locked ourselves out... Again. Which made us a little late to the baptism we had in our ward. It was another family that Elder Castillo used to teach. They got married and baptized on Saturday. The husband bore his testimony and it was super strong and I was way impressed. He was like "Okay. So from here on out, I will be at church every Sunday. It has been hard to come consistantly because I work on Sundays sometimes, but I will be here no matter what. I might need to look for a new job soon haha, but I trust in the Lord and I know this is where I need to be on Sundays."
Wow. I don't think just any regular person would be willing to put their job and income on the line to be faithful to he commandments. I think we can all learn from his example and be more willing to obey with exactness and remember that the Lord will always, always provide a way to be obedient. Just gotta rely on Him and have sufficient faith.
Love you guys. Have a great week.

Elder Greer