Saturday, December 26, 2015

November 22

From Susie (on November 22)
In my letter to Bannon this week I told him that I was speaking in church in today and asked if he had anything in particular he was thankful for that I could share.  For those of you who weren't in our ward today, I thought you might enjoy what he wrote.  And he also answered a bunch of questions about his living conditions that I finally remembered to ask him about. So I copied it and that is the top part of this letter. The bottom is his regular weekly letter to everyone.  Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 21 at 7:47 AM

I'm good :) the weather here is pretty normal. Rain here and there but mostly warm in the evenings and hot but not super hot during the day. Nope, no thanksgiving here :(  We have always had a washer and drier, but they're all just super Dominican. Like the washer is basically a bucket that turns and you put water and soap in it. Then the dryer really isn't a dryer it's more like a bucket that spins really fast so you put your close in it and then it like spins the water out of them for 5 minutes. Then you have to hang them on clothes lines to dry. We hardly ever eat at members houses anymore. Only on Sundays really. We are never in the house. Only in the mornings until like 10 and then late at night like 9:30. So we always eat out. Lots of fast food. Or some regular Dominican places. And then dinner is usually like eggs or a cooked burrito. Too tired to do any thing else. Yeah we teach usually from 6PM and after. Earlier if possible. Sundays we teach all day. I have been trying to change up my schedule a bunch to figure out ways we can have more time in our area teaching and stuff. It's worked a bit. Yeah I get to run. But it's mostly me doing stairs from the bottom floor to the top which is five stories. And lots of jump rope and squats and push ups and Bench press :) yeah Sav writes me every week and sometimes we send physical mail to each other.
Things I am thankful for:
Well I can definitely say that I am thankful for a strong family that lives the gospel. In this country there are so many norms that, in the states, are looked at with a frown, but here are completely fine. A mom and a dad and kids all under ONE roof is a rare thing here. And unfortunately becoming more and more of a rare thing in the states. So I am especially thankful for how important the families are to this church. I could go on and on about the little third world problems like being thankful for hot water or even a real shower instead of buckets. Or air conditioning. Or always having light and running water and all that stuff. But honestly, not having all those things that are the norms in the states are the things that make the people here so much more humble and giving and happy. Some of the most humble, loving, giving, and happy people I have met here are the people who have dirt floors. Or live in a house literally made of scrap metal and wood. I think what I am most thankful for after everything is the opportunity to NOT have luxuries. The opportunity to see life through a different eye. To walk into one of those houses and sit on a stool or upside down trash can and talk about how they can be even happier and receive so many more blessings from God. Not just anyone gets to walk around with the name of  Jesus Christ on their chest. I wish that I could just go give the dang talk for you haha because I could go on for hours. Just tell everyone that when things are tough or they are unhappy or being negative, to say "it could always be worse" and then count the blessings they have of that day. :)

Weekly Letter

This was a fun week. On Thursday my companion, Elder Castillo, completed a year in the mission! Crazy that when we were first companions, he only had 7 and a half months! And now he has a year! Time is flying! So to celebrate his year mark, the AP's bought some Dominican egg nog (alcohol free 😊) and woke him up at exactly 12 am and we drank some and gave him candy. We were super tired and so we talked for like 3 minutes and then went back to bed haha. Then at 6:15 am I filled up a bucket of super cold water and put ice in it and when he finished praying, Elder walker and I poured it all over him! He was shocked and freezing! Haha. He ran to the bathroom and jumped right in the shower. But that didn't do much because we don't have hot water and the shower water is always especially cold. We were all laughing super hard, including elder Castillo. We are always having fun with each other and making the most of everything. Afterwards, Elder Castillo was like "You guys suck, but that was pretty good. I would have done it to you guys too haha." Later, I made cookies and put oreos in a couple of them. I took them to the office and shared. Everyone was like shocked that I can make cookies. (It's really not that hard)
This week we also had a really cool lesson with a guy we contacted. He's an older guy, probably in his 60's. He was super awesome and wasn't just like the regular person we contact who jut agrees with everything and says they understand but really don't. This guy had some really good questions with a lot of interest. We shared a few simple things and he was really accepting and nice. (That's hard to find here in the city) He assists another church, but invited us to come back when ever we want. Elder Castillo and I both felt super good afterward. He has a ton of potential! So pray that he keeps going :) his name is Teobaldo. 
We have a few women we teach that are in their early 30s and they progress pretty well, but it's sometimes really hard to find a member who is a priesthood holder to come with us. So we haven't been able to teach them as much as we would like because we can only be there if there is another priesthood holder with us. We can't take anyone in our car who isn't a missionary. So it would be a lot easier to get people to come with us, but it's hard for them to have to take a taxi and meet us and stuff.
We also had a great lesson with two less active young men we are working with and their sister. The sister has never listened to us or participated in any of the lessons. But she did this time and it went really well. She showed interest and we talked about temples and the importance of them and what we are able to do in the temples like baptisms for the dead and be sealed to our families for eternity. She didn't want to talk much, but she was listening. The boys were both participating a bunch. We committed them both to be ready to go to the temple the next time our ward has the chance. We also talked a little about baptism with the sister and she said that it's something that she'd like to do. But doesn't feel ready yet. So of course that is something we will help her prepare to do. So pray for her too! Her name is Yamilet.
Yesterday I was able to go back to Salcedo again for one last baptism! It was Nicole, the other daughter of Rosa Maria! I was super excited when the missionaries in that area called me and said that she was finally ready! Wow I am so thankful that we found that family! I love them so much. That dad, Juan, still has a lot of problems :/ But really wants to be baptized still. He just needs to listen and trust in the missionaries there. He calls me all the time because he trusts and likes me a lot. But I am no longer his missionary. So I told him he's gotta trust in them. But man. That family means a lot to me. Super, super happy that Rosa Maria and her two daughters are all baptized and super active and participating in the blessings of the gospel!
Well, have a good week and keep my people in your prayers!

Elder Greer

 We received a package full of goodies from our very good friend Ex Elder Farnsworth who was one of Elder Castillo's companions and was the office elder in my spot bore me and elder Hollingsworth. He is also my really good friend. And now we are even greater friends 😆
Elder Castillo burning his shirt for his one year.
The bomb cookies I made 😋

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