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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Week 60




Family dearest, I love you.

Spiritual experiences.. well one was super cool! So I'm the designated driver for our companionship and Hermana Cazares helps lead me everywhere.  Everything looks the same here and it throws me off so much, haha.  So, Hermana Macias went home last Wednesday and we had made an appointment with a woman named Virgina in this one part of town.  I had misplaced the paper with her apartment number on it and there are TONS of apartments that all look the same.  Because we were lost, we were late to our cita (appointment).  So, we decided to say a prayer and we asked for guidance to be lead to her apartment, and after some turns, and driving on some streets, and a couple more turns, we were lead to this door and just walked up to it and hoped for the best.  AND, IT WAS HERS.  The Spirit TOTALLY lead us to this apartment. It was the coolest thing and we had such a bomb lesson with her! It was great. 

My Companion Hermana Cazares
Hermana Green, Macias (She went home this week) & Cazares

Halloween treat from home!

Investigators! Hermana Cazares and I are working SUPER hard everyday and have set goals and are making plans to accomplish them, by making weekly, monthly, and transfer goals. We feel that these goals are super inspired because we have seen SO many miracles and so much success.

Leslie: Leslie is so great.  She is 13 and half of her family are members, and the other half isn't.  Her parents are divorced and she lives with her mom and 2 brothers, she speaks English and is so funny.  She came to General Conference with us and she has a baptismal date for the 28th of October!  We are trying to help her progress by talking to her Mom about baptism and asking for permission for Leslie to be baptized.  We didn't get to teach her last week but this week we are hoping for the best.
Jesus Quinteros: Jesus is a miracle! He was a reference from our District leader and his companion.  We went and taught him the Restoration and it was such a powerful lesson.  He is looking for more in life.  He also came to church yesterday!  It was Stake Conference and he came!  We have a lesson with him on Saturday.  He's from Mexico.
Virigina: she is the sister of a member in our ward!  We taught her the Restoration last week and it was one of the most powerful Restoration lessons we have EVER taught.  Her sister was there in the lesson and testified so well, it was a golden lesson.  Virginia knows every thing's true, she just has a boyfriend who has always stopped her from being baptized.  She's from Venezuela!
Jose Chavez: we happened to have a cita fall through, so our backup plan was to go knock on the neighbors house.  We knocked, and Jose answered.  We explained who we were and started bearing testimony of the Restoration.  He then asked us, "do you believe there is a life after death?" we replied, "we KNOW there is a life after death".  We started explaining the Plan of Salvation and he told us how he was searching for these answers and he's super excited to learn more!  It was so cool. He's also from Mexico!
Pedro y Jose: we saw these two guys while we were crossing the street and neglected to go by them the first time, but we went by after visiting the Bishop.  They are 21 and 25 and are both from Mexico.  We started talking about our message, and Pedro had a TON of interest.  We ended up talking to them and answering their questions for an HOUR - straight up testifying for an HOUR!  It was so surreal and one of the coolest things.  I felt like I was fulfilling my calling as a Missionary, I felt happy!!
Patsy: Patsy is from Ecuador and is the wife of a member in the English Ward.  Their family is so great.  Patsy has been taught by many missionaries for the last 10 years.  She has a good desire to learn and wants to accept Christ as the Savior and Son of God.  We are helping her read the Book of Mormon!

Our area is so cute, it's in Pleasant Grove and it's so beautiful.  The Mount Timpanogas Temple is right down the road from our apartment.  There are a lot of LDS Churches here, haha, and a lot of people from so many different countries all around the world.  We have members from Chile, Mexico, Guatemala, AND ONE FAMILY FROM PUERTO RICOOOOOOOOOO.  Also there's a Sister in my zone who's from Puerto Rico too!  Tender Mercies and Blessings!!!  The ward is incredible and I love the support they have for the missionaries.  We get fed dinner everyday, yummy food.  So far, food from Venezuela is my favorite thing I've tried.  I teach mainly in Spanish, and I love it.

Mayda emailed me from Puerto Rico.  She told me every one's okay, and I am so happy to hear this news!!

I heard that my Blog post regarding my last days in Puerto Rico was published - I am so humbled and grateful, and hope that it may uplift or help someone.  A lady in my ward came up to me and told me she read It!  Also Hermana Smart emailed me and said her and President read it and wept.  I love and miss them.

Tubba's birthday looked so fun!  I'm jealous she went and saw Hamilton... but it's okay.  One day, maybe I'll be in it, fingers crossed, haha!!!

So, wanna know something?  I am so incredibly happy, so happy!!!  I have seen the Atonement work in my life and help heal me and give me strength to carry on.  I couldn't have done it without the Savior, He truly is the light and life of the world.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to bear his name on my heart everyday and to seek ways to become more like him.  Time is flying to fast, I almost have 14 months in the mission, WHAT!!!!!

I have my first two intercambios (exchanges) this week as a Sister trainer here, I am so excited!
Life is good and I am happy.   Thank you for all your love and I love each and every one of you very much!!

All my love,
Hermana Kali Rae Green




Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Week 59




Hi there! I am here to finish my story. Sorry if I kept you on your toes all week, haha!

I want to start by saying, I know, more than ever that Heavenly Father knows what's truly best for me.

So, in continuation of my story or journey, the other sisters had left the island on Saturday and the nineteen of us remaining were there until Tuesday.  We had so many great experiences during this extra time we had, while waiting for our flight clearance to come, like Sacrament Meeting, bonding even more with each other, etc...  What was hard was just how we thought we were going to be leaving, we'd get ready, and then we'd get a call saying we weren't leaving.  That got rough after two false starts, and Hermana Holton and Nottingham and I could see that the positivity of the remaining Hermanas was going down.  So, Monday night, we decided to plan a Family Home Evening that would help us remember the miracles, and the positivity of this situation.  It turned out great and it was something I'll never forget.  It was cute, as well, because President and Hermana Smart just got to relax and put their minds on something else.  It was really good, and what we wanted to help them understand (including ourselves) was that this is all in God's plan.   I think, even despite everything that had happened, the Spirit had blessed and comforted me with understanding.  I knew that even despite all the pain and sadness I had been feeling, I understood that this was all part of His plan.  It was part of His plan to have a hurricane hit, to do damage, and to have us all learn from this experience.  It was part of His plan to reassign us even before we sent in our mission papers.  Of course, we had no idea this was ever going to take place, but you know what? It doesn't matter, I trust in my God with all my heart!!

I KNOW without any doubt that Puerto Rico is beginning a brighter future and this is just the beginning of many miracles to come.  I know that Heavenly Father doesn't give us anything we can't handle, and at times we are not going to see the full view, but we just have to trust that He knows more than us, and that he knows what he's doing.

We finally left on Tuesday, and another miracle was about to happened.  When we were going through to get on the charter jet, they had my name wrong, so they pulled me to the side, and long story short, I almost didn't get on the plane, but they were kind enough and understood the situation and they let me go on!  I was the last one on the plane before President and Hermana Smart got on.  When I got on the plane all the sisters clapped and yelled saying, "YOU MADE IT YAY" It was an exciting time.  Hermana Smart told me that it they didn't let me on the plane that she would've stayed with me, I LOVE her!  As we were taking off, that was very hard.  As we looked out the window, Puerto Rico was unrecognizable.  I remember landing 12 months ago, and seeing green everywhere, now it was brown.  I sat by Hermana Nottingham and Holton (I was in the MTC with both of them) and we all got very emotional, and then we were on our way to Florida.  We landed, and I said, "Gracia's" to one of the people that worked by the jet and they said, "uh, I don't speak Spanish", welcome back, Hermana Green! Haha.  That was weird, hearing English again like all the time, but we were immediately welcomed by a couple of other senior couples from other missions and they were yelling out room numbers for the hotel we were staying in that night.  When everyone got their info, President Smart requested that we sing, "Para Siempre Dios Este con Vos" (God be with you til we meet again).  That was a very emotional song, seeing that some of us were going to be separating that night and there wasn't going to be much time for goodbyes.  We couldn't sing majority of the song because the entire group of Elders and Sisters were all crying, and I had a perfect view of Hermana Smart and she was crying, and that made me keep crying.  We got on the buses, and went to the hotel.  We called our parents briefly later that night, and it was nice talking to them and letting them know we were OK.

We woke up the next morning, and I only saw a couple people because all of our flights were on different schedules.  I left the hotel at 8 AM and was lucky enough to have said good bye to some of my closest friends I've made on the mission like, Hermana Zimmerman, Elder Murillo, Elder Bradford, Hermana Nottingham, and Hermana Holton.  I luckily had Hermana Post and Hermana Rodriguez coming with me, and other Elders I knew as well.  There were about 20 of us that went from Florida, to Atlanta, Georgia.  One miracle that happened was while we were waiting in Atlanta, Hermana Rodriguez and I decided to go to the MAC makeup store because I wanted to buy some lipstick to make me feel better (haha) so, we did!  While in the store, a lady said, "sisters" and it was a member of the church!  We started talking to her and told her of our situation and told her where we were reassigned to go serve, and she says, "I live in Orem" and she wrote down her number and told me if I ever wanted dinner, that I could eat with their family.  It was super cool.  There was a handful of people who stopped and talked to us by the gate too.

We got to Utah, and as we were going down the escalator, we saw all of these cameras and news channels.  My first thought was "Wow I wonder who they're here for."  Then I realized, they're filming us, "Oh." I thought.  I probably just looked really confused because I had no idea who my Mission Presidents looked like, and I was carrying around a bag of Chick-Fil-A and probably just looked lost, Hahaha.  Luckily The Killpack’s found us and the three of us (Elder Juarez, Elder Garza, and I) got out of there.  Hermana Post came with us too, because her Mission Presidents were picking her up at the Killpack’s house, what a blessing to have been with her.

We were fed good food, and got a good night's sleep, and then our missionary life resumed that next day with zone conference.   President Killpack kept me as a Sister Training Leader, so we also had MLC (mission leadership conference, like zone conference but with only the leadership), and I gave my first 15-minute training for my zone that following Thursday at our combined district meeting for our zone.  So, I've been pretty busy. And that was the end of all the craziness and adventure that was Hurricane Maria.

I want all of you to know that I am okay, and I am adjusting good.  The mission has been so loving and kind.  The Killlpack’s are incredible and have done so much for us and have taken us in like their own.  I have seen miracle after miracle and have received a personal witness and testimony of this trial, and I knew that I was supposed to be here the second we got into Orem.  My dear loved ones, we are going to have trials that make your world seem like it's falling apart, but it's in those moments where we can use the testimony and faith we have in the Savior, Jesus Christ, to find peace as we trust in Him. We don't have to allow ourselves to suffer more than we need to, because He already did for us.  The Atoning sacrifice that the Savior did for us gives us the ability, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual strength that will help us keep going when life gets hard.  That healing and strengthening power of the Atonement is what has got me through this trial.  So, keep holding on.  Keep trusting in that glorious plan our Father in Heaven has for us.  I KNOW without a doubt that this is part of my plan, all of it, and it has been an interesting part of my plan, but I know that this is helping refine and mold me to become even better.  I know that in the end, it truly doesn't matter where I am asked to serve, because the one thing that matters is that I get to serve in this great work of the Lord that is constantly moving forward.  I will go and I will do, over mountain, plain, or sea. I will find my purpose here. I will continue to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. And I will triumph!

I am grateful for your love. I can't wait to personally thank each of you, but for now, Just thank you!

So, I'd like to start off this email wishing a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my lovely sister, Tina.  Tomorrow is her birthday, and she's the best.  I love you, sister!!  Thanks for being a role model in my life. Thanks Mimi and Penelope for that surprise Princess Party you gave my sister!  You’re the best!!

Spiritual experiences in Orem.  Well with some of my investigators I already feel as though they are part of the reason why I am supposed to be here.  The people, it's all about the people.  They feel like family already.  I have grown in appreciation and love for the Spanish language even more while I've been here in Orem.  It's kind of like my comfort blanket of normalness in this weird culture shock i’m currently in,  haha!  One miracle was last Thursday, we got to go to the PROVO CITY CENTER TEMPLE (that was a dream come true), and the person I was doing the work for was named Esther Green, now what are the odds, right!?!
I've just seen so many miracles. I've received trash bag after trash bag of clothes for me.  In one night, word had gotten out that I was coming to the mission in Orem with essentially no clothes, and people just kept delivering bags of clothes to our doorstep, for like five days straight!  Someone even flagged down our car and stopped us to ask me if I needed any clothes, and a lady paid for my purchase in Target when my card wouldn't work – I was so grateful for these tender mercies from the Lord.



Reunited with Hermana Josie at General Conference!

I was fortunate to be able to go to General Conference, and I was lucky enough to see Hermana Pearce (now Sarah) and Hermana Martinez (now Preslie) and Hermana Josie (now Kirstin).  Such a blessing.  Just so many blessings, I am very humbled by all the blessings and love I have felt.
Companions! So, I am currently in a trio with Hermana Macias and Hermana Cazares (they speak Spanish and English), but transfers are this week, and President Killpack is keeping me as an Sister Trainer Leader.  I am finishing the training of Hermana Cazares, and we are both staying in Pleasant Grove (Garden 11th Ward), whitewashing the area - fun stuff!  The new transfer starts Wednesday, and Hermana Macias is done with her Mission and going home. I am still teaching in Spanish, but also English.

I have a tablet, now.  Technology feels weird, after not having it for thirteen months, but I have to use Facebook now for teaching and everything is online, it's weird, but yay technology?  I'm really not used to it, haha.   I can look at my emails during the week, I just can't reply till Monday, which BY THE WAY I WANT TO REPLY TO ALL OF YOU EACH WEEK AND I AM SO SORRY IF I CAN'T, I AM JUST SO BUSY BUT KNOW I ENJOY AND APPRECIATE ALL OF YOUR LETTERS!

I got the first suitcase you sent of clothes and supplies, and I loved EVERYTHING.  MY FAMILY IS THE BEST, such homies!!  I especially loved all the notes from the Mile Square Park Ward members - THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!  The outfits are great, and everything fits, yeah!!!


General Conference was GREAAAAAT.  We took our 13-year-old investigator Leslie! It was so cool.  It was exactly what I needed.


Mom and Dad, thank you for your nice words, I am happy. I loved the Spiritual thoughts you sent.  Avalon actually recommended that same talk by Elder Bednar and I had been reading that talk when you sent your Spiritual thought! #twoworldsonefamily

Today we had a zone activity, we hiked Battle Creek Falls and had a game of kickball and ate Carne Asada. I'm in the Spanish zone in my mission so we are the only people that speak Spanish, it's great. I love everyone already!!  Oh, cool thing, well actually two.  We’re going to the temple on Halloween, and we have a fireside in November and SHERRI DEW AND VOCALPOINT ARE COMING?????  I am so stoked.

Zone Activity!

The View from our Hike to Battle Creek Falls.

Well that’s all I have time for!  I love you all and I’m grateful for the miracles and tender mercies the Lord has placed in my life.  I am so happy, and know if I keep putting my trust and faith in the Lord, I will continue to be blessed!

-Hermana Kali Rae Green

Horchata with Hermana Peter!! Heavenly!!!


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Week 58


"The Future of Puerto Rico Is Bright" - Elder Neil L. Andersen, March 18th, 2017 


My Dear Family and Friends,

Given I have not been able to e-mail in two weeks, I know this e-mail is probably highly anticipated, so bear with me and the length of this email, haha!
 
I want to start off by expressing my heartfelt gratitude for all of you.  All of your prayers towards the lovely people of Puerto Rico, for my family and I and for our mission. I have felt the love of many through your emails, letters, and hand-written notes. There are not enough words, songs, letters that could describe the love I have for all of you. 

These last 3 weeks have been without a doubt some of the most spiritual and some of the most faith-trying weeks of my life.  A lot has happened so I'll just start from the beginning.  So, on Saturday the 16th of September I was on my first intercambio with Hermana Mann when we received a text from the Mission President, that we needed to go to the store and buy food, water, and any other supplies needed in preparation for Hurricane Maria. We had called Hermana Pearce and Hermana Brooks, they picked us up and we went and drove to Wal-Mart.  Everyone was already freaking out a bit, buying everything they could since we had just gone through Hurricane Irma a week and a half before.  We were able to buy everything and all was well.  That following Monday night, a member had been accompanying us to different appointments and she was updating us on what category the Hurricane was at, etc.. and we knew the trajectory and that it was coming towards us, but we really still kinda had no idea what was going to happen.  The next morning, we received a text saying that we needed to pack our evacuation carry on suitcase (basically, grab a change of clothes and leave everything else) and that we were going to the Mission Home.  Well, not something we were expecting, but we packed up and were on our way.  While I was packing, I wasn't thinking that this might be the last time I would be packing, but I did get this prompting many times, that came to my mind saying, "pack what you REALLY don't want to lose".  So, I followed it and packed my scriptures, missionary journals and memory cards of all my mission pictures, still not thinking anything severe was going to happen, but I followed the prompting anyways.

We got to the Mission Home and it was so great getting to be with all the Hermanas and seeing old companions and friends.  While there, we laughed, got to have a cool question and answer conversation with Hermana Smart and all the Sisters before President Smart arrived later that night.  We got to ask Hermana Smart how her and President met, how she decided to become a social worker (which actually completely confirmed that that's what I am going to do and study to become in college) and other spiritual things.  It was super cool. Hermana Smart is one of the most remarkable women I have EVER had the honor of meeting.  She has changed my life, and has truly helped shape me into the person I have wanted to become, and she has helped defined that path that I want to continue on. I love you, Hermana Smart!

President came to the Mission home a bit later and showed us on his iPad the trajectory of Hurricane Maria, and told us that Puerto Rico would be directly hit.  Surprisingly, I still didn't feel fear.  I think part of it might've been that we all thought that Heavenly Father was just going to shoo away Hurricane Maria magically just like he did with Hurricane Irma.  We had a great rest of the night, and we even had a cool devotional given to us by President Smart.  One thing he talked about was making the comparison to a lighthouse and the gospel, and how the main light of the light house is supposed to light the way for all to see, so they won't get lost or crash into rocks (Just like the gospel).  He then talked about the lower lights at the bottom of the light house, that are there to help show any other dangers.  He compared the lower lights to us, as Missionaries.  We are here as these lower lights to help pave the way for those looking towards that main light of the gospel.  He then talked about how when Elder Andersen came and visited Puerto Rico, that there were wonderful things in store for this island and that it would be, "The Miracle of The Caribbean".  We knew that this Hurricane would be a trial and that when it was over, it is our time to rise up, to do the Lord's work, and become those disciples of Christ these people need us to be.  President Smart ended with, "these trials are in preparation for the vision and miracles that are in store for this island, and we have a BIG part in this".  He also mentioned many times that he felt that starting the next day, the 20th of Sept, that it would be a day that miracles began to happen to help the work of the gospel go forth.  Now he was in NO way seeing the future, let me clarify, But we all felt the same.  We didn't know what was going to happen, but we knew something good was going to come of all of this.  We went to sleep on this spiritual high.

I woke up at 2:00 AM to the sounds of harsh, strong winds knocking against the house, it was so loud, I didn't really know what was going on at first, but from where I was on the floor, I could see a window covered by a screen that led out to the patio, and shadows of palm trees moving like crazy.  I turned around because a light from the neighbors house was casting into the room above my head.  As I looked out the window I saw all of these palm trees bending in half, but not breaking. The best way I could describe it is like this: grab the most delicate flower you could think of and put it up to a blow dryer on high.  Do that for about 8 hours.  That's what it looked like. I was just in unbelief!  I Was sitting there, watching all of this destruction happening, and I was just in complete awe. However, I was completely safe, might I add.  But no one slept all night because of how loud and strong it was.  We were all trying to sleep but it wasn't really an option.  Every hour that passed, it got stronger and stronger.  At around 5, our room was awake talking about what was happening.  I was sleeping next to Hermana Post and she just kept saying how cold she was.  A couple minutes later she said, "my feet are wet", i said, what?!  All of a sudden, we heard this huge RIPPING noise and a bunch of water starting seeping through the windows.  We all stood up and started putting towels down. I looked out the giant window and saw something weird in the backyard.  "What's that?", I said.  "That's our wooden window panel and part of our roof that flew off."  To my surprise, about half of this huge panel had flown off.  Oops, sorry Mom, we were all fine and the window and roof were strong, but our room just kept flooding.  At one point, later that morning, I was looking for my flashlight and I stepped in our room and it was up to my ankles full of water.

At around 7:00 everyone was moving in the house and we were all just watching the storm from the kitchen and living room. There are giant windows on the doors and I could not BELIEVE what the hurricane had done.  It was pitch black outside even though it was in the morning, and we really didn't know how much damage was done until later on that day when we went outside.  Before we went outside, President Smart read us an article written by the Washington post on the damage done in just 12 hours to the island.  While hearing it, my heart just sank.  Then we went outside (Hurricane had passed off the island by this point) and he showed us what happened just outside our house.  I was one of the first people outside, and I saw that the top layer of our roof had flown off, what was left was this tarp and some other debris, trees, light poles, and other sort of large debris was covering the entire area and the street.  Trees had fallen into houses, breaking them and electric cables destroyed.  In one moment, I realized that nothing was going to be the same.  Tears filled my eyes and we all hugged one another, in complete shock, but in gratitude, realizing how lucky we were to be alive and how grateful we were for the Lord's protection.

We had more devotionals later throughout the day.  Then on Thursday and Friday we were able to do service for the people in this neighborhood.  This is a SUPER rich area and no one ever can proselyte there because the guards at the entrance to the homes never let Missionaries enter, unless they are going to the Mission Home for a meeting.  However a miracle happened!  Through showing these people genuine love and concern, their hearts were softened and they were grateful for the help we gave.  All day we were in our yellow Mormon Helping Hands vests, lifting giant trees with our bare hands, moving them to the sides of streets, helping people have accessibility to drive through the streets by cleaning them up completely.  I really can't describe how bad the damage was, but everyone was taking pictures of us, and with us, in tears thanking us for helping them.  We got everyone to also help clean up this Catholic Church in the neighborhood that was completely destroyed.  We cleaned this church all day Friday and the Father of this church, also helped us.  At the end, after many hours of work, we decided to sing a hymn, "I am a child of God".  The entire time the Father of the Catholic Church was closing his eyes, really taking in the message.  After we were finished singing, he thanked us, and said, "wow. I could really feel the presence of God here, thank you".  He also said he would put all the, "lovely Mormon women" in their mass prayers, at their next service (someone told us that he actually did).  Never have I felt so much  love for these people and love for serving them until this point.  Seeing their reactions over those two days were some of my most treasured memories. 



Friday comes, we are thinking we are going back to our missionary home's soon, but were not sure when.  Over the course of those 4 days we had been so spiritually edified, and it honestly was as spiritual as girls camp and trek combined.  That night, I remember laughing and having so much fun with the other Sisters, when President Smart came in to the Mission Home, asking for all of us to come meet in the living room.  We said a prayer and after it, Hermana Smart was already bawling.  Something had happened!?!  President Smart started telling us how he had been talking with the leaders of the Church in Salt Lake, (including some Apostles) and he updated us on the severity of the damage too the island, and how our resources like food,water and fuel were quickly diminishing, and that we were quickly running out.  He then told us that the island was completely out of power, and running water and they weren't expecting to have it repaired for a year.  He then said, that because there's no power and water, there is no way that we could survive.  He then stopped, and said, holding back tears, "Our Church Leaders decided that we are going to have to evacuate the island, and all Missionaries will be getting reassigned to different Missions".  In just one moment, my world, completely broke into a million pieces. The sound of hysterical crying, and almost mourning like sounds filled the room.  He then continued, while crying, that this was decided by the First Presidency, and the Quorum of the 12, and then read off our reassignments.  He kept saying how this was not what he wanted either, that this was all inspired, for our safety, and that this was also an answer and a help to the prayers of our parents, and families.  He then told us we had to start packing because we were going to leave the next morning, early around 6:00.  I didn't sleep. I didn't sleep for a while to be quite honest. I felt very numb, then would start bawling, then felt numb again. I slept for about an hour.  I maintained great faith and trust in the Lord, and as hard as this was, I know the Lord has a plan and that all would be ok!

President Smart breaking the news of our reassignments

The next morning, we went to the airport, only having to come back hours later because there was not enough room for everyone at the airport. They sent all the sisters (including Hermana Pearce) who were told they were finishing their mission early, to the front of the line. They then moved the Latinas (native Latin missionaries) up to the front of the line as well, then the rest of the Sisters filled in behind them.  Because I was a sister training Leader, I was sent to the back of the line, so that way the other Sisters who were not in any leadership would go first, and we would stay behind.  And just like that, 36 out of the 55 Sisters were gone off the Island, no closure, nothing.  19 of us stayed behind.  It ended up being a big blessing having us stay behind, it helped me prepare a lot more spiritually and emotionally, but at times it also made it harder.  We were able to see many miracles, and even say goodbye to the people we did service for, and had an hour to contact in the neighborhood around the Mission Home.  We had one of the most spiritual sacrament meetings in the Mission Home, I had ever had in my life. 

For the sake of time and this long email, I will continue next week because I have to go. But again, thank you, everyone so much. I will forever cherish the memories, spiritual learning and miracles I witnessed serving the people I love so much in Puerto Rico.  

Hermana Kali Rae Green 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Week 57




This was a very crazy week, filled with many emotions and experiences that have strengthened and uplifted this group of missionaries for all eternity.  Due to the devastation caused from Hurricane Maria (category 5 Hurricane that directly hit Puerto Rico), all missionaries in Puerto Rico and neighboring islands have been evacuated to the United States due to a lack of basic infrastructure needs, i.e., power, water, food, fuel and roads.  This was a logistical challenge and monumental effort to evacuate more than 150 missionaries off the island and temporarily reassign all missionaries to new missions, until they can return safely to Puerto Rico (once basic infrastructure is restored) and help the people and communities rebuild. 

Sept. 22, 2017
Hermana Green and the San Juan Puerto Rico Missionaries:
We received a call from the Church Headquarters Mission Department. They confirmed what we had been told previously, that the Church is temporarily closing the Puerto Rico Mission and all missionaries are being evacuated and reassigned to new missions as soon as possible. Hermana Green is being reassigned to the Orem, Utah Mission. We are supposed to get a call from Hermana Green once she arrives in Orem, which likely will not be until next week. If they re-open the Puerto Rico Mission soon, there is a chance Hermana Green will get to go back and finish her mission there, but if not, she will have wonderful experiences, witness miracles at the hand of the Lord, and accomplish great things in Orem.

We were very touched, when it was explained that two Apostles of the Lord knelt in prayer and sought the will of the Lord in reassigning Hermana Green and all the other missionaries of Puerto Rico. We know this is where the Lord needs Hermana Green at this time, and the Lord has made preparations for her arrival. Hermana Green will shortly see the hand of the Lord and His plan unveiled, and we can't wait to hear of her new experiences. 
We remain grateful for the safety of all missionaries and know the Lord is watching over them. These experiences will build great faith and strength in these missionaries, and great blessings are in store for their future assignments - they truly have learned that they can do hard things! I am positive our daughter and the other missionaries will be very sad leaving the people they have grown to love behind in their time of need, but the Lord knows what is best! “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things … righteousness … wickedness … holiness … misery … good … bad. …” (2 Nephi 2:11). “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven. …” President, Spencer W. Kimball
Please continue to pray for the missionaries and all the people of Puerto Rico. Additionally, we have been asked by the Mission President to pray that they will have enough fuel to get all the missionaries safely to the Airport and off the island!
Thank you for your continued, love, support and prayers, it is greatly appreciated!!
Gina & Gary

September 26, 2017

The following post form President and Sister Smart captures the intensity of the events from last week, but also shows the great faith and trust they had in the Lord and how He protected and delivered them out of harms way.

President & Sister Smart- I have had little to no Internet service for about a week.  We have felt your love, concern and prayers.  You may not see your son or daughter in the pictures but be assured everyone is accounted for.  We ALL are headed to the airport to fly to Miami now.  Two days before hurricane Maria President Smart and I received a strong confirmation from the Lord:  "bring them home".   We then decided to bring the 55 sisters to our home and the 100 Elders to the mission office.  If that counsel had not been given, there would have been different results.  Amidst chaos, there were miracles too many to mention here.  The missionaries are all TEMPORARILY assigned to serve stateside while President and I work from Santo Domingo with Humanitarian aid to help restore the Caribbean islands and bring our little army home again.  While I am beyond grateful we are all well, my mommy heart hurts to be separated. Que Dios Este Con Nosotros Hasta Vernos. (God be with us until we meet again) #puertoricomission


Quote from Pres. Smart, "The sisters are wonderful!" They are in a more upscale neighborhood doing service for those affected there. It has truly softened the hearts of those who were hesitant to listen before.  Historically this area has been very closed minded to the missionaries, but after being touched by the service these missionaries we so freely giving to these people, one of the residents asked the Sisters, "what can we do to repay you", the Sisters replied, "when the missionaries come back, open your door to them and listen to their message."  President And Sis. Smart have spoken to many people in the neighborhood who are impressed with the service and attitudes of the sister missionaries. A doctor who lives there has offered his services if needed, although he has not been needed. Another family opened their home to the sisters to use their pool water to wash their clothes and bathe. They haul buckets of water into the home and use a large bath for their washing. What a blessing!! The sisters are in great spirits and are an influence for good there.
Sister Wilde shared one of her favorite things to come out of this plight. She says that this experience has created a very unique bond between the missionaries. They have connected in ways that most missionaries can't while serving in their own areas. They truly love one another as brothers and sisters and have cared for each other as such. She has loved watching them serve each other and bond over games, cooking, and even cleaning.
One of their biggest disappointments is that they can't proselyte anymore. They miss sharing the Gospel in that way. Two days ago they were able to share their testimonies and hand out two entire boxes of Book of Mormons! That was one of their highlights of this experience.



The Hermanas Gathered together at the Mission Home

Continued Prayers for Hermana Green and All the Missionaries who are leaving their Hearts in Puerto Rico. May they be watched over and protected as they all make their transitions to their new mission assignments. They will forever have a special place in their hearts for the people and island of Puerto Rico.




President & Sister Smart making sure that all Their missionaries are accounted for and in their Hotel Rooms and ready to depart.


September 27, 2017-

Today 23 of the 150 missionaries that were evacuated from Puerto Rico landed in Salt Lake City for their new mission reassignments. We are grateful for the Lord's watchful care of all the missionaries from Puerto Rico, and we were excited to see our daughter in the News video. Continued prayers and blessings to all the missionaries in their new assignments.









What a blessing and yet another tender mercy from the Lord. We could not be in Salt Lake City to greet and hug our daughter, but Sister Killpack and President Killpack were there to shower our daughter and the other missionaries with love! How grateful we are for the Killpack's and their example of Christ-like service! We talked to Hermana Green tonight and she is doing really well, and loves President and Sister Killpack already. She is upbeat and knows the Lord has a plan and a work for her to do in Orem, she knows this is where she is meant to be at this time, and can't wait to get started. What a blessing and comfort this phone call was to us! Love this missionary too pieces!!!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Week 56





Update on Hurricane Maria:

So quick update;  Well after a very sleepless night and many prayers, we received a phone call from Hermana Green at 10:30 am this morning (Wednesday) to tell us, that she and all of the missionaries were safe, protected and made it through the category 5 Hurricane Maria that made landfall on the Island of Puerto Rico at 2:00 am this morning. In preparation for this massive Hurricane directly hitting Puerto Rico, Hermana Green and all of the Sister Missionaries and Elders in Puerto Rico (approx. 157) were evacuated on Tuesday from their homes and areas, and the Sisters went to the Mission Home, and the Elders went to the Mission Office in Guaynabo under the Mission Presidents direction.  They were well prepared and united in faith to ride out the storm, although they still did not have power restored from the damage caused by Hurricane Irma.  Hermana Green said; they held devotionals and knelt and prayed together with President and Sister Smart, and were comforted by the Spirit and never felt afraid.  She said; that Hurricane Irma prepared, strengthened and united the missionaries and the people of Puerto Rico, that they can endure hard things and overcome trials with the Lord's help.  Hermana Green said; that this experience was one of the greatest spiritual experiences of her mission. Although they have not been outside yet, they could see the devastation around the Mission Home.  They have no thought for themselves, but just want to go serve and help the people of Puerto Rico.  Hermana Green said; the Lord has preserved and prepared them to now go and be a light to the people by helping them put their Island, homes and lives back together, and letting the people know that they can be comforted and find peace and happiness through Jesus Christ.  Sister Smart said; "your lives have been saved, now go save another."  They do not know when they can go back to their areas and homes, or when power will be restored, but their spirits are strong and they are ready to serve, although they are concerned about the flooding and mud slides that are already happening.  Hermana Green closed with; don't worry about me, and just pray for the people, because that is all that I am concerned about! 

It was the best phone call, and we are so grateful for the Lord's hand in protecting our daughter, the missionaries, and people of Puerto Rico.  We would like to thank all of our family and friends for your thoughts and prayers this week.  We invite you to continue to pray for the people of Puerto Rico in the coming days and weeks as they work through the devastation and damage that was caused!


This Weeks (Monday's) Letter from Kali pre Hurricane Maria:

Buenas a Todos (Hello everyone)!

One spiritual experience has kept happening over and over.  I have been really trying to put ALL of my studies into studying for our investigators, their needs, and what we can do to help them. Sometimes I feel impressions to study certain things without knowing why, or without it having any correlation with the lesson plan we have, but I follow the promptings anyways.  As I have done this, and put my all into these studies, I have seen the results paying off as the things I have studied, planned or not planned, have ALWAYS seemed to be the thing that someone needs to hear.  These experiences have been super cool!!  Effective studies brings MIRACLES.

Investigators:

Ludumar: LUDUMAR IS THE BEST.  So, Hermana Pearce and her old companion found this family of four who welcomed them in and gladly heard their message.  We had a lesson with Ludumar, the Mom (who is in her late 20's) last week on the Book of Mormon and how it can help lead and guide her and her family.  We had a member present (also a miracle) and the Spirit was so strong in the lesson.  She told us that before she met Hermana Pearce and Hermana Turner, she had been praying to God to send her guidance and strength for her and her family.  Then, the missionaries showed up at her door.  She said she knew that they/we are sent from God and that the message we share truly will help her.  It was a great lesson, but we didn't feel the Spirit telling us to invite her to be baptized, which happens, and is not necessarily a bad thing.  So, we are going to have a cita (appointment) with her tomorrow and we are super excited!

Derek: Derek I still haven't met, but Hermana Pearce says that he has had a super hard life.  He's 20 years old and has gone through quite a bit.  We have a lesson with him tonight and we are going to teach him the Restoration and invite him to be baptized!  He loves reading the Book of Mormon and just recently quit smoking, Woo hoo!

Joann: I also haven't met her yet but during our intercambios on Saturday, Hermana Pearce went and visited her with Hermana Brooks and she accepted a fecha, baptismal date!!!!

We have some more, but these are those who are progressing. :)

So, their are different callings/positions of leadership in a mission. The AP's (assistants to the President) are usually two seasoned elders who help President and Hermana Smart with EVERYTHING. They are great leaders and they help train and lead us.  Under them are Zone Leaders and Sister Trainer Leaders (What I just got called to for the Caguas zone).  There are 5 zones in Puerto Rico (Mayaguez, Ponce, Caguas, Toa Baja and San Juan).  So, in every zone, there are 2 Zone Leaders and 2 Sister Trainers, Hermana Pearce and I are the Sister Trainers of the Caguas Zone.  We work with the Zone leaders to plan and set goals for our zone according to what we learn in MLC (Missionary Leadership Conference).  Every transfer the zone leaders and sister trainers will go to President's house and learn and be instructed by President, Hermana Smart and the AP's, it's like a zone conference for the leadership.  So, some of the key responsibilities of a Sister Trainer Leaders are to look over the well-being, missionary work efforts and help lead and guide the Sisters in the zone by example and by our experiences.  These are usually Sisters that have a lot of time on the mission.  We also do intercambios (exchanges) with all the Sisters in our zone, and we will get to work with them either in their or our area, depending on who we believe needs to be with who for the 24 hours we do the intercambios (exchanges).  We work with the zone leaders to make plans for our zone, and for zone conferences.  President & Hermana Smart, the AP's will all speak, and the Zone Leaders and Sister Trainers will speak and focus on the goals as a zone and what we need to do spiritually, and physically in the work and in our work ethic to accomplish these goals.  We will do intercambios (exchanges) every week, and every Sunday night, Hermana Pearce and I make calls to check in on the girls, to talk about the numbers we send in weekly, how their investigators are doing, etc.  It is such an honor to be in this calling.  I have seen so may wonderful examples of Sister Trainers in my mission that have helped shape me into the person and missionary I am today, like Hermana Gutierrez, Hermana Bird, Hermana Josie, Hermana Larsen, and many more.  I am grateful for their example and I hope that I can do all I can, in order to help others feel that same love I felt.

MY NEW HOUSE IS AMAZING. It is seriously probably the nicest house on the island, haha!!  seriously, it's beautiful!!!  I live with Hermana Brooks and Hermana Mann. :)


My Companion Hermana Pearce



QUICK THINGS:
Hermana Pearce and I have the FUNNIEST and most interesting times together. This week has been crazy. I love it.

GUAYAMA IS BEAUTIFUL.  It's called, "Zion" and now I understand why.  It has TONS of hills, and the first couple of days I was dying, haha!  We can see the ocean from where we are and we live right next to a mall and WALMART, I love walmart. it's the closest thing we have to Target. I miss Target. 

The members are SO HELPFUL and we get fed every day.  Their goal is to, "help missionaries leave a dress size bigger from when they came", yeah that terrifies me a little bit, but Hermana Pearce is training for the Air Force so we are exercising a ton, and the hills and miles we walk every day (our area is pretty big) so, I am not too worried. 

There is a song that is forever written on my heart, it is a song by the church from The Nashville Tribute (Church Country Songs, that are amazing) and its called, "Apostles" by Jason Deere.  This is exactly how I feel about missionary work. Listen to it, and let me know what you think.

It's pretty hot here. I've noticed that I have been put in the hottest pueblos on the island, haha!!  In order of heat, it goes Ponce, then Guayama, then Cabo Rojo, WOOO!!

Mom and Dad, I loved last week's spiritual thought. Dad you shared Helaman 10:4 with me, and I loooooove that verse.  They focused on this verse a couple of Zone Conferences ago and it changed my perspective on missionary work and my personal efforts, so thank you for that! 

Love you all, I thank you for your support, prayers for our island, and for your love. 

Love always,
Hermana Green


Monday, September 11, 2017

Week 55




Estoy Viva! (I’m alive!)

Okay, first off, I would like to thank everyone who has been sending prayers to my little island of Puerto Rico this last week.  It was an interesting week that I'll never forget!  I am completely 100% okay and I am grateful that no harm came to us.  I send my prayers and love out to those who lost everything in the islands really close to us and to the Hurricane survivors in Texas, as well as those who are still being affected by Hurricane Irma in Florida.  I pray that everything goes well for them.

So, on Tuesday, we were asked to be in our house by 5:00 pm, and to not come out until we were told it was safe.  President and Hermana Smart did a wonderful, amazing job at updating us, helping us stay safe and calm, and helping us to be prepared.  They are wonderful and I am so grateful for them.  We were at Mayra and Anjomil's house saying goodbye to them when we got a bunch of texts with instructions and details of what was going to happen and what we needed to do. I thought, "okay that's doable" it was like 4:00 pm, and I was like, Okay, hey Mayra can you give us a ride home?  She said yes, then not even like 5 minutes later we get a call from the Zone Leaders and they're like, yeah Sister Green you have to take all your sisters, pack the car, you're going to stay in San German for a couple days with the sisters over there.  Keep in mind we have to be in their house at 5:00 pm, and we are not by our house, and it takes about 15-20 minutes to get to San German, plus getting our stuff in the car and shutting all the lights and windows, it was probably one of the most stressful 40 minutes of my LIFE, ha-ha!!  But all went well, and after two hours of being there, getting dinner made, we were told to go back to Cabo Rojo, so we packed the car again and went home – it was a busy few hours!  After getting back to Cabo Rojo, we were in the house for 46 hours straight.  It was very interesting, ha-ha!!  We definitely felt the effects of the hurricane, but it wasn't as bad as we all expected it to be.  Not much sleeping happened, ha-ha!!  And we had to close all of our windows and doors until they told us we could open them, and so our house quickly became a tiny oven, ha-ha!!  But we did have good fun as well.  One funny thing that happened; so Hermana Post was like, "I wonder if any thing is going to happen soon,” and right as she says that, a GIANT gust of wind and rain came and we all screamed and Hermana Post starts SCREAMING and freaking out and Hermana Peter (from Papa, New Guinea) in her cute English yells at the window, "GO AWAY" ha-ha!!  Although we had no power or running water for three days, we kept ourselves entertained and we all slept out in the living room.  We were so hot, but at one point we figured out that if we just didn't move, we didn't sweat, ha-ha!!  We ate saltine crackers, tuna and peanut butter for like 4 days, ha-ha!! There were a couple times where it was pretty frightening, but nothing that a prayer couldn't solve.  Cabo Rojo was probably one of the safest cities to be in during this Hurricane.  The only real damage that happened was this giant tree fell over by a school near our house and a street sign flew off somewhere.  Now, the other side of the island, like by San Juan, where the mission office is, it got bad damage, because the eye of the Hurricane passed 50 miles from San Juan.  I honestly didn't understand the severity of how huge Hurricane Irma was until Giselle showed us a picture, and I now understand why my Mom was freaking out so much, ha-ha!!  But I loved being able to call Mom and Dad and let them know that I was okay.  I feel so incredibly blessed. We are so, so, so, lucky.  Thank you for all the prayers. One thing that stuck with me was a text Hermana Smart sent.  On Thursday, we did service all day helping anyone that was in need.  On Friday, was a regular working day, and Hermana Smart sent a text that said, "Your life was saved, now go save another.”  We are so blessed; Heavenly Father truly does answer prayers. 

Me using a Head Flashlight to see in our "DARK" house. (No Power and water for 3 days)
This was in the afternoon showing how dark it was during the day in our house.

A spiritual experience, well, there was one point during the hurricane where it was so hard to sleep because it was raining and storming so much.  I didn't feel any fear, but my anxiety was kind of like throwing my body off and so I just prayed, and prayed, and prayed, that everything would be okay, and that I would be able to sleep.  Shortly after, I was able to fall asleep. It was a tiny little miracle in the midst of so much craziness, but I loved the peace and comfort that came to me from it.

I leave Cabo Rojo today at 2:30. Then I'll drop off my stuff at Guayama in my house, and then we are going straight to Guaynabo, where the new missionaries meet their trainers.  I honestly still am in shock that I was called to be a Sister Trainer Leader, but I am so humbled and excited for this opportunity!  All the Sister Trainers and Zone Leaders, and President and Hermana Smart all meet in Guaynabo every transfer to welcome the NEW Missionaries and help drive them to their zones.  WHICH is really exciting because when Mallory comes to the island, I'll see her!!  I am so stoked for that!  So, I'll be driving around the island all day today.  ALSO, exciting thing is that Hermana Zimmerman is in my zone, and she's training!  So I get to see her tonight! :)   And Hermana Pearce has been in Guayama for a transfer.  I am stoked to be companions with her again!  She is the bomb!!



This week before leaving Cabo Rojo, we found Zoraida again!  We went to go visit her, but we thought she was ignoring us and so we tried contacting other old investigators in her complex, no luck either.  So, we decided to leave and go find someone else on the way out, while we were contacting this man, Zoraida was coming up the hill (in order to get to her complex there is a big hill that is kind of hard to climb sometimes, ha-ha!!) and she was pulling a cart full of groceries.  She almost screamed when she saw us!  After we finished talking with the man, we went and asked her if she needed help carrying her groceries up the hill, and she said yes, so we helped her.  When we got in her house she said that she had been praying for help and we showed up.  We were able to have a small lesson with her and she invited us over to her house yesterday to have some lunch and to teach her.  She cried when she found out I was leaving.  It was cute and sad at the same time.  But she is wonderful.  Hermana Post will have to let me know what ends up happening with her. 

With regards to leaving Cabo Rojo today, yesterday was a hard day.  Having to say goodbye to my family here in Cabo Rojo was reaaaaaally hard.  I have learned many things from the Lord and the people of Cabo Rojo, I have grown spiritually, witnessed miracles, shared experiences, memories, laughs, cries, smiles, and have personally changed forever, for the things that happened here in Cabo Rojo with these members.  I will forever be grateful for the privilege to have served here and these wonderful people.  I will forever, thank Heavenly Father every day for blessing me with this mission, with these people, for serving in Cabo Rojo for almost 8 months, and leaving me a changed person.  But now, off to a new adventure to Guayama.  I have no doubt that I will have similar experiences there, and will change even more.  I am excited and I know that Hermana Post is going to continue doing great things here in Cabo Rojo.
Last time Serving as a Companionship in Cabo Rojo.
Mayra and Hermana Post will always have a special place in my heart.

Thank you again family and friends, for your love and prayers. 

Love always,

Hermana Green