Monday, August 28, 2017

Week 53

Hola Famila y Amigos,

Spiritual experiences.. So I have mentioned the Valle family from time to time, but they are a less active family who I have become very close with. This includes Hermana Valle (she is blind), her daughter Giselle, Omar, and Giselle's two kids, Jomar and Leuhani. They LOVE to feed us anytime we come over and we had a lesson with them last Tuesday and were able to teach them a cool Restauracion lesson with these cool cups Hermana Thelin made us.  It literally builds a pyramid, making The Church of Jesus Christ, and it has the 12 Apostoles, the gospel of Jesus Christ (fe, arrepentimiento, el bautismo, la recepcion el don del espiritu santo, y perserverando hasta el fin- (I just realized I wrote that all in Spanish not meaning to, haha), other commandments, priesthood and revelation, then Christ at the top! It was very cool. They really liked it. We invited them to church and invited them to start reading the Book of Mormon as a family.  After the lesson, Giselle took us home, and she always talks to us for 5 minutes after she drops us off.  I don't know how it happened, but she ended up talking to us about her conversion story, and how she took the lessons, and got a very spiritual confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true.  She testified of it and it was the COOLEST thing to see.  They also said that they were going to try and come to sacrament meeting, and that she wants to come.  It was everything we have been trying to help them with ever since I got here and it is finally unfolding.  We expressed our love and gratitude for her and her family. She paused for a second and said, "I am going to start reading the Book of Mormon again, like you guys said. You have inspired me and now whenever I start reading it, I can remember all the times you guys have came over, and taught us, and shared with us. "My heart felt very happy".  That family means so much to me and we have got such a good relationship with them. I am planning on giving Leuhani (Giselle's four year old daughter)  the CTR necklace President Ward gave me when I got set apart as a missionary.  He handed it to me and told me that when the time was right, that I needed to give it to someone.  I have been wondering when I was going to meet that person, and now, a week before transfers, I am planning on giving it to her.  We see them tomorrow so I am really excited to see their reaction, it's a surprise, and I love surprising people.  Pictures will come next week about that!


Dolores: She still hasn't come to church yet. :/   We are not sure how much of a desire there is for her to go.. but we aren't giving up!  She is keeping all her other commitments like praying, reading the Book of Mormon and any other thing we give her.  So we will see what happens this week.

Luis: our joven (teenager) friend we met last week DECIDED TO APPEAR AND COME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY.  It was NUTS!!!  I was warming up on the piano, and the Elders just say, "Hermana Green", and I turn around, and LUIS IS THERE. We hadn't been able to get a hold of him for like 5 days and we haven't been able to teach him either. So him coming to church was a miracle!!   He has to do a project where he goes to a church, and learns about it and visits it, meets the Bishop, and writes a report on it.  I don't think it's coincidence that we met him when we did.  It might be that the Lord is helping him learn about the church in this way and helping him understand the gospel through a project.  He was very attentive in church and was going to take notes, but Hermana Post and I kept peeking over and he wasn't writing any notes, he was glued on the speakers. We know he felt something, and he said he is going to come back this Sunday!  We have a lesson with him this Sunday as well.  We are excited to see where this goes. 

Rosa y Jessa: we met Rosa, an older woman and her granddaughter Jessa, a couple days ago while contacting in this small urb (apartment complex). Rosa has a daughter who is a member and we asked her, "have you ever met missionaries from our church before", and she said no.  We were able to share the Restoration with her and really focused on Eternal Families.  We were able to establish a really good relationship with them right off the bat, It was great!!  We even got a musical performance from Jessa singing a song in English, It was grand!!

This week was a bit fuerte (hard).  Our numbers were very, very, very, low and I got sick at one point, but I was just trying to push through and do my best.  Even then, we didn't have a successful week.  But, one thing I re-learned, is that, not every week in the mission will be perfect.  In fact, NO week in the mission will be perfect.  One thing that I must keep reminding myself is that I am NOT a perfect person and that no one expects me to be a perfect missionary.  I remember one time, in an interview with President Boucher, I was telling him that I didn't feel like I was balancing being a good trainer, and that I felt the need to do all these things, and he cuts me off and goes, "Sister Green. There is no such thing as a perfect missionary", and he carried on, giving me advice (love that man. Also President Smart. They are the BEST).  I started to laugh a little this week but also got a bit of comfort from a phrase that Mom and Dad constantly told me, " Honey, you are too hard on yourself, cut yourself some slack".  I thought about that a lot yesterday.  I may have trials, I may disappoint myself, but, I am not perfect, and that's okay.  I am okay with that concept, and I am continually being shaped and molded, and that's okay too!!  Because, we may not see numbers, but I know that as we strive to do our best, the Lord will fill in the rest.  After all, we are the INSTRUMENTS, and not the Director in this grand orchestra that is missionary work. I loved Dad's spiritual thought, about how there needs to be opposition in all things, and I need to remember that too. This week was full of learning moments, and I will forever be grateful for that.

I just want to say how much I love and adore Hermana Post.  She is such a great companion and her Spanish is coming along great!  She does A HILARIOUS Christopher Walken impression of the "I need more cowbell" skit.  I love her.
My Present to Hermana Post (A Spanish Hymn Book) She was a Little Excited!

So every Wednesday we have correlation, a meeting with the missionaries (the Elders and Hermana Post and I), and Obispo.  This last meeting we had was AMAZING.  We set up a game plan to work with the leaders and set callings, and visiting and home teachers for each recent convert.  It was exhilarating.  I know it doesn't sound like it but I was FIRED UP!  The work really is moving along here in good ol' Puerto Rico. 

Last Monday, we walked into Papa's Pizza to grab a pizza and we didn't know what to get yet, and this man comes up to us and says, " you guys are missionaries right?" we nodded, yes. He said, " you know, you guys are doing a great work here, and we want to buy you a pizza what do you want", my jaw dropped to the floor and I was in shock.  Hermana Post and Thelin quickly answered while I was still in shock.  I was able to get a quick picture with them before they left.  I love nice people :)

Hermana Green, Peter, Post & Thelin with the Nice People.

For my one year mark, Hermana Thelin bought all of us cute little cakes and postres from a local panaderia. She got me monkey bread and it reminded me of Aunt Kelley's monkey bread she makes :)

My One Year Mark Celebration Monkey Bread!

SHOUT OUT TO THE MSP WARD YOUNG WOMEN! They sent me the CUTEST birthday package!  Thank you girls so much! I love you! 

We had a zone activity today and it was so fun!  We had a barbecue, played capture the flag and soccer (I scored a goal, I felt really cool) and ate and shared and spent time together.  I love being part of this zone.  We just are like a little family and it is so cool to think that missionaries, all over the world, are doing the Lord's work together. What a cool concept!!!

Zone Activity with the Hermanas!

Transfers are next week...... I have been in Cabo Rojo for 7 months.  I am scared I am going to leave.  It also doesn't feel like I am going to leave.... we'll see what happens!

Family and friends, I love you all dearly.  Thank you for being in my life.

All my love,

Hermana Green

Hermana Vaszuez is A HOMIE and made us empanadillas (she makes the Best emapandillas) and brought them to church! I Love this Woman!
Jolee & Elder Henroid (Hermana Greens District Leader in Ponce) made a returned visit to Puerto Rico and took out the Hermanas and Elders for Lunch.  Thank You Jolee & Elder Henroid!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Week 52 - One Year

Hola Family & Friends,

Well this week we were able to put together a very small Family Home Evening and the only people that came were Cindy and this less active family, the Valle family.  I have known this family since I got here in Cabo Rojo and they have a very special place in my heart.  We were planning on watching a DVD that was an hour long, but we decided to watch the DVD we brought, which was 20 minutes long, about the Atoning Sacrifice Christ did for us.  It was very fuerte (strong) and was very descriptive, but at the end, it has the hope and peace that Christ rose from the dead, and fulfilled the mission He came to do.  After wards we all shared our testimonies, including their two kids, Jamar and Leoanis (9, and 4) and Giselle, their mom.  It was a very special FHE filled with an amazing Spirit and this dear family was very touched and felt the Spirit as well.  I love how the Spirit testifies of Christ, and all we have to do is follow the promptings, show up and open our mouths, the Savior and the Holy Ghost do all the rest.  It is amazing to be an instrument in the Lord's hands.


Dolores: So we went with Hermana Vasquez (one of my favorite people I have ever met) to a cita (appointment) with Dolores and we read through 3 Nephi 11.  It is just so amazing to see the progress and testimony that she already has.  Hermana Vasquez bore a wonderful testimony and we are going to see Dolores tomorrow.  She didn't come to church, so hopefully we can help her go this week.  She always talks about the peace that we bring into her home.  She has to take care of her sister who has Alzheimer's and it is really hard for them to get along at times, but she said that every time we come over, there is just peace in their home.  I love hearing how the Spirit brings peace and comfort to the people we visit, it makes me happy!!

Miriam: So we are not sure how much interest she actually has.... but we are going over to her house tomorrow to teach her the plan of Salvation!  We are excited and we are not giving up!

Luis: LUIS was such a miracle.  So Hermana Post and I decided to pray and to find a joven (teenager) who is 16 and that would want to go on a mission.  So we decided we were going to go to this one place that I haven't visited for 6 months.  So we went, and we actually got there an hour later than we planned.  The only way to get in this apartment complex is if someone has a code.  We walked up and right at that moment, we saw someone on a bike ride up, and punch a code in.  He turned around and asked, "you guys going in?" and we replied, yes and once we were in we offered him a tarjeta (pass-along card) and he stopped and asked us what we did. That led to an hour long contact with him and he just was SO open and had so many questions and asked us if he could come to church with us, yeah, I was SHOCKED.  Then he told us he was 16 and my jaw almost dropped to the floor.  He is so cool and so prepared.  We are so excited to see him again and start teaching him!  I continue to be amazed at the Lord's miracles we witness each day, it is so humbling, but awesome at the same time!!!

My lovely family and friends, I am just so, so, so, grateful for all of you.  I know I say that every week, but I pray for you all every night, and I am grateful for the role each one of you has had in my life.  This email is very special because this week I have one year in the mission.  Words can't describe the joy and blessings I have seen in this last year.  A year ago yesterday I was giving my farewell talk.  A year ago today I was set apart, and a year ago tomorrow is when I began this crazy, wonderful, journey.  A year sure does fly!!!  I think about good ol' DP (Daniel Parker) who just got back home from his mission.  What a wonderful example he has been to me and I know he served his mission well!  Go you, DP!  Those two years flew by too! 

I often think of something my sweet mother said to me during a rough point in my mission.  She said, "The Lord did not send you to Puerto Rico to fail".  Ever since that moment, those words have been etched in my heart. There are times of my mission where I did not think I could last another second, and then I would remember those words and like the Puerto Ricans say, "seguir pa'lante" (press forward).  In this last year, I have seen so many miracles.  I have seen lives change.  I have learned a language I never thought I could learn.  I have met people who have filled in holes in my heart I didn't know were there.  I have seen the power of the Atonement help someone understand that it is NEVER too late to change.  I have seen families healed.  I have walked QUITE A LOT.  I have prayed harder than I ever have in my life.  I have found a love for studying the scriptures, and I know without a doubt that the message I have the privilege of sharing is TRUE.  I know that Christ established His gospel while he was on the earth, complete with a prophet, his 12 apostles, the Priesthood authority to work these miracles, to baptize, and interpret the scriptures, and receive revelation directly from God to us.  I know that after the death of Christ and His apostles NO ONE had that authority for years and years and years, until God called a prophet to restore that same church and authority Christ himself established.  I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he truly saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in a grove of trees.  I know that only through the power and authority of God he was able to translate the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ.  I have felt my personal relationship with my Heavenly Father and The Savior grow immensely, unlike anything I have ever experienced, while reading the Book of Mormon.  Every single page testifies of Christ and that He truly is the Savior and Redeemer of the world.  I know that the Book of Mormon truly does contain the fullness of the gospel and that if ANYONE reads it with an open heart, really, truly meditating in the things they read, and pray and ask God if these things are true, they will get an answer.  I know because I asked, and I RECEIVED MY ANSWER.  I know that Heavenly Father is truly mindful of us and knows us so much more than we think.  He answers our prayers.  He has set a perfect plan that allows each and every one of us to return to him to live as families in His presence once again, for time and all eternity.  I know that having the TEMPLE IS A PRIVILEGE that allows us to have that happiness, and that even when we have family and loved ones who have passed on, it isn't too late for them either.  I know that Christ died and suffered for everything we would ever experience in this life, every pain and heartache, why?  Because of His love that He has for each one of us.  He is the Great Mediator, who will be our constant example if we just follow His invitation to, "follow and trust him".  I know that these things are true, and I will continue sharing this message that will help our world become a better place until the day I have to take this tag off, but I will not stop then, I will continue to share this message for the rest of my life and throughout eternity.  I love this gospel and I love my family and friends.  I love being a missionary and a disciple of Christ.  I love the person I have become through my trials and experiences, but mostly through the Savior's love for me.  I love what I still can become through continuing to seek His will for me, and through this His Great Plan of Happiness.

Love always,

Hermana Green

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Week 51

Hola mis queridas personas,

I just wanted to thank you all for the Birthday wishes and love! I feel so loved and grateful to know each and every single one of you!

Wow, so the biggest Spiritual experience this past week that stood out to me was, meeting a woman named Miriam.  We met her last Wednesday as we were contacting different houses.  We yelled at their house and she immediately let us inside, and let us teach her and her husband Jaime.  They are so wonderful, an older couple, but they are hilarious.  They liked what we shared and Miriam told us we could come back on Friday and share more with her, and she would feed us dinner!  Friday comes and we were at Zone Conference all day, and then we came back to our apartment and checked our phone to see if she had left us a voicemail reminding us to come by, WHICH NEVER HAPPENS, and she didn't leave us a message.  So we decided to just go to her house.   We got there and she was so happy to see us, and she fed us a BOMB dinner.  After dinner we shared the Restoration with her.  In the middle of the lesson we felt prompted to ask her how her family had been blessed by God.  She answered and was telling us all these wonderful things and then she started getting really emotional and told us how one of her children had passed away 16 years ago.  I KNEW right then that was a confirmation from the Spirit telling us what the Lord had prompted us to look for last week, remember, He prompted us to look for a couple who had lost their child!  He lead us to Miriam, and she shared that we were an answer to her prayers.  I was in such awe to see how the Lord's hand worked and really, truly, used us as instruments.  We continue to witness these mighty miracles as we put our faith and trust in the Lord, lose ourselves in the service of others, an FOLLOW the promptings of the Spirit, even when we do not understand!!

Dolores: She is GOLDEN. We went by and taught her last Saturday and she always tells us how she knows that God sent us to her and we have helped her so much already.  We asked her if she had read and prayed about the Book of Mormon and she told us that she did, and she received an answer that it was true!!!  She said that she really was wondering if it was true, so much that she couldn't sleep, so she prayed on 3 different occasions to see if it was true.  On one occasion she had a dream that a man was speaking to her, with a soft voice, telling her to, "open the blue book", so she woke up and started reading and prayed for the third time asking if it was true, and she got a confirmation and an overwhelming sense of peace that it was true!!!  I was in awe and got a confirmation once again that the Book of Mormon truly does contain the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
Zoraida: She is still reading in the Book of Mormon and we were going to teach her yesterday, but her friend was in the hospital so we are teaching her the plan of salvation soon, hopefully later this week! :)
Miriam and Jaime: Jaime has a lot of health problems, but he thinks it's hilarious when he calls me, "Hermana Verde", it makes me happy to see him smile.  We saw Miriam yesterday and she told us, that she knows we were sent to her as representatives of Christ.  We are helping her understand the purpose of the Book of Mormon a little more and we are going to see her this Wednesday!  Love, Love Love them!!!

I was so, so, so, surprised at Mayda and Waddy's surprise Birthday Party they did for me on Saturday!  Tears were shed, and we had so much cake left over we decided to share with our neighbors, they gladly accepted. :)  It's so weird because I knew it was my Birthday, but it also felt like a normal day, haha!!   Sunday, I woke up to a text from President and Hermana smart wishing me a Happy Birthday too.  I opened my Birthday box before going to church, and I LOVED IT.  THANK YOU SO MUCH!  Those handmade journals are GORGEOUS.  We had Stake Conference on Sunday, so I got to see the Missionaries in my Zone.  All the Sister Missionaries sang Happy Birthday to me,  Cindy and her friends and people we have met every Saturday helping at the swap meet gave us cake too, haha!!  Alex gave me a present (I'll attach a picture) and I got Tubba and Cam's box too. Tara also sent me a cute package!  I received tons of e-mail notes today from family and friends,  and Hermana Thelin surprised me and got the Chick-Fil-A recipes and made Chick-Fil-A chicken and sauce, and homemade lemonade, it was SOOOO GOOD!  Hermana Post, Thelin and Peter decorated the house and made it all cute. It was a great B-Day. :)  Thank you, thank you, thank you, to everyone for everything!! :)  I am just so grateful for all the people I have in my life, the fact that I was adopted into our family and enjoy the blessings of the gospel, to have made great friends before and after the mission and to have had experiences that have helped me throughout my life.  I don't need presents or worldly things to make me happy, because what truly does make me the happiest is getting to serve one another and getting to enjoy the simple things in life.  

We were able to meet Elder Zivic and his wife last Friday at Zone Conference. He is in the Area Seventy Presidency over all the Caribbean, he is so cool!  Zone Conference really inspired me to keep going the extra mile and to always strive to be a "Preach My Gospel Missionary".  I have continually seen the Lord's hand in our finding efforts and I know we can work even harder!  I have seen the Book of Mormon change lives and have felt such a strong love of it.

There really is nothing better than being a missionary, I mean that!!   Weird to think that next week I'll hit a year mark, but we won't talk about that yet, haha.  Thank you so much for everything.  I feel pretty lucky to be apart of this family.  Thank you again for all your prayers, love and support.

All my love,

Hermana Green

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Week 50

Hermana Post & Green!

BUENAS, Family and Friends,

Wow, spiritual experiences.. this week we saw SO MANY MIRACLES. But here is one that kinda sums up our week.  So, this week in our district meeting we talked about recognizing the Spirit more and how we, as missionaries, can improve on this, because a missionary without the Spirit will teach NO ONE.  It is vital that we are worthy to have the Spirit with us at all times, so this week in my studies I was wondering how Hermana Post and I could be more unified with the Spirit in our day to day lives.  We reaaaally needed to find more people to teach, so that means our finding hours have to be busy and filled with hard work and diligence.  That is some of the hardest things about spending hours contacting is that you must be diligent and remember that the Lord is preparing people, because if not, you can get discouraged easily with doors being slammed in your face, rejection, rude rejection, and hours in the hot sun.  But, Hermana Post and I were excited to go find some more people.  So one thing that we decided to do differently, was to be incredibly specific with who we want to find.  While we plan, we are praying to find those who are prepared, and you always have a goal every day for a certain amount of people you want to find that can become new investigators. That is the last part of the plan, so we have to listen closely to the Spirit to see who these people are.  In an answer to our prayer to target very specific people, Hermana Post and I felt prompted that we needed to find the following people: 1) A widow, 2) A couple who has lost a child, 3) A Newyorican (someone who's born and raised in New York, but has come to live here) woman, about 40 years old, living with one daughter, 4) A pianist for our ward, and 5) A single man who could be the other counselor in our bishopric.

Now, I know this concept might seem weird or even crazy impossible to find and accomplish. But since Thursday we have found the widow, the newyorican woman and daughter, and probably the BIGGEST miracle is what happened last night (Sunday).  We got a call from a couple in our Ward, saying that they have good friends who have family here in Cabo Rojo. They talked and they are interested in learning more about the church since they recently lost a child! So they set up the appointment for tonight at 7, to meet with US, they ARE OUR COUPLE.  I was in SHOCK,  but my dear family and friends, this is the Lord's hand confirming that who we are finding are those HE knows are prepared.  It has been incredible to see these miracles happen. With faith, prayer, diligence, patience in the Lord's timing, and following the Spirit, we will be instruments in the Lord's hands. I have learned so much this week and I am so grateful.

Zoraida: she is doing well! She couldn't come to church yesterday, but she loves reading in the Book of Mormon and hearing our lessons.  Her pastor found out she was going to church with us and he said some not very nice things about the church, and so that is really troubling her and she is looking to receive guidance on which church she needs to go to.  We are going to teach her the plan of salvation this week and set a fecha with her.
Dolores: DOLORES IS AN ANGEL SENT FROM HEAVEN. She is the nicest lady!  We met her contacting last Thursday while looking for another person. We decided to stop and say hello to her, and we shared a little bit with her in a contact, and she said we could come by the next day and teach her, (that is a miracle in itself)!!  So we had intercambios the next day and Hermana Nottingham (my good friend I was in the MTC with, she is the new Sister Trainer here in Mayaguez) went and taught her, and she accepted a fecha and PROMISED God that she would be baptized when she receives an answer, AND while asking about her family, she told us she was a WIDOW.  She believes that everything we've shared with her is true and we gave her a Book of Mormon yesterday.  She told us how yesterday she was fighting with her sister and how she prayed and asked God to send her someone to help bring her peace, and that's when we showed up, I know crazy, right!?!  She told us she knew we were sent from God.  That was cool to see, because our plans had been so changed around, that we ended up going to her house a couple hours later than we were scheduled to be there, but it happened to be at the very moment she was praying for God to send her someone.  But, the Lord was aware of her needs, and utilized us as an instrument in His Hands.  It was an amazing, and powerful experience!! 

Diana: So on our way to Dolores's house, we saw two women standing outside, so we decided we would contact them, because why not?  So we stopped and talk to them, and they invited us into their patio! (miracle), turns out Diana speaks English and it is because she is from NEW YORK and lives their with her DAUGHTER.  See how all these things are falling into place?  Her family has been visited by missionaries before and she is interested in what we have to share with her.  She has a lot of potential and is really sweet. We are excited to meet with them again.

My companion Hermana Post is SO AMAZING. She is working so, so, so hard and is so funny. She reminds me a lot of Hannah Smith and her personality is great. We have such great times and she is just this little ball of sunshine.  I am felling really good right now!  Thanks for the cute box for my birthday! I cant wait to open it on my birthday :)  It is weird to think I'm having a birthday this Sunday, but it will be swell, because I am with my lovely Cabo Rojo family :)

Lexie (Alex's Daughter) Hermana Post & Green

I am really glad you liked your birthday letter, Mom!  Sorry if it got there late and that it looks like it was decorated by a 5 year old, but I never said I was good at art. hahaha!! I hope you had a wonderful day. We were having a noche de hogar that night and Mayda gave me a big hug for you. 

One thing that I learned this week was to be patient in the Lord's timing and in the trials we have. On Thursday at our Family Home Evening we were watching a video called, "Finding Faith in Christ". It was really touching and all of my worries, doubts, and anxiety about all the things that were troubling me went away, and I got a calming, reassuring answer to my prayers.  I realized that I needed to not worry about the things I cannot control, but that all I have to do is my best everyday to be an example of Christ, and that's what I am trying to do.  I am loving my learning, and I am grateful that we have trials because it also allowed me to remember all of the blessings I have in the midst of my trials.  Even in the most hard of times, I have been comforted with the knowledge of the gospel, that I have a family who loves me, that I am supported by the people I love on both sides of the veil, that I have an eternal family, and that I am being molded and shaped into the person I can become.  Because of this, in the hardest of times, I can ALWAYS find a reason to SMILE. 

My lovely family, I love you and thank you for all you do for me!!!  


Hermana Green

Mayda is so wonderful and drives us Hermanas to get Groceries.  I just Love Her.
Got to have those Crescent Rolls!!!!

Shopping with my Hermanas!!!