Monday, April 17, 2017

"It kind of feels like I’m in Carpinteria…"


This week was awesome. I love it here in Veracruz. We work a lot in a neighborhood called Koskuna, which is pure Kunas, and another little invasion called La Victoria. So many friends from Tikantiki there. There’s also a ton of families from Carti, so I know my next Carti baptism is not far off.

It kind of feels like I’m in Carpinteria…just dirtier and with unpaved streets. We have a legit chapel. It’s super tiny but we only had 60 in attendance yesterday, so we all fit. The Branch President here is the guy who’s over Seminary for all of Panama, and he doesn’t even live here. But the counselors are awesome and are super willing to help.

Also, the Venezuelan's, Jusmery and Anbar, that I baptized in Arraijan live here! And we’re teaching her mom who’s visiting from Venezuela, and going back pretty soon, and she’s going to be baptized in the next few weeks.

Today for P-day we went with some friends from the branch to the top of a mountain nearby. It’s called Cerro Cabra and it took like two hours of bushwhacking to get there but you can see all of Arraijan and the city from there.

I didn’t know it was Easter yesterday either. I thought it was the next week and the Easter talks didn’t even make me realize.

Yesterday at church one of the jovenes opened his mission call. Only he requested it be sent in English, for some reason, but he doesn’t speak English. He tried reading it and failed so he just read the first country he saw which was Guatemala. Everyone was cheering and I went up to see it, and he had read the MTC he was going to. He actually got called to El Salvador…hahaha. So, we had to refilm it with me translating.

Almost forgot! We also had a baptism on Saturday for a guy named Rufino who’s 21. He’s been going to church for like 3 months and hadn’t been baptized, so the first time I went to meet him I asked him why he hadn’t been baptized yet and he just asked if we could do it on Saturday- haha. That went super well and lots of people showed up. I love it when baptisms aren’t the most stressful experiences ever.

Other than all that, there’s a house that makes Kuna bread here and people are inviting us over all the time to eat Dule Masi, the delicious unripe banana and coconut soup the Kunas eat. I nearly shed a tear every time.

For my spiritual thought, I will share one I’ve shared before about how important it is to love the people we teach and serve. I’ve already seen in one week here that one lesson where you really show the people you love them can get them to go to church.

Love you all!
Hastanoon diapeday
I’m learning Embera too!

Elder Green

Monday, April 10, 2017

"An dudamar sate Bab dummad anmar mandarsasokali biali anmar doggus gwenadgan pentakoe."


Yes, I have cambios (changes) and I'm already in my new area. Only took a couple of hours to get here. This place has been on my list of places I've wanted to go since the beginning of my mission. It's called Veracruz and it's just on the other side of the canal from the city. I'm at the beach again and there are mountains and Kunas everywhere. Literally so stoked to be here.

My comps name is Elder Guillen of Honduras, whom I replaced in Mañanitas. He's like 26 and super solid.

And the house here is wick. Kinda small but super nice. We spent most of today pasearing (?) with a family from Carti and I've already lost our phone somewhere. Pray that we find it or this will be the fourth one I have lost or broken.

This last week in Mañanitas was juicy. We put a lot of baptismal dates for people that'll be baptized this next change no doubt. One of which was a referral we got from the Mexico City Temple Visitors Center. They called us and told us of a lady they had talked to on the church website and we set up a cita with her to teach her in a park by her house. She was super stoked about everything we taught about the restauracion and tithing and what not.

On Sunday, we had it set up to have bucco people in church. We did divisions with some jovenes in the morning to go pick people up from their houses to go to church. But dogs and drunk people ruined everything the night before and we only got 3 people to come. But later a family that's been inactive for like 3 years, who we visited once, llegared to church. We were super surprised and now we have two more baptisms from that family.

The people of the invasion are still set up along the river but they're doing better than before. We kept visiting there and found some members from years ago that we didn't know about.

Anyways I don't have much else to say. Elder Bámaca is with one of my buddies Elder Hamblin now.

Spiritual thought! The Señor knows exactly where we should be. I'm not in San Blas, but I'm in a little branch full of Kunas nonetheless.

 I took a taxi to the city this morning with an Elder who spent 18 months as a missionary in Guatemala and was reassigned to Panama. An dudamar sate Bab dummad anmar mandarsasokali biali anmar doggus gwenadgan pentakoe. ( I have no doubt that Padre Celestial will send us where there are lots of families to bless.)

And yes I am still District Leader. I have to take a little bus to the city every week for meetings.

Love you all!

Elder Green

Monday, April 3, 2017

"I'm pretty sure this is my last week in Mañanitas."


This week was super slow but this weekend was super good.

To answer your questions, yes its always green here but a few days after it rains it like doubles in greenness. And its started to rain these past few days and all the plants have grown like a foot.

And conference was super good. Had to watch half of the first session on a tablet with the the microphone next to the speaker but after that it was good. I don't remember who was my favorite speaker but I definitely liked Presidente Monson's from the priesthood session. It was short and direct on how we need to be nice people. And Elder Oaks' talk on Sunday about how Padre Celestial and Jesus and the Espiritu Santo are three different beings. I wish people here would understand that.

For the morning session on Sunday we brought one of the families from Carti in our area to watch and they enjoyed it. And saw some other friends from Carti! They can usually watch conference on the island but the school is en panga right now and they haven't finished building the school so some of the people have come in to Panama to live with their other family members to go to school for now.

I did, however, get super sick during the second session yesterday. Don't know why but I felt like death and woke up today feeling worse. But like I've said before, you just have to pretend you're not sick and it goes away faster. And we accidentally planned lots of lessons for today so we haven't had much of a P-day yet.

 Also yesterday we looked out at one of the hills in the Invasion, the little pueblo where people make all the houses of scraps and wood and what not, and it looked like all the houses had fallen over. And we thought it was because of the rain so today we went there to see if we could help but the little log bridge across the river was destroyed and there was a fence put up around the place. And all the people that lived there were set up along the side of the river under shelters of whatever wood they could grab. So we went looking for some of our friends there and they said that like 3 days ago like hundreds of police showed up without notice with tractors and guns and started destroying everything. I guess they were all living there illegally but they've been there like a year and had water and power lines running through there. Anyways, they made them all leave and didn't let them take any of their stuff so now they're all squatting on the other side of the river with nowhere to go. Super sad and we have no idea how to help, but the people were all super thankful that we came to visit. We will figure something out.

I'm pretty sure this is my last week in Mañanitas and I'm kinda ready to go, but twill be a bummer indeed. Still praying to go back out to my juicy Kuna Yala home.

Love y'all!

Elder Green

Monday, March 27, 2017

Revelation 14:2


Had a juicy week.

On Tuesday, we had a conference with President in the city in which I learned many things and got excited for many more. On the way there I was looking out the window and all of a sudden I didn't recognize anything and realized we took the wrong bus. But we stayed on a while longer until I did recognize something and we got off and walked a couple miles to Panama Viejo  and took a bus through there which was a hoot. Haven't been there in over a year, but nothing has changed. Same old men sitting out front of their houses like they haven't moved. Two of the original Panama Viejo Carti squad took the same bus as us, and I was happy happy.

What I got most out of the conference was the part I play individually in reaching this year's goal for baptisms in the mission, which is 1017. It's easy to think that even if we don't have baptisms somebody else will have more to fill in for us. But if we got to the end of the year and we missed the goal by 2 it could have been because we didn't work harder in our area. So we've started working really hard on finding new investigators.

That night we were just getting to a family home evening when the power in almost all of Panama went out. Twas fun because it was pitch dark everywhere and we could almost not even see where we were going. So we bought a bunch of matches and went around visiting people we thought would need them and totally saved like two families.

On Thursday, two missionaries from the ward, who were serving in Guatemala, got home as well. Super solid guys and one of them just got called as our new ward mission leader. We had an activity on Friday for them and brought our investigator friends Heidi and Rosaline, who were super stoked to help with everything. They don't want to get baptized but they're always asking about the activities... haha.

We also had interviews with President this week in which he gave me a special assignment. He said that some missionaries in the zone asked what they do when they find Kunas that really want to listen but don't speak Spanish. So he said that when that happens they can call me and I can go with them to teach them. My Dule has been dwindling however! Super sketched on losing it so I talk to myself in Dule all the time. Still remember all the names of fish, however.

And turns out I have 4 changes left after this one! The math does not add up but President says so. Keep praying for me to go back out to Blas! It is the only desire of my heart.

Love you all!

The pics I sent were of all my shoes, my zone leader Elder Herrerra of Honduras, and the bounteous mango trees behind Roldan's house where we always have our lessons.



Elder Green

Monday, March 20, 2017

" he didn't have an excuse."


This week was alright. I don't have a lot to say, but I've got a few stories...

On Friday, we had planned to have an activity for the whole ward where people could bring their friends who weren't members and it would be fun. But we didn't really plan it, we just had the idea and they announced it. But it was gonna be cool and we went on splits with some kids in the ward the day of to go around Mañanitas and invite everyone. Literally went to every house of people we knew, then went and bought food. Not a ton of people showed up but it was still fun. We ended up just playing volleyball for like 2 hours. And some investigators that we met this last week, that live right by the church, came. First just two of the girls who we taught once, but then they went back and brought their sister and their mom whose birthday was that day. I felt bad that she had a boring birthday so I invited us over the next day and we brought a birthday cake and had a party with them and now were best friends...haha.

Saturday night, we went to visit Roldan one last time before his baptism on Sunday. And he said he could make it to the baptism but he couldn't come to church because he had to get his hair cut and iron his clothes. So we went to his house at 7 in the morning, before church, to cut his hair and iron his he didn't have an excuse. That was only the third time I've cut someone else's hair and he didn't care how it looked, so it was easy.

And the baptisms went really well. Lots of people stayed after church for it. Elder Bàmaca baptized him and I helped lift him out of the water because he is a gordo. That's why were both dressed in white in the picture.

Not a lot else happened this week. Sounds like you had fun in Elk. I am not really looking forward to coming home in a few months.

Anyways love you!

Elder Green

Monday, March 13, 2017

"The elder that baptized me was named Elder Green."

The trees are loaded with mangos.


This week was pretty full and exciting. All the niños are back in school so the streets are loaded with little children walking to school all the time.

On Wednesday, this week, we had a mission conference with Elder Gay of the Setenta. Also got to see some buds like Elder Ricks and Hancock, and a bunch of people I've never seen before. Didn't realize I had so much time in the mission. But it was a super good conference in which I learned many things. He mostly focused on how missionary work is revelatory work, because if we don't do it with the Spirit we aren't really doing anything.

The next day we started at 10 and asked to have the Spirit guide us to some new houses and decided to go to a place called 3 de Mayo, which has a lot of little dead end streets. We made a goal to contact at least one house on every one. Found some solid people, then an inactive member, then an old guy form Cocle whose daughter is also an inactive member, then at the end of one of the longer streets we walked up to a house with the entire family outside and I said "Hola soy Elder Green". And this lady's eyes got super wide and she said, "The elder that baptized me was named Elder Green". Yet another 2 inactive members. It was a mother and her daughter who both have a mountain of unbaptized children and haven't been to church in 11 years. It was funny to talk to them because they remember all the members and hymns and what not, but said they left they church like a year after getting baptized because they didn't understand baptisms for the dead. But we explained it and now they want to go back to church. The mother said "1 year in the church and I stopped gambling, and smoking, and being an alcoholic, and lots of other things, and 11 years out of the church and I've accomplished nothing". And I kinda doubt the elder that baptized them was actually named Elder Green because nobody can say my name...but it was probably something close.

We've also started to go out on visits with some of the youngsters in the ward which has been super fun. Our new incentive is that we buy smoothies for those who go out with us, and we're gonna make a board of pictures of everyone that goes.

Enjoying our smoothies while we tract.

About my hammocks...nearly every night I enter one, and wake up in the other, or in my bed. Or start in my bed and wake up in my hammock. Always freaks me out. I don't know how it happens.

Spiritual thought this week comes from the Parabóla of the Sower. There are those that hear the word and share it 100 fold, 60 fold and 30 fold. There are those who hear it but get offended or don't understand something and leave. And there are those who believe but the cares of the world get in the way. But there are also those who believe in the word and stay in the church but don't do anything. Everyone needs to help in some way.

Love you!

Elder Green

Monday, March 6, 2017

"...Padre Celestial always pays us back with something better."


First week of the new change was alright.

I don't have many highlights but we did have a few miracles this week.

On Tuesday, we were leaving from a zone meeting to this really busy bus station, called 24 de Diciembre, and I saw a Kuna fam I recognized from Tikantiki, so I ran up to talk to them. They don't speak any Spanish but they said they had moved to Tocumen like 2 months ago and didn't know where the church was so they hadn't been since. I got their number and address to give to the Elders there to visit them.

And today we went to buy groceries at a store we usually don't go to. As we were checking out, the lady at the cajero asked us where the church was here. She said she's a member from Bocas del Toro and hadn't been in a couple years because she didn't know where it was either.

There's a scripture in Doctrina and Convenios, somewhere, that says that there are people kept from the truth only because they know not where to find it. And that doesn't only apply to people who aren't members of the church but also those who are members and move from one side of the country to the other and don't know where the chapel is.

We also got a reference from a family in the stake for their mother who lives in our area, so we went to visit her the other night with our ward mission leader. She was super stoked that we came by and invited us in. She said that she's a Mormona seca, or a "dry Mormon," because she loves the church and everything but has never been baptized. Nor does she want to be because she's Catholica. But she knows basically everything about the church and invited us over for lunch today and to have a family home evening this week where she's going to invite her neighbors, so we can baptize them...haha!

Other than that we finally got our investigator Roldan to church yesterday. He's the guy who called us over to talk to him when we passed in front of his house a couple weeks ago. He lives right by the Bishop and they already knew each other so we visited with him and Bishop offered to pick him up for church, which he really liked. When the Bishop dropped him off he found out he's had a super hard time because he lives alone and is kinda sick and can't work a lot and basically has no food in his house. So in the evening, us and some of the young men drove around to all the houses of members to collect food for the "Bishops storehouse?" I think that's what it's called. We got a lot of rice and coconuts and what not and we all went to bring it to him. He was super surprised and super thankful and almost couldn't talk. And we didn't put the baptismal date yet but were gonna baptize him on Sunday.

Spiritual thought this week is that we should always look for opportunities to help people whether they're big or small, for members or nonmembers. And not to worry about spending our time or money in doing so, because Padre Celestial always pays us back with something better.

Make sure when you go up to Washington that you section off my acre of the land that's left.
And tell everyone I love them!

Elder Green