Monday, May 18, 2015

This week has been pretty great... and of course really fast as always.

While my Elder ...  and I were on the street we heard a metal ding and saw a shoe horn, I think that's what there called, (for putting on your shoes) fall from a balcony. We looked up and there was a baba (grandma) which looked down and told us to wait as we lifted up the metal thing wondering where it came from. We both kind of looked at each other and waited for a minute or two and the baba (grandma) has a plastic bag with string from I'm guessing a sowing kit attached to it. She put some heavy objects so the bag wouldn't fling everywhere. After she yelled Thanks and it's just a funny little service opportunity experience ha ha. 

We met with a former investigator named ... that seems really interested in the Gospel. The only problem is the teaching record suggests that he does more talk than acting so it makes it difficult. It's one of the personalities I don't personally prefer because they are so great at being friends but it's hard for them to come closer to Christ. We're only here to invite, and we can't do more than that. 

It reminds of one of the ladies that we talked to on the street. She basically asked if we were just finding people to join our "group." We're basically doing that but it's much more. We responded that we are here just to invite people to learn for themselves about the things we know to be true. It's up to the people to accept, act, or simply just rejecting it. 

There are times were not a lot is happening with the missionary work, but when those moments come I come to know my purpose more. "To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel by...." I love the scriptures that talk about God extending His merciful hand to all of his children, even when they reject. I see this scripture being fulfilled everyday being a missionary because God extends His hand through His servants. I wouldn't change anything the way they are right now. 

We met 2 guys from a country called Yemen. Don't worry I didn't know anything about the country until now. Strangely that happens every now and then with being in the Bulgaria Sofia Mission ha ha. He met with missionaries about 2 years ago here. Only met with them once and said it was good. We understood more about his background, but were short on time. We met on a bench by the river here and it was great. I'm hoping he'll have more interest, but only time can tell. 

Tomorrow, Elder ...  and I are traveling to ... for zone training. After that one of us will stay for 3ish days on exchanges while the other companionship go back to ... That'll be fun. We recently got a new zone leader that'll I'll be serving with also. 

I love all of you,
Elder Green

Monday, May 11, 2015

I loved being able to skype yesterday. It was great talking to all of you. It's nice to know that the next time that happens it'll be face to face and not with a time limit ha ha. 

Well.... I don't know what to say exactly since the skype. 

Last week we helped President ,,, with Mutual and we're trying to (or president ,,, is trying) to teach the 16 year old member English. We all want him to serve a mission in the future and there is a great chance that he'll have an English speaking companion that doesn't know Bulgarian. That was fun to do. It's interesting because learning Bulgarian made me realize some weird concepts that common English has. An example of this is word order. Sometimes English changes it when Bulgarian keeps it the same. This is with questions.

We had basically a lesson with a man on the street about the Restoration but it wasn't officially a lesson. It's always fun having those. It's just annoying when they don't have the desire to meet another time but are willing to talk in the moment. The future missionaries will gather those more prepared people in the future. 

I guess since I don't know what else to say I'll spend some time sending photos. It's been a while since I've done that. 

I love all of you and hope everything is going great. 

PS I forgot to say but apparently scorpions live here in Bulgaria. My companion and I found 3 in our apartment this past week and caught 2 of them. I forgot to mention that in the Skype. Apparently scorpions like eating spiders also. Don't ask my how I know that... 

With love, 
Elder Green

Monday, May 4, 2015

Before I forget, I did receive my package. The zone leader's called us Tuesday or Wednesday saying that we were going on exchanges, so that worked out.

The strongest investigator we had hasn't been responding lately unfortunately. I think it's do to the end of the college or schools here in Blagoevgrad. It makes it a little tricky because after that the students go back to their villages and don't return until school is back, and or never come back. We've talked to some really cool people but the schooling is messing us up for meeting. We'll continue looking until we find someone that's ready. 

Since the beginning of the year, the zone leaders in ... have been doing exchanges by traveling (on bus) to other cities and taking someone in the companionship and take them back to .... So I got the chance to serve with Elder ... for about 3 days in .... I've done a tiny bit of missionary work in Sofia but with a companion and I not knowing Sofia to well it didn't really work out. ... is huge, it's really easy to plan for things because with city transportation it takes an hour to get to an appointment. It's a lot different than a 30 minute walk from anywhere in the city to a lesson. The thing that is funny is that there are cities in America that is the same population as Bulgaria. It makes ... feel a little bit smaller thinking that way. 

It's interesting thinking about the layout also. Instead of having a town, and then another town connected to the town everything is just empty out of city borders until you hit a village. Sometimes I get asked how big my city is in America and I honestly couldn't say because it's just surrounded by other cities so I feel like it's not the same concept. 

There is a member that is from ... (My first city) that moved to ..., so Elder ... and I actually ran into him on the street. The chances of that is so slim but it was great being able to see him again. He's just really funny with everything. 

The lessons that we had in ... were actually in English. I've rarely had lessons in English, so it was a change. Also praying in English is not preferableffor me. I feel like it's me trying to say Bulgarian prayers in the MTC. The Bulgarian word pops up in my head before the English word so there's a delay I feel like. It's weird. It's been like that since towards the beginning of being in field. 

The lessons were with ... and .... Funny the same name for both people and there personalities are completely opposite. It was well... interesting.

While traveling back, we actually had traffic due to construction. I haven't had that well... since being in Utah ha ha. I thought it was just funny. The bus is about 2 hours from ... to ... just as an extra note. 

I'm excited for this next week. So much is happening. End of transfers, skyping, and also applying a study plan for a lot of things that will hopefully make studies more meaningful along with goals. Being a missionary is so busy, but there's also so much more than can be done, just with the little things. 

I'm glad to hear from all of you and excited for this next Sunday.

With love,
Elder Green

Monday, April 27, 2015

This week just flew by.... Just like all the other ones. 

As of lately, my companion has been teasing me about how when the next transfer starts, which is 2 weeks from today which is crazy, I'll be able to count the amount of transfers I have left in country on 1 hand. Ugh... I still have plenty of time, it just feels like it's already over. 

Anyway, this week we had Gospel Discussions in English with a man that usually comes and a less active member. It was the first time I taught English here in .... We watched "Only a Stone cutter," with Bulgarian subtitles. It's so good, and the people that came to the discussions can pick out some of the English, so it was good. We also talked about Christ and what he did here on Earth using the Restoration brochure. Those brochures are so amazing. 

One of the members also went to the Hospital due to heart problems I believed. We visited him there with President .... We gave him some juice and canned peaches which he likes. He was there only for a couple days and came to church. He's doing a lot better than previously so that's great. It's hard for some people here, and it's a blessing to see how some of these people rely on the Gospel for strength. 

We also ran into a less active on the street that he actually came to us. I've never seen him before and my companion has only seen him once and really never talked to him. We ended up having a lesson with him and wow. It didn't go as I expected. We talked about faith, and that led to action and eventually commandments. At first our lesson planned I didn't really like, but as we taught, it went perfect. I wouldn't have changed everything. That member, currently goes to ... every now and then for work and he is here for only another week then he'll be gone. He received an address on where to find the church in ..., but apparently he couldn't find it when he was there. I'm guessing there's church there but I'm not completely sure. 

I big change that is happening is they're changing the areas for the mission. Turkey is part of our mission but they are putting Turkey into a different mission which the area presidency just formed. The Bulgaria Sofia Mission is only Bulgaria now. Well... actually that will occur in July. I believe when the mission president, President ... changes and President ... comes.

We also got to help President ... do mutual this week. We have a few youth here. We played "Game of Words," or scrabble in Bulgarian. It's interesting because I can actually play it, not very well, but still can participate. President ... has a dictionary which we used and actually discovered some new words. Scrabble is interesting with conjugations, and the other team won and I think it was due to them adding "eTe" at the end of big words (which is the you all form). I'm not sure if any of that made sense but it's really easy getting some big points if you do it right. 

Elder ... and I made Tikvanik. It's the first time that I attempted making it, using a recipe I got from a former investigator in .... It turned out really good. It's basically a dessert version of a classic meal they make here which is Banitsa. Tikvanik uses pumpkin (shredded) with sugar and oil.Banitsa is yogurt, cheese, eggs, oil, and pastry stuff. 

This week will pass by really fast and then we'll be able to skype so I'm excited for that. I love all of you. 

With love,
Elder Green

Monday, April 20, 2015

We just got a email from the mission talking about the mother days skype. This month is going by too fast. It still feels like the beginning of April. It's crazy. 

It was pretty fun for last week being my birthday. I had people (investigator and a member) from different. previous cities that I served call me. It just makes me miss the other cities that I served in. I wish I could be in each city at the same time. 

We ended up doing bowling last week. That's the first time I've done that in Bulgaria. Thanks to the ... University there's fun things like that here. 

This morning for exercise we did a hike with the Branch President. President ... (He's American going to the university here. I believe that I have mentioned him before). We hiked up a mountain or hill that's in the city that has a huge cross. That was a lot of fun also. 

We have been recently doing a lot of finding on the street/homes. We have some great potential investigators that I believe are going to have a high chance to meet next week. 

One of these potentials is with a man named Ivan. We actually sat down with him for a little bit and he's young and a student here. We talk to a lot of students here due to the universities here. It feels like ... (my 1st city). He was really interested in talking about languages and liked how we knew Bulgarian. He actually gave me his Skye on the street which I've never received on the street. We just need to make sure we set good expectations with him and he has great potential. 

Another tender mercy that I saw was while we were on the street it looked a little stormy. It rained a little bit but not to much. We decided to go tractingbecause we want to go where the people are and people hate being in bad weather. While he hiked up the vhold (I think building is the closest word but ugh... I forgot the word in English.) Basically a 7 story building. The rain started pouring a ton while in it and when we got out the rain stopped. The "buildings" which we tracted are more newer and actually isn't really filled with people. We think people can't afford to live in them but I don't know why. 

One of the members were sick, so we visited him. When I first got here in ..., we scrubbed his concrete walls for mold. He was planning on going to the hospital today, so hopefully things are ok with him. We gave him a blessing. He loves the missionaries and always said that God has blessed him with the missionaries here. The members here are really cool I love all of them. 

For Sunday, it was really busy but more of the line of branch work here. There were 2 students that came from the university (this is the 2nd time it has happened and Elder ... said that it really never happened the 1 transfer that he has been here) to see what we do for BogosloosheneA (Church service). The talks fell through and President ... was in ... for school, so one of the sister missionaries bore testimony along with myself since we're both relatively new. There is a family named The .... They are a family that is the core of the branch here. Brother ... conducted and talked and his 16 year old daughter ..., testified also. ...'s testimony is so strong, you can for sure feel the spirit when she speaks. It's a lot stronger than when I was 16 years old. I think she was baptized around 5 years ago, with her family. This city is so blessed to have these wonderful people as part of the church.

We do homebound (I don't know if that's the word, delivering the sacrament to a member's home), and it's the first city that I have done that. It's an older women that can't walk. We deliver it every sunday with President ... (He got home from ... come later in the day, so that was how we were able to deliver it. We need to have another man with us when visiting the opposite sex). It was really funny because they were offering all these Bulgarian meals (Just to try) and President ... didn't want to try some things due to the nature of the food. It was a lot of fun for all of us, including the member ha ha. 

We spent a lot of time doing finances for the church due to my companion being the clerk so that's fun as always. It's up and down (The Bulgarian way of saying so so, or ok)

Thanks for everything that you all do for me. I really want to send photos but I forgot my camera. 

Elder Green 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Life in general is just fast. It's weird that today, I'm no longer a teenage ha ha. I guess I can't be to dumb anymore. This whole week has been crazy....

This past week I think I figured that I've done a travel of 8 hours on the bus. I went to ... twice due to zone conference and going back because of passport work (It was my last time, I just had to pick up my lichna carta or personal card for my 2nd year here) and pick up my companion due to exchanges. He stayed in ... for a day with the zone leaders and I traveled back with Elder ... which happens to be my trainer. It was so great serving with him. 

It's interesting serving with your trainer again after being in the mission for what 13 or 14 months is it now in country. It was really different due to to me being able to understand everything that he was saying and understanding conversations. 3ish months in country with your trainer, honestly I didn't understand missionary work at all. Honestly, that was the hardest time as a missionary because of still having to adapt as a missionary. I also talked to him a lot about how the mission as a whole is going. It's really interesting, hearing the challenges and the good that's going on. 

When I first got here, Elder ... and I found a young adult named ... from tracting. When I was with Elder ..., we had a lesson with him and another friend that happened to be there and now they both have baptismal dates. It's really exciting. It was a pretty powerful lesson, and we simply taught about the Authority of God with them. There was a lot more said along the lines of the theme of the lesson. There are always times where my companion and I never have investigators but God always bless my companionship with at least 1 investigator group which is always progressing. All glory goes to God for that one because each person we found has been miraclesly found. 

The city of ... is so beutiful. On exchanges, Elder ... said that I have been really lucky to serve in the cities I have because their some of the most beutiful cities in Bulgaria. I agreed with my trainer ha ha. It's a small city so I'm pretty familiar where things are now. Going on exchanges with Elder ... really boosted my knowing the city skills since he has only served in the city on exchanges for 1 day before our exchange. 

This weekend we watched all of conference. I'll be watching the Priesthood Session next Sunday. We talked with President ..., the branch president, and he said more people would likely come next week if we showed it then. Basically , how conference works here is everyone in the branch just goes to church and we show it then. We had an Easter activity after the 1st session with lunch then watched the other half 2 hours later. Saturday we did basically the same thing. 

It's really interesting to see the themes of conference. There was a lot of stress on 1. The Family and 2. Eternal marriage. As I was going over my notes this morning from the past conferences, it made me realize how much the impact of the temple has. I already knew how important but just having the spirit testifying of it to me through my notes just makes it so much more different. I took in account other events that I've seen before conference. 

I guess for my I've never really knew how to really prepare for conference. It's interesting because while listening, I've noticed more of how the General Authorities talk. How they talk is just how the scriptures speak. When their quoting scriptures, without saying their quoting it, it's really easy to point out. I've actually realized that for part of one of the talks, they talked about scriptures that I in the past week have read due to studies. Honestly, I take that as God helping prepare for conference. Getting more familiar with the doctorine before they speak about it. It's a great experience. 

Conference has tooken up the majority of saturday and sunday. On Sunday we had to do a lot of finance stuff for the branch here since my companion is the clerk. It's a lot of work and time consuming. Some records have been a little messed up from the past, so my companion and president olmstead did a lot of organizing and getting things the way their supposed to be. It's cool to see the "behind the scenes" in more detail. I would just prefer to talk to more people.

This week should be normal. We're planning on meeting with ... tomorrow so I'm excited for that. ... and his family in ... is doing well (an investigator that's being taught while I was there), he went to conference and is progressing really well liking everything. I'm so excited for him still. I still wish I could be part of teaching his family. There so elect. 

Thanks everyone for all of the birthday wishes. Life is so fast, especially the mission. I wouldn't have it any other way. I hope being a year older will bring me more wisdom on how to help the people here in Bulgaria. Love you all. 

Elder Green

Monday, April 6, 2015

Well... 1st week in the new city of .... It's not a very big city but it feels big to me since I still don't know where everything is. Some weeks will pass by, then hopefully I'll know the city inside and out. 

The biggest thing in ... is the ... University that they have here. The branch President, President ... is actually an American, past missionary that is going to school here. His wife and baby kid are here also. He'll be going to school here for 3 years and after that I don't know what he'll do. He's really cool and pretty young to. Originally, Elder ... (My companion) was going to be the branch president but he came instead. My companion is the clerk so we have to do additional church things.

The 2nd day I was here we had an activity that President ... organized. Missionaries didn't plan it, which is a first for me. It was really nice. We played European football or soccer and basically a picnic thing on the side. I got to see the majority of the members there. The park that we played at is so beatiful. They have a rope park that include people having harnesses (this is in the air with ropes) for safty. It looks like a ton of fun but I doubt we would be able to particapate in that. I'm guessing theirs a fee for it also. Our group for the activity just walked through it to get the park we wanted to get to. 

Also in that day, Elder ... and I ran in the morning. We ran to the church (which is about a 30 minute walk from our apartment) to drop off cloths for the activity then ran back. The interview was the same time as the activity, so we did that at the church, then after changed and then ran to the park place to catch up with everyone. After playing football, which is way fun, we ran back to the church grabbed a palachinki (it's kind of like a crepe) and we didn't have any more time for the diner hour. We were rushing throughout this whole thing. 

The next day we both woke up being really sore. Luckily, I've ran in the past so I wasn't still sore but still sore, while Elder ... was really feeling the pain of being sore. We're still recovering but we're guessing we've ran for probably a total of 1 hour throughout the whole day and probably guessing around 7ish miles.

Elder ... and I also got basically an interview from students from the university here. Since it's an ... University, everything taught there is in English. They recorded our discussions and basically asked questions about being a missionary, and also about what we believe in. It was the first time my companion had that so it probably won't happen to often. Who knows. They were doing it for a school project and they want to attend church to see which "rituals" (using the students words) we do or the sacrament. 

There is a man here that has been to church several times but isn't a member. The reason he stoped coming is due to the church location being moved. I think the church moved within the past year. He fed us and had a great conversation with him. Basically he boiled milk and that was the beverage (it was really good) and basically small potatoes from the oven. My companion and I looked at each other when he put it on one plate in the middle of the table and asked each other "How are we supposed to eat this?" The man then picked one up and peeled the skin off, pinched some salt from a napkin on the table, poured it on and ate it. So everyone in the room ate 3-4 small potatoes doing that. It's just funny thinking it happened that way.

We recently found 2 new investigators, some students which seem pretty cool. I remember ... (my first city) and it has a lot of universities there and we found a lot of people but once school got out a lot of investigators kind of "disapeared." I hope it's not the same here. 

There are a couple of families that make up the branch here. There was 20 people last sunday for church and I think it's probably around that weekly. We talked a lot about conference this next week (Since we're waiting for the translations) and also doing another activity with painting eggs inbetween sessions. I don't know if I mentioned last year for Easter, but here after all the eggs are dyed and dried, you try to use your egg and crack the other persons egg and if yours is the last one not cracked then your the winner. It's fun. I wish we did that part in America. 

This last week was really busy with everything. Tomorrow I'll be heading to ... for Zone Conference. Hopefully I can do the last part of my passport work while there. If not, I'll have to return a few days after. 

I'm really excited to be working in this town. We are currently doing a lot of finding right now, we have some investigators but it's hard to meet with them. 

Thanks for all the support from all of you. 

Elder Green