Monday, March 31, 2014

time change

Hey everyone! So recently the time just changed here. If I remember correct, the time changed there at the beginning of the month. So, I might have been 10 hours ahead or 8 hours ahead. I'm not sure which way the time went. Anyway, we lost a hour of sleep, and the morning was a tiring one. But, in the the morning we have usually around a 40 minutes to day anything, depending how long we take dressing, eating, showering. I slept on the coach until the time came to start doing personal study.
I love hearing about everything that is going on at home. If anything, tell me anything, because I love hearing about it. Hearing about the running competitions just makes me want to start racing, but I know I'm totally out of shape ha ha. This last week the other Elders in ..., gave us a call in the morning asking if we wanted to run with them. My companion said no :(. It made me sad, but he has also been sick, so because of him being sick I didn't complain. His first name is .... I think it's funny that your finding everyone's parents ha ha (talking to mom). I feel bad for my companion because he has been sick, gets worse with the week, 1 week he's good, then back to not feeling the best and that has been the case for the past month. We actually have turned in or went back to our apartment a hour earlier than planned one day because he just didn't feel like he had the energy and then would sleep whenever he got the chance.
Even though I haven't been gone that long, it feels like all the girls are growing up. The reason is because they are all doing things that are more independent, instead of just normal life, if that even makes sense.
Today, was actually hard to plan for, even though it is a P-day. We almost explored everything, so those activities are almost gone. Today we are going to check out a trail that goes around .... By the way, try looking up ..., that's the closest sounding in English letters I can think of, on Youtube for the "Tsarvets light show." I don't know if I explained it, but I've seen it twice, one time on top of a really big hill and one time at the base of it. It's so cool, it's basically the whole mountain lights up with different colors and a huge green lazor  goes from the building on top of ....
The other reason why it was hard to plan is because my companion and I tracked the whole area. His last companion here in ... did a lot of tracking but we redid the places for some of the buildings that he missed.  It's hard to fill the day even though we have 9 investigators now. The reason is because none of them can meet, or we lost contact with some of them because they won't answer there phone and we don't know where they live or they don't want us visiting there homes. Ugh. But the work still continues.
This past week I also got to travel to Sofia for passport work, or working on getting a residence ID card. I got to see my 2 companions in the MTC, but missed Elder ... because he showed up a little bit later in the day. We literally traveled by bus for 3 hours, did the passport work for less than an hour, then rode the bus for another 3 hours back. I love seeing the other Elders from the MTC. I gives me a hope I guess because there Bulgarian is like mine, which is not the best. I can understand sentences during lessons pretty well as long as it's not on random stuff or more on gospel topic. I would just think the mission would be so much easier without the language barrier. I can understand sentences but if I were asked to repeat, I wouldn't be able to. Memorizing Bulgarian to English is a lot easier than the other way around also. During Language study, I've been focusing more on grammar than just words because I suck at grammar.
My companion also mentioned to me that a big group of Elders is going to be leaving for home this next transfer (a little less than 4 weeks). He said because of that the leadership of the Elders is going to change dramatically because right now the leaders are part of that group. So this is most likely our last transfer together and then I or him could be leaving this town. It's a weird concept to think that we get transferred throughout the whole country. I feel like ... is really unique compared to other cities, but maybe that's because of .... Also apparently in 2019, Europe is going to I guess vote for a cultural place that represents Europe and ... is a candidate for that, also ... is to. That's what my companion said.
The area is so green right now. It's so beautiful. There's bright colors of flowers on trees that are blooming and since we're in the hills yea can see basically trees covering the whole area that are green now. It has rained a couple of times and those days aren't to bad because it's light and it's still warm out.
There are 2 investigators that are so so cool that we are meeting with right now. They actually speak English and want to practice during lessons, so the lessons are in English. Before, I felt like I couldn't even teach lessons in English, but now it's super easy even though I haven't really practiced it. Also another thing that is weird is when we stop people to talk to them on the street, the way we say it in Bulgarian sounds normal to get someones attention, but if we do a role play in English (practice with companion/other Elders when we have district meeting) it sounds really weird to do it in English. Anyway sidetracked, but the 2 investigators that I mentioned earlier are so so cool. They basically are doing everything they think is right. They are both trying to read the whole Bible through because they feel like it's something God wants them to do. I can't remember if they go to church often or not but they try to do things that typically people wouldn't really care for. I felt like I was able to connect with ... (...) because he's not a reader and I'm the same way, but still is trying to read the Bible. The other person name is .... I would do it in Bulgarian but it takes to long to try to type it ha ha. We met ... through ... through asking for a referral. He actually lived in America for 3 years. A lot of people do that where they'll live in America for a few years and then return. We are actually meeting with someone that has actually worked at Lagoon. I wouldn't have ever imagined a native Bulgarian person would be that close to home. It's crazy.
Anyway, I'm out of time but love you all. That's amazing that Coranna was able to meet with Lexie on her birthday. It's always nice to be in a nice group of friends (Kaylie) and it sounds like a party. I wish I could see you run (Allie) at the meet. I love hearing the spiritual messages Mom and I miss hanging out with you Dad. Love you all again
Love Elder Green

Monday, March 24, 2014

One more thing Velicko Turnovo Day

Also another thing that I forgot to mention in the before email was that it was ... day. Each city has it's own holiday and it was crazy. I've never seen so many people in this city before. When we went contacting, we basically followed and was surrounded by a crowd so we couldn't really stop anyone or talk to them. I saw the biggest parade of motorcycles mixed with scooters in my life. Everyone that we're driving motorcycles, big ones and tiny ones, were making the loud flooring it sound. Basically that's all I heard for 30 minutes.

They had a stage that, actually was pretty small, blasted music and was super loud. Also here in Bulgaria they mostly play American songs and the same couple over and over and over again. It gets annoying after a while.

They did fireworks but we were on the church balcony during it. It was cool but there was a building in the middle of the view so nothing special. We also had no one show up to our scripture reading class because of the celebration/busy. We actually stayed in once it became night time because, celebrations that are really big here in Bulgaria are dangerous during night because people are crazy.

I'm sure with other places New Years is the biggest celebration day. Missionaries have to stay in there apartment at 6:00 for safety reasons. It'll be interesting seeing fireworks that day when the day comes because basically there's no rules on fireworks and everyone launches them and it sounds crazy.
Anyway I love you all
Love Elder Green

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The coins or стотинки and the church. The church is basically 1 big room, yes it's not that big, with 2 other rooms that have 1 table in each and some other things. I'm curious on what the "bigger" buildings in other areas of Bulgaria are like that are Churches.

Answers, Happy Birthday, Sunday Talk

Hey everyone. Another crazy week down. Here are some answers to some questions:
-We email from a place that has about 15 computers and we have to pay around 8 Lev for my companion and I for an 1:30hours of emailing time.

-The church is renting out a place that used for the church. Once we become a branch I think we get an upgrade building for a church. It used to be someones home before it became a church I believe, which is weird to think about. 

-P-days my companion and I go basically exploring. So far we visited a lot of monuments that are amazing. Today, we're just going to explore a path that leads to the river that goes through town. It's also been really nice since its warm and all of the trees are blooming. It's nice having everything come alive instead of branches everywhere. Some flowers on trees are so beautiful.
- My companion is a really clean, actually a little more than normal I would say. The apartment is clean pretty much the whole time. The only thing that gets a clutter is the dishes but that only last for a day before taken care of. I felt bad because I don't care about making my bed so I make it look ok. When I walked into the bedroom it was made perfect because he wanted the bed to be made or it'll bug him. I don't want him to take the effort in cleaning something that I don't care to be "clean" but I guess I'll try to make it look nicer in the morning. Every P-day we spent an 1:30 hours cleaning. I think it's a little to much cleaning time because I would rather be doing something fun. The other Elders in Veliko Turnovo, don't clean there apartment at all, or at least it doesn't look like it. It's nice to be clean, but I don't care for it to be completely perfect but my companion likes that. We switch jobs each P-day. Basically a small list that we switch each P-day.

Anyway Happy Birthday Lexie. Hopefully I'm the first one to say it a day early ha ha or else it would be a week late. It's crazy how time has flown by. I've almost been gone for 4 months come to think of it. It just feels like I just got here. You'll have to explain what Divergent is because I have no Idea what it is but hopefully it's a good movie. I have to admit, I wish I could be watching the good movies that the family has been getting. It sounds fun.
Speaking of talks in Sunday. I also gave a talk yesterday at church like Kaylie. I talked about the transgression of Adam and Eve. I basically wrote it in English (really short and simple) and had some words I didn't know in Bulgarian or the translation on the bottom of the page. It went better than I thought but still it could have been a lot better and clearer but that will come when my Bulgarian gets better. Also I'm starting to say somethings during lessons and one of them I basically said what I wanted to say but it was all scrambled up so I basically made no sense. Ugh. I feel like I know a lot of words but just struggle to put them together. It's hard when the conversation is fast or normal pace. O well, it comes when it comes, just need to keep working on it.
I like the photos of the funeral. It sounds like it went great and wish that I could have made it there. It's good see be a part of it just by seeing it like that. It's good to know that we'll see here again soon after this short life. That's another reason I love this gospel because of that knowledge and that hope for the life after.
My Bulgarian is improving. There is a text book that I've been working through and I'm getting better/faster at translating simple sentences which is nice but it's still confusing.
Also another cool thing happened. For a while we have had 2 investigators. Well, one ... is in Turkey and the other ... we haven't been able to meet for the past month because she has been sick and working a ton. One night when tracking we found 2 new people right after each other. We asked for a referral and when we met with one of them they brought a friend and there both are really interested in the gospel. It's so awesome and basically the investigators we had doubled. It's nice having lessons instead of tracking or contacting the whole day.
... is doing better, he returned to ...and is currently being helped out financially with the church and he got his apartment back. He's currently working at a restaurant that doesn't pay him because there dum but hopefully they're start paying him or either he finds a new job. It's just a tricky situation and an annoying one. 

Here are some photos of бaбa мaртa displays they had around town and another cool monument in the middle of town that I pass by everyday.
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Survived my 1st Transfer

This past week I went to ... for a missionary training. It was funny because it was only for 2 hours long and my district had to travel for around 6 hours total to there and back. Those kind of meetings happen once a month and switches from training to conference each month. So, every 2 months I'll have the same kind of meeting. Anyway, when we got back, after an hour I think, I got a call from President Wilstead telling me about Grandma. That was a rough night, and the following night was rough to just because that's the only time we really have time to relax for a little bit after doing everything throughout the day. I can't believe it happened. I have to admit, if there was anything that made me want to home the most it would be that. That's not going to happen, but it's just hard because I really want to be with the family. Life is challenging, especially if you can't be there but God has a plan for us and everything will end up the way it should. My companion gave me a priesthood blessing and it helped a lot.
The funny thing about your email about the Plan of Salvation, I found out through personal study is that the Plan of Salvation is the coolest part of the gospel. I can't remember what scripture it was but it talked about how the planets are is prove that God is God. Everything that we have and the way things are part of Gods plan. It's amazing, and the best part of that plan is that it's a perfect plan, made by a perfect being. No flaws or anything, just we need to do our part on trying to accept it and act on it. Life is so complicated but yet it's so simple. It's very interesting to think about and is a great concept to know that there is a life after this and having eternal life. This life on earth is just the beginning and the start of eternity, but also living for eternity before. We truly can't comprehend how eternity truly is. It's just amazing.
This week has been busy. For the Elders in ..., no one got moved at all. Transfers are every 6 weeks by the way, but from what I've heard, President Wilstead usually keep Elders/Sisters in the same zone for a long time. That usually unless he receives revelation and believes you should be somewhere else. I do love President Wilstead. Everything he does I agree with. Sister Wilstead is from Burley, Idaho too. I think you might have already known that but just mentioning it again.
... returned back to Turkey for 1 week. We have been meeting him pretty often but now can't for a week. He said he'll call us once he gets back, and he's one of those people that actually do what he says. He's such a cool guy and I love him. 
When tracking during the night time, the town is really confusing to me. It's hard to keep track where we have been and where we haven't. My companion has a great memory but I feel like a lost puppy. Since the city is built on a hill, there is a lot of walking up and down and lots and lots of stairs. Most building or apartment buildings don't have an elevator so that just adds to the stairs we climb during the day. We also did a lot of tracking this week, with not much success :(, but the work still continues.
It's cool to see how the church is run here. Before, it's just sacrament meeting and then a talk and then combined class for an hour and that's it. We started a priesthood and a relief society for the last 15 minutes of church and also just other things that we were doing but are doing better. I feel like I'm seeing a church starting up for the first time even though it isn't. The reason for the changes because the group is trying to act more like a branch. To be a branch we need 15 active members for 3 months I believe and we're at 8 right now. I just wish it was a branch already, and hopefully I can help with that change. 

I don't know if I mentioned this already but transfers are 6 weeks total. My two companions at the MTC got different companions but stayed in the same city. I just thought it was funny because the only people that changed from my group was only my companions. Also, Elder ... (from Finland) is in my zone, so when I got to go to ... I get to see him and talk to him. It's nice talking to him and catching up. He sounds just as lost as me in the mission and the language. It makes me feel like I'm not the only one. My companion Elder ... (pronounced ... , not ... because of where his name originated from I guess) said he had full conversation in country for 3 weeks. He loves learning languages and plan on learning I think 5ish languages. He actually was writing sentences in french and Bulgarian for fun one time. Yea, I wish I could do that for English and Bulgarian. It will come everyone says, but it's coming a lot later than what I want, but every missionary (except my companion) goes through this language gap until it starts clicking I guess.
Some days are long, maybe a lot of days, but I like it here. I'm so happy to be a missionary and just want to learn how to connect with people and the language to be able to share with people this great gospel and things like the Plan of Salvation that can bring such joy and peace in those hard times in life. I know like I said earlier that God has a plan for each one of us whether we know it or not. I love you all and hope that the funeral goes good. I wish I could be there but will pray for it.
Love Elder Green

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bracelets for баба марта (grandmother march day) and Houses built on a hill

Hey everyone, since last week my companion actually told me a lot of details about the Ukraine/Russia crises that is going on. It sounds like to me that Ukraine wants to join the EU but Russia doesn't want that because Ukraine is supported by Russia. They send soldiers and had to relocate missionaries in Ukraine. My companion said he heard from a couple of Bulgarians say that its going to lead to World War 3. It sounds pretty serious, but I have no idea. It always seems like there is a crises but that's part of the last days, which is weird to think about.
For the Book of Mormons giving out, so far we have given out 3 to people that we met and had lessons with. Technically we gave out 4 but we gave one to ... in English, and then when we received one that is in Turkish we gave it to him. He can speak English but doesn't know any of the English big words. It makes lessons go slower because we have to make sure we confirm if he understands and ask him what it meant what we just said. He originally speaks Turkish and is from Turkey.
I am friends with practically the Elders in this area (4 Elders including myself), the people in the ward (7 people if I remember correct) and that's basically it. I'm feeling more confident with the language, but still can't understand anyone. Just really basic things still. When we go tracking (which we have doing a ton of lately) I've been starting to introduce my companion and I and saying we have a message about Jesus Christ, and some other things. Simple, but it's getting better everyday. I can pray decent now in Bulgarian, but still simple and not to complicated. It just makes me think how well the other Elders in my group from the MTC are doing. I don't have there emails, so I've lost contact with them.
This next Friday we have zone training so I think it's in Plovdiv again. We take basically a tour bus to go to any other city, so it's nice to relax a little bit and it takes around 3-4 hours to just get there I think. For the zone training, it's only 2 hours long if I remember correct so we are traveling a lot longer than the actual meeting itself.
I like it here in Bulgaria, it's been raining this whole week and snowing since yesterday. It's warm enough that it hasn't really stuck but it's still continuing. I like snow and rain, as long as I don't have to work in it, which as a missionary it's all that we are doing. I'm good with everything I have and everything is pretty useful. My jacket is perfect by the way.

Oh, and by the way, Happy Mothers day from Bulgaria. It was on MapT or March 6 or 7. When it's mothers day in America, that is when I'll be able to do skype and talk to you and do a video chat I think. I don't know how it works, but when the time comes we'll find out.
How the card works. The church has given me a Debit card that they put on 460 Lev or 314.81 dollars. It's an approximation for the Lev because when I use the card it exchanges it to the actual Lev and has a small exchange fee. I haven't used the money that you send at the MTC or any on my debit card. I've been using the church money and been keeping track of any money I spent for myself because I can't use the church money for personal things. For example, I bought a Bulgarian Dictionary and that is supposed to be my money that I spent. Everything is mostly spent in cash here except for the grocery store because normal stores usually don't accept any type of card, or at least the food places that we grab a bite at.
It's been really annoying with the key indicators, or the numbers. My companion and I have been working like normal but it seems like we aren't having to much success. It's just the numbers are low. It seems ok before but just dropped, I guess some weeks are going to be like that.
I wanted to say how Baptisms work. In Veliko Turnovo, we don't have anywhere to do it. So if we had a baptism it would either 1. Have to be done in the river that is in the city or 2. The church rents out the pool in a hotel and we do it there. It just makes me want to see a baptism here so bad because it's just different. Especially if it's done in the river. ... got baptized in the hotel, a few months before I got here.
My companion was sick and we stayed in for all of last Sunday (can't remember if I told you that already.) Anyway he is a lot better. Elder ... (Another Elder in the companionship here in Veliko Turnovo) has a rash, so that companionship went to Sofia to have it checked so they are doing that all day today. That doesn't sound fun to me.
... has been sick so we haven't been able to meet her for a long time. She is a progressing investigator. If we were able to meet consistently her Baptism would have been last Saturday. We also been meeting with ... She is a less active because she works at a hospital and works 24 hour shifts and Sunday is one of the days she works. She says she doesn't get paid a lot but has to do that job because she doesn't have any other choice, until she can find another. A lot of people stress about jobs and money here and it's hard. That happens everywhere but here it leads to a low morale about Bulgaria. Some people ask if we like Bulgaria. We say we do because it's a new culture and there are some really cool things here, but they say that Bulgaria is good for nothing. My companion said he has never seen such a low moral in any country. My companion has also lived in other countries so he can compare a little.
Also some differences here are 1. Time is mostly in Military time and 2. Dates are Days/Month/ Years so today is 10/3/14. It looks really funny last month when it looks like 24/2/2014. I'm still getting used to that. Just wanted to mention that. 
Here some photos of a Horse Statue that is super awesome and some art work on a side of the house

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Answers to questions and responses to Email.

Here some answers to some of the questions.
The schedule for a missionary in Bulgaria is sure busy, but that's for every missionary out there. 6:30 wake up, exercise for half hour, shower/breakfast for the next hour. 
8:00 we have personal study
9:00 companionship study 
10:00 second companionship study (for the first 12 weeks while I'm here then I wont have it)
11:00 lunch (usually, it changes if something else is planned like lessons ect.)
12:00-3:00 lessons, tracking, or street teaching (contacting)
4:00 language study
5:00 dinner 
6:00-9:00 same as 12:00-3:00
-The schedule can be very different depending on the day, and some days have English class, Scripture study class, Clean church, Church, District meeting. I think I mentioned all of the big activities. Some of the activities most missionaries wouldn't do like scripture study class and cleaning the church, but in ... the ward is 12 members that is on average including 4 missionaries. The attitude is if the missionaries weren't at the activities those activities would fall apart. Hopefully, with time, that can change with the church strengthened with more members. Also in this town we are trying to find families to join because there isn't really any families in the group for the church.
-I haven't heard anything about Ukraine. I haven't really heard any news since I have entered the MTC. Also about Russia, if anything is going on there, if I'm reading your email correct.
-Scripture reading is 1 time a week for an hour. 
-English class we just teach about 20ish words, give a spiritual message in English and in Bulgarian so they can try to understand the English saying. To be honest, there are a lot of people that speak English here. Also random people sometimes try to speak English to us because we have that English look I guess.
-Most of the time we have ... as the member present. He doesn't have a job right now and has nothing else to do, and he loves helping. He works at a restaurant but it's under construction and he has a lot of stress because he's not working. He was also an orphan too, which doesn't help. He's a really cool guy around 22ish years old. I love him so much. 
-Laundry, we have racks in the apartment that we hang our cloths to dry. My apartment is actually really lucky because it has a dishwasher also. It's also one of the best in Bulgaria from what I've heard from all of the Elders here. 
-I love the food here. There is similar and completely different. I love дюнер I think I've mentioned it before. I don't know if it's just a Bulgarian meal or if other countries have it but America doesn't have it. Similar, earlier I had lasagna and a lot of other things. 
-For the March celebration for spring, for the past week or 2 they have been selling red and white bracelets and dolls. The 1st of March ... и (and) ... gave all of the missionaries bracelets. Elders aren't supposed to wear it but can accept them and wear them for respect until we leave their presence, then we take it off. Since ... и ... know about that rule, we can't wear it when they give it to us. Anyway, once you see a stork or bird you tie the bracelet to a tree that you think will blossom soon. I've seen a few bracelets tied to trees so far. 
-The head nod is opposite. When my companion would answer he would have it switched and it threw me off because he said yes in Bulgarian which I recognized and would be nodding no which oppose each other or at least in America it would be opposing. I'm more used to it now but saying no with heading nodding up is still a really weird feeling.
That is super exciting for Richard. Reading my patriarchal blessing while on the mission has really helped me because some days are long and sometimes depressing, but other days are good too. I can't wait to hear when he gets his call and to where. It's exciting to have a group of missionaries in the family.
Know to what is happening here in .... Everyone is getting sick. It's terrible, every morning my companion, Elder ..., has been not feeling good. Each day for a week he felt worse and worse until he just slept in while I did the normal routine. After scripture study class, we turned in early calling Sister Wilstead. We have to call Sister Wilstead anytime we turn in early. Sunday came and we went to church, went back to the apartment and stayed there the whole day. It was long staying in there for the whole day. I worked on memorizing words and reading the Book of Mormon. I almost read the whole thing, I have been taking deep notes, so reading it through is taking forever. I think I could have read it through 2-3 times if I just read it through, but I understand the story so much more. I'm hoping to finish it this next week.
This week we have done a ton of tracking. We discovered a group of buildings that my companion missed when he was with his last companion here in this city. We got about 5 people that seemed decent and got return dates to meet with them again. When we went back, they weren't home and so far we haven't been able to contact them again. It's frustrating, yesterday we planned on trying to contact them again but my companion was sick so it didn't happen but hopefully this week we can contact them. We only have 2 investigators right now. We lost contact with ... (one of my companion and I investigators) she has a friend ..., that is in the ward but she lost contact with her to. So it's not that she is just ignoring the missionaries but disconnected from a lot of people. She has bad back pain, that is the "sick" that I mentioned in my last letter. I feel bad that she has that pain. It makes it really hard to meet with her. ... (Turkish Muslim guy) has been doing really well. We got a Turkish Book of Mormon for him that we are planning on giving him later today. The only problem with him is that in a couple months when school or college is done he's going back to Turkey and a part that the LDS church isn't in. He lives close to the boarder of the end furthest away from Bulgaria. My geography isn't good sorry. I'm just hoping to find more investigators because when we have lessons that don't fall through. The day goes by some much faster.
I can't believe I have been in the country for a month now. I've learned a lot but there is a lot more to be learned. My companion, is basically a genius. While back at the apartment, when he wasn't feeling good, he wrote a list of 100 words Bulgarian to English. After an hour he was able to recognize the Bulgarian word I read to him and translated it to English. I wish I could do that. If I'm lucky I can get 10 words down, and have to ask my companion the next day on the 10 words meaning again because I already forgot them. I wish I could be as smart as him. He has only been here for 5 months and Elder ... (An Elder that has been here for 10 months I believe) says he is better than he is. The words he was memorizing were words I don't even say in English that often, just bigger words. He says he loves learning languages and has experience since he lived in South Korea, America, and Germany if I remember right.
Here's a photo with the sunrise from the back balcony we have. It's part of the one of the best apartment parts.

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