Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hot and Humid

Buenas tardes!

Hey everyone! Wow. What a great letter. It's been a wonderful week, and I'm looking forward to sharing a little bit about it. So let's get into it...

This past week has been very, very hot. A couple days back we heard it hit 40 degrees Celcius - 104! And yesterday was mid-90s. When it's that hot and extremely humid as well... man, it's almost unbearable. Definitely something to remember, though. One of those experiences that isn't fun at the time, but makes for a good story or memory (like getting into a barfight in Ireland or being taken captive in the Amazon... haha. Remember that, Dad?). It's especially tough around 3 pm, because it seems like that's the hottest point of the day and that's right about when we finish eating and head back out to work. Oh, and at night - sheesh! I take a cold shower right before going to bed, and sleep with a fan directly on me, and often wake up in the middle of the night unable to sleep until I shower again. But I'm learning to cope. The work goes on!

Speaking of the work, a few cool experiences this week. We were contacting on Wednesday, knocking doors and everything, and a girl named Dalia came out and accepted the invitation to hear a message. We shared with her the message of the Restoration. As we taught, I felt a powerful spirit come over us, and I felt my words being guided by the Spirit as to how I needed to explain the different principles. It happened the same with my companion. Afterward, I asked if she had any questions about what we had shared or anything that had come to mind, and she told me no, that we had explained everything perfectly. The way she said it reminded me of a part in my Patriarchal Blessing where it talks about how I will be able to explain the Gospel in clarity and detail. It was a really neat experience for the three of us to have. We have another appointment with her tomorrow. I'm praying that everything will go well and that we can continue to teach her the things she needs to know and the things she's searching for. But whatever happens, that lesson was something special.

Also, we've been teaching a girl named Karla (don't know if I've mentioned her); we invited her to baptism this past Wednesday and she accepted. The baptismal date is May 15th. We're praying everything goes according to plan (and the Lord's will) and that she can be baptized on that date.

Another neat thing that happened this week was a blessing we gave to a woman on Saturday. We knocked on her door and she was interested in listening to us, but in a very hoarse voice told us that she was sick. She truly did look worn out and really tired. My companion asked her if she would like a blessing, and she said yes, and opened the door for us. That was a show of faith, and it brought the Spirit into her house. Her son was there. He has Down's Syndrome and was lying in a hammock splashing water on his face because they don't have a fan. She sat down and just looked completely exhausted. We explained a little bit about the Priesthood and about how a blessing requires faith, and then I anointed her and Elder Luna sealed the anointing and gave her the blessing. His blessing was very much guided by the Spirit; he mentioned things and promised blessings that I know the Lord intended specifically for her in that moment.  We plan to visit her either today or tomorrow to see how things are going. The funny thing is, neither of us remember her name at all, even though we both said it several times, including in the blessing. Kind of strange. But it too was a sweet experience and another show of God's love for His children.

A few other odds and ends. Our zone conference is going to be next week - either Tuesday or Wednesday - so I'll probably receive some letters and packages then (hopefully haha). This transfer is going to be one week shorter than normal because Elder Gonzalez of the Presidency of the Seventy is visiting the mission in two weeks, and that kind of changes things up. A week from this Saturday I'll find out if I'm going to be staying here in Villahermosa or heading somewhere else. It's pretty exciting; I'm looking forward to the conference.

And now for the good part! :)

Gabbie: Hey Gabs! How are you? One thing from last week I was going to ask you about is your iguana toy. Mom mentioned it in her email. It sounds pretty cool - when did you get it? What's it look like? There are dozens of iguanas all over the place here; I see them every day. Something you might be interested in - the green ones are females, and they're usually smaller and more timid. The orange or purple-ish ones are the males, and they're a little more aggressive. There are also black and red ones, and they're a different species and very dangerous. My companion says that normally iguanas don't attack even if you grab them, but if they do bite you, you're in some pretty big trouble. So we'll see what happens... haha just kidding.
A billion times a trillion times the number of square mm in the universe? Sheesh. That's a pretty big number. Haha. But I love you a lot too, Gabs. You're my third favorite little sister in the whole world (haha ;) just kidding!). Keep being such a fun kid and learning new things and have a wonderful week! I love you very much! Talk to you next week! :)

Miranda:  How is everything going? I read your talk again and really like it a lot. I'm sure you gave it pretty well. I hope everything's going well and that you've had a good day today. Elder Jackson said something yesterday - it's a quote from a song (Story of the Girl)," which I'm sure you've heard - by the way, ask Josh about that song and if he remembers Mike's version of it in fifth grade) - and it says, "Don't let the sun set on today before it rises on tomorrow." I like the message there - every single day is important, and we need to remember to live in the present. I started thinking at the end of high school that once it ended, the good times would be over and that everything would change. Dad told me it was otherwise, and he was right. College was a blast, even more fun than high school, and my mission is incredible. I'm also extremely excited for when I come home and head back to college with all my friends (and you too!) and I know that will be even more fun that what I've already experienced. So living in today also means doing what's right and making the small decisions that lead to big blessings, and being strong and steadfast and everything else. Basically, it means do your best today and have fun doing it! Make the most of every day, because time is a very precious thing. And thus concludes the sermon for today. (I think it was a big hit. Haha.) Seriously, though, you're in a fun time of life and you should enjoy it and make the most of every part of life. Well, Miranda, I hope you're having a wonderful week and that things are still going well. Remember that I love you very much and I am praying for you. Thanks for being such a great sister. Love you! :)

Mom: Hey Mom! :) Thanks for your letter. It was interesting to hear how everyone's week has been. First I wanted to answer some of your questions from last week. You asked about the food we eat every day. Well, today was a little out of the ordinary (KFC). Traditional food is chicken, rice, beans, tortillas, and limes - pretty much standard Mexican food. Here we eat fish every so often - the most common type is called mojarra, it's like a trout or something but I'm not sure what it is in English - tastes good though. :) There's also shrimp and other types of fish around here. There are some huge ones in the river that we see people catching - about the size of Gabbie's head! Haha. But really, they're about the size of Gabbie, and look pretty tasty. So those are the basics that we ate in Tuxtla as well. Here we've eaten spaghetti quite a bit as well, and different kinds of fried meats. Tacos are also really common. We eat enchiladas a lot too, and here in Villahermosa I've eaten a lot of mole (pronounced mo-lay). It's a brown sauce used with chicken or enchiladas or things like that. I really don't know what it's made of, though; maybe you could look it up online. Also, we drink pozol pretty often. It's basically water with cornmeal and sometimes cocoa or milk and sugar. You have to continually swirl your cup while drinking or the corn settles to the bottom. We drank it in Chiapas too, but it's a traditional drink of Tabasco and much more common here. It took some getting used to, but now I really like it.
You also asked about how many areas there are in the mission. Well, there are about 180 missionaries in the mission, so that would be 90 areas. Every three or four areas are grouped together in a district, each of which has a district leader (one of the missionaries). We have a class every week and give our weekly numbers to the district leader, etc. The districts are then grouped together into zones, and there are two zone leaders for every zone. Villahermosa is the biggest zone - we have 16 companionships.
As for what I want for my birthday - hmmm. Good question. :)  Actually, a couple things have come to mind but I keep forgetting to write them down. (One was Honey Bunches of Oats - the normal kind. Haha.) I'll give it some serious thinking and let you know. It's still a little ways off...

Now for your letter this week. Yes, it's tough to lose investigators, but we just have to move on and keep working and have faith that one day they'll be ready to learn more. I know the prayers from home help very much. Something Grandpa Bown said in a letter really stuck out to me - he said that if you think about all the people praying for me (family, friends, and all the Saints worldwide), it's really quite remarkable, and that there's no way I can fail with that much help from everyone. I've definitely felt that help and I'm very thankful for your prayers - both from you and from everyone else. They really do mean a lot.

Cool to hear about Casey going to Spain. Wish him luck for me! Also cool to hear that everyone had a good week, and that your parents and Dad's parents are all doing well. Lisa wrote me today - tell her thanks and that I always appreciate hearing from her. I think that about covers it for this week. Thanks, as always, for your letter and for all your support, Mom. I hope you have a wonderful week and that things go very smoothly. I love you very, very much. Adios! :)

Dad: Wow. First off, just - wow. The news about the Storymakers Conference was awesome. I was extremely excited to read about what happened and that you won - not just once, but twice. Man, that's so cool. I feel proud and excited for you (With my help, you became the best! Hah.) Also cool that they liked your voice and storytelling style in addition to the ideas and actual events. Funny to hear about you and Reagan playing with the dogs, and going bowling. You can have your fancy 300 scores, but nothing better than a good, solid 80. :) Sounds like it was a lot of fun. I can picture him running after the ball too.
Interesting what you said about "What would Jesus do?" - and about following the Spirit. I've had a couple like that recently. Promptings like, talk to that person, or go down that street - but also, don't look over to the left, or don't take that taxi. Interesting, because I haven't really seen the outcome of following those promptings (other than that I'm still alive and healthy, of course), but I know that I was protected from something. Like you said, a lot of times I'm curious about what it is - but then I've thought, hey, I just received a prompting and now I'm going to fly right in the face of it? It's kind of a neat experience, though, to receive those little whisperings.
Your last couple paragraphs in the email were awesome. Very cool, Dad, that hearing about my mission is important for you. Makes me want to work that much harder! :) I like the saying "keep on keepin' on" - kind of the motto of missionary work most days. But the work is fun and I still love it. I'm learning a lot and having a blast. Thanks for all the love and support. Remember that I love you very much, and that it's due to your influence - and that of the rest of the family - that I'm here and having the experiencies of a lifetime. Thank you for everything. Love you! :)

Thanks, everyone, for all you've done for me. Until next week! Have a good one!
Con amor,
Elder Greer

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hey Everyone!

Hey everyone!

Well, it's been a great day and week, and thinks are, as always, only looking up. I'm a little pressed for time right now, so this might end up being shorter than usual; sorry about that. But, as always, the work calls...

This week was a good one. Elder Luna and I really got into the rhythm of working together. He's a good missionary. Very solid and dependable. He's showing me how to teach shorter lessons (every so often I wax eloquent while teaching, and sometimes that's good, but other times it's just better to bring the Spirit, teach the doctrine, and get out... so it's been cool to learn from his example of "short and sweet and to the point") and how to get a lot done. We still don't have any investigators with baptismal dates right now, but it's not for lack of trying, and we're teaching several people who we plan to invite this week, so things are going pretty good. We're also working on following the Spirit in every moment - a challenge Elder Jackson, the zone leader, gave us. It's turned out really cool. It means a lot of turning around when we're walking in the streets to go back and talk to a certain person, but when I come home at night I feel really content with the day's work and pleased with my efforts. The four of us in our house work hard all day - and have fun doing so - and then at night we relax and talk and have a good time. It's been a very good week and this week will only be better as we start to see more fruits for our labors and as we push ourselves even more.

On Tuesday we headed out to a little village that belongs to our ward called Dos Montes. We'd never been there before, but had some addresses of members and inactives and wanted to pay a visit. So we hop on a bus and the fare-collector lets us on for free because his son's a member (cool). Twenty-five minutes or so pass, and we realized we'd gone a little too far. So we disembark and talked to a man at a little roadside stand. He said it wasn't far. Turns out it was - seven kilometers, or almost five miles. We were pooped by the time we finally got there. The sun was hot and I was tired, but kind of cool to be out on our own and see the landscape a little more. Dad, I think it was you that asked last week if for my next area I'd like to stay in a city or go out into the villages and jungles and no-man's-land - I think I would rather the latter; it would be really interesting to have that kind of experience and be able to compare and contrast. But, then again, I do like the cities, and I still get to see the wildlife and everything, so either way would really be fine with me. Oh, and to close out the story - we arrive in Dos Montes, wander around for a bit, find a less active, go to her house (she was working) and talk to her and her family for a while, have an enjoyable and productive time, and then she paid the taxi fare back to Villahermosa. All in all, a pretty nice day.

As for investigators - still no luck with Hipólito, but we're not giving up; ditto with Rojer. That was some good advice you gave, Dad, about when receiving a new companion (or being one) in the area - it's important to not lose contact with the investigators and recent converts. So far it's gone pretty well, other than not being able to get in touch with those two, but it did take a bit more effort on my part, so that was good advice for me. I think I mentioned Yazmín last week - well, we taught her again and she seemed to be progressing well, but then when we showed up for the next appointment and politely told us that she wasn't interested anymore and was content with her own church. It reminded me of the story Jesse Manscill told about tears streaming down his face when something similar happened - I didn't cry or anything, but it was a pretty strong blow and I felt pretty bad for the next little while, just knowing the blessings and happiness she's missing out on. The reaction served to rededicate my efforts into being the best I can be so that people feel the Spirit and keep pursuing. I can't change people's agency, but I can remove all obstacles on my part to them feeling the Spirit and becoming converted. As I mentioned earlier, following the Spirit is something I've been focusing on, and it's really helped. We have a couple other investigators we're teaching right now and for them it's going well - we're hoping to have three or four baptismal dates set by the end of this week. We'll see what happens. :)

One last thing - I read the talks you sent, Dad, and absolutely loved them. I learned so much from them. I loved Elder Holland's talk and it motivated me to be even better and more pure and virtuous in my thoughts.  I've learned so much about faith, repentance, obedience, patience, charity, and love. I've also been very humbled by my trials and seen the power of the Lord in helping me overcome them. Basically, the mission is a very cool thing. :)

Gabs!: Man, it sounds like you've had an awesome week! The ducks sound pretty cool. I see ducks almost every single day (sometimes I see them in people's houses or in the streets) and they're very cute. That reminds me - I saw a duck fighting a cat once. It was really funny. I think the duck would have won, but the cat ran away. Not something you see every day, huh? It reminded me of a cartoon. Seems like everything is going well. You've always been a ray of sunshine - always happy and always looking to cheer people up and have fun. Keep being that way! Keep having fun and being good. :) I love you a lot, Gabs. Have a great week!

Miranda: Man, that was a great talk! I'm working on translating it and going to give it the next time I have to talk in church! :) Haha. I really liked what you said about how on earth we will have "trials and adventures and opportunities to be great, show courage, and love and serve others." Later, you focused a little more on the adversity part of it, but I liked how in that part you chose exciting words, like adventures, courage, and being great. You made like sound pretty exciting - made me more excited for the opportunities I have! :) I think sometimes we focus on all the adversity and forget about the blessings. We need to enjoy the journey, not just the destination - and what you talked about helps us maintain that perspective. Very good stuff. I hope you have a wonderful week and that everything goes well. Remember that I love you very, very much! :) Adios!

Mom: Sounds like things have been going well this week.  I laughed remembering Reagan and bowling - I hope he has a good time. Give him a hug (and perhaps a slap) from me.  I'll let you know next week about thoughts on my birthday or what I need, and if I find out anything about the phone call. Oh, and you asked about our area. It's only about a mile by two miles. That's a rough guess. Not huge, but big enough to have a lot of people to talk to and teach. I like being here. Thanks for always letting me know how things are going and for all the love and support. I love you very much, Mom, and hope that you have an amazing week. Love you! :)

Dad: Funny about "the Justin Greer Machine". (Sometimes I do that in the mornings to psych myself up for getting into the freezing shower... not so much anymore now that it's heating up, though.) I really liked your comments about testimony and the comparison to Jesus. Pretty cool. Also, great advice about complimenting people. I'm going to put that into practice; I think it's definitely a good idea.  Allergies are fine - occasional sneezing near hay or other plants, but not a problem. Shoes and clothes are fine so far. We have a meal schedule for each month and we eat with a different sister every day, but every week is the same. Mondays are Sister such-and-such, Tuesdays... etc. At night and in the mornings I eat cereal, eggs, toast, tacos... nothing fancy. I'll answer these questions more fully next week, and a few things I missed from last week - but have to run.
 Equally, Dad, thanks for who you and and what you do. I'm having a blast and learning so much. Thanks for all the love, support, and the great example and friend you've been to me. I was going to ask if you could tell me some missionary stories from your own mission - ones I've heard and maybe some I've haven't. I think it would be interesting to be able to now relate more to them and compare and contrast and everything. Well, once again, more next week - thanks for everything. I love you very much. Have a wonderful week.

Everyone, I love you very much. Pictures next week - promise. Have a great week!
Con amor,
Elder Greer

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April showers

¡Buenas tardes! :)

It's been a hot and sunny Monday at the tail end of a week of rain. The circus is in town and so far I've seen a bear, a baboon, and a heap of tigers (a herd? a pack? a gaggle?). Let me explain: They transport the animals in open-air trailers, and often park by the side of the road. People can come up and look at the animals. So we got a chance to chat with the monkey for a bit. Pretty funny looking. (He wasn't too accepting of the Gospel, either. haha.) Kind of a neat little surprise.

Anyway, that was just a side note that came to mind. This week has been a really good one. We got into the groove of contacting and teaching and things have been going well. We met and have been teaching a girl named Yazmín and so far she's been progressing well. A couple other people in the works too, and then plenty of door-knocking and everything too. As for Rojer and Hipólito - we haven't been able to talk to either of them in almost two weeks now. We keep stopping by but they're never there. We're still going to keep trying, of course, and we're praying that we'll be able to reconnect and continue to teach them. In the meantime, we're working hard and always looking for new people to teach, and things are going well.

I've been getting to know my new companion this week. He's pretty cool; really relaxed and easygoing, and we have fun joking around and talking while we're walking or at home. We're starting to sync together better when we teach and that's been going well. I have no complaints with him and it's going to be really fun working with him for (at least) the next five weeks. We have a lot of fun in the house, too. Elder Jackson's still there, and we've lived in the same house now for three months and so we know each other pretty well and have a lot of fun talking and joking and reminiscing about home. :) His companion is Elder Alarcón, and he's also a really cool guy and we all get along really well. It's been good times on the homefront this week and it's looking like more are to come.

A couple neat things happened this week. First, we were walking near the river and saw some iguanas strolling along. (Try picturing iguanas strolling. Doesn't sound likely, but that's what they were doing.) So, of course, we chase after them. Remember the Sheep-Chasing Incident in Scotland, Dad? :) Well, this time it didn't last nearly so long, nor did they turn on me :)  Iguanas are super fast. It was cool to watch them run because their feet-things just become a blur. After a while they dove into the water and we gave up the chase. But it was a pretty funny thing all in all and made me laugh.

Also, we discovered a giant pond in our area today. Somehow we had never made it to that particular part of the area - it's set back behind some trees and we haven't passed by there very much. But once we found it it surprised me how big it was. Kind of like a "When did they put this there?!" type of thing. We sat for a couple minutes by the side and enjoyed the peaceful surroundings. It was very relaxing. There's a little stretch of land that juts into the middle of the water and there's a house there; seems like a pretty neat place to live. I'll have to take a picture of it - it was a cool find.

Lastly, food. Today we ate pork chops. :) Very tasty and reminded me of home. And a couple days back the sister gave us chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and salad and - you'll never guess - Thousand Island and Ranch dressings. So, of course, I mixed up the traditional mashed-potatoes-and-salad-dressing that was such a favorite back at home. :) It was pretty funny and I really enjoyed the meal a lot. It was neat to eat something that so exactly reminded me of home and that isn't too common.

I'm just finishing up with the Book of Mormon - I intended to finish before Conference, but I'll probably be done tomorrow or the day after (and then I'm starting it over - so Dad (and others), if you want to read and swap insights and everything, I think it'd be pretty cool). I was reading in the Book of Ether today, and starting thinking about the lessons that we can learn from the history of the Jaredite civilization. Obviously there are many, but the one I pulled out today was about trying to find peace. We see that every time the Jaredite nation lives in righteousness, they are blessed - ofttimes incredibly so. But when wickedness gets the best of them and they fall into iniquity, those blessings are taken and the Lord curses the land and lets those bad things happen. Famine, poisonous serpents, and dozens of assassinations and murders are just a few of the tragedies that strike. Only when the people turn to the Lord and show their repentance through righteous works are their blessings restored. This happens time and time again; in fact, we can see the pattern throughout the entire Book of Mormon. I started thinking about how many times we want the Lord's help so that we can be obedient - we want Him to make everything okay and take away all the problems so that then we can start keeping the commandments. Of course the Lord is going to help us obey, but if we want to find peace in life, we're only going to be able to do so by first being obedient and following the counsel we're given. If we keep waiting for life to be perfect, well, we're going to be stuck in the same situation all our lives. But if we first make the effort to obey - and obey with exactness - we will then be able to find the peace we seek and we'll receive the blessings that the Lord wants to give us. We have to act first before expecting things to all work out.

Thinking about this reminded me of a quote from Preach My Gospel where it talks about obedience. It says that obedience is doing what's right and keeping the commandments even when we don't understand why. I really like that thought. The Jaredites saw that they were prospering and saw no reason to change their lifestyle. But the thing is, the words of the prophets will always be completed, and, as it says in Alma, wickedness never was happiness. If they had kept the commandments continually - even when they didn't understand why - they would have been okay. But they didn't, and now they're all dead. :)

I also related it to what one of the speakers said in Conference - and Dad, you mentioned it last week - that we don't obey the commandments because we think they don't matter, they don't apply to us, or they're too hard to keep (sometimes all three at once). That's probably what the Jaredites thought too, and the Nephites and the Lamanites and pretty much everybody who's come to earth. Sometimes we think the commandments don't apply to us, like the Jaredite kings who thought they were exempt; sometimes we think they're trivial and don't really matter, which includes all the "little" sins that nonetheless keep us from receiving all the blessings in store for us; and sometimes we don't think we can possibly complete the commandments, like Laman and Lemuel, who forgot that with the Lord's help all is possible.

Those three points are really profound. I've seen examples of each in my own life. For example, I was thinking about listening to music with unwholesome messages or seeing really violent movies. I could say, hey, those things don't affect me or influence me in any way; I can be immersed in the world but not commit sin. Basically what I'm saying is that I think that keeping the commandments doesn't really matter - that I can be happy without doing so. Or thinking that I can date before sixteen because I'm mature enough and that counsel only applies to people who aren't ready for dating yet; it doesn't really apply to me. Or saying that there's no way I can read the Book of Mormon every day so I'm not even going to try. None of those things are true, and yet our pride often gets in the way and we think that we can disregard the words of the prophets and still be happy. Unfortunately, just like with the Jaredites, that's just not true and unhappiness is in store if we attempt it.

The music example is one that I've definitely learned from. I'll admit I used to think that way - that the type of music I listened to didn't affect how I felt or what I did. But I saw that the opposite was true. I found that I wasn't as receptive to the Spirit and I just didn't feel as happy when I was listening to music that I shouldn't have been. I see it even more clearly on the mission - we study the scriptures for three hours every morning, oftentimes listening to hymns whilst so doing, and then later in the day I hear a song from somebody's house or radio that isn't appropriate and I just cringe and don't feel as open to the Spirit. Or sometimes I hear the occasional swear word in English and it hits me pretty hard. And those things are without me even looking for them - how much more is the effect when I choose to listen to the music or hear the words spoken.

What I realized from all this is how essential humility is for our happiness. In the family letter that Lisa sent me, Ben wrote, "Remember that humility is the key to success." I've thought about that a lot and realized how important that concept is. Humility keeps us on the strait and narrow. Humility keeps us open to the Spirit. Humility keeps us happy.

Thus concludes my sermon for today. (I think the sermon was a big hit. Let's celebrate... haha.) I feel like I kind of rambled on a lot, but hopefully it made some sense and was applicable in some way. It's been on my mind a lot lately and I know that humility and strict obedience will bring many blessings.

Okay, now for family time. :)

Gabbie!: Man, that was a pretty fun letter! I laughed that you told it to Miranda while cleaning the muck off Nikka. I could picture the scene very well. Jumping on the tramp sounds like a lot of fun.  Does Reagan still run away if someone tries to jump on the tramp with him? All the hanging out with Lauren sounds fun, and so does going to the Mayan. You went to a restaurant called the Mayan and I taught a Mayan about the Gospel :) haha. All the games outside all the rest of the things you did make it sound like you had a pretty fun Spring Break! Atta girl, Gabs! :)  I am indeed having SO much fun, Gabs, and I hope you are too! :) Hope you have a great week! Thanks for writing such an interesting letter! I love you! :)

Miranda!: What a letter! Adolescent! What I mean is that your letter sounded a lot like you, and like a teenage girl, though not in a bad way. (What, there's a bad way?) More for some of the slang you used. Or something like that. Anyway. :) Sounds like you had quite the good week. Full of tv shows and movies, so you're off to a good start. :) Haha just kidding. It's cool that you're such good friends with Stephanie. What's she up to lately, anyway? What are the rest of the cousins doing? Speaking of jewelry shopping there are some pretty cool things around here - not just jewelry but carvings and clothes and figurines and stuff. I want to find something for everybody and send them home at some point. Anything in particular you'd like? This might not be for months, but if you have any suggestions, fire away. That goes for everyone else too. I also really liked the talk by President Monson and his story really touched me. I'm eager to hear your answer next week about your favorite talk. :) Sounds cool about the creative project.
Chicken butt was pretty funny - I hadn't thought about that in a while. remember Chicken Salad Soup? :) Sounds like a crazy injury on the foot. Shoes, I would suggest, are very important - as is healing. :) The whole ending of your letter was pretty funny. Sounds like things are going really well. Keep up the good work, do your homework, read the scriptures, listen to Mom and Dad, eat your vegetables... all those good things as an older brother I'm obligated to say. :) They're all true though, and they all work. Keep being an awesome sister. I hope you have a great week. I love you! :)

Mom!: Hey! Sounds like it's been a good week. The baptism was really cool and we watched Conference in the chapel (which is also the Stake Center) - I don't have a picture of Maritza at the baptism yet, but I'll get it and send it soon. Spring Break sounds like it was both busy and relaxing and a lot of fun. I'm glad everyone had a good time and enjoyed the break. It was funny to hear about Reagan and cool to see the picture of him and Miranda. Also funny to see the picture of Nikka and Lucy. Looks like Nikka's eating her head. :)  It's always cool to hear from your point of view how everyone in the family is doing from your point of view - everybody tells me what's been going on, but you seem to have a different perspective on the way things are going and it's interesting to read your insights. Not that you contradict what they say - just that it's evident that it's coming from a motherly perspective. You always make it sound, without necessarily saying it, like you're proud of everyone for how they're doing, and that in a way makes me proud of them too. It's a pretty neat thing. I hope the weather's warming up a bit and that you're getting the chance to work outside a little more. As for the Mother's Day phone call - I'm pretty sure we'll do it the same way we did for Christmas, but I'm not positive. I'll get things figured out and let you know well in advance so that it goes off without a hitch. I'm really excited for it, even though it's a little ways off. Ward conference sounds cool, home sounds cool, the family sounds cool... how's your side of the family doing? I hear from Lisa and Laura fairly frequently, and John's family wrote me last week - it sounds like Daniel's turning out pretty awesome. He always has inspiring and spiritual things to say. All of them do, in fact, and it's been really neat to hear from them. How are Grandma and Grandpa? Thanks for always writing, Mom, and for everything you do. I hope this week is a wonderful one and that Heavenly Father's blessings are poured out even more abundantly. I love you very much! :)

Dad!: Once again I waxed verbose and am left with but a few minutes to write. Everything you said about ward conference sounds awesome. I really liked hearing about the Bishop's story. That was a very powerful message. Oh, and thanks for the conference talks - I'm printing them off now and they'll really come in handy. "You know what you need to become - so behave like it" - I like that quote a lot too. Kind of like the "be who you say you are" we've talked about before.  As for transfers - I'm guessing that I'll go elsewhere at the end of this one, but anything could happen. If in the next transfer I stay in Tabasco somewhere, I'll be in the Villahermosa mission. If I go to Chiapas, I'll be in the Tuxtla Gutierrez mission. So, either way, we'll know in five weeks. Pretty exciting! Really awesome that you're going to the temple so often and having that out-loud morning prayer - I've found out how powerful praying out loud is. Cool about the prayer roll experience and everything; I can only imagine how that must feel to see us growing up and doing relatively well. :) I'll have to reply more to what you wrote next week - but you know how it is. Thanks a ton for always writing and teaching me so much and being such a constant support for me. I love reading the emails. Thanks for everything, Dad. Have a great week. I love you very much.

Well, everyone, I hope you have a great week. Thanks for all the love and prayers. The work is going well and I'm having a blast. More next week!

Elder Greer