Elder Clay Green

Elder Clay Green

Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 21 - Looking forward to the New Year in Obidos

Our Skype session! Clay talking to his sister Laura in Idaho!

He had to lean close or his voice was so garbled we couldn't understand him!


So it was a good week this week. It started off normal. We have a few investigators we are working with. It has been raining more. Just a little bit everyday. But I think it was Tuesday that it rained a ton! It was coming down really hard and we were teaching a lesson so we hung around at that house until the rain passed! But I am definitely enjoying the rain!

There is a member here who is a fighter. He's really short but really strong and apparently a really good fighter! We went to his house during the week and he wasn't there but we talked to his wife for a bit and helped her change a light bulb. They have one of those big heavy bags that you hit hanging in their living room so we played with that for a while. I was really getting into it. This guy has his own gym where he trains and what not. I'm going to try to see if I can go there and practice with him a little bit. Maybe be a sparring partner or something! I think I want to be a fighter when I return home!

We didn't have time last p day to get haircuts so we got permission to do it on Thursday, which was Christmas eve so all the places were packed full with people trying to look good on Christmas. But eventually we found a little place on the side of the street with a guy cutting hair for $5 so we did that. But he wasn't very clean with it so we had tons of hair all over us afterward and we were itching real bad! At least it was cheap! 

The internet is really slow here so we thought it would be a good idea to test the Skype on Thursday since we were Skyping with our families on Friday. So we got 2 computers from some members here and went to the church to test it. There was a ton of people at the church preparing for the big Christmas party that night so we helped them a little bit. We got permission from the president to stay at the church until midnight that night because they do Christmas a little different here. All day on Christmas eve there were people in the street buying food and presents and what not. Everyone does a big party at night with TONS of food. And everyone stays up really late until Santa Clause comes at midnight and gives everyone presents. It is a little different and in my opinion a little lame but they like it! There was a lot of people at the church that night and lots of food and soda. But by the time it reached midnight I was about to pass out I was so tired! We went home and got a good 6 hours of sleep! The member who drove us home invited us to his house for lunch the next day, and he always has really good lunches so we were excited about that.

We woke up on Christmas morning and studied as normal and what not. Then we went to lunch and there was a ton of people there! Almost the whole ward! it was super cool. He also has a pool table and we played dominos. And of course, ate tons of food. Afterward we went to the church and skyped with our families. There were other people at the church so we hung around there for the rest of the day. And then on Saturday it was all over! 

Saturday we worked as normal during the day and confirmed church with some people. We have a good little handful of investigators but they are all either youth or primary age so our Sunday School class has been a little slim on attendance. So on Saturday night we recieved a phone call from the teacher of the gospel doctrine class reminding us that we had agreed to give the lesson on Sunday. I had completely forgotten! So I had to give the lesson on Sunday with almost zero preparation. But whatever! The Spirit helped me! And I am not really sure why the actual teacher couldn't give the lesson because she was at church like normal, but I guess she just didn't want to do it this week! But it is all good! 

Then on Sunday night when we got home we were starving but we couldnt buy food because of the Sabbath. We should have planned better and bought food on Saturday so we were just going to suffer. But as missionaries we can't be ashamed to ask for help so I called a member and told her we were hungry and asked if she could spare some food. She said yes and afterward we received a phone call from 3 different members saying they heard we were hungry and they wanted to bring us food! That made us feel pretty good! And we didn't go hungry! 

So that was pretty much our week this week! It was a good Christmas and the members here are preparing an even bigger party for New Years so we are looking forward to that!

Hope everyone had a good Christmas! Love yall!

Elder Green 

Obidos Ward party! 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 20 - Christmas in Obidos!


So this week went by really really fast but it was great. Lots of new investigators, a trip to Santarém for a Christmas party, lots of people at church, and we finished it off with a baptism!

So Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty typical days - a lot of walking and teaching a lot of lessons. Then Wednesday night we caught a boat to Santarém for the big mission party! We arrived there Thursday morning, met up with the sisters from Oriximiná and went to try and find this place. We took a bus and then walked for awhile and had no idea where we were. But then President and Sister Stasevskas came driving by in their little rental car. So we all piled in there and eventually found the place. It was at the end of an old sandy road but it was a really nice place! There was a huge grass field and a big ole pavilion with a pool table and TONS of food! This was the only day of the year we get to play soccer so we spent a lot of the day doing that. I made 2 goals and I felt pretty proud. I also brought my football so we played a little bit of that. And we played a lot of capture the flag as well. And of course we made use of the pool table. We also watched How to Train Your Dragon 2. It was a really fun day. 

Once it ended we went to the Zone Leaders house and stayed there for the night. Bishop Kilgore sent an envelope with lots of pictures and letters from the Bessemer ward. It was really nice. I enjoyed reading through all of it! 

Then early on Friday morning we went down to the boats to buy our lancha tickets. The lancha left at 8:30 and we got there at 7:30. But we found out there wasn't a lancha that went to Oriximina on Friday which meant the sisters were stranded! They took the lancha to Obidos with us and then took a bus from Obidos to Oriximina. So that was a little stressful but it worked out. 

Friday was a difficult day. I was SO sore! We never run or do any sports so after a whole day of running my body was hurting! But we still did lots of walking, slower walking... 

We had a baptism on Saturday - a 13 year old boy who already has a few family members that are less active. But he has lots of friends at church and has already been to church lots of times. We taught him throughout the week and everything was good for the baptism on Saturday at 10 am. when we passed his house at 9:40 he wasn't there. People were already waiting at the church and a member had made a cake and everything. Sometimes he stays with his cousin so I thought maybe he was at the other house or already at the church. So we were going to go look but as we were standing outside his house I said a little prayer and got a strong feeling that we needed to stay right where we were. I told Elder Oliveira that we need to stay put and we waited and waited. It was nerve-wracking but eventually we saw him come running over the hill! He took a quick shower and we made it to the church and baptized him. It might not sound like much but for me it was a really cool experience. It was a great meeting too. Lots of the young men in the ward were there to support him and what not. It was really good.

So earlier in the week we taught the elect couple I told you about a few weeks ago a really good lesson with the Bishop and his wife. We taught about them about the Sabbath day since they are having problems with coming to church. It was a great lesson. The bishop is really good and helped a lot. His wife cried when she bore her testimony and it was just great. The spirit was strong. We set up another visit for Saturday and for the next few days we planned a really cool lesson for them. We felt it was important that they learn to feel the Spirit. So we planned to show a little bit of the movie Finding Faith in Christ - only 10 or 15 minutes. Then once the Spirit was strong, we would show them a picture of Jesus and ask, "If Jesus was here right now, what would you ask him?" Then they would say a couple of things from the heart which we would write down. We would then say that as representatives of Jesus Christ we would like to give a blessing for their family and home. We would then kneel and say a prayer. After the prayer, once the Spirit was at its peak, we would invite them to church the next day and then leave. They say they love our messages and visits but we thought it was important to leave quickly after the prayer so they could continue to feel the Spirit after we left. We felt really good about it and were preparing for it through the day on Saturday. But guess what, we went to their house that night and they weren't there! It was only 7:30 so we sat down and waited, and waited and waited. They never came. Finally we left and bought some dinner. When we returned home I called to invite them to church on Sunday. The husband answered a little rudely (he has our number saved in his phone so he knew it was us). I heard noise in the background like they were maybe at a party or something. I asked how he was and he was still being a little rude with me. I then asked if they were planning on coming to church, and he didn't say anything for a couple of seconds. And then he hung up in my face!! At that point I was a little bit irritated - it was just so strange. A few days before they acted interested and set up a return appointment with us. Anyway, they didn't come to church on Sunday and that night we had the Christmas Devotional broadcast so we called to invite them to that but they didn't answer. So I don't know what we will do with them. I guess back off. But it was really sad that we had this big lesson planned but now they turned on us.

But anyway on Sunday we had 3 progressing investigators at church. We went to this one lady's house to bring her to church but she said she wasn't going.. even though she said that she would come to church and so we told her we would come by her house to get her. So we walked a long way in the heat, and then she said she wasn't going. Straight up lied to us. Not that lying to us is very uncommon. But while we were returning to the church, we found a man who was baptized in another city and has lived in Óbidos for 3 years but hasn't been coming to church. He said on Sunday he felt like he needed to go so we walked to church with him and his woman (She isn't a member and they aren't married). They had a really good experience and we will start teaching them. Then the primary president called me out of our gospel principles class and said she had 8 kids in Primary that are over eight and aren't baptized. We also had 2 young men there that weren't members and 2 adults. So we had a total of 11 potential investigators at church! We got lots of addresses and will visit them all this week! So that was great!

It hasn't really felt like Christmas time to me. I am used to Christmas being a little cold and every day here it is a solid 95 degrees. But Sunday it felt a lot more like Christmas. Papai Noel (Santa Claus) visited Óbidos Sunday and was giving out free presents to the kids here. I swear every kid in Óbidos was out there, in the middle of the dirt street, waiting for Papai Noel. SO many people. But eventually, Papai Noel arrived on the back of a beat up truck throwing candy! He was kind of funny looking - skinny and dark skinned - but the kids went nuts! And in the midst of all this, a big storm passed through and it started raining really hard! But that didnt stop them! It was hilarious. There were tons of little kids, soaking wet and muddy. But they had big ole smiles and were guarding their presents like their life depended on it! It was really cool that those people gave free gifts to all the kids here. I enjoyed it! We thought about going around offering all the people the gift of Eternal Life but the rain stopped us! 

After that we went to the church to practice singing in the ity bity Óbidos ward choir we were forced to join. But since we sang Christmas songs it was fun. After that we watched the Christmas Devotional. During the Devotional I got some really strong Christmas time feelings. The music and the messages were really good. It finally feels like Christmas! Sunday was a good day!

So that's about it for this week. I love being a missionary. Alma 29:9 "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."

I am learning so much here. It is sad to think that my time in Óbidos could be coming to an end soon. I don't know for sure that I'll be transferred in January but I've heard that the president usually doesn't leave missionaries in one area longer than 3 transfers and this is my third one here. I have made so many friends here. To think that I couldn't really speak any Portuguese when I arrived is crazy. I have learned a lot from these people.

Love you all and have a Merry Christmas!

Elder Green 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 19 - Working with Elder S. Oliveira in Obidos!

Clay with Elder Galindo and new companion Elder Oliveira


It sounds like everything is going good back home! I was so happy to hear that Derrick Henry got the Heisman! Can you send me some pictures of the award ceremony? I am pretty pumped about that. And what time do yall want to Skype on Christmas so we can plan?

So it has been kind of a crazy week and I didn't write in my journal all week so I will just have to try and remember what happened.

I was in Santarem to pick up my companion Elder Oliveira last Monday and we were supposed to leave on Tuesday but the boat left early and so we missed it and were stuck there another day. So we didn't arrive back here in Obidos until Wednesday. And when we arrived our house was kind of a mess because last week we had the surprise Zone Meeting and then the trio with Elder Lourenco and Elder Capello leaving and then me going to Santarem again to get Elder Oliveira. And my new companion is a clean freak so we did some deep cleaning on Thursday because he couldn't stand it! 

Then our focus was on finding new investigators. We found a bunch and our main goal for this week is finding more!

Our zone Christmas party is in Santarem on Thursday so that is exciting. We will have tons of food and we get to play soccer and pool and all kinds of stuff. So I am excited about that. I have literally travelled to Santarem every week for the past month! I don't know how I have any money left!

There is a funny story that happened this week. We taught a woman and she committed to come to church. Before she can be baptized she would have to attend for two weeks and since she is going to be out of town on the 26th it was essential that she come this Sunday. She doesn't have a phone so we couldn't call and remind her. But she said she would spend the night at her brother's house since he lives closer to the church and promised that she would come on her own. 

So Sunday came around and we waited and waited but she didn't come. So I know her aunt who is a member and lives close so we went to her house and asked her where the woman's brother lives. The aunt didn't know the address but said he lives right next to the place where all the prostitutes are. We didn't know where that was so we thought we were at a dead end. Then I thought to myself, "We have to bring this woman to church and as missionaries we can't be afraid to ask anyone anything." So I straight up went back to church and asked the bishop where this prostitute joint is located. He didn't say anything for a few seconds and then told us to go ask another ward member. We asked the ward mission leader and he said, "Oh Elders you don't want to go there!" Haha! But when we explained the situation he helped us. After all that we never did find the woman and she didn't come to church. But it is still a good story!

This week I read a story about a man on a boat. He was trying to keep his sense of direction by looking at the north star. But soon he realized that it wasn't the north star he was following - it was a firefly! How could he confuse a little firefly with such a brilliant star? The shaky and twisty boat made it easy for him to mistake the two. In life temptations seem more attractive because they are right in front of us and easy to grasp while the promised blessings of the Lord seem distant and far away. But the blessings of God are so much brighter and greater. We have to always strive to keep an eternal perspective and look beyond the things of the world no matter how attractive they are. We have to put off the natural man and become a saint through the Lord Jesus Christ. Mosiah 3:19.

Well that's it for this week. I love you all!

Elder Green

 Making plans in Santarem

 Love those dusty shoes!

Clay and Elder Oliveira

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 18 - Changes in Obidos

So, this was a very busy week full of changes and surprises. The Zone Leaders went to Belem this week for their monthly meeting and when they returned Tuesday night they decided we needed to have a Zone Meeting. So Wednesday night we caught the boat for Santarem. We got there Thursday morning and had a really good Zone Meeting. Me and Elder Capello have had really good numbers the past two transfers. But that's more credit to the Lord than to us. 

Since Elder Capello is going home this week he was scheduled to ride a smaller (faster) boat than the one we usually ride from Obidos to Santarem on Saturday. But transfers didn't come out until Sunday with my new companion assignment and I couldn't stay here by myself. So when we returned to Obidos after the Zone Meeting on Thursday night Elder Lourenco came back with us. We had a trio for one day then Elder Capello left. I'm attaching pictures. I won't lie it was sad. 

Then transfers came out on Sunday and my new companion is Elder S. Oliveira. I did an exchange with him a few weeks back and he is super cool. So I am excited about that. On Sunday night Elder Lourenco and I caught a boat back to Santarem so he could get back to his companion and I could pick up mine. I am in Santarem now with Elder S. Oliveira and we will return to Obidos tonight.

We baptized two young men this week. One was taught by other missionaries a while ago. He knew the Church was true but never committed to a baptism date and kind of got dropped. I believe it was a miracle that we found him. He already had a Book of Mormon and all the pamphlets. We taught him for two weeks and on Friday asked him about baptism. He said he had a testimony but was real nervous about getting baptized and kept making weird excuses. We shared lots of scriptures with him and finally he closed his eyes and we sat in silence for a minute or so. When he opened his eyes he asked us to share another scripture. Elder Lourenco said he had a good one about baptism. After the young man read the scripture he stood up, shook all our hands, and said, "Thanks. See you tomorrow at 10 o'clock!" It was super cool. 

The other young man is 13 and he has been firm since the first lesson we taught him. He is very smart and for sure a future missionary! His mother has refused all our invitations to come to church so we were a little scared that she might not give permission. But when he said he wanted to be baptized she just said, "What does he need to bring to the baptism?" Haha! And she even came to the baptism to support him as well! It was really good.

After Elder Capello left on Saturday we worked our tails off trying to visit everyone and confirm church. We confirmed with 7 people and 2 others said maybe. I passed those numbers on to the Zone Leaders that night feeling good. But then guess what happened on Sunday? Nobody came. I called everyone that morning and they all had excuses. Our Gospel Principles class had one recent convert and some random old lady from off the street. Obviously we were very disappointed. But it was a crazy week with lots of traveling and changing companions. So this week we are starting fresh and we are going to get it done!

Missionary work isn't easy but it isn't supposed to be. Salvation isn't easy either! But even though its hard I love my mission. It is the best mission in the whole world and I am having awesome experiences every day! We have a couple of mottos here in Missao Brasil Belem - Missao de macho. "No breeze is cold!" and "Only the strong serve in the north!"

I love wearing the Savior's name on my chest! We came across a family who are all baptized but left the Church three years ago because a member said something and hurt the man's feelings. So he says he will never go back. When we were talking to them I took off my tag and showed it to him. We read the name of the Church - the Church of JESUS CRISTO. I told him I go to Church because I love Jesus Christ. I came on a mission because I love Jesus Christ - not because of any member or anyone besides Jesus. His attitude changed after that. But it's the truth. I love the Gospel and I know it's true!

Love yall!

Elder Green

 Mustaches from Grace's Christmas box!

 Goodbye to a good trainer. I'm not a greenie anymore.

 Working the crowd at a basketball game. 

 This outhouse was not made for me.