Christmas this year was a different experience being away from home and family, but nevertheless is was a wonderful Christmas. On Christmas Eve we had a special Zone Conference where President Kretly had a training that lasted two hours and the rest of the day was filled with skits that each of the districts prepared, along with musical numbers, and then all of us headed over to President's house for a big dinner. When we arrived about 3 hours before the food was going to be ready so many elders were able to Skype their families, and President put on The Work and the Glory for the rest of us to watch. The food was ready when the movie ended, and our bellies were bet by ham, turkey, roast beef, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It was delicious. After the food, the two zones that were together, Matola and Maputo, all sat down, and we just talked and talked with president and sister until about 11:00 at night, when he went us off. The thing is many of these elders live outside of the city of Maputo, the Elders from Matola, and Magoanine. Elder Largent and I drove the Magoanine Elders home and got back to our house at 1:36 in the morning. We went right to bed excited for the following day. After getting showered and ready on Christmas day, (and after eating some delicious Pancakes) I opened my the gift you sent me. TIES!!!! Who knew right? haha, thank you so much, the ties beautiful and I've already worn each one of them, and So has Elder Paxman. haha. On Christmas we spent most of the day going around as a district singing Christmas hymns to our investigators. We would just sing two hymns leave a quick message and go on to the next one. I loved it. It was a wonderful experience. I have a deeper understanding of Christmas now than I ever had before.
Update on the Office....
Well, before Elder Largent and I just did the finances for Maputo area, but now, we do it for the Entire mission. Aside from that Elder Largent and I have been pretty busy getting ready for the next mission tour. Elder Carl B. Cook will be coming tomorrow and we've been finalizing everything, making sure all their plane tickets are in order, because they'll be traveling by plane to all the different areas.
Update on the Area...
Elder Largent and I have had to drop a few families that really aren't progressing. This week, while working in our area, a lesson had fallen through so we decided to pass by Lucas's house, a contact that we had made about two weeks before. He happened to be home, and so did his wife, we taught a wonderful first lesson, and placed a book of mormon. We're excited to go back and follow up and see how they've progressed. Armando is as solid as ever, he's great! He came to church for the sixth time in a row. We invited him to be baptized for the third time..... The first time he said no because he already believed that he was baptized by someone with authority. The second time, after understanding the importance of authority, he said that he grew up in his church, he was married in that church, and he raised his kids in that church. We read to him about lamoni's father, King of the Lamanites, and how he was willing to give up everything to follow Christ. The third time, I think we finally hit discovered the under water part of the iceberg. He says that he wants unity, and doesn't want to be baptized if his wife won't be. Speaking of his wife, she's a tough nut to crack! She'll sit with us about half the time, but won't keep the commitments we leave with her. This week we're going to continue working hard to help her gain a testimony.
Yesterday at church, after Elders Quorum, on our way to Principles of the Gospel, we asked Armando which class he'd like to go to. The previous week we kind of took him to the Gospel Doctrine class. I know the Gospel Doctrine class isn't so much for investigators, but the thing is, the Principles of the Gospel teacher, doesn't know how to teach....... so we decided to try the Gospel Doctrine class to see if it was any better. It was, and yesterday at church when we asked him which one he'd prefer he told us, the Gospel Doctrine class. When the class started, my heart sank, It was obvious that the teacher hadn't prepared, and was just winging it. Elder Largent had noticed the same thing. The title of the lesson was, “By faith, all things can be accomplished” I took great courage in that and Elder Largent and I began trying to save the class. We would ask question and give comments to the point that eventually, or rather miraculously, the entire class began participating and we had a great discussion. Elder Largent and I (maybe this isn’t a good thing) but we tried not to let the teacher drone on and start preaching like many do here) we would continue asking questions. Armando who sat by us, started participating, in fact he participated more than any of the members. His knowledge of the gospel is immense. At one point Armando turned to me (Its very hard to describe) but there was a pure joy in his eyes, he was smiling and looked at me (even though he’s practically blind) and shook is arm and fist as if in total excitement. We was completely lit up with joy. The class was the best one I’ve ever been in. Later that day we went to his house, his wife wasn't there. He had told us that she had gone to “her church.” I was surprised when he had said “her” church, in the past he had referred to it has “our church.” The interesting thing is that Armando was even more surprised when he said “her church” All of us laughed and he said that it must be an answer to our prayers. We talked to him about what he had felt at church that day and we read the Book of Mormon with him. After the lesson and prayer, I asked to take a picture with him. (just so you know, all Mozambicans like to have something in their hands like a book to showcase when taking a picture) He asked for my Book of Mormon to hold, of course I consented, and I've attached the picture along with a few others.
Happy New Year!
-THE Elder Greenman
(haha, did you get that Skyler?)