Elder D. Andrew Greenman

Our son, Elder Andrew Greenman, has been called to serve in the Mozambique Maputo Mission. He has asked me to create this blog so that you, the reader, can read his letters to home. His current writing address is found below along with the most recent letter.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Golden Investigator

Greetings from Mozambique!
In the last letter I wrote about Victor, the man Elder Gergetz and I found.   I never really thought that there were golden investigators until we found him.  I know for a fact that God does truly prepare people to hear our message.  We sat with Victor twice this week and he just continues to progress and surprise us all.  On Tuesday when we met with him we gave him a book of Mormon and gave him 3 Nephi 11 to read.  On Thursday when we went back and followed up he had read 3 Nephi 11 and had read the intro, testimony of the prophet and the witnesses and read all the way till 1 Nephi 12, and on top of that we wrote down what he learned in a little journal that he bought.  I'm super excited to see him tomorrow and see how much he's progressed.
I've really enjoyed my time here in Dondo.  I love the people here and all the experiences I'm having, and all the things that I'm learning here.  We are getting transfer slides next week, and I'm really hoping that I'll get to stay here in Dondo for at least another transfer, another two would be great. 
-Elder Greenman

Monday, July 16, 2012

Progress is Found in Change

We have a new mission president!  His name is President Paulo V. Kretly.  He's Brazilian and if you type up his name in google you can find out more about him.  presidentandsisterkretly.blogspot.com Along with this new president there have been a lot of changes.  (Not so much for me, because I didn't really even get to know my first mission president.)  President Spendlove's focus while mission president was baptizing quality families while helping all the thousands of inactives here in Mozambique, and President Kretly's focus is baptizing quality families while helping all the thousands of inactives here in Mozambique, but just more so.  He wants quantity and expects the same quality.  I'm super excited.  President Kretly has great vision.  I've learned so much from him already.  He spent that last week in the Biera area and I was able to really get to know him.  He's inspired, in me, a great desire to work even harder.  He's given me vision.  Ever since our Zone Conference last Tuesday Elder Gergetz and I have found so many more contacts.  We've been averaging 6 a day.  On friday when we had divisions and the District Leader walked with me in my area we got 9 contacts 5 of which were families.  I can already see our recent training is making a positive change and effect in Dondo.  

Ever since I arrived in  Dondo I occasionaly saw a man who seemed smart, dressed well, and seemed happy all the time.  I would always wave to him or say "Boa Tarde"  He'd respond in like manner.    As the weeks past we would cross paths in the street going to our various different places.  I kept telling my self that some day I'd talk to him.  Someday I'd actually start up a conversation other than the usual Bom Dia or Boa Tarde.   Last Friday Elder Gergetz and I had come up with a fun way to contact people and we used it various times with other people until suddenly I saw ahead the particular man who seemed smart, dressed well, and seemed happy all the time.  I told my companion, "hey, lets talk to this guy up here, i've got a feeling he'll be good."    

Quickly let me explain this "fun way" elder Gergetz and I discovered for contacting people.  One day when we were walking to one of our areas we passed by our neighbor's house, and I could see through their fence that they had a small plate with a strange looking fruit on it for sale.  We walked up to the fence and with a quick "Com Licenca" someone came to the fence and we each bought one these fruits.  Fruit was called "Carambola" It's not very common here in Africa, but is in Brazil.  You may know it as Starfruit.  We gave the lady two metacais and went on our way, starfruit in hand.  Elder Gergetz said with a smile on his face that we could use this fruit to get contacts.  We would walk up to people and simply ask them if they knew how to eat it.  In their eyes we were just two white guys who didn't know anything and had a strange fruit in their hands.  They would go on to say that no, they don't know how to eat it, in fact they've never seen the fruit before.  From there we would walk way two minutes later with the person's name and phone number.  

We did the same with this man who seemed smart, dressed well, and seemed happy all the time.  It went very well.  He was very open and kind.  We invited him to church that coming sunday, which happened to be the District Conference in Beira.  We told him that the church had rented a Mashibombo (bus)  and that it would leave from the paragem  at 8:00 so he had to arrive at 7:30.   Now usually with people we contact, we invite them to church but dont expect that they'll come the first time.  We were very surprised on sunday morning when he was there, ready to go.  Later that evening after the conference and when we had arrived back in Dondo we asked him if we could pass by his house.  He said yes.  So we did. It was an amazing lesson.  The Spirit was felt there powerfully.  He told us that he wanted to join our church, that we wants to leave the Universal church, and that he wants to get married as soon as possible.  I know that God prepares people to hear his word.  I testify that that is true.  I know that he prepared Vitor to hear our message.
I know that he cares about each and every one of us.

Until next time.
-Elder Greenman

P.S.  Dearelder.com decided to continue their promotion.  It's still free!  But only for the next 24 hours from when you read this.  

Andrew's pictures on Picasaweb: https://plus.google.com/photos/109925268862178384484/albums/5755267058684627153?banner=pwa

Monday, July 2, 2012

One Month!

I've been in Mozambique for one month now.  Surprisingly, I've learned a lot of good things. Its wonderful to see the progress  investigators have made in this past month.  I was also extremely surprised when I got two letters last week! I thought that I wouldn't be getting any at all. Maybe, just maybe, I'll get more next transfer.

Okay,  this week has been pretty crazy.  The church leadership in the Dondo Group consists of Elder Bonnini, who is a senior missionary that lives in Beira, My companion Elder Gergetz,  then there are two Mozambicans who are have not been in the church for too long and don't quite understand the whole leadership thing.  One of the Mozambicans was converted in Maputo about 7 years ago and his work has transferred him a few times and now he's here in Dondo.  He's extremely prideful and has offended a couple members and he's full of excuses.  The other Mozambican has been a member for about 5 years, he's lived in Dondo all his life and therefore knows everyone here.  He's very humble and has a kind heart but many times is pressured into following Crispin (the other Mozambican)  Every week we meet together to see what we can do to make the group stronger.  He just recently started this and we had our first meeting last Wednesday.  In that meeting I learned the importance of having a strict agenda, in that particular meeting we had nothing for an agenda. We came to talk about the church and all Crispin would talk about is that we needed too baptize as many people as possible, especially teenagers whether those people are ready or not.  We told him that our mission president said that we could only teach and baptize families.  (Families take up to a year and a half to get baptized around here. First off,  no one is married here, and it takes for ever for them to go through the process and cost nearly 900 metacais which is a lot for these people.  Second off usually when we're teaching a family the husband wants in but the wife doesn't or the other way around.)  After we had explained that we couldn't just baptize anyone he began to say that we still need to.  It was extremely frustrating, but throughout the entire two hour meeting we showed love and patience.  Now we now that this next meeting will have an agenda so that we can talk about the important issues.  Organization is extremely important!

Aside from that, it's still winter here in Dondo, but it feels like the middle of summer on a hot august day.  With every passing day I learn something new here in Mozambique.  I'm coming to understand the culture here better, and my love for the people here grows daily.  My love for the Gospel grows daily as well.  I'm so glad to be a missionary now that I've grown a foot or four, I'm truly having the time of my life out here.  This work is good.  2 Nephi 28:24
-Elder Greenman

P.S.  Theres this really cool site called Dearelder.com where you can send me letters for free!!!  But it's only free if you write one within the next 24 hours!!!!!

Week "I've lost count" (Andrew's Own Title)

Hello everyone!!! 
There are so many churches in the world, each one with different philosophies.  Here in Dondo alone, there are probably 20. Which is about 19 too many.  There is however a particular church that began in Brasil and is now very popular here.  It is called the Universal Church or ''Igreja Universal"   These people are crazy!!!  I think anyone that has served in Brasil can agree with me at this point.  One night Elder Gergetz and I were walking back from and appointment that fell through.  It was almost time to head back home anyway, but we figured we'd try and get some contacts.  Just of this particular road we were walking on was a big two story cement building that was constructed by the Portuguese years ago.  The Universal Church would meet in the second story.  Elder Gergetz looked my way and asked me if I wanted to go check it out.  I said why not, thinking in my head of various reasons why not.  We started heading towards the building, it was extremely dark outside and extremely loud.  This was on Friday, which happens to be when the people go to get devils cast out of them.  We walked up the cement stairs and at this point I couldn't hear a thing other than the screaming and yelling of a man (the preacher)  We made our way into an extremely big room where we sat in the back where no one could really see us.  (The lights were off)  The whole friday night meeting consited of this so called preacher screaming into a Microphone at the top of his lungs, and the speakers blasting out the words of the preacher which consisted of "Suca!" (Pronounced Sooka, which means leave) and some other not so appropriate words including the Name of our God.  Needless to say we didn't stay too long.  We found our way out of the building and went home.  On the way back to our house we discussed the difference in our church meetings and those of the universal church.  We happen to have an investigator who went to the universal church and thats all she did for 20 years.  She's very accostomed the the traditions of that church, she likes having someone up in her face forcing her to pay tithing.  She has this mindset that the word of God hurts, but is good.  Its been hard to help her leave those traditions behind and recognize the spirit when she comes to our church.  She has progressed a lot and seems to be developing a stronger testimony in the verity of the church.
After that experience my testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has grown tremendously.  I know that this is the true church, that it always has been, that Joseph Smith restored that same Gospel of Jesus Christ that was on the earth before.  I know that this was, is, and always will be the true church and that there is no other way to exaltation. 2 Nephi 31:21
-Elder Greenman