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.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's starting to get HOT!!!

I thought that Mozambique's winter was hot enough for me, but apparently I'd better just get used to it.  Elder Gergetz's companion still hasn't gotten here yet, hopefully this Friday he'll come.  We've still been walking as three.  It's been hard to cover the whole are of Dondo with just three missionaries. We've had to drop some people that otherwise wouldn't have to be dropped just because of time constraints.  It's been really sad, but at the same time we've been teaching a lot of great families that are progressing. The church here in Dondo has started a little seminary program.  We have two classes, one at 10 and the other at 14.  Elder Lopes and I rotate weekly.  This week I'll be teaching seminary.  Dad,  I've certainly gained more understanding and respect for you as a seminary teacher. haha, it can be hard sometimes when the students come to play, and not to learn. This week has been full of ups and downs.  First I'll start with the ups.

1. Two weeks back we found Candido.  I mentioned him in a previous letter.  He is still progressing!  The second time we came to his house to teach, during the lesson he mentioned that he has a problem with alcohol. (We knew this, because we could smell it on his breath that particular day.)  We hadn't even taught the Word of Wisdom yet but he said that he knows he needs to get rid of that vice.  He says that every time he prays, he feels guilty.  We talked to him about repentance and laid out a plan to help him come off conqueror. 

2.  We had another baptism here in Dondo.  The ordnance was performed in our pool.  Two young men were baptized.  Edson and Jofrisse.  They're two brothers from Balanca.  Balanca is a small town about an hour away from Dondo.  That is, it's an hour if you walk, and they do, sometimes they'll find a ride, or use a bike, but still, It's a sacrifice for them to come. On the day of the baptism Edson asked me to confirm him on Sunday. It was a marvelous and a special experience for me.  I began worrying a lot about what I would say in the blessing, but then I realized that I don't need to worry about it.  The words will come to me in the moment as I listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

3.  More Good news.....I'd like to thank all of you who have been writing letters to me.  I've received many.  Especially from Dearelder.com. Now many of you may be thinking,  Did he really get them?  And why hasn't he written back yet?
Well,  the mail system here in Mozambique is shot.  (In other words, very unreliable)  Regardless, I've decided to give it a try. Today I'll be heading off to a hole in the wall post office and I hope that within the next six months those letters may reach their destination.

4. One more bit of good news.... one of our investigators has a monkey
Bad news
1.  The monkey stole my camera
2.  The monkey then threw my camera
3.  Gravity then proceeded to pull without any ounce of mercy on said object that had been launched from the little palm of said innocent looking monkey.
4. Fourth piece of bad news, camera broke.

Well that wraps up my week.  I hope that all my family and friends are doing well.  Until next week.

-Elder Greenman

Monday, August 13, 2012

Q & A

Below are some questions that Dave asked Andrew this week. You can try your hand at deciphering Spanish--the questions are in Spanish, but lucky for you, reader, the answers are in English:

1. tu compenetro siempre era miembro de la iglesia o se convertio? como era su conversión y como llego a la decisión de servir una misión?

2.Cuales animales has visto?

3. cuales insectos te dan miedo?

4. cuantas cartas y emails recibes cada semana? quien te ha escrito desde que llegaste a Africa?

5. cual porcentaje de la gente pueden leer suficiente para entender el libro de mormón?

6. cuantas personas viven en Dondo? hay un clase rica, mediano y pobre? que hacen en cada clase para trabajo?

7. Cuantos anos van a la escuela?

8. Cuales tipos de negocios hay?

9. danos una lista de las tres cosas mas locas que has comido.

10. Cuan altas son las personas?

11. cual deporte es el mas popular?

12. porque es tan deficial para personas casarse? cuanto sale y porque? cuales leyes hay que lo hacen deficil?

13. hay personas que toquen piano? hay un piano en la iglesia?

Okay, I know I'm not the best at writing letters home.  A lot of times I leave some things out.  This week will be an attempt to explain a little bit more about my mission.  First off  the Mozambique Maputo Mission includes Angola, but at the same time it doesn't.  Angola is functioning as a separate mission but isn't yet officially a mission.  Also when I came into the mission I came in on a 3 week transfer.  The mission had to change it's transfer schedule which means that in a little less than two years my departure date will now be in the middle of a transfer.   To solve this President has given the missionaries the opportunity to choose whether or not the want to come home three weeks early or stay an extra three weeks.  (I hope that makes sense)
My companion Elder Lopes is from Cape Verde.  He is 23 years old and speaks creole, Portuguese, and is learning English.  He's a convert to the church and was baptized when he was 14 years old.  He's helping me with my Portuguese and I am helping him with his English.
A lot of people here think that there are loads of animals here.  Well.... there aren't.  During the war here the people were destitute and starving.  They killed practically everything.  Many killed just to kill.  The only animals I've seen here are Cats, Dogs, and a two domesticated monkeys.  Oh and I've also seen one more thing....do mosquitoes count as animals?
Now for a little bit about the Mozambican culture:
Everyone here is either dirt poor or  excessively rich. Generally speaking most everyone can read here.  Sometimes we'll come across someone who can't and usually it's a female.  Everyone here is super nice and kind.  Always willing to talk.  That being the case it's easy to find contacts, the hard part is finding people that will actually apply what we teach them to their lives.  No one here is married officially, they all say that they have the desire to get married but they say that they don't have enough money (about 1000 Metacais), or they still don't know if the marriage would work out if they did get married and that they want to wait a little more to make sure. (they say this even when they already have like 6 kids)
There have also been questions asking what kind of crazy food I've eaten. 
To be honest, the food here isn't really crazy. The closest I've gotten to crazy is eaten fish.  (That means eating the eyeballs, the head, and the bones.)
Well my Internet Time is just about up so, Until next week.
-Elder Greenman

Monday, August 6, 2012

I Was Transferred...

Well transfers didn't come until late on Wednesday night. The zone leaders called to let us know. It was then that I recieved the sad news that I'd be leaving my area in.  My heart dropped when I heard those words because I had really come to love the people in my area, and to be able to teach Victor, Daniel and Shika, and many others that were doing so well.  Elder Bateman, one of my Zone leaders, continued telling my that my next companion would be Elder Lopes, a native from Cabo Verde.  Suddenly I leaped with Joy and this is why:
Elder Lopes has been serving in Dondo with Elder Ostler, but just in a different area than mine.  I was told that Elder Ostler was going to Manga to train and that I would stay in Dondo to be with Elder Lopes.  Elder Gergetz was told that he would also stay to train a new Elder.  All in all, I'm very happy to still be serving in Dondo.  My new area is totally different thought, with a new set of challenges, but I'll still be able to see Victor and all of my other investigators every week at church.
Throughout these nine weeks in Dondo I've really gotten to know Elder Lopes pretty well.  He and I hit it right off since my first day in Dondo.  Now I am very glad to have the opportunity to work and serve with him.  I know that he and I will truly be able to make miracles happen.  Yesterday when we were on our way to an appointment we contacted a young family.  The father's name was Candido.  We gave him a resauration pamphlet with our names and our number.   Later that night we received a text from him saying that he was extremely grateful for the invite. He said that he had finished reading the pamphlet and percieved that God has a plan for him. And he said that he wants to learn more about Jesus Christ.  We were extremely happy to read that text.  I now without a doubt that the Lord truly does prepare his children to receive this message,  and we as members of this church have the obligation to share that message.  We learn in 1 Nephi 8  from Lehi, who tried the fruit from the tree of life, that he desired to share that fruit.  I also have a desire to share this gospel and my happiness is found in the spreading of the God's word.  My power is found in his priesthood and my reward is found in the knowledge that I am anxiously engaged in a good cause.  I  love seeing the change in these people's hearts as a greater understanding of  Jesus Christ is opened unto them.  I know without a single doubt that this church is the only true church.   I relish in the opportunity that I have to be a missionary, not only here in Mozambique but for the rest of my life.

-Elder Greenman
P.S. Write me. xD

Friday, August 3, 2012

Victor's Progress

Victor is still progressing a lot!  He's in 2 Nephi and working hard on getting married so he can be baptized on Sept. 8  
I hope I'll still be in this area when he does get baptized.  Transfers start this coming thursday.  We were supposed to get the transfer slides today, but now we won't find out until Wednesday.  My companion is the Group Leader here in Dondo which makes me think that he's going to be staying this transfer and I'll leave, or we'll be together for another transfer then he'll leave and I'll get a new companion.  It's all up in the air, especially with our new mission president.  

This past Wednesday was "Dia da Ciadade do Dondo"   Because of that there were loads of people out on the streets that night.  They were young and old and mostly all drunk.  I say plenty of teens that were probably just barely 14 years old, and they were sauced.  Elder Gergetz and I thought that we might as well try and find people to contact, preferably someone who wasn't drunk. We did end up finding a couple named Daniel and Shika.  We passed by their house yesterday and taught a wonderful lesson.  They were really open and ready to hear our message.  I can't wait to go visit them again this week.  

Last week about 8 of us elders went golfing.  Yes, they have a golf course here in Beira, and no, it's not a very nice one. Imagine a freshly cut field of alfalfa.  Now take away the color green.  Now add a few rocks here and there and everywhere.  Now take into account that there are almost no trees.  Last but not least, we rented golf clubs......haha.  So all of that made for a very interesting P-Day.  Granted it wasn't exactly top notch, at all,  we had a lot of fun.

-Elder Greenman