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, November 19, 2012

Mozambique on KSL

Well apparently Mozambique made it on KSL news.  This week in the cities of Maputo and Matola (mostly matola)  there was a riot.  The people here were rioting because of an increase in public transportation prices.  The USD equivalent of the increase was  5 cents.  It made me think to myself that i'm grateful that in America when prices go up we don't riot, especially if it's only 5 cents.  The riot wasn’t really all that crazy,  but that’s probably because we had to stay inside and we didn’t get to see anything.
In other news,  the chapel now has a ping pong table so in other words hello companionship study, haha, just kidding.  (kind of)  Elder Wollenzien and Sister Wollenzien one of the couples missionaries we have here, got permission from President Kretly to buy one.  (by the way, if any of you know any couples who would like to serve a mission let them know that Mozambique is in DIRE need of them.  Just don’t mention the riot above.)
Elder Largent and I are finding even more time to work in our area.  We've met with some in investigators that are pretty promising.  Aside from that two of our investigators are getting married within the next two weeks, and we have a baptismal date set for the 1 of December.  So far there have only been two things holding them back,  the law of chastity and keeping the sabath day holy.  Soon they're going to be married and that takes care of that, but lately we've realy been trying to help Nelson  keep the sabath day, his wife CĂȘlia comes every week, and so did he until he got a job.  We've fasted and prayed with them to help them to find a way to come to church together every week.  It's a struggle for Nelson to get work off on sundays.  He's talked to his employer various times but it seems like his employer doesn't really care about it.  Good news...all the effort is starting to pay off.  Last week he made it church but was being called literally every 10 minutes by his work.  He waited until after the sacrament, then he had to go.  This week he came again with his wife.  Aside from showing up on time the stayed until the end as well.  Nelson and Celia are doing a great job, if they continue progessing at this rate, without a doubt they'll be baptized on the first of december.

Last sunday was District Conference.  The conference was a satelite broadcast that had been recorded.  President Thomas S. Monson and Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke.  A common theme was the responsiblility that the members have in the building up of zion, and a common phrase that was repeated variously was that if the men of the church were honrable and pure in their preisthood then the work would progress here in africa.  The broadcast was for all the countries in the southern part of africa.  After the broadcast was over the district president anounced that the Maputo 2 choir would sing.  Now in the previous weeks Elder Largent and I had been working with the choir trying to put something together.  Now I don't want to be negative, but when it first started the choir was pretty bad.  Mom and Dad, remember how the spanish branch sometimes had a hard time holding a tune?  Well this was like that but more so.  Miraculously things actually started coming together.  We were learning the hymn  Because I have been given much.   about two weeks before the Conference It suddenly hit me that the actually sound pretty darn good.  Elder Largent and I decided to get a little adventourous so we began teaching the women the alto part of the song.  Long story short they got it, and they sang it really well.  If I may say so myself we had a gospel choir on our hands.  The day for district conference came and we had planned a quick 15 minute practice at 1 o'clock to quickly go over all the details.  No one showed up.  So we left and came back for the conference at 16.  We were uninformed because apparently it started at 15:30.  We walked in and made our way to some empty seats in the back.  At the end of the wonderful conference and when our choir was invited to stand and come to the front, I was scared out of my mind.  First off no one had come to the practice earlier that day, and as far as I could see, I couldn't spot out anyone of the members of the choir.  Elder Largent and I stood up regardless and made our way to the front.  Miraculously people started standing up to join.  I couldn't believe it.  Whats even better is that all the women had matching traditional african clothing.  If I may say so myself, we gave the mormon Tabernacle choir a run for their money.

This week all in all has been a good one, and Elder Largent and I look forward to the coming one with great enthusiasm.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Contacting, Divisions, and a Crazy Drunk Lady

This week has been incredible, filled with a lot of contacting, divisions with the zone leaders and a crazy drunk lady.  Elder Largent and I are finally getting the hang of the office and we’re beginning to be able to balance the work load to find more time to work in our proselyting area.  This past week we had a goal this past week to work in our area every day.  In the past we’ve had to go a few days without because of the work in the office. But this past week we were able to accomplish that goal.  We were also able to contact a lot of new families.  Tonight we’re going to sit with three new families, and each of the fathers of the families are brothers.  Our goal this coming week is to sit with as many of the contacts we made last week as we can.
Thursday night the Zone Leaders came to start divisions with us.  Elder Adamson stayed in our area with Elder Largent and I went with Elder Berg to his area.  Elder Berg came to drop off Elder Adamson and together he and I walked to the Maputo 1 house on the other side of town (or rather metropolis)  We got there just in time to go to bed.  The next morning we woke up a little bit early.  We had planned to go to the Polana Hotel to eat an AMAZING breakfast.  Elder Ruiz and Elder Paxman had their birthdays that week so it was our way to celebrate.  The breakfast was incredible and was followed by Elder Berg and I starting the day off with some contacting in his area.  I really learned a lot from him we talked a lot about the power that language has, and how the words we use truly have an effect on the way we teach.  I’ve made a goal to improve and expand my vocabulary so that I can teach more effectively.
Last Friday was “Dia da Cidade de Maputo”   or Day of the city of Maputo.   Because of this, everyone on the streets were drunk in celebration of the 125th  year for the city.  At night time one particular lady, of about 30 years old, called after us saying, Amigo!  Amigo!   We made our way over to her, not knowing that she was drunk at the time.   In our eyes we say a thirty year old woman with two kids at her side.  We were thinking, Contact!!  And she even wants to talk to us.   When we arrived she told Elder Largent and I that we were extremely courageous for working in that particular neighborhood.  She explained how “everyone”  that lived there were “bandits” she said.  (I wonder if she was excluding herself in that classification)  She started walking, so we followed as she gave us a tour so to speak of many houses that she knew.  Pointing to one house she’d say that inside there lives 6 people and they’re all robbers.   She also showed us various homes of family members.  At this point we didn’t quite catch on that she was totally drunk,  In our eyes we saw a kind lady showing us houses and families that we could potentially visit.  This went on, when we finally began to catch on.  She began repeating a lot of things, complimenting us on our courage, saying how she was extremely faithful.  

On a side note,  I was extremely surprised by how involved other people are in the US Elections.  So many people here would ask about the Elections.  Kind of interesting.
-Elder Greenman

This is one of the paths we have to take in our area. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Raining Hippopotamuses

I had never truly seen rain untill I got here.  It’s doesn’t rain cats or dogs here, its more like hipos and lions.  One night Elder Largent and I were at the office with the assistants late at night wrapping up a few things when it started raining.  Soon it was all followed by intense flashes of lightning.  The experience reminded me of when we were backpacking in the uintahs.  By the time 9:00 came around and it was time to go home we braved the rain and started going out to our car.   The street had become a river, and the car was on the other side of the “river”   the others didn’t want to cross so I did with the intention to bring the car closer so they could hop in.   By the time I got over there, we decided that the tires of the car were already under the water and there was no way that it would make it all the way to our house on the south side of Maputo.  We decided to just stay at the mission office and hope that the roads were better in the morning.  And they were.    

We woke up early and booked it home to take a shower, eat breakfast and drive back to the Mission office.  That morning at 9:00 we were going to have a training with President Kretly.  The training was incredible.  President Kretly worked for Franklin Covey before the mission, in fact he was the biggy boss in Brazil.  (around here in Mozambique they say biggy boss)  He is very knowledgeable and is a marvelous speaker.  President Kretly gave a training on the first of the seven habits of highly effective “missionaries.”   Be Proactive.   My life since that day is changing a lot.  I always knew what it was to be proactive, but President Kretly really hit it home.  He used scriptures and modern revelation along with the training, making it so much more applicable.  Reactive people are a product of their environment, but proactive people, regardless of their environment will find a way to succeed.   I’m made a goal to be proactive for the rest of my life.  In just four days, I’ve seen an immense difference in my life because of the principles being applied in my life.    Often times in our busy day to day lives we base our actions on things and personal desires instead of gospel principles.  This can negatively affect our reactions to what happens in life.   On the flip side, when we have a solid foundation make principle based decisions then the way we react to life’s problems will be all the better.

-Elder Greenman

P.S.  Thanks to all for the letters,  and I'm REALLY sorry I havent responded and written back yet, but don't worry, i'm on it!  Those letters will be coming.