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, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

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?)

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Christmas Rap

Mozambicans celebrate Christmas differently than I would have ever Imagined.  Let me explain....
On Saturday the combined Maputo 1 and Maputo 2 Christmas Branch party began. The Maputo 1 Branch president stood up to begin the more spiritual part of the meeting, he anounced the opening hymn which wasn't even a christmas hymn.  After that we had two short talks that were truly good, that touched on the Life of Christ.  After that.....Things got crazy.  It all seemed to me at this point more of a talent show. One girl sang My Immortal by Evanescence being accompanied on the piano.  I was surprised, she sang well in english, but i'm not going to lie things just kept getting more and more strange.  She was followed by another who sang "You raise me up" by Josh Groban   After that a man named Felix Hawk  stood up and came to the microphone.  He said he was going to sing, (more like say, because he didn't sing)  He asked someone in the audience if they could play somekind of backup music on the piano.  Nobody really volunteered so I decided I'd do it.  I went up to the piano and he told me to play something slow, and calm.  He went back to the mic and in dialect began this interesting prayer/ ritual thing.  (I was almost at the point of bursting out in laughter)   Allow me to explain what Felix Hawk looks like.  He has an average height and his forhead to about half of his head is completely shaved.  The rest is all dreads that extend to his lower back.  Felix Hawk was a contact made by the Maputo 1 Elder and They invited him to come to church.  And he did, and happened to come on a day they were plainning the christmas activity.  Thus is the reason Felilx Hawk is at the microphone speaking Xisena.  (The dialect spoken in beira.)  After he finished everyone clapped.  At this point he says he'd like to share one more thing, and of course they all agree, and I'm still stuck at the piano.  At the mention of performing another surprise from us the other elders had taken out their cameras and recorders, they didn't want to forget this.  In all honesty, this next part will be very hard to forget.  Again I began playing the piano, and He much to my surprise began rapping this time in portuguese and not dialect.  I guess you would call it a Gospel Rap,  he rapped about how through Christ he can overcome all things, and how he has been born again and all that other good stuff.  The Irony is that all things considered, it was the only "talent" that actually was centered on Christ.    I will never forget the day that Felix Hawk Rapped.   I have it on video, so when  in a year and a half you'll be able to see the proof.    

Armando made it to church again for the fourth time in a row, and  we are super happy for him.  Elder Largent and I went to his house yesterday after church.  We extended a Baptismal Invitation.  He said that he had already been baptized.  He also said that theres a reason that someone so strong in his church has come to our church four times in a row.  He said that he does feel something different but that he considers it an offense to God to be baptized again.  Elder Largent and I have decided we really need to help him gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  His wife and son aren't interested at all, and originally we had asked them to read the Book of Mormon to Armando, because of his eye problems he can't read.   Now we've decided that throughout the week we are going to go to his house and read to him and help gain that Testimony.  He's dedicated to come to church everyweek, and participate so much in the Principles of the Gospel classes.  This week I'll try to get a Picture of him with Elder Largent and I.

Well,   Our P day is going to be nonexistant again.  President wants a meeting with Elder Largent and I before he goes up to Quelimane for A Zone Conference tonight. (Speaking of Quelimane in the Conference edition of the Liahona,  Quelimane's branch has a picture that made it into the liahona.)

I love being in Africa, even when I'm sweating my brains out because it's so hot.  The work that's being done here and all around the world is true, and i'm grateful to be a part of it.
-Elder Greenman

Monday, December 10, 2012

Packages DO Arive in Mozambique if you plaster enough Jesus Stickers to the Outside

It just keeps getting hotter and hotter here, and the days seem to become shorter and shorter.  So much to do and so little time.  Elder Largent and I had so much to do this week in the Office.   First off, we payed the rents on the 20 of last month so that the money would enter the renters’ accounts by the first of December.  Well,  Salt Lake accidentally rejected three of the payments so we had to redo them, and we’ve had renters calling us like crazy.  We’re thinking that for this month we’ll pay them at the end of this week, that way for sure they’ll go through.  South Africa asked us to get all the payments done before the 15th because of the Christmas Holiday’s.  Speaking of Christmas…I’ll be able to skype on the 23rd .   What time does church start for you so I can know when to call?   I also got the package you sent me!!!   Thank you so much!  I also noticed a Christmas present that I’ve set aside until the 25th.  The funny thing is, is that in the excitement of opening the package I almost opened the gift without thinking.  Elder Largent coughed and asked, “Aren’t you going to keep that until Christmas”   I smiled and set it aside to continue going through the rest of the goodies.  Boy I’ve sure missed American candy. xD
Now that it’s December President has decided to put on a special Zone Conference.  The spiritual message will be short, only about an hour.  Then all the districts will prepare two musical numbers and a funny skit to present.  After that they’ll have a big special dinner.  He asked Elder Largent and I to make a special photo slideshow to present while the elders are eating.  About two weeks ago we asked the Missionaries to send us about 10 pictures each.  President wanted the movie to be an hour long, so naturally that’s a lot of pictures.  Last Thursday night we finally finished putting it altogether with music and all that jazz. (actually “and all that MoTab)  He was leaving the following morning to beira for the first  Zone Conference.  He asked me to save the movie as a shortcut on his desktop (on this computer) So I did then Elder Largent and I headed home because it was already 11 pm.  So the next day we get a call from president and he asked where the Slideshow was.  I told him where I had saved it on his desktop and he proceeded to tell me that it wasn’t working.  That the file only had 2 clips of movie on it.  Naturally , the color drained out of face.  I realized that somehow, when saving the project to his desktop I had somehow lost the rest of the project.    Needless to say, that was a difficult day for me.  I kind of messed up…… This week I’ll be at it again putting everything together so that it’s ready by the next conference next week.
Three weeks ago Elder Largent and I received a reference from the Assistants.  The man’s name was Armando.  He has a wife and a son who is 14 years old.  He has an extremely hard time seeing.  He’s practically blind.   When we met him we could see right off that he’s very strong in his beliefs and Church.  His wife is even more so.  We taught them the restoration.  It was a great lesson and we challenged them to read the book of mormon.  In this case we challenged the wife and son to help Armando read.    The next day he came to church.  His wife and son didn’t, but we were still surprised that he came.  Even more surprised because he showed up 15 minutes early.  Usually people, even member, show up 15-45 minutes late.  For the past three consecutive Sundays he has come to church without fail.  He participate a lot in the classes, especially Principles of the Gospel.   It’s amazing to me that someone so strong in another church would come three times in a row.    Our next challenge is to get his whole family to come.   Last Saturday when we taught him, his wife and son weren’t there.  We reviewed the restoration and the importance of getting an answer about the Book of Mormon.  We challenged him to pray that night and ask specifically if it was true.  On Sunday after sacrament meeting I asked him if he did pray that previous night.  I said that he did, but I still hadn’t received a response.  I asked him what he felt when he prayed.  He said he felt peace.   He was in a hurry, so I wrote down Galatians 5:22 on a paper and told him that he could ask his son to read it to him.  I told him he had received his answer he just didn’t recognize it.   He only has time on Saturdays to sit with us.  I’m looking forward to then when we can once again sit with him and his family.
Elissa,  I heard about your terrible accidente in Paris.   Get better, because we’ve got lots of mountain biking to do when I get back.  That’s not the only reason you should get better, but I think it’s a good one.
Thank you so much for your support, I love you all.
-Elder Greenman
Missão Moçambique Maputo
Correiros Central
Caixa Postal 1166
Maputo, Maputo

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Elder Carl B. Cook's Comments about Elder Greenman

Last week Elder Cook worked personally with Elder Greenman and his companion, Elder Largent and made a baptismal commitment with Armando. It was a special experience for all involved, even Elder Cook. This morning I received this email from him. Note that before his call to Africa, he has worked extensively on a project with Elder Greenman's grandfather as Mayor of Burley.

Dear Brother and Sister Greenman,

I meant to copy you in on this email I sent to my good friend Mayor Greenman, but I did not have an address for you.  Now I do.  I had such a wonderful time with your son.  He is serving a great mission and making a difference.
He is happy and a great mission leader.

Thank you for raising such a fine son who is serving so well.
All the best,
Carl Cook

Dear Mayor Greenman,

What a surprise I received on a recent tour to Mozambique.  I met the mission leaders and one introduced himself as Elder Greenman from Burley Idaho.  I was so excited. I could not wait to make a connection to him.  As we talked together, no doubt I was able to confirm that he is your grandson.  And I do mean “Grand” son.  I love Elder Greeman.  I was able to go teaching with him and his companion.  Elder Greenman is such a kind, and loving person.  He is engaging.  He is a great teacher.  He has the Spirit with him.  I was so happy to be able to get to know him.  He is a tribute to his family.    We had a wonderful time.   I must also add that President Kretly has much love and appreciation for Elder Greenman.  He is doing a fantastic job in his assignment.  He is playing a very important role during the day, in addition to teaching in the afternoons and evening.  He is balancing everything so well.

I hope you and your wife and family are doing well.  I think of you often and hope that things in Burley are continuing to rise.  No doubt they are.  Your leadership in the City has and will continue to make a difference. 

It was so nice to make this Greenman connection in Africa.  It really is a small word. 

With love and appreciation,