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 30, 2013

Happy New Year!

This week was wonderful.  We had zone conference on tuesday.  We learned a lot about desire, and miracles.  We were also given the oportunity to write our own personal mission statement.   I started, but it's a process and throughout these next few month i'll be thinking and discovering what that is.  We had Zone conference at the new Matola chapel.  After the zone conference we all drove to the mission office where we had skits and a delicious dinner.    We ended up piling 14 missionaries into our ford ranger.   I wish we had a picture. And yes it was safe. 
On christmas day we helped and organized the Elders who skyped home to talk with their parents.   Because an Elder can't be alone  on the computer I was in the room when Elder Williams called his parents.  Elder Williams is from Pleasant Grove utah and is one of the zone leaders in Matola.  I was able to meet his wonderful family.  It was a really good experience.  While Elder Williams was talking with his family the question came up of when the end of the transfer in April is.  I said it was the 14th.  and aparently they thought it was on the 21st.  They were right.  
This kind of threw a wrench in the works because I had decided to extend my mission believing that it would give me enough time to go to college two days after I arrived home.   After knowing that the transfer would actually end later than I thought my heart took a dive.   The good news is that I called president and he said that I could still extend my mission but finish on the 14th.   
The rest of the week has gone well as well.  Elder Brandao and I are training a new missionary.  His name is Elder Da Silva.  He's a mozambican from Beira who is starting his mission here while he waits for his visa to go to Brazil.   
On friday we had district meeting.  I gave a training on being Proactive.  I used various exemples in the Book of Mormon.   Especially from first Nephi.  It was a very good meeting.  I've become very excited as I apply more the  principles that Elder Bednar so often teaches, that we need to act instead of being acted upon.  
Last night Elder Brandao and I taught a new family.  Cumbani and Rita.   The lesson was very powerful.  The spirit was present.   In fact it's getting late now, and we have to run out the door to go teach them tonight.    Our first lesson is in twenty minutes.   I love you all.   The Gospel is so true and so perfect.  
-Elder Greenman

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas is Next Week!!

I cannot believe that Christmas is already almost here!  It sure does creep up on you pretty quick when you don't have snow or cold weather to let you know that it's close.  

This week was very busy.  It's nearing the end of the year and there's a lot of work to do.  We have a zone conference on the 24th and transfers are happening today.   There weren't a lot of changes, just enough to acomodate for the three new elders who came in.  President Kretly called another Elder, Elder Hales in the Maputo 1 branch, to a special assignment.   President Kretly recognized that there is a lot to do in the office, and sometimes it's hard for Elder Brandão and I to do all of it.  Elder Hales will be helping me in the office.  When there is a lot to do, Elder Brandão will stay in the area with Elder Hale's companion, and Elder Hales and I will go and do the office work.    I know that this way we will be getting a lot more done in the office.   (Editor's Note: As was stated in an earlier post, Elder Greenman is the only one in the companionship that has computer knowledge, so to have another helper, will give the companionships less time in the office and more time finding and teaching people.) I'm excited for this coming transfer.  I only have 3 left.  I'll be coming home in the middle of April.  (Editor's Note: This is a bit of a surprise for Elder Greenman's mother. She thought that he would be home on April 1st and have three weeks with his family before going off to BYU-I. The first day of school is the 21st of April, so I imagine he will be home only for a couple of days before going off to school. Kind of crazy!!)

On Saturday we had a branch christmas activity.  It wasn't much different than the one last year.  At least this time we didn't have anyone rapping at pulpit.  At the christmas party, however, I saw a family that Elder Brogan and I had taught in October of last year.  At the time, the family wasn't interested, and didn't want to progress, but, while I had been in Manga, the sister missionaries found them, taught them, married them, and baptized them.  It was really good to see that family and talk with them.  I'll be sending a picture.  Also a family that Elder Hamrick and I taught also got married and baptized last week.  I'll be sending a picture of them as well.   Yesterday we watched the Christmas devotional.  I loved the talk given by Elder Nelson.  I felt that the devotional was very special, very simple, and very spiritual.   Christmas truly is about our Savior Jesus Christ, and renewing our vigor to be like he is.  
'Elder Greenman

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Divisions and More Divisions

Well, sounds like its been really cold in Burrrrrrrrrrley lately.   I wish  I could say the same about here. Actually, to be honest, it hasn't been too hot lately.   It's been pitter-pattering on and off.  President has been traveling a lot this transfer.  He  just got back from Beira on Wednesday.   From Monday to Wednesday Elder Brandão and I spent a lot of time in the office.  We had to hunt down fichas from those who still hadn't sent them, and prepare a few statistical reports for the month of November.   (Editor's Note: Ficha is the paperwork for baptism) 

On Wednesday we officially received our new truck.  We were driving an 18 seater van everywhere, but now we have a new 2012 Ford Ranger. Yup. We've named him Captain Moroni. I had taken for granted what it was like to drive a nice car. Everything is so smooth, it has that new car smell, and it has, or rather had, 0 kilometers. On wednesday night we drove to Matola to start a division with the Matola zone leaders.  Elder Brandao worked there before coming to the office.  For the division he stayed in Matola with Elder Williams.  When I dropped off Elder Brandao I picked up Elder Santos.  (He is also from Cape Verde and Is a really good missionary. This is his first transfer as Zone Leader and he's doing a very good job). When Elder Santos and I got back to Maputo from Matola, it was late.  After our daily planning we quickly got ready for bed and hit the lights.

 Notice Elder Greenman driving on the other side of the car...

We woke up and as soon as we were ready for the day we went to our area.  We didn't have any lessons marked, but we did some family finding for about two hours.  The Lord blessed us with 10 families that accepted to receive a visit from us, and we marked with several of them to visit that evening.   After lunch we went to the office to do some work, then went back to the area. All but one of the lessons fell through.....but during this time we were able to find five more families to teach and marked them for this week.  I loved the time that I spent with Elder Santos, and the opportunity that we both had to discuss the work.

Mosquito Netting for sleeping

In my district we have three companionships, Elder Brandao and I, Sister Naehu and Sister Merkely (we four are in Maputo),  then Elder Fontes and Elder de Pina (these elders are in Maxixe). Friday we left at 9 o'clock in the morning to Maxixe. Elder Brandao and I left to Maxixe with Elder and Sister Hobson. I was the one that drove and it took close to 7 hours.  The trip was wonderful.  Mozambique is so pretty and green. We arrived in Maxixe in the evening with about an hour and a half to spend in the area with the Maxixe missionaries. I walked with Elder Fontes, who is from Brazil.

Elder and Sister Hobson

Maxixe is an incredible area, but it has a few difficulties, and the Maxixe elders had gotten somewhat discouraged last transfer and didn't know how to pick things back up again. When working with Elder Fontes I did everything I could to just be excited and to talk with everyone. Some of the problems that they have in Maxixe are that many of the people that work in the city live far away, and that hardly anyone is outside on the streets past 7:30 p.m., and that they only have two missionaries covering a pretty big area. We happened to be walking outside past that hour, but I knew that the Lord would put people in our path.  He did.  We found a family that is officially married that was just walking together as a family just trying to catch a little bit of the the ocean breeze.  We stopped and talked with them and asked if they house was close and if we could accompany them to their house and leave a short message. They said yes. For lack of time, we left a short message and a prayer and marked to come back the very next morning. They said that they did feel the spirit and we helped them recognize why they did.  The next day we taught the restoration, and they accepted baptism.  Elder Brandao and Elder de Pina were also having success.  They found a very nice and sophisticated man entering his home and asked if they could come in and share a message.  He accepted.  They discovered that he didn't currently have a church and that he still hadn't been baptized, but that he was willing to be. 

President Kretly arrived on Saturday night. Sunday morning church began at 9.  Just so you know that up until this point Maxixe was not yet a Branch, but a group.  The average attendance was 25 people.
On this particular Sunday we had a total frequency of 40 people!   Also another surprise that none of us knew..... after the announcements the time was given to President Kretly.  President stood up and with a smile announced that Maxixe would become a branch.  He announced the branch presidency, and Elder Fontes was called as 2nd counselor (he didn't know).

The Sunday meeting continued to go very well.   After sacrament meeting we had Principles of the Gospel class and I approached the newly called branch president and said that I noted that no one was there to teach the class and asked if he wouldn't mind if I did. I've come to love teaching the Principles of the Gospel class.   One of the families that was found over the weekend came to church and when the man presented himself, he said that it was the first time coming, but that he was confident that he would always come with his family from now on.  

I would love to serve in Maxixe.  The area has so much potential. Elders Fontes and de Pina are going to marry and baptize a family this coming weekend. They are planning on baptizing one more family by the end of the month.  Speaking of families being baptized, 9 families were baptized this past weekend.  So far for the month of December the mission has had 14 families baptized (that's more than one per day!  What a Miracle!)

The next day was Monday!  The Hobsons had left saturday night, but we planned to just drive home with President.  President Kretly surprised us and decided to take us to Inhambane, and to a beach called Praia de Tofo, where we ate and played soccer on the beach. It is was the most beautiful beach I'd ever been to.  After that we dropped the Maxixe elders off and headed off to Maputo. The drive was very nice.  I enjoyed the opportunity to talk with President Kretly. He also gave us the privilege to listen to a talk by Elder David A. Bednar that was given at a Mission President's Seminar.  It was like the talk he gave in 2011 general conference but even more fascinating. I'll update more on that next week. (Editor's note: Monday was P-day and we did not receive a letter from Andrew this day and were wondering why...we're glad to know he had this opportunity to spend P-day with the Elders and President Kretly. Our letter came the next day.) Elder Brandao and I will be incorporating Elder Bednar's message into the Zone Conference training that we are preparing.

Two new missionaries arrived to our mission today.  Elder Brandao and I will be taking care of them.   There's a lot of work to do for all of us, and by that I mean every member of the church.  We have a lot of work to do on this side and the other side of  the veil.

-Elder Greenman

Elders de Pina, Fontes and Brandao

The beautiful green Mozambican Countryside

Elder Brandao (I am playing Soccer in the back)

Playing Soccer with Elder Fontes

Look how beautiful!

Elder Brandao, President Kretly and Me

Monday, December 2, 2013

December Came with a Bit of Rain

In last week's letter I mentioned that we were helping some mozambicans get ready to leave on their missions.   On monday night, one week ago, we went to pick up one of the missionaries who was going to serve in Angola and Cape Verde.   Their plane came in late, so we only managed to get to sleep at midnight.  Then we woke up 4 hours later to take President and Sister Kretly to the airport (they went up to Beira on a morning flight).  We had an early start to our day.  When we got back from the airport we did some work in the office and prepared for staff meeting we would be having at 11.     We usually do it over the internet using a program called GoToMeeting.   The assistants, Office elders, Elder Tualufo,  and all of the  Couple Missionaries participate in the meeting. Two of the couples are in Beira, that is why we need to do the meeting over the internet.    In the meeting we discuss and plan for the upcoming week, as well as make sure we are prepared for what is coming in the next few months. Staff meeting went well, and when it was over we went to staff eating (haha,  we do this once a month where we go out to eat).  After that, we raced around to buy clothes for all of the missionaries who were leaving the next day and finally made it home at 8 o'clock in the evening.  They were then set apart as missionaries, and spent the rest of the night packing their bags.  We finally got to bed at midnight again, only to wake up at 3:45 to help them get ready to leave.  We left 40 minutes later to go to the airport and arrived just as the check-in started.  We sent them off (see attached picture).

Needless to say, Elder Brandão and I have not had a lot of time in our area this week (Editor's Note: nor time to sleep!!), but we did have time to sit with one of our families—Humberto and Nercia.   They are progressing well.  Humberto works at the Airport, and Nercia works at a pizza place downtown. We've taught them the restoration and the Book of Mormon.  In our last visit we asked them if they would come to church.  Nercia said yes, but Humberto said no, because he was scheduled to work that day. We invited him to see if he could swap his work schedule with someone else. Saturday we called him to see if he was able to. Good news, bad news. Good news is, that he was able to. When we called saturday afternoon, he said that he was going  in to work at that very moment to do his co-workers shift and that he would end at 10 o'clock.  Bad news: On sunday we received a call at 8:20 from Humberto.  We answered and he said that he was really close to the chapel and had walked all the way with his wife with the intention of coming, but his boss had just called saying that his co-worker didn't show up to take his morning shift.  Sadly, Humberto had no choice. He had to go to work.   His wife came though, and she enjoyed it as well as made a friend.    It's interesting to see that Humberto did everything he could to make it to church, but even after that, the choices that another person made affected his life. Sometimes in our lives when we do everything we can that is good, sometimes unexpected things happen.  The choices we make affect others profoundly.  I don't think that Humberto's co-worker will ever know or understand what effect his choice to not come to work made on Humberto's life. Let us all be careful with the things we think, the words we say, the things we do, and the way that we do them.    
I can't believe it's a new month.  I'm looking forward to another month of miracles.  20 families were baptized in the month of November.  So far in the month of December, 5 families have been baptized and confirmed.  
 -Elder Greenman

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Refiner's Fire

The heat never stops coming.  I assume it never will.  I don't believe life gets any easier, but it does become more fulfilling if we choose the right.   I know that today I'm laying down the foundation of tomorrow.   President has  been in South Africa all this past week which has given us more time in our area.   One of the main struggles we are having is sitting with new people.  So far this transfer we have taken the number of 150 families who have accepted to receive our message.  Half of them live in our area.  But in the past three weeks we've only been able to sit with 5 new families.    We will mark with them and they will accept a return visit the next day.  We will call in the morning, they will confirm.  We will call thirty minutes before to let them know that we are on our way.  When we get to the place where we decided to meet, we call, and their phone is turned off.   This has happened over, and over again.  The cause?  Probably because they don't understand the importance of this message, and the change it can make for their families. This week, however, was more effective and better than the others.  We taught more lessons and were able to sit with three new families.  Things started picking up on Saturday.  On Saturday we had a zone training given by the Zone Leaders.  Elder Peterson from the U.S. and Elder Vestia who is from Portugal.  The training began by all of the District leaders presenting an idea or something that their district is doing that is helping them see more success.  It was really good to learn from others. One of the ideas was using the Book of Mormon in the contact.  It works.  Even for people that aren't interested in the beginning, we just let them know that we have a book that is convincing evidence that our message is true. People are becoming more interested and willing to talk to us.  I've noticed something interesting, every time I walk in the area with a copy of the Book of Mormon in my hand I suddenly have more desire to speak with everyone.  

About our family that I mentioned last week....Sabito and Maninha have left.  They are traveling to South Africa and then they will be on their way to Beira.  We called them on Sunday, he said that the traveling is going well and safely.  As soon as they arrive in Beira we will give their number to the missionaries up there.   
Church on Sunday was really special. The person that was supposed to teach Principles of the Gospel class didn't show up so I gave it. The lesson was on the Signs of the Second coming.  The lesson went really well. After the class we all went downstairs to the sacrament meeting room.  At this time Sister Kretly called Elder Brandao and I letting us know that they were on their way and to tell the branch president to wait until they arrived.  The sacrament service was really spiritual.  Our branch had 205 people present.  In the past it has averaged about 170.  At the end President Kretly spoke about how the gospel has changed his life. His mother died last week with the age of 90 while he was in South Africa.  He explained that it was a really hard experience to pass through but that he is so grateful that his mother and father decided to follow Jesus Christ and accept his restored gospel.  He invited all of the members and investigators to recognize that the choice they made or will make to follow Jesus Christ and his restored gospel will affect more than just them. The meeting was really good.   

Now that President is back, Elder Brandao and I have a lot more to do in the Office.  There are five young men who will be leaving on their missions this next wednesday.  Four of them will serve in Angola and the other will serve in Cape Verde. Today and Tomorrow, Elder Brandao and I are going to be with them and help them prepare.  Many of these young men come from very humble circumstances and only have one white shirt and pair of pants.  They may not have a lot as far as attire, but what they do have is a beautiful understanding and testimony of the restored gospel.  We are going to outfit them with the clothes that they need for their mission.  One of our mission goals is to have as many Mozambicans serving missions out in the world as we have missionaries assigned to work here in Mozambique.  Currently we have 88 missionaries in our mission.  Right now we have 27 Mozambicans who are serving, and the number is growing.  I've been thinking about that goal recently and I noticed a small problem that I'm going to talk to president about.  Our focus has been families, and the extreme majority of these families are young families. If we want to have 88 missionaries serving outside of Mozambique we are going to have to find a solution.  

Elder Brandao and I, when we walk in our area always invite the young men who are there as well.  In fact, one of the things that we like to do is we'll stop a young man who has an earring and we'll say, "you are a really good young man, you just need to change one thing....."    This week we've taken so many earrings from young men.  We give them pamphlets in return.
-Elder Greenman

Monday, November 18, 2013

Not our Real P-Day, Thus a short note...

Elder Brandão and I are trying to get rid of the false tradition that APs need to stay in the office doing a lot of work.    We've set out a schedule for ourselves.  We leave the house by 8 and go straight to our area to teach lessons and find families to teach.  (We still aren't getting a lot of lessons, so for now we are just doing a lot of family finding)  We stay out in the area until about 10:30 or 11.  Then we come home eat lunch and study for a bit.   By 13:30 we're at the office and stay there until about 16, then we're back in our area until 21.
We're getting a lot of good time in our area.  That is probably in large part because President Kretly is in South Africa for a mission president's seminar.

Quick update on our area....
We continue to do a lot of contacts, we're striving to find the elect.    The two families that we found last week, we've unfortunately had to drop.  But that's okay, we found a very special family this week named Sabito and Maninha.   They are very open and are making a lot of progress.   They came to church this week, and arrived 50 minutes early.   They really enjoyed church and feel that this is the true church.  That's the good news. The bad news is that, they will be moving up to Beira for about 3 months, and they leave this weekend, so our area will be back to zero.  But no problems, I know that they'll be baptized up in Beira.  

This week are the elections.  They will be held on on the 20th of this week.    It's interesting to see all of the excitement that is going on because of the different parties.     Well, because of the elections our P-day was moved to the 20th, but we were given brief permission to write home, but now it its time to get back into the area.
'Elder Greenman

Friday, November 15, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Manga, Hello to Maputo

Andrew's childhood friend, Jacob Lake serves in the same mission. Together they are doing great service in Mozambique. Elder Lake is leaving as AP and Elder Greenman is coming in his place.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Back to Maputo

On Monday night  I left Manga.  I called a taxi to come pick me up and take me to the airport.  I said a few quick goodbyes to the Elders in my district and got into the taxi.  The taxi was  not an old car, but it sounded like it, rode like it, and smelled like it.   After arriving and checking in I took my place waiting for the plane to arrive.  It did, but about an hour late.  I  was without a phone and knew that Elder Lake and Elder Brandão were probably  already waiting at the Maputo International Airport.   When I arrived in Maputo it was midnight so we went directly home to rest up for the day.    Elder Lake was the assistant to the  president.  He would have been transfered already under normal circumstances but because Elder Brandão and I are whitewashing our area, and coming in at the same time, Elder Lake stayed until Wednesday night to give us a crash course on how to be an assistant.    On Wednesday Elder Brandão and I finally had our first day in our new area.   By new area it means that it is new for both of us and also missionaries weren't working in it before us for months, and months.   We're starting from zero.  The main thing we are doing now is just family finding.    Just like preach my gospel teaches, "Nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach."   This past week we only had 4 lessons, but we found two new families.  I'd like to share the story of how we found the first.  Their names are Mario and Ámina.   On wednesday night we were working in Minkadjuine. (one of the neighborhoods that is in our area)    Minkadjuine consists of many small, tiny, and maze like paths that snake between all of the cement and sheet metal houses that are there.  While going down one of these paths, we had  the idea to knock on a certain gate.  (it wasn't a strong impression, it most often isn't.  But it was something simple like and idea or thought)   We knocked on the gate.....no answer.   We knocked again and heard some ruffling.  We heard an older man's voice say that he can't answer the   door, because he can't walk.  We asked if we could come in, he said yes.   After coming into the  house we beheld an old couple with gray hair in very  humble circumstances.  The wife of the man didn't really speak portuguese very well, neither did he, but they felt like royalty after the visit.  Its interesting what a smile, or a quick prayer can do to shine a little light in the life of those that don't have the gospel.   Before we left we asked if there was any family who lived with him.  (there was another small house on his property)  He said that his son and daughter in law lived with them in the other house, he went on to explain that neither of them were home at the  time.  We asked for his son's phone number.  They couldn't for the life of them remember.  After trying to help them, we decided to leave a pamphlet with our number on the back.   After a prayer we left, not really thinking much about it.     The next day....thursday.  We were back in  our area but in another part called Mafalala. Again the thought came to turn down a certain road.  After a while we found a man walking the other way.  We stopped him and talked to him about our message, we asked him if he would accept to be baptized by someone who has authority.   He said yes.   We asked for his number.  He said.......that he didn't have it, that he didn't really remember his number.   Elder Brandão asked if he could show us to his house at least so that we could come another day.  (yup,  i bet you're catching on)   We began following Mario on the roads of Mafalala.  We came to the boundary and crossed the road into minkadjuine.    (I'll admit that at this point I still hadn't made the connection that this Mario was the son of the old man we had visited yesterday)   As we walked with Mario we talked about his life and his family.   He told us that he lived with his wife, son, and his parents.  He mentioned that his father had been with troubles of walking lately.   (Bingo!  thats when I made the connection.  Everything fit into place.   I looked around me and recognized where we were.... we were at his door.)    His wife wasn't home at the time but we were able to get his number and we marked to come by again.   
The other family we found is Agustino and Camila.  Also a good family.   Of all of our four new investigators this week however only Camila made it to church.  But that's okay, she also brought her father in law.  Also when we got to church we found a member referral there named Fernando we we are going to go teach here in about an hour.  The referral was from David Hamblin who has been doing some humanitarian work here in Mozambique for several years.  He has worked with Fernando for six years and fernando has accepted to be taught by the missionaries.   We are very excited to teach him tonight.      
I love serving with Elder Brandão.  He is 23 years old and is from Cape Verde.  He is a convert to the church with a very interesting conversion story. (story time will have to wait, it's getting late)   Both he and I are learning the ropes together.  
Its nice to be back in the Maputo 2 branch.   I was happy to see so many of the members that I knew, and also see the two families that I baptized are still active and coming.     I was also able to see Omar and Gina from maputo 1, also active.  Oh the joy of seeing those I taught still holding fast to the iron rod.    The sacrament meeting was good, other than  the lady who gave the last talk and talked for 40 minutes and the meeting ended 27 minutes past the hour.  ooops....
Well, time is up.  Until next week.

-Elder Greenman

Monday, November 4, 2013


This week was very satisfying.  Elder Mason and I worked incredibly hard.  The sun has been scorching and because of that some rain came on sunday which scared a lot of people into not coming to church.  What have I learned this week?
I've learned more about the importance of inspiring people instead of requiring them to do stuff.  In alma we learn to be bold, but not overbearing.  I've felt as if many of the people I have taught felt as if I was requiring them to change their lives.   The past two weeks much of my personal study has been dedicated to know how to inspire and motivate the families I teach to do what God requires of them.  Before we can motivate someone to make a leap of faith we need to understand the big picture and what they are going through.  Without understanding we cannot help them overcome their obstacles.  One of the differences between requiring and inspiring is understanding.  When I don't take the time to understand everything that is going on in my investigators life, when I teach a commandment and say that it needs to be followed as soon as possible, the investigator will feel pushed to do something that he does not think he is capable of accomplishing.  But, on the other hand, if I do everything I can to understand the investigators situation, then after teaching the commandment they will feel like I know what they are going through and am confidant the Lord will help them overcome the obstacles.  Listening is so important.    Elder mason and I had a goal to have 10 families at church this sunday.  On saturday night we had 15 that committed to come.  On Sunday morning the rain clouds came and we only had 3 full families at church.   

I've grown very much here in the Manga zone and I'm very sad that I'll be leaving tonight at 20 hours.  I'm going back down to maputo and I'll be serving with Elder Brandao from Cape Verde as an assistant to the president.  It's so hard to leave an area like the one Elder Mason and I have.  We have a goal to have 4 families baptized this next transfer.    I'm nervous, but excited to go back to Maputo.  I found out today and I'll be leaving tonight, so basically I have a lot of packing to do.  I know that this is the Lord's work, I have felt his strength holding me up, for my strength is nothing.  There is no way that I'd be able to do all of this without his strength.  The church is true.

—Elder Greenman

Editors Note: I received a note from President Kretly just after Andrew wrote this email and I will include it here:

 Elder David Andrew Greenman has been called as Assistant to the President.  In  this calling he will assist the President on his duties to plan, train and teach all other missionaries.  He was called in this position because he has been an excellent missionary worthy of our trust, he has had many fruits and much success in his missionary work, and has also been a great example for other missionaries. Besides helping in the mission office he has his proselyting area and he will continue doing the work of a normal missionary: finding, teaching, baptizing, confirming and helping people endure to the end.        
This experience will help him develop many skills that are not used only for the mission but for the rest of his life.  Thank you for preparing such a wonderful missionary.  Your continued support and prayers for him and his work are greatly appreciated.  Thank you very much.

With love and appreciation,

President Paulo V. Kretly
Mozambique Maputo Mission

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Work Goes On!

Mother's note: Andrew wrote us a personal letter in our "native" tongue, Spanish, this week.He told us that the area, district and zone are all doing better. He also reported the good news that 5 of their current families attended church this past sunday and are all progressing. Andrew has been able to respond to the call of need as a leader in his zone and help others in their struggles. He feels the closeness of the Spirit as he serves and loves his fellow missionaries.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Service and Love: The Fount of all Goodness

I know that as the Lord sees our desire through our actions (our faith) he begins opening up doors and helping us find the way.  Various times in the scriptures it says, “ask and ye shall receive.”  But it doesn’t just stop there.  He continues to say, “seek and ye shall find…”  The first step is to ask.  When we ask with faith the Lord with give it unto us. Many people however forget the second part.  We also need to do everything in our power to seek and obtain the answer, help, or guidance from the Lord.   Elder Mason and I have been making more steps to becoming more Christ-like missionaries. This past week in one day alone we were blessed by sitting with three new families.  They were really good families.  I also had the opportunity to do two divisions this week. One with Elder Schachterle and the other with Elder Fernandes. The divisions went well.  I walked in  Elder Schachterles area.  It was a very good learning opportunity for the two of us.  They have a new family that they are teaching, and the wife has always refused to sit with them because she's too busy.  Two days earlier for one of our studies Elder Mason and I talked about the elements of a first good lesson.  One of the points that came up was how when Ammon taught King Lamoni he first gained his trust through service.  Before he taught anything, he served.  When Elder Schachterle and I showed up at the the house of this family, the husband had not arrived from work yet. Agusta was in the yard cleaning up.  After saying good afternoon and a quick introduction I asked if I could help.  She said no.  At this moment I learned you can't ask someone if they need help.  I got on my knees and just started helping to clean dishes and her water buckets.  After which we filled up the buckets with water.  At first she told me I was just going to get dirty.  I didn't mind I told her.  I'm here to serve, I responded.  After serving for almost 20 minutes the husband came.  During those twenty minutes, we discovered that she has another church, and just didn't feel like she needed to be taught anything else.  Finally, by the time her husband arrived, she finally accepted to sit with us, but only for five minutes.  Needless to say that those five minutes turned into 30. She began to soften and had many questions. Meanwhile in my area Elder Mason was walking with Elder Lynn. They contacted a man named Roque. He is a policeman, (with a higher up position) and his wife Isabetta is a professor. They marked with him and we ended up teaching him on Friday.  On Friday I did a division with the Dondo district leader, Elder Fernandes.  Elder Mason went to Dondo and once again I walked with Elder Fernandes.  I love being with Elder Fernandes. He is a convert from Cape Verde with a fire to preach the gospel. The division went very well, especially the lesson with Roque and Isabetta and their daughter Sheila.  The spirit was so strong in the lesson, and when given the baptismal challenge they responded yes, and they said it confidently.  
     Tuesday was the day that we taught three new families.  The first one was Domingos and Beatriz.  Domingos is an inactive member who had a dream three weeks ago where he was told he needed to go to church.  So last sunday he came with his wife, who already has her own church.  On sunday we marked to come to their house on Tuesday.  When we arrived the lesson went very well.  On the division we had the next day, Elder Mason and Elder Lynn taught and gave them a Book of Mormon.  They've been reading ever since.  The Book of Mormon, along with the spirit, is our most powerful tool in the conversion of those we teach.  Those who read are those who end up getting baptized.  Omar and Gina, who I taught in maputo and were married and baptized only three weeks after we found them, read very much in the Book of Mormon. The second family we taught that day was George and Sandra.  We contacted him about 3 weeks earlier when we asked him for a ride.  The lesson also went well, and afterwards they gave us (I don't know how to call it in english but I think it's a Dragon Fruit) The third family was Joaquim and Louisa.  I don't think I've ever felt the spirit more strongly in a lesson that I did with them that evening.  
     Things are looking up. Our area is picking up. We are still having a few difficulties in helping our families get past the road blocks they have.  Charles and Judite for example, Charles got back into drinking, and apparantly has become extremely offended by something his wife did and he didn't come to church, but gave a letter to the Relief Society president to be read in front of the Relief Society that talked about how his wife did this and that.   The Relief Society president's husband is Alfredo Camalizene, the district president.  Needless to say that letter was not read.  Also, we had general conference this weekend.  After the sunday morning session I called Charles to see why he hadn't come and he said that he had given a letter to Sister Camalizene that explained why not. We talked to her afterwards and she said that she had it, but that it was not going to be read in front of everyone. (Side note... Conference was sooo wonderful, I was helped so much by the inspiration and ideas that came to me while I listened to the talks, but I'll have to talk about it later because of lack of time.)     
Later that evening after district meeting, which also went very well, we payed an unplanned visit to Charles and Judite's house. I had previously asked Sister Camalizene to bring me the letter, as well, so we could get to the bottom of the situation and see if we could help this good family resolve their problems. When we arrived, we could tell that there was a lot of tension in the air.  After a hymn, Be Thou Humble, chosen by yours truly, Elder Mason and I felt the impression to just read the Book of Mormon with them.  Sister Camalizene still hadn't arrived.  We opened up to Mosiah 4 and started reading in verse 8.  The spirit settled in, and the verses in Mosiah 4 never struck me as powerfully as they did then. Those verses were just what this family needed. Charles and Judite were both there with their two oldest sons, Marcelino, and Miguel. Ages 16 and 14. Sister Camalizene came and pulled up a chair and snuck me the letter.  I was curious what was in it, but as soon as I received it, I felt the impression to burn it. We began talking more about the importance of the family and how it is our responsibility to love the one, and then they will love us.   We were open with Charles and told him we had the letter that he wrote. He responded that it didn't matter because everyone at church already knew what was written in the letter.  He didn't know that it wasn't read.  At this point I told him that, and told him that I also didn't know and that I didn't want him to know and that he would be thankful later on that no one else at church knew.  Then I tried to burn it, the wind said no, so I said I'd burn it later. We talked a lot about forgiveness and how we need to forgive the others.  I'm grateful that Charles was sober at the moment when we talked, and as the lesson went on I really saw a transformation in him.  Sister Camalizene's testimony was essential.  Charles is recommitted to stop drinking and they are going to start working on marriage documents this week.   
     Another great thing this week was that we had 16 lessons with a member present and 12 other lessons. We are using the help of the members more than ever before, all these small things are truly bringing blessings to those that we teach. These blessings aren't so much for me.  These blessings are for the people Elder Mason and I teach.  The more obedient I am, the more people in my area will be blessed by hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
-Elder Greenman

P.s.  We went golfing this morning and it was a blast.  It was just Elder Mason and I.  After paying, the man asked if I knew the course, we said we'd figure it out, he suggested I pay for a caddy.  I told him that we'd probably do fine.  In the end we decided to pay a caddy 50 metacais, more for just having someone to talk to while we golfed.  Their comments were actually quite funny.  One time while teeing off, my shot sliced terribly over the fence and into a small neighborhood.  The two caddies, I'm sure were just trying to make me feel good, so they said it was a good shot.  Yes, they actually said that, then went on to say that it may have gone off the course, but that the velocity was perfect.  So that was good. I'm glad to know that the velocity of that hit was perfect. 

Above is the Durian Fruit, usually grown in Southeast Asia. It is known as either highly repulsive to some or wonderfully aromatic to others. I (mom) wonder what Elders Greenman and Mason thought of it. The thorny husk has been known to draw blood, but the soft custard-like flesh is quite a delicacy, especially in Thailand. I wonder if Andrew remembers when I bought one of these several years ago?

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Atonement is Infinite

Hello hello!  This week was another difficult one for us.  We’ve had a lot of lessons drop.  We took the time to look at some of our numbers for the past six weeks.  Of the 116 families that we’ve found so far in these past 3 weeks, only 16 of them have actually gone through.   This transfer we’ve marked 136 lessons and all of them dropped except 70.  Solution…..we need to start at the beginning of the problem.  Preach my Gospel teaches that nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach.    Of all the phases of missionary work, we need to work on finding.  Elder Mason and I do fine on getting our goals to find families, but we’ve decided that we need to up the quality of the families that we teach.  We are called to gather the Lord’s elect for they harden not their hearts.  D and C 29:7.  In the three weeks that we have left this transfer we are going to pray and ask for the Lord to put these elect families in our path.  At the end we will compare the lessons marked and taught stats with what is shown above.  We believe that there will be great improvement.   President Kretly came to Manga this week to interview all of the missionaries.  We was going to have us meet at the Chapel, but I suggested that he meet with the Elders in their actual houses so that we can also get a feel of the homes and how the missionaries are living when they are not in the area.    I was so excited and glad to have an interview with President Kretly.  It was my third so far on my mission.  It was also very long.  He and I talked a lot about my district and my zone. 
I’ve noticed how incredibly much the Lord is blessing Mozambique right now.  One year ago what is happening was not happening.  What changed?    I like to think of 4th Nefi  and about the pride cycle.   It is interesting that after the 1st and 2nd generations died that is when the people began to be prideful.  Why?  They began to forget.   Nobody who had seen Jesus Christ  and had witnessed his visit was among them, other than the three nefites of course.    I like to apply this to our mission.  I was here before, when things were so different, but many Elders who were, along with me won’t be here after six months.   Who will remember what things were like before?  Why is it important to remember the past?   So we don’t repeat it.  In Alma 5,  Alma  while preaching reminds the people of their ancestors and their parents and how in their time of bondage they were freed.  They needed to be reminded.
Something I’ve been thinking about lately is that missionaries like me who have witnessed the change may become satisfied with the change that has already happened.  I know that the Lord has so much more in store for Mozambique, and the entire world, so who am I to be satisfied with the growth that has already happened.  Of course I am amazed and so grateful for it, but the moment we become comfortable with where we are at our rate of progression slows down.   When I first started my mission, when President Kretly came and gave the first Zone conference all of us truly felt and saw the need for change and growth.  We knew what we had to do.  We recognized where we were, where we needed to be and began applying Christ’s help and atonement to get there.    Because of our desire to change and sanctify ourselves the Lord has blessed these people immensely.  I wonder what will happen to the future generations of missionaries, if they come thinking that we are already where we need to be.  I believe that the same urgency for change that I felt at the beginning of my mission needs to be felt now.  We can avoid the pride cycle as we constantly look at where we are, acknowledge where we need to be, and use Christ’s atonement to get there.  Last Zone conference we talked a lot about where we are, and where we need to be.  I know that the miracles will continue to happen if we continue to sanctify ourselves and continue to desire repentance. 
Elder Mason and I have commited to have much more effective planning sessions.  We are making more specific plans to get our goals, and we are doing everything we can to get those goals.  Last night in our Daily planning while planning today we not only made a goal to get our 5 qualified contacts, but more specifically planned during the day when we would get them, for example, we planned to get at least two contacts on our way to the city this morning.  After we finished a great study this morning we headed out the door and by the time we made it to the city we had 4 qualified contacts.  And they were quality contacts.  One works at the city water department in an administrative position.  One had a very good job (biochemical something or other) and a very good car.   It takes about 30 minutes to get from Manga to the city.  There is public transportation, called chapas that can take you there, but we prefer to hitchhike. (it’s not really hitchhiking but it works out nicely because this way we get the opportunity to talk to more educated people that have good jobs and don’t work on Sundays. )  on one of the rides we got this morning two men were in the front and having their own conversation so we silently sat in the back and enjoyed the free ride.  When we almost arrived I decided to but in a  little on their conversation and ask them if they had already heard about our church.  The drive happened to be muslim but the man on the passenger side said that he had heard about it before.   But didn’t seem to show that he knew much about it.  The conversation evolved and he let us know that he “used to be one of” us.  That he almost served a mission, that he had the melchizidek and Aaronic priesthood.  (I enjoy speaking with inactive members who have an open heart like this man did)  I felt impressed to aske him, “Do you remember your baptism? How did you feel that day?  Why do you think you felt that way?”  I didn’t ask them all together like that, but gave him time to answer them.   I really feel that helping an inactive remember what he felt before, and why he felt that way, then testifying about the atonement  helps them know they can feel that way again.   Danilo, the man, spoke about the book of mormon and how it had helped him change his life.  I testified that it can change his life again, that all of us are continually in the process of changing and becoming more like Christ.  We took his number and are going to give his number to Elder Galland and Kanaga who work where he lives.
-Elder Greenman

Monday, October 7, 2013

Rain, Rain, and more Rain

     This past week was so sunny, except when it rained almost every day.  

     You’ll remember that last week I mentioned Charles and Judite, and how he had a major addiction to alcohol.  I’m pleased to announce that he has been alcohol free for 9 days.   He is doing so well.  This family has been investigating the church for a little bit more than 6 years.  The only thing stopping them from getting baptized and receive the blessings from God that comes with baptism by someone holding authority is following the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom.  They have 5 kids as well, who began investigating, but in this 6 year process have stopped coming to church.  Charles works for the city police department and works in an office.  He is set on getting married and baptized on oct. 26th.  He is doing so well as far as alcohol goes.  He has become a new man.   We are working on the marriage documents with him now.  One problem that we’ve come across is that he does not have his B.I.  or Identification card.  Why?  Because he gave it as collateral for his drinking debt to man that lives in a neighboring town.  He has racked up 2500 meticais in debt.  For some people that is the equivalent of what they would earn in a full three weeks of labor.  In our money it is less than 100 dollars. 
     Many obstacles are being thrown up against the date of oct. 26th.  But Charles and Judite are so ready to enter into the waters of baptism.  Charles told us last night that we are the first and the last. That there have been so many missionaries that have passed by his house trying to convince him but that we were the first that managed to do so, and that we would be the last missionaries to teach him.   We told him that it wasn’t us who convinced him, but that it is a blessing for us to be the ones to serve and help him.  So that is one of our success stories. Another happened on Wednesday night. We had a goal to get four member-present lessons that day, and by lunch time the members we had planned to teach with started dropping like—something that drops very quickly.  We knew President Kretly was in Beira so we called him and asked him if he would have time that evening to drive to Manga and come teach a lesson with us.  He said he could.  We ended up getting 3 member present lessons that day and they were wonderful. 

     We are currently teaching two families that are referrals from other members.  The two families happen to live near each other.  They are, Joao and Luisa, and Joao and Amelia.  (I sent a picture of Joao and Amelia's family two weeks ago)  On Wednesday night we taught the day of the Lord to both families.  The member that taught Joao and Louisa with us was President Elias, a counselor in the branch presidency.  The lesson went well.  We needed to teach it because Joao had not yet come to church, but his wife always would.   After the lesson ended we hurried up to the Manga Chapel where we would meet with President Kretly to teach our last lesson, Joao and Amelia.  We got into his car and drove most of the way there, then took a small path on foot that led to their house.  We needed to teach the day of the Lord to this family as well for the same reason, the husband has never come to church, but the wife has been coming for 6 weeks now.  Their family is so special, but it’s going to be hard.  The father, Joao, always lets us know that he is very catholic.  (the thing is, is that he never goes to church, he only goes once a year in January.)   We had one of the most powerful lessons with this family.  They have four kids.  Arculette, who is 18,  Cristina who is 16, Samo who is 11, and Gerson who is 5.  Samo has been coming to church for three years, he is such a responsible young boy who helps around the house.  His mother Amelia says that she has started coming to church, because of the difference she sees in her son, and she desires all her kids to be like Samo.  In the lesson we talked about that, and helped them recognize that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can really change people.  The lesson was intense, and powerful.  Joao was still saying that we was catholic when we committed them again to baptism, but at the end we helped him recognize that all we were asking was that he would ask Heavenly Father if this is the path he needs to take.  It was an edifying lesson.
     The next day we had Zone conference…..wow!  Mind is blown.    President Kretly has been working closely with the area seventy to get Mozambique ready to have stakes.  The area seventy took the matter to the twelve and Elder David A. Bednar prayed and thought a lot about Mozambique and the direction it needs to take now.  The plan that was presented is that we would have 4 stakes ready by march of 2015.  Elder Bednar said that we can go ahead and divide our two districts and get things ready but as far as stakes go, they will become stakes when the districts are functioning properly and well.  So for now we don’t have a date on when we’ll have stakes but we have a few mission goals.  By Jan 2014, here in a couple of months, our mission goal is to have 8 new branches.  Three of those eight will be in Manga alone.    So we have a lot of work to do here in manga.  The three branches in Manga are reaching the frequency of 200 each.  The Manga 3 branch had 233 people yesterday.   Back home, can you imagine a branch with that many people?  That is a lot of load and responsibility for a branch president.  They will be split soon, but shhhhh, the members don’t know yet.
     I’m very excited for what is coming ahead.  I have a wonderful Mission President who is so good at giving us a vision for what needs done.   He helps us know what is our part in getting that vision.  I really feel like our mission is a team and are all working towards the same goal which is establishing the church here in Mozambique through real growth and by becoming extraordinary missionaries.  We are working hard to get stakes here, and working hard to find the elect.  We are laying the foundation for the church here in Mozambique for the years to come.  Right now, we are specifically looking for leaders, and the Lord is putting them in our path.

-Elder Greenman

Monday, September 30, 2013

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. —Aristotle

I find it very interesting the changes that we go through over a long period of time.  We don't notice in our day to day life but after a few months we notice how much we've changed, or not changed.  I have noticed how much I've changed on my mission.  Especially after about 9 months I looked back on how much I've changed.  Just this past week I've looked back on my mission since those 9 months and have realized that I've kind of stalled.  It’s a sobering realization, but I feel as if I haven't been progressing as much as I need to. One thing that everyone needs in life is time to reflect on his past.  The more often we do this the sooner we are able to correct our course and make goals and plans to progress.    This week was one of reflection and commitment to do better.  

We've dropped several families, but we have found some new ones, and the Lord has guided some families to find us.  This week we found a family with 9 kids who are all of baptismal age.  Only 7 of the kids are at home with the parents, Chibante and Agusta.  They all accepted baptism.  That was a miracle.  We were walking in our area near a big catholic cathedral, and down a dead end path we saw a beautiful red brick home with delicious looking grass.  (Mother's note: I don't think Andrew was hungry to eat the grass, only hungry to see it. I believe it is a rare sight for him in that part of the world.) Out of curiosity we took the path.  As we came to the gate we saw the mansion and were satisfied.  This house apparently is where the leaders of that Catholic Church lived.  We started walking away, but then felt we needed to go back.  We did.  As we came to the gate of the house again, we looked to our left where there was another small gate that belonged to a small humble house.  We looked in and asked the people in the yard if we could enter.  Forty minutes later we walked out, all of us edified.  The Lord had brought us to a wonderful new family to teach.  They didn't come to church, because they were all traveling that day, but they will come next week. 

Another family that we have started teaching is Charles and Judite.  They have been investigating the church for so many years.  He has a major addiction to alcohol.  His wife is always at church, we thought that she was already a member, but now that we know she isn't we started teaching them again.  The one lesson we've had with them since was very powerful.  We talked about faith in Jesus Christ, to the point of changing our lives.  They were both at church, and participated fully.  Charles is a very intelligent man, has a good understanding of the restoration, and even has a good position in the Police Department where he works.  (Mother's note: see last week's picture of Andrew and Charles in his policeman uniform) He becomes such a different man with the alcohol,  we are helping him recognize who he truly is, and how he can become who he is.    He is making large steps of faith.  He is working on their marriage documents, and they have accepted a baptismal date for the 26 of October.   We will need to act quickly because one of the marriage documents alone can take up to 20 day to obtain.   

Sunday went well.  The three families that were baptized in our branch were all confirmed.  It was a beautiful thing.  Ten people were confirmed during sacrament meeting and the spirit was there confirming to our souls the acts of righteousness that were taking place.   I don't think I mentioned it last week, but last Sunday when Elder Mason and I arrived the first counselor pulled me aside and asked if I could give a 10 minute talk during sacrament meeting.  I told him I would, so I took my place on the stand and started organizing my thoughts on Faith and the Atonement and how, coupled together, our lives can and will be changed.  There were going to be three speakers,  A recent convert, the first counselor (Elias Joaquim) and Me.   When they announced the first speaker, Helena came up to let the branch presidency know that she had never been asked to give a talk and had nothing prepared.  Brother Elias turned to me and said that together we'll take up the meeting.    I was so grateful for the opportunity I had to speak.  I know I learned so much.  I was also able to tailor my message to my investigating families who were present in the congregation.    One specific point I stressed was that, not only is it possible to change our lives, but that change can begin happening immediately.  I shared how when Christ called his disciples they, too, left their nets immediately and followed him.  I guess the branch presidency liked my talk because after church they asked my companion Elder Mason who had been here for less than a week to give a talk next Sunday.   Elder Mason accepted.  And this Sunday he gave a wonderful talk.  His language is coming very well.  He participates actively in lessons and does a phenomenal job at sharing personal applicable stories that the investigators can relate to.  I love my companion.  He and I have committed to do better every day.  

After church on Sunday we had district meeting.  I gave a training called, Born for Greatness.  I talked about our divine potential.  Our capacity and how to obtain it.  During the training we had a mini solo time where each elder reflected on his mission and defined the things he needs to do to become that Christ-like missionary that he committed to be.  It was a very spiritual meeting.  At the end we made goals for this transfer.  We have three companionships in our district and branch.  Last transfer each of us baptized a family.  Currently one of the Companionships has another family ready to baptize, Elder Mason and I along with Elder Galland and Kanaga do not.  But we made a goal in faith that we would do another collective marriage on the 25th of October and we know that the Lord will help us all have at least one family for that date.   I'll keep you all posted on that in next weeks email.  I love you all!
-Elder Greenman

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Speculating About the New Companion

     This week seemed to fly by so incredibly fast, up until Friday.  From Friday on… the week just crept by at a snails pace.  On Friday we had a zone service project at the Chapel where we deeply cleaned all the areas that are usually not cleaned by the members.  It went really well.  We did the project in preparation for the Marriage that was going to happen the next day.  Surprisingly, I did not feel very stressed,  I knew everything would turn out well.   I received a call from the assistants later that afternoon letting me know about the new elders that would be coming in.  Of the five new Elders who came this transfer two of them came to the Manga zone. The assistants did not tell us what was going to happen in transfers, but just told me with whom the new Elders would be. One of them, named Elder Mason is actually going to be with me.  Elder Thomas has finished being trained and he is getting transferred to the Manga 3 district where he will finish training another Elder.   I am so grateful to have been Elder Thomas' companion.  He is honestly one of the hardest working companions I've had.  The good news is that I'll still see him around, he will still be in my zone.  There were not a lot of changes in the Manga Zone, so we'll be able to keep going with the same momentum.

     Elder Mason came Friday night at 11:30.  Elder Thomas and I just waited in our rooms until he came.  We really couldn't sleep.  To pass the time we took turns guessing what Elder Mason would be like. I guessed that he would be from Utah, would have brown hair, and I even guessed that he graduated from Davis High (in Kaysville).   Elder Thomas lived in Farmington and went to Viewmont. We got a call from the Snelsons saying that they had arrived.  We started out the door, but then Elder Thomas stopped.  He was wearing some Davis dart shorts that he had found while on the mission, and he took them off and switched, he said it was just in case that Elder Mason did graduate from Davis.   Well as soon as Elder Mason was in and settled we asked him where he was from.  He said Farmington, we asked where he went to school and he said Davis.    Elder Thomas and I looked at each other and just laughed, I couldn't believe that I had guessed right.

     The next day was Saturday so we woke up early and headed off to the chapel to get things ready for the marriage.  The marriage went really well.  I'll send pictures.  The week went well.  We are teaching two awesome referral families, and I'm sending a picture of one of them.  Joao e Louisa and their kids.  I love you all, until next week.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Interviews Schminterviews

     Sometimes I think I have it hard, then I think of the pioneers.  This week the breaker in our house kind of blew up.  So we have been out of power for a few days (hello hot sleepless nights).  Oh, and bucket showers as well.  
     This week has been pretty exciting.  This past week I did a total of 33 baptismal interviews (including the 17 I did last Sunday).  This past Saturday 21 people were baptized and our zone still estimates another 23 people being baptized this next Saturday and Sunday.   We'll have the collective marriage this Saturday at 11.  You are all invited.  We will have a total of 6 families married that day and then baptized on Sunday after church.  Three of the six families are from Dondo; the other three come from my district.  Each companionship in our district will have a new family, even Elder Galland and Kanaga who opened up a new area this transfer.  Their family is Titos and Ana.  They were found my first day here.  Elder Galland was waiting for his companion so he walked with Elder Thomas and I in our area.  By the end of the day we decided to go to Elder Galland's new area and knock some doors.  We found a man who said he was a traveling pastor.  He let us in and we had an okay lesson with his family.  At the end of it, Elder Galland was a little doubtful on coming back, I told him it was worth a shot.   And now, that family is getting married and baptized this Saturday with 4 of their kids.   
     This week I've been slammed with a lot of things in preparation for the collective marriage and also the baptism we had last Saturday.  Last Saturday the majority of the baptisms were of young men and young women who did not have family in the church.  President Kretly's focus is Families.  But many missionaries are now scared of baptizing anybody who doesn't fall into the category of mother, father and kids (a full family). The missionaries feel as if they will get judged if they baptize anybody out of that category.  Because of that, there are so many jovens (young men and women) that have been coming to church for 1-3 years and have been wanting to get baptized.  When I got here I thought to myself, who am I to say that they cannot be baptized because they are not considered a full family.  Well…..they were baptized this past Saturday, see picture.  I told my zone that the focus is still families, that we shouldn't be looking and contacting single young men and women but if they come to our church invite them lovingly to continue learning.  Our solution is that they will be taught by the ward missionaries until they are ready.  I'm glad that those young men and women were able to be baptized.  It is kind of sad that in the case of some missionaries they are too scared to baptize someone who may be totally ready, just because they aren't a family.  In my eyes they are still children of God, and their worth is great in the sight of Him that created us all.   
     This next week we'll probably have the same amount of baptisms we had this week but they will be families so that is another miracle.  Can you imagine having 3 or more marvelous families being baptized all at once into your ward? 
     This week I went on a division with the Dondo district leader.  I wanted so much to go to Dondo and see my first area but I felt that I needed to stay in Manga while Elder Thomas would go walk with Elder Ndala (from Angola) there in Dondo.  I would walk with Elder Fernandes.  This was my second division with him, because when I was in Maputo and he was in magoanine, we also went on a division.  On Thursday afternoon Elder Thomas and I went to Dondo to do 13 baptismal interviews.  After the interviews I left Elder Thomas there and showed Elder Ndala some families in the area book worth going back to that had fallen through the cracks in the past year.  
     Elder Fernandes and I then headed to the chapa stop to head back to Manga.  Good news bad news…..  Good news is that on our way to dondo Elder Thomas and I hitchhiked and saved 40 metacais.  Bad news…When Elder Fernandes and I got to the Chapa stop it was full of people but empty of chapas.  It was getting late and we knew it would still take 40 minutes to get to manga. We walked to the highway and started using our thumbs. Nobody would stop.  I glanced at my watch. It was 8:53.   We needed to be home by 9, or at the latest 9:30.   Finally a big semi truck stopped.  The driver was kind and let us in.  On my way, I felt we shouldn't go in.   I went in anyway (how many times does that happen?  When the spirit tells us to do something, we hardly ever heed it the first time). The feeling came again and then we stepped down and off the semi apologizing to the driver, saying that we had forgotten something and that he could go his way.    I don't know why we were told to go in there, especially because semi drivers don't drive crazy, they drive slow and safe.  Well, then we went back at it, asking for other rides.  It was almost 9 and we were convinced that we would have to stay in Dondo for the night and go to Manga early early the next day. Then out of no where came this Speeding car and actually stopped several yards further.  We asked for a ride to manga and he said to get in.   I don't know why, but I felt the impression that we could go in.  As soon as the doors were closed he sped off at an insane velocity, especially considering the terrible roads and fog that hid the potholes.  He was going 150 km per hour.  Long story short we got to Manga in 14 minutes instead of 40.  And we made it home in time with even more to spare.  To this day I still do not know why we were told not to get into the safe semi, but were told to get into the speeding car.  If anything God just wanted us to get home on time (and boy we did).
     The division went well with Elder Fernandes; we were only able to teach two lessons because the rest of the time we were running around with our heads cut off fixing the baptismal font and getting things ready for the baptism and collective marriage.  Thanks to the Snelson's, we were able to actually have enough towels.  With over 20 people getting baptized, 4 towels were not going to cut it.     
     Elder Fernandes and I had a great lesson at night with a member.  We Taught Jose and Julia the Law of Chastity. They are a new family that we found this week, that are progressing rapidly.  Julia has 5 children with another man who has since died.  The lesson went well. They understood, but were a little skeptical about getting married since they had only been together for 5 months. Then our minds got blown, the next day, Saturday, we called and invited them both to church, he said he would come but he wasn’t sure about Julia.    Later that evening we got a text from him that was very interesting.  It said,  "Good evening missionaries,  I confess that I have sinned before you and before God Almighty, for not having revealed to you, that knowin about adultery and its dangers, I have been with Julia who is a widow with 5 kids, to be my secret lover.  But I have a wife and two kids and it will be with them that I will be at church" We were truly surprised by the message he sent us.  We were so happy that he had decided to change and repent of his sin.  I'm so glad that we taught the Law of Chastity and that he's decided to be honest with us.  He and his true wife and two kids did come to church, and they loved it.  Sadly his real home is not in our area, so we have passed it on to the other missionaries in another branch and with the Best to Jose and Maria (his wife). The Lord works in mysterious ways, I believe that the Lord put us in Jose's path to be able to teach him the Law of Chastity to decide to follow it. 
     Alexandre is starting to go more downhill.  He has begun avoiding us, but his family continues stronger, ever stronger.  I'm so saddened because Alexandre hasn't opened his eyes to see the wonderful family he already has.  He continues with his mistress and he's drinking.
     This is the last week of the Transfer and I'm determined to make it the best.  I've decided to make it the best.   More next week on the collective marriage.  Stay tuned…….
-Elder Greenman