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, January 28, 2013

And Men Shall Be Prepared

It seems as if the weeks are going by faster and faster.  This week blew by super fast, and it was also one of the most successful weeks I’ve had on the mission.    Starting out with Monday night, we got a hold of a contact we had made a few weeks ago.  When we contacted him he had alcohol on his breath, he also didn’t have a phone number, but he showed us to his house where we told him we’d come back on a certain day.  When we came back a few days later he wasn’t there.  We marked again, he wasn’t there.  At this point, we didn’t have his number or a way of getting hold of him.  After a week when we were walking in our area we heard someone calling our name. We looked back and this man was running to catch up to us.  When he reached us out of breath he told us that he had a phone now, and really wanted us to come to his house.  We marked for last Monday and told him that we wanted to teach his whole family.   Last Monday when we arrived we were happy to see that Joaquim and Argentina (his wife)  were there, but even more happy when we realized that Joaquim’s husband also lives there with his wife.  (Lavino and Presalina)  We taught all four of them the first lesson.  The spirit was there, and they could definitely feel it.  At the end of the first lesson we asked them if they would prepare themselves to be baptized on March 2.  All four of them said they would.   When we came back two days later we taught the plan of salvation and the law of chastity.  We asked them if they would prepare to get married on March 1 to be able to follow the law of chastity. These two families were prepared by God.  Laivino and Presalina only happened to be living with Joaquim and Argentina because their house had burned down three months earlier.  If their house hadn’t burned we wouldn’t have found them with Joaquim.  Its absolutely incredible the that God prepares the people to be taught.  After teaching them for the second time, when we were home for the night we got a text from Joaquim saying he had gone to his sister’s house and talked to her about all he was learning.  Joaquim said in the text that the next time we went to his house that his sister and her husband would be there.  (Snowball effect!) When we arrived for the third time, his sister didn’t make it but Joaquim’s brother in law did.  We taught about the word of wisdom knowing that Joaquim and Laivino have problems with it.  By the end of the lesson we had committed them to live the word of wisdom, this includes Elliot (Joaquim’s brother in law)   In one week, they have been taught the restoration, the plan of salvation, the law of chastity and the word of wisdom.  In one week they have made so many changes. 
Elder Largent and I are working really hard and have been praying a lot to help our area take off.   Last Monday it did!   Things are going very well in our area.  The lord is blessing us so much by guiding us to the families that he has prepared.    Currently we have three families that are on their way to be married on the 1 of March.   Joaquim said that he’d be taking care of his wifes missing documents today or tomorrow.  After that he’ll be able to start the marriage papers.  Laivino and his wife don’t’ have any of their documents because they were all lost in a house fire, furthermore, none of them have a job….. they do however have the desire to get married and live the law of chastity. 
This week has been super awesome.  Things are happening and I’m super blessed to be a part of it.
-Elder Greenman

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Well, I’m 1/5 of a century old.
-Elder Greenman

P.S.   This week went incredibly….crazy!  First it started off with loads of rain. (See Pictures)  The water reached a height of over three feet.   Elder Largent and I had to drive through it too!  Needless to say, it wrecked our car, which is fixed now….    The rain came so quickly on Tuesday morning, we got trapped at the mission office, with no electricity, and nothing to do.  We waited the storm out and when 4 o’clock came around we decided we’d go outside and try to fix the car.  Water had gotten into the fuel filter, so after draining it we were able to get it fixed then we decided to make a run for it.  We hopped into the car and headed out.  To be honest it was more like boat.  The area where the mission office is is the only area that it flooded super badly.  It’s one of the lower points in the city and all the water goes there when it rains, so as soon as we got on to some other roads we were fine.

Armando was baptized on Saturday!

 It was such a special experience to have been there, to have seen him progress and change so much.  We’re working with the branch to see if we can give Armando a calling as soon as possible.    He’ll be able to help so much.  In all the classes he continues contributing and contributes so much to the principles of the gospel class.  We hope that as time goes by the rest of his family will follow in his steps.
On Sunday night Elder Largent and I taught for the second time Alcidio and Luisa.  They haven’t made it to church yet, but they have received an answer to their prayers.  We taught the plan of salvation and it was an incredible lesson.  The two of them were participating so much.  They were asking really good questions.  They are both doing the reading, we had left 3 nephi 11.  When we spoke about the resurrection on how our bodies would be perfected Alcidio brought up a really good question.  He said that when reading 3 Nephi 11 Jesus let the others see and touch the scars and marks in his hands side and feet.  He asked, “if Jesus was resurrected then why did he still have those marks.”  
It was a really good question, one that I had never really thought about deeply before.   For the first time I asked myself, why Jesus Christ would choose to stay with those marks.   First Nephi 20 helped me find my answer, because he loves us.

14 But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not.
 15 For can a awoman forget her sucking child, that she should not have bcompassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may cforget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.
 16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the apalms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

So on Friday I celebrated my 20th birthday. To be honest I wasn’t planning on having a party, in fact I hadn’t even told anyone that it was my birthday.    I just made a cake and we all ate it, like it was just any other day.   When Elder Largent and I got to the office later in the afternoon I opened up President Kretly’s calendar on Outlook.  (In the past president has asked us to put the elders’ birthdays on his calendar so that he can call them and wish them a happy birthday.   Well  I hadn’t put my birthday on his calendar but when Elder Largent and I got to the Office I put it on and invited President Kretly to “attend the event”   Elder Largent and I laughed at our little joke and continued on thinking nothing more of it.  We went to our area and Taught on last lesson to Armando.  During the lesson Sister Kretly had called, so after we came out of the lesson I called her back.  She asked if we were heading off to another lesson, we told her no.  She said that President Kretly wanted to talk to Elder Largent and I and wondered if we could drive over real quick.    Neither of us had made the connection yet, in fact we were worried that we had done something wrong and that’s why he wanted to talk to us.  The whole way over there Elder Largent and I were thinking about what it could have been.  We just drew blanks.  We had no clue.  Well, when we arrived, Sister Kretly said that he was in his office waiting for us.  We went in, he smiled.  Things seemed normal, and apparently all he needed was help with his printer.  We solved the problem and then just continued talking to him about how our area was doing.  President Kretly left the office with Elder Largent.  Shortly thereafter, the assistants came in, followed by my companion elder Largent President Kretly, and Sister Kretly.  They were singing happy birthday to me.  Sister Kretly put a birthday hat on my head and Elder Rios (one of the Assistants) had a cake.    Well, I was surprised.  I was not expecting a surprise birthday party, especially from my Mission President.  Anyway, we made our way into the kitchen, and president pulled out some meat from the fridge (a delicious cut called Picania) and we had a huge barbeque, lots of good food and we stayed up probably to late.   At about 11:40 President Kretly told us that we should go home and get some rest. Haha.  It was definitely one of the best birthdays I’ve had.   
So, something that has been kept on the down low, but now is official:
The Mozambique Maputo Mission is now opening up for sister missionaries.   President Kretly had asked for them about 2 months ago, specifying that only native sisters should serve here.  About four weeks ago we received 2 applications for sister missionaries from the US.  We asked president if he knew about it.  He was really surprised that first off we were actually going to get sisters, and second of that they weren’t natives or Africans.   

The church is true no matter where you are, but the church is cooler here in Africa! Haha, just kidding. Kind of.   I am super grateful to be a part of this work here in Africa and look forward to the day when we’ll have a stake here.

-The Elder Greenman

Monday, January 14, 2013


Nothing happened this transfers.  Everything stayed the same, other than two changes because there were some elders leaving.  Last transfers many of the elders were wasting their time just talking about transfers and what would happen.  A few weeks ago in one of the staff meetings he said that there wouldn’t be any changes.  He wanted to help the missionaries focus on the work and not worry about transfers.  I think it’s a good move.  The week before transfers it seems like everyone is calling everyone else trying to find out what is going to happen.  Elder Largent and I, along with the assistants receive so many calls and messages.  We’ve decided not to answer them.  It’s sad that some missionaries will put the work aside just to find out what is going to be happening.   President Kretly even sent out a few scriptures in the email that go very well with what he’s trying to help the missionaries understand. Helaman 16:22
DnC 20:54
With that, it was another great week.  It’s been raining a lot lately, which leaves our areas full of water.  This city has some major draining issues.  In beira about a transfer ago the beira zone had a collective marriage.  They helped 8 people get married and then the next day 21 people were baptized.  It was an marking event in the history of the church here in Mozambique.  We planning one here now!  It’s going to be on March 1st.  Every companionship in the Maputo and Matola zones will have a goal to prepare one family for this collective marriage and baptism.  If every companionship were to prepare at least one family then on march 1 there will be 14 families married which will be at least 28 baptisms.  Elder Largent and I are going to be working as hard as we can to find some.  There are a few families we’re teaching now, that are possibilities.  Armando, is progressing so rapidly, his testimony is growing every day.  Because of his sight problems we have given him the Book of Mormon Discs to listen to.  He has finished the first three discs.  He’s come to church for two months straight and his baptism is this Saturday.  Last Saturday there was also a baptism, we invited him to come and he showed up.   Six people were baptized.  Two of them where a couple, two were brothers about 50+ years old, and the other two were young men.  Armando loved the experience and said that next week was going to be his turn.  Another special part of the baptism was that President Kretly, his wife, and Elder Bricknell (an area seventy) came.    I was able to talk with Elder Bricknell for a while, it was fun to be able to talk to him about his family that lived in Burley.  He is Brandon Adam’s grandfather, and he also served as mission president in the Idaho Pocatello mission. 
This week I’ve been studying a lot about being bold in my teaching.  I came across Alma 38:12 where it counsels  that we should use boldness but not overbearance.  I began thinking about that, I asked myself where is the line between boldness and overbearance.  I discovered that when we are bold we must respect the agency of the people we teach and invite.  If we begin to disrespect their agency we are using overbearance. 
Every day I become more and more grateful to be here in Africa serving the lord.  Elder Bricknell said something very powerful when he was here. He said, “You have two years to serve your mission, and you have the rest of your life to think about it.”
With the remaining year and 2 months that I have left, I’m going to make the most of it.
-Elder Greenman

Monday, January 7, 2013

Best Week of my Life!

It started on Tuesday, when Elder Carl B. Cook of the Area Presidency came with his wife and daughter to tour the mission.  They were scheduled to leave immediately for Quelimane for the first Zone Conference but their flight got delayed until 10:30 at night, so now they had an entire day with nothing scheduled.   Elder Cook decided to call a meeting with all the Zone leaders, the Assistants and Elder Largent and I as well. 

That meeting alone, was absolutely incredible.  It was just 8 missionaries with President and Sister Kretly and The Cooks.    We started by introducing ourselves and where we are from.  After that, he said that since the last minute meeting had cut off our Companionship study that we were going to have one right then.   So he had us open to Preach my Gospel page 10 where it talks about establishing the church.  This was our topic.  We talked in depth about establishing the church and how it doesn’t only include baptizing people, but also helping new converts prepare for the temple, and receive callings, as well as fellowshipping inactive members.   After the meeting he asked if any missionaries had lessons marked that afternoon so that he could go with them.  Basically everyone but Elder Largent and I raised our hands.  My heart tanked like the economy. We had lessons marked at night, because we had a big day planned at the Mission Office.  After he had coordinated who he was going to go with, he paused….silence….then said, “I’d also like to spend some time with the Office Elders.”  I thought he was referring to spending some time in the office with us.  Inside my head I saw us showing him how we did finances and the such, I couldn’t imagine why he would want to do that.

Then it dawned on me, he actually wanted to walk with us.    I looked over at Elder Largent, he was pretty excited.  We didn’t have anyone marked but I knew for sure of someone who would be completely open to meet last minute.  I called Armando.  He answered, and I asked if we could come over to his house, he asked when, and I said, right now.  He mentioned that his wife would be there but he would.  We let Elder Cook know that we had one and that we would love to teach a lesson with him.  We headed out,  Elder Largent drove and I sat in the back seat.   Elder Cook asked what we had planned to teach Armando.  We let him know that our plan was to teach the plan of salvation and extend for the fourth time a baptismal invite for the 19 of January.  I mentioned that because his wife wouldn’t be there, that it would be better to teach the plan of salvation when the two were together.

With that in mind the three of us came to the conclusion that Armando needed to understand better the importance of Authority, and why he needed to be baptized again.  While we were in the  car, on our way to Armandos, we planned all of this out, including scriptures, and who would say what.  We decided that I would start out with 3 Nephi 11 and also 3 Nephy 27 talking about authority, and it’s importance.  Elder Cook would then come in bearing testimony of that and talk about Armando’s responsibility as a father to be a leader.  (we were hoping this would help him realize that he needed to be baptized to show the example for his family.)  After that Elder Largent would come in and extend the baptismal invite for the 19 of January.    Armando, is fluent in English and Portuguese, and German, he’s very intelligent.  We were greatful for his English and so was Elder Cook.  Because of this, Elder Cook was able to speak directly to Armando.  The spirit was so strong during the lesson.  Elder Cook asked him if he had a testimony that Joseph Smith was the Prophet of the Restoration.  Armando, said that he did without a shadow of a doubt.    Armando was definitely touched by the spirit, and accepted the baptismal invitation 100%   We came out of that lesson all edified.

When we got back into the car we had a debrief and after that we were able to ask him some questions.  Apparently Elder Cook has been to Burley, in fact he’s been to Grandpa Terry’s house.  Grandpa, he spoke very highly of you,  at first I was wondering if we were thinking about the same person.  (just kidding,  Everything he said was spot on, and very true.  What he said of you left an impression on me.  The things he said are things that I want people to say of me. )     So all of this was on Tuesday.  That same  night Elder Cook went up to Quelimane, and came back the following night for a conference with many of the members in Maputo.  The district asked the Maputo 2 choir to sing, and I had asked Armando if he wanted to take part.  He said that he did want to.  We arrived that night and at the end of the meeting the District President said that there would be no time for the choir to sing, but tomorrow they would at the couples meeting.  ( funny thing is, is that at the end of the couples meeting the District President  announced the closing prayer, and didn’t say anything about the choir.  My heart tanked again, but luckily he got back up and announced it.
Well, anyway, it was an awesome week with Elder Cook and I’m super grateful I had the opportunity to teach a lesson with him.   Armando came to church again for the 7th time, he even bore his testimony.  It was short, simple, and powerful.  He testified that this church is true.    His wife never was really open with us, but now it seems like she isnt’ only closed, but locked shut.  We’ve been praying that her heart will be softened.
This past year has been incredible, challenging, and life changing.  This next year is going to be even better.  I love being a missionary.  Happy New Year to all.
-The Elder Greenman