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, February 25, 2013


This has been one of the longest weeks of my life.  Last Sunday (not yesterday)  president asked me to call an elder had been serving up north but was having some problems with his toe and needed surgery.  President told me to tell him that he was going to come down here for the surgery and that he was to bring all his bags as well.  On Monday of last week Elder Largent and I picked him up from the airport, and we marked an appointment at ICOR, one of the better hospitals here.  Because there wasn’t enough room at our house Elder Largent, Ostler, and I slept at the Mission Office.  On the second floor of the mission office there is a room with two bunk beds to accommodate new elders coming into the mission awaiting their first assignment.  Tuesday morning Elder Largent and I did our work in the office until about 10 o’clock when we met at the hospital with the Wollenziens. (one of the senior couples serving here,  speaking of senior couples, our mission is in DIRE need of them.)   We waited for what seemed like an eternity before the doctor could see Elder Ostler.  While waiting for him the power went out.  Joy. About 30 minutes later the docter came in, showed Elder Ostler into a room, and I followed behind.  The docter asked to see his toe looked at it for 2 seconds and said that its an ingrown toenail and it needs to be operated on, with that he wrapped up the consulta that we had paid 1800 metacais for and kindly kicked us out for the next patient.  Well…….we already knew it was an ingrown toenail and it needed to be operated on.  Sister Kretly came to the conclusion that they’ll just take Elder Ostler to South Africa to get the surgery taken care of.  Why am I telling you this?   Good question.

Okay so it’s Wednesday now, and president calls me telling Elder Largent and I that Elder Ostler will be my new companion.  I kind of saw that coming.   It was really good because Elder Largent was able to spend  a good part of the week training Elder Ostler.  The transition is going to be a lot smoother.  This week has been crazy  with all of the things that have needed to be done.  Together with the assistants we call these secret missions.    So this week we were given loads of secret missions.  There was only one day this week that we got to bed before 11:30.    We got a lot done this week.  I’m super excited to be companions with Elder Ostler.  He was serving with Elder Lopes in Dondo when I was there and right before I served  with Elder Lopes myself.  Elder Ostler is from Orem Utah, and is an organized, and hard worker.   I know that He and I are going to have a Blast! This transfer.   Transfer week always seems to be the craziest, not only are the elders getting transferred but Elders are leaving and some are coming.  This time we got all of the tickets bought for the elders being transferred by plane and sent them off with the transfer slide.  Naturally I’ll be staying here with Elder Ostler in the office.  I’ve been called to be district leader and am so excited to serve in such a great district.  There are six elders in my district.  First Elder Rios who is from Ponta PorĂ£ Brasil, and also one of the APs.   Elder Cyrier from North Carolina who will be companions with Elder Rios.     Elder Ostler and I, then Elder Coombs from Idaho, and Elder Wartena from Orem Utah, all of which are great missionaries. 
I can’t believe how quick this past transfer went by.  This Friday will be the collective marriage.  Elder Ostler and I will have two families getting married.  Anastacio and Adollina, who have been investigating the church for three years and have been taught everything several times, but they didn’t want to get married,  they got things worked out and will be baptized on Saturday the day after they’re married.   The second family will be Nelson and Celia, found by Elder Barlow, who’s place I took when I came down to Maputo.  Celia will be baptized on Saturday, but Nelson isn’t ready yet because he isn’t coming to church consistently.   He has a hard time because of his work, and it’s been like that for the past 8 months that the have been taught.  Celia has is super excited to be baptized and says she’ll be baptized without Nelson if he isn’t ready.    We hope that Nelson will wake up and start making more of an effort to come to church.

In last weeks e-mail  Laivino and Presalina were going through something.  She left him for two days without saying a word.  On Wednesday Elder Largent, Ostler, and I went together to them. (this is after Presalina had come back)  Joaquim was not there,  and has been skipping out on a lot of the lessons.   Okay so the lesson we taught was on Forgiving Others.  The lesson was so powerful.   Laivino and Presalina was sitting as far away as possible from  each other.    When we came back, (I think it was Friday)  We were overjoyed to see that the two were smiling, sitting next to each other, and back to normal, or even better than normal.  The power of forgiveness is incredible.  I was so happy to see that they had worked things out.  We got a text late one night from Laivino saying that things have really gotten better.  He and Presalina came to church with their little daughter Arishia.   They were so happy, and I too was happy for them.  Laivino almost has all of this documents for marriage, his last one is up in Gaza and this Thursday he’s going to find a way to get up there and get it.  Elder Ostler and I are planning another marriage for March 15 and Laivino and Presallina are preparing for that date.  This week we’re going to have to work hard with Joaquim and Argentina to help them get back on track.   This mission is starting to baptize more families, and I’m super happy to be here for it.  I think that we’ll have a stake before I leave.   SUPER GOOD NEWS is that Angola will become a mission this summer.  Angola really needs a Mission President; it is going to help them so SO much.   Well this next transfer will be one for miracles, I’m super excited for everything that is happening right now.

-Elder Greenman

Monday, February 18, 2013

Families Are Eternal...if only I can get them to understand that!

It’s hard to believe I only  have one more week with Elder Largent before he goes home.We were planning a lot more work in  our area so Elder Largent could go out with a bang, but looks like President Kretly is going have the new office elder transferred a little earlier so he can be with Elder Largent and I for this last week to train him. Regardless we had a very good week. 

 My testimony of families has grown so much deeper.  I’ve witnessed how the gospel of Jesus Christ and his atonement strengthens families.  Another things that has helped me understand the importance of the family is seeing how hard Satan attacks the families.  This we I have witnessed  how Satan is trying  to do everything in his power to Laivino and Presalina from getting married and baptized. 

Yesterday, Laivino wasn’t able to make it to Church (which happened to be District Conference with Elder and Sister Bricknell from the area presidency)   He was sick and didn’t make it.  We decided to visit all of them that evening planning to talk to Joaquim, Argentina, Laivino and Preselina.   Only Laivino was home.  In retrospect I see it as a blessing, because he was able to be more open with us.   He said that he’s giving up, that he doesn’t know if he can marry Presalina.    He looked so sad and began to explain that there was a lack of communication  lately in between them, and how Presalina, after coming home from the District Conference, changed clothes and left the house without saying a word or where she was going.  (this was yesterday, and she still hasn’t come back yet, we don’t know where she is.)    

 Sitting in that small poorly lit room with Laivino Elder Largent and I  had both turned to Ether 12.   We hadn’t planned this, but we felt we needed to talk about faith, that we needed to talk about  hope.    Ether 12 really explains these things well.  We also spoke of when Jesus walked on water, and Peter decided to exercise his faith as well and he went out to Christ.   He also was able to walk on water.  We talked to Laivino about how he too had progressed so much.  When we first met him, he didn’t believe in going to church, in studying the scriptures, in praying to God.   Since we found him he has progressed leaps and bounds, everytime we come to his house he has a scripture that he has marked and wants to share with us.  He also was like Peter who walked on water towards Jesus Christ.   I’m sure that we all remember well that Peter began doubting in his mind, he began to fear.  The moment he began fearing he began to fall into the water.  

We explained to Laivino that marriage is so essential and God want’s him to live the law of chastity and also that baptism is the gate by which he can enter.    I am completely certain that as Peter walked on water the  adversary was doing everything in his power to stop Peter from realizing his potential and his progression towards the savior.   The same applies to us today, as we come closer to the Savior we can’t begin forgetting to do the little things in our lives.  We cannot become prideful or else we will fall.    As Peter began to drown he called to the savior asking for help, asking him to save him.  Immediately the Savior extended his arm to help him.   It was only after Peter asked that Christ extended  his  arm to help.   After this we read Ether 12:27 with Laivino helping him understand that if he would humbly ask with faith, for help, then God would help him overcome this difficulty. 

I know that families are so meaningful and important to our Father in Heaven.  We need to do everything in our power to help them become stronger with everyday.   

The District Conference we had with President Bricknell was inspirational.  He cares so much about this work and has a special place in his heart for missionaries.  I was able to talk to him several times and could feel his love for us as missionaries.   

Armando is doing very well.   We hope that he’ll be getting the priesthood next week, along with a calling.   Anastacio and Adolina, another couple that we are teaching, are going to be married in the collective marriage on March 1st.    Elder Largent and I still believe that Laivino and Presalina and Joaquim and Argentina, also will be ready.   I’m very grateful to be here, and am filled with great joy in helping the families that we are teaching. 
Until next time!!!

-Elder Greenman

p.s.  I’m the worst at writing letters back.  (many you probably already know that)  but I’m sending some letters home with my Companion Elder Largent and he will send them off from there.  That way it’s cheaper, safer, and quicker. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

See Do Get

President Kretly is in Angola right now with his Wife.  Elder Cook of the seventy is there with them.   In president’s absence we’ve been working as hard as we can in the office.  Before he left he went over some things with elder Largent and I.  It’s crazy to think that in just two weeks, I’m going to have a new companion to train here in the office.  It takes about two transfer to train someone here, but President has mentioned that he thinks I can do it in one and then head out to a different area.   Speaking of areas…..
(right now would be a good time to cue some good inspirational music, maybe…chariots of fire?)
Laivino, Presalina, Joaquim and Argentina are……awesome!   They are doing so well.  This past week Joaquim has been so busy we weren’t able to sit with him until last night, but he still is keeping the commitments.  Since day one, he hasn’t been drinking or smoking either!   Laivino is going strong in that sense as well.   Throughout this week, Elder Largent and I have been working on finding new families to teach.   This past week we found one and have taught them twice so far.  Their names are Enoque and Nilza.  Nilza wasn’t able to make it to  church (she’s coming along a little slower)  but Enoque is reading the book of mormon and he came to church.    This week we had 11 investigators again.    Back to Laivino and the others that we are teaching in that house…  The collective marriage date is coming up on the first of march.  We’ve been a little concerned about their documents.  It seemed like things weren’t going to be done in time.  Especially with Laivino and presalina, because the lost everything in a  housefire.  Last night, at their house, we followed up with how those things are going, and set goals of when  they could get things done.  Joaquim said that today he would get his wifes documents done.  Laivino said he would get his wifes done by  Tuesday, and do his on Thursday.  We told them we want them to call us when they get their stuff.  They have until no later than the 20th to register to get married on the first.  So they are running up against time, and money  is also an issue.  Last night we taught about the importance of enduring to the end and how important it is.  This morning we received a call from Laivino saying that he had  managed to get his B.I.  (ID, which is the hardest)   we weren’t  even expecting the  call.  We’re super happy for them.  They are all changing so much.
This week has been a little crazy because something blewup.  That something happened to be what gives electricity to the whole city of Maputo.  So yes, the past two days we’ve been out of electricity.  Our apartment, like any house here, is literally a brick oven  inside without AC.   Luckily it’s all getting fixed and we’re getting the electricity back.    Yesterday at church the first speaker in sacrament meeting droned on for 30 minutes saying nothing at all….. leaving less time for the second speaker who actually did have something  to say.  The second speaker spoke about the law of chasitity.  It was a very good talk, and about 15 minutes after the hour, the branch president  put a not on the pulpit letting her  know that it was time.  At this point she apologized for taking so much time but still spoke for another five minutes.  Those last five minutes are where things got interesting.   (take note that the church is still young here and there are a few tendencies to go pastor john style and yell at the congregation.  She started yelling telling the men that the need to respect women better, that the women should respect their husbands, that we should all stop swearing, that the missionaries need to have patience with the members and families and then a pause… then she started shouting that AIDS is bad.  And that the teenagers need to be careful.   
It was definitely one of the most interesting sacrament meetings I’ve been to. 

The other day  I was thinking about how things have changed so much in this mission.  When I arrived I was told that this mission doesn’t baptized people, that married people don’t exist, and before I arrived the was a mindset that the PMG manual is not useful in this mission.   Since then so much has changed.  Right now in this mission over 100 families are being taught that will be baptized within the next three months.  That number doesn’t include Angola.   IT’s amazing how your paradigm can change your results.    President Kretly  taught us a very powerful principle.  

If we change the way we look at things, it will change the way we go about doing those things, which will change the results we will get.

Well that’s all folks.
Until next week.
-Elder Greenman

Monday, February 4, 2013

Our Area Is Exploding

It was another great week filled with inspiration and perspiration.    Elder Largent and I got rents paid and were able to get the office work done a lot quicker.   We still didn’t have as much time in our area because an Elder had to fly down from Tete to go to the Hospital and Elder Largent and I stuck with him until we went back up Friday night.   Our district is doing a lot of work.  Three of the elders in our district are going to be leaving in the next two transfers.  My companion is one of them.  (I’m super happy that he isn’t trunky)   the other two are the Assistants, one is leaving this transfer and the other is leaving the transfer after.    

Elder Paxman, the assistant leaving this transfer, decided to extend his mission by a transfer.   His entire mission he has had a girl writing him.   (don’t get me wrong, Elder Paxman is one of the best missionaries I know, and is super focused on the work)  but we always joke around with him saying that now that he has extended the girl that is writing him will find someone else.   Well today it happened.  We’ve made fun of him in the past, but when it actually happened today it turned into an awkward turtle situation.  We all kind of looked at each other in dead silence after he read us the Dear John.   It was like that for about 10 seconds when Elder Paxman burst out laughing and we all did too.   Elder Paxman said that the moral of the story is found in Doctrine and covenants 4.

Our area is exploding.  Miracles are happening.  Elder Largent and I are teaching another new family.  This past Sunday we had 4 different families at church and 11 investigators in total.  With all the Elders working in our branch we had almost 30 investigators.    God is truly blessing us by guiding us to the families that he has prepared.    In one house alone we are teaching four families.  Three of them live there and the other lives a little bit further away, so we’ve invited him to come and sit with us.   Joaquim and Argentina are doing very well.  When we passed by there house Joaquim wasn’t home.  At this time it was 9:30 at night and his car had broken down close to the border with South Africa.   He said that he’d do everything possible to get to church the next morning at 8.   Laivino and Presalina, who live in the same house, are doing very well.  Laivino is changing so much.  The first time we taught them he wasn’t as interested, but now there is a special light about him.  He’s so much happier.  He has stopped drinking and smoking since day one that we taught him the word of wisdom.    

The collective marriage is marked for March 1.  Laivino said that he’d be starting his papers this week.  This can be a very hard process, especially if you were born in another province.  Laivino was born in Gaza so that makes things more difficult and more expensive.   Regardless of the difficulty, Laivino has the desire to live the law of chastity and is doing everything possible.  The first day we sat with Laivino and Joaquim, they didn’t have a job.  Since then, they have gotten a job and are saving up to start their legal documents and then get married.    

I feel  that Elder Largent and I are having so much more success right now.  I wouldn’t be able to tell you why it is now that God has granted it unto us.  I know that my first transfer with Elder Largent we were still working just as hard, but now things are happening.    The worth of souls is great in the sight of   God.   Whenever I make a contact on the street, or whenever I’m teaching a lesson I’ve been trying to keep this in mind.  I try to imagine in my mind that the families we teach are going to the temple together to be sealed.  Instead of seeing a drunk man, I look at him as the person he could be.  When we contacted Joaquim he was drunk, but because we contacted him, and taught him, the Lord has guided us to three other families as well.  As human beings our potential is phenomenal.  It is impossible for us to comprehend who we can become.  We do not have the capacity to understand what it means to be a God.  That is our goal, to one day be like our Father in Heaven.   That is Joaquim and Laivino’s potential, to one day become like Him.   Missionary work is incredible.  I’m having the time of my life. 
-Elder Greenman