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, March 25, 2013


It happened....I got hit by Malaria....
It started last Monday, in the afternoon. I was feeling week, and had an intense headache that seemed to be coming from my neck. I thought I was just dehydrated, and that is what I told Sister Kretly, but she said that I need to go to the hospital anyway and take the malaria test. Elder Cyrier was still sick with Malaria and was staying at the hospital. I went and took the test and then joined him in his room and rested in one of the beds there. There I waited the results, I honestly didn't believe that I had malaria. To be honest nothing really exciting happened this week. I just slept and took meds all week. I'm feeling a lot better now, but I'm still a little week. I am looking forward to this coming week to be able to work in the area again
-Elder Greenman

Monday, March 18, 2013

Finding is Keeping, investigators that is

This week has flown by too fast.   Elder Ostler and I spent a lot of time organizing the mission office and we threw out SOOO many things that just aren't ever going to be used.   Now that its organized, we are going to spend the rest of this transfer, only three weeks, training him how to do everything.  President Kretly said that I would have one more transfer here in the office.  (That will be a total of 9 months here in the office)  It can be hard to train someone in two transfers what I learned in 6 months.  Elder Ostler is a quick learner and is picking up things very quickly.   

These past three weeks we’ve been spending more time in the area and because of that we’ve been out of the office more.  Now that I’m district leader and am doing divisions I have one less day per week to work in the office.   Elder Ostler and I have noticed that we need to spend a little more time in the office to get everything we need to done.  This week I went on a division with Elder Coombs in my area.  He’s from Idaho and is a great Elder.  He’ll be finishing his mission in one transfer and a half.  Elder Ostler walked with Elder Coombs’s companion, Elder Wartena in his area.  To be honest  All six of the elders in my district are working in the same area.  (Chamanculo pronounced Shamankulu)   Chamanculo used to be just my area, but all of the other areas are too far away or are just full of muslims, so we are all attacking Chamanculo  which is a gold mine of families.  On Thursday night we started the division and planned our day.  Elder Ostler and I don’t often work in the area during the morning and afternoon, so it was a good experience. 

On Friday Elder Coombs and I did our studies and headed out at 10:00 am to do some contacts.  Elder Coombs and Elder Wartena have been having a hard time in their area.  (remember that preach my gospel says that nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach)  Elder Coombs and Wartena had a harder time with contacts and finding really good families.   That is one thing I tried to help Elder Coombs with and asked elder Ostler to help Elder Wartena with the same.  During daily planning the night before we made the goal for 12 qualified contacts, Elder Coombs was a little surprised by the  number, but by the end of the day we blew that goal into the water and found 17 really good families.  Elder Ostler and Wartena in their division made 15 contacts.   

Elder Coombs and I had a lot of lessons marked but all of them except one fell through so we walked nonstop for 7 and a half hours waiting till our lesson at 20.  We calculated it and Elder Coombs and I walked more than 15 miles.   Elder Coombs and Wartena had a lot of success this week.  They had two new families at church this week that have accepted the baptismal invite.   In district meeting we talked a lot about what we can do to better our district.   Elder Rios and I (one of the assistants)  we taught a lesson and Elder Rios extended the baptismal invite in the first 5 minutes.  The baptismal invite is one of the best ways to find out if someone really is ready to accept the gospel.   After inviting in the first few minutes if the person says no, then you can ask why.  From there, there will be a necessity to explain the restoration to them.  After explaining the restoration and if they still won’t accept to be baptized then they aren’t ready.  The great thing about giving the invite in the beginning of the lesson is that while you are teaching the restoration it has a greater purpose, because the make a stronger connection with the restored gospel and the need to be baptized by someone holding authority.

This Sunday we only had 105 people at church.  Usually it can by at 140 people.  In district meeting we talked a lot about how that number can go up.  This next week it will go up by a lot! 

Bad news…..Elder Cyrier got malaria, and he’s been in the hospitable for three days.  He’s doing better now, in fact our district meeting last night was at the hospital.   We all drove over there and crowded into his room and had a great meeting.   Elder Ostler has been staying with him in the hospital the entire time and I’ve been with Elder Rios learning a lot from him.

This week Elder Ostler and I didn’t find any new families, but this next Sunday I really want to bring four families to church, so this week will be filled with finding and teaching those families.  Laivino and Presalina are doing well, and they have their documents for marriage. Presalina was sick yesterday so she didn’t come to church.  But I’m starting to get worried about them.  Laivino said that she might just be doing everything just to please us and not God.  Laivino said that they would be having a talk on Sunday night and tomorrow when we go there we’ll see how everything is going.   Okay  times up.  Until next week!

-Elder Greenman

p.s.  there was a policy change for our emails.  Now we can write not only family, but friends, priesthood leaders, and recent converts.   So anyone is welcome to write me using david.greenman@myldsmail.net.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Qualifying Our Contacts

The weeks are beginning to fly by faster and faster, it’s hard to believe that I only have one year left, and its only now that I’m feeling like I’m becoming an effective missionary.   Things have seemed to kick off since the collective marriage.    Many of the non members who came to the wedding are very interested in the church now.   We are taking advantage of the references from our recent converts.   So far this transfer ( in two weeks) our district has baptized 9 people.  (three complete families)    Families are the way to go!  I have been called to this mission to help establish the church here in Mozambique and the way to do that is by finding, teaching, baptizing, and helping families endure to the end.  That’s real growth.     In February the Lord blessed us with 16 families being baptized.   The church is really taking off in Beira and a neighboring area called Manga.   For the month of March,  Beira and Manga have collective marriages and baptisms planned for every week.  This past week was Beira, the next week Manga and then on.   One thing we are trying to do is phasing out the phases of missionary work.  Instead of having and area where a missionary would say, “oh, now were just finding investigators to teach,” or “now we’re teaching people so we’ll have to save the finding for later,” or “now we’re just reviewing and teaching our recent converts.”     The idea is to combine all of these phases into one.   Beira and Manga have got that down, and effectively establishing the church in the north.   Within two transfers I’m sure that our zone will also be like that.   This week was a week of learning and paradigm shifts.  On Friday I went on a division with Elder Bateman, one of the Zone Leaders.   I walked in his area, while Elder Berg walked with Elder Ostler in my area.  So Thursday night at 9:30  I was dropped off at the Maputo 1 house and we switched companion for the next 24 hours.   Elder Bateman and I planned our day for Friday and then went to bed.   On Friday, the day I walked with Elder Bateman, I learned so much more about my purpose as a missionary and how to fulfill.   I also learned how to become a better leader and missionary in general.   Elder Bateman had been the previous Zone Leader up in Beira, and had a large part in helping that Zone progress to where they are now.   9 months ago when President Kretly first came he set the standard of 35 quality contacts per week.  He gave us 5 points or guidelines to help us determine who is qualified, and they are:
1.       A man older than 25 with a family
2.       Believes in Jesus Christ
3.       Wants to learn more about Jesus Christ
4.       Is married or wants to be married
5.       Willing to give his number
In these past months we have learned how to contact people that follow these guidelines, but talking to Elder Bateman I discovered that we need to further qualify the contacts, we need to ask more questions that will help us know if there is anything that would impede their progression towards baptism.   For example, many, many men here work as guards.   Guards work in shifts and work on Sundays as well.  Guards almost always qualify with the five points above, but often times do not have the time or ability to come to church.  In Doctrine and Covenants we learn that the Lord wants us to find his elect because the elect will receive us and harden not their hearts.    On Sunday, for District Meeting, I gave a training on further qualifying our contacts.   This was something that my district needed in general and this is why.  “Nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach.” –PMG      It has been hard to turn those 35 quality contacts into investigators that will progress.   Many of the contacts we make will not show up for the lesson, even when you called and confirmed with them 10 minutes ago.   Much of our time is taken in teaching lessons, and only finding out in the lesson that the man has no time on Sunday, and is not willing to make time, or that his wife and kids are currently living up north in the middle of nowhere.     During district meeting we discussed how these things can be discovered in the contact.   It’s hard to explain this, and I hope you are not bored by it yet.   The bottom line is….If we are further qualifying our contacts then we will be teaching better lessons, with families that will progress more rapidly, and will accept our message with a more open heart.   Another thing that helps us know who will progress is to be very open about the law of chastity and word of wisdom in the first lesson.   On top of that, to give the baptismal invite in the first lesson, because by doing this, we will discover sooner who will accept our message and act on it, and who will not.  All of this doesn’t even come close to what I learned this week but I know that these things are going to help me become a more effective missionary.    I told our district that if we are focusing on families to contact, and contacting people that will progress, and not just contacting to get a number and a statistic, then we will have more success, and the Lord will bless us with more families being baptized.    President Boyd K. Packer said, “you get what you go after.”     We want families, so that’s what we’re going after.
Laivino and Presalina are doing great!   They are doing family prayer every morning and every night.   Their two year old daughter is now kneeling and folding here arms as well.   Laivino hasn’t been able to go to Gaza yet, because he hasn’t had the money to, but he said he’s going tomorrow.   In our lesson yesterday we talked briefly about their marriage and Laivino said that many of his friends and family are asking him about the party.  In Mozambique there is a great false tradition to have an immense party along with the wedding.    It is unacceptable by tradition to be married without having this party.   Laivino told us yesterday that he just doesn’t have the money to throw the party, but He’s just going to get married anyway because he wants to live the law of chastity.   He said that he won’t be throwing the party.  It’s so great to see investigators do their best to please God instead of pleasing the world.
We found a new family this week that came to church for the first time.  They are a younger couple with one daughter that is about 1 years old.  Their names are Joao and Nilva.  Joao said that he really felt the spirit at church and you could tell that he’s discovering for himself the path he needs to take.  Yesterday we left them a Book of Mormon to ready 2 Nephi ch. 31.    Then we spoke about the Law of Chastity and they committed to start preparing their documents for marriage.  I’m learning so much as a district leader.   It is quite the responsibility.  Now I think not only of my investigators, but of the members in my district and how I can help them individually to fulfill their purpose as missionaries.   I’m grateful for this work and know that God grants unto us our desires as long as we are faithful and it is his will.  He is capable of anything, and he, through us, can work miracles.  1 nephi  7:12  Right now, I desire nothing more than to help establish the church here in Mozambique through real growth and finding, teaching, baptizing, and helping families endure to the end.
-Elder Greenman

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weddings and Babies

This past week has been filled in with a lot of work, a lot marrying, and a lot of baptizing.                 The week started off with last p-day.  We spent the whole day cleaning our house.  There was a lot of clutter that had built up over the years.  We through out 4 huge plastic bags full of garbage and clutter, as well as about 40 kilos of books and materials that we never ever use that were just taking up space at our house.  Those things we took to the distribution center.    By the time we had finished that our p-day was pretty much over, so we showered and went off to work in our area.   On Tuesday Elder Ostler and I came into the office.   Elder Ostler is learning very quickly, and is starting to understand many of the things we do every day.  In one week he has also learned how to drive stick shift.   He’s doing very well, and I no longer get the feeling that I’m about to die. (Just kidding)     Because of Elder Ostler’s toe problem he had to go to south Africa to get it operated on.  He was gone two days which left me iwht out a companion.  Luckily on Thursday morning I was able to be with Elder Cummings an elder who had arrived the day before.   His trainer is Elder Lake, but because I dindn’t have a companion for a little bit, and because Elder Cummings still had to get his legal documents done he stuck with me.   I had a lot to get done in the office so for the first part of the morning he studied while I worked at the computer.   I was very grateful when 5 o’clock came around and we were working outside.    Elder Cummings and I had a very incredible experience.  In a few short hours we managed to get 17 qualified contacts, that is, we found 17 families who believe in Jesus Christ and want to learn more, who are married or want to get married.    I had never made that many contacts in one day.   Aside from that we  taught two solid lessons with a member.   His name was Baronet.   I’m sending a picture of him, he’s the one with the purple shirt.   He’s part of the branch presidency and was baptized by Elder Largent  in his  first transfer.  
Enough about that I’m sure you’re excited to hear about how the wedding went this Friday and how the baptisms went on Saturday.   On Friday 9 families were married.  It was an incredible event.   The wedding went off very smoothly.    The two families that Elder Ostler and I had really enjoyed it and it was easy to see how happy they were.  Celia, Nelcio’s wife, had been in a lot of pain.  It was very hard for her to walk.   In fact the next day for the baptism she could barely walk at all.  We ended up giving her a ride.  It was easy to see that she was in a lot of pain.   She was 8 months pregnant and also had a bladder infection.    We arrived at the chapel and one of the sisters from the relief society helped her into her baptismal clothes.  Nelcio wasn’t going to be baptized because he wasn’t coming to church because of his job.  Nelcio also wasn’t at the baptism because he was at work.  There were a total of 18 people baptized on Saturday, 6 of which were in our district.  It was a marvelous experience and I’ll never forget it.   When I was baptizing Adelina I almost did it in Spanish.  Ooops.  I caught myself pretty quick so it didn’t turn into an embarrassing experience.    After the baptisms we had a short testimony meeting and I could feel the spirit so powerfully throughout the experience.   On Sunday things got interesting.  Elder Ostler and I left at 7:20 in the morning to walk to church with one of the families we were going to teach.   When we arrived to their house no one was to be found.   By the time we had gotten back to the church it was 8:10.  We were a little late but happy to have made it.  Then the phone rang….
It was Celia she sounded so sick, so exhausted, and tired.  She said that she really needed to get to the hospital.   We called president asking him if we could, he said that as long as we have another melchizedeck priesthood holder with us then we can.  We also invited a sister from the relief society to come with us.   We arrived at her house and she could barely walk.  I don’t know how but we somehow managed to get her into the car.   During this time I kept thinking, “Where is Nelcio?  He should be here helping is wife.”   Nelcio was at work…. and his wife was dying in pain. The entire way to the hospital on bumpy dirt roads, she was whimpering and crying in pain.    In Maputo there are many hospitals, each one designed to service a certain area or neighborhood.   When we arrived I was surprised by how ghetto the hospital looked.  It made me think of world war ll.   After being t there a short while she was transferred to the central hospital.  At this point we went back to church just in time for the sacrament.   Later that night we got a text saying that she had given birth prematurely to a little boy.  She’s feeling a lot better, and their new son is also doing well.   Sunday night we had a training by the zone leaders of things we can do to better the work and get more results.
I’m excited for this coming week.  Elder Ostler and I are going to really implement the things we’ve learned and know that our success will increase as our dedication becomes more intense.
-Elder Greenman