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, April 29, 2013

Blossoms Turn into Fruit

Once again Elder Berg and I had a wonderful week.  I don’t have a lot of time today, but I’ll quickly explain what is going on in our area.  A LOT is going on in our area.  We had 21 new investigators and our investigators with baptismal dates have doubles to 36.  We are teaching 10 really good families.  I have never taught this many families at once before.   Elder Berg and I are learning how to teach this many families at once.  All of them have dates for June 1.  We are going to have another collective marriage on the 31st of May now.  Elder Berg and I are going to be putting it together for our zone.  Good new, bad news.    Bad news is that so far nobody in our zone has a family with the marriage process open.   Good news is, that Elder Berg and I found a family last Thursday that already has all of their documents ready and accepted our message and came to church.  We are planning on opening the marriage process with them this week.  We just need to help them put God first and not their cultural traditions.   Their names are Samito and Tania.  
So short story even shorter is….we worked really hard during the week.  And we were very excited for fruits day. (fruits day is Sunday.  When you see how many investigators actually make it to church)   We only had one family of our ten at church.    Elder Berg and I are trying to discover how we can have more families at church. (more on this next week.)
I know that the Lord is guiding this work!
-Elder Greenman

I made some pancakes for Elder Berg's Birthday!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Law of the Harvest

You reap what you sow.  Elder Berg and I are making an effort to find more people every week.  This week we found 60 families, of those sixty we found 20 people who will progress and we have 18 investigators with a baptismal date.  This week was a very successful one.   Elder Berg and I are always thinking of way to help our zone.  We went on divisions with the Magoanine and Maputo 2 district leaders.  On Wednesday I walked in Magoanine with Elder Fernandes from Cape Verde and my companion walked in our area with Elder Ensaldo the district leader, who is also in my group.  It was a super great experience walking with Elder Fernandes.  He is such a hard worker and is a convert to the church now for about two years.  Before he knew the church he played soccer on a team.  He not only played, but was payed well to play.  After becoming a member he sacrificed all of that to be a member.  The soccer games were always played on Sundays.    He is super dedicated, and knows his purpose here as a missionary.   It was incredible to see the sacrificed that Elder Fernandes has made to serve a mission.  Magoanine is a city that is about 30 minutes out of Maputo.  They have a strong branch there of about 150 people in sacrament meeting each week.   The following day, Thursday, we did a division with Maputo 2.  Elder Berg walked with Elder Miller and I walked in with Elder Ostler who is the district leader for Maputo 2, and also my previous companion.  This division had two purposes, not only was it to give training to the district leader, but to help Elder Ostler in the Office.  He only had one transfer in the office with me, so we spent a lot of the day in the office with me explaining and clarifying things.  After the division he was a lot more relaxed.  He had been very stressed with all of the work he had to do, and didn’t quite understand how to do all of it.  The funny thing about the division is that it didn't even feel like a division.  It felt like normal because we had been companions before and we were doing all the same things. 
We are also working with the district to organize a collective marriage for May 17. The matola zone is doing theirs on the 10th and we are doing it the following week.    Also there are some members who will be going to the temple for the first time.   The members who go to the temple for the first time can take advantage of the church caravaan that goes to johannesburg once a year.  The travel costs are covered by the church, for their first time.  They still have to buy food and other expenses.  As of now, the trip is only once a year.  I believe that now that so many more families are being baptized that that number will increase.
Saturday it rained like crazy!  It started raining after Elder Berg and I had already left the house, so we got completely drenched, and I mean COMPLETELY! haha.  There was also a lot of wind, and I can honestly say that for the first time I was actually cold in africa.    That night on the way home using a chapa (public transportation.  A small van that in america would seat 7-8 people here in mozambique they cram in 20-25 people.)    When we got in one of the men started speaking Xangana to me.  Xangana is the dialect here in Maputo.  I responed is Xisena which is the dialect in Beira I said, "Azungo alipano asafuna longaniembue"  Aparently another person in the chapa who's name is John is from beira and he started laughing.  Long story short  we contacted this John guy who lives in Polana Caniço which is our area.  It was already 8 oclock and John was on his way to work as a guard through out the night.  We took his number and Invited him and his family to church tomorrow.  Well, sunday came and he and his wife showed up with their two kids after church we taught them the restauration and commited them to be baptized on the 1 of June. (happy birthday dad)   
Well, my time is up, this week was awesome, and the work will continue forward.
I love you all!
-Elder Greenman

p.s. Write me.  (that includes my sisters!  xD  )

Before our haircut...

After our haircut...

And Completely Drenched...

Monday, April 15, 2013

God Guides His Work

God really does guide this work.  Elder Berg and I are having a great time together!  We have been super busy as well.  President asked Elder Berg and I to train the Sisters how to work in their area.  On Wednesday we gave a training on contacting.  Later in the afternoon we went out into the area and they made 31 contacts.  They are doing very well, picking things up quickly, and already have an investigator with a baptismal date for this transfer.    Because we walked with the sisters Elder Berg and I didn’t have as much time in our area.  Transfers happened on Tuesday.  Wednesday and Thursday we walked with the sisters.  That left Friday and Saturday for us to work in our area.  When I arrived on Tuesday we didn’t have any progressing families in our area.  The Lord blessed us so much in finding more families.  Up until now we have 4 progressing families in our area.  Three of the families have baptismal dates for this transfer.  Elder Berg and I have a goal to baptize 3 families this transfer.   One of the families are Hermano and Julia.  They work out in the middle of nowhere during the week but live in Maputo on weekends.  They are super open, and accepted a baptismal date for May.  We’ll continue working with them throughout the week, calling them and following up on their book of mormon reading.   Yesterday while on our way to a lesson, we saw a man playing outside with his daughter.  We stopped to talk to him.  Ends up, he is a member since 2008, but has since gone inactive.  His wife and the rest of his family are not members.  We sat with him and his wife yesterday and talked o about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We committed his wife to baptism, then we talked about the law of chastity and explained the importance for them to get married.  We set a date for their marriage on may 17 then the baptism on the 18.   One of the other families  was a reference from a recent convert.  Their names are Amade and leopolina.  Amade has already come to church three times and the two of them are super prepared.    I can’t believe how many awesome families God helped us find in just three days. 
This week the size of our district grew.  There are two Mozambican elders who are waiting for their visa to be able to go to their assigned mission which is London England South, so president has assigned the two to work in the Maputo 1 branch and live in our house.   It’s a great experience living with these two other elders.  Their names are Elder Mabjaia and Elder Armando.   Elder Mabjaia was in Maputo 2 before, so I already lived with him for a transfer.  Elder Armando is from Nampula.  (way up north) 
Well, I would send pictures but the internet place I’m at right now doesn’t allow connecting personal devices like cameras to the computer.   I don’t have a lot to say this just that I know that God has blessed us so much in helping us find more families to teach.  I know that this church is true!
-Elder Greenman

Monday, April 8, 2013

Recognizing God's Hand in the Work

This week was extremely busy.  There were 15 elders leaving our mission, and 10 missionaries coming in. (Including the first two sisters) On Tuesday after staff meeting we had to plan everything out, for example who will pick the new elders up at the airport, and where will the sleep.  We also had a Zone Conference on Friday for the Maputo and Matola zones combined.   Elder Ostler and I started our week as usual with P-day on Monday.   We didn’t go do anything super fun that day; we just decided to do a big spring cleaning in our house.  By the time we finished it was time to go out into the area.  Tuesday we had staff meeting and from there we had loads of secret missions to do for the rest of the day. (Secret missions are things that are assigned to us by President Kretly)  After the secret missions it was already 9:00 pm.  We picked up the assistants and went to president’s house so the assistants could do the transfers with him.  While they did that with President, Elder Ostler and I assembled a new piano that was delivered for the mission home.  Good news bad news…..good news is, that the assistants and President finished making transfers; bad news is we got home really late.   The following day on Wednesday President spent much of his time at the airport picking up the Elders who arrived at different times.  One came from Fortaleza Brazil, 7 came from the US, and 2 came from Angola.   

I have something incredible to say!  These missionaries that came in are incredible!  They have strong testimonies, they already know how to teach, and it won’t take them long to learn how to baptize families.  The Lord that helped and prepared them to serve here in Mozambique.  Everything here in Mozambique is starting to kick off.   Almost all the missionaries have caught the vision of baptizing families to help the church grow.  I believe that before I leave, we will have at least one stake here in this mission.  This transfer our district baptized 10 people.  3 complete families.  Those families have received callings now in the church.  Our branch is becoming stronger and stronger, and the thing is, is that we as missionaries are only STARTING to get it.  We are only starting to learn how to baptize families.  As long as we continue recognizing God’s hand in this, and obey with exactness then God will continue to grant unto us success.  I have a solid testimony that nothing could have happened here without God’s merciful hand.  He guides us in every way, and is preparing more families.  I believe that as we obey with more exactness, serve with more of our heart, and strive to follow the spirit that the Lord will trust us more, to the point that he’ll help us cross paths with more families, and more people that he has prepared.   Key word:  Families.  It just makes so much more sense to find, teach, and baptize families, because that will promote real growth, and will truly establish the Church.  Elder Nelson taught us that it is not one or the other, it is both.  He taught us that we should strive for quantity and quality. 

Because so many new missionaries have come, each member of our district has divided with one of the new missionaries.  I have enjoyed so much the opportunity to walk with these Elders.  They are super open to learn, and have a lot of energy.  It was nice to extend the baptismal invitation in a contact with one of the new Elders and see his reaction.  Elder Rios, one of the assistants who has now gone home taught me so much this transfer, and now I will have the opportunity to teach others.   (he calls it inception.  The act of instilling ideas into others’ minds) So basically I’ve been doing a lot of “inception”   trying to help others understand better how to do things.   Inception is a simple thing.  It can be something as simple as a compliment, or a suggestion, or anything that would subtly help that missionary have an Ah-ha moment.  

On Friday we had our Zone conference.  The conference lasted 9 hours.  We learned SOOO much.  I’m super excited to start applying the things we learned.  One of the things that was defined was the Snowball effect, and how we are going to use it in our mission.  Basically it involves dedicating ourselves to our daily goals, and finding 5 families per day, marking a lesson with one new family per day, and sitting with one new family a day.  By doing this every day, at the end of the week you will have at least one good family that will progress out of the 35 families you found and the 7 you sat with.  By doing this every week, by the end of the month you will have 4 new families to teach.  By the end of the next month you will have 4 new families and 4 progressing families.  By the 3rd month you will have 4 new families, 4 progressing families, and 4 recently baptized families. That’s the snowball effect.  We had 95 baptisms this month.  The thing is, is that those baptisms were done by only 10 companionships in our mission.  You can only imagine what things will be like, when everyone starts following t his pattern.

This morning, Elder Ostler, Cyrier, and I woke up at 4 oºclock in the morning to take three of the missionaries to the airport so they could fly home.  On the way back we stopped by the beach because the sunrise was just to good to not take a few pictures.

Well transfers are happening this week.  President showed us transfers on Thursday because we buy all the plane tickets for those being transferred.  I about flipped a biscuit when I saw that I’m leaving the office.  After 7.5 months being here, I’m going to miss it a lot.  I’m going to miss being so close to President and Sister Kretly and learning so much from them.  To be honest, I’ll still stay in the same zone (which is good) so I’ll still be around President Kretly.   My new companion will be Elder Berg, one of the Zone Leaders for the Maputo Zone.   Elder Berg’s companion, Elder Bateman will be the new AP.  I’ll miss my district and the Elders in it, but I’m happy to still have the opportunity to serve them as a Zone Leader.   Elder Berg and I are going to do a lot of work and a lot of inception. We have a lot of good Elders in our zone who know how to baptize families.  Elder Berg and I together with God’s help will help our Zone to continue learning and progressing.

I know that this work is marvelous, for I have seen the change it has made in other people’s lives.   I know that NOTHING could have been done without God.  I’m super excited for the phase in my mission.   I’m ready to serve even more and look forward to the opportunities ahead of me.   And remember, “You may not live in Mozambique, but in your own way in your own culture, you can share the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.”     -Elder Neil L. Anderson

-Elder Greenman

Monday, April 1, 2013

3 Nephi 8:1

This is such a powerful scripture to me.  In my short time here in Mozambique I have witnessed many miracles.  When I first came into the mission our mission would baptize MAYBE 14 people every month.  Well over 80% of our baptisms were young men or women ages 12-18,  now in 10 months things have changed.  This month we were blessed with 24 families that were baptized and 100 baptisms. Now our mission is baptizing 80% families instead of the other way around.    Last night in district meeting we talked about the power and authority of our calling, and how we can tap into that power.  During our discussion 3 nephi 8:1 came up.   The Lord has blessed us tremendously and will continue to do so as along as we are exactly obedient.

Elder Ostler and I are trying to be bolder in finding, teaching, baptizing, and helping  families.  We’ve made it a point to always extend the baptismal invite in the first lesson.  In fact this week we’ve even given the baptismal invite in the first five minutes, before we even teach the lesson.  We are finding that many people are open to following Jesus Christ.  As missionaries our purpose is to help others come onto Christ by helping them have more faith, changing the lives through repentance, being baptized, receiving the Holy Ghost, and helping them endure to the end.  Elder Ostler and I have begun teaching our purpose at the beginning of every lesson, helping our investigators know from the beginning that we are there to help grow their faith, change their lives, and be baptized by authority.  In fact during a few contacts we have extended the baptismal invite.  We did it in the contact three times this week and all three times the contacts accepted the invite and said they would be baptized. 

Elder Oslter and I had 3 families at church this week and have a goal of bringing  four families next week.  Laivino and Presalina are doing well, the only thing holding them back is getting married.  We have a date set for the 19th of this month.  Joaquim and Argentina were the second family we had at church.  Joaquim had not been coming for about a month.  He said that he had to work on Sundays and that’s why he wasn’t making it to church.  He works at a little restaurant, and one day we were walking down the road where his restaurant is.  He was outside talking with his boss.  I stopped said hello and after talking to the boss, I explained that Joaquim had to come to church on Sundays and can’t work on Sundays.  His boss, surprisingly understood and said that it was no problem.   Well,  that was easy.  The power of communication is incredible. 

As district leader I’m always thinking of ways I can help my district progress and become more extraordinary missionaries.  This week we set some district goals to help us progress.  As a district we have a goal to have 12 families at church.  Each dupla has a goal to bring four families to church.   To accomplish that goal Elder Ostler and I are going to have to teach probably 10 new families this week to find one good one that will progress. 

As far as the office goes, Elder Ostler and I have learned to be more productive and efficient.  We’ve organized this office so much.  This week is going to be crazy.  There are many new elders coming into our mission on Wednesday along with the very first Sisters.    One is an American from Idaho, the other is an Angolan sister from Luanda.  We have a Zone Conference this week that is going to be Incredible.  And then in about two weeks we’ll have conference here.  I’m SO excited to listen to all of the talks.  Okay times up!  Thanks for all the support and letters!

-Elder Greenman