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, July 22, 2013

I Like Being the Minority Here in Africa

Yup,  this week was another week of miracles.  At the begining of the week we went back to follow up with Claudio and Emilia if they were willing to follow the law of chastitiy.  They said not yet.......(then there was an awkward silence in the lesson)   we asked why and he expressed the fact that they still don't have their own house and that they didn't think that their family would accept or even support them.  (in mozambique as tradition, before the man can marry another man's daughter he must show that he can support and sustain a family.  Part of this is to have your own house and not be renting from someone else.)   They brought up various doubts like that.  That lesson was pretty depressing, i'm not going to lie.   We both felt pretty down after the lesson.  But....district meeting to the rescue.  In district meeting on Friday we talked about a lot of things that would help us teach better.  Elder Croft also explained and showed us how to ask better questions in lessons, especially during the Law of chastity lesson.  He taught us how to do motivational interviewing which is basically asking good, inspired questions that help them realize for themself that they Can do it, and to motivate them to do it.   Some of those questions are, "what is the worst thing that could happen if......   or What is the best thing that could happen if."   By asking these questions we are able to discover what their greatest doubts or difficulties are and they are able to discover that they can overcome them.  That friday night we went and taught them with OMar and Gina.  Right after the prayer we asked Claudio and Emilia if they had any questions for Omar or Gina.  Right off the bat Claudio asked them how they were able to follow the law of chastity.   The lesson started right off, Gina explained very well how things happened and testified that they had to do the right thing at the right time without delay.  Even with zero support from their family.  Gina LOVES to talk though and probably used too many words to explain all of this.  As the lesson went on, and as we asked claudio and emilia questions we discovered that the excuses they had given the last time weren't really their doubts.  by the end of the lesson he said that the biggest thing holding them back was on the financial side.  He asked Omar and Gina how much it costed them to get married.  They explained that they only needed to pay for their documents and opening the process.   They explained how the ceremony was done at the church and the members threw them a party.  After omar explained,  he asked, " but I want something even simpler."  (that was music to my ears)  Omar then explained that they could just sign the papers, that they didn't have to even get into marriage clothes and that the branch president could just come to his house and they could sign the papers.  After that was said Claudio and Emilia jsut looked at eachother and said, "that's what we want."    To me it's amazing how much changed when we were able to understand what was truly holding them back.  After explaining that money would not be an issue, they were willing to get it done as soon as possible.    Questions are powerful. Good questions help the person being taught almost teach himself, and discover eternal truths.  When Amon and Aaron taught they used many questions and by so doing they were able to convert many.  Christ also used powerful inspired questions.   Okay.  that is not all.  On Wednesday we contacted a man named Joao.  (John)  he  was super excited in the contact and he is also from Beira.  We marked to teach him on Saturday.  When we arrived we got to know their family better.  Joao and his wife Gina have four kids.  Gina has two from a previous relationship and together they have two more.  We taught the restoration,  their eyes were on us the entire time.  They absolutely loved it.  Before we even started the lesson Joao said that he had gone many different churches in his life time, but he still hadn't found the one that was true.    The day after we contacted Joao, we were walking home late one night and were hurrying to get home, when suddenly a man with a big smile stopped us and asked, "remember me?"  I said yes. l didn't remember his name but I did remember his face.  He went on to say that in october of last year he had been walking with his wife when the missionaries contacted them.    In October of last year I was with Elder Brogan and working on the other side of town. Long story short he said that the missionaries never came to his house and he saw us that night and wanted us to come.  We marked with him, Leonardo, to come Saturday night.  When we came his family was all there.  We got to know them as well, and we hit it right off.  Leonardo is also from Beira, and his wife is from down here in maputo.  They have two little girls, Gina and Shantel.  At the beginning he made it clear that they already go to a church, and one that had helped him through a lot of personal and family problems.  We taught the restoration and the spirit was incredibly strong.  They both felt the spirit and accepted to pray to ask God if it was true and accepted to be baptized on the 18 of August.    Those two families are two of the three incredible families that the Lord gave to us this week.   The other one we found on Tuesday.  We were walking away from an appointment that had fallen throught when we contacted a Man who looked happy and was on his way home.  His name was Abdala. (in my head I was like.....blast, this guy is probably muslim.)   He was.  Regardless we asked if he was close to home and if we could breifly sit down with his family.  He accepted and on they way we made some other questions like, Do you believe in Jesus Christ as the saviour and redeemer of the world?   He said yes with a big grin.  (some muslims here, aren't really muslims.  they just say they are because they were born into that religion but don't really go to church.)  We arrived at his house and sat down with his family.  He and his wife Angelina have 6 Kids ranging in ages 8-26   they all live at home except one daughter who is 15 who lives in South Africa.  We didn't spend much time but sang a hymn, got to know them and marked to come back the next day.  When we did we taught the Plan of Salvation.  Again, the spirit was there very strongly and they had many questions.  
okay so now it's Saturday night and Elder Hamrick and I are thinking of how we are going to get all of these families to church.  We decided to head out two hours before church and go out into our area.  We passed by all of the houses of the families we are teaching.  (we are teaching a lot more than those that i've mentioned in this and previous emails, but I just don't have enough time to write about all of them)    So we calculated that if every family that we were teaching would come to church we would have 7 families at church.  We went by all of the houses and started them on their way to church.  When we got to Leonardo's House he had already left with his family.  Claudio and Emilia too.    Joao and Gina didn't have enough money for transportation so we decided to walk with them to church, but looking at the time I knew that we wouldn't make it before church started, so I called a member who came and picked them up and took them to church.  Long story short we had 4 wonderful families at church.  The assistants who are the other companionship working in our branch also had four!  church was the best it had ever been.  The speakers did a great job and the classes were very instructive and good.  At the end of sacrament meeting Leonardo and Emilia said that they would be there every week, that they would always come back.  They absolutely LOVED church.   Joao and Gina as well, they said that they recieved and answer and know that Joseph Smith really was a profet of God.   That night we went back to leonardo's family and taught again.  We left a book of mormon. and  i'm just rambling a lot right now.  I'm kind of out of things to say,  basically this week was incredible, our area is exploding, and the Lord is doing it all for us.  okay, i'll send picture next week.  Luvs.
-Elder greenman.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pursuit of Happiness

Where do I start?  This week was full of greatness.  In last weeks letter I mentioned Claudio and Emilia, the family that we found after  church.  They are the next Omar and Gina!  What a blessing they are.  We had left him the plan of salvation pamphlet on sunday night and when we came back on Monday to teach he had read all of it and underlined various parts and had many questions.  He was very attatched to his father, and when his father Xavier passed away he was very affected by it.  When we started the lesson with him the first thing he said was that he didn't know he existed before coming to earth.  This realization seemed to give him a greater sense of worth.  He recognized that God is truly his father and loves him immensely.  That first lesson we answered his questions about the reading but didn't teach the Plan of Salvation.  We taught the restoration, and it was one of the most powerful lessons that Elder Hamrick and I had taught.  The spirit was so strong in the lesson.  We left a book of mormon and marked to come back on wednesday.  When we did he was already in 1 Nephi 9.  Claudio and Emilia only had one copy but Emilia was still able to read as well, just not as much.  After following up on reading we talked about the plan of salvation.  We asked a lot of inspired questions that had them interested, involved, and excited.  We talked a lot about eternal families and how they can live together forever.  He asked, "How can I seal my family?,  because I don't know when I or my wife will die."  He had a sense of urgency in his voice, he knew that this was important and that he really needed to seal his family.  Again Elder Hamrick and I walked out of that lesson so edified and with pure joy.  We were so happy to see them progress.  We marked again for Friday.   Friday I was not with Elder Hamrick I was with Elder Barros from Cape Verde.  He is the district leader in magoanine and we spent the day together on divisions.   I love Elder Barros, he is definitely one of the funniest Elders that I know.  We had a great day together, we found many new families.  For our last lesson we taught the law of chastity to Claudio and Emilia.  The adversary really didn't want us to teach so he was doing eveything to mess up the lesson.   Claudio and Emilia's son Chivarley  (one years old) was crying the entire time.  We still able to teach what needed to be taught and they said they would talk together about getting married.  They have already married traditionally so they won't have to worry about paying Lobolo.  the dowry.  They also came to church and loved it.  We went with a member to go and pick them up.  ELder Hamrick and I are doing super well together.  Yesterday we found some other prospective families as well.   Okay sorry for the short letter this time, but there is always next seek.  Stay tuned!
-Elder Greenman

Monday, July 8, 2013

Training, Teaching and Testimony Meetings

Training has been such a humbling and growing experience for me.  I have learned so much this week.  I have learned, or at least been reminded, that Gods way is the only way that will bring happiness and success.   I have enjoyed thoroughly my time with Elder Hamrick.  He is 18 years old and is from San Diego California.  His desire to help the people is coupled with his spirituality and desire to always follow the promptings of the spirit.  Our lessons have been very powerful.  I’m learning how to become a greater teacher, as I learn to discern the needs of my investigators and ask inspired questions.  Elder Hamrick and I found two wonderful families this week.  Carlos and Suzette, and Arnaldo and Amelia.   Both of the families accepted baptism.  We met carlos at the beginning of the week on a Tuesday night, in the middle of the city after walking for what seemed like miles.  We expressed a sincere desire to learn his purpose and find the way that leads to Christ.  We marked to com on Thursday night.  He lives at the very edge of Polana Cani├žo and we had to take a chapa to his house. (shawpa)  It was already dark and when we arrived at the terminal we were surrounded by hundreds of people.  On the way out to an area that was more open so we could call carlos and tell him we were at the terminal to meet with him a drunk man grabbed Elder Hamrick by the arm.  He wasn’t drunk but buzzed. He started accusing Elder Hamrick of stepping on something that he had been selling on the road.  I tried to get the man to release his grip and let us go.  Another man came up to help but got a stiff arm in the neck.  The man pulled elder Hamrick close and started being a little rough with him and checking his pockets.  I don’t know how, but after that it ended, the man left and didn’t take anything.  Elder Hamrick’s heart was beating a lot after that, but we went on our way to our lesson with carlos.  He met us there at the terminal and we went to his house.  We taught about the plan of salvation.  Although he had many questions, his wife was silent and didn’t take much part in the lesson.   Arnaldo and Amelia were found on Saturday when I went on divisions with Elder Ostler the district leader in the Maputo 2 branch. We had contacted him in the morning and marked for six oclock that evening.  When we arrived, his family was there.  There were six of them.  We taught a powerful restoration lesson and committed them all to baptism on the 13 of august.  After the lesson I mentioned that we had a member that was willing to come pick them up at 9:20 the next morning to take them to church.  They all said okay.  After the lesson….I called and found that member who was willing to take  our Family.   The next day we showed up, unfortunately only Arnarldo and the 17 year old son came.   Church was great.  The principles of the gospel lesson was on the sacrament, and all of that was followed by a fast and testimony meeting.  (this is where things got interesting)  Basically only three men bore their testimonies, and they we’rent really testimonies, they were long stories.  One man went up to the pulpit with his recent diploma,  when he got to the pulpit, before a spoke, he put his graduation cap on.  (my head is now in my hands as I think of all the new investigators who came)  well it was one of the longest fast and testimony meetings I’ve ever had.  The man who graduated droned on and on about his story of getting the diploma and how hard it was and how much went into it.  The second man shared a 20 minute story of his first time going to the temple.   
After church Elder Hamrick and I went straight to our area because we were fasting.  Last night we found another family!  His name is Claudio.  We contacted him and went straight to his house to teach a lesson.  His wife Emilia wasn’t home so we marked to come back today.  Elder Hamrick and I are both super excited for the opportunity to teach this family. 
Omar and Gina are still going stronger than ever.  They gave us a reference of a family.  We are now teaching the reference with Omar and Gina.  On Sunday Omar and Gina even went to go bring the family to church.   I love it when the members get involved in missionary work.  Members are the key.  Preach my Gospel teaches us that we will have more success in bringing souls unto Christ if the members become the source of all our investigators.     I’m super excited for this transfer.  I have a lot on my shoulders being the lone Zone Leader and training at the same time.  I know that the Lord has a lot in store for me and I’m excited to see how he can help me become the missionary he needs me to be.
One more thing, in district meeting our district leader Elder Croft who is also the new AP  talked about Paradigm.  I learned something very interesting for the meeting.  It is not enough to be a positive thinker with a positive paradigm.  Gandi said that we must be the change we want to see in the world.  How can we be the change.  Certainly not by having a negative paradigm, and more than just having a positive paradigm.  Sometimes optimist ignore and try to forget what is wrong in the world.  It is still important to recognize what needs to be fixed or changed and then make the change.  That is what I like to call a creative thinker.  Having a creative Paradigm, one looks at a situation recognizing what needs to be fixed and creatively going about to fix it.  During the district meeting Elder Croft showed us three different pictures.  In the activity he gave us one minute to write down every possible negative thing that we could find in the picture.  The pictures depicted traditional African scenes that we see every day while in our area.  After going through every picture pointing out the negative we started again pointing out the positive.  This part of the activity was more fun.  After that part we showed us the first picture again and told us this time to think about how and what we would change in the pictures.  To creatively think of solutions to the negative things we wrote down.  It’s hard to explain everything that I learned from the activity, but I’ve decided to be a creative thinker, to always have a creative paradigm. 
-Elder Greenman

Monday, July 1, 2013

Mosquitos Don't Phase Me

Omar and Gina got married and baptized a week ago, and it was such a beautiful experience. Since their marriage and Baptism they have both matured so much, and love each more than ever before.  We’ve visited them a few times since the baptism and they have expressed how happy they are.  The two continue reading the book of mormon every day without fail.  They are also discovering in the latest conference Liahona the words of our modern prophet.  Omar was interviewed to receive the Aaronic priesthood yesterday and will be getting it next Sunday.  Throughout the week we have been teaching our other investigators with Omar and Gina.    They are both such great missionaries.  In the teaching they are not afraid to share their testimonies and often use scriptures they have come across in their personal study and have memorized.  The last time we went to their house we gave them a blank piece of paper.  We asked Gina to write down the name of a family that she knows that she would like to help get baptized, then we did the same with Omar.  After the paper had three families on it we taped it to the wall of their humble home.  After church yesterday Omar went and spoke with one of these families.  When I had called him that evening he surprised me telling me that he had marked a lesson for me!   He told me to meet him at 5 pm today (Monday)  and that together we would go teach this family.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to have met Omar and Gina!  I know that they are going to really help establish the church here in Mozambique.   On Friday we had a Zone Conference and we talked a lot about the vision and mission statement of our mission; which is,  Establish the Church in Mozambique and Angola through a real growth by becoming extraordinary missionaries.   President Kretly showed that in Maputo we already meet the qualifications of a stake.  In Beira they will as well in a few months.   By 2015 we will have 4 stakes here in Mozambique.  That’s the goal.  One in Maputo, Matola, Beira and Manga.  The church is growing so rapidly here.   President Eyring’s statement is true, “the Lord is in a hurry with Africa.”   The church has been here for about 13 years and by the end of 15 we’ll have 4 stakes.   President Kretly talked about how when he served in brazil and explained that it took about 30 years to get the first stake.  I know the Lord has a plan and the work is going to advance rapidly here in Africa.   After zone conference I said good bye to Elder Gray (his mission is over) and headed off to a few lessons I had marked for that evening.  I didn’t have a companion anymore, but the lessons I was going to go teach were close to the chapel so I didn’t see anything wrong in going alone.  The lessons went well and…I’m just kidding.  Before leaving the chapel I asked one of the new missionaries if he wouldn’t mind walking with me.  His name is Elder Thurston, I’ve been with him since Friday.  He’s a great missionary.  He is cousins with the Thurstons that live in Burley! 
Transfers happened today!  I’ve never been more excited for transfers in my life.  I didn’t know if I was staying or going.  A lot of interesting things happened this transfer.  (I’m staying)  The assistants are going to be moving from Maputo 2 branch to Maputo 1, so they will be living with Me and my companion.  They will probably also take the area that I was working in. (polana Canico)  I’m still zone leader this transfer, but my companion won’t be, because he just got here last Wednesday.  I’m training!!!   All I know about him is he’s from San Diego California.   I’m so grateful for the opportunity that I will have to serve as a trainer and stay here in Maputo 1 and see Omar and Gina continue to progress.    This past transfer was harder for me.  The area didn’t progress as much as I would have liked it to have progressed.  I have a few goals for this transfer:   I want to help the rest of the Missionaries in my zone execute the vision.  We all have it by now, the only thing that’s left is knowing how to make it happen.  Whenever we want to progress four things must happen.  First we have to have a vision of what needs to be done.  Second we need to make goals to accomplish that vision.  Third we must execute the goals, and fourth account for our progress.   I know that accountability is so essential and is an eternal process.   In this process we create the plan twice.  One time “spiritually”  and the other physically.   When God created the earth he did the same.     When a house I built there are two creations as well.  The blueprint and the house itself.    Now that the zone has the vision and is making goals to get their I want to help them know how to execute and account with what they are doing.
Last week for p-day I didn’t have a lot of time because the two elder that were leaving wanted to go to some stuff.  Sorry for not writing much last week, but it was super fun.  We went and played rugby on the beach!
-Elder Greenman