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, October 21, 2013

Service and Love: The Fount of all Goodness

I know that as the Lord sees our desire through our actions (our faith) he begins opening up doors and helping us find the way.  Various times in the scriptures it says, “ask and ye shall receive.”  But it doesn’t just stop there.  He continues to say, “seek and ye shall find…”  The first step is to ask.  When we ask with faith the Lord with give it unto us. Many people however forget the second part.  We also need to do everything in our power to seek and obtain the answer, help, or guidance from the Lord.   Elder Mason and I have been making more steps to becoming more Christ-like missionaries. This past week in one day alone we were blessed by sitting with three new families.  They were really good families.  I also had the opportunity to do two divisions this week. One with Elder Schachterle and the other with Elder Fernandes. The divisions went well.  I walked in  Elder Schachterles area.  It was a very good learning opportunity for the two of us.  They have a new family that they are teaching, and the wife has always refused to sit with them because she's too busy.  Two days earlier for one of our studies Elder Mason and I talked about the elements of a first good lesson.  One of the points that came up was how when Ammon taught King Lamoni he first gained his trust through service.  Before he taught anything, he served.  When Elder Schachterle and I showed up at the the house of this family, the husband had not arrived from work yet. Agusta was in the yard cleaning up.  After saying good afternoon and a quick introduction I asked if I could help.  She said no.  At this moment I learned you can't ask someone if they need help.  I got on my knees and just started helping to clean dishes and her water buckets.  After which we filled up the buckets with water.  At first she told me I was just going to get dirty.  I didn't mind I told her.  I'm here to serve, I responded.  After serving for almost 20 minutes the husband came.  During those twenty minutes, we discovered that she has another church, and just didn't feel like she needed to be taught anything else.  Finally, by the time her husband arrived, she finally accepted to sit with us, but only for five minutes.  Needless to say that those five minutes turned into 30. She began to soften and had many questions. Meanwhile in my area Elder Mason was walking with Elder Lynn. They contacted a man named Roque. He is a policeman, (with a higher up position) and his wife Isabetta is a professor. They marked with him and we ended up teaching him on Friday.  On Friday I did a division with the Dondo district leader, Elder Fernandes.  Elder Mason went to Dondo and once again I walked with Elder Fernandes.  I love being with Elder Fernandes. He is a convert from Cape Verde with a fire to preach the gospel. The division went very well, especially the lesson with Roque and Isabetta and their daughter Sheila.  The spirit was so strong in the lesson, and when given the baptismal challenge they responded yes, and they said it confidently.  
     Tuesday was the day that we taught three new families.  The first one was Domingos and Beatriz.  Domingos is an inactive member who had a dream three weeks ago where he was told he needed to go to church.  So last sunday he came with his wife, who already has her own church.  On sunday we marked to come to their house on Tuesday.  When we arrived the lesson went very well.  On the division we had the next day, Elder Mason and Elder Lynn taught and gave them a Book of Mormon.  They've been reading ever since.  The Book of Mormon, along with the spirit, is our most powerful tool in the conversion of those we teach.  Those who read are those who end up getting baptized.  Omar and Gina, who I taught in maputo and were married and baptized only three weeks after we found them, read very much in the Book of Mormon. The second family we taught that day was George and Sandra.  We contacted him about 3 weeks earlier when we asked him for a ride.  The lesson also went well, and afterwards they gave us (I don't know how to call it in english but I think it's a Dragon Fruit) The third family was Joaquim and Louisa.  I don't think I've ever felt the spirit more strongly in a lesson that I did with them that evening.  
     Things are looking up. Our area is picking up. We are still having a few difficulties in helping our families get past the road blocks they have.  Charles and Judite for example, Charles got back into drinking, and apparantly has become extremely offended by something his wife did and he didn't come to church, but gave a letter to the Relief Society president to be read in front of the Relief Society that talked about how his wife did this and that.   The Relief Society president's husband is Alfredo Camalizene, the district president.  Needless to say that letter was not read.  Also, we had general conference this weekend.  After the sunday morning session I called Charles to see why he hadn't come and he said that he had given a letter to Sister Camalizene that explained why not. We talked to her afterwards and she said that she had it, but that it was not going to be read in front of everyone. (Side note... Conference was sooo wonderful, I was helped so much by the inspiration and ideas that came to me while I listened to the talks, but I'll have to talk about it later because of lack of time.)     
Later that evening after district meeting, which also went very well, we payed an unplanned visit to Charles and Judite's house. I had previously asked Sister Camalizene to bring me the letter, as well, so we could get to the bottom of the situation and see if we could help this good family resolve their problems. When we arrived, we could tell that there was a lot of tension in the air.  After a hymn, Be Thou Humble, chosen by yours truly, Elder Mason and I felt the impression to just read the Book of Mormon with them.  Sister Camalizene still hadn't arrived.  We opened up to Mosiah 4 and started reading in verse 8.  The spirit settled in, and the verses in Mosiah 4 never struck me as powerfully as they did then. Those verses were just what this family needed. Charles and Judite were both there with their two oldest sons, Marcelino, and Miguel. Ages 16 and 14. Sister Camalizene came and pulled up a chair and snuck me the letter.  I was curious what was in it, but as soon as I received it, I felt the impression to burn it. We began talking more about the importance of the family and how it is our responsibility to love the one, and then they will love us.   We were open with Charles and told him we had the letter that he wrote. He responded that it didn't matter because everyone at church already knew what was written in the letter.  He didn't know that it wasn't read.  At this point I told him that, and told him that I also didn't know and that I didn't want him to know and that he would be thankful later on that no one else at church knew.  Then I tried to burn it, the wind said no, so I said I'd burn it later. We talked a lot about forgiveness and how we need to forgive the others.  I'm grateful that Charles was sober at the moment when we talked, and as the lesson went on I really saw a transformation in him.  Sister Camalizene's testimony was essential.  Charles is recommitted to stop drinking and they are going to start working on marriage documents this week.   
     Another great thing this week was that we had 16 lessons with a member present and 12 other lessons. We are using the help of the members more than ever before, all these small things are truly bringing blessings to those that we teach. These blessings aren't so much for me.  These blessings are for the people Elder Mason and I teach.  The more obedient I am, the more people in my area will be blessed by hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
-Elder Greenman

P.s.  We went golfing this morning and it was a blast.  It was just Elder Mason and I.  After paying, the man asked if I knew the course, we said we'd figure it out, he suggested I pay for a caddy.  I told him that we'd probably do fine.  In the end we decided to pay a caddy 50 metacais, more for just having someone to talk to while we golfed.  Their comments were actually quite funny.  One time while teeing off, my shot sliced terribly over the fence and into a small neighborhood.  The two caddies, I'm sure were just trying to make me feel good, so they said it was a good shot.  Yes, they actually said that, then went on to say that it may have gone off the course, but that the velocity was perfect.  So that was good. I'm glad to know that the velocity of that hit was perfect. 

Above is the Durian Fruit, usually grown in Southeast Asia. It is known as either highly repulsive to some or wonderfully aromatic to others. I (mom) wonder what Elders Greenman and Mason thought of it. The thorny husk has been known to draw blood, but the soft custard-like flesh is quite a delicacy, especially in Thailand. I wonder if Andrew remembers when I bought one of these several years ago?

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