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, November 25, 2013

The Refiner's Fire

The heat never stops coming.  I assume it never will.  I don't believe life gets any easier, but it does become more fulfilling if we choose the right.   I know that today I'm laying down the foundation of tomorrow.   President has  been in South Africa all this past week which has given us more time in our area.   One of the main struggles we are having is sitting with new people.  So far this transfer we have taken the number of 150 families who have accepted to receive our message.  Half of them live in our area.  But in the past three weeks we've only been able to sit with 5 new families.    We will mark with them and they will accept a return visit the next day.  We will call in the morning, they will confirm.  We will call thirty minutes before to let them know that we are on our way.  When we get to the place where we decided to meet, we call, and their phone is turned off.   This has happened over, and over again.  The cause?  Probably because they don't understand the importance of this message, and the change it can make for their families. This week, however, was more effective and better than the others.  We taught more lessons and were able to sit with three new families.  Things started picking up on Saturday.  On Saturday we had a zone training given by the Zone Leaders.  Elder Peterson from the U.S. and Elder Vestia who is from Portugal.  The training began by all of the District leaders presenting an idea or something that their district is doing that is helping them see more success.  It was really good to learn from others. One of the ideas was using the Book of Mormon in the contact.  It works.  Even for people that aren't interested in the beginning, we just let them know that we have a book that is convincing evidence that our message is true. People are becoming more interested and willing to talk to us.  I've noticed something interesting, every time I walk in the area with a copy of the Book of Mormon in my hand I suddenly have more desire to speak with everyone.  

About our family that I mentioned last week....Sabito and Maninha have left.  They are traveling to South Africa and then they will be on their way to Beira.  We called them on Sunday, he said that the traveling is going well and safely.  As soon as they arrive in Beira we will give their number to the missionaries up there.   
Church on Sunday was really special. The person that was supposed to teach Principles of the Gospel class didn't show up so I gave it. The lesson was on the Signs of the Second coming.  The lesson went really well. After the class we all went downstairs to the sacrament meeting room.  At this time Sister Kretly called Elder Brandao and I letting us know that they were on their way and to tell the branch president to wait until they arrived.  The sacrament service was really spiritual.  Our branch had 205 people present.  In the past it has averaged about 170.  At the end President Kretly spoke about how the gospel has changed his life. His mother died last week with the age of 90 while he was in South Africa.  He explained that it was a really hard experience to pass through but that he is so grateful that his mother and father decided to follow Jesus Christ and accept his restored gospel.  He invited all of the members and investigators to recognize that the choice they made or will make to follow Jesus Christ and his restored gospel will affect more than just them. The meeting was really good.   

Now that President is back, Elder Brandao and I have a lot more to do in the Office.  There are five young men who will be leaving on their missions this next wednesday.  Four of them will serve in Angola and the other will serve in Cape Verde. Today and Tomorrow, Elder Brandao and I are going to be with them and help them prepare.  Many of these young men come from very humble circumstances and only have one white shirt and pair of pants.  They may not have a lot as far as attire, but what they do have is a beautiful understanding and testimony of the restored gospel.  We are going to outfit them with the clothes that they need for their mission.  One of our mission goals is to have as many Mozambicans serving missions out in the world as we have missionaries assigned to work here in Mozambique.  Currently we have 88 missionaries in our mission.  Right now we have 27 Mozambicans who are serving, and the number is growing.  I've been thinking about that goal recently and I noticed a small problem that I'm going to talk to president about.  Our focus has been families, and the extreme majority of these families are young families. If we want to have 88 missionaries serving outside of Mozambique we are going to have to find a solution.  

Elder Brandao and I, when we walk in our area always invite the young men who are there as well.  In fact, one of the things that we like to do is we'll stop a young man who has an earring and we'll say, "you are a really good young man, you just need to change one thing....."    This week we've taken so many earrings from young men.  We give them pamphlets in return.
-Elder Greenman

Monday, November 18, 2013

Not our Real P-Day, Thus a short note...

Elder Brandão and I are trying to get rid of the false tradition that APs need to stay in the office doing a lot of work.    We've set out a schedule for ourselves.  We leave the house by 8 and go straight to our area to teach lessons and find families to teach.  (We still aren't getting a lot of lessons, so for now we are just doing a lot of family finding)  We stay out in the area until about 10:30 or 11.  Then we come home eat lunch and study for a bit.   By 13:30 we're at the office and stay there until about 16, then we're back in our area until 21.
We're getting a lot of good time in our area.  That is probably in large part because President Kretly is in South Africa for a mission president's seminar.

Quick update on our area....
We continue to do a lot of contacts, we're striving to find the elect.    The two families that we found last week, we've unfortunately had to drop.  But that's okay, we found a very special family this week named Sabito and Maninha.   They are very open and are making a lot of progress.   They came to church this week, and arrived 50 minutes early.   They really enjoyed church and feel that this is the true church.  That's the good news. The bad news is that, they will be moving up to Beira for about 3 months, and they leave this weekend, so our area will be back to zero.  But no problems, I know that they'll be baptized up in Beira.  

This week are the elections.  They will be held on on the 20th of this week.    It's interesting to see all of the excitement that is going on because of the different parties.     Well, because of the elections our P-day was moved to the 20th, but we were given brief permission to write home, but now it its time to get back into the area.
'Elder Greenman

Friday, November 15, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Manga, Hello to Maputo

Andrew's childhood friend, Jacob Lake serves in the same mission. Together they are doing great service in Mozambique. Elder Lake is leaving as AP and Elder Greenman is coming in his place.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Back to Maputo

On Monday night  I left Manga.  I called a taxi to come pick me up and take me to the airport.  I said a few quick goodbyes to the Elders in my district and got into the taxi.  The taxi was  not an old car, but it sounded like it, rode like it, and smelled like it.   After arriving and checking in I took my place waiting for the plane to arrive.  It did, but about an hour late.  I  was without a phone and knew that Elder Lake and Elder Brandão were probably  already waiting at the Maputo International Airport.   When I arrived in Maputo it was midnight so we went directly home to rest up for the day.    Elder Lake was the assistant to the  president.  He would have been transfered already under normal circumstances but because Elder Brandão and I are whitewashing our area, and coming in at the same time, Elder Lake stayed until Wednesday night to give us a crash course on how to be an assistant.    On Wednesday Elder Brandão and I finally had our first day in our new area.   By new area it means that it is new for both of us and also missionaries weren't working in it before us for months, and months.   We're starting from zero.  The main thing we are doing now is just family finding.    Just like preach my gospel teaches, "Nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach."   This past week we only had 4 lessons, but we found two new families.  I'd like to share the story of how we found the first.  Their names are Mario and Ámina.   On wednesday night we were working in Minkadjuine. (one of the neighborhoods that is in our area)    Minkadjuine consists of many small, tiny, and maze like paths that snake between all of the cement and sheet metal houses that are there.  While going down one of these paths, we had  the idea to knock on a certain gate.  (it wasn't a strong impression, it most often isn't.  But it was something simple like and idea or thought)   We knocked on the gate.....no answer.   We knocked again and heard some ruffling.  We heard an older man's voice say that he can't answer the   door, because he can't walk.  We asked if we could come in, he said yes.   After coming into the  house we beheld an old couple with gray hair in very  humble circumstances.  The wife of the man didn't really speak portuguese very well, neither did he, but they felt like royalty after the visit.  Its interesting what a smile, or a quick prayer can do to shine a little light in the life of those that don't have the gospel.   Before we left we asked if there was any family who lived with him.  (there was another small house on his property)  He said that his son and daughter in law lived with them in the other house, he went on to explain that neither of them were home at the  time.  We asked for his son's phone number.  They couldn't for the life of them remember.  After trying to help them, we decided to leave a pamphlet with our number on the back.   After a prayer we left, not really thinking much about it.     The next day....thursday.  We were back in  our area but in another part called Mafalala. Again the thought came to turn down a certain road.  After a while we found a man walking the other way.  We stopped him and talked to him about our message, we asked him if he would accept to be baptized by someone who has authority.   He said yes.   We asked for his number.  He said.......that he didn't have it, that he didn't really remember his number.   Elder Brandão asked if he could show us to his house at least so that we could come another day.  (yup,  i bet you're catching on)   We began following Mario on the roads of Mafalala.  We came to the boundary and crossed the road into minkadjuine.    (I'll admit that at this point I still hadn't made the connection that this Mario was the son of the old man we had visited yesterday)   As we walked with Mario we talked about his life and his family.   He told us that he lived with his wife, son, and his parents.  He mentioned that his father had been with troubles of walking lately.   (Bingo!  thats when I made the connection.  Everything fit into place.   I looked around me and recognized where we were.... we were at his door.)    His wife wasn't home at the time but we were able to get his number and we marked to come by again.   
The other family we found is Agustino and Camila.  Also a good family.   Of all of our four new investigators this week however only Camila made it to church.  But that's okay, she also brought her father in law.  Also when we got to church we found a member referral there named Fernando we we are going to go teach here in about an hour.  The referral was from David Hamblin who has been doing some humanitarian work here in Mozambique for several years.  He has worked with Fernando for six years and fernando has accepted to be taught by the missionaries.   We are very excited to teach him tonight.      
I love serving with Elder Brandão.  He is 23 years old and is from Cape Verde.  He is a convert to the church with a very interesting conversion story. (story time will have to wait, it's getting late)   Both he and I are learning the ropes together.  
Its nice to be back in the Maputo 2 branch.   I was happy to see so many of the members that I knew, and also see the two families that I baptized are still active and coming.     I was also able to see Omar and Gina from maputo 1, also active.  Oh the joy of seeing those I taught still holding fast to the iron rod.    The sacrament meeting was good, other than  the lady who gave the last talk and talked for 40 minutes and the meeting ended 27 minutes past the hour.  ooops....
Well, time is up.  Until next week.

-Elder Greenman

Monday, November 4, 2013


This week was very satisfying.  Elder Mason and I worked incredibly hard.  The sun has been scorching and because of that some rain came on sunday which scared a lot of people into not coming to church.  What have I learned this week?
I've learned more about the importance of inspiring people instead of requiring them to do stuff.  In alma we learn to be bold, but not overbearing.  I've felt as if many of the people I have taught felt as if I was requiring them to change their lives.   The past two weeks much of my personal study has been dedicated to know how to inspire and motivate the families I teach to do what God requires of them.  Before we can motivate someone to make a leap of faith we need to understand the big picture and what they are going through.  Without understanding we cannot help them overcome their obstacles.  One of the differences between requiring and inspiring is understanding.  When I don't take the time to understand everything that is going on in my investigators life, when I teach a commandment and say that it needs to be followed as soon as possible, the investigator will feel pushed to do something that he does not think he is capable of accomplishing.  But, on the other hand, if I do everything I can to understand the investigators situation, then after teaching the commandment they will feel like I know what they are going through and am confidant the Lord will help them overcome the obstacles.  Listening is so important.    Elder mason and I had a goal to have 10 families at church this sunday.  On saturday night we had 15 that committed to come.  On Sunday morning the rain clouds came and we only had 3 full families at church.   

I've grown very much here in the Manga zone and I'm very sad that I'll be leaving tonight at 20 hours.  I'm going back down to maputo and I'll be serving with Elder Brandao from Cape Verde as an assistant to the president.  It's so hard to leave an area like the one Elder Mason and I have.  We have a goal to have 4 families baptized this next transfer.    I'm nervous, but excited to go back to Maputo.  I found out today and I'll be leaving tonight, so basically I have a lot of packing to do.  I know that this is the Lord's work, I have felt his strength holding me up, for my strength is nothing.  There is no way that I'd be able to do all of this without his strength.  The church is true.

—Elder Greenman

Editors Note: I received a note from President Kretly just after Andrew wrote this email and I will include it here:

 Elder David Andrew Greenman has been called as Assistant to the President.  In  this calling he will assist the President on his duties to plan, train and teach all other missionaries.  He was called in this position because he has been an excellent missionary worthy of our trust, he has had many fruits and much success in his missionary work, and has also been a great example for other missionaries. Besides helping in the mission office he has his proselyting area and he will continue doing the work of a normal missionary: finding, teaching, baptizing, confirming and helping people endure to the end.        
This experience will help him develop many skills that are not used only for the mission but for the rest of his life.  Thank you for preparing such a wonderful missionary.  Your continued support and prayers for him and his work are greatly appreciated.  Thank you very much.

With love and appreciation,

President Paulo V. Kretly
Mozambique Maputo Mission