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, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!

This week was wonderful.  We had zone conference on tuesday.  We learned a lot about desire, and miracles.  We were also given the oportunity to write our own personal mission statement.   I started, but it's a process and throughout these next few month i'll be thinking and discovering what that is.  We had Zone conference at the new Matola chapel.  After the zone conference we all drove to the mission office where we had skits and a delicious dinner.    We ended up piling 14 missionaries into our ford ranger.   I wish we had a picture. And yes it was safe. 
On christmas day we helped and organized the Elders who skyped home to talk with their parents.   Because an Elder can't be alone  on the computer I was in the room when Elder Williams called his parents.  Elder Williams is from Pleasant Grove utah and is one of the zone leaders in Matola.  I was able to meet his wonderful family.  It was a really good experience.  While Elder Williams was talking with his family the question came up of when the end of the transfer in April is.  I said it was the 14th.  and aparently they thought it was on the 21st.  They were right.  
This kind of threw a wrench in the works because I had decided to extend my mission believing that it would give me enough time to go to college two days after I arrived home.   After knowing that the transfer would actually end later than I thought my heart took a dive.   The good news is that I called president and he said that I could still extend my mission but finish on the 14th.   
The rest of the week has gone well as well.  Elder Brandao and I are training a new missionary.  His name is Elder Da Silva.  He's a mozambican from Beira who is starting his mission here while he waits for his visa to go to Brazil.   
On friday we had district meeting.  I gave a training on being Proactive.  I used various exemples in the Book of Mormon.   Especially from first Nephi.  It was a very good meeting.  I've become very excited as I apply more the  principles that Elder Bednar so often teaches, that we need to act instead of being acted upon.  
Last night Elder Brandao and I taught a new family.  Cumbani and Rita.   The lesson was very powerful.  The spirit was present.   In fact it's getting late now, and we have to run out the door to go teach them tonight.    Our first lesson is in twenty minutes.   I love you all.   The Gospel is so true and so perfect.  
-Elder Greenman

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas is Next Week!!

I cannot believe that Christmas is already almost here!  It sure does creep up on you pretty quick when you don't have snow or cold weather to let you know that it's close.  

This week was very busy.  It's nearing the end of the year and there's a lot of work to do.  We have a zone conference on the 24th and transfers are happening today.   There weren't a lot of changes, just enough to acomodate for the three new elders who came in.  President Kretly called another Elder, Elder Hales in the Maputo 1 branch, to a special assignment.   President Kretly recognized that there is a lot to do in the office, and sometimes it's hard for Elder Brandão and I to do all of it.  Elder Hales will be helping me in the office.  When there is a lot to do, Elder Brandão will stay in the area with Elder Hale's companion, and Elder Hales and I will go and do the office work.    I know that this way we will be getting a lot more done in the office.   (Editor's Note: As was stated in an earlier post, Elder Greenman is the only one in the companionship that has computer knowledge, so to have another helper, will give the companionships less time in the office and more time finding and teaching people.) I'm excited for this coming transfer.  I only have 3 left.  I'll be coming home in the middle of April.  (Editor's Note: This is a bit of a surprise for Elder Greenman's mother. She thought that he would be home on April 1st and have three weeks with his family before going off to BYU-I. The first day of school is the 21st of April, so I imagine he will be home only for a couple of days before going off to school. Kind of crazy!!)

On Saturday we had a branch christmas activity.  It wasn't much different than the one last year.  At least this time we didn't have anyone rapping at pulpit.  At the christmas party, however, I saw a family that Elder Brogan and I had taught in October of last year.  At the time, the family wasn't interested, and didn't want to progress, but, while I had been in Manga, the sister missionaries found them, taught them, married them, and baptized them.  It was really good to see that family and talk with them.  I'll be sending a picture.  Also a family that Elder Hamrick and I taught also got married and baptized last week.  I'll be sending a picture of them as well.   Yesterday we watched the Christmas devotional.  I loved the talk given by Elder Nelson.  I felt that the devotional was very special, very simple, and very spiritual.   Christmas truly is about our Savior Jesus Christ, and renewing our vigor to be like he is.  
'Elder Greenman

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Divisions and More Divisions

Well, sounds like its been really cold in Burrrrrrrrrrley lately.   I wish  I could say the same about here. Actually, to be honest, it hasn't been too hot lately.   It's been pitter-pattering on and off.  President has been traveling a lot this transfer.  He  just got back from Beira on Wednesday.   From Monday to Wednesday Elder Brandão and I spent a lot of time in the office.  We had to hunt down fichas from those who still hadn't sent them, and prepare a few statistical reports for the month of November.   (Editor's Note: Ficha is the paperwork for baptism) 

On Wednesday we officially received our new truck.  We were driving an 18 seater van everywhere, but now we have a new 2012 Ford Ranger. Yup. We've named him Captain Moroni. I had taken for granted what it was like to drive a nice car. Everything is so smooth, it has that new car smell, and it has, or rather had, 0 kilometers. On wednesday night we drove to Matola to start a division with the Matola zone leaders.  Elder Brandao worked there before coming to the office.  For the division he stayed in Matola with Elder Williams.  When I dropped off Elder Brandao I picked up Elder Santos.  (He is also from Cape Verde and Is a really good missionary. This is his first transfer as Zone Leader and he's doing a very good job). When Elder Santos and I got back to Maputo from Matola, it was late.  After our daily planning we quickly got ready for bed and hit the lights.

 Notice Elder Greenman driving on the other side of the car...

We woke up and as soon as we were ready for the day we went to our area.  We didn't have any lessons marked, but we did some family finding for about two hours.  The Lord blessed us with 10 families that accepted to receive a visit from us, and we marked with several of them to visit that evening.   After lunch we went to the office to do some work, then went back to the area. All but one of the lessons fell through.....but during this time we were able to find five more families to teach and marked them for this week.  I loved the time that I spent with Elder Santos, and the opportunity that we both had to discuss the work.

Mosquito Netting for sleeping

In my district we have three companionships, Elder Brandao and I, Sister Naehu and Sister Merkely (we four are in Maputo),  then Elder Fontes and Elder de Pina (these elders are in Maxixe). Friday we left at 9 o'clock in the morning to Maxixe. Elder Brandao and I left to Maxixe with Elder and Sister Hobson. I was the one that drove and it took close to 7 hours.  The trip was wonderful.  Mozambique is so pretty and green. We arrived in Maxixe in the evening with about an hour and a half to spend in the area with the Maxixe missionaries. I walked with Elder Fontes, who is from Brazil.

Elder and Sister Hobson

Maxixe is an incredible area, but it has a few difficulties, and the Maxixe elders had gotten somewhat discouraged last transfer and didn't know how to pick things back up again. When working with Elder Fontes I did everything I could to just be excited and to talk with everyone. Some of the problems that they have in Maxixe are that many of the people that work in the city live far away, and that hardly anyone is outside on the streets past 7:30 p.m., and that they only have two missionaries covering a pretty big area. We happened to be walking outside past that hour, but I knew that the Lord would put people in our path.  He did.  We found a family that is officially married that was just walking together as a family just trying to catch a little bit of the the ocean breeze.  We stopped and talked with them and asked if they house was close and if we could accompany them to their house and leave a short message. They said yes. For lack of time, we left a short message and a prayer and marked to come back the very next morning. They said that they did feel the spirit and we helped them recognize why they did.  The next day we taught the restoration, and they accepted baptism.  Elder Brandao and Elder de Pina were also having success.  They found a very nice and sophisticated man entering his home and asked if they could come in and share a message.  He accepted.  They discovered that he didn't currently have a church and that he still hadn't been baptized, but that he was willing to be. 

President Kretly arrived on Saturday night. Sunday morning church began at 9.  Just so you know that up until this point Maxixe was not yet a Branch, but a group.  The average attendance was 25 people.
On this particular Sunday we had a total frequency of 40 people!   Also another surprise that none of us knew..... after the announcements the time was given to President Kretly.  President stood up and with a smile announced that Maxixe would become a branch.  He announced the branch presidency, and Elder Fontes was called as 2nd counselor (he didn't know).

The Sunday meeting continued to go very well.   After sacrament meeting we had Principles of the Gospel class and I approached the newly called branch president and said that I noted that no one was there to teach the class and asked if he wouldn't mind if I did. I've come to love teaching the Principles of the Gospel class.   One of the families that was found over the weekend came to church and when the man presented himself, he said that it was the first time coming, but that he was confident that he would always come with his family from now on.  

I would love to serve in Maxixe.  The area has so much potential. Elders Fontes and de Pina are going to marry and baptize a family this coming weekend. They are planning on baptizing one more family by the end of the month.  Speaking of families being baptized, 9 families were baptized this past weekend.  So far for the month of December the mission has had 14 families baptized (that's more than one per day!  What a Miracle!)

The next day was Monday!  The Hobsons had left saturday night, but we planned to just drive home with President.  President Kretly surprised us and decided to take us to Inhambane, and to a beach called Praia de Tofo, where we ate and played soccer on the beach. It is was the most beautiful beach I'd ever been to.  After that we dropped the Maxixe elders off and headed off to Maputo. The drive was very nice.  I enjoyed the opportunity to talk with President Kretly. He also gave us the privilege to listen to a talk by Elder David A. Bednar that was given at a Mission President's Seminar.  It was like the talk he gave in 2011 general conference but even more fascinating. I'll update more on that next week. (Editor's note: Monday was P-day and we did not receive a letter from Andrew this day and were wondering why...we're glad to know he had this opportunity to spend P-day with the Elders and President Kretly. Our letter came the next day.) Elder Brandao and I will be incorporating Elder Bednar's message into the Zone Conference training that we are preparing.

Two new missionaries arrived to our mission today.  Elder Brandao and I will be taking care of them.   There's a lot of work to do for all of us, and by that I mean every member of the church.  We have a lot of work to do on this side and the other side of  the veil.

-Elder Greenman

Elders de Pina, Fontes and Brandao

The beautiful green Mozambican Countryside

Elder Brandao (I am playing Soccer in the back)

Playing Soccer with Elder Fontes

Look how beautiful!

Elder Brandao, President Kretly and Me

Monday, December 2, 2013

December Came with a Bit of Rain

In last week's letter I mentioned that we were helping some mozambicans get ready to leave on their missions.   On monday night, one week ago, we went to pick up one of the missionaries who was going to serve in Angola and Cape Verde.   Their plane came in late, so we only managed to get to sleep at midnight.  Then we woke up 4 hours later to take President and Sister Kretly to the airport (they went up to Beira on a morning flight).  We had an early start to our day.  When we got back from the airport we did some work in the office and prepared for staff meeting we would be having at 11.     We usually do it over the internet using a program called GoToMeeting.   The assistants, Office elders, Elder Tualufo,  and all of the  Couple Missionaries participate in the meeting. Two of the couples are in Beira, that is why we need to do the meeting over the internet.    In the meeting we discuss and plan for the upcoming week, as well as make sure we are prepared for what is coming in the next few months. Staff meeting went well, and when it was over we went to staff eating (haha,  we do this once a month where we go out to eat).  After that, we raced around to buy clothes for all of the missionaries who were leaving the next day and finally made it home at 8 o'clock in the evening.  They were then set apart as missionaries, and spent the rest of the night packing their bags.  We finally got to bed at midnight again, only to wake up at 3:45 to help them get ready to leave.  We left 40 minutes later to go to the airport and arrived just as the check-in started.  We sent them off (see attached picture).

Needless to say, Elder Brandão and I have not had a lot of time in our area this week (Editor's Note: nor time to sleep!!), but we did have time to sit with one of our families—Humberto and Nercia.   They are progressing well.  Humberto works at the Airport, and Nercia works at a pizza place downtown. We've taught them the restoration and the Book of Mormon.  In our last visit we asked them if they would come to church.  Nercia said yes, but Humberto said no, because he was scheduled to work that day. We invited him to see if he could swap his work schedule with someone else. Saturday we called him to see if he was able to. Good news, bad news. Good news is, that he was able to. When we called saturday afternoon, he said that he was going  in to work at that very moment to do his co-workers shift and that he would end at 10 o'clock.  Bad news: On sunday we received a call at 8:20 from Humberto.  We answered and he said that he was really close to the chapel and had walked all the way with his wife with the intention of coming, but his boss had just called saying that his co-worker didn't show up to take his morning shift.  Sadly, Humberto had no choice. He had to go to work.   His wife came though, and she enjoyed it as well as made a friend.    It's interesting to see that Humberto did everything he could to make it to church, but even after that, the choices that another person made affected his life. Sometimes in our lives when we do everything we can that is good, sometimes unexpected things happen.  The choices we make affect others profoundly.  I don't think that Humberto's co-worker will ever know or understand what effect his choice to not come to work made on Humberto's life. Let us all be careful with the things we think, the words we say, the things we do, and the way that we do them.    
I can't believe it's a new month.  I'm looking forward to another month of miracles.  20 families were baptized in the month of November.  So far in the month of December, 5 families have been baptized and confirmed.  
 -Elder Greenman