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, February 24, 2014

Sprains and Satisfactions

Well I sprained my ankle last monday....which put our area on hold until about Wednesday.  It was a pretty bad sprain, but it got better so quickly.  By Wednesday I was walking fine again. Tuesday morning we had an interesting experience.  President called us saying that TVM (The biggest TV company in Mozambique) was going to do a program on our church and wanted to interview a few people.  Tuesday morning we went over to the Matola chapel to set things up and make everything look pretty.  They interviewed two elders and two sisters.  Elder Williams was one of the missionaries to get interviewed.  It's good that the Church's name will get out to more people now.

This week the Lord blessed us with more families to teach.  We've been having a hard time trying to sit with Richard and Belinha this past week, but this week we will.  Now about the family of ten....this family is so special.  We sat with them on Saturday morning.  Actually, we basically just sat with  Carlos, the father, and a few of his kids.  We had taught the family the Book of Mormon previously, but we hadn't taught Carlos yet, so that was what we were going to teach. We had asked President Nihoa, our branch president to come with us.  I will never forget the lesson we had because it was so powerful and spiritual.  We really prepared for the lesson in our personal and companionship studies.  When we arrived we found out that he had already started reading the Book of Mormon and was in 1 Nephi, chapter 16.  We were so shocked, we hadn't even asked him to read it yet, he had done all of this on his own.   Using questions we were able to help him understand more about the purpose of the Book of Mormon.  President Nihoa's testimony and conversion story was very important and essential to the lesson.  Carlos has truly been prepared to hear this message.  This week we will continue working with the rest of the  family.   He came to church this week with one of this sons. 

Also, this week we found another very special family: Ronaldo and Iva.  We found them by accident, actually not by accident, it was a blessing.  We knocked on a door thinking it was the house of another contact we had made.  He answered the door and helped us know where the house was that we were looking for.  After that we asked him if he lived there with his wife and he said that he did.  We asked if they had a little bit of time to hear a very special message about families.  He said yes.  We sat with him and his wife, Iva.  They understood very well the restoration and accepted baptism, and accepted to come to church.  They came. 

Church was so good yesterday.  The principles of the gospel teacher didn't show up so I gave the class. The lesson was on the Holy Ghost and it was such a good class; the spirit was so strong.  I love teaching principles of the gospel class because I can tailor it for our investigators and their needs as well as the needs of all the other people present.  

Another blessing this week was that we were able to walk with Elder Marqueza.  Elder Marqueza is from  the north of Mozambique, Nampula.  He went to the brazil MTC to start his mission for Angola, but when he arrived at the airport in Brazil he was treated very poorly by the airport police.  He had all the legal documentation he needed, but they insisted that he was a fugitive and they sent him all the way back to Mozambique.  He has been teaching with us this week and it really has been a great experience.

Yesterday, the Lord blessed us with, yet, another family. Orlando and Felizmina. They Are Special and accepted baptism in the first 3 minutes of the lesson, and at the end of the lesson they accepted a date for March 22.  I love teaching, there is no greater calling!
-Elder Greenman

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Pursuit of Happiness

My testimony of God’s eternal plan has grown so much this week.  Elder Williams and I have had more effective studies this week.   One of the things that we studied was charity.  The pure love of Christ is such an essential part of missionary work.  You can have the best rhetoric, the best smile, the best understanding and ability to use the language, but until you sincerely love the people you teach, and until they feel that love, they will not progress towards a true and real conversion.  Of course, I’ve always loved the people I teach and come in contact with, but there is a difference between that and what I’m just starting to experience in these past few months.    I love Heavenly Father’s children here in Mozambique.  It’s quite a powerful feeling when I’m in a lesson with my companion teaching a beautiful family.  These families that we teach are all so different, all of them have different difficulties, different dreams, different drives; but, all of us, EVERYONE on earth has one desire in common.  We are all in the pursuit of happiness.   Clearly what brings happiness to one may bring disappointment and shame to another.   The restored gospel of Jesus Christ can help us change our paradigm and to truly see what is happiness.   I’ve begun to look at things a little differently, trying to understand more why people do certain things a certain way because they hope it will bring them happiness.    The Gospel of Jesus Christ is what brings happiness in the fullest and most eternal form.  

Yesterday Elder Williams and I sat with Richard and Belinha.  They were found about a week ago when we talked with Belinha at her home as she was doing some housework (I can’t really remember what, maybe she was washing clothes).  We asked if her husband was home.  She explained that he wasn’t—he usually leaves the house right after work to pass time with his friends (I’m grateful to my father for the example that he gives me.  I can’t imagine what it would be like if my dad arrived from work and only stayed long enough take a shower and head out).   Anyway…back to Richard and Belinha: we asked her what time he would usually arrive home from work.    She told us that he would usually come at 17:30; she also hinted that Richard wasn’t much of a church going guy.   So, knowing that, we made a surprise visit during the week and they were all there.  We sat with them, along with a few of their neighbors outside their front door.  The lesson went pretty well.  We could definitely tell that he wasn’t much of a church going guy, and we could tell that she was, but, that she was and felt good where she was at already.   We still committed them to baptism, they accepted to pray to know if it was true.  Yesterday when we went back for another surprise follow up visit, now our second lesson,  she was busy doing some household stuff, and he was busy watching soccer.   He accepted to sit with us, but she said that she was too busy to.   After starting with a prayer we explained our purpose to Richard.  We explained why we were there; we talked about our family and the happiness that we have.   I felt such a profound love for him.  The majority of the lesson was just asking him questions and listening.   We started asking, “Richard, why do you work so hard?  What drives you to work?”  He explained that it was to sustain his family.  We asked, “Why is it important to you to sustain your family?” He explained that it’s because he wants them to be happy.    There we see it….everyone is in the pursuit of happiness.   We helped him recognize that, we helped him see that we were also there to help him sustain his family, but to also sustain them spiritually.   At this point, Elder Williams declared, “Richard, you have so much potential.  Did you know that?” Richard said that he didn’t.  The Spirit was strong—he felt of our love—his wife was still listening in and had, at this point, given up on the house work and sat down to listen.  Richard and Belinha do have so much potential.  They don’t know it yet, even I can’t fully comprehend my potential.   We’re excited to help them discover the truth.  

Also this week we sat with a family of 10 people.  Yup, and they all accepted baptism.  They are all very intelligent and are very involved in their own church.  I know that they will be able to make the change.   We taught Paulo and Elsa this week.  We taught them the law of chastity.  We tried hard to get a member there with us, but it didn’t work out.   However, we still came prepared.  We came with a few object lessons and the lesson went very well.  At first they were skeptical. We taught with an object lesson, then Elsa was committed, but Paulo wasn’t quite yet.  So we did the second object lesson.  I took an 8 x 11 sheet of paper out of my bag and gave it to Paulo and asked him if it were possible to make a hole in the paper large enough for him to pass through.  He said "no."  We told him that it would be possible to fit his whole family in.   He wasn’t quite sold on that yet.   As my companion expounded on the Law of chastity, I began to take the paper and tore it this way and that until it created a very big circle.  We asked them all to stand (Paulo and Elsa, with their two little kids).  They were amazed as they saw the peace of paper go around them and their kids.  There was still room for Elder Williams and I as well.  As we were on our feet, one more time we committed them, “Paulo, Will you follow the Law of Chastity?”  He said yes, and so confirmed the spirit to him. 

The week was a good one,  Elder Williams and I will continue to work our best and trust in the Lord.  Thank you all for your support.

-Elder Greenman

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Miracles Proceed From Obedience to Counsel

This week was another miracle-filled week.  As Elder Williams and I apply the things we learned with Elder Hamilton we are seeing more and more success.  This week we got more than 20 referrals from the people we spoke with on the street.   We taught various new families as well.    We’ve managed to spend the majority of our time in our area.   Our area is starting to pick up.   One thing for sure, is that there are a lot of families here.  This week alone we got 99 qualified contacts, or in other words,  spoke with 99 men who had their own family who accepted to receive our message.  

Paulo and Elsa are doing very well.   They came to church together, along with their children.  Ernesto,  their son did not run away this time.   In fact he helped his family remember how to get to church. 
-Elder Greenman

Playing Basketball

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Quite the Week

As you all know, at the beginning of last week, Elder Williams and I flew up to Beira for the zone conference with Elder Hamilton.  We flew up one day before, so Elder Williams and I went around visiting some of the families that we had taught while in Manga and Beira.  That was an incredible experience.  In the afternoon Elder Williams and I went to visit Macha and Eulalia in Manga.   Elder Mason and I had taught them, but I was transferred before they were baptized.  It was so good to see them again and see the great change that has taken place in their lives.  We sang a hymn with them and talked about the temple, and what they need to do to get there.  

Zone conference was on Tuesday.  Elder Hamilton taught us so many things.  One thing that was brought up were referrals from members, investigators, and anyone we talk with.  It's so true, we need to ask everyone for referrals.  Elder Hamilton made a few promises to us.  He said, "If you will do this you will have more people to teach than you can handle...you will be shocked by how many people enter into your teaching pool." Elder Williams and I decided to put that to the test.  We started asking everyone for referrals and this week we got 13!

After zone conference we went on divisions with the Beira Zone Leaders.  After that we boarded a flight at midnight to Maputo.  The next day we woke up and went to pick up President and Sister Kretly, along with the Hamiltons.    On Thursday, we had the Maputo zone conference.  Elder Hamilton interviewed Elder Williams and I after the conference; it was a very special experience.  
With everything that went on this week, Elder Williams and I had little time in our area, but when we were in our area we did make the most of it.  We sat with three new families, two, of which, we taught together on Saturday night.  It was already almost 9 pm.  So we only spent 15 minutes with them.  We went into the lesson inviting them to come to church the next day and of the four, only one said that she could come.  By the end of the fifteen minutes, they all committed to come. We followed a powerful  tool in Preach my gospel chapter 11.   
1. Ask direct questions
2. Promise blessings
3. Testify
4. Follow-up

That night we taught Agusto and Rosalina along with Paulo and Elsa.  We were at Agusto's house.  Paulo, at the time, told us that he lived there as well.  However, we found out later that he said this because he was self conscious of the small house that he had, so he brought his family to Agusto's place. 

The next day we woke up and went out the door to walk with them to church.  Church starts at 10:00, so we got there by 8:15.  Elsa was there with Rosalina at Agusto's house.  Elsa was ready to go, along with her two kids.  Paulo had gone to work, but was going to leave early in order to go to church. Agusto was inside the house getting ready, and Rosalina was cleaning dishes, saying that she wasn't going to make it—saying that she wanted to go visit her father.  We told her that her Father in Heaven also wanted a visit.  We waited for an hour at their house when something changed in Rosalina and she accepted to come.  We started off walking to church, only an hour walk is all.   Elder Williams and I walked with Ernesto, Paulo and Elsas oldest son, who is 6 years old.  Elder Williams on the right and I on the left, we helped Ernesto keep a solid pace all the way to the church.  It was a very hot fast sunday.   We arrived at 10:10.  Not too late. We took the kids to primary and showed the way for Agusto, Paulo and their wives.  Church was really good.  During sacrament meeting, Paulo leaned over to Elder Williams and asked, "Where's Ernesto?" They hadn't seen him since we dropped him off at primary.

....that was definitely an awkward moment.   

Elder Williams left the sacrament room, went up the stairs, looked in all of the classes, looked outside, and we did not find him.   Church was still going on, but we left in the car to Agusto's house to see if, by some way or another, Ernesto, the 6 year old, managed the one hour walk through a big city all the way to his house.  He didn't!  Ernesto wasn't at the house.  We arrived back to the church just as the meeting ended.  We spoke with the Branch presidency and organized a team to start looking through the city.  The Elders quorum president went with Paulo and Agusto to the police station.  Elsa was crying.  We left the mothers in the chapel with the sister missionaries and went off with a million prayers in our hearts.   After about an hour, Paulo got a call from his neighbor saying that Ernesto was there.  We were all relieved and amazed that he had managed to get there.  We went back to the chapel and said a prayer of thanks with Elsa and the others that were there.  

These two families sure have faith!  Can you imagine two young men coming to your home saturday night and promising that your life will change if you come to their church?  How would you be feeling after the hour walk in the hot sun?  How would you feel when you find out your son is lost? Last night we taught them the first lesson with President Kretly.  It was a very powerful lesson.  They are super great families.  They accepted baptism, and they said that they did feel something different at church.  I know that the Spirit really helped them.  I know the church it true!

Elder Williams and I have high expectations for the next few month.

-Elder Greenman