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, March 31, 2014

Second to the Last Letter

This is Andrew's mom. We received his letter this morning, all in Spanish, and I wanted to give a little update, so I will translate a part of it for you.

My mission has been the best thing in my life and for my life up until now. I want to write you and thank you for all the support and prayers in my behalf. This week went well. We taught a new family, who came to church! We have three complete families in our Sunday Meetings: Ronaldo and Iva, Nelson and Louisa and Cremildo and Celia.

After church we had a Ward Council Meeting. A member from the district presidency was in attendance and he taught us and the auxiliaries how to have an effective ward council. He always used the Administration manual in order to respond to the questions and concerns each had. I learned much from this President Mateus. The manner in which he used love and patience in training the members will always remain in my mind. The Church is growing very rapidly here, but they need more reinforcement. We are working hard to teach the leaders and the members to do their important part.

This week we are having the Zone Conference and I am excited to learn from President Kretly.

...Next week will be my last letter. I ask you to send me questions so that I can respond with anything you want to know about.

The pictures below are of my companions and I in back of President Kretly's vehicle. We were asked to design a poster that will inspire some interest in our church. This is what we came up with. (It translates as "Do you want to have a happy family? Call this number...") The second picture is of a special family the Elder Gray and I taught. They have not been baptized yet, but someday will be.

Monday, March 24, 2014

President Said I Could Extend till May!!!!

(The most common starting line in all of my letters  :)  

          This week went by really fast.  No really....it went by way too fast.  What made it go fast?
We had lots of work to do in the office this week and at the same time lots to do in the area. 
          As far as the office goes: There are two "Prezies" that we've been working on.  One for Zone Conference, which is this and next week.  The second is a training that President Kretly will be giving to all the members about the importance of family history work and the "my family" booklet.   This past week we were able to finish them both. However, because of all of the work we had to do in the office, there were three days that we were't able to get to the area.  The other days we made up for it though.  We still got 40 qualified contacts and taught a nice new family.  This week we had a family home evening with Nelson and Louisa along with Carlos and Ana and it went very well.   Nelson and Louisa and their kids, Cynthia and Julinho, are doing very well.  They've developed the habit of family scripture study and family prayer.  It's starting to become a habit for them, even their little kids of 9 and 6 years are starting to participate in the family prayers.
    We had to move Rondaldo and Iva's baptismal date back to the first week of april because they don't have all their marriage documents yet.  They came to church this week and instead of being late they were early, which was super nice, especially because this past sunday was branch conference.  The attendance for our branch was a record high too!  There were 256 people in our sacrament meeting in the maputo 2 branch.  
-Elder Greenman

Monday, March 17, 2014

Significant Sacrament

This week went by very well, and very fast.    Last monday we drove to Matola to pick up Elder Santos, our new companion.  I respect Elder Santos so very much.  He is an example to me of what happens when someone does everything they can to reach their potencial.  Elder Santos did not speak english before the mission.  Now he speaks very well.  He has learned a lot about how to be a leader.  Elder Williams and I feel privileged to serve with him and prepare him to be the next assistant to the president.  
Quick update on the families that we are teaching:
Ronaldo and Iva came to church together, (they did come late, but we'll teach about the importance of the Sabbath day this week)  Ronaldo and Iva are reading in the book of mormon.  One of our focuses this week with him will be to help him read even more. Iva on the other hand is reading really well and is past 1 Nephi 10.  They still haven't seemed to get all their documents yet.  This week we'll teach about the importance of the plan of salvation.  It will help them understand why they need to follow God's commandments on earth and follow them now. (Alma 34)
I mentioned in last week's letter about two new families that we taught:
Julião and Amparo as well as Nelson and Nayomi.   This week we haven't been able to sit with Nelson and Nayomi, but we were able to sit with Julião and Amparo last night.  We taught them the plan of salvation.  The lesson went very well.  Julião and Amparo are people that have a greater understanding of things.  They are both very smart, He's a business consultor and she's an accountant.  Along with that they are both religious and have their understanding of things pertaining to God.  The plan o salvation however was able to clear a few thins up for them.  They have a lot of question about it that we weren't able to answer last night.  We'll be sitting with them again tomorrow to talk more about it.
We sat with Neslon and Louisa this week.  Man!, this family is special.   They live with their two children: Cynthia (9)  and Julinho (6)   They accepted the restoration very openly.  We left them with two book of mormons and committed them to read as a family every day.  Louisa doesn't know how to read very well, so she follows along as her husband reads.  They are progressing!    We sat with them three times this week.  and.....they came to church!  We went by their house early in the morning before church to walk with them.  Our area is about 30 minutes away by foot.  (That is at a missionary walking speed)  A family with their two younger children can take 40-60 minutes to get to church. These people have so much faith.    They enjoyed church a lot and we'll be teaching them tonight as well.
Carlos and Ana are doing well.  Carlos is converted, he's reading the book of mormon and is gaining a solid testimony that this is God's church.  It's seems like half of his family is splitting though.  Ana is still very strong in her church and doesn't show a lot of excitement at the thought of suddenly leaving and joining another church.  She has friends there, many of which she helped them start going there. One of her concerns this week was why we take the sacrament every week, and why it isn't wine with bread.   It's so important to understand the importance of the sacrament.  If an investigator truly understands, then he won't become inactive.  Many people go inactive because of something they did, or that was done to them that could simply have been taken care of by taking the sacrament and renewing their course.  We explained to Ana that the sacrament is simply renewing our baptismal covenants.  We explained that none of us is perfect and we need to renew and realign ourselves with God weekly.  Before my mission I didn't understand the importance of the sacrament.  (The funny thing is, is that 40 years from now I'll look back at this time in my life and say the same thing.  We are always growing and deepening our understanding and testimony of Christ and His Atonement)  Carlos has been to church 4 times in a row.  The first time he only came with one of his kids.  The second time he came with two.  The third time he came with his wife and one of his sons (Nando) and the fourth time, which was yesterday, he came with three of his kids.  It won't be long before the kids start coming every week.  Ana will eventually see a difference in her kids and her husband and will desire the same thing.  Tonight we will be doing a FHE at their house.  We're bringing the Relief Society president along with Nelson and Louisa with their two kids.    Elder Hamilton, when he came to our mission, said that FHE may be our secret weapon to unify families.  I know for a fact that FHE does help the family stay united.

This week we made it into the double digits for investigators at church, and we want to keep it that way.  The Lord is blessing our area and it's starting to build up.  If we are able to get the marriage process open with Ronaldo and Iva this week then they'll be married on the 29th of March.  We hope they can get baptized on the same day as well but we want to make sure that they are converted to the gospel not the idea of a new thing and getting married.
Well, thats all folks!  have a great week!
-Elder Greenman

Monday, March 10, 2014

Vision Precedes Our Victories

This week went very well.  Some of our time was spent with the 5 new missionaries that came in this transfer.

-Elder Greenman

P.S.   The Lord blesses us so much in our area!  To start off, Ronaldo and Iva are doing very well.  They will probably be able to get the rest of their marriage documents this week.  Their baptismal date is on the 29th of March.  Two of the Sister missionaries married and baptized a family this past weekend so we invited Ronald and Iva to come to the marriage and baptism.   They loved it and are excited for their turn.  They are also reading the Book of Mormon which is the most important  commitment for their conversion.  (They are doing well,  for some reason though, they didn't come to church yesterday.  Because of that we went by their house to see how they were doing.)   
After we left their house we saw a man sitting down just outside the gate to his house.  He was spending time with his little two year old.  We started talking with him and 5 minutes later we were inside the gate teaching his family.  Their names are Julião and Amparo.   They are such a wonderful family.  They understood very well, in fact they had contact with missionaries about a year ago but ended up moving to a different area... our area.  After that we went and taught another new family, Nelson and Nayomi.  They are already officially married, and they have a car.  The lesson started outside their house but when it started to rain we went inside.  That's when it poured.  We continued teaching, and they continued listening and asking questions.  The lesson was very powerful.  We gave them a book of mormon and invited them to read it to find out if God's church really is on earth or not.  They accepted the challenge.  After the closing prayer that Nelson gave we made our way out the door.  It had stopped raining hard, but their entire property was flooded with about 4-5 inches of water, and not only their property, but all the roads as well. He stood at the doorway and said something to us.   He said, "Élders, when I told you that I would read the Book of Mormon, I was lying.  But now, I will read it."
It was such a good lesson!  we'll be visiting these two new families again tomorrow.  Elder Williams and I are really excited for this next transfer that is starting today.  In fact we will both be getting a new companion, that is I'll be getting a new companion, and Elder Williams will be getting a companion that he'd already served with.  We'll be serving in a threesome with Elder Santos.  Elder Williams served in Matola as a Zone Leader with Elder Santos, and now Elder Santos will come serve with us.  Elder Williams and I will train him to become the next AP because Elder Williams and I will be leaving at the end of this transfer.  
I think it's safe to say that Elder Santos is the most Christlike missionary in this mission.  He's from Cape Verde, is 27 years old, has already finished college, and was a convert to the church 3 years ago.  What a sacrifice that he made to serve a mission.  I'm very glad that he'll be coming to serve with us.  He's very intelligent, before the mission he was a high school math teacher.  We'll be picking him up tonight after we work in our area.

Okay now back to my subject line: Vision Precedes our Victories.
This is something that I've learned on my mission and will continue to learn throughout the rest of my life.  What is Vision?  Vision is a perception of what one can accomplish.  A lack of vision will cause a lack of victories in the future (Victories, meaning growth and success).  Many people in the world have a lack of vision.  Some of those same people, however, do not lack because they don't care about their future, they just don't know yet what they want to do or what they want to accomplish.  What a blessing it is for me to have an understanding of my potential, my divine worth and destiny.  I've wondered about what a person can do when he or she doesn't have an idea of what their vision should be.  
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God."   Is there a better place to turn to when we have a lack of vision?  I believe not, especially because God can help us not only obtain a vision, but a divine vision, not a worldly vision.  
God created all things spiritually before they were physically created.   Their are two creations: there is the blueprint of the house, then there is the actual built house that come later with hard work and time.  On a mission there is a lot of vision time, that is planning time.  There is a daily planning session every night, there is also weekly planning every Thursday.  All of this gives us a vision of what we will accomplish.  
I've learned on the mission the importance of not letting life just happen, but to act and create oportunities for me to enjoy this life and the next one.
The mission is great, and it's quite the once in a lifetime experience.  There is only one time for a young man or woman to learn this much in such a little bit of time, and it's the mission.  I'll never regret it!

-Elder Greenman