24 Sep 2014

Week 8 MTC

Today is the Last Wednesday evening P-day Post, Next week Elder Teal will be on route to Athens. From then on P-day and emails will be Monday.

The MTC group fly together early Tuesday morning to from Manchester to London, then from London to Athens. Via Facebook we are friends with a Senior Missionary Couple, Elder and Sister Howells who have shared.

"They will arrive at 13:45 and be met at the airport by the Mission President and most of the senior couples. They will then be interviewed by the President and given their companions followed by 3 days of training and instruction. The missionaries here are prepared and eager. All is well."

Emails to Mum

"I'm great :) We went to the temple for the last time this week, it was really good, it's so strange that we won't be able to go again for 2 years!
Yesterday we had In-Field Orientation, which is normally the day before you leave but was a week before for us because we're the only MTC group that's here for an odd number of weeks :P It was really good, showed us how to deal with things like ward council and ward mission leaders, and how to set good goals and keep track of our progress and that of investigators. It was a long day but it was good to do something different!"

How was your trip to Manchester to practice Street contacting?
"Picadilly was so good! Our best finding experience by far, we just got over our fears and talked to people, and had some really good conversations! We also got details for a man named ****, who lives in Failsworth! We submitted his name for referral, but it's a slow process so it might be a while before the missionaries get it. Tell them to look out for it, and make sure that they go and see him! We talked to to art students who were drawing in the street for ages, about all sorts of things. We had a really good talk, and left them by bearing testimony of the Book of Mormon and leaving them with a copy each. One of them wanted me to write down my testimony in his skecth book, as he was supposed to record his experiences during the day, They seemed genuinely interested but we didnt get any details unfortunately because they lived in Hull> we told them to go on mormon.org if they want to find out more."

Did you get our Plan of Salvation Package?
"I did yeah, this morning! It was so good I loved it! For like 5 minutes I was surprised that there was a new product called Moonburst, I didnt realise you'd changed the packet :P the Plan of Salvation laminates are so good as well, I was really impressed by the translation, how did you do it? Usually they have the accents in the wrong places or the words aren't conjugated right, but they were perfect. They will be so useful in teaching, thank you so much!"

These are some pictures we took before sending it to Elder Teal... We laminated these representations of the Plan of Salvation and packed them with sweets that matched the theme. SUNny Raisins. MOONburst, and Milky STARS. A previous post we wrote explains the Plan of Salvation more fully HERE 

Plan of Salvation File

Emails to Dad

How is your Greek?
"It's been a really good week. My Greek continues to improve, I have a daily goal now to learn 50 new words each day, which is going really well for me!"

Favourite scripture this week?
"I'm really enjoying my reading of the New Testament. I don't know the references off the top of my head, but I really like Luke in particular. he includes a lot of parables that the others don't, and one I came across this week that I've never read before was that of Lazarus the beggar and Abraham."

How is it being a Zone leader to "non Greek" Speakers?
Being zone leaders for both zones is great, it means we got to know everyone in the last 2 week group as well as language missionaries." 

How is the MTC President?
"His office door is always open and every time we walk past we go in to have a chat. He's willing to answer any doctrinal questions we might have or just to talk about missionary life, he's great"

Letters Home

The Meeting referred to was the European Sisters live Broadcast click this link to watch

17 Sep 2014

Week 7 MTC

From Email: To Dad

This week we watched `Is it the Spirit or is it Me` from Elder Bednar again, it was really good, and I learnt even more from it. It's so important that we recognise that when we're being obedient and doing our best, everything we do is under the influence of the Spirit.

Another highlight was on Sunday, we watched The Testaments. I was sat next to Elder Peel and we loved it, it was hilarious. The flirting scenes are so ridiculously cheesy, and Elder Peel made notes in his book about how to flirt. It was things like "Wear an ill-fitting hat" and "Reject the traditions of your father" and it was so funny, we were laughing the whole way through. It's actually a really well made film though, and the scene where Jesus visits the Nephites at the end is so good. I really felt the Spirit, and then when he suddenly appears beside the blind man and heals him, I could feel a real love for my Saviour. Every time in a video when the Saviour heals a blind person, I think how amazing it would be to have the first thing you ever see be the Saviour smiling down at you, and how much love and gratitude you would feel.

I think one of the reasons why the Gospels talk so much about healing the blind is because the Saviour opens people's spiritual eyes as well, and helps them to see the bigger picture. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

There's also a scene where he heals a blind man, and as the mans eyes begin to open the Saviour takes his young daughter by the shoulder and stands her in front of him. The first thing he sees is his daughters face for the first time. It struck me that the Saviour knows what is most important to people and is so compassionate and thoughtful that he takes the time to do that for the man.

Scripture of the week would be all of Matthew! I've decided to read the Gospels before I go out as a lot of the people in Greece will know the New Testament really well, and I don't want to be left looking like a numpty who doesn't know anything :P

You can really see how at the start of his ministry the Saviour was kind and compassionate, and want to get the message out about the Gospel. Towards the end when he knows time is short, he begins to get exasperated with how little the disciples understand, and knows that it's going to be so difficult for them once he has gone. He still has immense love for everyone around him, and uses every single thing he does as an opportunity to teach. Especially interesting to me is that he could do no mighty miracles in Nazareth, because to the people there he was just Joseph's son, the carpenter.

In Jesus the Christ it talks about how the power of God is built on faith, and if the people don't have faith the power is not there. It talks about it a lot in Ether 12 as well. I really like verse 6 in that chapter. This week we read it in Greek, and for the first time I felt that I could read, understand and discuss all in Greek rather than having to translate to English in my head at any point, it was amazing!

From Email: To Mum

Yeah it's been great, I'm loving it! I've been really happy this week because we've been really productive. As a result of planning better we've had a lot less time where we're sat in the District Room not really doing anything, and we've been a lot more focused on our lessons. They've been really good! I can also feel my Greek improving massively every day. I can study PMG and the BoM in Greek now (obviously not as in-depth as I can in English though) and I can have pretty good conversations with the teachers as well. I love it! 

Apparently we're going to Manchester Piccadilly tomorrow, which will be difficult again but I'll do my best! Younger people are actually the easiest to approach; they look down on us less because of our age, and take us more seriously. Many are interested as well, if only from an academic perspective, which is a start! The most success we've had finding was in the first week where we talked for a while to two young guys about the Book of Mormon. They were very skeptical, as they didn't believe in the Bible because of some of the strange laws and things in the Old Testament, especially Leviticus. We talked about that, and told them if they want to learn more about our church they should go on LDS.org. We also gave them a copy of the Book of Mormon.

I'm not particularly looking forward to finding tomorrow, because it's really strange to go into Manchester as a missionary. I'm determined to give it my best shot though, and to do the best I can!

I'm really looking forward to going now. I think my Greek is at a level where I'll be able to scrape along and be a small help to my companion in lessons, but I know my rate of improvement will increase massively when I'm surrounded by the language 24/7. I kind of hope that I'll be in Greece first for that reason, because there's quite a lot of English spoken in Cyprus, and I want to be thrown in at the deep end. But I know that President Freestone will have been praying about it for a long time, and wherever I get sent will be the right place for me.

Apparently he's so excited to have us come. We're doubling the size of the mission, so it's going to be an exciting time for the missionaries there! Every Elder will be training which is crazy, and because there's another group coming into the MTC when we leave, it means some of us in this group will be together after our first transfer. That will be crazy because we'll be so inexperienced! I do hope I get to serve with a lot of them though, it would be so good because we know each other so well.

I'm glad you're getting to know the Peels! Elder Peel is great, and I can tell I've made a lifelong friend. We're so excited for him to come to Manchester for Uni. His mum sent him a long list of courses this week but he has no idea what he wants to do. We're going to be the heart and should of the party at YSA dances judging by our dancing to Prince of Egypt in the room before bed ha ha!

From Letters :To Mum

From Letters :To Dad

Referring to Sunday Evening

Letters to Dad are always signed Elder Teal Jnr ! He started doing this and explained it was a mark of respect for me as I was an Elder Teal once and he feels his mission is a continuation of mine ... Love my boy !

14 Sep 2014

A Stake Presidents Thoughts

Only a Stake President is authorized to Set Apart a missionary. I have asked our Stake President to share some thoughts on his responsibility to set apart and his involvement in Missionary Preparation....

"Let me first say, it is an honour and a privilege to be given this sacred responsibility to set apart these wonderful full time missionaries. This is one of those special times as a Stake President, when you lay your hands upon the head of the individual, to set them apart as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints assigned to labour in the mission that the individual has been assigned. To know you are bestowing this authority on behalf of the Lord to send these missionaries into the world to proclaim the gospel and to be at the forefront of the work of salvation is also very humbling. You recognise these are special servants of the Lord who are willing to commit to giving 12 to 24 months of their own time and dedicating that time of their life to the Lord in fulfilling the call they have received in the mission they will serve. 

Those missionaries who I have set apart come from so many different backgrounds and circumstances. Their life experiences have been varied, from those who are in their late teens to our more senior members who have reached retirement age. Some of those who I have set apart have been members all their life and always knew that they wanted to serve a mission, others have been converts themselves, who may have been a member only for little over a year. Yet others, have been those members who have lapsed in their church activity but a change has taken place again in their lives and they have felt a desire to serve a mission on their return to church activity. It is always a special and sacred time at a setting apart of a missionary, and it is always wonderful to see the support and love of family and friends at such settings, it can also be quite an emotional time with many tears shed, particularly by Mum, Dad and other family members. 

 We have missionaries serving from the England Ashton Stake in North America, Europe and Africa, mostly serving like the missionaries you see walking up and down your road or you see on a bus, you may have been engaged in a conversation yourself with them. We have even have a sister serving in the family history department in Salt Lake City!! 

Our members have an opportunity to serve in so many different types of missionary work, but to have a desire to do so in itself is not enough, Bishops and Stake Presidents need to know that these missionaries are prepared and we have to ensure their worthiness and other factors such as health, in order for us to recommend them for missionary service. 

Let me say that I have a testimony that the Lord through those who he has called to make these missionary assignments is in Charge!!! I know the individuals mission call is from the Lord revealed through his servants. As I set apart each missionary and give them a priesthood blessing, I know and feel that the Lord reveals that which each individual should know and feel themselves about their particular mission assignment. The Lord knows those who he calls!!! I am not sure who will be reading this, but let me commend these missionaries to you, they are just ordinary people who love the Lord and are performing an extraordinary work in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Next time you bump into any of our missionaries, perhaps you could give them 15 minutes to listen to the message they have to share, it may just change you life forever." 
President Kevin Fletcher

Once submitted to the church Headquarters the missionary committee determine where missionaries should serve. This decisions are made in a weekly meeting presided over by an Apostle. The following article is taken from an address given by church leader Ronald A. Rasband.. 

"With the encouragement and permission of President Henry B. Eyring, I would like to relate to you an experience, very special to me, which I had with him several years ago when he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Each Apostle holds the keys of the kingdom and exercises them at the direction and assignment of the President of the Church. Elder Eyring was assigning missionaries to their fields of labor, and as part of my training, I was invited to observe.
I joined Elder Eyring early one morning in a room where several large computer screens had been prepared for the session. There was also a staff member from the Missionary Department who had been assigned to assist us that day.
First, we knelt together in prayer. I remember Elder Eyring using very sincere words, asking the Lord to bless him to know “perfectly” where the missionaries should be assigned. The word “perfectly” said much about the faith that Elder Eyring exhibited that day.
As the process began, a picture of the missionary to be assigned would come up on one of the computer screens. As each picture appeared, to me it was as if the missionary were in the room with us. Elder Eyring would then greet the missionary with his kind and endearing voice: “Good morning, Elder Reier or Sister Yang. How are you today?”
He told me that in his own mind he liked to think of where the missionaries would conclude their mission. This would aid him to know where they were to be assigned. Elder Eyring would then study the comments from the bishops and stake presidents, medical notes, and other issues relating to each missionary.
He then referred to another screen which displayed areas and missions across the world. Finally, as he was prompted by the Spirit, he would assign the missionary to his or her field of labor.
From others of the Twelve, I have learned that this general method is typical each week as Apostles of the Lord assign scores of missionaries to serve throughout the world.
Having served as a missionary in my own country in the Eastern States Mission a number of years ago, I was deeply moved by this experience. Also, having served as a mission president, I was grateful for a further witness in my heart that the missionaries I had received in New York City were sent to me by revelation.
After assigning a few missionaries, Elder Eyring turned to me as he pondered one particular missionary and said, “So, Brother Rasband, where do you think this missionary should go?” I was startled! I quietly suggested to Elder Eyring that I did not know and that I did not know I could know! He looked at me directly and simply said, “Brother Rasband, pay closer attention and you too can know!” With that, I pulled my chair a little closer to Elder Eyring and the computer screen, and I did pay much closer attention!
A couple of other times as the process moved along, Elder Eyring would turn to me and say, “Well, Brother Rasband, where do you feel this missionary should go?” I would name a particular mission, and Elder Eyring would look at me thoughtfully and say, “No, that’s not it!” He would then continue to assign the missionaries where he had felt prompted.
As we were nearing the completion of that assignment meeting, a picture of a certain missionary appeared on the screen. I had the strongest prompting, the strongest of the morning, that the missionary we had before us was to be assigned to Japan. I did not know that Elder Eyring was going to ask me on this one, but amazingly he did. I rather tentatively and humbly said to him, “Japan?” Elder Eyring responded immediately, “Yes, let’s go there.” And up on the computer screen the missions of Japan appeared. I instantly knew that the missionary was to go to the Japan Sapporo Mission.
Elder Eyring did not ask me the exact name of the mission, but he did assign that missionary to the Japan Sapporo Mission.
Privately in my heart I was deeply touched and sincerely grateful to the Lord for allowing me to experience the prompting to know where that missionary should go.
At the end of the meeting Elder Eyring bore his witness to me of the love of the Savior, which He has for each missionary assigned to go out into the world and preach the restored gospel. He said that it is by the great love of the Savior that His servants know where these wonderful young men and women, senior missionaries, and senior couple missionaries are to serve. I had a further witness that morning that every missionary called in this Church, and assigned or reassigned to a particular mission, is called by revelation from the Lord God Almighty through one of these, His servants."
Elder Ronald D. Rasband

13 Sep 2014

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10 Sep 2014

Week 6 MTC

"The Tower of Power"
Fancy being a Greek speaking missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Then 9 weeks training in the MTC with what Elder Teal describes as the Tower of Power is what you need.

So its week 6 and as always P-day for missionaries otherwise known as email day to missionary parents. P-day or Preparation day is the term given to the period from breakfast to the evening meal. It is the weekly period o prepare physically for the other 6 days. Washing, ironing, shopping and some leisure time emailing and perhaps playing sport.

This week is different as the numbers in the MTC are depleted. Missionaries that are going to Leeds and Manchester after 2 weeks training left yesterday. The group going to Alpine Germany mission after 6 weeks have just left too. Leaving just the Greece Athens missionaries for another 3 weeks.

So with the cafeteria to themselves they decided they would have a table each, just because they could !


So onto the emails....

Sections of emails to Mum - I will let you work out the questions they are answers too !

"I'm great! It's been a really good week, although it's weird today because there are only 16 of us in the whole MTC! 

Yeah really quiet, we sat one to a table in the canteen this morning just because we could :P I don't think we will play today, we play together in exercise time everyday anyway, and there are no Germans here for us to play with now! It's really strange though! 

 I saw Elder Honour in the temple today, he was in the same session. He was really emotional and it was hitting him hard tha his mission is coming to a end. Afterwards in the Celestial room I showed him the scripture 2 Timothy 4:7, I have kept the faith, I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course. 

Everyone else is doing well too. We're all excited to leave now, some more so than others. Some people are struggling with the language but we're doing our best to help them and push them. I've started doing at last 2 hours everyday all in Greek now, usually 3. It helps a lot, and gets me to think in Greek rather than just translate. I'm working on the grammar and almost have it down, and I'm finding that I just pick up words with minimal effort, my good memory is really coming in useful. 

Yeah Elder Peel thinks he's going to come to Manchester Uni now! We're going to get a house together haha, That would be so much fun. A couple of the Alpine missionaries might be going to Manchester Uni as well, so that will be great! I sent dad a load of pictures, I think you'll like them! 

I need to go for lunch soon, sorry I haven't had much time. I may be able to come back online later. We're going shopping a the Reebok stadium this afternoon, it should be fun. Have a great week, I'll write you a letter this evening."

Emails to Dad....

What was your weeks Highlight?

"Yesterday was the last day for evryone apart from the Greeks. We had lots of pictures and I got some nice notes from people in my τ-βίβλιο (T-Book). It was mixed emotions, we're sad to see them go but excited for them to get out into the field. Last night just before bed I had the idea for us to have a zone prayer, so we all came out into the dorm corridor and prayed together. It was really good, the spirit was so strong and we could really feel our Heavenly Father's love."

It seems that ties are like currency with lots of swapping going on..

"Elder Albrecht and the tie he gave me. He is such a nice guy, he only had like 5 ties with him, and the other night he gave me one that I complimented him on a couple of weeks ago. I bought him a present to say thank you, a Gospel Art picture book, a shoe brush and a packet of digestives. I'm going to miss him! (Alpine Mission)"

Favourite scripture?

"I really like 2 Timothy 4:7. it doesn't really apply to me yet, but today in the temple Elder Honour.(Just returning home after two years, his last area was our home ward) was on the same session as us, and I showed it to him. He seemed very emotional and sad that his mission is coming to an end. I'm at the other end of the spectrum, and I want to serve my mission in a way that makes it so I'm sad to see it end, but to feel like I've done all that I could and "fought the good fight". 
This week in my Greek Book of Mormon I marked up all of the PMG scriptures, and also started the process of going through and marking everytime it refers to God or the Saviour by any of their names. I found that in the first 10 pages they are referred to 79 times! It will probably be even more in the English version, because Greek has longer words and takes up more space to say the same thing, so by page 10 the chapters arent as far along. It's a really good way to show that the BoM is Another Testament of Jesus Christ"

A section from a letter received on Saturday.

The Elder Holland talk referenced that speaks of Paul can be found HERE
Moroni 8 2-3 can be found HERE

Elders going to Greece Athens Mission

 Elder Peel cracks jokes, Elder Teal laughs !

Elder Teal and Companion Elder Kwok

Finally just in case you worried Elder Teal was loosing his inner geek... 
I emailed to say I had listened to a radio discussion that spoke of 99.9999999% of atoms containing nothing. Here is his reply !

"That's right, it is pretty much just empty space. Nowhere in the Universe is literally nothing, so there will be some fundamental particles floating around like neutrinos and he like, but for all intents and purposes it's empty. Although with quantum mechanics electrons aren't really in one exact place, but more they are everywhere within the atom and have differing probabilities of being found in certain places at any precise instant. But yeah, it's empty. Interesting to think that when we touch something its because our electrons are repelling the electrons of the other thing, even though they're really widely spaced relatively speaking."

That's my boy !!!

More pictures from the week can be found HERE This link is always available in the right hand sidebar.

7 Sep 2014

Family Thoughts - John Teal

We are developing a pattern ! 
Wednesday nights updates from Elder Teal. 
Sunday nights "Family Thoughts" 
Tonight I decided it was my turn to share my thoughts about having a son on a mission.


From when he was a little boy, we hoped that our son would choose to serve a mission. We knew it would give him experiences that would shape the rest of his life. We held Family Home Evenings where we have talked about being a missionary and sung primary songs

When I have grown a foot or two. 
I hope by then I will be ready, 
To teach and preach and work as missionaries do. 

I hope that I can share the gospel 
With those who want to know the truth. 
I want to be a missionary 
And serve and help the Lord while I am in my youth."

I have seen our son grow, physically, mentally and spiritually throughout his life. Along with a class of his peers, I have taught him for 3 years of daily early morning Seminary and last year he was in an evening Institute class where I taught a group of 18-30 year old young adults.

As a former missionary myself, I knew what it would be like for him leaving home and spending two years, learning, growing and sharing. I knew what the joy of seeing someone embrace the gospel would bring him. I also knew of the discouragement and heartache that rejection would bring him.

What I didn't know.. is what it would be like saying goodbye to my only son and best friend.

For reasons I understand, missionaries restrict their communication with home to letters and emails once a week. They can Skype home on Christmas Day and Mothers Day. This helps them focus and reduces the potential of home sickness. It also ensures fairness among missionaries. Understanding doesn't always mean things are easy though. There are times when I am doing something and think "If Jake was here..." or I will hear something on the radio and think "I'll talk to Jake about that at tea tonight" but He isn't and I cant...

In the Old Testament Abraham is tested to see if he would do anything to obey God. Abraham is commanded to take his only son Issac to the top of a mountain and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Issac as a fit young man, could have rebelled but dutifully obeyed his fathers instructions.

Why would God ask this of Abraham ? 
Perhaps God knew Abraham would be obedient, but Abraham needed to know he would be obedient. Perhaps God wanted Abraham to understand what it would be like to sacrifice his only Son as type of the Sacrifice God would make? Abraham was tested to the limit and then an alternate sacrifice was provided.

This story has been on my mind a lot this last 5 weeks. Sacrificing Elder Teal by him being away from home for two years is hard. It is nothing though compared to what Heavenly Father felt when He watched his own Son Jesus Christ suffer for the sins and pains of us all.

Elder Teal being away from home is helping me understand the atonement of Jesus Christ a little more. Elder Teal has chosen to represent the Saviour out of love for the people he will meet and teach... 
And that fills me with pride for the man he is becoming.

3 Sep 2014

Week 5 MTC

This is some of Elder Teals MTC group, we assume it is his zone, (Alpine Germany and Athens Greece)

Another week has been and gone, only 4 more until he leaves Preston to go to Greece (30th of September).

We have sent a couple of packages, including a mini speaker with music pre-loaded on micro SD cards. The speaker was a request he made in last weeks email. We loaded a selection of Mormon Tabernacle choir and classical music.

Some email sections..

Questions from Dad.
What was the funniest thing this week?

"The funniest moment was probably on the first night when we had the speaker. We burst into one of the German rooms and picked up Elder Jensen plaing the Lion King song, then I did the line thing on his head like at the start of the flm. They were really surprised and it was hilarious."

Most spiritual moments?

"This Sunday we had a devotional from Elder Evans, who's something high up to do with missionary work. He talked about communication with home, and how all of our emails and letters should aim to edify and uplift our families and friends, and how we should model our letters after the epistles of Paul and the letters in the Book of Mormon. He talked a lot about Father/Son letters, especially with Moroni and Mormon towards the end of the Book of Mormon. I'll talk more about it in the letter I write to you this afternoon, but it meant a lot to me and made me think about the great letters you've sent to me, so thanks for that."

How is the Greek going?

"The Greek is going really well, i'm confident enough to speak about most of the lesson topics without planning what i'm going to say now, and I can hold a general conversation really well. I play the investigator when the teachers do Demonstrate Teaching, and I enjoy it a lot."

Favourite scripture this week?

"I really like Alma 36. I liked it before but read it again properly this week. Alma the Younger's conversion story is amazing, and his description of repentance and change through the Saviour in Alma 36 is beautiful."

I liked Alma 22:18...

"Yeah Alma 22:18 is great. I also love how it talks about sins as possessions. Sometimes our sins aren't just things that we do hey can be character traits or part of the people that we are, and we have to be willing to change as well as to stop or start doing things. Alma 17 and through the 20's are like the ultimate missionary manual, Ammon and Aaron are amazing. It's interesting to read about them teaching King Lamoni and his father, and they both teach similar content in similar styles. A great example for how we should be teaching new investigators! Something Pres Edwards talks about a lot is how in Alma 17 Ammon sees opportunity where others see adversity, it's a great mindset to have."

Email to Mum...

"Yesterday we did a class about Revelation through Church Attendance, and the two Greek Districts went to Chorley chapel to role play giving someone a tour of the chapel and telling them why Sunday church-attendance is important. I enjoyed it a lot and it made me see going to church in a new light. Brother Gibons tells me we should start every Sunday with a question in mind that we want to receive revelation about that day, and then to pay careful attention to promptings throughout the day. This Sunday I felt that I need to work on seeing the best in everyone, and having charity for people even if they're being a bit annoying! not that that happens a lot, we get on really well.

My Greek is going great, when we have Demonstrate Teaching (when the teachers teach a lesson and the missionaries watch and join in at he end) I play the investigator that they teach (in Greek). I feel like I can have proper conversation, which is great because it means I can actually plan what I want to teach in a lesson rather than spending all of my time planning the exact words that i'm going to say. instead we can just have topics in mind that we feel the investigator needs to hear, it's great.

This Sunday we had a devotional from Elder Holland called Feed My Sheep. It talks about why PMG was introduced and the importance of teaching what the investigator needs rather than memorised lessons by rote. he's such a powerful speaker and it was a great devotional, I enjoyed it a lot. It was also the first time I made my notes in Greek, which is something that I think will improve my writing and spelling a lot!

I've really loved having an hour set aside very morning o study the scriptures. Preach My Gospel (PMG) is such an amazing tool, not just for missionary work but also for study, it has great scriptures about all of the topics. I've taken to going through a topic and marking up all of the scriptures, and writing a brief summary of each in the margin of PMG so I know which ones will be good for a particular situation later on.

I've also gained a real testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon. Just reading from it with an investigator in the lesson is incredibly powerful, and if the spirit is there (which we are always aiming for) they can feel a strong witness of it's truth. We include the Book of Mormon in every single one of our lessons because it's such a amazing teaching tool, not only for us but also for the spirit.

We're going to the temple later, I can't wait :)

Something else I also like to do is during prelude music, to look up the hymn being played and look at the scripture references at the bottom of the page. I've found some really good scriptures that way, and it really invites the spirit to the meeting. The hymns are so good, I love singing them in he meetings. We're encouraged to sing in our mission languages so the hymns are always a mix of languages, but like a prayer it doesn't matter what language it's in. in D&C 25 it says the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and I've really felt that over the last few weeks, especially with hymns like Nearer My God to Thee (my favourite) and A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief. We have Greek hymnbooks but they're limited, they only have about 60. the other week I translated the first verse of Be Still My Soul into Greek, I'm hoping to do more when I get the time. It's difficult because Greek has much longer words than English, it's hard to make the words fit into the tune but keep the meaning. On Sunday one of the devotionals we watched was from Provo on Christmas EVE, so the closing hymn was Silent Night, which was funny when we all sang along.
The missionaries from Utah often see people they know sat in the audience at Provo on the broadcasts (as in they're missionaries in the MTC), which is funny because they get all excited and start pointing people out to their companions.
Anyway I just thought I'd send you a longer email because I feel like I often rush my messages, and I wanted to tell you more about how I've been feeling in my time here. I miss being able to sit at the dinner table and talk about our days! I'm having an amazing time and I'm so happy that I am here. I'm 100% worry-free and I know that I'm in the Lord's hands. I love the work, and I can't wait to get to Greece."

Dads thoughts.. Its amazing to hear that Elder Teal is picking up Greek well enough to teach lessons and hold conversations after only 4 weeks! We are just happy to know he is enjoying himself and growing so much. To finish this weeks post I thought I would share this video that speaks of why missionaries do what they do.

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