"This is our area that covers the whole city, and technically it's also a huge area around the city as well. It goes to the borders with Bulgaria and Macedonia, and a long way South as well, the only problem is that there's only the one church, so people wouldn't be able to get to church. There's a city called Kavala about 2 hours away with around 30 less active members, because the church closed there a few years ago, I don't know why. But the people there cant come to church because it's too far! I think the missionaries there used to get arrested a lot."
Some weeks due to a large number of questions from us and answers from Elder Teal, the emails become confusing, so to make it easier to follow I have matched questions and answers. from a couple of emails !
Hello , are you ok ? So what's been your weeks highlight?
"I'm not sure what the highlight would be, it's been a really good week, we've had some lessons which is always good! Yesterday I played piano in Sacrament! It wasn't great if I'm honest but it was something to sing along to, and I think people appreciated it, and it was funny.
We've started to use the bikes now which I love, I didn't realise how much I would enjoy it. They’re really good bikes and it’s much easier than walking or using the bus. I've also discovered that the bakery just down the road sells really nice really cheap biscuits, so that's great, and when I went this morning I got an extra one free!"
Been white boarding, done your own this time?
"Yeah we do it every Sunday! Last week we had a question saying "What is important?" and a list of things like God, family, love, happiness etc. and used it to get people talking, which worked really well. This week we had the question "What brings you happiness?" and used it to talk to people about the Book of Mormon. It's really good every time we do it, and it's a great chance to improve my Greek as well, talking to people in the street."
Are there street dogs in Thess like Athens ? Can you get a picture for Jessie’s Facebook page? "There are street dogs here, but we're warned not to go near them as some are vicious and might have rabies or something. The ones that you could get close to are usually really old or really ill, and it would be a really depressing picture, it makes me sad every time I see them. It would be more like a Save the Street Dogs picture, which I don't think is what you were really meaning."
They are re showing the Joanna Lumley Greece programme on TV we have seen the 1st two again and are looking forward to episode 4 as it's Thess.
"Ha-ha great, you might see some places I know!"
I am sure mum has told you elder peels parents are coming to our house on Friday?
"Ha-ha yeah, that's great! If they’re anything like Elder Peel you'll get along great!"
What has stood out to you from your study this week ?
"This week I've started Elder Bednar's idea of going through the Book of Mormon and highlighting everything with relation to a specific topic, I’m doing relationships between parents and children. I really love 2 Nephi 1, where Lehi is exhorting Laman and Lemuel to righteousness. You can tell that he has worked out his own salvation and made his election sure, and now before he dies is desperate for his sons to see the light, it's really touching, especially verse 14"
Elder Bednar suggested using a softback copy of the Book of Mormon and working through it marking everything relating to one topic.
Then get a new copy and do the same again with a different theme
What’s the weather been like? According to my app you seem to have had some rain but it’s not always accurate.
"It’s really cold, but my fleece and coat work well together so I’m fine. I have my hat and scarf as well, so I’m fine :)"
Hows the Greek? It's going well?
"I can feel my understanding improving as I start to pick up what people are saying when I overhear conversations in the street and on the bus. I like to ask people on the bus questions about the language or for directions for places I don’t even want to go to, just so I can hear them talk and get used to trying to understand the accent. I can understand perfectly when the other missionaries speak Greek, and when people who are foreigners here speak it's quite easy, it's just with actual Greeks that I sometimes have trouble, but it's improving! And 9 times out of 10 I can say myself what I want to without a problem :)"
What hymns did you play? How much did you remember?
"Is the hymn book thinner as not all translated? It’s thinner yeah, but I just played from the simplified hymn book in English. Yeah I can remember the basics of hand positioning and things, which is enough, but I hope to improve as I do it more! I had to play Sweet is the Work, Jesus Once of Humble Birth Now Let Us Rejoice, And the last one was quite funny because it's really fast and parts weren't great haha!" Elder Teal only has a grade 1 piano certificate from about 9 years ago. Brave lad! !
Hows the food?
"Shop baought Yiro (delicious greek kebab) and chilli and rice Elder Lyttel and I made"
Don't think they area starving then !
Have any packages arrived yet ?
"They haven't, we only get mail when people come up from Athens or when we go down there, so it might not be until zone conference that I get them. Someone might bring them up before then, but it will have to be someone who drives as they wouldn't be able to bring them on the plane. Elder Lyttel said it sometimes takes like 3 weeks for parcels to arrive in Greece at all, and then they have to get up to Thess."
Have a great week!
Lots of love,
Elder Teal Jnr.