20 Oct 2014

Week 12 Thessaloniki




"Some pictures from the paralia (waterfront) from where we did a whiteboard yesterday, and there was a really nice sunset. The boat you can see is a party boat, they pull up at random points along the front with music playing and let people get on, there's a bar and they serve food. The Scottish tourist you can see is my companion"

"Our area, its huge. (The area between the sea and the thick yellow line)"
 
"Me in the apartment and doing some ironing."
 How was your week, what was your spiritual highlight?
"Thank you for your prayers and fasting, we definitely feel like we're receiving massive blessings! We had another Hand of the Lord moment coming home from “whiteboarding” again last night, I forgot to take pictures of my journal this week so you'll have to wait to read about it until next week, but in short Heavenly Father makes it incredibly easy for us to get home when we're trying to be obedient. There were two occasions of us praying at a bus stop, opening our eyes and the bus instantly coming around the corner, and one of a ticket conductor saying our tickets were invalid and kicking us off what turned out to have been the wrong bus, and where he kicked us off was exactly where we needed to be to catch the next bus. So yeah, keep praying! I'm not allowed to ask you to fast (it's in the handbook) but if you want to do it of your own free will then go for it! ;) We're definitely being blessed for our efforts, and we've had our first few lessons this week, which have been great. Our Albanian friend has a baptismal date for the 22nd November, and he was at church again this week! :D

Spiritual highlight has to be the journey home again! I have seen how Heavenly Father is so willing to bless us when we're on the way home from doing His work and trying to be obedient by getting home on time. I no longer believe in coincidences, and I have seen so many direct and instant answers to prayers, it's amazing, and my relationship with my Father in Heaven has grown tremendously."

How is the Greek going ?
 "The Greek is going really well! I was a bit discouraged at one point during the week as I sometimes struggle to understand people in the street, especially when they go off topic because I don't know the words. I can definitely feel myself improving though, and when we taught a less-active family this week it felt like I could just have a normal conversation with them, like all of the times that new members have come to Oldham and we've got to know them, so that was really good.
Also I'm getting really good at street contacting now, I can approach and talk to someone by myself with no worries, have a full conversation, (try to) get their details and say bye! And yesterday in church I translated in Priesthood! Brother Todi taught in Greek and I translated into English for the people that don't speak Greek, it went really well, and it was great practise for my understanding.

It’s strange though, because I pray in Greek I've started thinking of Heavenly Father as a Greek speaker, it's made me less narrow minded about language and how God truly understands everyone!

The Greek is going great! I push myself with contacting and talking to everyone, and my companion pushes me by dropping me in the deep end mid conversation sometimes, and I'm seeing huge improvements!"

 


"My Greek scriptures! I have a list of my favourite scriptures from each of the Preach My Gospel topics, and they all have tabs in my Greek Book of Mormon. Also my Greek Bible, it has cool pictures and diagrams in the back about random things like Jewish planting calendars and things!"
Favourite Scripture?
"I can’t think of a favourite scripture of the top of my head for this week, but 2 Nephi 31 continues to amaze me and be an important part of my mission."

How is Elder Lyttle
"I get on so well with Elder Lyttel, we're having a really fun time together! We have a laugh every day and we're loving it. We often sing to each other in mixed Greek and English, it's hilarious. And we just do silly things in the apartment like elastic band fights, it's funny. But yeah we work really well together and he really pushes me. In the street he stands off to let me talk to people, so I have to carry on myself and can't just fall back on him to speak for me."



"Finally, Bike safety is fun! We don't use the bikes because Elder Lyttel has a bad knee. He actually had to go home because of it, and came back to the mission whilst we were in the MTC."

Eating well?
"We're eating great, we cook together everyday.
We've had pasta and curries, and last night I made a really nice Greek salad,
Granny Jean would be proud!"

     


"Oreo milkshakes made by Elder Lyttel,
Greek salad made by me, and melon prepared by both of us!
I chopped, he did a weird ball scoop thing :P"

How is the Branch you are serving in?
"The branch is lovely. There are maybe 15 members (active) so it's really small, but everyone there is there because they really want to be, you can really see the Gospel in action. We've had one lunch appointment so far, with Brother Todi. He's amazing, he's from Albania and he talks to Albanian people we meet on the street over the phone for us and invites them to church. He's like 4 feet tall and always wants hugs, it's hilarious.
We ate a sort of bread thing made from cheese, flour, spinach and some other things I don't know the English words for, it was really nice! But there was so much of it, we had to take some home for later. He doesn't have much money and lives in a tiny apartment, so it was a big deal for him to make food for two hungry young men, and we were very grateful."
Lots of love
Elder Teal Jnr
Finally a thought from Dad.
Each week as I compile emails sent to Elder Teals mum and myself, I am amazed to see the growth in our son. Some thing stood out this week. I should have remembered from my missionary service but time and life dull my memory. It struck me that my son is finding Gods hand in the simplest things. Elder Teal and Elder Lyttle's prayers are not for wealth or luxury, they are for a safe journey home so they can be in the apartment on time, to be obedient. They are praying for the chance to speak to people. In these simple yet profound questions, to a loving Heavenly Father, they are finding answers. If you ever questioned why missionaries live strict rules and denied themselves phone calls and the constant noise of technology.. this is why, so they can develop a relationship with God that will remain with them through their lives. These two young men are strengthening their testimonies in a living God, not by great signs and wonders but small miracles, I would overlook in my busy life.
As a family we were fortunate to have enough, to invite 4 missionaries into our home for Sunday dinner yesterday. I was moved to read a man invited our boys into his home to share whatever he had. It is these simple things that touch the heart of a missionary Dad. 

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