24 Nov 2014

Week 17 Thessaloniki and Zone Conference

Zone Conference

For the purpose of administration and leadership missions are divided into Zones which are then divided into districts. There is one Zone in Greece and a second in Cyprus. This week the Greek Zone met together to receive counsel from the Mission President and have some training. Judging from the picture they think they are in "Grease" not Greece, we are reliably informed this is the Christos Xenophonos dance ??? So yes this is all the missionaries currently in Greece !!!

Q) How was zone conference and your interview with president?

"Zone conference was really good! You can read about the journeys there and back in my journal (6 hours on the train!)

The actual conference itself was great we learnt a lot! I made a lot of notes and I'll send you pictures of them next week. We always do lots of role plays so we can learn from one another, and we also had a lot of training from President. He wants us all to go back to the basics and be Preach My Gospel missionaries. He quoted the statistic that in Europe only 5% of investigators get baptised! 
We can improve by sticking to Preach My Gospel, he said it was written in Heaven and translated on Earth. In my interview he asked me how I'm doing physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and I explained that I'm great on all 3 fronts! I said I'd like to improve the sincerity of my personal prayers (they're good already but we can always improve), so he suggested that I go for a week without asking for anything in prayers, only saying that I am grateful for things. It's been interesting, and I think it's made me realise how much there is that I've never said thank you for before. That's what he said, he gave the example of one of the green hymnbooks that was sitting there in his office, had I ever said thank you for hymns? There;s so much that we have that we take for granted!

It was really good we learnt a lot! President Freestone was recently at a Mission President's Seminar in Portugal, so a lot of it was training passed on directly from the Area Presidency. There was also an exciting announcement about a Christmas campaign that church is running, that you'll find out all about soon if you haven't heard about it already!"

"Elder Potter and President Freestone in the birthday outfits (happens every zone conference for the month's birthdays)"

"Me with Elder Ferraz-Leite, who goes home today! He asked me ifwe could do something that represented Manchester in the picture, so I told him to pull a sad face and look kind of thick. Hahaha I was only joking though, Manchester is great, "

Q) How are your investigators doing??

"G. is doing great, HE HAS A BAPTISMAL DATE! The 27th of December! We still haven't taught Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity or Tithing yet though, but I'm sure it will be fine! He's really fitting in well into the branch, and he seems to really take a lot of comfort from the lessons. We're really excited We don't have many other investigators who are doing too well at the minute, we have a few potential investigators who we're excited about though, we just need to set up a first lesson with them!"

Q) Did you get the package I sent to Thess?

"Yes I got the package of Christmas decorations and the advent calendar, thankyou! I have't put them up yet, but when we do I'll send a picture!"

Q) Hows the Greek coming on?

"It's going well, I would say I'm comfortably fluent now, I can have conversations with almost anyone unless they have a really weird voice. Of course there are thousands of words that I don't know, but I can usually explain myself or get someone to rephrase something in a way that I can understand."

Q) Do you know any plans for Christmas yet?

"We will be in Athens from 22nd-24th December, then back in Thess for Christmas day. Transfers is not long after Christmas as well, but I'm not sure when exactly."

Other News

"We're not actually allowed to go to Kavala anymore because it's too far away,and there's no way that the people there can come to church. We need to build up the church here in Thess and then we will be able to build out from a solid base :)"

Our blog is reaching people we didn't expect and having an influence. This week we heard from a couple of sources about an American, who sought out the church after reading here.. (If you are reading this week thank you) Elder Teal had heard too..

"That's cool, and yeah I heard about the American guy as well, I'm famous haha! But yeah it was so funny, Elder Johansson came up to me at Zone conference and said how he met someone in Athens who said "Can I meet Elder Teal" but then said "Oh yeah he's in Thessaloniki, I won't be going that far North". And yeah the blog is how he found the church in Athens, do you have the address on there?"

I hadn't previously included the address of any meeting places in the mission, but I have know. Click HERE or on The Church in Greece/Cyprus tab at the top of this page.

Failed at finding

"We spent ages this morning looking for a bowling alley where we can go on a district trip. When we eventually found the address, it was a cafe with no bowling alley in sight. There was however one bowling pin just sat there on a box on the pavement, it was so weird!"

Our Weekly food spot

We know the mums out there like to know what Elders Lyttel and Teal are scoffing !

"These don't look great, but they were both really tasty. The first is spinach lasagna, and the second is enchiladas that Elder Lyttel and I made!"

Πρεσβύτερος Τειλ  (Elder Teal)


If you would like to browser all of Elder Teals pictures they are all stored online HERE

photo album

17 Nov 2014

Week 16 Thessaloniki

We received post from Elder Teal this week !!! The top picture is of the map he sent us with his own descriptions added. In the envelope we also all received a postcard. There were a few items of church literature in Greek, his weeks shopping receipt (they are eating healthy) A bus ticket and a random picture of Paul Sleem cut out from a Greek pass along card !?!

Today's emails contained several pictures and it sounds like he is still loving Thessaloniki.

"It's been a good week! We've got a lot done and we had quite a few lessons so that was good! We were in Kavala again on Thursday, and the rest of the time here in Thess"



"Pictures from our lesson with S, the lawyer who is 83. He was super keen for us to take photos of him, it was hilarious.The brass plaque is like the Hippocratic oath that doctors have, but for lawyers. it talks about defending rights and upholding the law, he was very proud of it. I loved all his old books, I'm so excited to be able to read Greek books when I get home!"

"Some ruins in Thess, I'm not quite sure what it is because we didn't have time to stop, but we'll go back on a P-Day sometime "

"An old car Elder Lyttel liked" 

"D, a man we had a lesson with in Kavala this week in his workshop" 

"I had a strange experience with Sacrament yesterday, it was the first time when I've done both prayers! (Bread and Water) It was even stranger because one is in Greek and one in English! Because we have members that don't speak Greek fluently, so they still get to here one of the sacrament prayers.

Unfortunately P. still hasn't come to church, and we've not been able to arrange another lesson with him yet, so it's not looking good. 

G. is doing great! he was at church again (in a suit this time) and brought his girlfriend with him! They both loved it and stayed for Priesthood/Relief Society, and then we had a lesson with them afterwards about the Plan of Salvation. They are both so willing to learn, and we're really excited about them.

We also met a guy called M, he's from Nigeria. he started a conversation with us on the bus which ended with him asking if he could give us his number to meet up some time, he's so ready! He was stood right there in the doorway when we got on the bus, placed right in our path!"

It takes a really long time for us to get any post to Elder Teal. Everything gets sent to the mission office in Athens and then gets distributed as and when people are travelling to various areas. But this week, like buses they all arrived for him at once !

"I got all of my parcels and letters this week! The Howells were up from Athens and brought it all with them that was there, it was like an early Christmas! thanks for everything you all sent, I'll try to write replies to some of the letters this week but some will probable have to be next week as well. As well as from you I had letters from the Peel family, and Grandad Phillip" 


"Thanks for the packages as well, the Greeny one and the Halloween things, and the Wests have just received a package for me today, which I'll get from them tomorrow at District Meeting probably :) "

A Greeny is a missionary that is new out, we sent a package full of green items to mark the occasion

"I'll get a better picture of the Greece shirt"
The shirt is a gift from Elder Teals peers at home


"Enjoying the packages Spaghetti!"

"Elder Lyttel selfie"

We commented he always seems to be wearing his maroon cardigan, you all thought it too !!
"Haha it's just a coincidence that I'm wearing it when I'm in photos, I only wear it like once a week :P I may buy another though!"

"A lovely squat toilet in the building where Stephanos' offices are. That's the first one I've seen, but Elder West tells me he's seen them in other places as well"

A mission here is sooo different to a mission in Manchester! 
For a start the fact that we teach people that are 2 hours away! We have one Zone Leader for the whole country, and the nearest set of Elders is 6 hours away by car! Our area is huge. And we are actually working two proselyting areas, Sikies and Kalamaria (both regions of Thess), so we have two area books and two sets of records to stay on top of!  

There are so many things that happen that I don't have time to tell you about, I feel like Mormon putting a hundreth part into his record! It is enough to say that I am probably the happiest I've been in my life, I love every single day. Of course there are hard times as well but it's part of the experience, and it's so worth it for the amazing, hilarious, spiritual, uplifting times. Thank you for your continued love and support, I love you!

We love having Elder Teal on a mission, we are learning so much from his experiences. It is changing us a little each week as we learn how to be missionary parents. Its a constant amazement that these two young men are so confident in a land with what appears to us to be such a hard language to learn. Elder Teal commented that while on the bus a Greek asked him how many years he had been living there! They seem to have gained enough respect from a man with a Phd last week and a Lawyer this week, to have them listen to their message. They are certainly young men for parents to be proud of.

(As always clicking on any image will enlarge it)

11 Nov 2014

Week 15 Thessaloniki & Kavala

Kavala! It felt like real Greece, with windy roads and houses built in random places all over the place, and it was so hilly! Elder West had a fun time trying to drive around, and Elder Lyttel and I went on foot a lot of the time

(click  any image on the page to enlarge)



We didn't find the less active members in Kavala, all the houses we went to were abandoned, it was weird! We found one former investigator who was no longer interested, but we had a good lessons in the evening with G. and M.!

We're not really sure why Kavala was closed, it's a bit of a mystery! I guess the membership just dwindled, but it's strange because on all the old teaching records from there the last lesson was the missionaries going round to say bye and the people being really sad. It's two hours in the car from Thess, almost directly East along the sea

We had an address for G. The story with him is strange, he's been used as a fellowshipper in the past with investigators in Kavala, and in our records President Charles (previous Miss. Pres.) described him as a "great friend to the church". He's good friends with Hugh Nibbly and knows loads of church figures like 70s and Apostles. He has read the Book of Mormon loads of times and loves studying Temple doctrine. He says that a restoration was needed of Christ's church. and he's pretty sure that this is it, he's particularly a fan of church organisation. To be honest we don't really know why he's not already a member, we hope to give him a baptismal date next time we see him!

More in Kavala, and a (blurry) picture of the people we met there. G. on the right has been investigating the church for years, and has over 200 books on Mormon theology in his library (he studies theology and has a PhD in some sort of medicinal field), and his friend M. is on the left (next to me), who is devoutly Greek Orthodox but still joined in our discussion. After the lesson they took us all out for a meal in a Greek Taverna, it was delicious!

If anyone in Kavala joined the church..It will be a really long way yeah, they'd probably be able to come maybe once a month, and we could take sacrament to them once every month or something, but we don't really know how it would work! But nothing is impossibly for the Lord!


We stopped at a lay-by to eat and there were loads of stray dogs, some of them looked quite ill though, so it was a bit sad. We gave them bits of our sandwiches.

Branch Activity night

Pics from the branch activity, it was so much fun! I heard you got some pics from Sister West as well! Of course I won the marshmallow competition, and Brother Todi was so funny doing limbo, they had to hold it so low!

Thessaloniki Water Front

Some pictures from the beachfront this morning, we were passing time until Elder Lyttel's appointment at the hospital. He had to get a check up x-ray from a bike accident he had in Cyprus (everything came up fine) A few more, and me in my new shirt that I bought last P-Day. We are in normal clothes because sometimes people smoke in the internet cafe and we dont want our suits to smell of smoke. Haha it is, I need another haircut! it's κοματίριο (komatirio), and I think that's how it's spelled in greek but I'm not 100% sure :P


Brother Todi and the food he cooked for us, 

Elder Lyttle cooking what looked like baby food, and him after a mishap with his chair.


The highlight was probably G. coming to church and the great lesson we had afterwards, he just seems so ready! It was him that came to us at the whiteboard last week and said he wanted to meet up with us to talk about the Book of Mormon (which he already had), and he asked if we have somewhere we meet on Sundays.

It's been a great week, we got a lot done and had 9 lessons altogether! (5 with investigators, 3 with members and 1 with a less active member)

A scripture President Freestone asked us to study this week is John 6:6 6-67, and it's very thought-provoking

Love Elder Teal

Dads note... 
This week we have tried a different format, of not including the questions we asked, just a compilation of different sections of emails sent to various family members. You may have noticed we haven't included the full name of those the companionship are teaching. This is out of respect to their privacy and also as it is general advice given to missionary blogs.
We continue to be amazed at the work Elder Lyttle and Teal are doing, we cant image a companionships area being so big ! It is great for us to know they are both happy in their work.

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