28 May 2015

Week43 Baptism

"Hey! It's been such an amazing week! 

I'm glad you got the letter, I'm going to start doing a lot better with writing regularly, I've been rubbish at it, life as a zone leader is hectic!

YES! H. got baptised on Saturday by President Freestone and confirmed by me yesterday! In French! Hahaha the first ordinance of my mission and it wasn't in Greek or in English! He's here with us now at church, writing up his conversion story for the mission history. I think afterwards we will go and get something to eat together. He's so great! It was a double baptism, together with a guy called A. who was taught by Elders Leppard and Shaner.

As zone leader I had responsibility to organise the baptismal service, which included a whole load of hassle when we found out on Friday that the oil tank at Halandri (for water heating) and been allowed to run empty! But everything came out well in the end, you can read about it in my journal.

I did the confirmation and Holy Ghost in French, and the blessing in English as my French didn't stretch that far, and he understands fairly well in English. 

How are your new Shoes?

"Yeah they fit great, and they're really comfortable And yeah they're a really nice colour"

"The result of us defrosting the freezer! We then had a little blizzard off the balcony"

How are you and Elder Burton?

"We're doing well, his Greek is getting better and better and we're really doing well at teaching together in unity. We had 7 lessons this week, and we have 5 people with baptismal dates!

Would you like to go to Cyprus in the next transfer? "I don't know, I think I'd rather go there not in the middle of summer! And I love it in Greece, both in Athens and in Thessaloniki. On the other hand I'd like to go as there is a whole half of the mission that I've never seen, and even senior couples that I've never met! I've heard that there are 3 new missionaries coming, and I think the transfer is 11th of June but I'm not sure"

Do you think you'll train again? Haha I already joke with Elder Burton about how for me it's the 36 week training program and not 12 like it is usually!

Love you too! Enjoy your new kitchen!"

"H kept telling us thank you and that he loves us, he’s such a great guy and will be a fantastic member of the church. I’m grateful for his happiness and enthusiasm to be baptised and for the sisters for teaching him so well."

"Today, Elder Burton and I gave 5 copies of The Book of Mormon out and received 5 names, a 1:1 ratio which was great! We now need to work on names to first lessons.
Things are going really well in the district which is great to see.  I got my packages which included my new shoes, chocolate from Rachel and the conference Ensign which were all great."

"I had a phone call with the assistants and they are over in Cyprus. They were with Elder Peel at the time so put him on the phone to speak to me which was good. Hopefully we’ll be in the same country in the next transfer, but we’ll see."

Week 42

"It's been a good week, we've had lots of lessons again and have 3 new investigators, so that's great!

Last night we had a lesson with A. where we taught a few different things, including the Word of Wisdom. It was so good because before we had even said what it contains, he realised from a scripture we read about the body being a temple that it is bad that he smokes and said that he needs to stop. When we taught the full commandment he accepted it and said he wants to live it. At the end I asked him if he had any cigarettes in the house, and he decided to give me his last packet. I took them with me when we left, screwed them up and binned them, it felt good. He's going to need a lot of help but he has the real desire to change, which is fantastic.

We didn't have anyone at church unfortunately A. couldn't make it and the others all had different reasons why they couldn't come."

"Zone Conference was really good! I had about an hour that President had given me to deliver training, and he didn't give me any guidelines, just to do whatever I felt inspired to. So we had some role plays about the the different stages of the process of someone becoming an investigator, with contacting, starting the first lesson, and giving a baptismal invitation. Usually in role plays they always use the senior couples as investigators, but I decided that because we rarely teach that demographic that I would use missionaries that are converts to the church, as they know exactly what it's like to be an investigator. It went really well and we learnt a lot from all of the conference.

And it was the last one for the Freestones as next month we won't have ZC, instead we will all have extra long interviews with President Freestone!

Today on the way to church on the metro, I saw the biggest insect I have ever seen. I don't know what it was but it was the length of my hand-span! A woman went crazy trying to kick it and kill it until she managed to stomp on it, it was the strangest experience.
It was to the point where I wouldn't have wanted to stand on it because I didn't want it to be all over my shoe, it was huge

My Interview with President was good, we mostly talked about the zone and how people are doing in different areas, and about the plans for zone conference. He asked how I'm doing but everything's fine so there wasn't much to talk about! I also report to him every week in emails so it's not like he doesn't know what's going on week to week

Today we'll be shopping, and then doing a whole lot of cleaning, woo! Not a very exciting day but it has to be done"

"Yeah someone had just painted straight over their door bell and the name tag with it, it was funny."

"And the other one is a basement that was just ridiculously full of stacked up wood, it was like Aladdin's cave

Oh yeah it's so hot now!
Yeah we have to stop if we need to, to have water and cool down"

"We had a lesson with J. We talked about the restoration and Joseph Smith and it went extremely well. We taught simply and to the point and then when the moment felt right I came straight in with the invitation to be baptised with the restored authority of God. He said yes! We set a date for the 20th June, and he said if he has received his answer then he will be baptised. I’m grateful for his humility and willingness to change if it is God’s will for him."

"We had a man come up to us on the Metro and ask what the book that we were carrying was. He then proceeded to read the introduction and gave us his number so we could talk more about it.
We had a presentation about using technology safely. It was the training that missions have before they get iPads. We won’t be getting them anytime soon, but the idea is for us to have the training whilst we are on our mission and go home to be responsible users of technology. It was really good, with things like to not turn a device on without a goal as for what you’re using it, to avoid wasting time. When we arrived at the street  we asked a couple of old ladies if they knew where the house was and they just told us it was a shame to see ‘beautiful young men’ like us as missionaries for a false church."

"The mother of the family kept telling her son that if he reads the Book of Mormon and the Bible he can grow up to be just like us, and she wants him to learn English as well as she said it is necessary to get anywhere in this world. I’m grateful for the wonderful new family we have to teach."

"Today at church we had the headsets set up for translation as the Perry’s had been assigned to give talks in sacrament. I sat at the back with the microphone translating into Greek. It was my first time using the system and it went really well, it was a lot easier than whispering into someone’s ear."

"In the evening we had a lesson with A. We taught about obedience, prayer,  scripture study and following the prophet using 1 Nephi 31 and it went really well. That led on nicely to us teaching the Word of Wisdom which he accepted and ssaid he will try. At the end of the lesson he gave us his last packet of cigarettes which we threw away after the lesson. He is changing so much and has a real desire to learn. We can also see that he really loves us and trusts us which is great. I’m grateful for the opportunity to help people change and become better."

17 May 2015

Greek Testimony

Elder Teal sharing his feelings and commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ, in Greek.

Week 41 Athens - Mothers Day

Week 41 included a Mothers Day Skype call. Missionaries get to Skype call home at Christmas and Mothers Day, To split the year up we mutually decided to take the American date for Mothers day instead of the English one. So although we didn't get many pictures this week we did get to video some of the hour call.

"No I haven't got much to tell you haha! I think this week we had the most lessons in a week that I've had in my mission so far, we had 8, which was really good! And hopefully we'll have even more this week! The problem is that with teaching we don't have as much time to do finding, so it's getting the balance between helping investigators progress and finding new ones!"

After our Sunday afternoon skype we had regular emails on Monday, here are some extracts from the journal pictures he sent.

"We then headed to the waterfront to do some contacting. We spoke to lots of people including one man we've talked to a couple of times before  who sells books for one euro. He said hes selling them for his friend who wrote them in memory of his parents. He said he often gives them away and over the years has given away over 20,000 copies. When I asked him why he gives them away he said so he doesn't have to carry them around anymore, which I thought was hilarious!"

"We had a lesson with H where we read together from  1 Nephi 8 about the tree of life. We talked about missionary work and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon in French to give to a friend which he was more than happy to do."

"We also met a man from Albania and later a man from Egypt who both gave us their phone numbers and addresses."

"Our lesson with J, the Greek orthodox priest went really well. He was very teachable and willing to learn, and agreed with everything that we taught."

"We had a really nice meal with Elder and Sister Howells .
I went on exchanges with Elder Valasquez.. We had a lesson with E on skype. We taught about the 10 commandments and he accepted everything as he had already learnt about them before anyway."

"We also had a lesson with A. We taught The Gospel Of Jesus Christ after reading 2 Nephi 31 together and we did a really good job of adjusting it to his needs. In the end Elder Valasquez shared his conversion story which A. liked a lot as he really wants to receive an answer but doesn't know how. We invited him again to be baptised and he said he has to think about it, which I told him I knew he would say and we read from Alma 32 together about planting a seed. I explained how if we never make that first step, we’ll never receive our answers and he agreed to the date of June 13th! Elder Valasquez and I were both really happy as the lesson couldn't have gone any better, and in the evening we had Home Burger to celebrate. I’m grateful for the 2 fantastic lessons we had today and for the influence the Book Of Mormon can have on people."

Week 40 Athens

Seems a sign Elders Teal and Burton put on the wall of their flat has gone viral as it is cropping up in other missionary apartments !

Elder Teal and Elder Kitsell during exchanges this week

"Week 40?! Wow! It's going so fast!

It sounds like you've had a good week, good to hear that the extension is coming along well. And great about Isaac getting the Priesthood! 

I really like what you said about the missionary being excited to go home and at the same time sad that he'll miss his new home and family, I think I'll be the same when it comes time for me to leave, but that's a while away yet! And I hope it's starting to become clear to others that my relationship with the Saviour has improved loads over the course of my mission so far!

It's been a great week!

First of all so I don't forget, I'll do Skype on Sunday at 7 in the evening (the time here). It has to be in the evening as Elder Burton's family are really far behind with the time

We had the most lessons this week of our transfer so far, 6! It was great, we had one day when we had 4 planned and we felt like the sisters haha (they have so many lessons). Only 3 happened that day but it was still great! And we had 3 new investigators this week!

H. was at church yeah, but he's on record as the Sister's investigator as they have the proper lessons with him. We still teach him but we read from the BoM together and teach maybe one principle each time, to prepare him for the lessons with the Sisters and to help him increase his love of the Book of Mormon, which is huge already.

This week he told us about how everything in his life has changes since his first lesson with us, and that now he is happy all the time. He is so amazing. He has a long list of scriptures that he's found about humility, because it's his favourite topic. When we showed him the index in the Book of Mormon it was like Christmas!

It's getting really warm yeah, it's great! It's going to get even hotter though, and I think it might soon cross over into being too hot!

The problem at the minute is with mosquitos, we're getting eaten alive! We have the windows open for fresh air but it lets them in as well. There was some insect cream in the apartment but it doesn't work, so I'm going to get the one I brought with me from my other suitcase in Halandri, hopefully that will be a bit better. We get a bit crazy sometimes going on insect killing sprees, it's funny. It's not as bad as I've made it sound, there are maybe 2 or 3 in the apartment at any one time, but I don't know when they're biting us as we never notice. Haha it's not a massive problem, and Pres Everitt advised we buy a candle thing that keeps them away, so we'll probably do that.

"It took our blood, so we took its life!"

I had parcels this week, one from Granny Jean for my birthday and one from dad with the talks from the Priesthood session. I also had a letter from you, and a postcard with the Manchester Central Library

Haha yeah it was a surprise when it said Happy Birthday! But it was nice, and it had 40 Euros in as well! We had a bit of a party that night when the Assistants came to drop off our order of leaflets and things and we had Dominos pizza together, it was fun"

White boarding to catch the interest of people in the streets

We also received some extra pictures from his visit to Thessaloniki during week 39

Elder Teal and Elder Deighton

Elder Clarke and Elder Burton.
"Be safe be seen !"

Elder Clarke and Elder Teal

It was also a chance to catch up with some members and Elder Teals good friend Brother Todi

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