28 Jun 2016

Week ONE HUNDRED Thessloniki

View from the Elders apartment Window 

 "We didn't have that many lessons but we did have a lesson from door-knocking which was good, and also a good lesson with D, who is scheduled to be baptised on the 23rd. He couldn't make it to church as he had work, but things are looking good for his baptism. We also got the bus out to a suburban area the other day with big houses and it was nice to change our demographic a little bit.
The other elders here will have a baptism on Saturday which will be good too! Church was good as usual, we had lots of tourists there so the chapel was full. And the branch members are so friendly to people of other faiths, it's great."

View from the Elders apartment Window

!It's so hot now! And there's a lot of humidity here as we're next to the sea. Elder Reed described it well when he said it's like the air is sweating. I actually really like the heat, although it can get pretty uncomfortable on the bikes!"

"Elder Reed's great. We have so much fun together as we have similar senses of humour, and we have so many running jokes that we're laughing at constantly."

Elder Teal

"We have nice bikes here, nicer than the Cyprus ones. They're a bit smaller though and I think the frame is a bit small for me really. We've been using them as I don't have a monthly ticket as I got here too late in the month, but for July I'll buy a ticket and I don't think we'll use the bikes that much."

"I don't think many of my clothes from my mission will fit anymore, the stuff I have with me is all really small. Although that may be in part due to accidents with dryers :P"

Elder Reed flicking and elastic band

Note from Home

Its hard to believe that we have reached week ONE HUNDRED.  Only 4 more blog posts left to write before Elder Teal comes home, then we can retire from blogging. Each week Elder Teals mum and I compare emails and pool information, I write and then she edits and publishes. 
Blogging has been a fantastic way to feel involved in and also share, our sons missionary experiences. With the additional information posts, this week will be our 135th blog entry. 
Along with getting excited about Elder Teals return in 30 days, we are also looking forward to flying to Greece with him in September, to visit some of the people and places we have often wrote about.

20 Jun 2016

Week 99 Elder Teal - Thessaloniki

  The Greece Athens Mission - Above Athens Zone - Below Cyprus Zone

"Hi! Yeah the weeks are rolling by so fast, not long to go now at all. I think these next few weeks will pass really quickly, as I'm already loving it back here in Thessaloniki."

"Our week was great. The zone conferences and MLC with President Kearon were so good, and we learnt a lot. It was also really nice to travel with Elder Kearon from Cyprus to Athens and to be able to get to know him a little bit during the meantime. He's such a nice man, and really has an air about him that makes him seem like a leader. He had a really good teaching style, and I learnt both from what we discussed and the way he led the discussion. I had an interview with him on Friday as well which was nice."

Whilst in Cyprus Elder Teal also got to say goodbye to old friends.

Transfers - Thessaloniki ! 

On Friday after Mission Leadership Council (MLC) Elder Teal left Athens and flew to Thessloniki where he will serve with Elder Reed for his last five and a half weeks.

Elder Reed on the Right 

"Being back here in Thessaloniki is so good! I'm in the new apartment, which is on the other side of town, so although I've been over here a couple of times there's a lot that I'm not familiar with, so it's good to be looking around and finding things out. It was so nice to be in the branch on Sunday, and to see all of the members, and they were all really happy to see me too. We've had two lessons since I arrived and set two baptismal dates, so I think it's going to be an exciting few weeks. Elder Reed is great, he has a really good sense of humour and we get along really well, and he's also really willing to work and to get things done." 

"Since I've been here I've been talking to literally everyone, and I'm absolutely loving it." 

It's getting really warm now!

Elder Teals mission has gone full circle. Having started in Thessaloniki he has returned to finish.

13 Jun 2016

Week 98 Elder Teal Greece Athens Mission

Transfer news from the Greece Athens Mission
This coming Friday, after 38 weeks serving as an Assistant to President Heder, Elder Teal will be moving back to serve in Thessaloniki for a third time' and his last 6 weeks. It will be a great chance to focus fully on finding, teaching and working with his friends in the branch. Elder Teal is excited about a new challenge and has loved the opportunity to work so closely with the Heders for the best part of 10 months. 

"It's been a good week as usual yeah! We didn't have too many lessons, only two, but they were both good ones. We've also had some really good opportunities to help and serve people this week which has been great."

"President Kearon (Europe Area President) will arrive in Cyprus tomorrow. We'll have Zone Conference there on Wednesday then fly back Wednesday night, and we will have conference here in Athens on Thursday. We'll then have MLC on Friday morning after which he will fly out. I will have a meeting with President Heder, Elder Mead and Elder Potter, after which I will fly up to Thessaloniki on Friday afternoon. It's going to be a busy week I think! I'm excited."

Alinda Heder Graduating in Athens

"We had seminary graduation here too! We didn't go, but we were there for the end and the food afterwards! (We'd been working in the office and hadn't had chance to eat, and Sister Petchey is very generous). It was just Alinda graduating, but it seems that everyone enjoyed the night. It's great that Ruth graduated! You know, when the Americans that we have here apply for their visa, they have to have proof of religious training, and they have to send the original copy of their seminary certificate. Alinda said she's known people in the States who didn't finish seminary, and then couldn't get visas for their missions because they didn't have an official document to say that they'd been instructed in religion. So graduating from seminary is important! Even President and Sister Heder had to dig out their certificates in order to get their visas to come here."

Elder Teals sister Ruth graduating in Manchester

"I'm glad the zone leaders are working hard over there! I think it will be strange to be home after my mission and to see the missionaries that serve in my ward in a whole new light. Hopefully I won't compare them with the missionaries we have here, because I'm sure we have the best in the world!"

"Yeah it was my last week at Halandri. It was sad to say bye to everyone, but it's really nice to be able to tell them that we'll be coming to visit. It's also nice to be able to say goodbye in stages as I'm not yet leaving the mission for good. I've found that it's good to be packing in stages as well, as I've filled one suitcase with things that I won't need for the next 6 weeks, which I will leave here in Athens until I come to leave."

"I will have to fly back down to Athens in mid July for my last check-up at the eye clinic, and President said there's no problem. So the flights continue. If everything goes to the plan by the time I get home I'll have made exactly 45 flights during my mission."

"As for extra space, I think I will be okay. If not, I can always pay for extra weight for the suitcases rather than posting things, but I don't think it will be necessary. All of the casual clothes I brought with me are really small for me now, so I think I'll basically have zero clothing when I get home! I'll have to wear a shirt and slacks for a couple of days until I can buy some new clothes! :P"

Senior couples make a massive difference to any mission,
Elder Teal and Elder Mead got to meet the newly arrived Elder and Sister Allen

6 Jun 2016

Week 97 Elder Teal in the Greece Athens Mission

Make friends wherever you can !   
Even if you just meet them on the street !

I often send quotes that I come across to Elder Teal. Last week I sent this snippet from Elder Holland, addressed to new  Mission presidents originally ..

 "Presidents, you'll have occasion to ask, and your missionaries will have many occasions to ask, why is this so hard? Why doesn't this go better? Why can't our success be more rapid? Why aren't there more people joining the church? It is the truth! We believe in angels! We trust in miracles! Why don't people just walk to the font? Why isn't the only risk in the mission field that of pneumonia? Just being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font! Why isn't it easier president? Why do the people not understand president? Why do they reject us president? Can't they see this? These are things that a 19, and a 20, and a 21, and a 22¬year¬old will ask. They are things that I've asked! I thought about it a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. It's not church doctrine, per se, it's just my feeling, to you as you prepare to go into the mission field. I am convinced that Missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience! Salvation was never easy! We are the church of Jesus Christ! This is the truth! He is our great eternal head! Why would we believe, why would we think that it would be easy for us, when it was never easy for him?"
His response.

"That's a nice quote, thanks for sending it! I think one of the biggest recurring problems with people is that they feel entitled to an easy life if there really is a God, and don't understand exactly that which Elder Holland talks about here. I've also thought a lot recently about how important it is for us to have trials so that we can learn and grow, and that the Atonement doesn't take those trials away from us but rather makes them mean something. If God were to simply take every difficult thing out of lives, there would be no point in living, as there would be no growth."

"You should read an article called "The Efficacy of Prayer" by C.S. Lewis. President Heder used extracts from it in a recent training and it was really interesting."

So I did read it and I recommend it to everyone ... You can find it HERE

"It's been a good week, and really hot over here too! We got up over 35 degrees on Thursday! 
Getting in the car when it's been out in the sun is a killer, and we're glad we have air con!"

"I feel like the start of my mission was so long ago, and I definitely have a different feeling about my mission now than I did then. But I don't want to call it tiredness yet. I feel like I'm just coming round onto the home straight, and I want to hit the finish line so worn out that I can barely stand!
And don't worry about me, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." 
I'll still have plenty of energy when I get home!"



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