29 Feb 2016

Week 83

Not sure if these pictures were before or after last weeks baptism ?

"Week 83! That number is getting high!"

"It's been another great week, and a busy one! You can read all about it in my journal as to be honest off the top of my head I can't even remember what happened. And you'll be able to read about the confirmation too, it was really good. It was nice to be there in the Athens 1st branch, I have lots of friends there and it was good to see them all! That's one of the best things about us not having many areas, you don't just get to know people for a couple of months (maybe 6 if you're in the same area for a while), but you get to know them over 2 years and they become really good friends, who I'll miss when I go home!"

"We didn't have any new investigators this week, but we did have two lessons with M. and we have one planned with T. (we had a first lesson with him before Christmas) for tonight that we're looking forward to. We also have a few people that will hopefully become investigators soon, and we're excited about that!"

"Great that you got to go out to the temple, it's made me appreciate how blessed we are to have one so close whilst I've been out on my mission!"

"I think I'll Skype in May if you don't mind, since I think it will be good to space it out a little bit more and not talk to you now where we've talked recently and I don't have that much new stuff to tell you!" ( There was an option of English or American Mothers day) 

They skype call with Dr. James Holt (Uncle Jimmy) went really well yeah, and was very useful!" (the call was to discuss ways to help bring the church in Greece "Out of Obscurity")

Lunch - the Elders made stuffed peppers and play chess!


Outside the apartment.

I think these pictures fall into the category of, I've not taken any pictures all week best take a couple to send home !

"The weather was perfect. Bright and sunny and not a cloud in the sky but not yet at the point where it's unbearably hot. I think I'll miss the weather here a lot when I'm home, because even in the summer when it was really hot I quite liked it."

"We had district meeting where Elder Peel and I were asked to share about how we'd seen the influence of the Holy Ghost in A as he learned about the Gospel. It was a really good district meeting."

"It is very satisfying to be able to teach and testify about basic truths like that God has a body and that He is a separate individual to Jesus Christ."

"In the evening we had a Skype call with Uncle Jimmy so that we could talk to him about public relations for the church and also about representing the church at universities and other academic venues. It was a very productive discussion and we learnt a lot from his experience."

"There is definitely a very real correlation between how often we bear our testimony and how happy and satisfied we feel as missionaries and how much we feel that we're fulfilling our purpose."

"The zone leaders had planned a service activity where we wore the Helping Hands bibs and tidied up all of the rubbish on Mars Hill. We were there for about an hour and half and we got a lot done. There were also a lot of people around so it was good to have people be interested in who we are and what we're doing. It was a really good activity and it was a lovely day, so with the views that you have up there there's no better place to do service. It also reminded us how lucky we are to be serving in such a beautiful place that is so steeped in history.
I'm grateful for the greater love that we develop as we serve."

24 Feb 2016

Μόρφωση και παιδεία - Διά βίου μάθηση

Διά βίου μάθηση
«Οτιδήποτε στοιχείο διάνοιας αποκτήσουμε σε τούτη τη ζωή, θα αναστηθεί μαζί μας κατά την ανάσταση».
—Τζόζεφ Σμιθ

Μόρφωση και παιδεία 

(Education and Literacy)

Σημασία της μάθησης μέσω της εκπαιδεύσεως
Η παιδεία είναι θεμελιώδης για την κατανόηση των του Θεού και των του κόσμου. Πρέπει να ξέρουμε τα πράγματα στις γραφές και άλλα καλά βιβλία, διότι προοδεύουμε πιο γρήγορα, τόσο στα κοσμικά όσο και στα πνευματικά, όσο είμαστε καλύτερα μορφωμένοι. Τα κέντρα παιδείας είναι μία από τις πολλές υπηρεσίες που προσφέρει η Εκκλησία του Ιησού Χριστού των Αγίων των Τελευταίων και επίσης δωρίζει χρήματα για να προαγάγει άλλες διεθνείς πρωτοβουλίες για την παιδεία.
Η καλή μόρφωση και η ικανότητα να διαβάζουμε μάς βοηθά να αποκτήσουμε γνώση και σοφία, οι οποίες μας δίδουν τη δυνατότητα να διακρίνουμε την αλήθεια από το σφάλμα και να κάνουμε καλές επιλογές. Η μόρφωση και η παιδεία αποτελούν επίσης κλειδιά της προσωπικής αναπτύξεως, της προετοιμασίας για κατάλληλη απασχόληση, της οικοδόμησης δυνατών οικογενειών, της υπηρέτησης στην Εκκλησία και της σημαίνουσας συνεισφοράς στην κοινωνία στην οποία ζούμε. Η ικανότητα να διαβάζουμε και η ευκαιρία να πηγαίνουμε στο σχολείο μάς βοηθούν να γίνουμε καλύτεροι πολίτες, καλύτερα μέλη της οικογένειας, καλύτεροι υπάλληλοι και καλύτερα τέκνα του Θεού. Ο Πρόεδρος Ντίτερ Ούχτντορφ από την Πρώτη Προεδρία της Εκκλησίας είπε: «Παρακαλώ παροτρύνετε την οικογένειά σας… να μάθει και να μορφωθεί καλύτερα. Αν δεν είναι διαθέσιμη η επίσημη εκπαίδευση, μην επιτρέψετε σε αυτό να σας αποτρέψει από το αποκτήσετε όλη τη γνώση που μπορείτε. Υπό τέτοιες συνθήκες ζωής, τα καλύτερα βιβλία, υπό μία έννοια, μπορούν να γίνουν το “πανεπιστήμιό" σας -- μία αίθουσα που είναι πάντοτε ανοικτή και δέχεται όλους όσοι κάνουν αίτηση» Ο Τζόζεφ Σμιθ δίδαξε «Είναι αδύνατο ένας άνθρωπος να σωθεί μέσα σε άγνοια» (Διδαχή και Διαθήκες 131:6). Η εκπλήρωση του καθήκοντός μας να μάθουμε όσο το δυνατόν περισσότερα θα μας επιτρέψει να συνεισφέρουμε στον κόσμο γύρω μας και θα μας προετοιμάσει να συναντήσουμε τον Επουράνιο Πατέρα μας.

23 Feb 2016

Συναντήστε τους ιεραποστόλους


Ποιοι είναι οι ιεραπόστολοι;

Γιατί θα επέλεγαν αυτοί οι νέοι άνδρες και οι νέες γυναίκες να βάλουν τα καλά τους και να τριγυρίζουν σε ξένα μέρη του κόσμου για δύο χρόνια; Η Εκκλησία του Κυρίου πάντοτε ήταν ιεραποστολική Εκκλησία. Όπως ο Ιησούς Χριστός και οι μαθητές Του κήρυτταν το Ευαγγέλιο, περισσότεροι από 84.000 ιεραπόστολοι διαδίδουν τον λόγο Του σήμερα για την Εκκλησία του Ιησού Χριστού των Αγίων των Τελευταίων Ημερών. Καλούνται να κηρύξουν το Ευαγγέλιο του Ιησού Χριστού σε όλα τα μέρη του κόσμου. Οι περισσότεροι ιεραπόστολοι είναι περίπου 20 ετών, αν και πολλά μεγαλύτερα παντρεμένα ζευγάρια επιλέγουν επίσης να υπηρετούν. Οι ιεραπόστολοι εθελουσίως βάζουν στην άκρη το σχολείο, την εργασία και τα ραντεβού για περίπου δύο χρόνια, προκειμένου να υπηρετήσουν τον Κύριο με δικά τους έξοδα.
Η επικοινωνία με την οικογένεια είναι μάλιστα περιορισμένη σε γράμματα ή ηλεκτρονικά μηνύματα και πολύ περιστασιακές τηλεφωνικές κλήσεις, ούτως ώστε να μπορούν να εστιάσουν ολόψυχα στην υπηρέτηση του Κυρίου και των ανθρώπων εκεί όπου υπηρετούν. Κατά τη διάρκεια των δύο ετών τους υπηρετήσεως πλήρους απασχολήσεως, αφοσιώνονται στη μελέτη, στο να συναντούν τους ανθρώπους και στο να διδάσκουν για τον Ιησού Χριστό και την αποκατεστημένη Εκκλησία Του. Το έργο τους είναι έργο αγάπης και οι περισσότεροι ιεραπόστολοι καταλήγουν να αισθάνονται ότι κέρδισαν περισσότερα από αυτά που έδωσαν υπηρετώντας.

22 Feb 2016

Week 82 Baptism

"It's been a really great week, topped off by the baptism this Saturday! It was a great day, and combined with the confirmation at branch conference yesterday one of the best weekends of my mission! The branch has done a really good job of taking him under their wing, and he's already a part of the family. It's so good to see someone be baptised who is immediately so involved in the branch, and I think we're definitely on the way to our goal of baptising future leaders for the church.

Everything else is going well, we have some changes on Tuesday so that we can start working in the new areas here in Athens, and to open the new area in Paphos. I've also been able to talk to P on the phone a few times this week, he's doing really well and has lots of good questions about the gospel that I've been discussing with him. I wrote him a letter this morning about our potential to become like Heavenly Father, which is something he's fascinated by and has been reading about a lot. I kept it simple and based in the scriptures, and I really enjoyed writing it. I felt like Paul writing one of his epistles! :)

I love it here! I have really good friends in all 3 of the branches and I love that you get to see the other missionaries so often, it's a great atmosphere."

"M. came to church today so that was a great moment. 
There was such a nice atmosphere of love and friendship between the members. "

"We finished the day at the office where I did some work with the online referral system. We get 1 or 2 referrals every week now through the church's website which is great. We're hoping to use the Internet more effectively soon which I think will bring great results."

"I had email correspondence with a university professor here in Athens who would like 36 copies of The Book of Mormon for his students and would also be interested in missionaries coming into the university to deliver a presentation about our beliefs. It's exactly the sort of opportunity that we're looking for as we really want to show young people that ours is a religion that is still relevant today, and to raise the awareness of the church here in Athens. If even one person in a class of 36 has interest to learn more it will be great, and hopefully through this professor we'll also be able to make connections with other similarly minded people."

The Baptism

"A. asked me to baptise him which will be a privilege and a great capstone on the around 8 months that I've known him now."

"We had really good talks by Elder Szvoboda and V and a beautiful musical item on the piano by Alinda. The baptism took 3 times as his feet kept coming up." 

"After the baptism A. bore his testimony. It was so amazing, he talked about the changes he's seen in his life and how he wants to bring repentance to all the world as he's seen how it changes a person. He has really been accepted and loved by the members and it is clear he will be am important part of the branch."

"I'm grateful for this wonderful day. I'm grateful for repentance and how it changes people and for these wonderful people that over the last 18 months have become some of my closest friends."


15 Feb 2016

Week 81

Transfer week...
Elder Klestrup has gone home...
This amazing missionary has played a part in both Elder Peel and Elder Teals lives... 
18 months ago he trained Elder Peel when he first arrived in the mission. 
20 Weeks ago, when Elder Teal was called as an Assistant, Elder Klestrup was his companion
and introduced him to the assignment. 

As is the custom, the three new incoming missionaries, their trainers and the departing Elder were taken up Mars hill together.

The three arriving Elder and their training companions

With the excitement of new arrivals comes the sadness of airport departures

Amidst orientation and training meetings. Airport drop offs and pick ups Elder Peel and Teal continue to enjoy the opportunity to teach friends the gospel

"A. is doing really well and will be baptised next Saturday! He passed his interview yesterday and is so excited for the baptism. His whole story shows so much how the gospel changes people's lives, as he has come so far. Also this week he finished reading the Book of Mormon cover to cover which he was really pleased about. I've never had an investigator do that during the teaching process before I don't think! He is doing so well with everything, and is already a fantastic missionary, even inviting people from the street to go to church with him. His relationship with his family is also better than it's ever been, and his son and his wife had a baby this week which they're all very happy about."


All our posts (weeks 61-68) with Elder Klestrup can be found HERE

"At the airport it was interesting to think back to my arrival in the mission and how different the mission was then and how different I was then. It also made me think again about how I don't have a whole lot of time left. It's strange to think that in a year or so we'll have been gone 6 months and the mission will just continue to grow and develop in new and exciting ways, and kind of sad that we won't be a part of that. At the same time, I'm grateful that we're here now at such a pivotal time in the mission."

"We went to As house and talked first about tithing and fasting and then afterwards we showed him the video 'The Restoration.' (see below) He really enjoyed it and watched it so intently and then when it had finished he bore testimony about the restoration and told us that everyone needs to know the things that we have been teaching him as they have changed his life so much. He is so excited to be baptised. Every time we have a lesson with him it's a wonderful reminder for me of our purpose as missionaries."

Finally a bit of fun...


14 Feb 2016

Preparing to enter the MTC

I have been blessed with great examples of priesthood leadership in my life. Right up there with the best, is President Robert Preston. A man with unending amounts of love and humour. He has been our families Stake President and the President of the England Manchester Mission, (his and our home mission) 
He now serves along with his wife, as the President of the Preston England Missionary Training Center. He has met, loved and guided literally hundreds of missionaries. It was hard when looking though his Facebook pictures to find one without a missionary between the two of them! 
Despite these vast numbers, he still takes time to ask how our son Elder Teal is doing each time we meet. 

I asked if he would share some thoughts about preparing to serve a mission...

President Preston, If you get a brief moment could you offer some advice we could share 
with missionaries about to enter the MTC?

What would you have them bring, in an attitude sense not luggage?

Is there some things they should study to prepare them for the Missionary Training Center?

How do you feel about your role as an MTC president.

I'm sure many people would find your thoughts informative and helpful .

"So here goes, I have few mins before our evening "leavers testimony mtg"

What to bring in?  Clean hands and a pure heart! Sadly I have too many conversations with missionaries who have not FULLY resolved pre-mission issues to do with the law of chastity [inc pornography] and I'm sure I don't catch them all, I know there must be many who carry this guilt into their missions with them and then sooner or later need a conversation with their Mission President. Far better to clear these matters up before they enter the MTC!

Study? This is easy! the scriptures especially the Book of Mormon and if possible at least to become familiar with preach my gospel.

How do we feel about our roles? I deliberately say "we" because there is no way I could function here without Sister Preston! We feel incredibly blessed, privileged and honoured [and tired sometimes] to live with these extraordinary young people. They love us nearly as much as we love them. They never cease to amaze us by their courage, faith, optimism and diligence - Some need to learn a little more obedience here :) I'll leave it there - 

I so far have 2 full A4 journals devoted to this assignment .. and counting so I'll be brief and leave it at that -
Hope this helps!!  xx"

8 Feb 2016

Week 80

 Athens Olympic stadium with the snow covered hills behind


Some sections from this weeks emails

"It's been good yeah! I've been a bit ill with a cold that turned into a sinus infection I think, but I'm feeling much better now so it's all good.
I had some cold and flu tablets, but then when I read the small print I found out they were basically just paracetamol tablets. But I've been drinking a lot of water and sleeping, and it's passed quickly."

"A. is doing okay, although he's quite ill at the moment. Hopefully he will be getting baptised on the 20th but we still have lots of lessons that we need to fit in, so we may need to postpone the date a little. We'll see!"

"We have a new lady that we are teaching who is the housekeeper at the mission home. She was at our English class this week and would like to come to church next Sunday, so we're excited about that!"

From journals

"...we had a lesson with M, the lady who cleans the mission home. She wants to learn English so we talked mostly about that, but we also gave her a tour of the chapel and taught a part of the first lesson. We had Sister Heder and Alinda with us which was great. M. said that she admires their family and how much love they have, so we talked about the importance of families and how we can center them on Jesus Christ"

General Strikes in Athens = Traffic jams

 Blurred, but fun

 Birthday Party for Elder Teal

Dinner with the Heders

5 Feb 2016

Week 79

Above Elder Peel and Elder Teal, but taken while they were at the MTC together. 
Sunday 31/2/2016 was their 18 months of service mark. 
The picture below taken last week, together as companions.

"Yeah it's been 18 whole months! It's gone so quickly, it's crazy! Only 6 months left now, and I've started to feel it, I feel like I want to do the absolute best that I can (not that I've not been trying to for the last 18 months!), and make the best use of the rest of the time that I have here."

"The MLC (Mission Leadership Council)  was really good, we had a great meeting and were able to discuss a lot. We have such good missionaries here and a really good group of leaders. We led some parts of the discussion and I delivered a short training about the relationship between faith and hope as it applies to goal setting."

"A. is still doing well, we're hoping to set a baptismal date with him for the end of February. He's very willing, the only reason he hasn't been baptised already is that we wanted to make sure that he's fully ready."

"For the rest of today we'll be running around taking care of a few bits and pieces, and in the evening we have FHE at the Acropoli building which should be fun. We'll have a lesson with A. afterwards too."

Wednesday 03/02 was Elder Teals Birthday (20)

"On the actual day of my birthday I'm scheduled for an exchange with Elder Klestrup which should be fun, but I'don't know if we'll do anything in particular birthday-wise.
I don't have my birthday package yet no, but the Perrys will do the mail run tomorrow so I'll probably get it then."


"My eyes are great now! I'm seeing better than I did before the surgery and everything's good!"

"I spend quite a lot of time in language study now reading from the New Testament in the original Greek which I really enjoy. Yesterday evening we had a really nice visit with Vassilis who is a member here in the Halandri branch who's in his 80s. He's a really nice guy and so interesting to talk to as he knows a lot about Greek history and is constantly quoting classical philosophers and politicians in normal conversation. And because he's older, he talks in a really old fashioned way. Imagine if old people in England still spoke with Shakespearean English, it's kind of like that. And he is also agrees with a large number of older Greeks who say that the bible should never have been translated into modern Greek as it loses a significant amount of its meaning. I was really glad that I've read a lot about classical history and was able to be an active participant in the conversation rather than just sitting there with a blank look on my face. I just think there's something so fascinating about the fact that we're speaking a language which is literally thousands of years old, and that there are people who still speak the way they did in the time of Paul in normal interactions!

But yeah he likes talking to us. And from my studying the NT in the original Greek I was even able to follow when he was talking about the history of the Areopagus (the parliament they had on Mars Hill) and quoting things in the Greek of the time, as it's from the same time period as the biblical Greek."

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