Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Transferred to Pafos, Cyprus

Meeting those coming in from Cyprus and sending out those who will be serving there (including me). On to new adventures.... Pafos, Cyprus is a tiny little town on the ocean. It is just me and my companion Elder Bavelas and a senior couple there so it should be interesting. A few fun facts - Cyprus has the last remaining divided capital city. Half of the island is Greek Cypriot and the other half is Turkish. Cyprus is famous for its tourism, which comes mostly from the British. They speak Greek that is equivalent to Swiss German. So they understand Greek but Greeks don't understand them. As for the work, we have 4 branches on Cyprus and they are very strong. On a clear day form the other side of the island you can actually see Israel. We are the closest mission in the world to Jerusalem.

At the airport, grabbing a quick bite to eat before we separate.

Here we are at Mars Hill one last time before transfers saying goodbye to friends and the beautiful city of Athens. There are several more pictures of this on the mission president's wife's blogspot: Greeceathensmission.blogspot.com

Monday, April 5, 2010

Greek Easter

Easter started last Saturday, when everyone with family leaves Athens and goes to their family's village. So everything has been deserted for the past week. For the actual festivities they started on Friday. We went to an Orthodox church with a recent Greek convert. Friday is called Ascension after the death of the savior. For the ceremonies, they build a funeral bed for the savior and ornament it with flowers and it is made of precious metals. They parade it through the streets and have incense and hand oils that represent the burial perfumes that were a custom of the time. So we paraded through the streets behind this pyre. Lots of people hold candles as they walk. They say a prayer when they get back to the church and then everyone goes underneath the bed and into the chapel. It is considered a token of good luck to go under it and also could grant wishes. So as all us missionaries went under the bed, we wished for many baptisms. (Haha) Then the next night on Saturday, at Midnight they have Agio Fos, or Holy Light. It is a tradition where everyone meets at a church and the priest is said to receive the the light from Christ after it is lit in Jerusalem in symbolism of His resurrection. Then he lights people's candles from his, then they turn and light others candles. We attended this celebration at the church on the highest peak in Athens. We were able to see the entire city of Athens and the lights from several churches. After a short sermon they also have fireworks. Which is an amazing sight to see. On Sunday, everyone goes out in the street and roasts a whole lamb on an open spit. But the best part of this Easter weekend was not the pageantry and the fireworks. It's the knowledge of the atonement that the Savior did for each and every one of us with his infinite and atoning sacrifice. That is the true miracle of Easter.