Saturday, November 6, 2010
President Charles has two new Assistants Elder Rodriguez and Elder Steeby. I am up in Kifissia now. It is also in Northern Athens so I am in the same branch. I actually live under the mission office. My new companion is Elder Rodriquez of Italy/Argentina. He is really cool. He can translate to Spanish. My life is going to be a bit busy for the next 4 months or so. I am lucky to have time for lunch most days. But I am excited about the new experiences I will encounter.
Mars Hill - Nov.3rd. Another tradition of the mission is to go to Mars Hill for testimonies. A sweet and peaceful feeling was felt today on Mars Hill. You can see that we read Acts 17 in Greek. As we made our way down some contacting was done and pass along cards were handed out.
What an awesome happy group!
We spent the morning at the Mission Home in an Orientation Meeting and then on to Souvlaki Kifissia. President & Sister Charles always take the new missionaries to eat their first official Greek meal after they arrive.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Pres. & Sister Charles spent a few days with the missionary leaders in Athens. We enjoyed this training session on the Fundamentals of Preach My Gospel. Role playing plays a big part of our training sessions. We have the opportunity to learn from each others experiences.
I had another awesome Sunday and week in general. Sunday we decided as a district to try street singing. So all dozen missionaries went to the main square in Athens and sang hymns. We had 2 elders handing out fliers and they gave out almost 200 fliers and things while we sang. It was a great experience. Sometimes you just have to stop and think outside of the box and the Lord blesses you with what you were trying to get. Its amazing the blessings of the gospel. The picture is of a buzzer and the name is Missouri.
On Thursday, I was asked to prepare a weekly gospel principles class for church. To be given in Greek and translated into Spanish for a member family. This seemed a bit overwhelming at the time. But I prepared the best I could and then Sunday came. I was the only elder there that could translate, so I got to translate for a senior couple for sacrament. Senior couples are the worst to translate because they don't understand the concept of someone translating live. So they use big words and make weird jokes that don't translate. But I survived. Then I got to have my class. President and Sister Charles decided to sit in so my class was then in Greek, Spanish and also English. Ugh. Again, I survived. It actually wasn't a bad lesson. Even though the Greek translation of the manual is terrible because its in ancient Greek for random words. Then I came down for priesthood and was told a man was here requesting to be baptized. So I went and talked with him and we will start teaching him on Saturday. Then I got to translate priesthood and relief society. Then we had potluck. The picture was taken by a member who said to send it to my mom to show me eating my veggies. Good Sunday.
We gathered at Mars Hill for a farewell for Elder Mortensen. The Athens sky seemed to be in sympathy with us as we said goodbye. Clouds formed, and the soft rain mingled with our tears as we bore testimony and sang our song of farewell. Elder Mortensen shared a poignant story written by his grandfather called The Little Blue Flower. We bid him God speed into the arms of his family. Elder Fingerle followed in the footsteps of our dear missionary brother Paul. He bore testimony about the goodness of the missionaries.
So this week we received a call on Wednesday to give service. We were only told where and not what we were doing. It was someone claiming to have known missionaries before. So we made our journey up to where she lived. When we get there the house is a mess and she starts explaining to me what we will be doing. She wanted us to change shirts and then we were going to organize her house. She refused to let us do it in our white shirts so we changed and started sorting. It was the most disorganized and disgusting house. But finally after we finished the kitchen, she took us back into her daughters' room. Her two daughters are like 10 and 9. And she wanted us to sort and fold and pack away all of her daughters summer clothes and get out the winter ones. So many of the clothes hadn't been washed and it was just terrible. She had no idea what she wanted either so she would randomly change her mind. Finally she insisted on feeding us so we grabbed it and ran out. We told our leaders and discussed it and it was decided we would not be going back there again. Just another test of our faith.
We visited a missionary in the hospital. They made us wear masks so we didn't kill him. It was fun. Then on Thursday I was summoned to the mission home to perform vital tech support on the blog. We also had interviews and on Sat there was a baptism and since the chapel was ours, we had to fill the font. In Greece we have small pipes so that took about 2.5 hours. But the baptism was great and there was a great spirit present for the meeting.
I had my first test of translation yesterday. A Greek member showed up at church and the other older missionaries where in Cyprus so it was me and 2 other elders, so I got to start the translation. Sadly, a senior couple was speaking so it wasn't a great translation because they speak too fast and don't understand "translation." It was tough but I survived. Then I let one of the other elders translate and the member got tired of it and took off the translation headset. That was sad for him but it happens.