Tuesday, August 9, 2011

July 17th - My Report to the Ward

My family came to support me.

Some great friends came too.

July 16th - Welcome Home Party

And the fireworks topped off the evening.

The kids were enjoying the evening.

Oh, Uncle Herb....

Mom and Laura made me a cake.

Late July 11th in Missouri

It's good to be home.

Talking to the sister who wasn't here to meet me.

Not the clearest but 1st shot off the plane.

July 11th - Return Home

Last shot at airport.

Bags are packed outside Mission Home.

July 10th - Mars Hill for the last time

It was searing hot but the spirit was so strong as we gathered for the final time on Mars Hill where the Apostle Paul taught.

Testimonies were borne through tears shed for a battle fought and won. They all 'Return with Honour', yet remain forever in our hearts.

July 9th

Sister Charles wanted some last minute pictures. We are quite the group.

It is impossible to convey the feelings and thoughts expressed at this meeting. We do know that our association is eternal, and wherever we are in this world, the Greece Athens Mission binds us together forever.

July 8th - Back to Athens for Last Days

Leonidas lunch - we had to eat.

We gathered together to share some last thoughts that will hopefully keep us in good stead for our lives at home.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July - Only One Week left

My week was great. Probably the best yet. We have several investigators all set up for the elders taking our place. Sadly, I will miss the people of Pafos, Athens, and all the missionaries I have served with and especially President and Sister Charles. The next you hear from me, I will home in St. Joseph, MO arriving July 11th at KCI around 10pm.

I believe 2 John 1:12 says it best: "Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 20th - Cyprus District Conference

Below are the guys leaving with me in July: Elders Wells, Jentzsch and Rodriguez.

This week was yet again an amazing week. We had even more success in finding people and teaching. On Thursday, we were able to take up a member that speaks Bulgarian to visit one of our investigators. It went amazingly. We taught about the restoration and with the help of the translation he really just opened up and is super receptive. He even accepted a baptismal date for a week or two after I leave. He is so excited to continue to learn and hear about the gospel. We are so excited for him. He even really wants to come to church with his wife. It is amazing how the Lord can bless us. We are running out of time to teach all the lessons people want to have. There just aren't enough hours in the day. Life is great in the service of the Lord.

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 13, 2010 Countdown - 4 weeks left

This week was amazing. We just found success after success at every turn. We knocked into two streets that produced over a dozen names of people that are interested. We even ran out of Book of Mormons in Bulgarian. This made one of the contacts almost cry because he wanted one and we didn't have one for him. Luckily we got one and are going to give it to him soon. But we were just teaching lesson after lesson to all these people. It was one of the most amazing feelings to just go from one house to the next teaching everyone. We also are friends of everyone else in the area, because we sort of got into a discussion with the neighborhood Jehovah's witness and taught her a few things about the necessity for authority and basically the whole neighborhood heard us. They were thankful that someone finally could come around and silence her more or less. So we had a very warm reception. We also might have an investigator out of the Jehovah's Witness. So it is a win win. But it's weeks like this that you can just see the hand of the Lord in everything and how much he really leads and watches over the work. Its a great work and it will never stop moving forward.

June 6th, 2011

This week, we had an absolutely amazing lesson with these two couples from Bulgaria. They have been being taught for a while but they are a bit hard to handle because they love to talk and talk in Bulgarian so you can't even bridge the subject back. You just have to interrupt and force it back. But this week we got to have a lesson with them and watch the Restoration DVD with them in Bulgarian. They were speechless, they all just watched it and partook of the spirit that accompanies it. It was amazing the change in them afterwards. They were calm and attentive. They even wanted to pray to make sure that what they saw was true. We are really excited for them now. On a different note today was zone paint ball. In commemoration of the anniversary of D day, I took a picture of me shooting an Italian. They were axis too, but there wasn't a German around to get an authentic picture.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

May 30th, 2011

This week was incredible. We really hit it hard this week. We had so many lessons and found several more Cypriot families that are interested in learning. The Lord is truly blessing us here in Pafos. It definitely wasn't easy. That is mainly due to us having two clusters of investigators. One on the south of the city and one to the North. In between those two is about 200 yards of elevation. Needless to say, thank goodness for bikes with gears. It is exhausting but worth every minute. We are finding people everywhere. Although we did find some interesting people this week. One man believed we are just avatars in some sort of parallel universe and went on to explain what that meant. Another guy was an American and he let us in because we knew the name of pipe playing guy found in the southern Utah Indian tribes. Who would have thought the kokopele would have opened a door for us. The man then went on to tell us his whole life story including how he switched from Roman Catholic to Islam but he doesn't even fully believe that. Oh the people that you meet half way around the world. Life is always interesting. We can only be grateful for what we have been given and keep moving forward in faith believing that something better is in store.

May 20th -Zone Conference in Cyprus

We had zone conference and district conference for Cyprus this weekend. The pictures below Sis Charles took. This week was pretty darn good. We finally finished contacting as many as we could of the last missionaries contacts and then we knew if we wanted success we needed to go out and get our own investigators and we needed them quickly. So that is what we did. On Tuesday we went and tried the last contact who wasn't home or didn't live at that address. So we decided to ride outside the city a bit to an area that I had found Cypriots in last year. And we were truly blessed. We hadn't been having a great day but then when we got there, Cypriots just started to listen to us a little by little. They started taking flyers and handouts, and then we even got one that asked if they could have a book of Mormon in Russian. So we will go back there this week. Then as we knocked this one street and came to the end, we found a family that the wife had some interest but the husband thought we were Jehovah's witnesses. So we gave them a pass along card and left. We hadn't even gotten back to the end of the street and our phone rings. My companion answers and it was some one we didn't recognize. Sure enough it was that family. The wife had convinced the husband we weren't Jehovah's witnesses and to listen to us. So we went back and had a great lesson. They are an amazing open family and they have a couple kids. We are so excited to go back and continue teaching them. Then as we walked back to our bikes, we still had a little time so we knocked another building. We came to a door with music blaring so loud you couldn't hear the door bell. A young man came to the door and as we started to shout to him our message he turns off the music and invited us in. It was another amazing lesson. He was also a Cypriot and he is excited to come to church next week. We were so amazingly blessed this week and we are hoping and praying that we get the chance to help these people into the gospel.

We have to eat!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 16 in Pafos, Cyprus Again

As for this week, I arrived in Pafos and got back to my new apartment and then we slowly began to discover just how much has changed since I left. The missionaries had changed so much and to my surprise destroyed so much stuff in that apartment. We didn't even have a frying pan anymore. Even worse, someone broke a pain of glass out of a glass door. Luckily it was double pained so no air came in or anything. And just when we thought that was the worst it could be, we discovered our area book. The last elders had left us with about a dozen investigators and potential investigators. We were pretty excited for that at first. Then as we started examining the records, we noticed how much wasn't filled out. We didn't know addresses and phone numbers of half of them. So we started contacting the other missionaries and piecing as much of it together as we could. Then as we tried to contact each of them we started discovering that the house numbers and street names didn't exist. We only ended up finding two places and one of them blew us off for the lesson we scheduled. But even with all of that going on, this has still been an amazing week. Being out in the field again makes me so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve as a missionary. It is an amazing experience and something that I will never regret. I look forward to the coming weeks and the success we are going to have here.

This is a picture of my comp (Elder Wells) taking shelter from the rain under a palm tree, only in Cyprus!

May 9th - Back to the field

This week was my last week in the office. So I made it priority to finish all of my still unfinished tasks. Which I was able to do. But to be honest the work is never done. There is always something more we can do. And mine arrived Friday morning in the shape of 3 brand new computers. They arrived to replace the old ones we were using in the office. Well they arrived straight from the manufacturer with nothing on them. Which means someone got to install everything from the operating system to the programs. Now this isn't the quickest task but of course I went right to work. Sadly the disk that the church sent us with everything they want on the computer was broken. It was missing a few files and that made the whole thing refuse to work. So I had a very stressful weekend of trying to get them to work while still participating in the events we have for the missionaries going home. It was even more busy than I could have wanted. And then to finish off the weekend I had to get up at 4 am on Monday to go to the airport. It has been a long few days. But remember when you start to think that you have done all that you can, just wait a little bit and you'll find that there will always be more that you can do. It is especially true in the gospel. Just when we think that we have done all that we can its time to look back and find those things we still lack and improve them. We are saved by the grace and atonement of Christ only after we have done all that we can. Not after we have done all that we think we need to do.

May 8th - Mars Hill

Per tradition when someone comes or goes, we go to Mars Hill for testimonies. It is always a special memory.

We had testimonies from President Charles and Elder Dracocardos, Elder and Sister Ollerton, Elders King, Steeby and Elder Roderick who was on a return visit with his family. I have lost count of the times that sweet words of faith and love have been uttered and lifted to the heavens. This is a special place where our beloved Apostle Paul stood and bore testimony, we all stand as witnesses as he once stood.