Sunday, March 20, 2011
We had the joy of welcoming Elder Kopischke on a Mission Tour he is the President of the Europe Area. The picture is of the Athens and Thessaloniki Zones. Elder Kopischke taught us from the scriptures and filled our hearts with those great messages from the prophets.
My week. I have begun to understand that things don't always go your way. This week we had strike after strike pop up on us and basically foiled every plan we had made. That drove the sense of panic in the office into overdrive. This week we closed two apartments and had two days of meetings and a day of interviews. And to top that all off, we had several planning sessions about what we are going to do about the General Authority coming this week. But several things were decided, among the which include us staying in a hotel in Athens. To quote a Chinese proverb and Kung Fu Panda, yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why they call it the present. The first part of the quote applies more but its still a good quote.
This week was quite interesting. But one of the most memorable meals I have ever eaten occurred this week. So yesterday, we accepted an invitation to lunch at the home of the Landlord of the Thessaloniki chapel with President and Sister Charles. He is a very wealthy man and very Greek. So of course he wanted to show off the traditional foods of his homeland. He and his wife brought us to their dining table which upon first glance appeared to have the entire dinner already on it. We had fancy table clothes and two plates, the works. Then they began to explain what each of the 7 dishes were and where they come from. They had salads and special sauces to go on bread and all sorts of things. They even had octopus! So we begin and take a little of everything but they make sure we only use our small plate. This sent off warning bells in my head but not my companion's. He ate and ate and got quite full. I too ate but was only starting to feel full when the hostess got up and retrieved another bowl of special beans from the kitchen. She then put them on each of our plates. A few minutes later she went back and got another bowl of rice with mussels. (not my favorite) And filled each of our plates. At this stage we all moved from a pleasant meal to how much can my stomach hold. She then left and brought back another course. She could see we were starting to get full so decided that it was time to switch to the big plates. Then she brought out the stuffed eggplant. This would have been quite good but it had been cooling for quite some time now and that made it an awkward pudding like texture with an odd flavor. I enjoyed it but my companion was dying. Sister Charles tried to take it from him to save him, but instead they took it from her and gave her another half an eggplant. Keep in mind an eggplant is about size of the average water bottle. So half was quite a bit for her. And again while dining they brought out Greek meat balls. Oh were they good. I ate quite a few in a miraculous manner while everyone else groaned in pain. Then they decided to take mercy on us and bring out the desserts. The first was an orange cake. It was delicious. If I had had more room I would have loved it. But we were all so full that we had to decline the chocolate cake and the rice pudding. I have never been so full in my life. But it was a good growing experience. (literally) I think I gained a pants size or two. haha Just kidding. The moral of the story is sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.
Role playing and reaching heavenward for inspired questions.
Elder Bavelas is deep in thought. Time to enjoy a meal at the Noodle Bar. We always think of Elder and Sister Shute when we come here.
How wonderful to be in Thessaloniki with this brave band of missionaries. They are small in number but so powerful in testimony and desire to work.
Elder Steeby instructed us on many topics one being companionship exchanges. He taught us to remember PIE. P for Praise which should be sincere and merited. I for Instruct give training and ideas on what could be improved. E for Encourage speak in a positive and motivating manner.
A few weeks ago, the car I was driving was broken into and my bag was stolen. It had only the minor things like my passport and residency papers. Oh and my wallet and license. But this week, I miraculously was able to complete all the forms and paperwork to get the replacements for all of them. I say miraculousness because most Greek government offices make the post office seem like a nascar speed way of efficiency. But it also rained this week. Everyday in fact. But I was happy because I had gotten my paperwork that I needed to go to Cyprus for a conference. But on the night before we left we came home to our apartment and found that our floor was covered in about 3 inches of water. The whole place was soaked. So we began saving what we could and began to search for a way to remove the water. We tried as hard as we could but couldn't do anything. It seemed insurmountable. There was no way we were going to be able to clean the place and get the water out in order to go to Cyprus the next day. A repairman finally came after I tried for hours to locate a non-existent door to a pump in 6 inches of water in pouring rain. But we didn't give up. We realized what we had to do. We asked for help from the people that lived up stairs and we got the help we needed to clean and remove all the water we could before finally calling it a night with small puddles on the floor. When we woke up the next morning, all the water was gone. We were able to pack and be ready to go and we made our flight to Cyprus. Now I can tell you we couldn't have done that on our own. We had to do all that we could and ask help so we were really doing all that we could. Then the Lord blessed us with the rest. I can promise you that is exactly how it works every time. When we have done all that we can, the Lord will provide the rest as long as we are doing what he would have us do.