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.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Almost time to say goodbye

As always, I totally enjoyed mine but well, you be the judge....

We had to have one last giga to mark the occasion.

Elder King, one of my former companions, prepares to go home. It is a time of mixed emotions as we enjoy the memories but already are feeling the loss as he prepares to return to his family.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

More Cornith Pictures

May 2nd to Cornith

I went to Corinth today. Check out the pictures. they should match the ones in the newest editions of the scriptures. I also took pictures of the Corinth canal and the Corinth fortress/castle.

Ain't no Mountain high enough....

Cornith Castle

Entrance of Cornith Canal

May 1st, 2011

This week I had a pretty funny week. But it taught me about perseverance and thinking outside the box. So in the office this week we discovered a new friend. This new friend had taken up living in the garage. We aren't sure how long he had been living there but it had been a few days. Our friend was Mr Whiskers. Mr. Whiskers had been living in the garage where we keep all the missionaries extra luggage and belongings. There he decided to take up my companions bag as a litter box. He destroyed some ties and a book or two and some other stuff. When this was discovered, we knew that we were going to get to be the lucky ones to take care of the job. So we went to work. We found him to be hiding beneath a large stack of furniture that belonged to the land lady. It was too big to move and there were cars in the way. So we took sticks and started banging them around to try and scare him out. No luck. So we went with plan B, gas him out. A can of bug repellent later and still no luck to get him out. Well, then we began to think. We have a cat trapped in our garage how will we get him out of there. So we sat down and started brainstorming over some snacks and that's when it hit us. He is probably pretty hungry. We will lure him out with food. Now you cant just open the garage door and set out a plate and hope he runs to it. Mainly because every stray cat in the city would also come running to it. So we needed to get him into the hall way. SO we rigged a trap with my expert knot tying skills. It was a string attached to the door to the garage in the hall way. they we placed some food in the garage and some food in the hall way where we could see him come to eat it. (Picture 1) then we waited. for hours we waited. just holding the string. Then about one minute before bed time my companion sees two shiny little eyes at the end of the hall way. he give a big yank to the string and the door crashed closed. The cat was in the hall way. So now we had to catch him. so we grabbed a blanket to throw over him and set off. When we found him and were about to grab the cornered cat of course he took off like a rocket and got past us. Then we realized that our apartment door was open and that was where he was headed. We found him in our bathroom clinging to a window screen. After a few scratches my companion wrangled him and stopped for a photo op. (picture 2) We were quite proud of our accomplishment. And then we released him and told him never to come back.

Elder Roderick came back to visit!

Elder Roderick came back to visit with his mother Sherri and sister Lauren so we all took off to Souvlaki Kiffissia for old times sake. Daniella and her mother joined us along with Elder and Sister Andros and Elders Steeby and Stulen.

I bake now!

I made cheesecake this week and it was amazing. It even had a real crust and cheese cakey texture. I will be making more this week.

April 23 - The Night of Ayio Fos

This week, we were full up of Easter Traditions. We had the funeral procession of Christ on Friday where everyone marches through the streets behind a giant casket decorated with gold and flowers. It really is quite elaborate. Then on Saturday we had the Holy Light where you go to the church and a priest comes out with a candle that is supposedly lit by the power of Christ. While we know this not to be true, it is still a fun little tradition to go to at midnight and celebrate the resurrection of the Savior. We ended up with most of the mission at one church on the tallest hill in Athens. It was quite the experience. Then on Sunday you could wander the streets to see the spits roasting whole lambs and the smell got quite tasty. It is amazing how we do so many different things to remember the greatest sacrifice that was ever made for us.

This is the Saturday night before Easter Sunday which is called the night of the Holy Light. We gathered at the little church on the top of Lycabbettos just before midnight. The light is brought out of the church at midnight and everyone assembled lights their candles. It is traditional to say "Xristos Anesti" and the reply is "Alithos Anesti" meaning "Christ is Risen "and "Truly He has Risen." We know that our Savior lives.

April 22 - More training, more food

April 17, 2011

This week, we were in Thessaloniki for part of last week. It just so happens that there is an amazing place that every missionary wants to visit that is with in driving range of Thessaloniki. This place is called Meteora. Now I had been wanting to go to Meteora (met-ay-ore-uhh) for some time but having not served in Thess I saw that dream fading. But then I realized the Senior Couple living there had not been yet. So I put on my biggest friendly smile and offered to take them there on Preparation day. Of course they said yes, how could you turn down hospitality like that? Then when we got there, it was absolutely beautiful. The monks had built monasteries on the tops of the giant boulders. Literally hundreds of feet up in the air. They were absolutely amazing. They were all built around the 1300's and have been preserve over the hundreds of years of wars and the Turkish occupation. It is unbelievable. Because of those monasteries the Greek culture and language were preserved. It was definitely one of the most amazing things I have seen so far.

A bit of home: Taco Bell

Cyprus Zone outing to Kourion April 11, 2011

President and Sister Charles. It was very windy at Kourion but thankfully the sun shone the whole day.

Some scenes from the Gladiator house.

Elder Wu practicing some Tai Chi on the hillside, Elder Steeby getting the pose!!

Elders being boys.

The Kourion area is one of the most important archaeological sites of Cyprus. Most of the visible structures belong to the imperial Roman period (50 B.C.-395 A.D.) and the late Roman period (330- to the end of 7th century A.D.)

Here we are waiting outside the Limassol Chapel ready for our trip to Kourion. In the bottom right picture are Elder and Sister Maxwell from Northern Ireland. They have just arrived to serve in the Greece Athens Mission, and we already feel of their great faith and love.