Sunday, December 27, 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  This past week was wonderful.  We started off speaking in Sacrament meeting then traveling and doing apartment inspections.   We also received this fun package in the mail from my sister Marty.  I was more than over the moon because it is seldom that a package comes addressed for us and it was a Christmas package too.  Thanks Marty for thinking of us!!!

 On Thursday we had the Sisters and Elders over for waffles with our Branch Mission Leaders.  None of them had ever had waffles so it was a treat.  We had fresh strawberries with whipped cream, maple syrup and white cream syrup.  They all wanted to know when they could come back for some more.

The missionaries competed in a hot game of stacking cups in the order of the books in the Book of Mormon. The Sisters won with an incredible time of 60 seconds.

We then had a fun few games of Headbanzz Greek style.

The Elders gave our branch mission leader the gift of his own teaching record here in the mission.  Panyioti was an investigator for about 10 years.  They got permission to give him the teaching record that was kept in the area book.  The comments were priceless and he was very touched.

This picture is kind of dark but the missionaries gave Bill an 8-pack of diet Coke and a Rebuk's cube with his favorite scripture on it, 

I got two packages of my favorite ice cream treat here in the mission field.  They are really, really good.

Here we are ready for Christmas Day Dinner.  It was so much fun to have these wonderful people to share this special day with.  

We followed up with a lot of UNO games!!!

Here we are, casual and ready to call it a day.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Well, it must be December because the days are flying by.  Can't believe that Christmas is this week. It is kind of strange not really worrying about buying gifts and making things - instead we are worrying about planning a week of activities for all of the missionaries, feeding them, transporting them and providing spiritual enlightenment.  I was feeling totally overwhelmed about a week ago but now I just am taking it one day at a time and making lots of lists to keep me on track on what I need to do each day.  Only time will tell if they work or not.

This past week we had zone conference and it was great to meet with everyone.  Boy, how the missionaries love to be together.

everyone is just a little excited for Christmas!
Elder Fagg from England.  Another bike casualty.  Had to have surgery to repair his broken wrist.  What a trooper though - he showed up at zone conference the next day.

Our landlord brought this over for Christmas.  He has rented to senior couple missionaries for the past 8 years and still doesn't connect us with the standards.

Sad picture but this was our branch activity the other night when we watched the First Presidency Devotional.   Excellent!

Another narrow street that Bill found.

Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!  We miss you all and send our love !

Chronia Polah!

(Chronia Polah or Merry Christmas!)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dear Family & Friends,  Christmas will be here before we know it.  We can't wait.  This year we are in a different city than last year with new branch members and missionaries  We are excited.  It is fun to work with the young missionaries and see their enthusiasm and love of the work.  They never cease to amaze us.

The sisters helped to decorate the Branch Christmas tree:
Sisters Lutzinger and Lehman

Do you recognize this lady?  If you heard her voice I know you would.  It is Sis. Edmonds who is better known as the "Food Nanny."  Her show is on KBYUTV and she as written books on the importance of feeding our families healthy meals.  She was here with her husband and we had a fun time getting to know each other.  They are stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, and travel all over Europe checking out real estate for the church.  You might ask what qualifications he had for this amazing assignment:  NONE - he was an airline pilot who flew for Delta.  Go figure!?!  They have just been out for 9 months.

We celebrated Bill's birthday last week.  Sorry I didn't get any pictures.  We went to a place that we were told had good steak.  It really was pretty good and we enjoyed the night out.  We were down on the seaside the the weather had turned very cold and the wind was blowing hard.  We actually had a few days of 'cold' weather.  In the 40's and 50's.   This week we are heading back to the 60's which is nice.  we pretty much heat our flat with a small space heater and sleep with heavy blankets on at night.

Sis Jane

Elder Potter

Sunday night we went caroling with the young missionaries and our Branch Mission Leaders.  It was really a lot of fun.  People loved it.  I guess it isn't something that they do over here much.  We went to members in our branch and handed them a plate of cookies and sang 3-4 songs.  During one of the songs, my 'beautiful' voice majorly cracked and in turn so did Elder Potter crack up.  He had a hard time composing himself  after that.  Now they know why I don't sing in the mission choir!!!!

Hope you all are enjoying the Christmas season.  May we all remember that He is the reason for the season!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

November 29th  - wow, that went by fast.  I know I keep saying it but it is really true - time is flying by.  November was a good month though I really missed being home this fall - it is my favorite season and time of the year.  I missed Thanksgiving and the family gatherings and the FOOD!

The senior couples here on the island are all from the States so we had our own Thanksgiving dinner. It was delicious - which is what you would expect from 4 'senior' cooks who collectively have cooked for over 180 years.  It really was good though and we all enjoyed being together.

Elders Reeves, Wonnacott, Gorton and Jacobsen

We had a YSA activity and they invited our 3 seminary on the island to join.  They put on skits from the Book of Mormon.  The costumes were crazy and the acting about the same. They also watched a video from John Bytheway.

Here is a more serious group shot.

Sis. Gorton provided a yummy spaghetti lunch.

I went with the sisters to visit some less active sisters this week.  It breaks my heart to visit with these sisters who at one time were active and say they still believe the gospel is true but won't live it.  They have so much to share with others and the church has so much for them.  

It was great to talk to our children over Thanksgiving - it was a good reminder of just how much we are blessed and have to be grateful for.  Things to remember all year through.  Now we slip into the Christmas season and the good feelings just continue - I don't know if this year will be easier or harder - time will tell. 

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the special season ahead.

Remember - love your way!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hard to believe that November is more than half over - WOW!  This was an exciting week with the island getting some new missionaries and I mean - brand - new - missionaries - straight from the MTC in England.  They are wonderful and we are super excited to have them here.  WE got new Sis. Lehman from Austria and she is a doll.  We love her already.

This is our new district - Sis. Lehman is standing next to me.  We also received 3 new elders, Potter, BRamley, and Stelzinger.

Sis. Hubey and Sis. Janssen came back from Athens.  Sis. Hubey is from France and was one of the very first sisters we worked with back in Nicosia.  She will be serving in Lemesos and we are so glad to have her back in Cyprus.  This is Sis. Janssen's first time in Cyprus.  She is from Denmark.

Elder Potter is back from Athens.  He is an awesome missionary and serving with us in Larnaka.

we did a first this week. We went to the movies. We saw the Peanuts movie.  Okay, Bill wasn't impressed but I liked it.  I don't think movies are a big thing here.  Only one set of theaters in the entire city and the screening rooms are very small.

We spoke in the Pafos Branch today and it was  great to see double the usual number of people there. The missionaries have been working so hard and hopefully good things will come from it..

We watched an area broadcast with the European Presidency and Elder Ballard.   It was very good and all about branch councils.  They praised our area plan and the card we pass out.  They said it was the best one they had seen in all their travels.  WOW.  The three main goals are:  Invite a friend, become temporally and spiritually self-reliant and find an ancestor.  We are excited about it.

Seminary at our flat Sunday night

It has been a long, long week!

Thinking of Thanksgiving back home and how grateful we are for our many  many blessings!  Missing the chance of being with friends and family.  Have a wonderful week!  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Another great week here in Cyprus.  The weather has been beautiful - reminds us of what is was like just about a year ago when we arrived.  It is hard to believe we have been out more than a year.  This past week  We went down to Pafos to pay some bills and visit the Wonnacotts.   Went for a short walk along the seaside. Absolutetly beautiful!  How can we get this scenery back in Santa Clara!!!

Visited the church in Kiti again with the President's family.  

Then we went to the Camel Park. Bill was a good sport and had posed for this picture.

picked out our Thanksgiving turkey

The Heder Family and the Assistants.

then we went to Lefkara - where they make the handmade lace.  They pass this tradition and skill down from mother to daughter and have for over a century.

We had Zone conference and here we are.  We are a skeleton crew right now but will be receiving some new missionaries on Tuesday.

The senior couples with the Heders

saying good-bye to Sis. East.  She as been here since we came and we love her.  She is one of the special ones and we will miss her a lot!!

Elder Dixon is going back to Athens and we probably won't see him again before we head home.

At the airport sending the Heders and some missionaries back to Athens.

A time of changes.  We grow so attached to these young missionaries. It is hard for us to let them go but know that they have served well and are ready to return home and continue on in life.  They have been well trained and will be such a fantastic addition to the gospel and church wherever they land.  They have enriched our lives and the lives of the members here in the Greece Athens Mission.  WE are excited to Tuesday when we will welcome new missionaries here on the island:  1 brand new missionaries and 4 from Athens.  We can't wait!  Fun times ahead.

We are loving being here in the mission field but our hearts are home with so many that are struggling and experiencing hard things.  Wish we were there to help and to hug.  Know that we love and miss you all and you are in our prayers nightly.