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.  

Monday, November 9, 2015

We had a good week this past week.  Actually it was good because it was very calm and quiet.  We have experienced what so many missionaries do  - the plague of the cancelled appointments.  The missionaries work so hard to get teaching appointments and then they fall through.  It used to bother us quite a bit but now we have learned that it is just part of the missionary experience.

The lemons are coming on here.  If you  search you can find quite the deals.  This whole bowl of lemons cost about 1.5 euros or about $1.75.

This was a first ever - dark socks with gym shoes -  something Elder Jacobsen would never have done back home.

Here is our landlord - Alecos.  Very humble and nice.  He is Cypriat but speaks pretty good English.  He really likes Bill and brings us produce from his garden - prickly pear cacti, pomegranates and figs so far.

Here is a typical meal - salad, extra tomatoes and Hulumi cheese.  The cheese you can only get here in Cyprus we think.  We know they don't have it in Greece.  It is delicious fried up.

Here I am with our two darling sister missionaries. Sis. East on the left finishes up her mission this week.  Oh how we will miss her. She has been fantastic!

Panyiotis and Elder Dixon.  Elder Dixon is transferring to Athens this next week.  He too will be missed.  He is excited because he has been on the island for almost a year.  The missionaries love to serve on Cyprus but there is something about actually serving in Greece that they all want to be doing.

The is Maria and her daughter Rafaela. Both are investigators.  Maria hopes to be baptized in December.  Rafaela cannot be baptized because the father will not give his consent.  She is very sad about this.  We pray that his heart will be softened.

Sister Georgia

Sis. Anahid - she is from Romania and speaks 4 languages.

After FHE enjoying pumpkin bars.  WE had a fun night about Gratitude.

Our youth !

Pot luck after the meeting.

Three of our four primary children.  They are slowing learning what Primary is all about - exciting.   We are the only branch on the island that has Primary and YM/YW's.  It is amazing to think of all the members who really know very little about the church and its programs and what is has to offer. They love them but the struggle is to run them without anyone having had the experience of knowing wha they are.  

 It is often hard for them to merge these things into their lives and to live them.  They are good people who we teach and show and love.  One struggle right now is to get them to want to accept a calling and then do it.  They just haven't ever seen that before.  

We have a great week ahead - zone conference, CCM meeting and then District conference.  Looking forward to being spiritually fed and to leaning a lot.  All the meetings are in Nicosia this time.  They actually rent a bus to pick up members in the outlying cities to help them get to conference.  Very few members have cars.  

As we think about Thanksgiving coming up back home we are reminded of how blessed we are.  What a blessing the opportunity of serving a mission has been for us.  The refining process is taking place and hopefully we are contributing and helping the church and the members here in Larnaka, Cyprus.  Grateful to a loving Heavenly Father to trust us enough to place us here.  Grateful to wonderful family and friends for all their support.

Love to you all!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

It is hard to believe that it is November 1st already.  I think the weather knows it because it has cooled off quite a bit.  Our days are still beautiful but the nights are getting cooler and without daylight savings times it gets dark around 4:30 pm here.  This past week we had a senior couples get together and went over the border into the northern Turkish side of Nicosia.  We had to show our passports and go through a guarded boarder.

We saw lots of older buildings that were damaged in the 1973-74 war.

You can see where this mosque was hit some kind of shell during the fighting.

This map shows the center of the old walled city next to the mosque.

more damage

Stopped for lunch with the group - Wonnacotts, Gortons and Reeves.

I loved the umbrella canopy on this side street.

I know this is a strange picture to share but it tells the story of part of our week.  We woke up Tuesday and had no water.  After some detective work we found out that someone had shut our water off up on the roof of the building.  So 4 hours later we finally had water again.  Then on Thursday our power went out.  Bill would go down to the parking garage and flip it back on and then it would go off again.  We finally realized that every time we turned on the hot water heater it flipped off the electricity.  Have no idea why but tomorrow it is #1 to get taken care of.  BUT when the power went off is blew out our printer (which we had just put new ink cartridges in!!).  We have to do a lot of scanning back and forth with Athens so a printer/scanner is a must.  

Church was really good today.  Our Fast & Testimony meeting was good and we had about 35 members there.  We combined RS and Priesthood and showed Pres. Ucthdorf's talk from the Women's session of conference.  Everyone really liked it - such a good message.

We have a good week planned ahead and a busy one which we like.  Hope you all had a fun Halloween.  They really don't celebrate it here.  And since it is November we are thinking Thanksgiving but they don't do that either.  I guess we will have to wait for Christmas which they are getting ready for already.

Love to all!!