Monday, April 11, 2016

Sunday, April 10 - Looks like we made it!!  Yes, eighteen months later we are heading home.  It has been an absolutely amazing experience! How grateful we are to have been able to do it together and for all the support we have had from our family and friends.    Couldn't have don't it without the support and love.

Just want to share a last few photos from this past week.  We thought these last few days living in a hotel since the new couple is here, that we wouldn't have much to do.  BUT we were wrong and it has been nice to be busy.

We stopped and had these "pumpkin" chips while were in Nicosia.  They are so delicious!

One last morning sunrise - oh how I will miss this view!!

Our dear landlord - Alecos. What a character but good man.  He offered us a great deal and wants us to buy the flat and stay permanently.  Nice try Alecos!

The three stalwart fisherman that I see every morning. Pretty sure they won't know I'm gone but I will miss seeing them.  Pretty sure they seldom catch anything either.

Watching General Conference in Arabic.  We had rooms translating conference into Greek, Arabic, Romanian and then English.

Elder Kitsell and Daniel at Pot Luck.

Some of the Branch sisters.

Pavlos, Elder Jacobsen and Panyiotis

Pres. Georgieve, Brother Ivanov and Elder Jacobsen

Marcel our most recent convert.

The Larnaca Branch (missing a few)

Georgia and I had a hard time saying goodbye

Sweet sister missionaries - Sis. Bakewell & Sis. Larker

Elder Kitsell

Elder Szevoboda

Sis. Rosie

the Georgieve family which we love and adore.

the Ivanov Family

We watched the Saturday morning session of Conference today.  Although we had already seen it, it still was powerful and moving. I cried through all the songs - I just couldn't believe that this is our last Sunday here and I will not be seeing these sweet, good saints again.  Oh, how I pray that our Heavenly Father will watch over them and send His tender mercies their way.  As much as they need the gospel in their lives, the gospel and the church needs them.

I share my journal entry from Monday, the 11:  

Monday, April 11, 2016  Well, I can’t believe we are at this point in our mission – almost done.  Tomorrow we fly to Athens and then Wednesday morning we fly home!!  So excited and so grateful for this experience.  Many mixed emotions – did I do enough ( NO) did I learn enough (NO)  would I do it again (YES)  Did I love it (YES)  Did I learn a lot (YES)  Am I stronger than before (YES) Do I love my Heavenly Father and Savior more (YES)

There are more Yes's than No's which I am grateful for and is a good thing.

Είθε ο Θεός να σας ευλογεί και να σας κρατήσει.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sunday, April 3

Egypt plane drama ends: hijacker arrested, passengers freed

Well, we had a little excitement at the first of the week.  An airplane flying over Egypt was hijacked and forced to land in Larnaca.  The hijacker said he had a suicide bomb vest on.  Over the coarse of a few hours, all but a few passengers and crew were released.  The airport and surrounding areas were shut down.  Finally, it was resolved when they found out it wasn't a terrorist incident but a man upset over his wife. WOW!  But, really so relieved that it wasn't as serious as we all feared at first.  We have been following the updates on the missionaries in the Belgium bombing.  We are praying for them and are so grateful that they are improving.  Such a scary time for everyone!

On Thursday, we went on our last outing with the other senior couples. We went up to the Trodoos mountains to the small village of Kakopatria and then on to the Kykkous Monastery.

An original 'doggie' door.

A lot of the pictures are actually mosaics and are amazing.

The chapel which holds the "Holy Icon" of the area.  Said to be from 1300 AD. 

This is inside the church,  The icon is the the center but hard to see through everything else.  Very ornate and ceremonial.  So different than what we are used to - glad we made the trip! although it was high  up in the mountains on a windy, windy road.  Can't imagine how they built it so many years ago.

Friday morning at 6:30 a band started marching and playing drums (for a full hour) to celebrate independence day from Greece.  A nice pleasant wake up for the neighborhood!

There were laying wreaths at this statue.  This whole event took place a couple of blocks from our flat.

We check the weather back home every day.  Our temps are almost exactly the same - the humidity is vastly different.  We are usually 80% compared to about 20% at home. 

We got to watch conference today (at least the Saturday sessions) and loved it.  Since most members do not have access to it the branch records the sessions and we watch a session each Sunday through the month of April.  They also translate the sessions into Greek for our Greek speaking members.  The mission office in Athens does this so we have to wait a week so we will start watching next week.  Bill & I were able to watch today on the internet in our apartment.

Thought for today:  What are you going to do today?