It's transfers this week but it isn't affecting Elders Teal and Dixon. They will be staying together in Larnaca. Elder Teal as Zone Leader and Elder Dixon as District Leader. Along with them in the district is a senior couple and a companionship of sister missionaries. There are 5 new missionaries leaving the Preston MTC tomorrow (Wednesday) to increase the mission numbers. 4 elders and one sister. I met 2 of the elders at the Preston Temple last week, they are excited to be flying out to Greece, after 9 weeks at the MTC
31 Aug 2015
18 Aug 2015
"We had 6 investigators at church this week which is the most I've ever had in one week, and it was great! R. is doing really well and progressing towards his baptismal date on August 29th. Unfortunately we won't be teaching A. But we're still teaching the family of 4 from Bulgaria, and they've started to develop relationships with the Bulgarian members of the branch too which is so important."
"I really enjoyed reading 1 Corinthians 2 this week, it's a great chapter. I've also just read 1 Nephi again, Nephi is such a good writer and you can learn so much from what seem like insignificant details. For example, I learnt about having trust in the Lord this week from the tiny section where it talks about how they loaded the boat with all of their supplies and most of the people and then launched it, having full trust that it wouldn't sink as it had been built with instruction from the Lord, down to how much stuff they had to put in it!"
"I miss going to the temple, it's easy to forget how much of a blessing it is that we live so close, and I intend to go often after my mission!"
"Today we're going to Panayiotis village as well as another one, it should be fun!"
Thanks to Panayiotis for looking after the missionaries so well and sharing these pictures of the visit to his village later in the day!
Elder Teal continues to send us pictures of his daily journal entries, here are some quotes from them..
"Missionary work is quite different here in Cyprus than in Greece as there's usually nobody to talk to out on the streets. We need to focus on finding new ways to find new investigators as door knocking is not extremely productive either."
"We had a lesson with R, with M as the member present. R is great, he really enjoyed learning about the plan of salvation."
"In language study I started to translate the section of Handbook 2 that talks about primary for Georgia. I found its quite a quick process but the strangest part is is deciding how to translate set phrases like 'Sharing Time.' I'm learning a lot about the way Primary is supposed to be run, shame I can never be Primary President. Also I'm learning new words in Greek which is good too."
Finally a whiteboard from this weeks District Meeting in Elder Teals hand writing
10 Aug 2015
It seems that Elder Teal has a new role, Branch barber !
"Hey! It's been yet another good week! Little bit slower than last week without international flights, but still good! I did go up to Nicosia to bring Elders Dastrup and Kitsell back to Larnaca for an exchange, so that was fun. We also had two members bring friends to church on Sunday which was fantastic!
This afternoon (P-Day) I gave Panayiotis a haircut which was fun,"
Hair cutting pays well .....
"A highlight was that we received a member referral this week, and then called the guy to invite him to church. He came, and we had a lesson whilst we were there which went really well, and we set a baptismal date for August 29th!
I've also really started to see that our success/failure in terms of numbers largely isn't down to us at all. It's the Lord that is hastening His work, not us, and it's just down to us to keep up! As we work hard and learn how to be better missionaries, He puts opportunities in our path as he knows we're ready to use them!"
We emailed Elder Teal to tell him we had driven to Scotland to be at his Trainers home coming talk
"That's great that you went up to see Brother Lyttel's (haha that's weird) homecoming talk! I'm glad you enjoyed it, he was always a good speaker whilst he was here as well. And I'm glad you got to hear some of the stories from our transfer together firsthand, it still stands as the transfer of my mission with the most weird and funny things that happened!"
"Sisters Huby and East have left Nicosia and gone to Athens to be with Sister Bakewell, who's companion Sister Birch goes home today. Also with Sisters McKenna and Deeley having left from Limassol, Elders Burton and Velasquez are now covering both Paphos and Limassol, for a total of 3 proselyting areas! Today Elder Murphy has been moved to Athens as well to be with Elders Deighton and Peel, so we now have only 8 missionaries in the whole of Cyprus! I have two companionship's in my district, and the other two districts are single companionship's!"
Panayiotis has been busy with the missionaries this week and taking sneaky videos too..
"Haha I never realise when he's doing a video, I always think it's just a picture until I see him chuckling away to himself as he holds the camera!"
Finally I shared in my email some thoughts on the relationship and roles of members and missionaries, asking for his thoughts
"Of course missionaries have a responsibility to find too, but it probably shouldn't be the focus. Our "Key Indicators" don;t even count missionary contacts (eg people the missionaries have met and gott contact information for) but do count referrals (from members, investigators, or even people in the street). Elsewhere in PMG it tells us that if a proselyting activity doesn't contribute to our key indicators, we should question whether or not we will continue with it. If it takes working with the members, building relationships, and helping them to talk to their friends for let's say 10 hours in a week in order to get even one referral in that week, the chance of that one person being baptised are probably still higher than for any one of the sum of the people you would find with 10 hours of street contacting or door knocking.
We have to be out finding and door knocking as many times that's the only way that someone the Lord has prepared for the Gospel will be able to hear about it, but like you said, I think the question should definitely be how can the missionaries help the members, and not only how can the members help the missionaries.
4 Aug 2015
"I'm on a bit later today as we had a zone trip this morning and P-Day finishes at 6 so I have about an hour! Here's a whistletop tour of my week:
On wednesday we had zone conference with Elder Dyches, where we talked about agency and responsibility, being agents and not objects, and following the spirit in teaching, it was fantastic.
On Thursday.... I flew out to Athens! Elder Burton and I went together with Sister Mueller in order to attend meetings on Friday. On Thursday night we went to see R and N (members), and they were so happy to see us. We stayed with Elders Peel and Deighton for the night which was great too.
On Friday we had too sessions of mission leadership council. At the first Elder Dyches was there again and spoke about agency again, and how leaders need to lead. He talked about how we need to decide what our mission culture is. President Heder also spoke really well about how he loves us and trusts us. In the afternoon we were able to go and see H (recent convert) which was fantastic.Then later we had the real council part, where we discussed some policies of the mission and made SO many changes.
Basically the mission rules are now only the missionary handbook, PMG, and the scriptures. That means different rules about music, sport, time limit for email and so many other things. We also changed the way we report to our leaders. Also we will now have 6 week transfers, which means we won't have whitewashes. We flew back on Saturday morning, making it my 17th flight during my mission.
On Sunday I ordained P to the Aaronic Priesthood, and in the evening we had a lesson with his wife that went really well!
"We had P's confirmation that I did in Greek and it went well. I couldn't remember what I said afterwards but Elder Dixon told me I said that he will be a leader and example for his family and that he will learn a lot in a short period of time."
"We cleaned the apartment. I did the bathrooms and Elder D tidied the rest of the house and then I mopped the floors. It's actually quite satisfying doing it especially as you have a clean house afterwards."
"We had a lesson with A on the topic of The Gospel of Jesus Christ. It went really well, he really wants to be baptised."
"We had district meeting where we talked about section 8 from PMG about How Do I use time wisely. We talked about setting goals and making plans."
"We stayed with the Acropolis elders. It was so good to have a more extended period of time with Elder Peel and have a laugh together.
"President Heder said his motto will be "I love you, I'll trust you, I'll forgive you and I'll trust you again"