Friday, February 19, 2010

This is Sister Ollerton standing at our picnic area.  We are here on a Greek Holiday called "Clean Monday".  It is the beginning of lent and also it was our P-Day and we had a big "All Branches" picnic.  Notice the Parthenon

Sister Ollerton and her new found friend and dancing partner.  She is one of the original members of the Church here.  Every one calls her GoGo
Elder and Sister Bell the CES couple.  They are great and really a lot of fun
Greek band and singers setting up to play and sing for the hundreds on the hill who wanted to dance and fly kites
Greek dancers in costume dancing
When the band started to play and the dancing started, I was standing next to President Charles and I said,"President, don't be suprized if you see Sister Ollerton down there." and he said "I won't, there she is!"
There she is..She only danced for about an hour
Theres Chris in the middle of it all, I think she is leading it all.  The couple on her left in orange and leather, are less active couple we have been trying to contact.  Chris did not know at the time who they were.
This is a group of Greek dancers in costume.  They danced in a program after Chris
This shows the ocean on left and Pireaus on the rigfht
This is a picture taken from Kite flying hill and looking towards where we live.  If you look closley you can see a structure that has a Orange-red colored frame around it.  It is a soccer stadium.  We live in those buildings on the hill behind it

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

We had to substitut for Elder and Sister Bell and YSA activitie.  It was a valentine party.  They made pizias, I cooked them down stairs 4 at a time.  This is the group eating their pizzas.  They had a dance afterwards.
Brother & Sister Bell.  They are the CES couple for our out reach program for the young singile adults.  Sister Lelle and Sister Simmons are missionaries

Friday, February 12, 2010

This the port taken from the 3rd floor of our 4 floor grocery store.  Lots of money tied up down there.
This guy wanted us to fill his cup.  I gave him a few coins and he played us a tune.
I called this guy George.  I had to take his picture.  He seemed so typically Greek. He is lighting his 3rd cigarette since he sat down there 3 minutes ago.
I thought you would like to look at this one twice.
We stopped at this little park across from our grocery store to soak in some sun.  We hadn't had any for a while.  See mom over there on the bench?
This is the large Super Market (Carrefore) where we buy some of our groceries.  It is about 10 blocks down a hill from where we live.  It is down by the port.
As we were coming home, we passed the bus stop where we catch most of our buses.  It is next to church where we catch most of our bad looks etc.
This is me bringing home the bacon!  The kids call that our "homeless people" basket.  We pulled it up hill for about 10 blocks.  It had been raining and was very humid, in the 50's so not too bad.
This the Missionary board at the Mission Office
These three photos were taken when Sister Smith and I came home after our haircuts.  It was my first one since I came to Greece.  We felt that the cuts were a little modern for us but it was all worth it because we had the most awesome missionary experience with Lena, the beautician.  She is about 25 years old and the mom of a new baby.  She asked us all kinds of questions about the Church.  We kept the answers coming until she agreed to read a Greek Book of Mormon and have the missionaries teach her.  After we left her shop and she couldn't see us, we started to cry.  We were so touched by the Spirit.  When we got to the Mission Office we told others and comitted the AP Elders to teach her.  We were overjoyed!  This is dad, I ws working at a computer in the mission office when they came back.  I could tell that something special was going on, but I thought was "girls" and a new "haircut".  Then I noticed that they were not touching the floor and they were trying to hold back the tears.  The Spirit was still strong.  Sister Smith said it was the first time anything like that had ever happened to her, and this is her fourth mission.  The Sisters did GREAT!
This is the tram that we  ride sometimes to some Elder Apartments that we have to inspect and also it will take us to Acropoli.  We had to take the picture of the sign on the front.  During the Olympics this would take people to the venues down by the beach.  The end of the line was at the Stadium of Peace and Freedom.  So the Tram was called the SEF train or in Greek it is the ΣΕΦ ΤΡΑΙΝ. Every time we ride it, we think of Seth or SEF, as he is affectionatly known among some.
 While looking at our blog I realized that I had not put pictures of Mars Hill on.  This Chris is standing by the well on Mars Hill where Paul preached his sermon on the "Unknown God.  This was a surreal experience.  We were standing in this ancient spot.  Paul spent a lot of time here converting and teaching the Greeks.  Now, 2000 years later the Greeks have done a masterful job changing almost every precept they were taught and substituted the teachings of men to the satisfication of greedy men.  The Orthodox Church has such a hold on the people that they can't pass a church without crossing themselves several times.  They live in fear.  Most don't attend church, but consider it a betrayal to ancestors, family and country to change religion.  President has a brother that is a member of the Orthodox Church and says he can't understand why President joined our Church.  President asked him, what he would say if someone wanted to leave our church and join his.  He said that he would to tell them not to do it, it is wrong to change religions.  This is the attitude we are facing here.   Nuts, HUH!

The history tells us that Paul stood by a tree near a well and preached to the leaders.  Here is the tree and an old well.  It is thought to be the place. There a lot more ruins and the base of the hill and you an see modern Athens in the background.
Above, the Elders that are going home bear their testimonies. Below, Chris & I stand on the hill with the Acropoli and Parthenon behind us.

.  When Paul first went to Athens he went to Mars Hill where the leaders of the day would meet and discuss almost everything.  In Acts 17 it tells that he recognized that they had a temple for all their Gods and even one for the Uunknown God, in case the missed one.  Paul gave his famous "Unknown God on Mars Hill.  Our Mission goes to Mars Hill every time we have missionaries returning home.  This is our first trip.  Chris in on the original stairs that led to the Hill.  They are a little dangerous now, and they have steel stairs a little to the left of these.  The sad thing is that there is graffiti on all the mable rocks on the hill.  President Hinckley, in his journal, said that when he came here with President Lee, that there were "hippies"  sleeping there.  He thought it very disrecpectful.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

At work in mission office. President Charles, Elder Ollerton & President Taylor
This is the way they move here.  Since everyone lives in apartments, they have these boom trucks come and the take every thing out over the balcony and load it in a truck.  The people across the street from us on the 4th floor (counting the ground floor as #1.  Here they count the ground floor as #0) are moving.
Sister Walker & her boys
Elder Lauener, Thanasis Manosis and Elder Gifford.   Elder Gifford baptized him.
This is Thanasis Manosis.  He is the first baptisim we were involved in.
Mom boarding a bus for one of our many bus, tram, metro or train trips.  Yes that's one bus.
Refreshments at Mission Conference. President Neal, Mission President from Albania visited with us.
Elder Wondra of the Area Presidency and President Charles at Mission Conference.  Notice Hadrians Arch out the window.  Mom made some of her special cookies as part of the refreshments.  After I took this picture President Wondra stood up and said "I just can't stop eating these cookies."  He then took a plate and put about a dozen cookies on it and went back into the conference.
Sister Ollerton standing at the front door to the Acropoli Chapel in Acropoli. Notice the grafiti on the building next door
Shopping area nex to the Acropoli Branch.  Notice marble sidewalks
Elder Baker and Elder Harris, office missionaries
Elders Palm & Arnold AP's & the Smiths, Office couple
Mission Office.  President Taylor, Elder Smith & Sister Smith
Presidents office
At work a mission office. President Charles, Elder Ollerton & President Taylor