December 31, 2014

Greece Athens Mission

Free resources about the Greece Athens Mission:

Greece Athens Mission Address

Here’s a recent address for the Greece Athens Mission. We try to keep this info up to date, but it’s a good idea to check the address with several sources, including your mission packet or the mission office.

Greece Athens Mission
Erifilis 16,
152 32 Chalandri
Greece

Phone Number: 30-210-625-1967
Mission President: President Eric B. Freestone

Greece Athens Mission Map

Here’s a link to the mission map for the Greece Athens Mission (LDS). To access the official, up-to-date LDS.org map for the Athens Mission:

  1. Log into your LDS account here.
  2. Click here.

Videos with Greece Athens RMs

Here are in-depth YouTube video interviews with returned missionaries from the Athens Mission.  We interview hundreds of returned missionaries each year, so check back regularly to see new RM interviews.

mission interview

LDS-Friendly Videos about Greece

Here are LDS-friendly educational videos about Greece. We scoured YouTube to find the best quality videos about Greece, that are free from inappropriate music, immodesty and profanity.

LDS Church  places  history  food  nature  language  People and Culture  time lapses  Traditions  Cities

Greece Athens Missionary Blogs

Here’s a list of LDS missionary blogs for the Greece Athens Mission. This list includes the missionary’s name, URL and when their blog was updated.

*Send your missionary a gift (mission-specific shirts, ties, Christmas stockings/ornaments, pillowcases, etc.)

Elder Lundegard elderlundegard.blogg 2017
Elder & Sister Hawkins servingingreece.blogspot.com 2017
Elder & Sister Jacobsen thejacobsensgreek.blogspot.com 2016
Elder & Sister Petchey petcheymission.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Jacob Teal elder-teal.blogspot.com 2016
Mission Alumni mission.net/greece/athens 2015
Sister Demi Deeley sisterdeeley..athensmission.blogspot.com 2014
Elder & Sister Vargas vargasvalues.blogspot.com 2013
Elder & Sister Christensen christensenmissionadventures.blogspot.com 2013
President & Sister Charles greeceathensmission.blogspot.com 2012
Elder David Steeby elderdavidsteeby.blogspot.com 2011
Elder & Sister Ollerton ollertonsingreece.blogspot.com 2011
Elder Eric Mortensen missiongreece.blogspot.com 2010

Greece Athens Mission Groups

Here are Greece Athens Mission Groups- for LDS missionary moms, returned missionaries, mission presidents and other alumni of the Athens Mission.

  1. Missionary Friends of the Athens Mission Group (212 members)
  2. President Stone’s Greece Athens Mission Group (208 members)
  3. Greece Athens Mission ~ The G.A.M. Group (120 members)
  4. Greece Athens Mission Facebook Group (84 members)
  5. Athens Mission Moms and Friends (LDS) Group (9 members)
  6. Greece Athens Mission (2003-2005) Group (3 members)

Greece Athens Mission T-Shirts

Here are T-shirts for the Greece Athens Mission!

Shirt designs include Greece Athens Mission logo/emblem shirts and Called to Serve shirts. The shirts make great gifts for pre-missionaries, returned missionaries and missionaries currently serving. LDS Mission shirts come in all sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, up to 4XL.  The mission designs are printed on white shirts and are shipped to you.

*Simply click on a shirt design to view the details and submit an order. The designs on mission t-shirts may also be printed on other LDS mission gifts, including: Greece Athens missionary aprons, Christmas stockings, ties, pillow cases, teddy bears and Christmas ornaments.

*Click here to browse Greece Mission gifts

greece-athens-mission-t-shirt-1 greece-athens-mission-t-shirt-2 greece-athens-mission-t-shirt-3 greece-athens-mission-t-shirt-4 greece-athens-mission-t-shirt-5 greece-athens-mission-t-shirt-6

Greece Athens Mission Presidents

Here’s a list of current and past Mission Presidents of the Athens LDS Mission.

  1. 2015-2018, Bill O. Heder
  2. 2012-2015, Eric B. Freestone
  3. 2009-2012, Christopher Charles
  4. 2006-2009, John Galanos
  5. 2003-2006, John Ludwig
  6. 2000-2003, John Stone
  7. 2000-2000, Memmott
  8. 1999-1999, Mavromatis
  9. 1996-1999, Tagg Hundrup
  10. 1993-1996, Blaine Tueller
  11. 1990-1993, Douglas Phillips

Greece LDS Statistics (2015)

  • Church Membership: 742
  • Missions: 1
  • Temples: 0
  • Congregations: 4
  • Family History Centers: 1

Helpful Articles about Greece

Coming soon..

Greece Athens Missionary Survey

Here are survey responses from Greece Athens RMs, to give you a snapshot into what it’s like to live in the mission.

When did you serve?

  • 2014-2016 (Madeline)
  • 2015 (Rebekah)
  • 2008-2010 (Thomas)
  • August 2008-February 2010 (Salla)
  • 2010-2012 (Christian)
  • 2014-2015 (Daniel)
  • 2004-2006 (Joel)
  • 1994-1995 (Cheryl)
  • 2007-2008 (Jill)
  • 1995-1997 (Philip)
  • 2014-2016 (Madeline)
  • 1990-1992 (Bill)

What areas did you serve in?

  • Athens, Limassol, Nicosia, Larnaca. (Madeline)
  • Larnaca and Limassol (both in Cyprus). (Rebekah)
  • Kavala, Paphos, Peiraias, Aigaleo, Limassol, Larnaka, Halandri. (Thomas)
  • Athens (both Center and North), Thessaloniki, Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaka. (Christian)
  • Paphos, Larnaca. (Daniel)
  • Kypseli, Glyphada, Agia Paraskevi, Loutsa. (Joel)
  • Athens, Piraeus, Thessaloniki. (Cheryl)
  • Athen. Cyprus. Thessaloniki. (Jill)
  • Athens (Piraeus, Nikaia, Maroussi); Thessaloniki; Limassol/Cyprus. (Philip)
  • Athens, nicosia, larnaka, limassol. (Madeline)
  • Athens, Pireus, Thessaloniki. (Bill)

What were some favorite foods?

  • Mousaka, Greek salad. (Madeline)
  • Mousakka, Halloumi, Bougatsa, Spinach pie. (Rebekah)
  • Gyros!!! Bakery sweets, Spinakopita, Pistacios, Moussakas. (Thomas)
  • Greek food. Almost all of it, excluding honey-pickled watermelon peel… Mousaka, spinach pie etc. (Salla)
  • Definitely, Greek giro (γύρο). It’s the Greek version of Döner Kebab, but it’s much tastier! And it’s really cheap! Had one at least once a week. Also, in Thessaloniki the bougatsa (μπουγάτσα) was delicious. (Christian)
  • My favorite foods were with no doubt gyros. Gyros is a Greek dish- or more like fast food- that you can buy at all the local taverns. I also loved to eat psarokeftedes (a kind of meatball made from fish) and anything with olive oil or tzatiki. I even grew to love Greek salad. Once we ate lamb at a Zone Conference. That was a bit like falling in love again. I have no words. It just swept my legs away. And of course you need to try “pitta me meli” (“pitta with honey”) which is sold at all the kiosks. They are a well-tasting dessert fit for happy times walking home or moments when an investigator has turned you down, bus rides or just pondering life at the terrace on evenings- try it out! (Daniel)
  • Gyros (duh), skepasti, bougatsa, spanakopita, and anything Hedi Dumawa makes! (Joel)
  • Gyro’s, yoghurts, tasty flakes, schnitzels, kasiropita, greek salads, chicken. (Cheryl)
  • Gyros vegetarian. (Jill)
  • Bougatsa – but only the Athens type! In Thessaloniki, they cut it into little pieces rather than serving you a whole half – and they have a variety with cheese rather than custard filling. Souvlaki and gyros are nice occasional snack treats. (Philip)
  • Mousaka. (Madeline)
  • Baklava, gyros, souvlaki, lemon potatoes, augolemono soup. (Bill)

What was a funny experience?

  • Biking with an Indian rain and arriving to a member’s home wet. (Madeline)
  • So in the apartments a lot of sisters will have left some clothes that other sisters can take. So one night we finished planning a bit early and decided to look through all these clothes. So we found these two crazy shirts and decided that at the next District Meeting we would give it to the Elders. So when we gave it to them we lied and said they were from a member, haha. So that next night we phone to tell them we lied, but they had already seen this member and thanked her for the shirts. (Rebekah)
  • I went off the bus, however, my new companion didn’t. So I waved and he went on…to the next stop. (Thomas)
  • When we got locked out of our apartment on a preparation day and had to travel to another side of the city to go to physical therapy for my companion and have an adventure breaking into our apartment when returning, from the balcony. (Salla)
  • You get to meet a lot of crazy people in this mission, so you will have A LOT of funny and crazy experiences. Just to name one, we once taught an investigator inside a bus… while he was driving! He suddenly had to work, but he still wanted his lesson and asked us to join him. After 15 minutes we figured out we were leaving our mission area, and asked him where we were going. The destination was a town one hour away from our mission area. “Don’t worry,” he said “I have to do the opposite journey once I get there, so you’ll get back”. We did call the Zone Leaders and we did get back. (Christian)
  • A funny experience to me was during a zone Christmas activity where we had a talent show. A senior couple from Austria served in my previous area at the time and Austria is known for great composers of classical music. As a classical piece was played, the husband- who was a really funny guy- closed his eyes and moved as if he was conducting a grand concert. I couldn’t compose myself because he acted it so real. At another point I remember talking to a person on the street and we talked about what a Mormon was. “I know them, they were the eskimos who migrated from Greenland” … yes … you are completely right … (Daniel)
  • Nearly missing the last bus home from a tourist place (Metaora) and having to run down a mountain for an hour and a half rather than be stranded for the evening. We were very pleased to make it with just a couple of moments to spare. (Cheryl)
  • Serving with some of the great and funny missionaries. (Jill)
  • Falling down off my bike in a puddle with my companion at the lights. (Madeline)
  • Almost getting arrested while “street boarding” near downtown. (Bill)

What was a crazy/dangerous experience?

  • Knocking on doors late at night. (Madeline)
  • I managed to stay out of all the rioting that happened, but I remember the scariest experience was this one time we were walking back to our apartment and it was pretty dark out. So we were knocking down this street and a couple doors down this family came out and told us they wanted us to leave and not come back. So we left and my companion was on the phone with an investigator and I realized that there was a car following us- so we were taking all the turns we could and this car was definitely following. So yup, we got followed by that car for over 15 minutes. (Rebekah)
  • A guy with a circular saw on a balcony who thought we were Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Thomas)
  • When we were followed by a car at a stop where we took the bus and on another place when they started racing behind us and we got to hide ourselves in a close by mini-market. And when we had to be locked into our apartment because of fires and riots that were all around the city of Athens for a week. And many others, when trying to find our way in the dark streets of Athens in the evenings. (Salla)
  • You DO have to be careful in some parts (like Omonoia in Athens). Once a potential investigator brought us to his shop, locked the doors and turned off the main lights (it was also late and dark). He started talking about money. Our phone rang and we said we had to leave. He thought our friends would come looking for us and so he let us leave. It was a close call, so you better stay on guard (but it isn’t something that would happen often). (Christian)
  • A crazy experience I had was at an investigator’s house. He had some friends over and they all got quite drunk before we came there. We wanted to leave, but he said he had made us dinner which was in the oven, so we waited. When dinner was finally ready he confessed hazily being drunk that he had stolen all the ingredients to the food that we were eating and that the very next day he would quit drinking and smoking, which he didn’t end up doing entirely. (Daniel)
  • We were doing a street board at the Agios Demitrios metro station. 6 Elders, and 2 sisters (the “South” district). A man started arguing with one of the Elders, which wasn’t abnormal. A woman then joined in, which was also normal. But the man then picked up our streetboard and threw it on the ground, breaking it. The man and woman started screaming at the missionaries. The man started going on about how our tags read “Presvitero” (which I guess has now been replace by the phonetic spelling of “Elder”), and grabbed one of the missionaries tags off his shirt, ripping the shirt in the process. He then threw the tag, and I went to pick it up. At that point, I looked up and realized that we had around 50 people actively screaming at us, and around 100 additional spectators. As stated before, we were at a metro stop (which is super busy), but not a soul (or bus) was moving. Everyone was watching. A few kids (16-17 years old) then got involved and grabbed my companion by the necktie and were threatening him. Somehow, we were able to diffuse the situation with out the police showing up to arrest us, and we moved to another location. Typical day in the Greece, Athens missions :). (Joel)
  • Being barred from leaving the railway station when the guard thought it would be funny to beat us up in front of his friends. We got out, a little scuffed and bruised but okay. (Cheryl)
  • A man holding my arm very strong and telling us to leave. All the Elders brought to prison, but we (the sisters) not while street contacting. (Jill)
  • Being picked up by the police while doing street board because someone had complained. I ended up having to appear before court two years later or so. The person who had complained never showed up and so it was a short court date. (Philip)
  • Finding ourselves alone during the evening in a red zone. (Madeline)
  • Getting tear gassed during a student demonstration while trying to get home. (Bill)

What was a spiritual experience?

  • An investigator telling us she wants to get baptized after a lesson about the plan of salvation. (Madeline)
  • I had some great experiences every day of my mission, but I remember an experience where I told my companion that we were going to find a lady from Birmingham (where I’m from) and we would teach her and she would be amazing. So two days later we were cycling back home and we had 20 minutes before we needed to be in the apartment and my companions mentioned that we hadn’t found anyone from Birmingham yet. Well two minutes later my companion stopped and said we needed to go knock one last door in this massive building- I assumed she was feeling the Spirit, so I followed her and well, we met this amazing lady who was from Birmingham and we managed to teach her before quickly rushing home. So, she wasn’t baptized, but I still have faith that one day she will meet the missionaries and remember the things we had taught her and will invite them into her home. (Rebekah)
  • Participating at baptisms and baptizing, teaching the people… And…the whole mission itself. (Thomas)
  • Oh wow… So many. When I was meeting people who wanted to hear the Gospel and you would be there to witness them speaking things that are true which they learned by the Spirit, but didn’t know where they could find more. And then we met on the street or elsewhere. When we sang happy, Christmas songs to people on the street before Christmas! (Salla)
  • You will also have many, so be sure to record as many as you can in your journal. I distinctly remember one night when it was cold and dark, and we were door-knocking for at least three hours. People were not being kind to us either. When we were about to leave we knocked a door and the man said “Come on in. It’s cold out there. I also have seen how the people are treating you and I don’t like it.” This family heard a lesson and invited us over for dinner. They didn’t have any further interest after that, but I felt reassured that the Lord takes care of His servants wherever they are. (Christian)
  • A very spiritual experience for me .. wush .. there are many .. but I remember reading the hymn “Be Still My Soul” one day when I was very troubled. We don’t have that hymn in my native language Danish, so I had not paid attention to it before. It taught me and gave me a deep feeling of how much God really loved me and was looking over to me. My companion told me that this was entirely God’s work that we were doing and that I didn’t have to worry so much. It gave me an indescribably profound feeling of peace. I almost cried, which I normally never do. (Daniel)
  • Lica Catsakis (woman who translated the Book of Mormon to Greek) came and told us the story of the translation. (Joel)
  • When you see the “Ahhhh” moment in an investigators eyes when they get it for the first time. (Cheryl)
  • Us helping a woman carry her grocery bags home. Feeling God’s love for her. She telling us God sent us. (Jill)
  • An investigator sharing his testimony for the first time. (Madeline)
  • Every confirmation I attended or performed. Mission conferences with General Authorities as well. (Bill)

What are some interesting facts about the Athens mission?

  • We are one of the smallest missions in the world, we teach people from almost 100 different countries. (Madeline)
  • There are very few members in the mission, which means the mission includes just a few small branches and has no wards or stakes. It is also where Paul taught the Gospel. (Rebekah)
  • We partially had more senior missionaries than young ones. When I left, I think less than 30 missionaries were still left in the mission (young missionaries). (Thomas)
  • The whole Greece including the island of Cyprus has about 200 or more active members, though it was the area where Paul already taught the Gospel… (Salla)
  • It’s a very small mission (30-40 young missionaries when I was there), and yet we have a lot of senior couples (about 20 senior missionaries when we were there). I believe it is the mission with least total amount of baptisms (but it’s definitely not the one with least average amount of baptisms per missionary, it’s simply that we are very few missionaries =) ). Since 2010 Americans have had a lot of trouble getting Visas to serve in this mission, so it became primarily a European mission. And since the economical problems between Greece and Germany, German missionaries have also stopped going there recently. (Christian)
  • My mission is the smallest (30 missionaries) in the world and the one closest to Israel. It was the destination where Paul first arrived and spread the Gospel. Greece and Cyprus are Europe’s most active Christian nations, where 99% of the people are Christian Orthodox. My mission consists of only two districts, each having four branches, and there are about 110 active members in the two countries. (Daniel)
  • We were there when the Olympics were held in Athens. During the Olympics, we were told not to proselyte, and were told we had to work our scheduled shifts on Sunday. It was super weird, but actually, quite enjoyable. We made some great friends (Greeks!) who were never interested in the church per say, but were interested in us as people. They’re still my friends to this day! (Joel)
  • Aside from Temple Square Mission, it had the most represented countries in the missionary pool than any other mission. During my time we bought land to build the first chapel since Paul The Apostle taught in the region. It covered most of the Middle East and a few European countries. It covered Turkey, which is the only country in the world spanning two continents. Our mission president would tell us that we were a voice of reason in an interesting region of the world. (Cheryl)
  • People are baptized in the sea. In Thessaloniki and Cyprus 8 (Jill)
  • When I was there, the Mission President tried to keep the missionaries at least 50% European – much higher than most other places. The majority nationality varied occasionally: British when I arrived, later French, then German. It’s quite different not having the American missionaries be the majority. (Philip)

What’s the weather like?

  • Really hot, we can have 45-49 degrees (Celsius) during summer. (Madeline)
  • The weather is amazing but during the summer it can get pretty hot. Once I spent a summer in Cyprus and the temperature reached 47 degrees Celsius. But then it can also get pretty cold during the winter which seems refreshing. (Rebekah)
  • Awesome!! Sunny warm in the summer and most of the year, but in the wintertime it’d also fall some rain. Greece was actually colder in the wintertime than Cyprus. (Thomas)
  • Hot and sweaty in the summer and cold, breezy and rainy in the winter. (Salla)
  • Very hot in the summer, and if you are in Cyprus, very humid too. It’s difficult to do missionary work in that weather, but that’s how it is. Be sure to stay hydrated in the summer. Winter in Cyprus is mild and relatively cold in Greece. It can definitely get cold, but snow is rare. In Cyprus you have to be careful with the rain, not because it rains often, but because when it rains, it pours. Otherwise this mission has very nice weather, you get to see the sun a lot. (Christian)
  • The weather was as I have always dreamed about. Warm, dry and sunny. I remember we celebrated Christmas next to a pool and a couple of palm trees in a temperature of about 22 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit … I think). Sometimes we would have thunderstorms of mythical dimensions or even earthquakes (those didn’t happen when I was there, but we were heavily trained for them). (Daniel)
  • Hot in the summer, crazy windy in the winter, and it snowed one year. (Joel)
  • Hot for 9 months of the year, with a chilly and wet winter from December through February. (Cheryl)
  • In summer, very hot. In winter, very cold. In Cyprus we wore jeans under our skirts as we were riding bikes. (Jill)
  • Hot and humid. (Madeline)
  • Generally warm, humid. But can get pretty cold in the winter. Nice, mellow weather, although sometimes hot. (Bill)

Any things you really like about the area/people?

  • People love talking and giving us food. (Madeline)
  • The people there can seem so crazy and strong-willed, but they will seem like a blessing after a while. When the Greeks believe something is true- hey, they really believe it. The people are amazing and the members will be a huge blessing in your life. Oh, and they make great food. The mission covers both Greece and Cyprus and they are both such beautiful countries with great histories. (Rebekah)
  • People can be friendly, (Greeks) invite you in and give you food. The weather is awesome, the food is great…lots of different nationalities to learn about. Lots of different religions. It was just great! (Thomas)
  • Just the atmosphere, history, cultural facts, love for their family, their character, their way of being, being Greek ;). (Salla)
  • It’s a place full of history, the language sounds awesome both when you don’t and when you do know it, and the people are proud both of their heritage and their language. Remember the Apostle Paul preached here. People are very nice and welcoming… as long as you don’t talk about religion with them (some of them will still be warm even when you talk about religion with them). The food and the weather is also great in this mission. (Christian)
  • I like the hospitality and warmth of the Greek people. Not many of them accepted the Gospel, but I appreciate their friendliness very much. All of the places were also beautiful with Roman aqueducts, mountains and views of the sea. (Daniel)
  • Once you gain someone’s trust, their very nice, hospitable people. (Joel)
  • Their passion for life, their health and longevity, the way they have held on to the gospel as best they could for millennia despite invasions and revolutions, their stubbornness. I love them. (Cheryl)
  • When I was there, the Mission President tried to keep the missionaries at least 50% European – much higher than most other places. The majority nationality varied occasionally: British when I arrived, later French, then German. It’s quite different not having the American missionaries be the majority. (Jill)
  • Their love and generosity. (Madeline)
  • The Greek people are so welcoming of foreigners. They have a lot of faith. The place is absolutely packed with history and mythology, which makes it extremely interesting. (Bill)

Any packing/clothing advice?

  • Light clothing. (Madeline)
  • Short sleeve shirts! And…there are stores too, so if something is not bought yet, you may buy some things over there, too. (Thomas)
  • Hmm..clothes that can be washed easy and stay nice. Greeks wear a LOT of black, so colors will make you stand out. Not too much stuff. It’s quality, not quantity. Clothes that feel good on, but represent! Linen and pure cotton are very nice for summer season and wool for winter. GOOD shoes, the streets are REALLY bad. And you want good shoes for preparation day too, when you visit rural areas. Natural and quality materials. (Salla)
  • Bring both winter and summer clothes. Unlike other missions, sunglasses are allowed and even recommended (there is a lot of sunlight). Cyprus is dusty, so be ready to clean your shoes and clothes often. (Christian)
  • It gets quite cold in the winter, so pack gloves and a nice winter jacket. Don’t pack too many short-sleeved shirts since you will use long-sleeved shirts more than you think (for church, during winter and other occasions where you need to look extra “neat”). When you travel to Cyprus, you can only have with you one suitcase, so pack that one wisely. It is extremely hot there during the summer and can get cold in the winter. The normal day temperature I experienced during my time there was 32 degrees in October, 25 in November and 20 in December, 10-15 degrees in January and February. The apartments don’t have as much isolation since the weather is warm and mild almost all year around, so buy some woolen socks or sweatshirts during the wintertime and leave them for other cold missionary bodies arriving in your area after you. (Daniel)
  • Don’t forget a heavy coat. You’ll feel like a dork carrying it around in the summer (like I did), but you’ll be happy you did come January. (Joel)
  • Take a good jacket or raincoat, otherwise buy summer suits. Cotton, cotton, cotton. (Cheryl)
  • It gets really cold and really hot. No normal heaters in Cyprus. Air conditioning not in all the apartments. (Jill)
  • Sandals. (Madeline)
  • Bring a warm coat, and light clothes for when you don’t need the warm coat (most of the time). And great shoes. (Bill)

What blessings did you receive from serving a mission?

  • Gift of tongues, patience and seeing miracles. (Madeline)
  • During my mission I was able to learn more about the love the Lord has for me and all His children. I was able to develop talents I didn’t even know I had. I was able to see more fully the Gospel in action in my own life. I now have a much closer relationship to my Heavenly Father. (Rebekah)
  • Stronger and real testimony. I concentrated on my mission because I didn’t know what to do work-wise yet. And thinking about it drove me crazy. I made a plan to find a job after my mission and think about what I want to do. So I did and everything worked out well. I found lots of great friends and met awesome people and learned and understood and used the Atonement and forgiveness. (Thomas)
  • Testimony, that has carried me through everything. Love for the Savior and His work. Interest in the culture and history of the Mediterranean and love for those people. Sense of self and confidence. The language blessings are beyond measure. I learned a way of learning languages and have been blessed with the Gift of Tongues since then. (Salla)
  • I understood and lived the Gospel (before I really only knew the Gospel, I hadn’t put Preach My Gospel into practice, for example). Besides, I’ve made friends all over the world and my testimony leveled up. The Lord has given me lots of blessings for serving, and He still has many in store for me (I’m looking forward to getting married, for example 😉 ). (Christian)
  • That would take me hours to write. First of all, how to plan and organize- it is vital later on. I learned a language, got into a great group of friends (mostly European missionaries go there). I have been blessed with a more solid testimony than ever, a greater understanding of Gospel principles and a closer relationship to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I have come to realize how much they love me and how profound the Gospel is. I don’t feel like I have actually learned those things because I was “just” a missionary, but that is proof that God magnifies any heart, any experience or any effort we give to Him. (Daniel)
  • A better understanding of what hardship actually means. Not concerning what I went through myself, but spending huge amounts of time with people who had histories you’d only hear about on the news. (Joel)
  • I was shy as a teen but serving a mission changed all that. Spending so much time with amazing companions, serving our hearts out, and throwing ourselves in to it all made a change in me that is present to this day. Learning how to really listen and resolve the investigators concerns prepared me for parenthood and the commercial world in a way that I cannot fully explain. I didn’t feel the difference at the time but upon arriving home I could see the change. (Cheryl)
  • A bettet understanding of the gospel. feeling closer and trust more in Heavenly Father. Deeper understanding of the Atonement. Giving some things back to Heavenly Father kind of/sacrifices for him to show my love to Him. (Jill)
  • The gift of tongues, feeling fully the Spirit at all times. (Madeline)
  • Countless, but I don’t think I would have the family I have today if I didn’t serve. (Bill)

What are some skills you gained?

  • Asking questions and following the Spirit. (Madeline)
  • Speaking to strangers. Loving people I had never met. Putting other people above myself (selflessness). Studying my scriptures effectively. (Rebekah)
  • I learned Greek. I could serve as a district leader. First get to know people yourself and then make your own judgement about them, do not listen to others and take their opinion. (Thomas)
  • Language learning, teaching, communication, speaking with strangers… Cooking vegetarian and overall, efficiency, saving and accounting. (Salla)
  • I learned to talk to, understand and love people, even when I have just met them. I’ve learned how to work as a team and to persevere in hard moments. I’ve also learned to rely solely on the Lord and not on my own talents. I’ve learned to respect the outcomes of peoples’ agency and my mind has been broadened to respect foreign cultures and religions, and appreciate them too. (Christian)
  • Speaking Greek. Planning. Exercising regularly. Making appointments. Cooking skills. Shopping effectively. Patience with other people and myself. Guarding myself against an earthquake. Twisting a pen around my thumb (still working on that). (Daniel)
  • Interpersonal communication and empathy. (Joel)
  • Learned a foreign language and culture. I learned how to present to a large crowd without hesitation, I learned how to throw yourself in without reservation and reap the rewards of a life well lived. (Cheryl)
  • Endurance. (Jill)
  • Following the map. (Madeline)
  • Foreign language, perseverance, interpersonal, problem solving, self reliance, courage, love of scriptures. (Bill)

What do you wish you knew/did at the beginning of your mission?

  • Speaking the language is not what matters. (Madeline)
  • From the start of the mission I wish I had spoken the language as much as I could, at all times. I wish that before my mission I had fully studied Preach My Gospel. (Rebekah)
  • Just do not care what people might think say or whatever, just be bold and talk to the people and bear your testimony. Do not be scared about someone yelling at you…it is actually pretty funny. Just turn around and leave ;-). (Thomas)
  • How to prepare fully and what to pack really. The culture and history of the country and area in-depth. Some language. (Salla)
  • My mission really smoothed out when I understood that we missionaries work as a team mission-wide and world-wide, that this is the Lord’s Work and not mine, and that I’m not responsible as to how people respond to the message. This is easy to say, but it was difficult for me to understand and it took me months before I realized this. I wish I had known this from the beginning, but I think I did need those initial months of confusion and struggle, so I don’t think I could’ve found a shortcut here. I’m happy I was not afraid to speak to anyone and that I wanted to work diligently from day one. (Christian)
  • I wish I knew that everything was all right. I wish I knew that the Holy Ghost does the conversion. Those are classics, I guess, but it is truly valuable knowledge. (Daniel)
  • I wish I knew Greek! The first six months of my mission were a bit of a blur, as it was tough to learn the language. (Joel)
  • To speak up sooner when I had a concern.That even the “bad companionships” weren’t all that bad in hindsight and that these people I was serving and with whom I would serve would become some of my best friends for the rest of my life, and that I should have not worried so much about troubles at home because that was upsetting and distracting and it all worked out ok in the end anyway. (Cheryl)
  • In the MTC, the instructor told us to give our best. I wish I would have known my best is not more than 100 per cent though. Breaks are so Important. To relax and to have fun and enjoy the mission. Not be to serious and more hours hardworking than told to. Still enjoy it. (Jill)
  • That we are not here to be perfect, to really love my companion. (Madeline)
  • Focus more. Time is so short. (Bill)

Any advice/testimony for pre-missionaries going to Athens?

  • You can take just one luggage if you’re sent to Cyprus. People there are just amazing even if they reject you, miracles happen and their hearts will be softened. (Madeline)
  • It is a hard mission and the language can be challenging, but I know that as you strive to love the Lord and the people you are there to serve, those times will also be a great blessing to you. Just do your best to speak to everyone and use the language at every opportunity, study for the people you will teach and forget yourself in the work you are doing. This is the Lord’s work and He has called you and chosen you. (Rebekah)
  • Enjoy every single bit of it! NEVER give up! It is such an awesome time! Keep a journal, it does not have to be every single day a record of unnecessary stuff. But write down what was special, spiritual and awesome. Very important in Greece…count the amount of gyros…and add them up at the end of your mission. Take a step tracker to count your steps daily. Could be interesting and awesome to see how much you walked. (Thomas)
  • Be Greek and love the people. Learn to know who they are and why they are the way they are, and see the good in everyone. Have faith beyond whatever seems like it is. Mission scripture in D&C 4. Believe it and become it. (Salla)
  • You are going to the best mission in the world, always remember that. The Church is very small in our mission, but the Lord is ready to work miracles and is mindful of everyone, everywhere. Forget yourself in the Work and God will manifest Himself unto you. Also, even if it seems far-fetched, there will be a Temple in Athens in the future. Get there and do all you can to build it! (Christian)
  • Elder/Sister, you have just been called to a mission that is beautiful in EVERY way. It is very tough but also very rewarding. I wish I were you right now. Remember that the first shall be the last- meaning the Gospel was preached here immediately when Paul first traveled. Don’t get discouraged- know that the Lord is in charge. All you need to do is be available, then He will take care of the rest. Do your best and don’t hit yourself in the head for not being perfect. Hang on with the language- it’s a very old language and every old thing needs patience. But it’s very worth it! The language is very logical so once you get the basics down, you can’t construct it on your own. And then, arrive at the MTC in good spiritual and physical shape- it will help you out on everything. Because the mission is not very big at all, it’s like a family. Brace yourself, you are joining a wonderful family. When you meet ex-Greek missionaries after your mission you will feel related and start to exchange mission stories in your mission language and everyone will look at you in wonder. That is amazing. Simply. (Daniel)
  • DO NOT BIBLE BASH. It doesn’t accomplish anything (because the majority of people don’t even know the bible at all). It always (as in 100% of the time) causes undue contention. Winning someone over by working to understand them, and showing an appreciation for how the Orthodox church really did save the Greek culture during the Turkish Ottoman Empire will go a long way. (Joel)
  • Start to familiarize yourself with how the language sounds. Get used to the idea that they are a noisy nationality who wave their arms around a lot but that is friendly. (Cheryl)
  • Enjoy it. Love it. Have fun. Pray for the Spirit. (Jill)
  • The mission is the most difficult thing but the most wonderful at the same time. Being a missionary is just awesome. (Madeline)
  • Culture shock will happen. Embrace it. Focus, as your time is short. Pray. A lot. Serve, so you love the people. (Bill)

What was a funny language mistake?

  • While in the MTC we were teaching a (fake) investigator and this investigator was telling us about a friend who had died due to drugs — and well the Elder that we were teaching with accidentally told him that his friend would go to hell. (Rebekah)
  • Knocking at a door saying eimaste dio ethelondes…we are two volunteers…is the correct way to say it. If you say eimaste dio elefandes…are you two elephants ;-). (Thomas)
  • I thought I said “I was born in Joensuu (my hometown)” but instead my trainer, who was also very new in the field, had mistakenly taught me to say “I gave birth in Joensuu”. This was in our first District Meeting where I introduced myself… 😀 (Salla)
  • Sisters would often report “Είμαστε σπίτι ασφαλές” to the District Leader daily. They were trying to say “We are safe at home”, but they were actually saying “we are at the safe home”. Adjective declensions are tricky in Greek and for the word “ασφαλής” (safe) the feminine plural is “ασφαλείς”. “ασφαλές” is actually the neuter singular, which matches “σπίτι” (home), so when making this mistake you actually say that the home is safe, not you. =) That was a common mistake, but once a new missionary was trying to say “είμαστε εθελοντές της Εκκλησίας του Ιησού Χριστού” (we are volunteers of The Church of Jesus Christ) but he said “είμαστε ελεφαντές της Εκκλησίας του Ιησού Χριστού” (we are elephants of The Church of Jesus Christ)! (Christian)
  • Make sure you learn the correct stress on the word “Marriage” :). You’ll learn why when you get there. People aren’t spray painting the word “Marriage” all over the buildings. (Joel)
  • I got wrinkles around my eyes squinting at the written words because it was a different alphabet (so take a good moisturizer), but otherwise all pretty okay. It is phonetic so you say what you see and hope for the best. (Cheryl)
  • One missionary wanted to wipe his mouth after a meal at a sweet old sister’s house so he asked for “mia servieta”. Unfortunately, that means a feminine hygiene product, not a serviette/napkin! He learned to ask for “mia petseta” after that….(Philip)
  • Another brand new missionary started praying by reciting the first discussion accidentally. (Bill)