Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Major Catch-up Time

Our time in the MTC flew by!  We enjoyed getting to know the other couples and our very talented young instructors.

We arrived in Athens, after a very LONG flight, on October 15.  That same day our new missionary friends took us up to Lycabettus Hill for a late afternoon overview of the city.

We were in a temporary apartment for the first two weeks and relied on the other senior missionaries, especially Brad and Dantzelle Allen, to show us the ropes.  Later in October we were visited by Russell and Eileen Healy, the Europe Area Welfare Specialists, based in Frankfurt.  In addition to many hours of training, we were treated to some sight-seeing, guided by our mission president, Bill O. Heder and his wife, Leeann.

L-R Russell and Eileen Healy, Susan and Brent in front of the ancient theatre at the base of the Akropolis.

At right:  President Bill and Sister Leeann Heder, with us at the Odeon theatre ruins.  Beautiful October weather that day in Athens!

After some valuable training, and Susan's recovery from an annoying virus, we ventured out to deliver hygiene supplies and fleece hats/scarves/gloves to two camps northeast of Athens, Oinofyta and Ritsona.  Here we are at the warehouse at Ritsona with our "driver" (and friend) Brad Allen and some appreciative staff from Echo 100 Plus, the NGO managing the camp.

We were invited to share a special moment with our mission president and a departing couple from the UK, Andrew and Lesley Margaret Perry, at the end of October.  We went to Mars Hill, the site of the Apostle Paul's address to the Athenians, where each of us were able to share a few words of testimony in an historically sacred spot.  A Greece Athens Mission tradition...

Another project we were tasked to complete was "baby sleeping boxes", an ingenious idea.  The kit consists of a plastic storage box, fitted with a foam pad and filled with layette-type items.  The box can be used as a sleeping space, or a bathtub.  When the baby is too big it can be converted to a storage box.  The mattress covers for the foam pads were sewn by a refugee tailor at Oinofyta camp, on sewing machines previously supplied by LDS Charities.

Thanksgiving was celebrated at President and Sister Heder's home with all of the Athens area LDS missionaries, most of whom are not American.  We had fun sharing our traditions with our European friends.  Elder Petchey, from the UK, even treated us to an informative slide show about the European origins of the Puritans and Separatists, that gave rise to the holiday.


  1. Elder and Sister Hawkins! So glad to hear from you. It looks like you are doing much good in your area of service. I bet it is wonderful going into the camps and taking in kits to help with the needs of the people. And to visit those amazing historical areas......especially where Paul taught. Really cool!

  2. Elder and Sister Hawkins…we are happy to see that you made it safely to Greece and are actively engaged in the work. It was a pleasure to get to know you at the MTC and look forward to sharing some of your experiences. How is your Greek coming along?

  3. Susan, we miss you, but are so happy to follow the work you're doing! The baby boxes are a great idea-- one I'm going to suggest to the Davis Interfaith Rotating Shelter. Looking forward to more updates. Warmest wishes for Christmas �� and the New Year.