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.
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.