Week #4 (1st week in the Mission Field)

Dear Parentals,

I am sorry I was unable to phone last week.
I asked and realized that Canada is not considered international enough to be privileged to phone home before leaving the MTC.
The french keyboard is different than the English one so I am struggling to type.

I am always so happy to hear everything is going well at home and I have shed a few tears each time I check my emails.
I have realized on my mission how blessed I have been to have such amazing parents. It is now that I come to see the faith that you have and had when you accepted the missionaries to teach you.
I am so grateful for our missionaries and for you both raising us in the church. I cannot imagine living my life and raising my own family without the gospel because it is who I am and what I hope and dream for.

I received an awesome package from the Seegmillers with home made peanut butter bars. They were so delish!!!!! They also sent me little notes in a paper made tie designed by Payton. It is so cool and creative. M sent me a box of cookies as an early Christmas gift and it was so lovely and sweet. Lyra (her niece who is 2) drew me a picture of me wearing a tie. She is so cute. I received letters from Kassandra and Kim from Kelowna YSA and they made me smile and laugh. Mary also sent me a lovely Dear Elder which was very sweet of her. I am a well loved missionary.

President Murdock is wonderful: He is very gentle and soft spoken but very powerful. He knows how to be gentle and kind while setting the standards very clearly. Sister Murdock is an angel. She beams love and light out of every pore. She is always smiling and just has that glow. You know how wonderful she is even before you talk to her, just by looking at her. It was wonderful to meet with them and get some basic training and ideas about the Lyon Mission. My first morning in Switzerland we went for a run. It is absolutely gorgeous in Geneva. I met my Companion who is also my trainer at breakfast. I walked into the room and thought, I hope that Elder is my trainer and he is!!!!! We took three trains from Switzerland to arrive in Toulouse France where I am serving right now.

Elder Wahlquist is my companion. He is amazing. We have only known each other for a week but we work very well together. He has a wonderful heart and is very loving. I love watching him interact with other Elders and the people we meet and teach. He is very very good at following the spirit and I trust him and follow. He has been such a great support for me and is someone I know I can turn too. Together we have shared experiences together in blessing the lives of others. We have seen miracles (the natural result of the correct application of true principles) and do our best to recognize them everyday. Elder Wahlquist is an angel and I am grateful for him.

Love Elder Ioannidis

By Robert Suranyi

Week #3

Dear Parents,

We are happy to let you know your son arrived safely in Geneva today.  President and Sister Murdock met the missionaries at the airport and brought them to the Mission Home.  After having lunch the missionaries had an interview with President Murdock and then learned about mission finances and their visas.  Tonight he will have dinner with President and Sister Murdock.  Tomorrow he will meet his companion/trainer and then will have training with President Murdock and the Assistants to the President.  After the training he and his companion will board a train to travel to his first area.

Thank you for sending us such a fine young man.

Sister Todd, Mission Secretary
France Lyon Mission

Elder Ioannidis has been assigned a wonderful trainer/companion, Elder Wahlquist.  Attached you will find a picture of them together.  They are serving in Toulouse, France.  If you or anyone you know will be sending a Christmas package to your missionary please send it to his apartment address.

There is a Mission blog that is updated at each transfer.  You can follow the mission happenings there.  The address is:   http://switzerlandgenevamission2009-2012.blogspot.com/ (it carries the name of our mission before it was consolidated on July 1)

We are grateful to have your wonderful son in our mission!

With Warmest Regards,
Sister Todd, Mission Secretary
France Lyon Mission

By Robert Suranyi

Week #2

Thank you so much for your emails. I had to hold back the tears as I read because I feel like the stripling warriors who did not doubt because of their mothers. In other words “I Elder Ioannidis having been born of goodly parents….”. I appreciate you sharing your spiritual experiences with me and I grateful for the blessings Heavenly Father is blessing you with. I know your service and love for others will bless many lives, including your own.

Thanks for sharing what is happening in the ward and with the youth. It is always nice to hear funny stories and hear about my ward family. I have been and am extremely blessed to have been raised by a ward family as well. I have always felt loved and cared for in our Ward, Stake and church. I have small experiences which remind of the blessed and happy lives the saints live. In the Provo Temple early this morning I watched an older temple worker smiling and talking with people he had never met. Watching him I became a little chocked up because he was beaming. I could feel how happy he was and how much he loved these strangers from across the room. He reminded me of the savior. It doesn’t matter where I am, there are always people who share this kind of love to everyone.

Dad wanted some answers to some questions so here I go.

Sundays- we attend church as a branch which is made of many districts. (say 5 districts, each with 10 missionaries).
We have priesthood meeting and relief society for the sisters. We have interviews with the Branch Presidency, personal study time, MTC choir, meals, Temple walks (walk around the temple and take pictures with missionaries), and we have firesides every Sunday with all the missionaries. At every fireside and devotional the MTC choir sings or there is a special number. We have had cello and piano duets, an Opera singer, piano solos and much more. I have auditioned to sing a solo but didn’t have a piano player. They asked me to audition again with a piano player. During Sunday evening we watch church movies, conference talks, Old MTC devotionals and a variety of other media presentations.

This week I have been called as a Zone Leader. My Companion is now the District Leader. As a Zone Leader I work with the Branch Presidency to take care of all the missionaries in my Branch. There are 40+ Missionaries in my Branch but 3 districts are leaving this week so we will be left with tops 20 missionaries. I am super excited because I am in charge of welcoming the new missionaries that are coming in this week and teaching them all they need to know before they get studying. There is other things that I am responsible for as a Zone Leader but I am running out of time to explain it all.

Love you all,

By Robert Suranyi

Week #1

Time with our missionary families is always lovely. The Miles’ picked me up from the airport and we journeyed to have dinner. I was dropped off at the Seegmiller’s where I received even more food and an awesome hand signed laundry bag. Each child wrote their name on the bag and it also has a scripture on it, Isaiah 1:16 “wash you, make you clean”. It is a pretty fitting scripture for a laundry bag. We spent the night talking and discussing missionary work. In the morning we had family scripture study and Payton was leading the study. I ate breakfast and had the opportunity to attend the Timpanogus Temple before entering the MTC. The Temple in Pleasant Grove is gorgeous. The windows have little squares of stained glass and it was just beautiful to sit in such a beautiful place. Bobby, Greg and I went for sushi before I entered the MTC. They dropped me off at the MTC and we parted with warm hugs and smiles.

The MTC is a place of hard work. Pretty much every second of every day is jammed packed. We shower, brush our teeth, get dressed, run to class, run to breakfast, run to personal study time, have our second class, run to get changed into gym cloths, run to the gym, run in the gym (I have been playing volley ball), run to get changed again, run to companionship study, run to lunch, run to our district meetings, meet with our zone leaders, meet with our branch presidents, run to dinner, run to our service project, scrub bathtubs and spray each other with water, take goofy picture with cleaning supplies and cleaning goggles, brush our teeth, write in our journals, say many a prayers throughout the day, make plans for the next day, nigh time prayer and then we finally get to sleep.

I have been called as A District Leader. I am responsible for the Elders and Sisters in my District. I pick up their mail for them. Hold weekly interviews to make sure everything is going well with them. Write reports to the branch president. Attend leadership training and meetings to discuss the needs of our missionaries. I am expected to set a good example for the missionaries in my District and make sure they are succeeding as missionaries. At times I get a little overwhelmed because I am not always the best leader but I am trying to improve.

My companions name is Elder Guzam. He is from Mexico and is serving in Provo Utah. He is serving in Spanish and English. We are together 24/7. He has a wonderful heart and is very social. He talks to pretty much everyone which is wonderful. We are the only Elders in our district. The rest of our district is all Sister missionaries. They also have wonderful hearts. We try our best to do everything together as a district so we can be unified.

Our teachers are Brother Matthews and Sister Pacanos. They are wonderful and their lessons get me so excited to go out and teach. I bet they were great missionaries when they were serving. Everyone here is lovely and kind. We work hard and have a bit of fun as well.

I bump into Krystal everyday during meal times. She is doing amazing. She is beaming out of the ears. She is going to be an amazing missionary.

Love you all. no time left

By Robert Suranyi