Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Stretan Uskrs!

Intricate detail 
Our current district
It was a beautiful Easter weekend.  We had Zone Conference on Saturday in Zagreb and were able to see other senior couples that are serving
throughout Croatia.  We also met a new senior couple who have been assigned to  serve in Rijeka,  Elder and Sister Grahovac.  They are originally from Croatia, raised their family in Germany and are back to serve a mission here.  It is exciting to see new senior missionaries come out, as they fulfill such a useful purpose.  We never before realized how powerful an asset senior couples can be to a mission.  We are so happy that we have the health, strength, and means to serve.

Branch egg decorating
We decorated eggs at church with some of the members.  We colored them much like at home, and added some shrink wrap type bands to them.  The kids loved doing it.  I know there are many different ways to do them.  We saw some beautiful eggs at a restaurant, and I asked where they were done.  The waitress said that her mother does them every year and it is a tradition.  I would love to see a demonstration someday.  They are incredible.

We traveled to Rijeka on Sunday, attended church, and had a
Locks of Love in Rijeka
lovely Easter lunch that Sister Peterson prepared for everyone.  Before we left, we rode down to the waterfront.  It was a beautiful day, and as we crossed a bridge, I noticed love locks on it.  I have heard of other bridges where they do the same thing, Paris for one.  There was also a lone sailboat out on the water, and GK got a little envious of the sailor on board.  I reminded him that it was Sunday, and that the poor guy was motoring around because there wasn't any wind.  That brought him back to his senses.
Sailboat in Rijecka
Rijeka Branch Priesthood
We took Sister Peterson and Sister Washburn to Plivička National Park which is the waterfall park.  They are leaving for home in a couple of weeks and we wanted to make sure they had a chance to see it.  We checked with President Grant to see if they could go on P-day.  We got the o.k. and off we went (in the Opel, of course) We saw some beautiful sights, and had a bonus of seeing some other senior missionaries.

Spring in Plivička
We stopped in Slunj on the way home for pizza.  This sweet little town is nestled on top and amid smaller waterfalls and is right out of a fairytale book.  A river runs through it and while we were there, people were setting up for a kayak race the following weekend.  We stopped in a restaurant for pizza (the best I have had so far).  Then off we went to Karlovac, to have Easter dinner at our apartment.  We met together with the Elders and Sisters for a ham dinner.  Our Easter weekend was complete.

With all the many things that keep our
lives busy, it is important that we remember what this weekend represents.  We are grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ.  We are grateful for His atoning sacrifice, and that because of Him, we will all receive the blessing of resurrection after this life.  He lives! We love Him, we love our mission!  It is a decision we made for which we will forever be grateful.

Word of the week:  Stretan Uskrs (stre tan ooskers)  which means Happy Easter!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Baptism in Osijek

On the road again, this time to Osijek which is east of Zagreb.  It is about three and a half hours away from Karlovac, so we stayed overnight at the Strassmayer, our favorite Hostel in town.  There was a
Jovan and Radojka 
Sister Rhodes and Sister Allred
baptism scheduled for Jovan and Radojka Gojković, a sweet couple who were introduced to the church by their daughter who lives in Canada.  President and Sister Grant (Mission President) were there, along with President and Sister Anderson (Branch President), and other members and investigators.  Sister Rhodes and Sister Allred (sister missionaries from Zagreb) were also there, so I was able to get a shot with them.  Sister Allred will be going home soon and I asked her, "what will we do without you?"  She replied, "I think I'll lose my passport."  Funny girl...we love them both. While in Osijek we were able to see the Cathedral and stop for lunch.  I ordered a pizza, and I had to take a picture of it for our grandson Josh.  He loves bacon, and would have liked to try this!  On Sunday, EK and I both spoke in Sacrament meeting.  Danaja interpreted the first part of my talk (she was awesome) and the last part was in Hrvatski, which I attempted myself.  Don't be too impressed as Elder Mangeris translated what I wrote, and I read it.  Hopefully, I didn't murder the pronunciation too badly. But those sweet people smiled and nodded, all the while probably thinking, what in the world is this woman saying?
Josh's dream pizza

I went to an awesome bookstore last week in Zagreb. While I was there, I couldn't resist, The Very Hungry Caterpillar which the store clerk said had recently been translated into Hrvatski. I also found my favorite Croatian children's book author.  In November I bought Ne, ne, da, da for Oliver before Christmas.  I had it on the sofa table and Elder Poore found it and read it.  It is his favorite book and reads it to all the new missionaries coming to Karlovac.  Well, I found another one by the same author which is just as good called Moja tuta.  It's about potty training, and it will be perfect for Cora.  Elder Mangeris picked out a book called Ja, about a bear who loves life and read it to all of us. Everyday we see these missionaries working, serving, leading, learning and becoming men. Yet at times it is sweet to see the boy in them.

special dinner guests
We had some special guests over for dinner last week.  We invited the members who had attended the Singles Conference, to come over and see the pictures I took.  Snježana, Šmilka, Stefića, and Daniel showed up at exactly 6:00 p. m. and we had a great time eating and visiting, and viewing the pictures. While we were visiting, Kate Skyped us and she was able to meet our prijatelji.

On Saturday we went to visit Onto Ontolović with the Elders.  He lives about 15 kilometers outside of town and is unable to make it to church on  Sundays.  He does not have a car and the bus does not run on Sundays.  He used to live in town and served as Branch President for 9 years.  We see the problem of getting to church with a few of our members.  Owning a car here is very expensive, with the gas being 8.6 kuna per liter (about $4.80 a gallon).  You do not see many young people driving because getting your drivers license is extremely expensive, around a thousand dollars.

One morning last week the Elders came over told me an alarming tale.  I calmly went into the bathroom where EK was in the shower, told him what the Elders said, whereas he said, "What?  The car is missing?" Yes, they lost the car.  They used it for exchanges and parked it at their apartment
Pre-fine paying expression
for the night.  They got up the next morning, and it was gone.  It was locked and they had the keys so we knew it wasn't stolen.   So after some phone calls, they found out it had been towed away and they ended up having to go to the impound yard to pick it up.  Unfortunately, there was a fine involved.  Lesson learned:
Always return the car to it's designated parking spot in the senior missionaries parking lot...

We had District Conference on March 13th in Zagreb.  We took Sister Peterson, Sister Washburn, and Zarko Sikirića with us.  The attendance was around 80, but it was sent out via webcast, to the outlying areas.  We had 21 Karlovac members attend which was exciting.  We have an amazing Branch!  After the conference, there was a luncheon, time to visit, and then back to Karlovac.

We got our tickets for the Paul Cardall - David Archuleta concert in Ljubljana in May.  Well, we think we have our tickets.  It was difficult getting on the correct site, but after being moved around a bit, we were able to get on a site where we could choose seats and purchase tickets.  We will be staying overnight and will carpool with the Porters from Varaždin.  We are also excited for the Fireside with David.  It will be an amazing missionary opportunity for many, to meet this young man who put his career on hold to serve a two year mission in Chile.

The word of the week  for our unuci is:  krštenje (krsh ten yay) which means baptism 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Where There is Unity, There is Strength

Fun time at the dance!
A committee was formed to plan the first Singles Conference for the Adriatic North Mission.  People from five countries, and who spoke three languages participated.  Thanks to our amazing President and Sister Lotrič, we were able to translate all the necessary materials for the event.  The Lotrič's are from Slovenia and are a blessing to the mission.  President Loctrič  is First Counselor in the Mission Presidency. They work tirelessly for the mission and cheerfully participate wherever they are needed. They are an example to us all, especially to Church members in the ANM.

Our conference was last
The whole group
weekend from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon.  It was a huge success.  We had 30 people attend, and many activities were planned for the two days.  We had spiritual firesides, devotionals, and a beautiful testimony meeting to close the conference.  We also had a dance on Friday night.
There were singles from the ages of 31 to 71 attending and they were all out on the floor.  We had a sister who showed us Bosnian Folk dances.

Those who came from a distance, stayed at the mission home Friday night, and the rest of us stayed up the road at the Vila Tina Hotel.

Our Karlovac members
We had amazing workshops on Saturday including team building activities, social networking, mountain climbing (yes, really), and a workshop on identifying body language. There were many involved in the planning and we were all blessed by the success of it.  Everyone was so appreciative, and we are planning another one in September.  I think the word may get around and we will have an even larger group attend.

We went to the MUP (again) last week, and we finally got our visa cards.  We are legal!  It only took five months.  It looks like a driver's license and when we leave we have to give it back.  I'd like to keep it as a souvenir but I don't think they will let me.

We had our monthly testimony meeting today at church.  The three sisters who attended the conference got up and spoke about it, and then I was surprised (and thrilled) when T got up to bear his testimony.  I think it was his first time.  I noticed that he seemed tired and he later told EK that he had gotten up in the middle of the night to write down some things because he knew he had to get up to speak on Sunday.  What a special young man he is, we really love him.  The time was coming to a close but people kept getting up to speak, and we actually went over.

Will we ever learn?
We were locked out of our apartment...again.  This time EK left his keys in the door as we left and shut the door.  I had my keys, but the problem was my key wouldn't go in with his keys in on the other side.  Elder Hillock came to the rescue, and with a credit card, was able to open the door.  Luckily it is usually not that easy to break in, as we have numerous dead bolts when we lock up for the night.
Local mailmen

We have gone to the Posta numerous times to mail things.  There is usually one person in the bunch who can understand English.  I make sure to say "avionska pošta" so it goes by plane and not on a slow boat to China, or in my case Wisconsin or Utah. We have never seen mailmen on the street until recently.  We wondered how they got around and we found a couple on duty riding their bikes with their pack of mail on the back.

EK had a meeting in Zagreb, so he dropped me off at the Avenue Mall and picked me up afterwards.  I found a few things for summer and then he picked me up to go a movie with some Zagreb Branch members.  We saw The Gods of Egypt and we thought it was pretty good.  It as our first movie in Croatia.  The movies are all in English with Croatian subtitles.   The theatre had plush seats and since it was Wednesday, it was only $3.50.  What a deal for our date night.

Word of the week:  avionska pošta which means:  airmail