Monday, October 24, 2016


Beautiful Beograd
District meeting in Beograd
We have received a new assignment from President Grant.  We are moving to Beograd (Belgrade). We will never be able to replace the Petersons, but will do all we can to continue the work they were involved in.  We don't know who will replace us in Karlovac as of yet but I know they will love our quaint little town. We have enjoyed being in Croatia this past year and are grateful we were able to see it's beauty and meet many amazing people.  Now we are on to a new adventure in a new country. Beograd is the capital of Serbia with over one million people and is situated on the Danube River.  We were able to go there last week for a couple of days and check out our apartment.  It is very nice and comfortable.  While there we were able to squeeze in a district meeting (weekly meeting with the missionaries) with Beograd's missionaries and two visiting missionaries from Sarajevo.  We will move there permanently in another week. There are four church branches and one dependant group in Serbia that we will be visiting in the future.  They are Novi Sad, Sremska Mitrovica, Podgorica in Montenegro, Čačak, and Beograd.  We will also have to get used to using the cyrillic alphabet.  The two languages are similar but have distinctive differences.  I'm sure we will be confused for a while and use Croatian words when we mean to use Serbian ones.

We were in Zadar for a baptism and EK spoke for a few minutes.  He attempted to speak Hrvatski (Croatian) and did very well.  As what usually happens with us both, he ended up confusing words and it caused a few snickers in the audience.  An attendee behind me, leaned in and whispered in my ear, "he would make a great stand up comedian."  So, we try and many times end up entertaining the group.  EK is a great one to try and that is the only way to learn.  The people appreciate the attempts we make no matter how many mistakes are made.  We were happy to be able to visit with the Rotheys in Zadar, and to see Sisters Rusick and Elmore, along with Elders James and Palmer.  The longer we are out, the more familiar faces we meet throughout the mission.  We love seeing those smiling missionary faces and the warm welcomes we receive.

We attended a conference in Zagreb where all the missionaries gathered together to listen to General Authority church leaders Donald L. Hallstrom, and Paul V. Johnson visiting from the U.S.  There were 100 of us and we made quite an impressive group.  It was the first
time the entire mission gathered together since we arrived.  Imagine the difficulty in bringing together missionaries from all five countries in the mission.  We were attempting to take a group picture and had everyone in place awaiting our guests, but it started to rain and we had to scratch it.  I did get a quick shot before everyone went inside, which included the empty chairs for our guests.
Hot chocolate break

Banja Luka
We visited Banja Luka last week. EK had some training with Elder Bradford.  It was our first time there and we enjoyed the sights.  We stayed at a very nice hostel on the river.  The restaurant below ended up being one of our favorites.  The hotel receptionist was the sweetest and we were able to visit with her and tell her about the church.  She wasn't aware that LDS missionaries were serving in her city so we gave her a Book of Mormon and told her the missionaries would be in touch.  We have met many friendly and kind people throughout our mission.  This is a beautiful part of the world and we are grateful to be here.

Word of the week:   lijep (lee ep) which means beautiful

Friday, October 14, 2016

Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

We recently returned from our senior conference which was held at Lake Bohinj in Slovenia.  We always look forward to attending these conferences because it is a time to connect with the other senior couples that we don't often see, be instructed by our Mission President and his wife, and to hear from the mission presidency.  We also have the opportunity to listen to the other couples report on their responsibilities in the mission, as well as report on our own.  There is such a diverse number of jobs to do and when you combine the many years of experience we all have, it can only mean one thing - we are a powerful force!  I am so amazed at the things that are being done throughout the mission.
Lake Bohinj

Subjects that were covered were: public affairs, Seminary and Institute (religion class taught to youth and young adults), humanitarian projects, self-reliance, language, and reports on the various conferences that have been held for the youth (12-18), young single adults (18-30), as well as the single adults (31 and up).  In between our conference, we did have some time to see the sights. We stopped at Lake Bled on the way and took a boat ride across to the island.  Our captain who rowed us across told us that he has been doing it for 35 years.  It was a beautiful island with a majestic church overlooking the lake. We also took a boat ride on Lake Bohinj, climbed 560 steps (give or take a few) to see a waterfall.  We visited some cute goats on one of our walks, and saw the amazing Vintgar Gorge.  The water was a deep turquoise color and quite spectacular.

Vintgar Gorge
Billy (the goat)
Doug & Vicky, EK's brother and his wife visited with us for several days and are now off to explore other beautiful places in Europe.  We enjoyed having them here.  Before they left, we traveled to the Lepoglava Lace Festival that I have been looking forward to attending for months.  It is held in a tiny town that once a year comes alive with activity. Several countries were represented with lace displays and people demonstrating the art. We picked up Sisters Pratt and Davenport in Zagreb and the six of us enjoyed the day together.   We spent the morning looking at all of the beautiful and intricate lace designs. We all had lunch before we headed out to Zagreb for another event to attend.
Bobbin lace making

 On the last day of our conference, one of the senior couples received devastating news that their daughter was critically ill.  They quickly packed, checked out of the hotel, and left for Beograd where they were currently serving.  President and Sister Grant drove with them to Serbia and they flew back home to Idaho the next day where they were able to spend time with Sara before she passed on.  We will miss them and their dedication to the work. It is every parent's worst nightmare to receive such news.  Our hearts ache for the Petersons and pray that they will be comforted and strengthened in this trial. In Isaiah 25: 8 it tells us that He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces. We are grateful for God's plan and the promise that we can be forever families. God's plan is for us to be successful in this life and to return to live with Him.  The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the center of this plan.  In Matthew 16:19 it says, And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  God's plan or the Plan of Salvation gives us the lifeline of hope that we need to cope with the loss of our loved ones.  I am grateful for this plan, designed by a loving Father in Heaven.

Word of the week:  snaga which means strength