We had eight missionaries over for dinner including Elder King and Elder Frandsen from Čačak. They were all excited to dig in to the feast and there was plenty of food for everyone. Before we ate, the missionaries decided to play some football and they let EK be the quarterback. They were not allowed to tackle or touch the quarterback (those were the orders I gave them before they left) They followed orders and everyone came back in good shape. They are such a great bunch of young men and women who are hardworking and love the Lord. They have put their lives on hold for 18 months - 2 years to serve. There are 60,000 of them throughout the world. We are in awe of their dedication and are proud to be among them. We are grateful to be in Serbia, as it offers us the chance to see more countries in the mission. It also gives us opportunities to get to know more of the members along with the local people. The language is similar, with a few different words. The biggest challenge is that they use the cyrillic alphabet.
We have gone to the MUP for a second time for our interview to receive a visa. It is about a twenty minute walk from our apartment. We are getting to know our neighborhood and have found an open fruit and vegetable market up our street, grocery stores, and many pekaras (bakeries) along the way. We are trying out the many difference restaurants close by and have found one that offers many local dishes like sarma and stuffed peppers. We have done some exploring and have seen many beautiful buildings and we have enjoyed seeing the many Christmas decorations throughout the city. Every street has different decorations, and it is fun to view them at night when the lights are on.
We flew to Podgorica on Saturday for a mission presidency visit. We attended church on Sunday and were impressed with a display of copies of the Book of Mormon. They were in many different languages including Chinese, Armenian, Turkish, Bulgarian, and Russian. (If only we could get Serbian & Croatian figured out) We enjoyed meeting all of the members and were welcomed warmly. We were also able to visit with a young man, Nenad who had served a mini mission in Karlovac several months ago. Nenad is a fun loving person who joined the church fifteen months ago. We love his enthusiasm and he has what you could say, a big personality. It was so good to see him. After church, President and Sister Olson had us, the missionaries, and Nenad over for lunch. Then the Olson's took us to the airport for our 5:00 flight which was on time, smooth, and uneventful. We were home by 7:30 p.m. That's what I call a perfect flight.
As I think of all the things we are grateful for, my mind is flooded with the realization of blessings that have come our way. What stands utmost in my mind is our family at home, that loves us and supports our decision to be away from them for 21 months. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission, and will continue to tell all who will listen that senior missionaries are essential. We have never felt more needed than we do now and have been blessed to be associated with great servants of the Lord both in the missionary ranks and in the local Church members. We have been further blessed with our day-to-day encounters with people everywhere we go. They are patient and kind in helping us find our way (literally) and answering our many questions. They have shared their lives with us and their many stories testify of the love Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven has for all of His children. I love listening to the song, One by One, the lyrics written by David A. Bednar, and the music written by Paul Cardall. You can see the video here:
It is a sweet reminder of that love.
Which brings me to the word of the week for our unuci.
The word is ljubav (lee oo bov) which means love. Serbian is: лјубав