Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring in Serbia

Latin Bridge
Chess game in the park
Since moving to Serbia, we have had the opportunity to visit every city that has a church unit in the entire mission, which consists of five countries.  We have enjoyed these opportunities put in our path, to experience the many different cultures, and all the extraordinary people we have met.  We just got back from visiting Sarajevo, Bosnia.  Our hotel was near the Latin Bridge, the site of the assassination of  Archduke Ferdinand in 1914, which is believed to be the start of WWI.  The city is rich in culture and history and one can walk through the many markets and see numerous mosques, including one built in the 16th century.  We met the Wood family who are members of the Branch at a local restaurant. On the way, we walked through a park and came upon a game of chess being played.  It was interesting to watch them move their 3 foot chess pieces around the board.  Upon returning to our room in the evening, we heard the call to prayer through our bedroom window.  We attended church the next day with the members of the Sarajevo Branch and I found myself sitting next to the first convert of the church in all of Bosnia.  A true pioneer.

We have traveled to Sremska Mitrovica to attend three (yes, three) baptisms!  EK was privileged to baptize a young mother whose daughter was baptized by Elder Valentine.  The third person baptized was a widower of a member whose adult daughter is also a member.  What a joy it was to see that family united in the gospel and for them to look forward to going to the temple to be sealed together for eternity.

Coming back from one of our Sremska Mitrovica visits, we stopped in to see one of our favorite families.  The Moody family is in Belgrade on a three year assignment with the US Embassy.  They have five amazing children who are kind to these two senior missionaries.  EK scheduled a time for setting apart Sister Moody as the District Primary President, and we were asked stay for dinner.  After dinner we played some fun games and they might not have realized it, but they helped us feel like we were home with family.

Andrej and David
We are happy to have been a small part of helping two young men in Belgrade prepare to go on a mission.  The phrase, it takes a village applies because there are many who have mentored and taught Andrej and David these past three years since they have joined the church.  They both have been called to England to serve in two different missions and leave in July.  They are excited to share their Missionary Training Center experience in the Preston MTC.  They are exceptional young men and will be great missionaries!
Artist with extraordinary eyesight!

We have a favorite place to walk in Belgrade, and one day we came upon an artist who paints miniatures.  It was amazing to watch as he created scenic paintings on tiny shells.  We had previously bought one of his works that depicted a scene on a local bridge.  He was kind enough to visit with us and tell us about himself.

Sister McAlpin
We attended a Relief Society (women's group) birthday celebration in Novi Sad.  The theme was about women in the scriptures who have inspired us. Since EK was our "driver", he was one of the few men invited to attend... lucky guy.  There were women from Belgrade, Čačac, Sremska Mitrovica, Novi Sad, one sister came from Bosnia, and Sister Grant came from Croatia.  It was a wonderful event and it was apparent that there was much work involved in the food preparation, the classes, and the talks that were prepared.  Sister McAlpin is the senior sister in Novi Sad, and she was instrumental in pulling it off.  She did a beautiful job.  She even greeted everyone in local dress.

It is amazing to think that we have been on our mission for 18 months and only have 3 more before we leave.  April looks to be very busy, with conferences for the young single adults, and the single adults.  The senior conference is April 11th for three days and we are looking forward to seeing all the senior missionaries, and meeting the new ones that have come in recently.

Word or phrase of the week:   Želim vam ugodan dan     Желим вам угодан дан
Serbian which means:                                      Have a nice day