Monday, April 17, 2017

Stretan Uskrs!

Our apartment was full, as we celebrated Easter with the Belgrade missionaries.  We bought what we  thought was a ham at Metro.  It turned out to be a Slovenian ham and it was delicious!  Since we were gone most of the previous week and did not return until Saturday evening, I made assignments for the dinner.  The missionaries brought the potatoes, deviled eggs, and dessert.  The evening ended on a spiritual note, after viewing "He is Risen" which you can view here:  It is a powerful video. I am grateful for Jesus Christ and for the gift of the atonement.  John 3:16. I am grateful for this Easter season which recognizes His sacrifice and celebrates His resurrection.    This gift allows us all the opportunity to repent and change in us what is necessary, so that we may return to live with God.

We attended our last senior conference in Vlatibor, Serbia last week.  It was an opportunity to meet all of the new senior couples who have come to the mission in the last few months, and to reconnect with the others whom we don't often get a chance to see. We were also happy to welcome some local leaders from Serbia. We listened to many powerful testimonies from these faithful members who are true pioneers in this country.  It was a fun few days filled with time to socialize, couple missionaries reporting on their individual responsibilities, receiving training from President and Sister Grant, and hearing from the Mission Presidency.  This was our 4th conference and we really felt like the old ones here in the mission.  We were impressed by the enthusiasm and experience that these new seniors bring with them.  The faces may change,  but the Lord's work continues on.

We ended the week with a Young Single Adult Conference in Zagreb.  We rented a van and filled it up with some fun youth from Belgrade,  Sremska Mitrovica, and Čačac.  We met at the mission home with participants coming from Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia.  It was a well organized and fun time for everyone.  The next day we traveled to a refugee center in Zagreb, where a service project had been planned.  There were 35 of us and we worked for two hours in the basement, hauling out old mattresses, bed frames, and garbage.  Some of the asylum seekers came down to help us and we worked happily side by side.  It was an extremely rewarding experience for all, and one we will not forget.

Last week we took a walk around Belgrade and found that the tulips are in bloom.  It was a perfect sunny day, so I brought my camera with me and we walked around the Parliament Building.   Flowers were blooming everywhere, and I had my fill of photo opportunities.  When you walk in the city, you must always look up because many buildings are adorned with beautiful statues on the top.  You also have to look down because you may trip or stumble on broken cement or holes in the sidewalk.  I love the evening walks because their landscape lighting is beautiful.  The building's architecture is highlighted and everything looks amazing.

Our traveling throughout the mission continues on.  In March we went to Osijek, Belgrade, Sremska Mitrovica, and Sarajevo.  We miss being in our home unit on a weekly basis, but know it is necessary for us to be elsewhere.  It is a treat for us to be in Belgade on a Sunday.  We will travel to Zagreb next week for Croatia District Conference, and then come back to Serbia to prepare for a district youth conference.  There is also a singles conference coming up in May, and the annual Kresmir Čosić Basketball Tournament, so we will be back in Zagreb for those events.  Time flies when you are busy and the end of our mission is coming quickly.  We are feeling many emotions.  We have feelings of sadness at leaving all of the beautiful people we have met on our mission.  And we also feel excitement at seeing our family again, and of meeting our little Oliver who was born while on our mission.  This has truly been the most rewarding experience in our lives.  It has challenged us, strengthened us, and made us realize how much senior missionaries are needed throughout the world.  It has shown us that we are all brothers and sisters of a loving Heavenly Father.  We are grateful for this opportunity that we have had to serve Him, and to serve others.

Word of the week:  Stretan Uskers (ooskers) , which is Happy Easter