Saturday, October 23, 2010

Family Home Evening in Croatia...

This week started out with a wonderful Family Home Evening at our house for the branch members. We had six members and four non-members! That's more than we ever get at church! We were very excited! Our focus was to help them understand that F.H.E. could be FUN! We had a short lesson, I tried to teach them how to play fruit basket, (it went over like a lead balloon) but the chocolate cake and music were both hits! One of our members is a street singer and he brought his guitar and he entertained us until about 9:30 at night! What a fun evening! It was our Branch President's/ Elder Nitta's Birthday as well so it was an event! Jim and I went to bed that night a little tired, but happy to see so many people out and see them happy and smiling. It's so hard for our members to get together for a social...not sure why. I think they all just work hard and don't really make time for fun. While we were having a good time the Elders got a phone call. Elder Nitta is being transferred to Zagreb and we are getting an Elder Andersen. The only thing that is constant is change.
This is our translater, Tihana and her mother. Tihana is a member, we are working on her mom.

Elder Nitta pretending to blow out the candles..he REALLY  blew them out before I got the picture snapped, so I made him do it again! Making Chocolate cake with
Croatian ingredients was interesting.
 Tues. we went to a little town outside of Varazdin to visit a rest home. It was so fun to see the little ladies in their aprons and head scarfs. I so wanted to take a ton of pictures, but was a little hesitant to offend. Maybe another time. I did get one of the president of Caritus and one of the sweet little ladies that he was visiting with.

The President of Caritus visiting one of the little ladies in the rest home that we went to visit.
The older women all wear these traditional scarfs, both in the house and out.

 I had promised the A.P.'s that when they came into town the next time, I would make them cinnamon rolls. They were the ones who looked long and hard to find us just the right place to live. Just so happened that they were coming on Tues. night. So I attempted cinnamon rolls, Croatian style. Everything is Croatian style....hand kneaded, (where is my Bosh when I need it?), flour comes in probably 5 or 6 different grinds, tip 450, tip on and so forth. Now I ask you, just which one is best for cinnamon rolls? It's all a crap shoot! I just guessed. Sugar is like little crystals, not fine at all. Powdered sugar is also not the same powdery consistency. I usually use margarine in the dough, but the margarine here is like lard..Really YUCK! So it's butter all the way around.  Anyway,  the Elders, (Jim is trying to break me of the habit of calling them, "boy's" ) got their rolls and I think they enjoyed them. It took me all afternoon, what a mess!

  Weds. morning we headed to Bosnia again. We had an appointment to meet with Elder Wondra. He is the Area Seventy over the little orphan countries that have not yet been opened up to missionary work. We were a little nervous, for two reasons. One, we have never been called to meet with a general authority before, I can't remember even shaking hands with one much less meeting with one. Two, we were a little concerned that they would want to scoot us over to Bosnia. Now we know that at some point in our mission we will probably be transferred to Bosnia. We love it there and look forward to Bosnia being opened up for missionary work. What an honor it would be for us to be the first ones to be able to go there legally. HOW EVER....we had never anticipated the attachment we have for Croatia and the people here in Varazdin. So you see our apprehension for our Weds. meeting with Elder Wondra?  Number one...two seconds after we met, we felt at ease. He was so kind, so gracious and we immediately felt very comfortable with him and his darling wife. Don't know why we worried so much..We went to visit a little family in Bosnia who are getting the missionary lessons from the Country Group Leader. (Who and What is that you ask? It is a Branch President, without a branch.) Ed Rowe is the Country Group Leader in Bosnia. He is an American attorney who works with the Bosnian government two days a week.  So we had a wonderful experience with this cute family and then Jim got to help Elder Wondra set Brother Rowe apart. It was an amazing blessing and an experience I won't soon forget. We then went out to eat with them and talked about the church in Bosnia, Elder Wondra encouraged us to to wear two hats as we work in Bosnia, he didn't want us to move there, not yet any way, but he does want us to look for opportunities to teach the gospel as well as do humanitarian. We are to remember that spreading the gospel ,(especially in Bosnia) is as important as humanitarian work and we need to keep that fresh in our minds. We made that commitment to him. We said good-night to him and his wife, grateful for the wonderful opportunity to meet with them and feel of their spirit and love for the gospel. Especially their love for the people in Bosnia. Your prayers for this country, so devastated by war, so crippled by intolerance and so in need of the gospel light would make a difference in getting the church legal I'm sure.
    Thurs, morning we met with the Red Cross director again to tell her that the kitchen project had been approved, she was so happy! What a great job we have! We took her to lunch and visited with her about the church getting legal. She was puzzled as to why it was so hard, we talked very honestly and openly about missionary work and how important it was to us and to the church. She has never seen a missionary, never seen "Elders" walking two by two, white shirts and name tags, scriptures in hand. Can't imagine that we would save and plan for our boys to go on missions and then send them away for two years. She was so impressed, looks forward to the day when she will see them walking in the streets of Banja Luka. It will come! That same time we will be walking the streets as well, with our name tags on, right now we take them off when we hit the boarder, so as to not hinder the legal process.
   We spent the day today looking for stoves for the kitchen here in Varazdin, spent most of our time being lost in Zagreb. It felt like a wasted day, but it's all a part of the process. Even our trusted GPS aka. "Ned"  was so lost that we thought he had blown a circuit or something. Finally found the place about 3:00, the man that knew about the commercial stoves had just left, "you know, Friday and everything" businesses here just don't work the same as they do in  America.
   Another week that has seemed to fly by....I somehow look back and think where did it go? The weather here is turning cold. Yesterday I looked outside and it was bright and sunny. WRONG!! It was bitter cold! October in Croatia, don't be fooled by the sun! And yes, the rummors are right. They do turn off the heat in the apartment building at night. About 11:00 P.M. it goes off and at 6:00 A.M. you can hear the clink, clink of heat coming into the radiators. Guess who doesn't get out of bed until I hear that little noise?


laurie said...

Oh my friend! What a wonderful blog! You must so love what you're doing! Did you take your electric blanket with you?Take it easy in the snow! I'm sure it will show up soon!

cynphil6 said...

I love your blog! I would love to send you a package with "American ingredients", if you think it would get to you. Let me know.

Robin said...

Hey Deb
You should try making monster cookies sometime. Do they have M&M's, chocolate chips etc. over there? If potato salad was a challenge I can't imagine finding everything for monster cookies.
Love ya