Sunday, October 10, 2010

Waterfalls, Water Projects and Bosnia....

This week we changed our Prep Day to Monday, so the Elders could come with us to one of Croatia's national parks.
Plitvicka jezera. Park of Waterfalls

We walked almost 7 miles through the most beautiful  park that I think I've ever seen!

Around every bend was another beautiful lake and more waterfalls, the water was so clear that you could see the fish without even trying very hard.

This was the highest one. We hiked to the top of it and then down.  Worth the effort!

It was a perfect day, cool with no rain, I would not have enjoyed it so much I think if it had been the middle of the summer heat.
 If you would like to see some other really beautiful pictures of this park, go Here

   We spent most of the day at the park and then went to Karlovac to inspect missionary apts. We went out to eat with our two missionaries and one other companionship. We sat and visited a little long because our missionaries got home about 15 or 20 mins. after their curfew. We are bad examples for them. It was a long drive home. We went to a pizza place and I realized that their idea of pizza over here is pretty yucky. Imagine a terrific pizza coming out of the oven, go to the fridge and get an egg. Crack it and put it in the middle of the pizza and serve it! See how that one goes over! They say it's great, but not for me!

   Weds. we went to Zagreb and talked to the Red Cross there about our wheelchair shipment that is coming in on the 15th and then we met with the manager over the ongoing water projects. We are submitting a project in January that will run all year long. It's been ongoing in Croatia for the last three years, but next year they want to take it to another part of the country and clean wells there. They already have all the equipment that the church purchased three years our budget is just for the work force and travel costs to the area. It is projected to clean out 200 wells  in 2011.  They actually have to send someone down into the well to bring up whatever the contaminant is: dead body, decomposing animals, or live ordinance. So far they have had no one injured on the project, but it seems a little scary to me. They pump out the water with a submersible pump, then get whatever out, let the well fill up again, test the water and do it again if it needs to be done again. The homes are far away from each other, so travel is expensive and the teams have to be away from their families for long periods of time. Brave men, don't you think?
   Thursday and Friday we were in Banja Luka. As we came across the boarder into Bosnia we encountered a truckers strike! Police were every where. At every street corner, standing and waiting for what I don't know. Anyway, we were happy we were in the lane going INTO town, not OUT of town, because the truckers were miles, and miles of semis, holding up traffic. What a mess! We had our translator take us on a tour of the city, so we could get a feel for it. We visited with the director of the Red Cross and discussed another wheelchair shipment going into Banja Luka and we assured her that the project for their soup kitchen had been submitted and was into our Area Humanitarian Leader for approval. Hopefully we will complete that project by Christmas.
   We stayed at a members home overnight and he took us to dinner. We had a wonderful meal and after he asked us if we wanted to go visit a family with him. We were thrilled to have that opportunity, it's a family that is just around the corner from him, the teenage daughter is really interested in joining the church, but parents need to know what the church is all about. Ed gives a beautiful lesson on prayer, the father in the family was sick, they said it was his pancreas, so after explaining the difference between prayer and blessings Ed asked if He and Jim could give the father a blessing. The spirit was so strong, it was an amazing experience and one that I will always remember. I'm dying to find out how he is, but somehow I feel that he's better. I love this gospel, and know how much it means to me in my life and it's just so wonderful to see it change the lives of others. What a privilege it is for us to be here in this part of the world and see the great work that is going on by so many good people.
   Friday we went to a hospital to meet two doctors that are partnering with us to bring the Neo-natal training to their hospital. The training will be the 7th through the 9th. Sixty medical people from Banja Luka and the surrounding area will be in attendance. The church is sending a team from Salt Lake to do the training. Those 60 people will then go out into their communities and towns and train other medical personnel, especially those that have to do with delivering babies. This is our first time seeing this happen, so we are excited and thrilled to be a part of it. On our way to the hospital, we were putting the address into "Ned" our GPS , the street name intrigued us. The street name was, "Twelve Babies"  We asked the translator if it was correct. He told us this story.

Never to be forgotten... During the war in 1992, in the hospital, the department of intensive care, Clinical Center of Banja Luka, due to lack of oxygen that was necessary for adequate treatment, from 22nd of May to 19th of June 1992, 12 babies died. After 13 years of struggle with severe disease, died the thirteenth infant, Slađana Kobas.
The needed oxygen was impossible to deliver by land to Banja Luka because of the blocked road to Serbia. The only way for the oxygen to be delivered was to air, but because of the ban on flights over the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Security Council, the plane that was supposed to deliver oxygen from Belgrade to Banja Luka, was not allowed to fly.

That sad period in our history will never be forgotten, and that is why we must build a future in which something like this must never happen to anyone. This tragedy wrote sad pages in the history of our hospital.

It is hard to describe this kind of suffering on paper, but it lives in our hearts and in the hearts of those families who suffered that pain.

The street in Paprikovac, where the Clinical Center of Banja Luka is , in which died new born babies, is called "Twelve babies“.

When we went into the NICU there were only about 5 babies in little incubators, but I just know I saw "13" My heart just cried for those families. Children are always the losers in adult conflicts, aren't they? What an amazing opportunity it is for us to be in the same hospital where there is so much history. My heart felt question is this, "where was I in 1992? I never heard this story, never cried for those babies, never even knew what was going on. Where was I? You might also want to see this u tube vidieo.  Twelve Babies
It hasn't been translated, but very moving, non the less.

On the way home, our translator took us a different way, so we missed all the mess. But just across the border we got pulled over by two Croatian policemen. In our own country, it's traumatic know you might get a ticket, but in a foreign country it was really scary. They were just doing registration and drivers licence checks. We were fine. Had all the the proper stuff. Da, Da, Da, yes, yes, yes. Dobro Dan...good day!
    Today I've done laundry and caught up from not having a prep. day at home. One always has to pay the piper when one plays, don't they?
    We have another busy week next week, starting Monday morning. We are going on a tour of the Caritas facilities here and around Varizdin. 
   Another week goes by, we miss you and love you all. I love your comments, I know it's a bother, but it's nice to know that your out there.


~Carly said...

Just wanted to let you know that we are so proud of the work you are doing there. What an amazing opportunity!
Also, I wanted you to know that your family is following your example here at home as well. What amazing, tender, care they are giving me and my family! I love the Dixon's so much. Grandma and Grandpa have got to beaming with pride for their progeny.
Love you guys!

laurie said...

I love your blog and the pictures are great! What a beautiful part of the world you are in. It's hard to imagine the Love that Heavenly Father has for all his children, both here and there and how much he wants each of us to know joy! You are doing a great thing, keep up the great work! Love you!

Pat Welsh said...

Hi Sweetie!

I am so happy that you are already in the "love it" stage. You so desreve all the blessings you are receiving and the people of Croatia and Bosnia are so fortunate to have you there to help them with the Lord's work. Please keep writing, I am waiting breathlesly for the next installment of your wonderful projects. Remember how much we all love and miss you! Pat

Marcia said...

We love reading this! I so much joy as I read about each of your adventures. I think of you all the time and you are in my prayers. I know you are exactly where you need to be! Love you,love you, love you!

cynphil6 said...

Today is the 15th so I know you are having an exciting day. I will continue to think of you with loving and fond memories, and how lucky the people are to have you, Jim, and the Lord on their side. You will bring about much good.