Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grandma gets a new wheelchair!

Red Cross wheelchair distribution in a little village (Cipen) in Eastern Croatia.
Red Cross distribution in Eastern Croatia.

Grandma gets a new wheelchair!
  We had three people come to church today! Yeah! Vickie, her mother and one of her sisters! We sang in terrible Serbian, Jim blessed and passed the Sacrament, (in Serbian), and I gave the talk, in English with Vickie translating for us.  I'm sure it doesn't seem like much to most, but to us it was amazing. We often have just Jim and I, and sometimes Vickie. So to have her mother and sister, well, we were thrilled! I taught a lesson on the "Tree of Life"  with the emphasis on AFTER they partook of the fruit, there were people in the big and spacious building that pointed and scoffed at them. Vickie's mother totally got it! She said after, "It's just like us, we worry about what our friends, family and neighbors might think of us when we join the church. But we need to hang on to the iron rod and do what we feel is right in our hearts and ignore them." YES! YES! YES! I loved it! Wow! Being a missionary is great! We hope next week to get the other family members to church with us, they have committed to come and we also have a couple from America that will be with us as well. They are the short term specialists over food production/agriculture.  The Tadic's have a little piece of property that they farm. Our specialist will look at it, talk to Drasco, Vickie's Dad, and hopefully as soon as the church is recognized in Bosnia we will be able to help them, maybe start an agricultural project with them to give them a little boost to becoming more self reliant. That's certainly not a sure thing, but we would love to see it happen if there is any way possible. 
   We had two more closings this week, the one that we had on the Roma Preschool was on Croatian national news and one of our wheelchair/soup kitchen projects in Osijek was on the National news as well as in newspapers. I still am not used to all the media attention, it scares me to death. The second closing we had was in a small village called Cipen in Eastern Croatia. We distributed 15 wheelchairs to people at their Red Cross. This had to be one of my favorite closings so far. A few local newspapers were there taking pictures, but by no means the paparazzi that we are trying to get used to. Just good wonderful , volunteers that sat us around an old wooden table in a freezing cold storage room. They gave us a drink of water, (in place of coffee) and talked to us about some of their challenges and concerns. Once a week they do a clothes exchange in the community. Never enough children's clothes. Never enough linens, towels, blankets and bedding. Times are hard, the staple of life is bread. They spread lard on the bread and salt it, but now, people don't have the money to buy the bread. Often these volunteers bring flour in from their own homes to make cakes for the people who come to the clothes exchanges.  It really broke my heart to sit around this table and hear their real concerns. Always ending, "but after the rain, comes the sunshine". They are not devoid of hope. Or are they short on gratitude. You would have thought we gave them the world, 15 wheelchairs. Goodness, we wished we had done so much more!  Needless to say we  have done a lot of traveling  this week and to tell you the truth if feels really good to be home in Croatia tonight! 
   This next week we will prepare for our specialist to arrive, meet with the agricultural school here in Varazdin, meet with the Red Cross in Zagreb about our new water project, inspect one our last assigned missionary apartment, and meet with one of the members in Zagreb who is helping us put together an amazing program of International Dancers from BYU.  They have put us on their calendar and will be coming to Croatia in June. Now we just need to find them a venue, a partner organization and a place to stay for almost 50 people. That's what we are up to here in our Beautiful, Beautiful Croatia! The snow is melted, the sun is shining, and we are looking forward to spring!
  I can't tell you how much we love you all, Your thoughtful, encouraging and supportive e-mails and comments mean the world to us. We are missing home and family, but feel so blessed to be here and do what we can to help the good people here in Croatia and Bosnia. 

To those who care: We just finished Chapter 11 in  "Jesus The Christ". 
I am far behind in marking the references however. Only done with  chapter 4 on that one. Ya gotta love Talmage, especially when he uses himself as a reference! 
This is after the ceremony in Osijek. They are still interviewing Jim.

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