Monday, June 27, 2011

B.Y.U. International Dancers come to Zagreb....

The B.Y.U. International Folk Dancers came to Zagreb and did a street performance on one of the downtown squares. We were so lucky to get them, they had a three day stop in between dance festivals. They came from a festival in Hungry and were on their way to the coast of Croatia for another one. They were such cute kids and really, really good dancers. They represent B.Y.U. and the church in such a wonderful, creative,and taleted way. We were so proud to say that we are connected to them!

This cute little bug enjoyed it the most! She was just jigg'in away!

This guy was right in with all the dancers, we couldn't decide what he was doing...finally we figured he was pretty drunk and just enjoying the pretty girls and music!

Our cute missionaries in action!

We love our missionaries, they work so hard and see very little success. I would love to see them get some investigators from this. That would be icing on the cake!

Saturday morning they came to the church and performed for us missionaries and some of the members! They were just amazing! What can I say! Here are more pictures. Memories that again will last for a life time!

The Sambunjak family minus Hanah who was learning to dance in picture below.

Learning to square dance in the kitchen!

All the dancers and members (Where's Waldo?)

40 Pizzas to feed everyone.

Pack up the bus and say good-bye. What a fun day!

If any of you are wondering...yes they did perform in the chapel, It's a beautiful building, the only one that the church has built in Croatia. All other meeting places are rented. The Chapel doubles as a cultural hall, no benches, just chairs and they can be moved where ever they are needed. But you can see what a nice facility it is. Till next week, we love you all!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Practically perfect pigs....

It's a Pigs world!

Long, long ago, a poor Chinese peasant one day returned home to find his bamboo house burned down. All that remained was a heap of glowing embers, and his hog, his cherished hog that was to have supplied boiled meat for the family, lay here beside the embers, dead and roasted. Without thinking what he was doing he rushed forward, grabbed a leg, and drew it clear. Boy, oh boy! Was it hot! He put his tender fingers to his lips to soothe the pain and found to his surprise a pleasing taste. Could it be that the taste of roasted hog was good, far better than the taste of boiled meat? The flesh was sampled to confirm the fact that it was indeed delectable fare.
Pigs, never thought I'd be blogging about pigs. Pigs make the world go round here in Bosnia. If it isn't a carbohydrate driven world here, they have the most delicious bread ever, it's a pig driven world. Everywhere you go you see, sausages, bacon, whole pigs, pigs in grocery cases or hanging up in the corner of the meat department, pigs being cooked, and pigs being grown. Funny thing is, I have really hard time eating pork. We bought bacon once, a few months back, it wasn't my favorite. Very salty and had a ton of bone in it. We haven't bought it again. Jim will order pork in a restaurant sometimes, mostly because his wife doesn't cook it for him, and he enjoys that. Whenever we go to a Bosnian celebration we have pork, and it's really pretty good, but then again, I'm not the one cooking it. I pretty much stick to chicken. I might have a great aversion to that by the time I get home. What do ya think?

Why my fascination with pigs? Well, for several months now we have been trying to figure out how to help our little Tadic family become more self reliant. They have nine people in their family and are barely scraping by, really, really struggling. Between both mom and dad working they are not really even keeping their heads above water. The cost of living is so out of whack compared to the low wages here. Food costs, utilities especially electricity is horrible, gas is about $8.00 a gallon and education expenses along with dental and medical costs are just overwhelming this family. If you remember last year, our kids went together and provided firewood for the family. Jim helped split it and I helped stack, but that isn't really the answer because fall will come around faster than ever this year and fire wood will be an issue again. Self reliance, sustainability and a better income is what is needed. So after much prayer we decided to put in a humanitarian project to see if we could help them.

  At first go round the project was rejected in Salt Lake City. We had attached it to a larger project that was approved with the provision that we take the Tadic farm out. It was a small project, one that didn't fit any of the guidelines that would make it a good humanitarian project. We felt really sad that there wasn't anything to do about it, but decided to rewrite the project and submit it again as an area project. It still didn't fit any of our guidelines for a humanitarian project. What are those guidelines? Well, mostly they have to do with cost per recipient. We try to keep it around $10. To $15. Per recipient. They are usually done for non-members and the Tadic family are now members, we usually go through partner organizations and not individuals and so you was pretty much a wild card. But we submitted it and to our great delight IT WAS APPROVED!!!!!! It was approved under the "It was just the right thing to do" clause.

It isn't much, but enough to help them build a modest pig building on the little bit of land that they own. There is an old building on the land now that looks like it could fall down any day now, so they are going to take that down. They will use what materials they can salvage out of that building and build a new one with the humanitarian aid money.

We went to the supply store on Monday with Drasco and bought bags of cement, block, and rebar with the money. He was so excited! It was going to be delivered yesterday and with the help of his brother, they were going to start work on a new home for pigs!!! He just couldn't thank us enough! Nor could he wipe the smile off his face. We so hope this will be a start of something good for their family. It is a small beginning for a more self-reliant life.

 They have a mother pig already. She had a litter a while back, but Drasco sold them to a pig farmer because he couldn't afford to feed them once they were weaned from their mother. He also needed what money he could get for them immediately, even if it wasn't as much as he could have gotten if they were old enough to go to market. We are concerned about that aspect of the pig business. He will now have a good place to keep them, with cement floors that can be cleaned and sanitized. But the first few litters, is he going to be able to feed them?

My answer to that problem was to hold a virtual pig auction to help raise money for feed. I thought it would be fun, but Jim vetoed that plan with a grumbling, "I don't think that's what we're here for". Seriously, we can't have a pig auction?? You know, like World Vision, that people adopt kids and send them money to feed and educate them. After my momentary excitement of having a virtual pig adoption agency was dashed, I realized he was right. I hate it that he is always right. It's all part of being self sufficient and I'm sure Drasco will figure it out. But our prayers in behalf of the Tadic family certainly won't hurt the self-suffient directive will it? I invite you all to ask the Lord to poor out his greatest blessings to this little family. They will be blessed I'm sure.

As always,we love and appreciate you all...
Tadic Farm

Bailing hay for the most part has not come to the everyday farmer here in Bosnia, some of the larger farms might have the machinery to do that , but for the most part this is how they store it.

These are the pigs that were sold prematurely. Mama pig had nine in that litter. They can produce around two litters a year.
Q: Where do pigs live and what do they eat?

A: Pigs live on farms or in the wild. Pigs eat corn, potatoes, grains, etc.

Q: Why do pigs roll in the mud?
A: Pigs can not sweat because they have no sweat glands. They roll around in the mud to cool their skins.

Q: What are the mother, father and baby pigs called?

A: A mother pig is called a sow, a father pig is called a boar and a baby pig is called a piglet. A whole group of pigs is called a herd.

Q: How many piglets are usually born at one time?

A: A mother pig can give birth to 8 - 12 piglets in one litter, and she can have 2 litters in one year. One mother pig gave birth to 37 piglets at the same time!

Q: Do pigs like to eat plants or animals?
A: Like people, pigs are omnivorous and can eat both plants or animals.

Q: How loud can a pig scream?
A: The scream of a jet engine taking off measures 113 decibels. The scream of a frightened pig can measure 115 decibels.

Q: What parts of the pig do people use?

A: Pork comes from pigs. Many people love to eat pork. We use a pig's bones & skin to make glue, gloves, shoes and footballs. Pig hair is used for artist's brushes. And their dried bones are used for buttons and bone china.

Q: Can a pig get a sunburn?

A: Yes, pigs are the only animals except for humans that can get a sunburn.

: Can pigs do tricks?
A: Pigs are generally extremely intelligent. Some may learn tricks better than dogs.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Baptism Day..

   Wow! What a great day we had last Sunday. We left very early from Banja Luka and headed to Serbia, a four hour drive. We had four cars going. A van with the Tadic family, or most of them anyway, Ed Rowe's driver/body guard Daman's car, our car and Elder and Sister Wondra's. Daman had a couple of the girls in his car with him. We got away at exactly 6:07 A.M. We had aimed for 5:30 A.M. but getting that many people on the road is like herding CATS!!! The meeting started in Belgrade at 10:00 so we were under a little pressure to get there by then. Even with some construction going into the city, we made pretty good time and were only about 10mins. late.

It was amazing! The room was just full of branch members, all wanting to meet the Tadic family and see them baptized! For these sweet people who are used to Jim and I sitting in our living room, it was really an experience! This really is a worldwide church with many members, we've been telling them that all along. Sunday they got to see it with their own eyes! Not only that, you could just feel the spirit when you walked into the chapel. The saints in Belgrade were wonderful, testimony meeting went all too quickly, the testimonies were just what the Tadic's needed to hear and they got to see real Deacons and Priests bless and pass the sacrament. What more could we have asked for? One of  my blog readers, (Thanks Lori) gave me this link if you want to read one of the Belgrade missionaries impressions of this meeting. Go to letters on the left and then click on the one that says some thing about tractors. It's towards the end of his letter. It's a great letter home and reminded me of how hard these missionaries work. We admire them so much! Missionary Elder Freeman link is HERE
After Sunday School, (they cut out their Priesthood/Relief Society meeting and inserted the baptism service), the Baptism took place. Seeing eight people baptized, all in the same family is one of those rare moments and a privilege for any missionary. Elder Wondra baptized Vedran and Vedrana, Ed Rowe baptized Mom, Dad, Grandma and Vickie, Jim baptized Victoria and Vanja. After they were dressed we went back upstairs and they were all confirmed. They all received very special, amazing blessings. They really are a seed family for the church here in Bosnia, great things will happen here in this part of the world. All in all it was a pretty long meeting as you can imagine, but so wonderful! It was definitely one of the high lights of our mission that we won't ever forget!

The branch had provide a meal afterward and then they all got to visit with branch members and enjoy themselves a little before we headed home. Not until, Jim and I on the way out of town got stopped, once again by the police. I should be used to it by now, but it still frightens me a little. Again, once they find out we are American Humanitarian Missionaries they waved us through without a problem. Our translator here in Bosnia when hearing of our adventure said, “What did the policemen say? Hey, do you know you’re in Serbia???" Our Zagreb, Croatia license plates really don't make us a lot of friends. Our new car from Slovenia will be here soon and we will see if that makes a difference.

Another four hour drive, found us home, tired, happy and so grateful for all our Heavenly Fathers blessings. A wonderful day! Here are a few pictures.
Branch President Nikola Kovic, Elder Wondra and his wife, Nada, Mica and Drasco, Victoria, Vanja, Violetta, Jim and I, Vedran, Our new mission President Ed Rowe and his wife, Brooke, and in front is Vedrana and Valentina
Grandma Nada, Her name means "Hope", Mika and Drasco, Victoria, Vanja, Violetta, she goes by "Vickie" Vedran, Vedrana, little Valentina,  we all call her "Tina"  Yes,  we have a Victoria and a Vickie. Go figure! Violetta just likes Vickie better, personally, I LOVE Violetta!

Drasco and his almost 14 year old son, Vedran. Jim will ordain them this Sunday with the Aaronic Priesthood. He will be glad to have some help with the Sacrament. Don't tell him I said so, but I think he butchers it in Serbian! I love how happy they both look in this picture! What blessings are in store for them!   
The Tadic family has a date of Tuesday, June 19, 2012 to go to Germany to be sealed together as an eternal family. Nada will be sealed to her husband and Drasco to his parents. Drasco's birthday is on June 19th and it is also the day his father died. So it is a very important date for them. Elder Wondra said he would arrange for Jim and I to be allowed to leave our mission area to attend. It will be right before we come home. So our job for the next year is to adequatedly prepare them for this. We feel a heavy responsibility and will do our best.

We are thinking of starting some English classes here in Bosnia. We have been told by Elder Wondra that we could pay a translator to help us. We could do any advanced classes with conversational English ourselves. Even if we do it only on Weds. and Friday nights, we thought perhaps it might make people more aware of the church.

Today we went to the little village of Prijador. We met with the director of the hospital there and had a wonderful visit with him. We are donating a EKG machine to the pediatric department there if you remember previous blogs.(Feb. 16th, My Birthday in Bosnia) The machine will be here soon and they need an official letter of donation from us to give to the minister of health before they have permission to accept it. So that's what we were trying to do today. A lot of red tape if you ask me, but we comply and it gave us a chance to meet a couple of really wonderful people, the hospital director and a gentleman that was over electrical equipment. They were both very touched and grateful that we found them and wanted to help their hospital. Diagnostic equipment they said was a very weak point in their hospital. He said that we couldn't find a better place to put our humanitarian aid. It's always such a privilege for us to explain where our money comes from and how it is given from the daily budgets of our people out of love. Thanks to all of you who donate to the Humanitarian Fund of the church. We take our responsibility to spend it wisely very seriously. It is indeed sacred funds.

I will quit here, Again, our love and prayers are with you. Have a great week!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Preparing for Baptism

We missed one of grandchild’s (Parker's) baptism. I think it's the only one we have ever missed. Before we left we got to see our little Regan baptized and we were so grateful that it worked out. We will miss others before we come home. Emma's will be next. That's one of the hard things about being gone. But then our amazing kids just seem to take it all in stride, what choice do they have, right??  One of our traditions that I started with our children was to always make a baptism cake. They were big enough to feed our whole family and was just something I enjoyed doing for them. As the day for Parker to be baptized approached I was lamenting the fact that I didn't get to make a cake for Parker. Then I got this picture e-mailed to me!

Parker got his cake thanks to his Aunt Summer.  It meant so much to me to know that he had been taken care of and that our tradition would continue. I may never make another cake again! 

Regan and his baptism cake. They are always so excited to have their turn to be baptized and have the day be a special one, just for them!

We have been instructed to wear two hats as humanitarian missionaries. One hat, of course is to do Humanitarian work. The other is to find and teach the elect ones of God who are searching for truth.

We are going to have our little Tadic family baptized on Sunday. Our hearts are full as we approach this day.

As much as we have loved the humanitarian work that we have been able to do here in Bosnia and Croatia, seeing this precious family accept the gospel and choose to enter the waters of baptism is just ...well, nothing short of amazing. They have worked hard, studied hard, been faithful at attending church, having family prayers, reading together as a family and are ready to make a life changing commitment. They will be the first ever family to be baptized in Bosnia. They are a seed family for the church here in Bosnia. Six children, who we hope will marry, have jobs and help spread the gospel. Until missionaries are allowed in this country, they are the bright and shinning hope. It will be an uphill struggle for them, but one with many blessings as well.
I had occasion to visit with our little friend of mine in Croatia the other day about her baptism and the impact it has made on her life. She put it this way: "I heard a missionary one day say that he had baptized an eighty year old man, he commented on how great that was, that the guy got to live his whole life doing what he wanted to do, no rules, no boundaries and then he was baptized and it was all washed away and he was clean. She continued, I wanted to go up to him and scream! You have no idea what it is to NOT have the gospel in your life. It's MISSERY, it’s darkness and like you're walking around doing nothing, with no purpose. It's not in the least fun or wonderful. Being baptized was the most important and best thing that ever happened to me. I no longer feel lost and alone.”
I know that our little family will look back on their baptism day with similar feelings. Jim and I are so grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know them, to be able to see them each Sunday and hold church for them. To be a little part of their world has been an amazing expierence.We love them dearly and hope that their Baptism Day will be one they will always cherish. Our daughter sent us this definition of what a missionary is:

" who leaves their family for two years, so others may have their families for eternity."

So we might be missing our own grandchildren's baptism days, as hard as that is, but this Sunday our buckets will be full and we are so blessed to be here and be a part of this wonderful occasion.

One of my favorite sections in the D&C is Section 31. It’s a revelation where the Lord is talking to Thomas B. Marsh.

It starts like this in my mind..." Debby, my daughter, blessed are you because of your faith in my work....lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission has come and your tongue shall be loosed, and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation." I love the whole section and read it often to remind me of our "other hat". 

Last Sunday we brought baptism clothes down from Zagreb and Varasdin for the Tadic family to try on. Here are a few pictures of the fun that we had.

Mica Tadic ( the mother)

Vedran (the only boy in the family)
Vanja ( she's just finished 9th grade)
Vanja again and Vedrana (she is ten) and me trying to keep everything straight!
Violetta and her father ,she just graduated from high school and has patiently waited for almost two and a half  years now to be baptized.  She wanted to wait until her family was ready. It will be an especially great day for her!
Vedrana - is she happy or what???

One of the Tadic girls, Victoria,  was visiting her grandma in another villiage and wasn't at church so we will be sure to get good pictures of them all at the baptism .
 Oh I almost forgot, my friend Kristie Humble does a wonderful blog for her stake in Kanesville, Utah. I put a link to it on the right side of my blog. Check it out. You won't be sorry, she does a great job with it!!