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!

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