Sunday, July 10, 2011

Home Depot Voice and Transitions....

July 5th--We just got back home last night; in case you don't know which country we call home....that would be Croatia. Not sure why we feel like it’s home. Maybe it's because our Visa is here in Croatia. Maybe it's because we aren't rattling around in a huge house that's too big for us, maybe it's because we came here first. But whatever the reason, it felt really wonderful to snuggle into our most comfortable bed and sleep in our cozy little apartment. It has been too long since we were here. We had been in Bosnia for about 10 days in a row and tomorrow we head back there so we can hold Young Women/Young Men’s activities tomorrow night, on Friday we have a closing ceremony with our  hospital that we got an EKG machine for. Then if we can get a translator we will hold church on Sunday. Our Vickie, the oldest of the Tadic girls, who usually translates for us is in Slovenia with her cousins. I don't believe she will be back by Sunday. So we will scramble for a translator. Our friend, Predrag who usually translates for us is in a little village about an hour away from Banja Luka and he understandable wants to spend his Sundays with his family. So we need to work on getting a second translator who will be agreeable to coming on Sundays. We will come back to Croatia on Monday morning. I haven't got any great ideas of what we are going to do for YW , so after I finish this long overdue blog, I will address that dilemma. Any good ideas for me would be welcome! I haven't taught Young Women for years. How about telling me what your favorite lessons were, or your favorite activities. We are trying to wade ourselves through the personal progress thing and communication is a big deal. I read my English version, they read their Serbian version and then we try to set some goals that we can all live with. They are so new to this goal setting thing that it has been a challenge. Sometimes we just give up and I teach them to make cinnamon rolls like the last time we met! Now THAT'S familiar ground for me!

I took this out the window as we were passing by, miles and miles of beautiful Sunflowers!  We aren't sure, but we see an awful lot of Sunflower oil in the stores so suspect that is what they are grown for.

July 10--I never got this blog posted last week, but I thought I'd go ahead and include what I did get written. Mostly I would really appreciate any good ideas for Y.W. that I could adapt for here in Bosnia.

We had our closing ceremony up in Prijador this Friday. They had invited the press and again we felt like we were famous or something! The press decided it wasn't good enough to just see the machine sitting on a table; they wanted to photo and video it being used on a real patient. So before we knew it, we were trooping up to the pediatric department and a young 13 year old boy was pinpointed  to be the victim. He was so cute! You could tell he was absolutely scared to death with all the camera's and attention being thrown his way. But the doctor calmly hooked him up to the machine, demonstrating all the way, how it worked and how wonderful it was. It was a computerized machine, aren't all the new one's?, and because they really aren't that computer literate, the company we bought it from had to do a training for them. It was included in the cost and I believe they really liked it. Now on the EKG print out it has the victims, ohhh, I mean patients name, age, weight and Doctors name. Not sure how they kept all that data straight before, but now it should simplify things for them.

Our cute doctor and the poor little 13 year old they talked into getting an EKG in front of cameras.

He was really scared, after ward he told our translator that he'd rather have a shot needle!

Closing Ceremony for EKG machine in Bosnia.

We love this work, its days like Friday that make it all worthwhile. We do have our up's and down's however. These last two weeks have been ones of transition. Our Mission President changed the 1st of July. We loved President Hill and his wife, although because we are humanitarian missionaries we really report to our supervisors in Germany instead of the mission president, President Hill was always supportive and I guess what I will remember the most about him was that whenever we were around him it seemed that he just brought the Spirit with him. It was amazing; we always left his presence feeling uplifted. Our new Mission President is President Ed Rowe. He and his family lived here in our house in Banja Luka for two years, then moved to Brussels and now to Zagreb. They have moved the mission home from Slovenia to Croatia, so that President Rowe’s children can go to the American International School there in Zagreb. We have known President Rowe since we came here last Sept. and have know that he was going to be in this position since November. He and his wife and their two youngest daughters came to visit us for a couple of day’s right before they went to Zagreb. Well, really, I think they came to see the Tadic family, but they stayed here at the house. We had a great time with them and hated to see them leave.

Sister Rowe and the twins, Anna and Jesica.

President and Sister Rowe with Vedran, we hosted a dinner the night before they left with the Tadic family and us. It was fun to see how loved they are by our little family.

Tuesday the 5th of July we spent the day at a mission wide zone conference and got to spend time with all the missionaries from Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia. We also have had a proselyting couple that has come into Southern Bosnia, the Sarajevo area. To break up their drive from Sarajevo we had them come spend the night here and then follow us to Zagreb. So we got to meet them and really enjoyed getting to know them.

Just a few of the Elders.

Some of our cute new Elders that came in just a few days befor the President. Sister Matson this one is for you! He looks GREAT!

After the Conference the Senior Couples were invited to go see the new mission home and then go out to eat with the President and Sister Rowe. It was a busy day by the time we got back to Varazdin, but we were spiritually fed and felt so excited to go out and do the Lords work!

Also that first week in July our Humanitarian Senior Couple that have been our file leaders over us went home. Wow, we shed more than a few tears saying good-bye to them! We have so learned to love and appreciate their wisdom, their kind hearts and their interest in seeing that everything gets done the way the Lord would have it done. The amount of paperwork, financial record keeping and trying to keep track of all these rouge senior couples over here must have been exhausting! But they did it well and we will miss them tremendously. We have not met their replacements yet. Their names are Elder and Sister Leonard. I talked to Sister Leonard on the phone one afternoon; it was the day they told us that there would be no more money for area projects in Bosnia. It wasn't a good phone call! I'm ashamed to say that I think they are afraid to contact us again! I hang my head and admit that I used my, "Home Depot" voice with her. WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE DON'T HAVE ANY MORE MONEY TO SPEND IN BOSNIA!!!!!!! We are still reeling from that announcement. I guess that until some hearts are changed in Germany, until some of bureaucracy is cut through or until I repent, we have no more money for area projects. We can still continue with our major initiatives, wheelchairs and water projects are what we are currently working on, but the little ones like the EKG machine, the stove for the soup kitchen, library books for a devastated village or toys for the rehabilitation hospital. Those kind of projects won't happen till we get a new budget. We will continue with the ones that we have already submitted and that have been approved. See what I mean about up's and down's?

Okay, maybe some of you don't know this, but there are times when Home Depot just doesn’t have very good customer service, especially the ones in Las Vegas. So I have been known to lose my loving tone of voice on occasion and so "my home depot voice" is legendary among some of my dear friends in Vegas! My lesson for that one is to either  not go into Home Depot, or learn to control myself. Hummmm..I thought I was safe; there are no Home Depot stores in Bosnia or Croatia.

Well, again this is turning into a reading project. True confessions are over, I will call Sister Leonard, beg her forgiveness, it really isn't her fault, and try to keep myself together. With no money for Bosnia we will be spending a lot more time in Croatia. It's Home anyway.


Michelle said...

Sister Erickson,
I found your blog about 2 months ago searching for some news about the new mission president. I love reading all about your adventures as missionaries. We just dropped our 2nd son off at the MTC on Wednesday, bound for Croatia. Our oldest is serving in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission and has about 9 months left. At the end of this last post you mentioned Las Vegas. We're from Las Vegas! Small world. Just wanted to finally say hello and thank you for your blog posts, they're wonderful. I am in my Stake's YW and wish I had some ideas for activities off the top of my head, I'll have to do some brainstorming. :)
~Michelle Harris

Kristi said...

I love reading your posts and hearing about all of your mission experiences. I think of you guys often (usually when it's early morning and I'm out pulling weeds :)). Keep us posted.

JimandDebby said...

It is a small world! We lived in Henderson for about 3 1/2 years. Our son lives in Philly. He is leaving at the end of this month. Just graduated with his Phd in Bio Medical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been involved in the Philly LDS Youth organization. You might want to check out that blog. I wonder if our two sons have met? His name is Isaac Erickson. We love being here in Croatia and Bosnia, rubbing shoulders with the missionaries is one of the best things about our mission. We will look forward to seeing your son when he comes. What is your last name? Thanks for commenting, it was wonderful to hear from you!

Noemi said...

Mom, you're humanitarian missionaries! You can find service projects for the Young Women through which they can offer their time and develop talents. It's a win-win situation... they learn new skills AND help their community at the same time. Maybe you can ask the bishop if the Young Women can use some of their budget to buy the materials needed for making dolls, file folder games, or backpacks. Those are some of the Humanitarian Services needs right now, and they have patterns for them here:

You can also see about taking them to the soup kitchen or the rehab hospital to volunteer. I'm sure there is no lack of service projects for them! :)

laurie said...

Oh! I have heard the "home depot" voice and it is really funny! Customer service at the home depot in Henderson NV. is more like customer "no service"! Sister Erickson put them in their place!! Sorry that you don't have "cashes" anymore, for Bosnia, I'm sure with your prayers and perseverance, it will work out! I miss you and will Skype you as soon as Mike gets a job! It might be awhile :-) Keep up the great work!

Michelle said...

Our last name is Harris. The LDS Youth organization looks wonderful! Since my oldest son's mission covers so many states he hasn't served in the city of Philadelphia yet, he's hoping to soon. His favorite area so far has been in Camden NJ, in the inner city. Right now, though, he is so far north in PA that he frequently volunteers at the Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Site and has really loved having that opportunity too.