Monday, August 1, 2011

Today is our "hump day"....

If you look at the little counter on the right of this blog, you see that we have 11 months, 2 week until we come home. It's hard to believe isn't it? The young elders make a big deal of it, but we are not burning anything, no suits, no ties, no skirts or purses. Must mean we're old! The only thing that really gets me thinking about is, WOW! we have sooooo much to do before we go home! How will we ever accomplish it all!
The most concerning is Bosnia. The legal department of the church is still working on getting Bosnia registered. There isn't much we can do about that, and that in it's self is frustrating. We did find out last week that the process might be streamlined a little and that things were looking up! It would be wonderful to get things legal because it will impact us immensely! To be able to have missionaries in the country, that know the language is enormous! Right now we hold church in our living room in Banja Luka. We have the oldest Tadic daughter translate for us. She does a great job, but she does have a life and if she is not in town or doesn't come for whatever reason we are up a creek with out a paddle. So last Friday we interviewed a cute girl and hired her to come translate for us just on Sundays. This will give us a back up translator for when Vicky isn't there, but also will enable us to have a Sunday School lesson with the kids and a Gospel Principle lesson with the adults. Each class with a translator.

I am teaching out of the Primary Lesson manual for 9 and up kids. We are just starting the New Testament lessons. Because they are for the most part a little older I think I will be able to combine two lessons a week so that we can hopefully finish by December with the rest of the church. They love "Follow the Prophet" and "I am a child of God". With the help of the computer we have music played, that helps a ton. Singing is NOT my strong suit, but they really catch on fast and are pretty good. They put up with me! OH how I wish I could sing, but they seem pretty forgiving and really enjoyed our Primary/Sunday School lesson.
  One thing we have realized is that they really are scripturally infants. It's a stark realization that even though they profess to be Serbian Orthodox, the whole country really was communist not that long ago. They don't have Scriptures in their homes, they have no idea that Johna was swallowed by a whale or that Noah built an ark! I asked them where we got the stories about the prophets in the song, they said, "at church, maybe at EFY, or maybe from the church magazines?" It made me ponder and be so grateful for the scriptures. Growing up in a Judeo/ Christian nation I don't even think I ever thought about what life would be like without Scriptures. We bought a Bible for them; it hasn't been translated into Serbian so it's a Croatian one, but close enough. I showed them how to find chapter and verse and challenged them to read and pray and find out for themselves how important the scriptures are. It will be fun to go next week and see how they did. How do you erase 50 plus years of communism from a nation? One little person at a time. It’s such a privilege for us to be a part of that.

We try not to think about when it will be time to go home. The months just seem to fly by, we find ourselves learning, growing and stretching with each passing week. This last week we had the Croatian National News channel follow us around for a morning. They interviewed us and a couple of our partner organizations. Who ever thought we would be on the news? Or that I would ever be able to say anything intelligent to a news reporter with a camera rolling?

We had our Mission President and his wife come to Bosnia on Sunday and speak at our Sacrament meeting. It was a wonderful meeting and we really enjoyed having them.

News from home included a missed graduation and ensuing party, Isaac graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in Philly with his Doctorate in Bio-medical engineering, he starts a new job in California in a couple of weeks. So they have been moving west. We are so proud of him! We had always planned to go out for his graduation and it was with a little sadness that it passed without us being there to support him.

The other great news is that one of our Philly boys, Kilief is going to the temple this week in anticipation of serving a mission in Ghana. We wish him well!

Chase has muscles, Sariah and McKayla have a new gerble, Russ got a raise, Dawson promises to be obedient in the first grade or he gets his couch privileges’ taken away, Makenzie had a wonderful birthday, Crystal is hating her job, Noemi didn't plant much of a garden this year and Tiffany's been away too much to care for hers, Blake and Crystal went to California for a great vacation and Daniel has moved back to Ogden. My sister’s long time friend, Toby died. She couldn't stand it, and so on her birthday she adopted not one but two cats from the pound. Everyone is getting together for great family fun in Island Park this week and next. Life goes on without us pretty well, don't you think? We miss them, especially those hugs from grandchildren, but a year will go fast, too fast and then all of this will be a sweet, wonderful memory.  With all that we are missing, we aren’t wishing for it to go quickly because we know it will pass all too soon! Love to you all from Croatia/Bosnia.

Zelco getting helped into his new wheelchair by Jim and Ante Shola (president of Caratis)

He said he feels like he's on an airplane! It just flys!

Jim, Zelco, Me, and Ante. The wheelchair is called a "Rough Ryder". It is made to go easily on cobblestone and uneven terrain.. It's also made to help promote the self-reliance for those with strong core muscles to propel the wheelchair themselves without assistance.