Sunday, November 6, 2011

Our new meeting room...

   I can't believe that's it been a year since we attended a humanitarian conference in Frankfurt, Germany. WOW! Where did that year go? While attending the conference we were asked if we would agree to travel once a week to Banja Luka, Bosnia and hold church with an investigating family every Sunday. Since the northern half of Bosnia is part of our humanitarian area it was an easy jump for us to arrange for our travel to accommodate this new assignment. We were asked to help teach the Tadic family and help get them to baptism and after they were baptized our goal has been to nurture them and prepare them for the temple.

We have our apartment in Varazdin, Croatia and the church provides us with a house here in Banja Luka. Our visa's are in Croatia where we declare our stable place of living. The church has not been officially recognized in Bosnia so getting a visa here would not be possible. So every Monday morning we pack up and go across the border to Croatia. Then on Thursday we do it all over again, but going the opposite direction toward Bosnia. We do our humanitarian work around travel days, fitting it in and juggling schedules as best we can to keep all our balls in the air at the same time.

  It has been a great year; we have loved our ecclesiastic responsibilities here in Banja Luka. We look forward each week to meeting with the youth on Saturday nights for seminary. And church on Sunday with the whole family. Jim is the Group Leader, (we aren't a branch yet) and he teaches seminary and Gospel Essentials lessons. I teach the youth class in Sunday school. We are using the Primary manual lessons on the New Testament. I love the class; no discipline problems to speak of, just four little sponges that absolutely love the stories of Jesus and really actively think, ask great questions and participate in each lesson.

  We have two translators so that we can separate into an adult and a youth classes. It's pretty amazing how well our kids are doing at English though. It won't be too long before they won't need a translator. Getting the country opened and young missionaries in here that speak the language will be a great blessing to our little seed family here in Bosnia.

  We have been holding church in our living room, I don't know when, or why, but a few months ago I got a bee in my bonnet to have a real meeting room. You know, one that looked like the church was really something that was a little bit official. So I petitioned the land lord for permission to paint. I drove Jim crazy until he agreed that it was a great idea, and then we went to town! Here are a few pictures of our new room!

Our members love it! And we can really feel a wonderful spirit when we meet every Sunday. Last week we had Elder and Sister Wondra come from Austria to visit and we also had a native Bosnian who left the country during the war and moved to Canada. His mother still lives here and he was here visiting her. We asked him to speak in our meeting. It was so fun to have our room finished for our guests! We felt so official! And it was wonderful to have a guest speaker that spoke their language actually be able to participate in a Sunday meeting that was not in our living room! It was just a little fore shadowing of what the church will be like here in Bosnia in the future! Here are a few pictures of our new meeting room! We love visitors, so feel free to come visit anytime! Church starts at 3:30 P.M. and we usually do dinner when we are finished!
This was where we used to hold Sacrament Meeting. Jim still teaches the Gospel Essentials Class here.

It took us three Preparation days to get it finished. Ceiling coat 1 the first week. Ummmm terrible paint. Ceiling coat 2 the next Saturday (better paint), Tape off ceiling and paint walls the third prep day.

The internet wires were just laying along the walls, taped down with old yucky plasic tape. We bought some plastic, paintable casings to run the wire through. One BIG problem, the walls are cement, so installing them was no easy task. It took Jim forever on his hands and knees to drill through the cement to get it done, but it really looks wonderful! Well worth the effort!

Pretty cute don't you agree??

We begged the Mission President for some art work, I think he was afraid I would cry if he said "No" so were given permission to pick what ever two pieces of art we wanted from the Varazdin Branch building. I would have felt guilty about doing that but this one in particular was always hidden behind a white board and it looks so wonderful in our new room that I can't really muster any guilt about it at all!

This is the humanitarian signature piece of art. The church owns this and it is on display at the art museum on the B.Y.U campus. We give a framed copy of it to all our partners when we do a closing for a humanitarian project. It has a special place in my heart so I guess that's why I chose this one.

Not only is he cute and VERY handy to have around, but he cleans up after himself too!

So this is the finished room! We had an old glass case sitting in the corner of the living room. I made a cover for it and it makes a perfect podium. Actually the mission storage room has a podium in it and at some point we will probably bring it down here, but this does nicely for the time being. On the right hand side of the room we have a litte sacrament table that you can't see in this picture. The area paid for us to get new chairs, so we were most grateful for that help. Pretty official, what do ya think??  I'm now a happy camper!


Noemi said...

It looks great!! You did a wonderful job and I bet the Tadic family just loves it.

laurie said...

That looks great! You are the best! You should have seen the first "chapel" I visited! this looks 100 times better!

Sara Erickson said...

amazing, amazing! i can't read your blog without crying. you two are so wonderful and i am grateful for your example of selfless service.

Clinton Harvin said...

Hmmm... Gotta love those sofa chairs! It feels so comfy to be sitting on one of those while brainstorming about matters at-hand. Good luck on all the endeavors to be discussed in your new meeting room!