This morning we woke up early and actually got out of the house and on the road by 8:11. Bed made, check. Garbage taken out, check. Heat turned off, check. Bags packed, nothing forgotten we hope, check. Refrigerator contents that won’t keep until we get back either put into the freezer or our little cooler check. Hot water turned down, check. Prayers said, check. Drag everything out to the car, check. On the road, only 11 minutes late! We had a 9:00 appointment with our friend and translator Predrag, in Gradiska, the little border town on the way to Croatia. After we talked with him for awhile we got through both borders with little or no waiting and zipped on through to Zagreb. Stopping at the mission office to get reimbursements and mail for the elders then we are back on the road to Varazdin. Yep, that’s pretty much the routine. And then we do it all over again on Wed. or Thursday of each week. Before we came we bought these nice little roller take on luggage pieces. Never in a million years did we realize how important they would be to us, and I dare say they will be toast by the time we get home! Have any of you seen the pictures of two missionaries kneeling for prayers and their shoes are all worn through…..well, I think that’s how our carry on’s will look when we arrive home.
I have to admit, it’s a little hectic. But Sunday night when we went to bed, we both just looked at each other and said, “Wow, what an awesome week! How could it get any better?” For starters, we visited the Red Cross and just thrilled the director by giving her funds for supplemental food during the holiday season. We also made arrangements with the Banja Luka Caritas to do the same. We already had given the Varazdin Caritas organization supplemental funds along with a commercial potato peeler. Santa looks like two old people with name tags on here in Croatia. They were sooo happy, news media, hugs and handshakes all around! It was a good day! Usually the humanitarian department frowns on doing projects that are not sustainable, so giving money for food was just a onetime donation to help them get through the holiday season. For some that come to these soup kitchens, it is the only meal for the day.
We also spent time painting and repairing the apartment that is on the main floor of our house in Banja Luka. We got the kitchen all clean and the front entryway painted. I wanted to do it in a color, of course, but Jim insisted that it isn’t my house so it should be boring white. As mundane as that is, it does look vastly improved. We haven’t heard anything on getting the church registered and legal yet, but are going by the motto, “If you build it, they will come”! We are so looking forward to having the young missionaries opening up the country, with their language skills they will be such an asset to our little group/branch there. Our worry is that leadership will call one day and say, “Oh, by the way, we are sending missionaries down at the end of the week”. And then it will be a mad scramble to get the apartment ready for them. So we are trying to get ahead of the game a little bit.
We had visitors this week-end. Elder and Sister Taylor came to attend our seminary class on Saturday night and stayed for meetings on Sunday. It was so fun to have them! The Tadic’s love seeing other people beside us, they are senior missionaries that have a Church Education assignment over seminary and institutes. They are perfect for the job. More patient, kind and genuinely loving people you will never know! We can’t wait to get them to come back again!
We have a new investigator in Banja Luka. He is a 33 year old single guy that got on the internet and asked to be contacted. We went to his home and gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to our meetings. His car is down and he is waiting for parts for it, so he walks to church, about 5 miles every week. He comes an hour early for church so he can get the missionary lessons. This week, Jim challenged him to baptism and he accepted. He needs to get a firm testimony but says that when he does that defiantly would be baptized. He would be a great asset to the church here in Bosnia. I can see him as a branch president. “The dawning of a new day”; that is what is going on over here. The dreams and visions we have for the church here in Bosnia are nothing compared what The Lord’s vision is, but it’s a start.
We are blessed beyond measure to be here and be a part of this great work. Our gratitude to those who love and support us in this endeavor is overflowing. November, as busy as it was, left us humbled by all the blessings that constantly come our way. We feel your prayers and sincerely appreciate every one of them!
|We bought the Caritas Organization a new potato peeler for their soup kitchen. One of the cooks gave us a demonstration. The potatoes go in....and about three minutes later. ....|
|You didn't know that peeled potatoes were that exciting, did you?|
|We also bought meat for the soup kitchen to give them a little something extra for holiday meals. The butcher gave us a good deal. I always love deals!|