Saturday, February 11, 2012

Walking Path in Croatia

We have a beautiful walking path near our apartment in Varazdin, Croatia. I've had a goal to get a picture of it for each one of the seasons so you can see how beautiful it is. I finally went out this week and obtained my "winter" picture. It was still pretty cold, but the trees had dropped their snow and I was a little disapointed in that, but you get the idea.





These ball things just captivated us last winter, we asked everyone we knew what they were and no one knew until we had some short term specialists from the U.S. come over and told us that is was mistletoe. I guess it's a parasite to trees but it sure makes them look beautiful in the winter, it's usually the only green you see!

My friends

After we walk through the forest path for awhile it opens up to a walk way along a lovely river, I usually count the swans that are there and on this particular day in November I counted 23. So I decided in honor of my 23 swans I would count my blessings on the way home. One for each swan, I had a lovely walk the rest of the way, and counted way more than 23 blessings!

Meet Vedran, he is our 14 year old Aaronic Priesthood Young Man.

He takes his responsibilities so seriously and does a tremendous job. He's kind-of like a one man show, does the job of the deacons, and teacher, never misses a beat! He's always early to set it up and stays to make sure it's cleaned up. Jim never has to worry about the sacrament. Vedran has 5 sisters and he's the only boy, he is the sparkle in all of his sisters’ lives. They absolutely adore him!

Who wouldn’t? What's not to love?

     The mind numbing cold has been the story of the week here in Eastern Europe. Everyone is struggling with the terrible cold and snow. I think the low in Banja Luka this week was -25. We came from Croatia on Thursday and our house was almost impossible to get warm. We figured it out the next morning when we woke up. We had run out of heating oil! No kidding, I thought I would freeze to death! I decided to stay in bed wrapped up in my down comforter and heavy quilt while the hot water recovered after Jim's shower. About 2 hours later Jim came up and said, hey, we have to be out of here in 30 minutes. I ventured out, locked myself in the bathroom and turned the water on. The outside room temp. Was so cold that the hot water made a steam room! At least it was warm enough for me to get dressed and ready to go. We went to the Red Cross and made arrangement with them to receive church funds for emergency relief to the people stranded without food or heat in the small villages surrounding Banja Luka. They will make up food boxes and snow cat or air lift them into those who are so affected by this terrible weather. We also met with an Islamic group to see what we could do to help them serve the Islamic community here in Banja Luka. We are going to develop a project with them in the near future.

I came home and got back into my bed with the added layer of my winter coat. I fell asleep while reading and woke up an hour or so later with my feet like rocks of ice! Even under my covers they were freezing! They didn't have the extra layer of my coat on them. We finally got heating oil delivered and by bedtime the house was up to 56 degrees, so we slept toasty and warm with two pair of long underwear on, one down comforter, one heavy blanket, and heavy socks. Today I know I have heat enough in the house, but I still feel cold. Just a throwback to yesterday!

Jim took me out to eat last night for my birthday and we sat by this huge fireplace that was so wonderful! The food was amazing and it was a very special outing, but the warmth will be my lasting memory of my evening out.

Don't worry about me, I'm just really a baby when it comes to cold, my friends in Las Vegas will tell you it's true. I think I'm the only person down there that carries a sweater or a sweat shirt with me all summer long just in case the air conditioning gets too cold!

This next week we will finally get to meet our supervisors from Germany face to face. They are coming on Weds. and will be with us until the following Monday. We are really looking forward to spending some time getting to know them. We have Skyped with them, talked and e-mailed many times and feel like we know them, but it will be wonderful to have them here in Croatia and Bosnia with us for almost a week. I hope the weather improves a little for them!

Another news flash is that we have officially been put into the Adriatic North Mission! Bosnia is no longer and orphan country without a mission! We believe that the process to open the country up to missionaries will soon be a reality! Assigning us to a mission is the first step! Ohhhh! Prayers are being answered and we are sooooo unbelievably happy! Over and out with all our love....


laurie said...

I loved your blog! Croatia looks beautiful! I wish I could go walking with you! Yes, I can testify that you are a wimp in the cold, haha! What you wouldn't do for a hot flash or two, right?
It would be so cool if Tanner got his mission call to Bosnia! We should know soon where he'll be!

8RebB8 said...

I just found your blog. My son, Elder Meline is in Karlovac - straight from the MTC in January. I loved the pictures of the seasonal changes. Such exciting news about the new Adriatic North mission...and the Adriatic South!