Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Super Saturday in Zagreb

Monster Cookies made, drinks bought, permission slip signed by parents, van rented and picked up, kids ready to rock and roll and we were on our way to another great Seminary Super Saturday event. This time it was in Zagreb, Croatia. All of our youth came and also our translator, Maja. It’s only a 2 hour trip from Banja Luka to Zagreb but we were prepared with treats and music to make the time go fast. Our last Super Saturday was in Belgrade, Serbia and the kids remembered how fantastic that trip was so they had been looking forward to it ever since they had gotten the invitation to come.

We always worry a little about crossing the border with a van full of minor children, so we make sure we have a legal document saying that we have their parents’ permission to take them into another country. This time we got a border guard who was exceptionally nice, laughed a little and asked if we were a sports team! As we left we gave him a little packet of 4 monster cookies wrapped up in plastic wrap and tied with some of my left over yarn. He was soooo impressed! What is this? Cookies and a thank-you! And off we went, leaving a little sweetness behind!

I had gotten the wild hair to make monster cookies about 8:30 on Friday night. Our kids had sent us peanut butter, m&m's, and assorted chocolate chips for Christmas and I had been saving them for a special occacion. I ended up staying up pretty late to get them all baked, but I was so glad that I went to that extra effort. I put 4 cookies stacked on top of each other and wrapped them in some glad wrap that one of our American neighbors brought with him as a gift from his wife to us, (Thanks Kate) and tied them with yarn. I made enough for the kids to give to all the Croatian leaders and teachers who were doing the Super Saturday event. It was entirely planned and executed by local leadership. I also printed little note papers from a web site and gave each kids three empty note papers and asked them if they would during the day when they enjoyed something, or if something especially touched their hearts would they please write a quick thank-you to that person that was in charge of the activity or lesson. Anyway, it was my effort to teach the principle of gratitude, we talked a little about what a privileged it was for them to be invited to come join the Croatian youth and if they were EXTRA grateful that for sure they would be invited back. As we watched our youth during the day I was so impressed to see them hunting in their stuff every once in awhile to find their papers and writing their notes. At the end of the day, they delivered their little thank-you notes with a stack of monster cookies. It was pretty cool that absolutely every one of the people that helped got at least one thank-you note, they even remembered the lady that played the piano. I think they left with a great spirit of gratitude and love for those who had gone to all the effort to provide such a wonderful conference for them.

These activities are no little thing to these kids. They are the only members in their whole country so to get together with other LDS Youth is just really a big deal! Where our youth have weekly opportunities to see their friends at church, seminary or YM/YW activities our youth here have no such advantage. They are IT. It is such a joy to us as missionaries to see the love, acceptance and learning experiences that these opportunities provide for our kids. We asked two of our youth to report in Sacrament meeting the next day on our Super Saturday. Vanja reported that it was, “the best day of her life!” and our sweet Victorija bore her testimony about how she knew the gospel was true and how she couldn’t wait to go to the temple to be baptized for the dead.

As for us, well, we love our mission. We go to bed each night with such grateful hearts. Sometimes we are so tired that we just fall into bed exhausted. But it’s a good tired. We are worried about when we come home. What will we do that could ever compare to what we are doing here?  How will growing vegetables in our garden ever compare to seeing these wonderful people growing in the gospel? I can’t think about it now, all I know is that a little piece of my heart will be in Bosnia/Croatia and I will come home not quite whole.
These are all the Youth from Croatia and Bosnia. Elder and Sister Taylor are CES Missionaries that are over Seminaries in our mission. They go home the 1st of May and will be sorely missed!

They divided up into small groups for one of the lessons.
Maja on the left, Vicky on the right....they were playing a game where they divided up into teams, each team sent a player up to the front and then they were given a scripture story to mold with their clay while the others guessed what it was. Vicky's team won this round. It was Noah's Ark.
I think our Vedran (on the left) had a real advantage over this young man from Croatia. We had just had the lesson in Seminary the Saturday before about Ammon. It was easy for his team mates to guess when he made a man with no arms. The young man on the right is going to be baptized this week.

They had a lesson about family history and how important it was. They also had a wonderful presentation on the temple with encouragement for them to prepare themselves to take a bus trip in August to the Frankfort Temple to do baptisms for the dead.
They got to go into the family history library and learn from Sister Lydija about how to use the computers for family history and  other resources that were available to help do geneology.

Jim and I with Vicky

Time to load up and go home. Who rents a perfectly ugly yellow van? Car rentals in Bosnia are always an experience! I felt like I needed to be playing "Yellow Submarine" on the radio!  We had a great day, wonderful lessons and fellowshipping with deeper meaning than we can comprehend!

1 comment:

Kristi said...

Just think of the wonderful memories you are leaving with these kids, in a way part of you will always be there with them. *You and Jim are kind of funny that way, making friends where ever you go! :)