Monday, April 16, 2012

A fast trip to Zadar....

   Zadar hates us... that's all I can say, it just hates us! Twice now we have visited this supposedly beautiful, idealic, costal town in Croatia only to be met with clouds, wind and rain. Is it our timing or just that the town hates us? I'm trying not to take it personally, but really I'm a little concerned. Zadar is the birthplace of the gospel here in this part of the world and this June the mission is planning a big celebration down there to commemorate the 40th anniversary of that event. We told the President that we really didn't think he wanted us to go, Zadar hates us, if they want good weather they need to leave us up north. I don't believe he bought it, but time will tell come June 1,2, and 3. We will be there and really are looking forward to taking our youth from Banja Luka to the youth activities and celebrations that are being planned. But I still maintain it's risky to allow the Erickson’s to attend!

    Zadar may hate us, but our hearts were warmed by the gratitude that the rest home there felt for us when we gave them a 46 inch flat screen T.V. to go on the wall in their lunch/gathering room. They had one on a desk in the room but it had a mind of its own and would at intermittent times just start screeching. No funds for a new one were in their budget so they were especially appreciative of our efforts to help them get a new one! It will be a source of great pleasure for these old people who depend on it for entertainment, news and a link to the outside world. Needless to say, they do not have T.V's in their individual rooms so this is their only source of media. We have the best job in the world, don't we???

One of the cute little residents and a staff member. I think I will start the trend of wearing scarfs over my head.
I think it's a great idea for a bad hair day. What do you think?

    We took time while we were there to go to lunch with our missionaries. There are a set of Sisters as well as a set of Elders down there. Soon, our friends, Elder and Sister Tanner from Brigham City will be assigned there as well and will be an amazing addition to the branch and missionary effort in the city that hates us! The Tanners have been working in the office temporarily until the permanent office couple arrived a week ago. As soon as they are done training the new couple, they will move to Zadar. We will miss them when we stop into the office, but will look forward to seeing them again in June.

Elder Mattson and Elder Marks

Sister Clegg, Tihana (our translator) and Sister Craiger

   Zadar is a three and a half hour drive each way, so it was a long day on Tuesday. On Weds. we headed to Zagreb to visit the Red Cross and have a closing with a group called "Hope". It is the only organization in the Balkans that has been established to help those who suffer from Anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders. They wanted to set up a small counseling/ support group center so girls could come and just hang out with others that understood their difficulties and didn't judge them. We helped them buy some chairs, office furniture and a small refrigerator to get them started up. They have worked hard to paint and clean the space that they had donated to them by the city and it was really looking great when we arrived. We wish them well, they are good people trying to help a group of young people who are struggling with diseases that are still not fully recognized and understood by health, mental health and government officials here in these countries.

We gave the director a picture to hang on the wall, he was so pleased and invited us to come back and visit when we could.

Anxiously we booted up the computer Thurs. night the first thing when we got home and realized that our orphanage project that we had written up and submitted had been approved! Yeah! So this week we are staying in Banja Luka all week to start working on that project and also to hopefully close a couple of others. We were nervous because there are not really enough recipients to fit into the parameters of most of our projects, but our people in Germany must have felt like it fell into the category of, "just the right thing to do". Indeed it is. We will be shopping for 4 sets of bunk beds, pillows, sheets and mattress covers this week. I am on a shopping mission, you know!

Our good friends, Elder and Sister Taylor came to Banja Luka for the last time this weekend. They are going home in two weeks. And so this was their last visit to see the Tadic youth. They have done an amazing work with the youth here in Bosnia, Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia. They have not just run the institute and seminary programs but have orchestrated E.F.Y. attendance for the youth, temple trips and Young Single Adult conferences. Their travel has been extensive throughout these countries as they have spread their faith, testimonies but most of all their love to all the youth. They have touched many, young and old and we will feel a great loss at their departure.

One last picture of the Taylors with our Tadic family. Our cute Elders are also in this one. Wow! Do we love having missionaries in Banja Luka! We are getting new people every week to church and it's just awsome!!!

This is Victoija. She is graduating this spring and we are just finishing up her application for a grant from the Cosic foundation to help her get into an academy in Serbia. This is the picture we took to put with the application. She's just beautiful, isn't she?

It was Orthodox Easter this week end in Bosnia so we are in holiday mode today and tomorrow. It is an official time off work and school for everyone, but I think the stores are open so I'm going to go buy paint and start working on the stairways again. On Weds, we have a scheduled closing for a project with our "New Generation" project and later in the week we hope to have one for our Islamic soup kitchen.

You can tell that we are trying to wrap things up and starting to think about everything that needs to be done before we leave. Essentially, everything needs to be wrapped up by the end of May because June's calendar is looking pretty full at this point. The Zadar celebration is June 1, 2, 3. We need to clean and move out of our apartment in Varazdin from the 4-11th in anticipation of our humanitarian replacements coming in on the 9th and moving into the apartment. (We will be in a hotel in Croatia and in our Banja Luka house) We will train our replacements in Croatia the 11th through the 16th, take the Tadic family to Germany the week of the 17th, come home and train our humanitarian replacements in Bosnia the week of the 24th. That pretty much takes care of June, doesn't it? It all seems to be coming up on us soooo fast. Plane reservations are being made for us this week and then we will have an official release date. Wow! I just started getting all teary eyed! What a jumble of emotions I am, so excited to see my family's been so long, I'm not even sure my grandchildren will remember me! But then again so sad to leave this wonderful place behind with all the amazing new friends and relationships we have forged. Time is ticking away and before you know it we will be back in Utah.

1 comment:

cynphil6 said...

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