Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Race to the end....

June just seemed to have slipped by us at an uncontrollable speed. We started the month with a wonderful celebration at the Adriatic coast city of Zadar. It was the 40th anniversary of the first baptism in the former Yugoslavia. We had an absolutely amazing time in Zadar, hearing about the history of the church here in this area and associating with many of the saints from all the missions countries….Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia were all represented by wonderful faithful saints. One of my favorite memories of the time we spent in Zadar was of course, being the social little person that I am, was after one of the day’s events we happened into the kitchen area and sat around the table eating left over melted ice-cream and visiting with the young elders and sister who were apparently exhausted from their clean up duties; another senior couple that we love, The Tanners, were there as well and we just relaxed for a little while and it ended up being a time of laughing and being silly, but after all was said and done I will always think fondly of that sweet few minutes when we were just able to enjoy each other’s company. It really is the little things that make me the most happy!

Jim, Vanja, Viktorija, and Vicky on the ferry to the island just off the coast.

A fireside with members remembering the history of the church here in the Balkans.

The first baptism was in the Adriatic, so the missionaries had several baptisms planned in commemeration of that event. It was an early morning service and a beautiful sight to see!

I'm not sure how many attended the service, but it was pretty impressive!

The missionaries were not allowed to attend the celebration unless they had a baptism scheduled.

Our kitchen slaves. Elder Marks and Elder Mattson. Two of our favorites!

One of our cute missionaries, Sister Clegg, she is the niece of our mission president.
Sunday morning after the Zadar event we loaded the Tadic teenagers in our car and travelled to Zagreb where the celebration continued with a meeting of about 250 Saints. It was attended by all sorts of government and religious leaders from Croatia and also the Area President from Germany. It was a wonderful meeting, but my favorite part was when the members belted out “The Spirit of God” with all their might! It was beautiful! The spirit was so strong and if nothing else the important people representing the government of Croatia now know that the Mormons can really sing! It was a wonderful experience and made me so happy to think that we were able to attend. It was a great way to begin the RACE TO THE END…..

This is Kresmir Cosic's wife. She lives in Zagreb.
Viktorija Tadic received a grant to go to school from the Kresmir Cosic foundation. She has chosen to go to a hair stylist academy in Belgrade, Serbia next year. Good-luck with your education, Viktorija!! You go girl!

And that has been exactly what it has seemed like, a race. We moved out of our apartment in Croatia and into the Banja Luka, Bosnia house. Our humanitarian replacements arrived and we spent all last week introducing them to our partners in Croatia. On Saturday morning we brought them down here to Bosnia and this week has been introducing them to our Bosnian partners. They don’t really need much training because Elder Winters has worked for the church’s humanitarian/welfare department for most of his career. We did find out on Saturday however, that they will not be living in Varazdin, instead they will be opening up a new city in Bosnia, Tuzla. So they will be leaving our little apartment as well and be moving permanently to work more effectively in Bosnia. We are excited for that move, Bosnia will benefit by having humanitarian missionaries assigned to the whole country instead of dividing it up between the Croatian and Serbian senior couples. We aren’t quite sure what will happen to Croatia, but for the time being they will also monitor our major projects that we have going there, most likely cutting back on the smaller area projects.

Our land lord here in Bosnia had a wonderful bar-b-que on Saturday night. They went to so much effort and we loved just sitting around and visiting with our friends and neighbors. It was a great evening.
Saying good-bye to our partners has been a ton harder than we had expected. We have made good friends with most of them and will miss their association. I will post a few pictures of our good-bye tour with the Winters in a later post,

Our daughter called me this morning and said that the Bishop of our ward has set July 8th as the day he wants us to speak in Sacrament meeting. It will begin at 1:00 and anyone who would like to come to it the address is: 2333 S 2700 W WEST HAVEN, UT 84401.

We would love to see you there if you can come. Although, I have to admit, if you have followed this blog there isn’t much more I can add…. Two years is a long time, it will be wonderful to be home!