Friday, August 30, 2013

The Three Wise Sisters!

There is strength in Sisters and we have three, lucky us!  We had a sister who had been out one month have to go home because of continued respiratory illness so they moved her companion down here (from Novi Sad) to be with our sisters until the next transfer. I don't know what it is about the sisters, maybe that motherly instinct that woman have, but they just came in, organized and went to work.  They even already have a baptismal commitment for a woman (that the Elders have been working with for a year) on Sept. 28th.  We didn't see the Elders except a couple times a week, but the Sisters are more social and we see or talk with them every day.  They have been here for 9 days and we have fed them 4 times.  One Sister is from Alpine, one from Farmington, and our Sister on loan is from Oregon.  They are all great young women (anyway so far).

A couple from Twin Falls Idaho were in the MTC with us and traveled here to the North Adriatic Mission with us.  He was a Patriarch and the mission finally got permission for him to give Patriarchal Blessing here in the mission.  Alan arranged for them to come here to Serbia last week and give blessings. (They are serving in Croatia) We have five people here who have never been able to get their blessings. (Usually the only time people can get blessings here is when they go to Germany to the Temple and then there is a Church Patriarch there).  Our Branch Pres., his wife and mother plus another older couple who are in their 80's were our five people who needed blessings.  When I ask Brother Babel (the Patriarch) how difficult it must be to give a blessing to older people, he said,"It's not so bad, you just tell them what the Lord wants them to know".  The blessings had to be given in English and they won't find out the true impact of their blessing until they receive the written copy and have it translated.  We did not go in with the families but were told that three of the individuals were from the tribe of Benjamin, which the Patriarch said is not common.  Even though they couldn't understand the blessings, they came out shedding tears because of the Spirit that they felt.

Our sweet man from Sascinci also walked to church again this last Sunday. When the Branch Pres. said to him, "This is a long way to walk for church", he said, "When something is important to you, you sacrifice"  I felt ashamed when I heard this, thinking that we haven't done much in our life to sacrifice for our faith.  But then I stopped and tears came to my eyes as the Spirit whispered, "yes, you have, you are doing it right now".  And as I thought about leaving our family (that we miss so much), selling our house, and coming to a land where we don't speak the language....I guess we are sacrificing.  Our missionaries sacrifice; their family sacrifice; Mission Pres. couples, who give three years, sacrifice; serving in callings in the church is a sacrifice....I guess what I am saying is that we all sacrifice because the gospel and Lord's work is 'important to us'.

In our "Only in Serbia" moments I always share funny things or unusual things but today I want to share a couple of the things we love:

One of the numerous road side fruit stands.  You
can see how close they usually are when you
look past this fruit stand to the other canopies.
Those bags along the bottom are pickling
cucumbers (krostavac).
Beautiful evening sunset taken from our balcony!
I am sharing a picture of the walking bridge (bikes and motor cycles included) that goes across the Sava River to join Sremska Mitrovica and Macdanska Mitrovica together.  Until recently our 80+ year old couple would walk across this bridge every Sunday...Now their son picks them up to bring them to church.
About 300 years ago there was a tunnel that when under the river
(How they did that is amazing to think about)  It is still there, but flooded.

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