Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Were they really here or was it a dream....a very good dream!

Yes, Daniel and Anna came and it was great to have them felt like being home.  They spoke in church and everyone has told us how much they loved their talks.  The best is that they got to meet our little branch of saints and now know why we so love the people here.

We left on Monday for a week of traveling around out mission.  We first went to Ljublijana in Slovenia.  What a beautiful country Slovenia is...probably the prettiest in our mission with mountains and pines.  We went to a Cathedral there that was gorgeous inside.  This picture does not do it justice.

That is real gold ornamentation and every picture
is bright (not like the photo) even the ceiling
is painted in murals.

  We took a boat trip there that was fun but we loved the tradition they have of hanging locks on cables on their river bridges.  Lovers hang the lock to signify their love for each other and then throw the key in the river.

Locks of Love...

This old couple didn't have a lock and if they did, they couldn't
remember where the key might be, but they still love each other!

We had a package for Wendy and Ferrin's niece, Sister Flanders, and thanks to Anna's persistence we finally found her and delivered the package at the park.  Our mission is so big (5 countries) that we don't meet altogether except maybe for Christmas so we hadn't met her yet.   
Daniel, Anna, Kylee Flanders, & Sister Fugal
We traveled on to Lake Bled which is another beautiful place.  (You will get tired of me saying 'beautiful place').  It has a lake, castle, island, mountains, and pines, everything but an ocean.  
Island in middle of Lake Bled with church in middle.  You
can take a boat out, but it was raining and no boats
were running.

Daniel's the only one who got a picture of the castle, but
we got a picture of the King and Queen.  So there!
I am sure this blog is like watching home movies of someone's vacation but if I don't record it, I don't remember it.  So continue at your own risk.  We went on to my favorite place, Predjama Castle.  It is a castle that was built into a cave and the only castle that was never conquered by an enemy.  It is amazing.
There are more castles in Slovenia and Croatia than there are
in England and Scotland.  Well kept secret.

That afternoon we dropped Daniel and Anna in Trieste, Italy and we went back to Rijeka Croatia because we could not travel outside our mission boundaries.

We stayed in a Hotel (Jadran) right on the ocean.  Infact, the
balcony hung over the ocean and we felt like we were
on a cruise ship.  We read, we slept, we went sightseeing
and enjoyed the R&R.

We stayed in Rijeka for 2 days and went on to Pula which is an old Roman city on the ocean.  It has a Colosseum that is more intact than the Colosseum in Rome.
This is a picture of a picture I took to show the whole Colosseum.
They started building it when Christ was 6 years old and  finished
it 1 AD.

This was amazing to see, especially knowing how old it is.

Are you sick of the travel tour yet....The next day we went to Trieste and picked Daniel, Anna, and all his ties up and drove back to Rovinj.  Not my favorite, very touristy.  Saturday morning we planned on going to Plitvice Lakes.  And on the way we had an adventure.  We came to a line of cars all stopped and people out milling around.  Daniel & Anna walked up and found out that there was a war mine that they had discovered and needed to be blown up.  So we sat there for a while...we were playing SkipBo on top of the car and people were visiting and then all of a sudden the cars started moving.  We never hear a blast...maybe they found out it was a dud.  We were a little worried being in Croatia with Serbia licence plates because everyone kept looking at us like 'this is your fault'.  Maybe we were just paranoid, but there really are still a lot of bad feelings between the two countries.  Anyway, we finally arrivedat the lakes and 'oh my goodness', yes, they are beautiful.

It is a national park....So many water falls and aqua colored water.  It takes your breath away it is so pretty.  We spent all afternoon walking the trails and left after dark and drove to Zagreb.  That is where the mission offices and mission home are located.

Everywhere you go in Slovenia and Croatia there are tunnels that they are carved through the mountains to allow the mountain or animal paths to continued growing over the top of the auto put.
Some of these tunnels are short and others can be up to
2 miles long.

Well this is getting long winded, but it was so fun and relaxing.  We drove back to Sremska Mitrovica on Sunday.  Daniel and Anna packed up and Monday morning we took them to the Belgrade Airport.  Yes, we cried and were so sad to see them go but are so thankful that they could come and see where we live.  They and we have found out that maybe (no there's no maybe about it) don't live in the prettiest part of our mission, but we feel like it is home and we are happy where we are.  And most of all, we are happy we could share it with Daniel and Anna.  Thank you so much for coming!

Friday, September 6, 2013

They're driving us crazy or is it they're driving crazy?

"Only in Serbia".....Serbians drive sooo crazy!  And Alan has mastered the Serbian way of driving...I have mastered just shutting my eyes tight and not saying a word. ;o)  On the AutoPut, which is their freeway, it is not uncommon to have cars pass us going at least 100 miles an hour.  The AutoPut only has two lanes going each way but it allows for fairly easy driving.  But to get to most of the small towns or even to NoviSad the small two lane highways (which are narrower than normal) must be used.  Big semi-trucks and all wind through these small towns.  What makes it scary is that people pass with very little leeway into oncoming traffic and if they decide to pass you and there is no space between you and the next vehicle, oh well, they just nose their way in.  They are very aggressive drivers and honk if you show the slightest hesitation about moving when the light changes red; or if you are not traveling fast enough; or if you are waiting for a pedestrian; or etc. etc.  Anyway you get the idea.  Alan has amazed me, we travels into these big cities like Belgrade and NoviSad like a pro.  Belgrade is like driving in NewYork and just as big and congested as New York.  He looks at a city 'paper' map (GPS is not so reliable over here) and somehow he imprints that map in his mind and away we go.  Even the young missionaries are impressed.

We had five investigators to church last Sunday which was very exciting.  We had given some white shirts and a pair of suit pants (left by missionaries) to our sweet man that walks to church.  He wore them Sunday and looked very nice and he was so proud.  We also have two sisters that came who have set baptismal dates (the sisters are doing a great job) and also attending was our non-member missionary man that invites everyone to church but will not commit to even being taught by the missionaries.  We are slowly teaching him in church; he just doesn't realize it yet.  We are also finalizing the buying of items for the hygiene and school kits.  Our humanitarian missionaries have been great to work with. Hopefully we will be able to have it all collected and assemble the kits the end of Sept. after we get back from our trip with Daniel and Anna.

Yes, Daniel and Anna arrive next Friday and we are so excited.  They will speak in our Sacrament meeting on Sunday and then Monday we will leave for Lake Bled.  Because we can't leave our mission area, they will continue on to Italy and we will travel down the coast of Croatia which is reported to be beautiful.  We will meet another missionary couple down there for an evening and then hopefully have some time to rest.  (We have had very few P-Days).  Then in a few days, Daniel and Anna will travel back to Croatia and we will meet up and continue sight seeing.  When we came on our mission their coming seemed so far away and now it is marks the half way point of our mission.  It reminds me of that old saying that said something like, "Don't spend so much time looking so far ahead that you miss today".

Sorry, no pictures this week, we have been too busy or like the old people we are, we forget the camera.  Also, if we don't post on the blog for a week or two, just smile and know that we are having a wonderful time on the coast with our kids.