Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Baptism and a quick return

We had a very special day on March 13th as Slaganja got baptized.  We decided to stay here in Sremska and do the baptism in the church.  Now this is no easy task...Alan and Nemanja had to move the foyer furniture into the chapel and then set up the deep vinyl swimming pool that we used last summer in the foyer.  He then had to run a hose from the upstairs out the window and back in the foyer window to the font to fill it.  He fills it 3/4 full with warm water the day before and them fills it the rest of the day on the baptishmal day with hot water.  That makes the water a little better than room temp.  Then after the baptism, everything must be done in reverse.  But, of course, everything doesn't go that smooth and the pool collapsed when it got 3/4 empty and distributed the rest of the water through out the foyer.  That foyer is now well mopped! 

Slaganja was always reluctant to get baptized, but the Lord works in mysterious ways (as we know) and she had a dream.  (Shortened version) She dreamt that she met Duska (R.S. Pres.) on the street who told her to come with her because she needed help and they had to hurry to the church.  Slaganja ask why and Duska said, "Because Christ is there".  Slaganja did not believe her and ask if He had been there before and Duska said, "Oh yes, several times".  They hurried to the church and she did see Christ.  After that dream she said she knew that what the missionaries had been teaching her was true and and she needed to be baptized.  She was baptized by her son Nemanja and a happier boy you could not find.

Sister Palmer, Nemanja, Slaganja, and Sister Zander
The Ibraimovic family are now all members and our trusty baptismal font

That was our wonderful news for this week....and on the other side our newest missionary, Radoslav, who had been in England for a month came home due to anxiety.  But, this is not uncommon because our Sister missionary, Sister Zander, went home with depression.  Missions can be difficult with hard work.  It seems even more hard for members who maybe grow up in the church where it is less structured.  We don't know the reason always but we pray for these young people who have returned that they will find purpose in their lives and stay active.

Living within the structure of the church is also what causes a lot of converts over here to go inactive.  Although, church structure over here is less structured (1-2 hour church, no weekly YM/YW, sometimes no home teaching--you get the idea) it is so much more than they are used to.  Both the Orthodox and Catholic church members attend basically on Easter and Christmas and maybe on their Saint Day. Not much obligation there.  So just having members remain faithful, pay tithing, and attend church is a big thing over here.  Then when they go on a mission and it is much more regimented it can be overwhelming. 

We did have transfers and now have a new missionary, Sister Matthews from Heber City.  She is wonderful and has been in the mission for over a year.  When we first got here she was in Novi Sad.  She and Sister Palmer are Sister Trainers which is like the counter part to Zone Leaders.  But this also means that they will taking our car often to visit other sisters and has caused a problem.  We have the only stick shift car in the mission and neither of them drive stick shift.  So now next week we will travel to Croatia and pick up a different car.  We worry with it having Croatian license plates that we will get stopped more and may receive more tickets.  The Serbs and the Croatians tolerate each other but still don't like each other.

We still teach English class two times each week and have made some wonderful friends and these friends sometimes come to church and many of them came for Slaganja's baptism.  It seems once we get them through the church doors and they start to feel comfortable it becomes less threatening.  The missionaries are teaching one man who just started to come to English class and we have a baptismal date for him in April.  Our English class also comes to our Friday night activities.  So English class is a great finding tool.
Svetlana and Mirco...Lupco is the man to right and we are teaching him the gospel.

Egor and Aleksander-- Egor just got this haircut and he is Nemanja's friend
Our "Only in Serbia" moment:  We watch several new stores and businesses start up and then within one month or six weeks we watch as they pack up and close.  We are sure that people are hoping to somehow make a better living and it doesn't often work out.  
This was a store across the street selling material.  It was open for one month and
yesterday the horse and wagon showed up, hauled the material away, and then
closed the store.  These horse and wagons are used by many and seen often.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there! I have found you on the web through searching Croatia Missions. I have loved reading your blog. I am a member who lives in Lehi, Utah. My ancestory is from Yugoslovia (Croatia) and my mother loves researching her geneology from there. In fact she has traveled there (when it still was Yugoslovia) while living in Germany with my father with the military. She was fairly disappointed because she said a lot of the churches where the records were stored were damaged.
    I am a mother of 4 small children and my husband is the bishop of our ward. We are hoping to serve a mission when we are a little more seasoned in life and your blog is very inspirational, and a good "reality check" of what serving a mission as couple missionies would be like. Work, Work and more work. You and the people you serve will be in my prayers. Best wishes!
    Lindsey Oliver