Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Old Town Bazaar
In the Adriatic North Mission we attend two senior conferences a year.  Our first one was last October when we went to Dubrovnik. We were new to the mission and still getting adjusted to our new home.  Senior Conferences are a time when we are instructed by our Mission President, are able to reconnect with other senior couples that we don't often see, to report on our various responsibilities, and to take a break from our busy schedules. The conference in May was planned to take place in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia.  We decided to go a little early so we would have time to do some sightseeing.

The road from Sarajevo to our hotel snaked its way up a mountain high above lush valleys until we arrived at the Hotel Pino which was nestled amid majestic pines.  The 1984 Winter Olympics were held in Sarajevo, and the hotel was located at the top part of the bobsled run.

Dinner at a Bosnian restaurant
We put on our walking shoes, and headed to Old Town.  The Old Town District is made up of narrow winding streets and medieval type bazaars. There is always time for a little shopping... The weather was rainy but we were prepared with our kiĊĦobrans. The corner where Gavrilo Principe shot the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in 1914 is marked by plaques and a small museum.  It is a fascinating story and you can read about it here:
In the center of Old Town, there is a square where hundreds of pigeons gather waiting for a handout.  Sister Ostergaard and I stood amid the frenzy of our feathered friends as they competed for the corn we had.  It didn't bother me too much except when one landed on my head.  I was worried about what he was doing up there.  Luckily, we came away unscathed from the experience.

The bird lady
A group went to see the Sarajevo Tunnel, or Tunnel of Hope.  During the war in the 1990's, the people dug a secret tunnel below the airport which enabled them to bring in supplies from outside the city.  The far end of the tunnel was concealed in the house of the Kolar family.  It took six months to complete, using pick axes and shovels.  From July 1993 until the end of the siege in late February 1996, the Sarajevo Tunnel was the only connection Sarajevo had with the outside world.  I'm glad we were able to come early so we could see and learn about this resilient city's history.
At the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque

We also were able to tour the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, the largest historical mosque in Bosnia and the oldest mosque in the Balkins, originally built in 1531.  As we entered the courtyard, there was a sign that said the women should cover their heads. With a guide, we were able to go inside and see the beautiful decorative paintings and prayer rugs covering the floor.  It is an amazing experience to hear the call to prayer which is heard several times a day throughout the city. You can listen to it here: 

We all got on a bus to travel to the site where the country of Bosnia was dedicated to the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  After we had climbed a few hundred steps (I may be exaggerating a bit) we came upon a beautiful view, overlooking  the city of Sarajevo. President Grant read the dedicatory
Dedication site
prayer to us and we listened to the blessings offered by a modern day Apostle, Russell M. Nelson.  

On Thursday evening, we had a guest speaker from Sarajevo share with us the history of Sarajevo, and the local customs and traditions. The hour long discussion held everyone's attention and we came away with better understanding of the country and it's culture.

We had a spiritual feast as our Mission Presidency taught us on Friday morning.   We ended our conference with a testimony meeting.  We heard the heartfelt testimonies of many of our fellow senior missionaries.  Once again we were reminded of the great priviledge it is to serve with such exceptional people. Then off we went to Karlovac, our home away from home.  We are refreshed, renewed, and ready to get back to work!

Word of the week:  zahvalan (zah val lan) which means grateful
EK and I are grateful for this opportunity to be able to visit these countries while we are on our mission, as they are rich in history and culture.


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