Monday, August 1, 2016

Attending Joey's Baptism

We are experiencing a hot summer in the mission.  We have had temperatures as high as 35 degrees celsius which is about 95 degrees fahrenheit. Our klima (air conditioner) in our apartment in Karlovac has not been working well.  We turn it on and after a short time, it will shut itself off.  We are on schedule to have it looked at.  We will be gone for two weeks and it should be fixed when we get back.  I'm keeping my fingers  crossed...

EK with his crop
 EK has tried his hand at gardening on the balcony.  He planted onions and tomatoes.  He waited and waited and ended up with two of the sorriest looking tomatoes I have ever seen.  He didn't have much success with his vegetables. I also planted flowers for the patio and they are looking beautiful. They are pink trailing geraniums and all the neighbors are enjoying them as they drive into the parking lot.  We have a temporary assignment away from Karlovac for two weeks and we didn't know what to do with the flowers so we asked the people below us if they would like them.  We found out that they do not have a balcony, but they said her mother would love to have them at her apartment.  They picked them up, thanked us, and we made plans to get together with them when we get back.

We went to Maribor, Slovenia with the Varaždin Elders on Monday for p-day.  We saw the beautiful Maribor Cathedral,  walked around the town's main square which dates from 1515, had some  pizza at a local restaurant, and walked down to the Drava River to see the swans. We also came upon Sister VanWagoner and her companion who are currently serving there.  She served in Karlovac with us and it was a treat to see her.  We all had ice cream together, said our goodbyes, and headed for Varaždin to drop off the elders.

When Kate & Gavin came to visit, I had them bring back a princess dress for Natalie. She is a huge fan of Frozen and Elsa.  We went over to their house and surprised her with it.  The look on her face was
Princess Natalie
priceless.  She immediately put it on and had her mom braid her hair like Elsa.  She kept going in the house and would come out twirling.  Finally, her mother explained that she was going in to look at herself in the mirror.  She would come out and smile and say, "I am beautiful".  Little girls are the same everywhere.

Zadar Branch
We went to Branch Conference in Zadar. on Sunday.  It was the Devers last Sunday on their mission and  headed for home on Tuesday. We moved into their apartment until the new senior couple arrive on August 10th.

There are four missionaries in Zadar.  We are enjoying attending district meetings with them and helping with English class. They are quite a mix and come from Australia, Canada, Alaska, and the USA. The missionaries serving in the Adriatic North Mission never fail to impress us.  They are young men and women who have put their lives on hold to serve the Lord.  Many times we are in awe of them.  Which reminds me that we miss our Karlovac missionaries.  We called them yesterday to tell them we are still around and will be back.

An interesting change serving here in Zadar is that it is a tourist area.  Every Sunday we have new visitors attend from all over the world.  This last Sunday we had 50 in attendance.  Most people are just passing through to their next adventure, but there is one family who have been here for an extended period of time.

The Butler family
Daniel and Deborah Butler have four children and are here to do family history work for Daniel’s side of the family.  His ancestors are Serbians who lived in Croatia and left in the early 1900’s. He is a professor of political science at Washington University in St. Louis and is on sabbatical.  Deborah’s parents served a mission in Croatia from 2013 - 2015
Zadar District
(we actually replaced them in Karlovac).  She  decided to visit them and while here, found some records regarding his family.  When she returned home with valuable information, they decided to make a trip back as a family for more searching.  We went over to their apartment on Saturday so I could interview them for an article I’m writing to put on the Croatia country page (much like a Facebook page).  President Grant assigned me to be a member of the Public Affairs team so I’m always looking for stories and this turned out to be a fascinating one. They are leaving for home on Tuesday, after having much success and invaluable experiences for their children. They are the sweetest family and Mark, Lizzy, Rose, and Josh made us miss our grandkids (unici) very much!  When we were leaving, Lizzy and Rose sang us I am a Child of God in Hrvatski.  They were excited to perform for us and we loved it.

We had a BIG day on Saturday! We were able to FaceTime with Adam and attend our grandson Joey's baptism.  We ended up going to the church because the internet was spotty at the apartment. We were able to visit with him beforehand.  He looked so grownup and happy.  We had front row seats so we could see everything including Lily and Joey on the piano, with Layla singing a solo.  It felt like we were there with everyone.  We love that young man and are proud of him.  It is a major step in his spiritual journey.  Unfortunately, we did miss out on the root beer floats at the end.

Word of the week: klima (klee-ma) which means air conditioner.  Much needed this time of year...

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