North Adriatic countryside

Northern Slovenia

23 month mission to the Adriatic North Mission as member and leader support missionaries.

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas and some time off to the mountains

We had the missionaries in Sarajevo with us for Christmas.  Our table is barely large enough to accommodate 6 people so we served cafeteria style with the salad, sweet potatoes, asparagus soup, home-made bread and roast all on a counter in the kitchen.  Here's the beautiful table setting Sister Schlehuber prepared along with a decorated table in the living room (with some goodies on it).

The smog has been very bad in the valley so today (our P day) we drove up to the Igman ski area and enjoyed the bright sunshine and blue ski.  We walked all around the area along with a lot of people who had the same idea.

There are however some areas where you DO NOT GO!  There are some areas where authorities are not certain that all the land mines have been cleared ... so we don't wander off the road when signs like this are posted.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Hygiene kits to the Red Cross

Today after arrangements had been made we were able to deliver all the hygiene kits to the Red Cross that had been assembled in the branches and home group in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  A couple of weeks ago Elder and Sister Stosich had brought the kits that were put together in Banja Luka and Tuzla and stored them with the kits that had been assembled in the Sarajevo Branch.  We drove near to where we thought the main offices of the Red Cross were then called Davor Ivančević who came out to the street corner where he looked for us and we found each other.  Then we drove over to near the entrance and several others came out to help us unload.

Unloading the hygiene kits

Here are about 240 hygiene kits each with soap, washcloth, toothpaste, toothbrush, hand wipes & bandaids.

about 240 hygiene kits

After we unloaded almost all of them into another van for them to be taken to the Red Cross warehouse, we posed with Faiz Hadrović, Davor, Elder & Sister Schlehuber and Red Cross Secretary General Namik Hodžić.

Faiz Hadrović, Davor Ivančević, Elder Schlehuber, Sister Schlehuber, Namik Hodžić

Haris Magridžija also helped unload and took the pictures so I got a picture of him after we went inside to their office to chat with them for a while.

Haris Magridžija

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Self Reliance training for three districts

Last week we had the privilege of traveling with Brother Matthew Mathias, Manager, Self-Reliance Services/PEF – Balkans & Eastern Europe,  to give training to the district presidents and their Self Reliance District Specialists (SRDS) on the My Path to Self Reliance devotional and the doctrine undergirding it  (and of course, receive the training ourselves each time!)

Here's our "trip report" (and then a few pictures we took at the end of the week).

Brother Mathias talked with us prior to starting the Ljubljana District training, and then as we listened to his presentations over the next 3 ½ days, we were able to understand the Self Reliance ministry more fully and in different ways. Each district meeting presented different personalities and levels of understanding and enthusiasm. Brother Mathias adjusted his presentation to each situation. The opportunity to talk with him about the Self Reliance concepts, experiences, and successes in such a compact, repetitious, and intensive way really solidified and enhanced our understanding.

Monday, 16 November 2015 – Drove to Zagreb, stayed at the mission home, met with Pres Grant.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015 – Drove to Ljubljana, picked up Brother Mathias, met with Pres & Sister Grant. Bro Mathias gave us initial training prior to meeting with the Ljubljana District President and the SRDS (meeting 2 hrs.) Both were very enthusiastic and asked very meaningful questions.  The doctrinal foundation was presented very clearly as the SRDS’s first question was “Why are you starting with doctrine?" She really understood the need for the doctrinal base and that it is not just “getting a job”, which was an exciting difference for her! The SRDS asked for a meeting on Friday morning prior to Brother Mathias’ departure. Stayed at the Hotel Florjanckov in Ljubljana.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 – Drove to Beograd, met with Serbia District President and the SRDS. Both started seemingly a little skeptical but became quite enthusiastic by the end of the meeting (2.5 hrs.) Some of their concerns revolved around the lack of a Serbian translation for all of the material and the fact that it may be some time before it is available according to Bro Mathias. My Path is available but My Foundation and the group workbooks are not yet available. We have Serbian language materials that can be used instead.  Clarified the details of the My Path devotional and groups in addition to presenting the doctrinal foundation.  Stayed at the Hotel Mint in Beograd.

Thursday, 19 November 2015 – Drove to Zagreb, met with Pres Grant and received files from the previous SR missionaries, Bro Mathias reviewed the boxed materials so we could discard the outdated manuals. Later we met with Croatian District President, the SRDS, and the Mission Executive Secretary and his wife (meeting 2.5 hrs.) The DP and SRDS have already had 3 or 4 trainings with Bro Matthias so they were not presented with the doctrinal foundation. The SRDS had various concerns based on past experiences but became much more positive about the program as it was discussed. Clarification of how the devotional is to be presented as well as how the groups work was also given. Stayed at the Hotel Jarun.

Friday, 20 November 2015 – Drove to Ljubljana to meet again with the SRDS. More specific instructions on running the My Path devotional and the follow-up groups were given. She is very excited to start this ministry! She would like Bro Mathias to come back when they do their first devotional. She will let him know when they propose to do that. Dropped off Brother Mathias at the Ljubljana airport. Stayed at Hotel Florjanckov in Ljubljana.

Saturday, 21 November 2015 – Drove to Sarajevo.

We are excited to get started! We will be submitting a proposal to train both senior and young missionaries in the mission, as well as train the leaders in Bosnia & Hercegovina.

Friday afternoon we drove up to Lake Bled and took a 3 ½ mile walk around the lake.

Rowers on Lake Bled
Church on the only island in Slovenia (there were many white swans too)
A very unique residence
Sunday morning looking to the south east
We drove home in rain all day Saturday and woke up to about 3 inches of very wet snow Sunday morning.

Celebrating 40 years of the Church's presence in the Adriatic North area

In October our little branch watched a video of mission President David J. Grant (with subtitles in Hrvatski) as we celebrated 40 years of the presence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Adriatic North area.

Later we joined with other branches in the ANM assembling hygiene kits.

Dubrovnik Conference Participants

Dubrovnik Conference Oct 27 - 29

Seated front row L-R  Jayne and Greg Johnson, Marilyn and James Varty, Mary and Greg Krehibiel, Thomas Russell, Garth Johnson, Jeffery Porter.

Second row L-R Venetta Davenport, Gloria Pratt, Susan Anderson, Leah Dever, Linda Halling, President David and Sister Judy Grant, Judy Russell, Janel Johnson, Marilyn Porter.

Third Row:L to R Howard Stosich, Michael and Phyllis Peterson, Sarah Stosich just in front of Michael Peterson; Pamela and Cameron Schlehuber, Jillyn Ostergaard (just in front of Cameron Schlehuber) and Richard Ostergaard, Alton Anderson, Dan Dever, Del Halling, Linda and David Hansen, Heidi and Gary Peterson,  Boža and Albin Lotrić, Deborah and James McAlpin, Christine and Alan Taylor.

Friday, October 30, 2015

From the MTC through Zagreb to Sarajevo and off to the Adriatic Sea

Our time at the MTC was marvelous.  We checked in before noon on Monday, 12 October.  Then later that day ordered extra name tags in the two other languages in the mission.  Besides Croatian we also needed name tags in Slovenian and in Serbian.  Here are some of our name tags.

Croatian, Slovenian & Serbian (in the Cyrillic alphabet)
We had a really great group of senior couples in our district and some outstanding instructors.

Our two instructors plus the Sutphins, Pratts and Jenks
And here we are all pointing to where we're headed.
Sutphins to Mongolia, Jenks to Kiribati, Pratts to Mexico City and Schlehubers to the ANM

By 20 October we were met by Mission President and Sister Grant in Zagreb and off to our apartment in Sarajevo the next day.

Our apartment living room

Besides having a very, very nice apartment, we have some great views out the back of our 2nd story apartment.

After taking a few days to get settled in, we were off to the senior couples' conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia the following week for 3 days and 2 nights.  The drive there through Bosnia & Herzegovina was simply spectacular.

And the hotel where the conference was held was equally fabulous.
The view from our room
The view from just outside of our conference room

Sunset over the Adriatic Sea

Senior Missionaries taking in the beautiful view

... and of course the food

... and more food

With such comfortable surroundings it was a great time to be taught by President and Sister Grant, by the office couple Elder and Sister Halling and by each other.  We all had the opportunity to present assigned topics to the entire group of 40 senior missionaries.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A change in our assignment

Our location has been changed to the Croatia sub mission and we will be living in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovinia.  We understand we will be traveling frequently through the 5 countries in the mission (Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovinia).  In fact we realized that we needed to add 48 more passport pages since we both only had about 10 left in our current passports.  We expect our passports with extra pages to arrive any day now.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Here we go again! (Evo idemo opet! u Hrvatski)

Considering what to apply for

We’ve been considering another full time mission even before we finished our first full time mission less than two years ago.  While we looked forward to experiencing another challenging mission, we did hope to have a different kind of challenge.  But how would we find such places and improve our chances of being assigned to one of them?

When we were applying for our first full time mission we were reluctant to actively be recruited to a particular mission.  We had at that time spoken to several in the mission department about some specific areas but only said that we were physically active, healthy and ready to serve anywhere.

This time, after several calls to the mission department we discovered that there are specialized missionaries who are called “recommenders”.  These elders and sisters have the responsibility of staying abreast of all the urgent pleas by mission presidents from over 400 missions in the church for senior missionaries and recommending which couples might fill each calling.  The recommenders get a head start though because about 60% of senior missionary couples will have already been recruited to specific missions, so they only have to work on the 40% that have not yet been recruited.

Areas where senior couples are needed in virtually all kinds of service such as member and leader support, humanitarian, Church Education System and so forth, ranged from the Philippines to Samara in southern Russia, and from Siberia to central Europe.

We found a great area.

Central Europe?  An area with great need for seniors and likely a more compatible diet for us.  Sister Schlehuber and I have been there!  Five years ago we had the opportunity to travel through Europe by train and spent a couple of days in Maribor, Slovenia and had the pleasure of attending the small branch there.  We recalled commenting at the time how much fun it would be to serve a full time mission there.  We looked up the mission that included Slovenia and on a late Friday night in mid June we composed an email and sent it to the attention of the president of the Adriatic North Mission.  We described our circumstances, our prior mission experiences, our love for the area that we had visited, that we would love to be recruited to the Adriatic North Mission and that we would be submitting our application in a little over a month.  The following day we had a response from the mission president.

The first line of his email he said, “Consider yourself recruited!”  That day was Saturday, June 20 and we had our mission applications in 4 weeks later.  Our call arrived Monday, August 10.

We shared opening our call with friends who recorded it and want to share it with you.

We had our first Croatia language orientation August 12 and our first full lesson August 20.  Today is the first time we've taken a break from preparing and studying to tackle our new blog.