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Novi Sad Wheelchair Presentation
Sep 23rd, 2009 by ron

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We have had a wonderful past week.  We had our Wheelchair Presentation Ceremony in Novi Sad of Friday.  Pres. and Sis. Hill came over from Slovenia and Pres. Hill did the actual presentation as he is the spokesman for the church.  Ron and I got to sit back and watch it all unfold as our work was already done.  The news media was there in full force to document the ceremony and to get it into the local papers and on TV.

After the ceremony, Dr. Grebeldinger and staff had arranged a private tour of the catacombs that are located under the fortress there in Novi Sad.  There are over 17 ½ kilometers of tunnels and we were lucky enough to treck through over 1 km of tunnels.  It was built back in the 1400’s and took over 80 years to build and not one battle was fought there to see if they would save the fortress.  The pic. next to a door that is arched at the top is where we exited the catacombs. (There are a couple of pics. with us standing on a grassy area, one next to a huge wall.  We were standing in the mote around the fortress.)

On Saturday we went to Kikinda, Serbia to the National Red Cross First Aid Competition.  We were guests of the Belgrade Red Cross.  It was really amazing to watch kids as young as 8 yrs. old performing their lifesaving techniques on simulated situations such as a car crash, bicycle crash, bee stings, seizures, and such.  While we were there walking through the town square, we spotted a man in a wheelchair.  As we got closer we could see the logo of “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!  He had received his chair three years ago and was so thrilled to have it.  He couldn’t talk well but in his struggle, he said Thank You.  It was a tear jerker to say the least.

On our way home from Kikinda, we saw a farmer and his family busily pulling the husks off dried ears of corn.  He was doing it right alongside the highway.  Ron was intrigued and so had to stop and inquire about what they were doing exactly. They pulled  the husks off, put the ears in a basket and dumped them on the elevator which took the ears of corn up and drop them through a hole in the roof of the corn crib.  Before you know it, they have shown Ron & Nikola around their whole barnyard and we were sitting inside their house having a drink of sparkling water and eating their beautiful poppy seed cake around the kitchen table.  They tried to get Ron to drink a shot of homemade plum brandy.  Ron said no, I don’t drink.  The farmer said “no, really, just one”.  Nikola, our translator, finally stepped in and said No, He Can’t.  His Church has a health code and he really doesn’t drink alcohol so the farmer drank for the both of them!!!

On Monday we went back to Novi Sad and participated in the distribution of the wheelchairs.  We first went to a handicapped school where the kids are normal mentally but have physical handicaps.  The children were bright and beautiful and it was such a pleasure to see the smiles on their faces as they were presented with a wheelchair!

Next we visited a hospital that rivals the American Fork Training Center in American Fork, Utah.  It is where the mentally handicapped are housed and many have physical handicaps as well.  This place ripped our hearts out.  There are 600 patients and only about 150 of those there have visitors.  Most of the patients were over 20.  The oldest resident is 58.

I wish all of you could have been there to see the joy that the new wheelchairs brought to these people.  Not everyone got a new chair but the ones who did sure did need them.  One man was using an old wheelchair that had no rubber on the wheel.  He was just riding around on the rim.  Another man who had one leg amputated and the other leg was in a cast was sitting on a seat that was falling apart.  When he was placed in his new chair he raced off doing wheelies around the parking lot and racing up and down.  I would guess that he was about 35 but acted like about 12 or 14.  It was just so sweet to see how excited he was.  He kept saying it is so fast!

All the patients cheered for the ones who received a chair.  It was so toughing.  This is what makes it so rewarding to be here.  Another young girl kept following me around-wouldn’t leave my side.  She followed us all the way to our car (there is a picture of her and me).  We finally figured out that she thought one of that Elder Jasper was pretty cute!

We send our love and best wishes.

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