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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.

The City of Cicevac
Sep 16th, 2009 by ron

Annette on BridgeCircevasc City & Red CrossFall in SerbiaMayor & RonPipe for new LinesHot house in SerbiaIMG_1045Mushroom FarmTomotes

This past week we went to Cicevac to check on our potential water project.  They took us to see where the water pipe will have to cross the river.  We walked across a very rickety old swinging bridge, across a river to see where the pipe ends.  The Mayor and city officials are great people.  They took us to lunch at a local restaurant.

 

From Cicevac we drove to Kraljevo.  We had a few extra minutes to spare so Ron stopped and checked out the local tomato patch where tomatoes were selling really cheap and were delicious—just like home.  He also stopped to see what they were growing in the hot houses that dot the landscape.  It was peppers which they call paprika and cucumbers that grow up poles as tall as the ceiling.  We also stopped at a mushroom farm where they grow mushrooms in rooms back inside a mountain, almost like a cave.  Mushrooms also sold so cheap you wonder how they could afford to sell them for so little.

 

It is starting to feel like fall here and it is also evident in the harvest as well.  They do an interesting thing with the corn. 

They leave the ears of corn on the stock and let it completely dry up—stalk and all.  Then they cut the stalks near the ground and stand the stalks up like tepees and tie them near the top with twine.  This is done in the field.  It appears that they will leave them there but we aren’t sure how they will use them that way.  Maybe turn the livestock loose in the fields to eat it where it stands.  It has been such an education being here and seeing the different ways they do things.

Sarajevo Bosnia Trip
Sep 10th, 2009 by ron

Street boardingP DayTobacco FieldsWatermelonsCorn CropCar & TrainsPig on StickPray @ MasqueChessMIne FeildPlumbsPlums

We continue to have an interesting life over here.  We are still traveling quite a bit.  Last Sat. was our P-day and we went to ADA to ride bicycles.  We were with Nikola, our Serbian teacher and translator and elders Knight and Stadlbauer. It was great fun and a little exercise all wrapped up into one.  It turned off really quite chilly that afternoon.

On Sunday we had dinner for the Elders and left immediately to go to the main center of town where people hang out on weekends and evenings.  The Elders set up their posters and took turns wearing the Book of Mormon Book for added interest!  It was a great experience for the Elders because people would actually stop and chat and listen to what they had to say.  They had us drive their equipment to the square while they all took the  bus and met us there.  Those in the pic are Me, E. Porter, E. Stadlbauer wearing the Book of Mormon, E. Knight and E. Gubler.  This particular style of contacting is called “Street Boarding”!

We went to Bosnia last week and took some pics on the way.  We stopped at a roadside stand to buy a watermelon and potatoes.  The watermelon was the really sweet and delicious but the potatoes weren’t the best.  What my sweet daddy would call culls.

We love driving through the countryside to see what we can see like the fields of tobacco—nearly everyone over here smokes, the corn harvest, I’m not sure what they do with the red corncobs, and rotisserie pork on a stick!  The Mine Field signs in the mountains of Bosnia are a constant reminder of the conflicts that have occurred in this region.

While In Sarajevo, we visited an old marketplace that was built back in the 1400’s by the Turks.  The cobblestone streets are the original streets from that era.  I say cobblestones but they are more like boulders!!!!  Quite hard to walk on.  There is a Muslim Mosque there where the people were praying in the courtyard.  They come to pray 5 times a day. ( It doesn’t look too much like this guy wanted his pic. taken!)

A favorite pastime is playing chess in the park with giant chess pieces.  It is the older men who participate in this sport.  They are very serious about their game and are often seen to shout at each other.  This particular game ended with the looser throwing the opponent’s game pieces all over the place and shouting as he hurried off.

On our way home we were interested to see roadside stands selling these huge bags of plums that they use to make “moonshine” Plum Brandy.  It seems that most households are accustomed to either making or at least consuming this product, many for medicinal purposes.

Our final picture is of the bridge that we told you about before—it is shared by cars and trains—hopefully not at the same time!

Albanian Conferance
Sep 1st, 2009 by ron

We just returned on Sunday night from a very fun and enlightening trip to Tirana, Albania.  We were there for a Seniors Humanitarian Conference that lasted from Wednesday through Sunday.  It was both educational and a lot of fun.

 

On Wed. we spent the time orienting ourselves and getting acquainted with the other missionaries.  They came from such far -away places as Missouri, Texas, Colorado, Florida, Salt Lake City, Sandy, Santiquin and Ivins.  On Thursday we started into our classroom sessions with power points presented by each couple to share what projects we are each working on.  We took field trips to a care center and an orphanage and to the local maternity hospital.  Each was such a touching experience.

 

Pic. #1:  At the maternity hospital we were invited into the nursery.  A beautiful, healthy baby was crying.  No one seemed to notice so Sis Schmoe, from Missouri, walked over to the baby.  She patted it’s back while I gently rocked the cradle.  The Dr. explained to us that this beautiful baby was born with no legs and that the parents had abandoned it at the hospital.  If ever I was tempted to try to adopt a baby, it was at that moment.  It just ripped my heart out.  I am sure that this beautiful baby will end up in the orphanage as soon as it is old enough to be placed there.  In the meantime, who knows?

 

The pics. with all the little children was taken at an orphanage.  These little kids were so cute and well behaved and just crying for attention.  Ron was the perfect grandpa for these little kids as Ron is missing his own grandkids so much.  The kids loved sitting on his lap.  Some of their parents have gone off to other countries to work and many stay past the expiration on their Visas and aren’t allowed to re-enter the country.  It is just so sad.

 

We also visited a local rest home that was so blessed to receive some new appliances for their kitchen as a donation from the Humanitarian arm of our Church . The sweet little lady looking out the window suffers from alzheimers.  She waved and smiled at us.  These people receive good care at this facility and are so lucky to have a nice place to live.

 

We enjoyed walking around the city and saw many unusual sights—like garbage cans full of green olives.  They smelled really awful and were for sale by the kilo.  At another location, a street vendor was selling sheep intestines hot off the grill—Ron was tempted but decided he better not!  We enjoyed walking around and seeing the sights.

 

On Friday, we were blessed to have Pres. Causse, first couns. In the Area Presidency for the Europe Area, come and speak to us.  He is also a member of the First Quorum of Seventies.  What a great man he is and we felt so blessed to be in his presence.  He is from France and speaks fluent English.

 

On Saturday we had a play day.  We boarded a bus headed for an old castle about 20 Km. from Tirana.  We stopped along the way for lunch at a nice restaurant.  The wait for our food got a little long so Ron did his usual thing—find someone to talk to.  It happened to be 5 men celebrating a birthday seated at the table next to us.  Ron was intrigued by the Beer on Tap in the middle of their table.  As they talked, we found out that they were the contractors that built that very building awhile back.  Before we were done, Ron and Bro Schmoe were sitting at the table with them for a friendly photo! 

 

When our lunch arrived, Ron’s steak was delicious but my chicken was so tuff ( I think they chased it a few too many times around the barnyard!) I could not even bite a single bite off of that old bird.  Ron was so kind as to share his steak so I didn’t go hungry!

 

The castle was amazing.  It dated back to the 14th century and was in really good condition.  I wish words could do it justice but there is no way.  Albania is a really poor country that looks very much like Mexico.  If I hadn’t know better, I would have thought I was south of the border.  It was really hot and very humid the whole time we were there.  Albania borders the Adriatic Sea.

 

We left the castle at 4:30 pm and headed for another interesting site.  It was a sky lift, a 15 minute ride up the side of a mountain.  Now, if you are afraid of heights, you wouldn’t have liked this one but I did OK until Ron started trying to make it sway.  That’s when I lost it!  Scared to death.  There is a Pic. of Sis. Schmoe and me in the Sky Lift car.  (The Schmoe’s are serving in Croatia.)  At the top of the mountain was another restaurant.  We went there for dinner.  Ron had Lamb and I had Wild Boar. Yes, Wild Boar!  What did it taste like, you ask?  It tasted like a pork roast with gravy.  Nothing spectacular but it sounded interesting and so I thought I would be brave and try it!  The Pic. sitting around the table is of all of us that attended the conference.

 

On Sunday we attended Sacrament Meeting before heading to the airport.  There is the cutest young man named Eddie that we met at the Czech Republic at YSA Conf. that lives in Tirana.  We became friends with him in Czech and so it was fun to pick up where we left off with him.  He just received his mission call to London England and is so excited.  It was so fun to meet him and his mom at church.  Eddie was also our tour guide and translator when we went out on our excursions around town and to the castle.  He is going to be a wonderful missionary.  The branch members were also so friendly and you can see that the work of the Lord is progressing well in Albania.  That is somewhat surprising because Albania is primarily Muslim.

 

They have an unusual way of doing their street signs—arrows painted on the side of the building indicate that it is a one way street.  Also, Josh, the 3-wheeled dump truck is for you!!!  Can you imagine only having one wheel in the center of the front of the truck?  We couldn’t either, but you see them all over.

 

We continue to enjoy our mission as you can see.  Who wouldn’t enjoy a 1 ½ year extended vacation!

Three wheel dump truckStreet signsSky liftSister Schmo and AnnetteRest HomePres Causse areaOrphans  (2)OrphansOrphansLunch Sheep intestinesLocal boys and beerHumanitarian MissionaryEddie and he's MomCorner in TiranaCan of oliveAbandoned Baby

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