Serbia Book Fair
Oct 26th, 2009 by ron

Elder Gulber and Family

Elder Gulber and Family

Elder Knight B-Day

Elder Knight B-Day

LDS Charities Chairs

LDS Charities Chairs

LDS Charites
LDS Charites
LDS Chairs
LDS Chairs
LDS Chairs
LDS Chairs
Pres Hill
Pres Hill
Elder  and Chilli
Elder and Chilli

#9 (2)#10 (2)#11 (2)#13 (2)

E/S Densley
E/S Densley
Fair Ground
Fair Ground

#1 Pic. We had some fun visitors last week!  They were Marvin Gubler and his wife DeAnn.  They came to pick up their son John Gubler at the conclusion of his mission.  Marvin grew up in Santa Clara and we figured out that he and I are ½ second cousins or something like that.  He is the son of Emil and Nellie Gubler from Santa Clara.  They came to Sunday dinner and we had a fun visit and we were sad to see Elder Gubler leave us as he was a very good missionary.


#2.  Elder Knight celebrated his Birthday last week.  We made him a carrot cake and he was pretty excited to turn 21!  He also ordered tacos for his Birthday dinner at Annette’s diner but had to wait a few days to be served as we were in Novi Sad on his real B-day.


#3.  We went to visit one of the care facilities where we did a wheelchair distribution a month ago and were so happy to see the joy on the faces of some of the recipients.  This is why we are here, to help people who, for whatever the reason, are unable to help themselves.


#4.  This is what your donations are used for when you donate and mark humanitarian on your donation slips at church.


#5.  Another satisfied customer!


#6.  So happy to receive a wheelchair!


#7.  This is what happiness and appreciation look like.  If they could, I know they would all want to tell you Thank You personally but most have very limited speaking ability as well as limited mobility.  The wheelchair gives them mobility and freedom to move around.


#8.  We had Zone Conference here in Belgrade on Saturday, Oct. 24th.  This is our Mission Pres., Pres. Hill, enjoying a bowl of homemade chili.  Thanks to those of you who have sent packages with chili seasoning and taco seasoning.  Everyone enjoys it so much.


#9.  The Elders also were satisfied customers!  They will eat anything we will make for them!  The other day we made homemade macaroni and cheese and we didn’t like it at all so we took it to the church and put it in the refrigerator.  We called the elders and told them that there was mac and cheese in the refrig. For them.  They called us later in the day and said it was delicious!  I think their taste buds are suffering from their own cooking!!!!


#10.  Monday, Oct. 26 started the Belgrade Book Fair.  It is a really big deal here.  The church has a booth in the fair every year.  Ron and I drove all the posters and books and pictures to the fairgrounds where it is being held.We then helped the Elders and Branch Pres. Nikola Kovic set up the booth and it turned out quite nice.  This is a Pic. of our booth.  The Elders and the members here will man the booth all week.  They sell Book of Mormons for a very minimal cost.  If they give the books away, they will often find them in garbage cans but if they sell them, like for $1.00, only people who are interested will take them.


#11.  Elder Jasper and Elder Christiansen at the Book Fair.


#12.Elder Porter and Elder Armstrong.


#13.Elder Beaumont and Elder Knight.


#14.  Elder & Sis. Densley.


#15.  Pic. of the main floor of the Book fair taken from the second floor where our booth is located.




Dusna B-Day
Oct 17th, 2009 by ron


Pic. #1.  District Conference with all of the old Serbian Elders that have been here since we have been here.  Elders Singer, Gubler and Stadlbauer went home the next day after Conference.  We sure do miss them.  


#2.  Elder Densley, Elder Singer and myself.  Elder Singer was the Branch Pres in Novi Sad for 6 months and sure did a good job.  He is from Pennsylvania and will be attending BYU come spring semester.


#3.  Nikola, our translator, celebrated his 31 B-Day on the 12th.  He is vegetarian and so I made him a carrot cake and a chocolate cake. He wasn’t too impressed with the carrot cake but liked the chocolate cake!  He tried to blow out 31 candles with one breath—it couldn’t be done!


#4.  Enjoying birthday cake.


#5.  Beautiful sunset over Belgrade taken from our balcony.


#6.  Dusan (pronounced DuShawn) is the only deacon in all of Serbia.  We had to give him a present!


#7.  We gave him a white shirt and Aunt Caroline and Uncle Dick sent a tie to go with tie shirt.  He was so excited that he ran right to his room to put it on and model it for us.  He said THANK YOU   VERY MUCH so Uncle Dick and Aunt Caroline, that THANK YOU is for you!


#8.  The Vasica Family (minus one).  Katarina wasn’t home from school yet.  She is 15 and doesn’t get home until 8:00 at night.  High School in Serbia is in two sessions per day—Morning and afternoon.  The Vasica children have afternoon session and so go to school at noon and get home around 8:00.  A family of 5 kids in Serbia is a really large family.  Bro Vasica is working on his law degree.  He also works in the national achives and is a paralegal.  Sis Vasica, Violeta, cleans houses in Belgrade.  They live in Pancevo.  She likes to hitch hike to town because she can get here faster and it doesn’t cost her anything.  They are great members of the church here.


#9.  Ron, Dusan and me.


#10.  Ron and I go for walks first thing in the morning and our favorite thing to do is to walk to the Piazza—the Market place where the locals sell their goods.  This morning we were inquiring about celery root.  They don’t have regular celery but have this plant instead.  You peel the bulb on the bottom and slice and dice it and put it in soup.  It is much more mild than celery.  The sales lady was more than happy to have her picture taken with us!


#11.  The fish market at the Piazza.  The word for fish is ARIBA.


#12.  This sales guy looked so grumpy but actually ended up being pretty funny and he spoke pretty good English.


#13.  Another pic. of the Piazza.  Now you can see why we like to go there.  We can find anything we need there including crocheted tablecloths.


#14.  They have the most unusual and colorful pumpkins and squashes.  I wish I had these sitting on my front porch.


#15.  This is a makeshift egg carton!  I bought a half-dozen eggs and they rolled up a newspaper into a cone shape and filled it with eggs.  It was pretty cool.  They make due with whatever they have.

Food Project in Bosnia / Serbia Medical Supplies
Oct 13th, 2009 by ron


Greetings to all.  We spent another busy week, as usual.  On Monday we went to Bosnia to look at some potential projects.  We spent the first night at a quaint little hotel on the way.  Pic #1 is in front of the hotel.

#2.  View of the mountains and clouds from the hotel.  Bosnia is very beautiful. We never tire of the beautiful scenery coming and going to Bosnia.

#3.  In Kalesija, Bosnia, we are looking at the possibility of trying to get a greenhouse for a vocational school.  The students would grow vegetables inside the greenhouse year round.  They would give the vegetables to the local Red Cross who in turn would give the produce to over 360 needy people that they help on a regular basis.

#4.  Girls who are enrolled in the vocational program were working at the school’s orchard the day we were there.

#5.  Boys also working in the orchard.

#6.  This is the spot that the greenhouse will be located, if  the project is approved.

#7.  This is the orchard that is run by the vocational school.

#8.  We visited another area of Kalesija.  This is a greenhouse that is owned by a local dairy farmer who also grows produce to sell at market.

#9.  Greenhouse exterior.  These greenhouses play a very important roll in this region as the main winter vegetables are tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers of every color and they are grown year round in these greenhouses.

#10.  This is a group of dairy farmers that we met the day we were there.  The little 70 yr. old lady that is wearing a scarf in this picture is in need of a milk cow.  She supports 6 people in her family and her cow died so she has no means of support for them.  She sold 2 liters of milk per day from her cow that died.  When we hear these people’s stories, it just rips our heart out.

We returned to Belgrade on Wed night.

#11.  On Friday we went to Sremska Mitrovica (Serbia) for a donation ceremony.  We were able to supply, through LDS Charities, some much needed medical equipment to the Regional Hospital there.  Our Mission Pres, Pres. Hill presented Dr. Mike with a plaque from LDS Charities.

#12.  Dr. Mike, his wife who is also a Dr., Ron and I and Maria, the lady from the Medical supply co. who was able to get the equipment for us.

#13.  Dr. Mike, his wife, and Pres. and Sis. Hill.

#14.  After the ceremony, at which all the local news media was present, the hospital took us to lunch at a really nice restaurant.  Dr. Mike had pre-ordered all the food and when it came, each plate was so large that it was enough for 3 or 4 people!  There was no way we could begin to eat half of it, but it was so nice of them.  We find the people of Serbia to be so gracious and appreciative and it makes our job as missionaries so much fun.  We are so thankful to all of you who donate to humanitarian service as we are able to see the good that it does.  Thank you so much.

Osijek-Croatia Serbian Kosovo
Oct 5th, 2009 by ron


We have been living out of a suitcase for the past couple of weeks and we are headed to Bosnia today , and will return on Wednesday.


We were in Osijek, Croatia where we went to take some members of the Branch to catch an airplane to Frankfurt, Germany.  They found flights from Croatia to Germany for 2 Euro round trip.  They were headed to the Temple in Frankfurt.  The Lord works in mysterious ways!  They have a hard time affording the trip and so this was such a blessing in their lives!


  We took a quick tour of the city where we visited a beautiful, very old Catholic Church.  The center squares in Europe have beautiful fountains as well.


On our way home from Osijek we enjoyed the sights of the fall harvest all around us.  Ron always takes every opportunity to learn new things along the way, and to share them with you who visit our blog.


The sugar beet harvest was in full production.  Ron drove right down into the fields to check it out.  Nothing primitive here!  He found the most modern beet harvester he has ever seen.  It digs, chews up the tops and spits the dirt and tops out a side shoot and spreads it so smooth that it looks like it was just tilled and raked.  The beets are deposited into a huge rack on the top.  When the rack is full, the driver pulls up to a truck, adjusts an elevator—all from the cab of the machine, and the beets automatically are deposited into the truck and he is good to go for another round.  It was pretty amazing.

They grow many, many acres of sunflowers for sunflower oil.  Some they use for bio-diesel.  We found a processing plant where there were mountains of black sunflower seeds piled, waiting to be processed.


On Wed. we headed to Kosovo with Dr. & Sis. Thomas who are here from Utah State Univ.  They are now specialists for the church in the field of Agriculture.  We are trying to develop a project in the Serbian section of Kosovo to help some people who were driven out of their homes and enclaves during the war in 1999. They are just now being able to return to their homeland. The Serbian Gov. is trying to help them by building new very small homes for them as their homes were destroyed during this war.  You will see pictures of the bombed out homes and their new little red brick homes.  The new homes have 3 rooms, a kitchen/living room, bathroom, and 1 bedroom.  They are more like doll houses but the people are so thankful to have them.  They were to receive the key to their new home the day after we were there. 


The problem is, these people are going to try to farm their land that has fallen into disrepair because they weren’t able to farm the land for 10 years.  Their homes were looted and their farm equipment and animals were all stolen by the opposing parties.  Through LDS Charities, we are hoping to be able to help them with some small equipment and some farm animals to help to sustain them in these beginning stages.  That is why Dr. & Sis. Thomas came, to help determine the possibilities without costing an arm and a leg.


Another enclave that we visited is also a returnee community that returned 5 years ago.  They are amazing with what progress they have made with some help from a few other organizations like USAID and others.  They showed us around their farm and even picked a pumpkin for ME!  I really didn’t want to take it but the wife took it to the tap, washed it off and put it in the back of the van that we were riding in.  This second community is thriving.  They have many cows, pigs, chickens, lambs, bees and grow everything from fruit to nuts and every kind of vegetable you can imagine.  They ever make large quantities of moonshine to consume and to sell.


  While we were there, the little old Grandma was roasting peppers on an old wood fired stove out in the barnyard.  I noticed she had her own bottle of moonshine close by—just in case she got thirsty!!! The pictures of large vats of something is actually their homemade brandy in progress.  They had about 10 vats that they were working on.


On Friday we visited a very small maternity hospital.  It is small and they have problems with their water and power going off but they do the best that they can.  We met with the director of the hospital and one of his Doctors to see if they might have a need for a Neo-natal program.  These wonderful doctors always invite us to see their facility and we love getting to see the new babies!


While we were there we visited a couple of very old monesteries that date back to the 1400’s.  They are so interesting to see and one of the things that fascinates us is that they have foreign peace keeping troops to keep them safe.


One thing that always fascinates us is the fact that our driver in Kosovo stops at the edge between the Serbian section and the Albanian section of Kosovo and changes his license plates. He has a set of plates for each side so that no one stops and hassles him. These two groups of people just don’t get along and even today they have fears of something happening.

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