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Serbian Green House Projects
Mar 29th, 2010 by ron

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We spent part of the week in Southern Serbia doing greenhouse donations.  It was such a great experience.

#1.  One of the greenhouses was donated to the Leskovc, Serbia Agricultural High School.  The Ag teachers are pictured here with Ron & me.

#2.  This is our donation sticker that we use on the items we donate!

#3.  Inside the greenhouse…..duh!

#4.  Starting some of their own sets.

#5.  This teacher was so thrilled about the high quality seeds and sets that were donated by LDS Charities along with the greenhouses.

#6.  More greenhouse!

#7.  This greenhouse was donated in Prokuplija, Serbia.  (Ron & I, along with the Red Cross Secretary, Dusica, the Principal of the Agricultural High School and the Ag. Teacher).  They were so appreciative of the donation.  The school will grow vegetables and donate them to the local Red Cross to use in their local soup kitchen.

#8.  Prokuplija had the ground all prepared before the greenhouse was installed.  They did a great job.

#9.  The sides of the greenhouses wind up for ventilation as the temperatures rise.

#10.  We donated these sets to the school along with seeds to go with their greenhouses.

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#12.  These are the students who will be growing the vegetables.  Their instructor is the lady with the white hair in the blue lab coat, standing in front.  The lady on the left and the tall man in the back are from the Kraljevo Red Cross.

#13.  We had a baptism on Saturday night.  This young man’s name is Velemir and he is from Macedonia.  The church is not officially recognized in Macedonia so it was illegal for him to be baptized there.  He had to come to Serbia to get baptized where the church is officially recognized.  I think you can tell that he was extremely happy!

 Velemir found out about the church on the internet and wrote a letter to Salt Lake to learn more.  The church set him up with this couple who are Latter-day Saints working in Macedonia.  They befriended him and he was taught the discussions over skype.  We met him in Ljubljana, Slovenia over New Year’s.  It was a great experience.

#14.  More baptism pics!

#15.  Ron & I with our Serbian Elders & Velemir after the baptism.  We have the greatest elders!!!!!!

#16.  This is inside the Belgrade Chapel after the baptism along with Elder & Sis Lewis.  The Lewis’ are living in Slovenia and serve all throughout our mission working with YSA in Eastern Europe.  (Grandpa Jack, Sis Lewis is a cousin to your neighbor, Linda and Terry Fuller across the street from you.  Have them check out our blog!)

#17.  Many of the people of the branch who attended the baptism.

 

Trip to Bosnia And Herzegovina
Mar 23rd, 2010 by ron

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We spent the past week on the Road in Bosnia.  We went to Tuzla to do a distribution of winter clothing.  The clothing is second hand things from Deseret Industries and the people are really thankful to receive it.  The container also contained winter boots and shoes and new wool blankets and homemade quilts for babies that are all new and so beautiful!  We thought you might like to see where some of your donations are distributed.

#1.  Tonja from the Tuzla Red Cross helped organize this distribution.  She and I are holding a really nice quilt made by the Senior Citizens Center in Lovell, Wyoming.  Thank you so much for your donations.

#2.  This sweatshirt was in one of our containers of DI  clothing and will surely keep someone warm until the sun comes out again.

#3.Nermin, our Bosnian translator, and I at the distribution.

#4.  This insignia inside this quilt told us where it was made and by whom.  We send our thanks!

#5.Some of the homemade children’s quilts will be distributed through the local children’s hospital.  This sweet little girl will be so happy to receive one!

#6.  Staff at the hospital.

#7.  There is a great LDS family in Sarajevo, the Sombkes.  They are about the only members in Bosnia that we are aware of.  They invited us to their home for the most delicious AMERICAN dinner.  It was awesome!  Complete with homemade apple pie and homemade apple pie ice cream and yes, it had an apple pie in the ice cream!  Delicious!!

#8,9,10.  Soup kitchens are such an important part of most communities in Bosnia.  This soup kitchen prepares 1740 lunches 5 days a week.  The head man here has run this kitchen since the 1980’s  and is a remarkable man.

#11 & 12.This is a mental institution in Bosnia.  We went there to see how we can help them.  They have a need for a greenhouse which we have received approval on so will be presenting it to them soon.  The patients will do the work in the greenhouse, growing vegetables.  The vegetables will be prepared in their kitchen and all of the patients will have a better diet because of the fresh produce.

They have other areas in the hospital where the patients can go to fill their time doing constructive things.  Some of them make wood-burned pictures that were beautifully done.  One of the older men doing a wood-burning said to me “I am an artist” and indeed he is.  Other people sew, making house slippers that are for sale.  They are really nice.

This is the spot where a greenhouse will be located.  Yes, there is still a bit of snow but it is starting to warm up.  Hooray!

#14.  We also visited another town in Bosnia- Zenica.  They have an agricultural school that could use a greenhouse and could produce vegetables for the soup kitchen there.  These are the students who would be doing the gardening.

#15.  This is a Muslim cemetery in Sarajevo.  All of these markers represent a person killed in the most war that lasted from 1992-1996.  There are cemeteries all over Bosnia just like this one.

#16.  A beautiful Bosnian Sunset!

Still Winter in Serbia
Mar 14th, 2010 by ron

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Last Monday we had to make an emergency trip to Ljubljana, Slovenia to retrieve 10 boxes of very important Neo-Natal training materials that were stuck in the post.  Kind of like being held hostage until some hefty customs could be paid.  After we talked to them and showed them some pictures of our Neo-natal Resuscitation training in November, the head man reviewed his guidelines and found a loop hole where he didn’t have to charge us anything.  We still believe in miracles!

Pic #1 is at the post office loading up our 10 boxes.

#2&3.  Repackaging our goods into suitcases so that they could be transported easier.  It was the coldest day I can remember.  Our hands were ice cubes when we got finished.  I put my sweats on under my skirt in an attempt to stay warm.

#4.  Ron, Nikola Kovic, the Belgrade Branch Pres., Bro. Doug Jackson for Utah, & Bro Vasica.  We are attempting to bring a food program to this plot of land (now covered in snow) for the Belgrade Branch.  If it works out, they will be able to plant gardens and grow their own fresh produce.  The land is owned by Bro. Vasica and he is willing to share with the other members of the Branch.  He is a very generous man who is a member of the Branch Presidency.

#5.  Our Belgrade Young Adults.

#6.  Sunday dinner with our Serbian Elders and Nikola Stan who is our translator/ investigator ( in the gray shirt)  And Goran who is a recent returned Serbian missionary from Novi Sad.

#7.  More Elders and Sunday Dinner!  We love our Elders!!!!!

Southern Serbia
Mar 6th, 2010 by ron

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This was a very busy week of important events.   We drove to southern Serbia to buy seeds for the greenhouses that we have donated to schools in Leskovac & Prokuplija.  Pic’s 1 & 2are at the seed supplier.  The lady standing with us is the principal/director of the Leskovac Agricultural School.  The man near the right at the rear is the representative for the school in Prokuplija.

#3,4,5 are in Nis, Serbia.  We spent the night there and strolled through the city square where we met some pretty hard characters!!!!!

On Wed. we were still in Southern Serbia and had a little time on our hands so we visited a place called Rebarska Banja.  Banja means SPA in Serbian and so we thought we were really going to relax and enjoy.  We couldn’t believe that a night’s stay including meals was so cheap.  Cheaper than any hotel we have stayed in so far.  When we got there, we figured out that it was actually a state run hospital for physical therapy!   We figured out that it must have been built in the 40’s.  Need we say more!?!

The nicest thing they had going was the mineral water pools.  We got into our bathing suits and went to the pools only to find that they were closed.  They closed 10 minutes before we got there.  For those of you who really know Ron, there is always a way around things so he went to the front desk and talked to a lady there and before we knew it, we were swimming and soaking in the warm mineral baths all by ourselves!

The setting for the hospital was very beautiful.  It is up in the mountains with fresh water springs coming out of the mountains everywhere.  #9 is the courtyard at Rebarska Banja.

#10.  The very tall structure is an elevator to the dormatories further up the hill.  The stairs are pretty steep and no matter where you stay there you have to deal with many stairs.

#11.  On Thursday we did the signing of the contract for the Cicevac Water Project.  Latter-day Saint Charities is donating pipe for the final 10 phases of the project that will bring fresh water into the homes of over 12,000 people.  This children’s choir sang at the contract signing ceremony.  It was held in the city theater with many residents attending.

#12.  Ron had to give a speech about what we do as humanitarian missionaries and he told how members of our church donate money specifically for humanitarian and that all of the money donated is actually used for humanitarian.  No salaries are taken out of that money that is donated because we are all volunteers.  The mayor and the people said to be sure that we thank our members for their great support.  Without our help, it could be another 20 years before this project would be completed but with our help, it should be finished the end of 2011.

#13The mayor and Ron signing the contract for the water project.

#14.The lady speaking is our friend.  Her name is Dragica and she is one of the head persons for the Red Cross in Serbia.  She and her colleague Branislav are responsible for hooking us up with Cicevac.  They are GREAT people.

#14.  Dragica, Mayor Zlatan and Ron.

#15.  Ron and the Mayor making statements to the press after the contract signing ceremony.

#16.  The lady on the left is a volunteer for the Red Cross, Me, Ron, Dragica, Mayor Zlatan, Branislav (standing slightly behind the mayor) A Red Cross volunteer, and Slavica, our friend in the Cicevac Red Cross office.  These people all played an important roll in helping us get through red tape and understand what needed to be done for the project.

We woke up on Saturday to snow again.  Late spring and early winter are so cold over here.  We look forward to welcoming spring sometime in the future.  It can’t come soon enough for us.

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YSA & Sabac
Mar 1st, 2010 by ron

Greetings to all!  On Tuesday we reach our 1 yr. mark for those who are counting!!!

This past week we got our visa’s renewed.  They are good until March 2011.  We spent most of the week doing paperwork and catching up on things that we get behind on when we are on the road.

On Thursday we went to Sabac to visit Ranko.  He is the man who received the Multi-Cultivator to share with his community.  He is thrilled with it and wanted to give something back.  He gave Ron the huge sausage that Ron is holding in one of the pictures.  The sausage is 100% homemade and Ron says it is really spicy!  I wasn’t brave enough to try it.

When we were returning back to Belgrade that night our headlights started having problems.  They only worked on high beam so we drove 80 kilometers with our high beams on.  Every car that we passed on the autoput flashed their lights at us at least 3 times—duh—as if we didn’t know that our brights were on!  We were both relieved to make it back to Belgrade before they died completely. 

Josh, the photo of the homemade vehicle is for you.  Check it out.  Dad got a good laugh!!

On Saturdays we do outreach for the members of the branch.  It is a time for them to come to the church and hangout and have a good time socializing with each other.  This past week they played ping pong, foosball, checked their E-mails on the computer that is there for their use, and worked on a jigsaw puzzle.  We also make treats for them each week.  This week was chocolate chip cookies.  They all like chocolate chip cookies!

Today is Monday and we are just about to walk out the door for a long week on the road.  We will be signing the contract for the Cicevac water project on Thursday.  It has been a long time in the planning stages.

We send our love to all and especially our children and grandchildren.  We miss you. To my dad, grandma Jo and my brothers and sisters, thank you all for your support as well.  Love you lots.

Last but certainly not least, Congratulations to my sister and brother-in-law, Caroline and Dick on receiving their mission call to the Phoenix Arizona Mission!  What a coincidence, they will be moving to Phoenix area after their mission!  We wish them the very best.  We love you guys and are so proud of you.

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