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Paris France
Sep 27th, 2010 by ron

Gold Statue

Fountain in Paris

Annette in front of Cartier Jewelry

In Front of the unknown Soldier

Eiffil Tower

Napoleon Bonepart

Napoleon Bonepart

Notre Dame

Last Week in Europe
Sep 26th, 2010 by ron

More greetings from Europe.  Last Sunday we were supposed to go to Venice, Italy for two days.  Because of flooding in Slovenia and Croatia, we didn’t make it.  We only made it into Slovenia and had to get a room in Koper because Ron got really sick so we stopped at the nearest town and spent the night.   Our driver was Nebojsa and we sure do appreciate him taking us that far. 

#1.   This is a view from out hotel room in Koper, Slovenbia.  We traded Koper for Venice!  It was so pretty.

#2.  On Monday we took a train to Ljubljana, Slovenia instead of going to Venice.

#3.  Ron rode up front with the train’s Engineer!  He loved it.

#4.  We stayed with Elder and Sister Lewis in Ljubljana.   Thank you to them for being so kind to us.  They go home from their mission in about a month.  They took us for a beautiful nature hike along a river near Ljubljana.

#5.  Tight quarters for Ron.

#6.  Paul and Mar Jean Lewis.

#7.  Gorgeous Scenery!

#8.  We went to dinner that evening with Paul and Mar Jean Lewis and Sis. and Pres. Hill.

#9.  From Ljubljana we took a train to Bern, Switzerland.  What was supposed to be 1 train ended up being 5 because of the flooding in Slovenia.  We met Les and Myra Goskirk from Scottland on the first train.  We traveled on to Munich, Germany together where we had to say good-by.   He is a retired Methodist Minister traveling with a just released LDS Missionary couple from Utah!   They were great and we enjoyed their company.

#10.  Beautiful Austria on our way to Bern, Switzerland.

#11.  In Bern, Switzerland-The Swiss National Bank!

#12.  Valiant Bank in Bern.

#13.  The Swiss Temple in neighboring Zollikofen.

#14.  The Temple was so beautiful.  It was built in 1955 and looks brand new.

#15.  We spent the entire day at the temple on Wednesday.  It  was a perfect day.

#16.  A view of Old Town Bern is like something out of a fairytale. 

#17.  A close-up of Old Town Bern.

#18.  A river runs through it—Old Town Bern that is!

#19.  On Friday we took a train and then a bus out into the countryside-Rothenbach and Eggiwil to try and find some Rebers.  We weren’t able to meet any Rebers from the area but we did make some new friends, Steffan Herschi and this nice girl who worked for the city of Eggiwil.  Steffan met up with us in a small Mercantile in Rothenbach where we were asking the clerk if she knew any Rebers.  Her English was very limited.  Steffan was there to buy some lighter for a BBQ.  He started talking with us and translating for us and ended up driving to the city offices of Rothenbach and Eggiwil to see if they had any historical records of the Rebers.  We weren’t successful but we did get a feel for where my ancestors of the Reber family came from.  Ron and I just kept saying that the testimonies of our ancestors who joined the church in Switzerland and then immigrated to the desert of Southern Utah had to have been very strong.  It would have been so hard to leave this beautiful area.  I am so thankful for their strength and their testimonies that paved the way for me.  I look forward to meeting them on the other side of the veil when my life is through.   My tears were so close in Switzerland.  I somehow felt closer to my ancestors while we were there.

#20.  The architecture with the flower boxes was so charming.

#21.  A covered bridge and charming home with an ironworks business on the street level.

#22.  Another home—very old but very well taken care of.

#23.  We loved this home!

#24.  On Saturday, Sept. 25 we took a bullet train to Paris.  Ron’s GPS clocked the train at 167 Miles Per Hour!!!!!

#25.  An easy way to get around Paris.  These bicycle stations are located all around Paris.  You deposit coins to release the bike.  Ride to where you need to go and drop it at a bike station near that location.  Ron thought this was a genius idea!

#26.  A normal street in Paris.

#30.  We walked to our hotel after church in Paris.  We took the subway to get there.  Our walk home took 2 hours!  It was sunny when we left the hotel and turned off cold and rainy.  I only got one blister on my toe.

#32.  Inside the courtyard of the church in Paris.

#33.  The University of Notre Dame.

#34.  More Notre Dame.

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The Country of Croatia
Sep 18th, 2010 by ron

Our first week since leaving our mission has been a happy/ sad occasion.  We were so sad to leave the wonderful people of Serbia and Bosnia that we learned to love so much,  but have been enjoying our trip through Europe and look forward to our reunion with our family and friends in the near future.

#1.  Picture inside the fortress in Dubravnik, Croatia.

#2.  A view of the fortress from the sea.

#3.  There are tons of exotic yachts and sailboats where the rich and famous play in the waters off Croatia.

#4. We loved the red roofs against the blue sky and the blue waters

#5.  Notice what the big yachts keep in their trunks here!  It’s a ski boat!!!!!

#6.  The views were breathtaking!

#7.  The wildlife.

#8.  A late lunch –seaside—after a boat ride and an afternoon of hiking around the peninsula.

#9.  It was so beautiful and there were more yachts that you can even imagine.

#10.  These beautiful beaches have no sand.  Only rocks and pebbles that kill your feet.

#11.  We never got tired of the whitewash houses, red roofs and ancient churches!

#12.  The sea water was crystal clear.

#13. Moving on to Zadar, Croatia.  We took an afternoon stroll  along the sea and across the footbridge.  It was amazing.  They have a series of channels in the concrete tha, when the waves roll in, forces air into the channels which makes sounds that they call a “Sea Organ”.  It was really neat!  As we sat there along the edge of the sea, we heard a symphony from the Sea Organ.

#14.  GORGEOUS Zadar sunset!!!!

#15.  Evening on the waterfront.

#16.  For those of you who remember Kresamir Cosic who played basketball for BYU and later went on to be a goodwill ambassador, he was bigger than life.  We visited his monument and the Mini-dome that is dedicated to him in Zadar.  He used his influence for good rather than for money.  He is the most beloved of all persons we have encountered while living in Europe and was a respected and faithful member of the church.  He passed away a number of years ago but his legacy lives on.

#17.  This is the mini-dome named after Cosic in Zadar.

#18.  This was our rental car.  Ugliest car in the parking lot but it served us well!  We drove it from Dubravnik to Pula-the entire Croatian Seacoast.

#19.  This ancient Roman Amphitheater is located in the heart of Pula, Croatia.  It dates back to 1st Century BC. 

#20.  Inside the Amphitheater.  Notice the water through the middle row of arches.  It is the Adriatic Sea.

#21. More inside the Amphitheater.

#22.  This is one of four ancient archways to the square in Pula.

#23.  This is a monument to Hercules.  The real Hercules!

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Headed Home with a few side Trips
Sep 14th, 2010 by ron

Our mission ended on Saturday and was a pretty sad day for us.  I must admit that a few tears were shed. 

Two weeks ago we traveled to Bosnia to show our replacements, the LaBoons around.  We just happened to be in Bosnia when Elder Nelson came to organize the first ever branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bosnia.  We were so happy to be a part of such a historic event.  Elder Russell M. Nelson, Bro Johann Wondra and Bro. Erich Kopischke were there to do the organizing.

#1.  Ron, Bro. Russell M Nelson, his wife and me.

#2.  Sis. Kopischke, Bro Kopischke, Ron and me in Bosnia.

#2-1.  Audra and Pres Gary Sombke, the first ever Branch Pres of the Church in Bosnia.

#3.  The branch in Belgrade held a farewell party for us.  It was so GREAT!  Thank You all who had a hand in it and to everyone who came.  The Elders sang to us.  Thanks Elders!  You are the best.

#4.  Vera Jovanovic, Primary Pres., Dunja, Dusan and Bane sang some primary songs.

#5.  The branch members made a nice pot  luck dinner.

#6.  Nikola brought his mom and friend Bilja to surprise us.  We were soooooooooo surprised!!!!

#7.  Andrea, me and Irena.  They are great girls and great members of the branch.

#8.  The elders presented us with a Serbian Flag signed by each of them.

#9.  We found the Branch of the Church in Istanbul.  It was hard to find but with the help of a good taxi driver, we finally found it and we weren’t even late.  After church, we went out for Sunday dinner.  Food in Turkey is really tasty.

#10.  The Blue Mosque in a rainstorm.

#11.  Annette in the courtyard of the Blue Mosque.

#12.  More Blue Mosque.  It is huge!

#13.  We stayed at this quaint little hotel across from the Blue Mosque.  It was Hotel Alzer.  They upgraded us to a suite because we mentioned that George and Marcia Bennett sent us there.  It was great.

#14.  On Monday we went on a tour of the city.  The first stop was the Spice Market.  It was so crowded that you hardly had room to stand or walk.

#15.  Beautiful mounds of spices!

#16.  The old and the new.  There are mosques everywhere in Istanbul.

#17.  One of the many palaces in Istanbul.

#18.  Another palace.

#19.  This is a castle from ancient times—I think around the 14th century.

#20.  We went shopping at the Grand Bazaar.  It is the largest covered marketplace in the world and was oh so coooool!  We had to really pay attention or we would have gotten lost!

#21.  The man in the red shirt is Jimmy.  He runs Silver Corner.  He is a Muslim who just happens to love Mormons.  His associate’s name is Gem.  He sells Gem Stones!!!!  It was so fun talking them.

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Saying Good bye
Sep 8th, 2010 by ron

This is our final week in Serbia.  We never dreamed it would be so hard to say goodbye but it has been really difficult.

#1.  Bro. & Sis. LaBoon arrived Monday evening with Pres. & Sis Hill.  We had dinner prepared for them and were happy to welcome them to Serbia!

#2.  Happy Birthday to both of them!  Sis LaBoon last week and Bro LaBoon the end of Sept. so we celebrated.

#3.  Saying goodbye to Dragica and Branislav at Red Cross Belgrade.  They gave us some neat goodbye gifts.

#4.  At the Branch Farm with Pres. & Sis Hill.

#5.  This is Ron’s creation—a place for the chickens to lay their eggs and as you can see, they love it!!!!

#6.  This is Milka the milk goat.  She gives 2 liters of milk per day.

#7.  Pres. Hill making friends with Milka.

#8.  At the Farm.

#9.  Pres. & Sis Hill.  They are the BEST!

#10.  At the Blind Home in Pancevo.  Me, Bro. LaBoon, Sis LaBoon, Nikola, Milka – the director of the

#11.  Congessman Flake from Arizona was in Belgrade on official business.  He is a member of the church and so he and his wife did a fireside at the church for the members in Serbia.

#12. “ The BEST Elders in the world “with Congressman Flake and Sis. Flake.

#13.  The Serbian members of the church who attended the fireside.

#14.  Elder Densley and Congressman Flake.

#15.  In Cicevac, where we are doing a water project,  the mayor (Zlaten) presented Ron with a Serbian Flag as a goodbye gift.  We will never forget the people of Civevac.  They were great!  I wasn’t able to be there, I was home sick in bed with some kind of flu virus that kept me down for nearly a week.

#16.  Ron and Mayor Zlaten at one of the water taps throughout town where the people go to get water that is safe to drink. 

#17.  Gypsy Car!!!!!

#18.  This lady lives in Cicevac but she has a daughter living in Salt Lake City.  This one is for her!  She reads our blog and so she now is a part of it.

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