Belgrade Cemetary
May 17th, 2009 by ron



I can’t begin to tell you how fast our weeks are beginning to fly by. It is a phenomenon that I remember our sons talking about when they were on their missions. The good thing is that we are staying busy, the bad thing is that we don’t get as much done in a week as we plan to do.

We spent Monday and Tuesday doctoring Ron’s eye. He contracted a bad case of conjunctivitis (like Pink eye). His eye was swollen shut & oozing and so it wasn’t possible to contact anyone so we stayed pretty close to home except to go out & test some bus routes in preparation for Dr. George & Marcia Bennett coming on Friday. We wanted to be proficient at showing them Belgrade!

On Wed. we got up very early and drove to Sarajevo, Bosnia to meet with the Red Cross again. It was a 7 hour drive. Our meeting went well. We are hoping to go back of Wed. of this week with the Bennett’s in preparation for getting a Neo-natal program going in Bosnia probably in May 2010. We would like to do it sooner but may not have funding until then as it wasn’t figured into 2009 budget. In the evening we went to dinner with Becky and Jason Colvin at a really neat restaurant overlooking Sarajevo. They are Americans They are Americans and he works in the American Embassy in Sarajevo. They are also the only members in Sarajevo that we are aware of with the exception of a young lady who works in Sarajevo teaching English and will soon return to the USA. They hold church in the bottom of the Colvin home. What an amazing thing to imagine them holding sacrament meeting for 3 adults and 3 children. The Colvin’s have a 3 yr old son and twin girls 11/2.

On Thursday we drove to Tuzla for a meeting with the Red Cross. These people are so warm and friendly. They set up a meeting with their local general hospital that took us back at least 50 years! It was stifling hot with no a/c , poorly lit, over crowded, poorly equipped, and in run-down condition. They do the best they can with what they have to work with. There was a dead body in a body bag lying on a gurney near the elevator waiting to be taken to the morgue. We took the stairs to the 4th floor as we would probably have waited there for 30 min. for our turn on the elevator.

We were privileged to visit the maternity ward. It was clean but not very well equipped and in run down condition. They do the best they can with what they have to work with. They are government run hospitals and the bigger hospitals get the most help from their government. We were in a nursery with a new baby that was 1 hour old and in the new born intensive care with babies fighting for their life. There was a little baby girl that was born 2 months early and she was sure little but she was about ready to go home. She was one of the lucky ones that they were able to save. We met with the head doctor in Maternity who is also their head teacher in neo-natal. We talked to her about our neo-natal resuscitation program and she was very interested in learning more. We will take the Bennett’s there next Thursday and I expect that we will be able to do the program there.

Now the most amazing thing about Tuzla is the fact that people are starting to ask questions and wanting to learn more about this church that truly cares about their people. The father who has carried his son around on his shoulders before he received his wheelchair has called the Red Cross 3 times wanting to know more. We are in the process of finding out how to get the information to them. Mission Pres. Hill and D. Todd Christopherson are going to Bosnia around May 27 so we will know better what to do after their visit. The church isn’t officially recognized in Bosnia yet and Ron and I are the only missionaries going into Bosnia right now but it is starting to feel like the time is getting close to send the full time elders in to Bosnia (at least from our perspective).

On our trip home we enjoyed the beautiful Bosnian country side. They do an interesting thing, they roast lambs on spits and you can stop in these little makeshift roadside stands and they shave you off a hunk of roasted lamb. We haven’t tried it yet but I am sure we will before we are through. They hang the lamb out while they are preparing the coals for the fire and the flies are buzzing around them!

In a small farming village we saw four adorable little ladies sitting on a bench near the roadway. They were laughing and talking – I suppose they were discussing their day but they sure looked like they were having a fun time visiting. I had Ron stop and we tried to ask if we could take their picture using sign language. They didn’t seem to understand so I hopped out of the car and stood by them and Ron snapped the picture. They didn’t seem to mind and waved and smiled at us as we drove away!

On Friday the Bennett’s – Dr. George and Sis Marcie — came to Belgrade. They are here to develop neo-natal and it won’t start until Monday. We took the opportunity to show them around the city. The old architecture here is amazingly beautiful. We took them to the old fortress right here in Belgrade called Kalamegdon. Come to find out, George is obsessed with world war II, everything about it. He loved the fortress because it has so much history. It origins date back before Christ was born. It has been built in stages primarily by the Romans, the Turks and the Austrians, each having possession of it at different times in history. They have a very fascinating museum of war memorabilia including ancient swords, spears, guns, uniforms, body armor, and everything in between. The Serbs shot down a Stealth Bomber in 1999 here in Serbia and they have a piece of the bomber and the pilot’s flight suit on display . I think they are pretty proud of that but it is a eerie sight for we Americans. The Bennett’s enjoyed Kalamegdon so much that we went back on Saturday and saw the rest of the fortress.

We also visited an ancient cemetery that is still in use today. The plots are family owned and each plot has a vault underneath where the bodies are actually placed. There are people in some plots that date back to the 1600’s and might have bodies buried in the same vault as recent as 2009. We watched a funeral precession in progress . It was headed by a small band playing the death march followed by a little golf cart truck, the bed enclosed with glass and the casket is placed in the bed of the truck enclosed with glass. The family then follows the casket and marched to their family burial plot where the casket is placed in the vault with all the other family members who have passed on before. It was really interesting.

We start our neo-natal meetings on Monday to assess the needs of each area in preparation for teaching in Nov. so we are going to have a very busy week. We hope this finds you all doing well and enjoying summer that we understand has arrived. It is getting quite warm here as well with high humidity which we aren’t very used to. We will see as the heat and humidity progress!!!

2 Responses  
  • Caroline & Dick writes:
    May 18th, 20095:29 pmat

    Wow—-what week. We are busy notifying our kids about the kids and their youth conference. Everyone seems to be interested and excited about helping out. Hope the heat doesn’t slow you down to much but be sure and stay hydrated. Love the pictures and to hear all you are doing.

    Love Caroline & Dick

  • Brenda Densley writes:
    May 22nd, 20099:13 pmat

    You guys are so amazing! We love seeing your pictures and reading about what you’re doing! Love you! Keep up the good work!

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