Vist by Gerneral Authority
May 31st, 2009 by ron



We We thought that this was going to be a pretty laid back week of catching up on 2 ½ months of paperwork that we have neglected since we got here. Monday went as planned but Tuesday was another story. We got a phone call late Mon. asking if we would meet a sister named Lelia at 7:00 am at the Poncavo bridge to take her to the early morning flower market to buy flowers to decorate the church for the coming of Apostle D. Todd Christopherson later in the day. We got up at 5:30 in order to be there by 7:00. We bought two large baskets of roses and some yellow roses and white daisies and greenery.
When we got back to the church, Lelia had wound yellow ribbon on the banisters of two flights of stairs and had met the disapproval of the District Pres. for not asking permission to do it. Branch Pres. Nikola told me to assess the situation and if it didn’t look good when it was finished, it was my job to tell Lelia that it all had to come down. She had also made large yellow bows and a big Welcome sign that would make anyone feel welcome. To make a long story short, it turned out BEAUTIFUL and so it was allowed to stay!!! It reminded us of the song -Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around The Old Oak Tree.

We missionaries were blessed to have a special meeting with Bro. Christopherson and Bro Wondra, our Area Authority, along with their wives and Pres. & Sis Hill. They talked to us from 2:00 to 5:oo pm. It was a wonderful meeting and ended with a Q. & A. session. Near the end, Bro. Christopherson turned to me and said Sis. Densley, do you have something to say. I had been thinking of a comment I had made in Relief Society last week when the R.S. Pres asked me to share how I had gained my testimony. I shared that with them and then I told them that I was really impressed with their dedication and their testimonies. I said that at home all I have to do is get in my car and drive for 1 or 2 minutes and I am at the church. For them they have to board a bus and ride some of them for 1 – 2 hours, attend church and repeat the process to get home. One sister has a baby in a stroller but is there every week. Another sister has 5 children and not only is it inconvenient to ride a bus but it is costly as well. They have a car but there is no place to park it. Another sister comes from Bosnia every other week a 2 hour bus ride one way. I told them that I was very proud of them for their dedication and their courage and strength. I am sure that Heavenly Father is even more proud and happy with them.

After the meeting we talked to the Christopherson”s and told them that Matt

was a companion to their son Peter right after he arrived in the Czech Republic after he was expelled from Serbia. This is a really small world after all!

At 7:00 they did a fireside for all of the members of the church in Serbia right here in our chapel. Ron and I took the small children upstairs to the Young Adult outreach center and played games with them and colored and watched cartoons and ate treats with them. It was fun because it gave us a chance to get to know the kids while their parents had some peace and quiet to listen to an Apostle of the Lord. It has been 8 years since an Apostle has been here in Serbia so it was a really big deal.

Thursday was my 60th Birthday. Thank You to all those of you who sent messages, E-mails and cards. It meant so much to me as 60 is a little bit hard to swallow. I tagged along with Ron and Bro. Savic to do their Home Teaching. We had to take the bus to Erana and Maria’s house and was a very pleasant experience.

Later that evening, Ron took me and the 4 local elders to dinner to a Chinese restaurant. It was my birthday dinner and elder Molina’s last supper since he goes home on June 8th. He has been here for 25 months. The food was terrible but the company was grand. We had dessert which is something we rarely do at the end of a dinner but their fried ice cream was something that sounded too good to be true! It was quite strange — like a scoop of ice cream with corndog batter wrapped around it!!! It was terrible. But Ron’s fried bananas was even worse. He convinced the elders that they needed to taste it so that he could get rid of it and not have to eat it!!!!! The Elders gave me an apron with Belgrade on it and all their ethnic foods of Serbia listed. Also, they gave me a can opener (which holds special meaning to Elder Christiansen) and a fan to keep me cool as I am constantly fanning myself with anything I can get my hands on. It turned off cool this week which was some welcome relief as it has been quite hot. Ron bought me a light jacket that has felt so good for the past 4 days since it turned off cool—In the mid 50’s.

Friday morning we had another meeting with the Divac organization. We have a private meeting scheduled with him on June 11 but he is a very busy man these days and so we will see how it goes. He lived in the US and played pro basketball for LA Lakers and Sacramento Kings and just this last March they retired his jersey. We are going to partner up with his organization to do some Humanitarian work here and I will write more on that as it unfolds.

Friday afternoon we went to Tasa”s Gypsy village to see if Ron could help him with his computer. Someone gave him a computer that is just 2 years old. The computer he has been using is the oldest computer that I have ever seen in my life! The problem is that the newer computer came with no installation instructions to link it up to the newer printer/copier and Ron is baffled as to how to retrieve all of the information off of the old computer and Tasa has been writing a book that is nearly finished and is on the old computer.

When we arrived about 5:00, Tasa had made dinner for us. He had prepared it earlier in the day and had been waiting for us to arrive. He had made Serbian Potato salad and fish ribs and fried catfish. To eat the fish ribs you had to pull off a big fishbone and scrape it between your teeth and pull the little bit of meat off. Now the catfish was another story. It was deep fried – – – Guts and all. We had to eat or we would have offended him so we ate and just hoped that we wouldn’t get sick. He also had strawberries that he spilled on the floor and so he scraped them up and washed them under the bathroom sink and placed them before us again. By the time Ron finally said let’s go, I wasn’t feeling too well and by the time we got home at 10:00pm I felt sick to my stomach and had a bad headache that was getting worse by the minute. I didn’t know if I would wake up deathly ill or not wake up at all but when I did wake up, I felt fine so I guess it was all just anxiety!! Such is the life here in Serbia!!!!!

The pictures that we have included this week are of My Birthday, of a bombed out building here in the heart of Belgrade, bombed by Nato in 1999, and of the conference with Elder D. Todd Christopherson, one of our 12 Apostles and Elder Wondra, the Area Authority over this are a and a former Mission Pres over Serbia. All of the members for the whole country of Serbia were invited to this meeting so you can see how small the church is here.

4 Responses  
  • cheryl writes:
    June 1st, 200910:56 pmat

    Wow what a week. Happy birthday. Thought about all day but didn’thave access to a computer to get a message to you. Sounds as if your day was really great. By the time you get home you will be able to eat ANYTHING. I sure don’t know if I could have eaten alot of the stuff you guys have eaten or not. But my hat goes off to you. Keep up the good work. We are all proud of you and I know Heavenly Father is blessing you for all you are doing. Love Caroline

  • Jana writes:
    June 2nd, 20094:26 amat

    i am constantly at awh to hear the strengh & testimonies of the members over there. We take so much forgranted, and I enjoy all of your stories & testimonies that you share. Also Happy belated birthday. It sounds like you had a great one. It sounds like you are working on your iron stomache. You are better then me. I hate seafood of any kind, so to try to choke down fish prepared like that just may have killed me. 🙂 Not really but you two are amazingly daring, and respectful.

  • Terry and Ellen writes:
    June 3rd, 20092:25 pmat

    Hi to you both–Annette, I am so sorry to have missed your birthday! But we wish you a good and fruitful year. You are doing great work over there. We so look forward to checking in on your adventures. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Terry and I are looking forward to a trip to Norway in about 8 days. We are going to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary in my parents’ homeland. Will visit relatives along the way. All is well. Terry had some sinus surgery and should be feeling better soon. Look forward to checking in to see what work you have accomplished when we return. God’s blessings. Ellen (and Terry too)

  • Cindy Larkin writes:
    June 13th, 20099:52 pmat

    I’m laughing my guts out and Bryce is sitting next to me wondering why i’m laughing so hard. i love the visions you portray of your “wonderful” food experiences! I can only imagine. You’re a trooper. Happy belated Birthday to you! Even if you did have to eat yucky corndog icecream. 🙂

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