Elder Echols

Elder Echols

Monday, January 15, 2018

Week 74: Jigsaw puzzles, Ljubljana adventures, and Member visits

Hello everyone! This week has been pretty good. The weather has been a bit colder again, and yesterday it even started snowing! So now there's snow all over. I like it. Anyway, on to the weekly adventures.

Last Monday, after emailing, we went to have dinner with one of the members around here that used to be the branch mission leader, and then we got ice cream after. It was a pretty good time. While we were over there in that part of town, Elder Love decided that he wanted a jigsaw puzzle, since he'd obviously seen my doughnut jigsaw puzzle, so he bought one too and did that this week.

Elder Love's completed puzzle.
 On Tuesday, Elder Love and I went "former hunting". That's where we try to find people that have met with the missionaries in the past, whose addresses we still have. This time it took us way over to the far north edge of Celje, near the church of the Holy Ghost. We found the lady, but she said no. On our way back, we talked to a lady on the street that started off with the response that her boyfriend had studied theology and had been planning on being a priest, trying to imply that she couldn't possibly be interested. But, I said, "Oh, then he'll love this book!" and showed her the Book of Mormon and explained a bit about it. She actually took a copy to show to him, and was amazed at how well we spoke Slovene. Then around noon the Zone Leaders, Elders Jensen and Zimmerman, showed up for us to start exchanges. But first we all got Kebab, and the zone leaders' car got a parking ticket. Anyway, then Elders Zimmerman and Love left for Ljubljana, and it was me and Elder Jensen here in Celje together again, just like old times. Then we had a lesson with "Ender", who Elder Jensen of course already knew. It went really well, and Elder Jensen was really impressed with how he's changed since even last transfer, a few weeks ago. A bit later we had a first lesson with that guy that we met just before New Year's. He talks really fast. But, the lesson went really well despite me often needing to rely on Elder Jensen to know what the guy was saying. Turns out he knows a lot of random stuff from the Bible, almost like he's read it a number of times. In fact, I'm pretty sure he's read it a number of times. Anyway, he said he'd be busy for the next few weeks, so we'll see what happens. Then we had ECG, and only our star student came, the 12-year-old. He really is great, though. We played pictionary at the end since we had a few extra minutes. For dinner, Elder Jensen and I made tacos.

Me and Elder Love.
Wednesday morning we had district meeting with the Monsons, which was good as always. Toward the end of that, we got a call from the APs asking me to get them some special numbers, since I'm "the DataMaster". It's pretty interesting what you can find out from writing down a lot of stuff, and then putting it all in a spreadsheet and telling it to give you a graph. Anyway, then we had lunch, paid the Zone Leaders' parking ticket, had studies, had a lesson fall through, did some roleplays, etc. Then we tried visiting a potential investigator that wasn't home, and went tracting. Since we were pretty far from our apartment, but were getting really hungry, we decided to just stop at a restaurant on the way home. The one we picked was called "Gostilna Amerika". Believe it or not, they don't have American food, but rather Serbian. It was some really good food.

On Thursday morning we packed up Elder Jensen's stuff, then headed out to Ljubljana to finish the exchange. Somehow we ended up giving a blessing to a member's friend before meeting up with Elders Zimmerman and Love. Elder Zimmerman made grilled cheese/paninis, and I messed with their Christmas-themed Rubik's cube that kept falling apart. From there, Elder Love and I headed out to get his Visa card thing, but the problem quickly arose that we didn't know where the government building is where we could do that, and neither did the Zone Leaders. So, we tried calling the other Ljubljana Elders, and then the Sisters after the Elders didn't answer, and to make a long story short, we eventually got there, after about 9 U-turns. Then we go in and the lady says that Elder Love can't get the Visa thing without his parent or legal guardian there, "because he's only 17". I told her that he was in fact 18, and then she checked her math with the years and realized that he really is 18. So then we got the Visa thing, and couldn't figure out how to get out of the parking lot. We did eventually get out, and then drove back to Celje. For ECG that night, a whole 6 people came! That's a large change from normal, and it was great. After that, we had a lesson scheduled with "Ender" and he didn't come.

Sister Brown, Sister Crosby, and me.
On Friday we went to stop by a member's place to pick up something that she needed to get to another member, and it turned out that she invited us in and fed us lunch, and we shared a spiritual thought, and it was great. Then we went to give that paper to the other member, and then ran into yet another member on our way to the library to use Google Maps. Once we got into the library, we ran into "Ender", and so scheduled a lesson for later that day. Time for the lesson rolls around, and he doesn't come. Darn. Well, at least I got to practice piano while we were waiting for him. Then we went and tried to visit another member, but they were sick. On our way back, the streets were really empty, and I don't really know why. Maybe it was because it got cold again. So, we went back to the church and got some other work done that needed to happen at some point. After dinner and language study, we went over to the Monsons' place (they're the senior couple here in Celje) to watch President Monson's funeral services (that President Monson being the prophet and most recent President of this church). It was really good. Everyone that spoke seemed to talk about how service-minded he was. Always keeping an eye out for a way to help someone, even if it might seem really small.

President Monson will be missed.
On Saturday morning we did some calls and such, then borrowed the Monsons' car to fill it up with gas, since we used it to go to Ljubljana. The GPS promptly led us to a gas station that doesn't currently exist, so we did some circles around town a bit trying to get to one that does exist. Anyway, we eventually got it figured out, had lunch, a lesson didn't show up, but we re-scheduled it for later in the day. We did some contacting, and then the re-scheduled time rolled around, and they again didn't show up. A bit later we went out to visit an older member, and we talked a bit with him, then read a chapter together in the Book of Mormon. He really likes reading the Book of Mormon. As we left, he gave us a little chocolate Santa. From there we tried visiting some other members, but none of them were home, so we ended up tracting a building. We met one really chill guy that was really friendly, but said he wasn't interested. We also ran into a lady that the Sisters had apparently met before, and so we're going to try to visit her sometime soon.

A very strange looking chocolate Santa.
Yesterday, Sunday, we had church of course. Probably the best part was that one member came that hasn't come to church in quite a long time! I don't know how long it's been, actually. Thanks to Elder Love for texting him and asking him to come. Everyone was very welcoming, of course, and it was great to see. The rest of church was pretty normal. Though, for Elders' Quorum, our Peruvian Elders' Quorum president taught the lesson in his half-Spanish half-Slovene. I love it. He basically uses Slovene verbs, nouns, and adjectives, but then Spanish prepositions and conjunctions. It's great. After church, Elder Love and I took care of the usual business stuff, and then had a meeting with that member who came again for the first time in a long time. It was a good talk, and it seems like he's pretty well on his path back to coming every week, but there are still some hang-ups. We'll figure it out, though. We had weekly planning like always, then dinner at the Monsons' like every Sunday, and it was wonderful like usual. That night in our weekly call with the Zone Leaders, they were of course extremely excited to hear that the previously-mentioned member came back to church finally.

As for today, so far we've gone to buy groceries, did a bunch of phone calls, some Area Book work, emailed, heard about some hype for the winter olympics, got approached by a guy that's in an Estonian band, and now we're going to go visit a member.

Your homework is to read I Have a Work for Thee. It's super good. Every one of us has a specific purpose here on Earth in this life. And it's not necessarily some one huge thing; it very well might be a series of small positive things every day that really add up.

Scrabble on someone's door!
Here's a photo of Elder Love's puzzle, plus the last name on someone's door that I thought looked like Scrabble. Have a great week!
Elder Ryan Echols
Adriatic North Mission
Svačićev Trg 3/1
HR-10000 Zagreb

Monday, January 8, 2018

Week 73: A Special New Year's Resolution, and Reunions with Friends

Greetings from Slovenia!

I hope you all have had a great first week of the new year. It's kinda weird to think that it's 2018 now, but I guess I get that feeling every year, regardless of the number. But anyway, I'm sure you're here to hear about the Slovene adventures I had this week.

On Tuesday we tried going contacting, but the city was mostly still just abandoned from New Year's. Then we had some companionship study, lunch, and then went and printed off a "Baptismal Calendar" for one of our upcoming lessons, so we could get a date set for him to potentially be baptized. Then we went contacting around town in the hopes of randomly running into him, since we wanted to remind him about the lesson, but he's really hard to get a hold of. While we were out and about, we got a call from a different investigator that's kinda been in and out for a few months, and he said he wanted to meet for a lesson that very day. So, we set up a lesson. Turns out the first guy didn't come to his lesson, but the second guy did, and he walks in and says "I made a New Year's resolution to be baptized. When can I be baptized? What do I need to do?" So, we ended up using that Baptismal Calendar for him instead, haha. He also wanted a new copy of The Book of Mormon since he couldn't find his other one from before. I don't remember if I gave him a false name in my emails last time I was in Celje, but this time around I'll call him "Ender". Maybe that's the same as before, maybe not. His planned date for baptism is currently set as January 27th (Elder Love's birthday). Anyway, "Ender" took notes the whole lesson, since he has a really bad memory. I've never seen him take notes before, so I think he's really serious this time, haha. It's great. Once the lesson was over, I called the Zone Leaders and they were super excited. Especially Elder Jensen, since he knows "Ender".

Me and Elder Jensen.
That evening, no one came to English Conversation Group, so we helped the Monsons take down the Christmas decorations in the church, and then I worked on finishing up that end-of-year stuff that was a bit of a mess. Then the Newtons showed up! The Newtons are the ones in Sarajevo that were also there the whole time I was there, in case you forgot. So, we went with them and the Monsons to get dinner at Stari Pisker, Celje's most popular restaurant. The waiter gave me a menu in Italian. Someone near us ordered something called "The Tomahawk", which is essentially an extremely massive steak that they set on fire when they bring it out. And when I say massive, I'm talking about 2kg or so. Anyway, both the food and company were really good. Quite a good time.

The Tomahawk steak, all set on fire.
Wednesday started with some more contacting, since our plan to go to Ljubljana to get some finishing visa work for me done fell through. After that, we went to the library to use the computers so I could try to sort through more of that end-of-year stuff while Elder Love worked on making an outline for ECG. While we were there, "Ender" showed up. So, we set up a lesson for later that day. From there we had lunch and companionship study. Our lesson with "Ender" fell through, so we went contacting some more.

Thursday started off with a District Meeting that miraculously ended precisely on time, and then Elder Love and I got Döner Kebab for lunch on the way back to the apartment. That stuff is so good. During lunch I finished my doughnut jigsaw puzzle. We did some studies, and then tried to find a former investigator's place that doesn't seem to exist. We found the right street name, and numbers 12 and 10, but we needed 6 and there were no more buildings in that direction except for the train station itself. Weird.

My finished doughnut puzzle.
That evening we had 3 people come for ECG, and this time we set up a table so that everyone had a hard surface to use for writing. I don't know why we didn't think of that before. After it was over, somehow our casual discussion turned to the topic of The Word of Wisdom, which is the commandment pertaining to health (see Doctrine & Covenants section 89). Then we helped the Monsons clean the church before heading home for dinner and language study.

Friday morning we planned out some lessons for "Ender", "Mary", and another investigator, then we went to the church for the lesson with "Ender". He didn't come and his phone wouldn't pick up. So, we tried to set up some more lessons, and then did some contacting before lunch. While trying to set up lessons, we got a text from "Jane", one of the people I knew from last time here in Celje, saying that she was an atheist and that she didn't want to continue any further discussion. It was really weird though, since we'd seen her just last week before the New Year and she seemed plenty willing and open to meet up, and had previously never been anywhere near an atheist. It was quite a sudden turn around. So, I guess we won't be meeting with her any more. After lunch we did have a lesson with "Mary" over at the Monsons' place. She gets the whole baptism thing logically, and is really ready and understands a lot of other stuff, but somehow the desire to get baptized just isn't there. We did figure out that she'd be able to come with all of us to attend the baptism in Ljubljana on Saturday, the next day. After that, Elder Love and I went back to the church and I worked on the end-of-year stuff and FINALLY figured out what was causing the problems, so then everything was fine. At some point "Ender" called us and explained why he couldn't come for the lesson, and we re-scheduled it for Saturday morning. And the other lesson we had cancelled on us. Then we went looking for more formers! We did find one lady that said she'd come to ECG this next week. She had a cute cat. She also got a huge kick out of the fact I'd been in Bosnia, and then also Elder Love's name. Then we did more contacting. We do a lot of contacting.

On Saturday morning we started off with more contacting. Then we had a lesson scheduled with "Ender" but he didn't show up. But then he called 30 minutes later explaining the situation again, and we re-scheduled for later in the day. Then we had lunch and language study before the lesson rolled around. We taught him the Plan of Salvation, he took more notes, and it went really well. A bit later we went to the train station to go to Ljubljana to attend their baptism there. We met "Mary" at the train station and I got a lot of good language help on the train ride. We also had one investigator ride with the Monsons in their car at about the same time. We got there on time, and it was really great. All 12 missionaries serving in Slovenia were there, and apparently we had 12 investigators in attendance collectively. That seems like a pretty good ratio to me. It was really good to get to see my old pals, like Elder Jensen. Plus, I was surprised to run into Elders Criddle and Sharp who are currently serving in Sremska Mitrovica. I guess they got to come up because Elder Sharp, in the last few transfer, helped teach the lady that was getting baptized. And Elder Smith was there, Skyping from the US! In any case, what a great place to be. Elder Love and I had interviews with President Melonakos before we left (by the way, President and Sister Melonakos were there!), and then we rode back to Celje in the car with the Monsons and that other investigator of ours, but first we got ice cream. On the way to the car from Vigò, the ice cream place, someone's ice cream ended up on the ground, and it was really sad. Anyway, on the way back, "Mary" rode in a different car with some other missionaries, at least one of whom she already knew.

Me and Elder Sharp at the baptism.
Me and Elder Criddle at the baptism.
As for yesterday, Sunday, we had church. The lessons were good, and both "Mary" and the other guy that came to the baptism were there. I guess I could give him a pseudonym. Let's call him "Zed". So, "Mary" and "Zed" both came to church. We had a good discussion during class for Elders' Quorum about how to help members, who currently don't come to church, so that they will start coming to church again. After church there was of course some business-y stuff to take care of, and then we went home and had weekly planning. The Monsons had us over for a wonderful dinner, like most Sundays. It was a good day, but nothing too out-of-the-ordinary really happened.

Your homework is to listen to or read the talk, "Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among You", by Elder Holland. It's quite a good one, and it mainly talks about the fact that we shouldn't give up. We get credit in heaven even for trying and trying while failing and failing, as long as we keep honestly trying. Don't give up!

And now here's a photo of my finished puzzle, the Tomahawk, and good friends of mine. Have a great week!
Elder Ryan Echols
Adriatic North Mission
Svačićev Trg 3/1
HR-10000 Zagreb

Monday, January 1, 2018

Week 72: Canned Sarma, Home-made Pizza, and a New Year

Hello everyone! Happy New Year! I hope you all have been having a great week and that the weather where you are hasn't been too bad. The weather here in Celje hasn't been too bad this week. There was one night when it was raining and really cold, but then it kinda turned into snow, so that was interesting. I think that might have even been last Wednesday after I emailed you all.

Speaking of last Wednesday after email, we went out to some distant parts of town to try to make contact with a potential investigator, but all that came of it was someone else saying we could come back in 2 weeks. Better than nothing, right?

On Thursday we started off with some work in the area book. It's kinda nice this transfer that we have both area books and both phones, since there's not another companionship of Elders or Sisters here in Celje. So, in place of the typical 1 book and 1 phone for 2 missionaries, this transfer we have 2 books and 2 phones and we can go simultaneously. For lunch I had some canned Sarma, which is no where close to as good as it is when made in the kitchen of a local member, and then we had comp study. We found out that "Mary" couldn't come to the lesson we had planned, and so we went out in the rain to find some addresses from the area book. We found all but 1 of the addresses, but none of them were home, I guess. Then we had ECG of course, and that was really good like always. After class, one of our participants talked to us for quite a long time about his career in Judo. He's really good at Judo. Then Elder Love and I made pizzas for dinner before language study.

Friday morning started off with us setting up a table in front of the church and putting out a bunch of copies of The Book of Mormon, plus a big poster thing about The Book of Mormon. One of the members showed up and stopped to talk to us for a bit. After lunch and studies and stuff, we went contacting for a while before we had dinner and headed over to the church for branch game night. I really like branch activities like that. It's good to get members together and socializing.

On Saturday we went with the Monsons to visit a member that hasn't been to church in quite a number of years. She's extremely friendly, and we nice discussion with a little spiritual thought at the end. She also speaks remarkably good English, and so the Monsons were able to freely participate without translation, which was very helpful. After lunch and some study, we actually went grocery shopping, since we found out that all the stores were going to be closed on New Year's day, and the day after (today and tomorrow). We weren't going to last that long without being able to buy food. Since the Monsons were available, we went with them in the car to some more distant (but bigger) grocery stores, and we really hit the jackpot on one. We found barbecue sauce, and my favorite types of yogurt and cereal that are available over here (I haven't found those types of yogurt and cereal anywhere else in Celje). That afternoon I also had to do some work as "Data Master", or more officially, as the Mission Clerk, since the new year was obviously coming up. After that, we went contacting through the center of town, since there were a lot of people there. They still have the Christmas markets set up there, and there were even some stages where I think they had some concerts that night. Anyway, we did talk to one guy who briefly listened to what we had to say and set up for a lesson! So we'll see how that goes this next week. Then when we got home for the night, I started doing a jigsaw puzzle that my mom sent for Christmas.

A jigsaw puzzle my mom sent for Christmas. It is a picture of donuts!
Yesterday of course started off with church, and it was great. Our Judo friend from ECG came, plus an investigator, and a member who hasn't been to church in about 6 months. I love it when people simply show up to church. In the little break between Sacrament Meeting and Sunday School, our Peruvian member started talking in his Spanish-y Slovene (he is so awesome) to that investigator that came, and asked him when he was baptized. After it was quickly clarified that he wasn't yet baptized, the member talked to him a bit about how he doesn't need to wait a long time to be baptized; he just needs to know that it's all true and be willing to live it. I think it was really good to have him mention that, since it seems like sometimes people take months on end to make decisions like getting baptized, when it's really a lot simpler than that. Also, that little discussion enabled me to get a lesson pinned down with the guy, since his schedule is really slippery and it's hard to get a hold of him and get a lesson concretely on the calendar. Anyway, after lunch I had some more of that stuff to work on as Mission Clerk / Data Master, since it was the last day of the year. Some problems came up though, so it took a lot longer than expected. I didn't really get to witness "Y2K", but I felt like I got a small taste of what that must have been like for those involved (such as my Dad. I guess it runs in our blood). In any case, Elder Love and I had a nice New Year's dinner with the Monsons at their place, and then did weekly planning for the rest of the night. Great way to spend New Year's Eve, haha.

A beautifully lit fountain.
As for today, so far the streets have been near-abandoned (though they're not as bad as last year in Serbia), and we've tried to scrounge up some work to do even though no one's around. We also went to a cool church across the river that has a really long staircase. I'd been there before, but it was cool to see again.

Your homework for this week is to read the 13 Articles of Faith! They're fairly foundational to our faith, so it's a good idea to be familiar with them.

Well, here are some photos from this week. One of them is my jigsaw puzzle, and the other is a fountain that currently has no water, but it has lights! Have a great week!
Elder Ryan Echols
Adriatic North Mission
Svačićev Trg 3/1
HR-10000 Zagreb

Week 71: Transfer Madness, Christmas, and more Christmas

Merry Christmas!! This week has once again been kinda crazy, but that's ok. I'm back in Celje now! So that's good. Ok, here comes the recap.

Last Tuesday morning, we went with the Deckers to Caritas to help package up some gift packages for sick children. After that, Elder Criddle and I went back to the apartment and I did some of my own packing until a bunch of other Elders showed up as part of the transfer. We exchanged some luggage around, and then  I went with Elder Love (my new companion) and Elder Christensen over to Belgrade. We got burritos for dinner at the end of the day, and stayed the night with two of the Belgrade Elders.

In the morning on Wednesday, Elder Love and I went out to the car and found a parking ticket from sometime the day before. Oops. Then we went to the Slovene embassy for me to get my passport and Visa, and waited outside in the cold for 2 hours in a crowd of other people waiting. Right as we got in, our 2-hour parking ran out, so when we were done we had to rush over to the car and move it to a different parking place. Then we ran some circles looking for a place for lunch, and then a place to pay that parking ticket from the night before. The bank that we went to to pay it didn't take payment by card, so that made it a bit of a hassle. A few hours later we got back in the car and headed out in the direction of Celje. A few hours later we were passing Zagreb, and needed food again because we're human beings. So we used the GPS to try and find food, and it was another huge runaround for some reason. Since our phone was from Slovenia and paying for parking is by texting, I couldn't get our phone to pay for parking, but I asked one of the Zagreb missionaries to text in the parking for us. We had dinner at a food court at some huge mall, I burned my tongue on my food, and then we went back to the car to find another parking ticket. Apparently the parking guy got to our car before the text came in from the other missionary to pay for it. Nice. That means that I got two parking tickets in the capitol cities of two different countries in less than 24 hours. Then we drove to Celje, dropped off my stuff at the apartment, and gave the car key back to the Monsons. Celje is decorated pretty well for Christmas.

Me, Elder Love, and Elder Christensen in Belgrade.
On Thursday we bought groceries and did transfer planning, and that kind of thing. Just before English Conversation Group, we all had some cake that someone brought because it was someone's birthday, and then after ECG we had a branch choir practice to prepare for the program for Saturday.

Friday morning we did some calls and sent some texts to try to get some lessons set up, and then went and looked up some church members' addresses so we could deliver some Christmas cards from the church. After lunch we went to deliver all those cards, and of course since people are spread out through the whole city, we ended up walking a big loop around almost the entire city. A little bit later we set up a table in front of the church and put up a TV to play some Christmas videos as we handed out Christmas cards. After that we had branch choir practice in preparation for the Christmas program, and then Elder Love and I finished the day with language study.

On Saturday morning we again set up the table and TV in front of the church, and I think it was again successful. We had curry for lunch, then companionship study before we went to do some classic contacting. It was interesting though, since now there's not a companionship of sisters in the city, we can go into their half of the city. Then we went to the church early to help set up and prepare for the Christmas program for that night. Just before the whole thing started, we had a fairly short lesson with "Mary". Yes, this is the same "Mary" from when I was last in Celje. She seems to be doing really well. She knows she wants to get baptized, but just doesn't know when, and she doesn't feel like it's right now. Then we all went in and had our Christmas concert/program, and it was wonderful. Someone played a different version of Jingle Bells on piano, at that was really good. We of course also had some choir pieces where I was accompanying, and I also did 2 short pieces on accordion. A lot of people came, both members of the church and not, and it was great to get to see a bunch of people that I know. There were of course cookies and such, and people stayed around to talk a bit, and everyone seemed to really like it.

Christmas decorations in Celje, Slovenia.
Sunday we of course had church, and some members came that didn't come a whole lot while I was here last time, so it was great to seem them come. I actually also blessed the Sacrament for the first time in Slovene. Usually local members do it here in Celje. For the second part of church, Elder Love and I went with a local member to help with the primary class, since the regular teacher was home sick. It was kinda crazy, but we managed to handle them by playing some videos of the Nativity and talking about it, and singing some songs together. Once we got home we of course did weekly planning and such, and then went to the Monsons' for our Christmas Eve dinner, and since we had the evening off as approved by our mission president, we stayed to play some games with them.

Our little Christmas tree and a few gifts from home.
Monday was Christmas! But you probably knew that. First thing, Elder Love and I opened some packages and letters from home marked as "do not open until Christmas", and then a bit later went over to the Monsons' for breakfast. The rest of the zone came too. So, we had all 12 junior missionaries, all 4 senior missionaries, and then President and Sister Melonakos both came, along with their daughter. It was really great to see all those missionary friends of mine, plus some new ones that I hadn't met yet because they just got to Slovenia in the 2 months since I left. 

Fun with missionary friends on Christmas.
Anyway, we all had breakfast, watched "The Best Two Years" (with permission), played some games, had lunch, and of course all Skyped our families. There was a little bit of confusion on times for Skyping and such, but it all turned out fine, of course. It was obviously really good to get to talk with my family, even if for just 40 minutes. While some other people were Skyping, some of us played some more games, shared some family photos, etc. I really like being with other missionaries like that. After dinner and some more games, we all went into the center of town where they have the lights and big Christmas trees and little booths for the Christmas market and we all just explored a bit and took some photos before people had to leave. Once the other missionaries left, we helped the Monsons clean up a bit and then went home. It was a pretty good Christmas.

Skyping with my family in Loveland, Ohio on Christmas.
Yesterday morning (Tuesday this time) I made an agenda for district meeting for the first time ever, since this is the first time I've ever been a district leader (our district is comprised of me, Elder Love, and the Monsons). We planned a lesson, then had lunch and district meeting. At the end, Elder Monson drove us over to our lesson that we had scheduled with a member, and came with us. Even though it was kinda short, I think the member really appreciated it since he has a hard time walking or getting much of anywhere because of that. He had a bowl of these things that were basically mini cheese puffs, but flavored like peanuts instead of cheese, and as we left he insisted that we each take a fistful "for the road". Elder Love gave me us as soon as we got out the door. After Elder Monson drove us back to the main part of town, Elder Love and I went contacting some before English Conversation Group. Then no one came to English, since it was apparently the Slovene day of Independence and Unity (not to mention the day after Christmas). So after taking care of some business in the church, we went contacting again. One guy who we tried talking to said "I'm a Bosnian" and kept walking, so I took a few steps with him as I said (in Bosnian) that I could speak Bosnian. He stopped for a few seconds, but he wasn't interested after all. We did run into one guy that stopped and kinda debated with us for a few minutes, but was willing to take a copy of The Book of Mormon plus a pamphlet, so that's good. Then we got dinner at the Kebab stand and went home for language study.

Today we've done some contacting and emailing so far, and I also got a long over-due haircut. Like always, my language skills fell out of my pocket on the way into the haircut place.

Your homework for this week is to find a chapter in The Book of Mormon or the Bible that talks about Christ. Now, that shouldn't be too hard, but then you also have to read it and try to learn something new from it ;) Enjoy!

Here are a few pictures. Most of them are from Celje, but the one with Elder Love (and Elder Christensen) was actually in Belgrade. Have a great week! Merry Christmas!
Elder Ryan Echols
Adriatic North Mission
Svačićev Trg 3/1
HR-10000 Zagreb