Elder Echols

Elder Echols

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 17: Floating Lanterns and Transfer Announcements

Hello friends and family!

This week we didn't have many big things happen (except for transfer announcements), but we had plenty of little interesting things. As for transfers, since those are always exciting... I'm staying in Novi Sad! Elder Jex isn't, though. He's switching places with Elder Osborn, who's currently one of the zone leaders in Belgrade/Београд. Elder Osborn has served here in Novi Sad before, and a lot of the people here are excited for him to return tomorrow. I'm excited too.

On Tuesday for lunch we made MONSTROUS burgers. If I remember correctly, they were each a pound of ground beef. We had them with bacon, on Lepinja (the closest thing to buns over here). Quality meal. Later that night we taught some beginning English, and then had our regular English Conversation Group (ECG) with the more advanced English-learners.

Enjoying Class
Wednesday, we baked a pair of apple pies (in preparation for ECG the next day). We didn't have entirely appropriate pie-tins, but we made do with a small cake pan and also a bundt pan...they turned out pretty well.

Thursday, we got transfer announcements! Once again, I'm staying here but getting Elder Osborn for a new companion. Later in the day we had a lesson with one of the members, and he was a bit hungry. All we had there at the church, though, were tomatoes. And salt. So he ate diced tomatoes... with salt. About 5 tomatoes, btw. Of course we also had ECG that night, and treated them to apple pie. They were all pretty sad when they found out that Elder Jex was leaving.

On Friday I got my first Visa! In this mission, having 5 countries, the missionaries collect quite a number of visas and border stamps in their passports. We're the MUP's best customers (MUP = police station thing where you can get visas).

Later on, we met up with someone to show them a bit about FamilySearch. Since I didn't understand any of what he or Elder Jex were saying, and there are two computers here in the Family History Center at the church, I used the other computer to try and figure out how to do my own research (all I've known how to do before is merge duplicates...). And I figured it out! I learned how to search old records that they have in a big database and use that to fill in blanks in my family tree. I found a few people that had clear records from a census, but who didn't exist in the family tree system. Family History is pretty fun, actually. I'd highly recommend looking into it.

Lastly on Friday, after volunteering at American Corner (help students practice speaking English), we went into Centar where there was a little bit of a fair. They have a bunch of Christmas lights hanging across the squares there. We bought some delicious dough-cylinder things that are apparently called "Kürtőskalács". 

They're Hungarian I guess, so I don't exactly know how to say that name either =P They tasted excellent, though.

Yesterday, Sunday, we had dinner at the McAlpins', who have a window facing the river. As we were there, a group of people at the riverfront started lighting floating lanterns and sending them off. It was really quite a sight. As the first ones got further away and new ones were lit, you could see them like a trail of orange stars following the wind. I really like the Christmas season.

Your homework this week is to read 3 Nephi 12, and keep track of Principles and Promises. We taught Sunday School on this yesterday. With every Principle we can keep, there is a Promise given with it. As it says in Doctrine & Covenants 130:20-21, "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." This means that IF you want blessings, THEN you have to live the associated principle. IF you live a certain principle, THEN you will receive the associated blessing (for my mathematically minded friends, this is obviously a biconditional statement, and thus the two things are logically equivalent). So anyway, go through that chapter, and watch for these associated Principles and Promises. If there are any Promises listed that you want, begin living the associated Principle.

Principles and Promises like this are everywhere throughout holy scripture. Keep an eye out for them. I know as you live according to good principles, you will have more joy in life.

Also, we decorated the apartment for Christmas. Here's a photo of our tree ;)

Window Cling Christmas Tree...easy to pack up and put away later!
Have an awesome week!
Elder Ryan Echols
Adriatic North Mission
Svačićev Trg 3/1
HR-10000 Zagreb

A little note from Ryan's Mom:
Elder Echols and Elder Jex apparently had fun taking silly pictures this week that make you think twice about how gravity works. See pictures below. I'm so glad these two have enjoyed being companions!

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