Elder Echols

Elder Echols

Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 18: A New Companion and Some Crazy Dogs

Hello Everyone!

As you heard about last week, I got a new companion on Tuesday! Again, his name is Elder Osborn. Elder Jex and I drove up to Belgrade on Tuesday morning, I left him there, and brought Elder Osborn back in his place. The rest of the day we did some planning, and had English Conversation Group, like normal.

Elder Jex waving...I'm sure I'll see him whenever we go to Belgrade.
Wednesday we got to work, of course, talking to people on the street for most of the day. We had a lesson fall through. I made a breakfast burrito for my dinner. Nothing else too interesting happened.

Thursday we had a member lesson scheduled at the church, but as we were getting there we encountered him on the street near the church, and he said there were some dogs, and to come see, while looking worried. We get there to the church gate, and there are two large angry dogs in the church's yard, barking at us. We knew they belonged to the blind guy who lives next door, though, so we went and knocked on his window. He opens it after a bit, we inform him of the issue, and he says his not-blind wife isn't home, but that he'll come get the dogs onto their leashes. These are pretty big dogs, btw. We lead our blind neighbor over to the church's gate and show him in. As we're trying to guide him to the dogs that trust him, the dogs are growling at us and looking like they're going to attack us. So, we backed off and let our neighbor do his thing. We tried to direct him  from a distance to where the dogs were in the yard, but it most definitely didn't work. Eventually the dogs crawled back through the hole in the fence from whence they came, and we led our neighbor back to his house. Since then, the hole in the fence seeems to have been blocked off from their side, but we're still wary of vicious dogs as we arrive to the church each time.

Friday was just the regular thing, going contacting on the street. Though, we did talk to two people that said they'd like to meet up with us again! That's a first for me. Later that night we volunteered at American Corner like usual to help local students practice speaking English.

Me and Elder Jex at American Corner
Saturday we helped plan our branch Family Home Evening that'll be tonight, and then finally got a chance to go clean the muddy paw-prints that were all over the church's very large porch (from when the dogs invaded). After that, we had a lesson with our investigator that seems closest to being ready to be baptized. We still have some work there, but she'd be an awesome addition to the Novi Sad branch, and we love helping her build her faith. Shortly after that lesson we had it scheduled to have a lesson with one of the two people from Friday that agreed to meet up with us. He didn't show up.

Yesterday, Sunday we had church like usual. President McAlpin gave the talk in sacrament meeting, and it was pretty touching. He told some stories/parables about how we can be more loving and serve others, as this Christmas season ought to remind us, as well as about how loving of an act it was for our Father in heaven to send his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, in order to save all of us from sin and death. "O How Great the Plan of Our God!"

After church we got Elder Osborn set up in the computer system, and then a bit later had dinner at the McAlpins' like usual. Really good food, like always. But, this time the McAlpins had invited a married Serbian couple that they know through their humanitarian work. It was really great to have them there. I love getting to talk to people of other faiths who are doing such great work too.

Later that night, once we'd returned home, we ended up listening to multiple talks by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. He's such a good speaker. I noticed as we listened to those talks that many of them are about the hopeless, and how Christ has felt their despair, and how we ought to never fear, but rather take up hope and just keep trying. He gives such hope, such courage, and such reassurance when he talks about the loving but impossibly difficult path that the Savior walked for us, so that we never need be alone. I know that God, our Heavenly Father, loves us more than we can imagine, and that's why he sent Christ to be our Savior and Redeemer. He understands every pain, both spiritual and physical, that we ever will experience. If we turn to Him, we allow Him to help us through difficult times. I invite you to learn of Him, and thus find hope and peace even in hard times.

So, your homework is to listen to None Were With Him, by Elder Holland. Share it with your friends and family, too.

Thanks for all of your support! Have a great week.
Elder Ryan Echols
Adriatic North Mission
Svačićev Trg 3/1
HR-10000 Zagreb

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