Elder Echols

Elder Echols

Monday, January 30, 2017

Week 24: Contacting, Chili, and A New Schedule

Hello everyone!

This week was a lot closer to a normal week than last week seemed to be. Sometimes it's hard to know what to think of as a regular week, though. In any case, we did a lot of contacting this week, and a lot of it seemed pretty successful; a lot more people were willing to set up a different time to meet than there usually are. However, on the other end of things, a whole lot of lessons we had scheduled ended up falling through. Just gotta keep working.

On Monday, after emailing last time, Elder Palmer and I explored Baščaršija, as I think it's called. It's a super old part of town that is now just a bunch of markets, street vendors, and stores. It's quite an interesting place. We also stopped by the bridge where WWI started. Sarajevo seems to have some pretty rich history. I've also been generally learning about the Seige of Sarajevo that happened in the 90's during the Yugoslav wars. Sarajevo was surrounded by enemy forces for 4 years or so, and plenty of the people here remember it for themselves. Anyway, later Monday night, Elders Hillock and Perry showed up from Banja Luka to stay the night and finish up the exchange.

Assassin's Bridge, where Franz Ferdinand was shot, thus starting WWI
A Local Museum
On Tuesday, I finally exchanged all of my Serbian money (Dinar) for Bosnian currency (Marks). We did a lot of phone calls to try and get into contact with old investigators who had vanished for no specific reason. That night we also had ECG, and it was pretty great. I like the group here already.

Wednesday was pretty much just contacting until the night. We've been getting a fair amount of new investigators this week, so that's nice. We haven't been able to meet up with any of them yet, for one reason or another.

That night we went over to the Newtons', as also the sisters and the Tuzla Elders, so that we could all watch the worldwide missionary broadcast. The Newtons fed us all Cincinnati style chili for dinner before the broadcast, though, and that was pretty great. It's always nice when we get fed. 

Enjoying Cincinnati-style Chili. Thank you Newtons!!
I tried it both ways: on spaghetti, and on a hot dog
As for the broadcast itself, it was really good too. They talked a lot about our purpose as missionaries and how to fulfill it, but as I'd suspect some of you have already heard about, they also announced a worldwide change to the daily missionary schedule, as well as what "key indicators" we use in our work. We'll start using this new schedule on Wednesday, if I understand correctly, and the new key indicators are already in use. I definitely thing these new changes are going to be good. The schedule is more flexible to individual circumstances, and I think it'll help people be more productive with their time.

Taking notes during the broadcast
After the broadcast, our whole mission had a big Skype call together to talk about it a little bit, and answer questions that anyone had. We also had a little devotional of sorts just amongst ourselves there at the Newtons.

Waving "hello" to the other missionaries during our Skype call
Thursday was more contacting, and then some tracting later on in the day. The tracting was hard though, since the tall apartment buildings we were planning on tracting were pretty hard to get into. Typically you would just buzz the intercom and someone would let you in, but this time was unusually difficult to find someone on the intercoms to let us in.

That night we also had ECG, and then went contacting more after dinner. We only had about 15 minutes though, and I think typically that time would just get lost as transition time, but thanks to Elder Perry, we used it for more contacting. And guess what? We actually talked to someone who was willing to talk to us and set up to meet another time! I believe that was a blessing for using even that small bit of time wisely.

Friday, we did more contacting, more lessons fell through, and we had the landlord fix our washing machine. To je to.

Saturday, we cleaned the church, and then went with the Newtons to do service up at a therapeutic horseback riding place. Unfortunately, our service there had to be cancelled, so we just had to head back. From there we, with the Newtons, visited a member that's been in a rough spot recently, and took him to lunch. We finished out the day with more street contacting and more cancelled lessons.

As for yesterday, Sunday, I got to play piano for sacrament meeting again. It's nice to get to play every now and then, even if it's just once a week. For Sunday school, Elder Perry taught in English, and I translated into Bosnian. Or maybe I should say that I tried to, haha. It was pretty fun, though.

After church we did more contacting (surprise? haha) and then got fed dinner along with the sisters at a member home! That was pretty darn good food, I have to say. I really appreciate getting to know the members. And, not just so that we have a better chance of getting fed at some point ;) Talking with members is a great way to see how this gospel really does affect lives and what good it does for both families and individuals.

Your homework for this week is to read Mormon chapter 9, which talks about miracles, and why some people might say that miracles have stopped. God never changes, and he's done miracles in the past, so why wouldn't he do miracles now? Because people change. Read the chapter to find out more ;) but I do know that miracles still do happen. Ask anyone that's gone on a mission, and they'll certainly have a story to tell. I'm only a 5th the way through my mission and I've seen a few small ones. Imajte vjeru.

That's it for this week. Here's a photo of a busted payphone, too "Molim? Ne mogu da vas čujem." Also, a picture of me in front of the bridge where WWI apparently started (Assassin's Bridge).

I guess no one uses pay phones here, either.
Sarajevo has lots of historical sites, like this bridge where WWI started

Have a great week!
Elder Ryan Echols
Adriatic North Mission
Svačićev Trg 3/1
HR-10000 Zagreb

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