Elder Echols

Elder Echols

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Week 28: A Jumprope, and Attack of the ECG

Hello Dear Audience,

As always, I hope you've all been doing well. This week was fairly regular, but there definitely were a few peculiar things. Good peculiar things. Like, our English Conversation Group attendance spontaneously tripling in number. But I'll get to that later ;)

On Monday after email last time, Elder Perry and I got dinner and then went to BBI, the mall of sorts here in the center of town. Our intent was to buy a jump rope for morning exercise, as well as to buy groceries, but we ended up buying some ice cream and using the massage chairs on our way to the sports store. That was pretty relaxing.

On Tuesday we did more contacting, of course, and we did find a guy that seemed really interested in The Book of Mormon and how we're different from other Christians. Also, for lunch we made proper tacos, and that was pretty great. We also had a lesson with our recent convert.

Now, on the ECG. The 48 hours or so preceding this session of conversation group, we had been getting absurd quantities of phone calls of people asking about it, confirming when it was, etc. When people started filing in on Tuesday night, they hardly stopped coming. Typically we have about 12 participants come in total, but like I said earlier, it pretty much tripled, and we ended up with a whole 38 that time. I have no idea where that came from, but it was great. We had to separate into more than just our typical beginner and advanced groups. Really quite fun.

After ECG, we had a lesson, then headed home. For dinner we tried ordering pizza, but as Elder Perry asked over the phone what kind of pizzas they had, the guy taking the order must've said something like "ok no problem we'll be there in 20 minutes" and then hung up, because we didn't actually know what kind of pizza we had ordered. But, 20 minutes later we had a pizza, so we were fine with the situation =P

On Wednesday morning we had a big video call with all the district leaders (and their companions like me) from across the mission. That was pretty fun. After lunch we had a lesson with a Bible-scholar type guy that's a Catholic. He even brought a Greek copy of the New Testament with him, and that was super cool. Usually that kind of meeting would end up just in pointless arguing from both sides I think, but we set some ground rules at the very start, and I think the outcome was positive. At the very least, I understand Catholics better, and I think he also understands the LDS faith better now.

Thursday was plenty of contacting. For lunch we found this hidden little "fast food" place in a secret little courtyard, and ate it in the park nearby since the weather was nice. That was a pretty darn good burger, btw. Secret food places are the best. Later on we also had district meeting, and ECG again. This time the attendance was only 24, not 38, but that's still double from what we usually have, so I'm not complaining. Having a lot of people is pretty fun. For dinner, Elder Perry and I tried making French Toast, but it didn't really work terribly well. I blame it on how different the bread is ;) It still tasted pretty ok though.

Friday was just a lot of contacting, and two lessons that dropped on us (meaning even more contacting). This week we met a Baptist whose parents are Muslim and Orthodox, a guy that was stuck here in Sarajevo (a train ride away from home), a guy with an earring depicting a leaf of Weed, a Jehovah's Witness that invited us to come to their church (#reverseContacted, #props), a Catholic or two, and plenty of atheists and Muslims (those two seem to be quite the majority around here). For lunch we got pizza from Montana's and ate it by the river, since it hadn't started raining yet. Btw, it rained just a very small amount later in the evening.

Montana's Pizza Poster. Their pizza is pretty good!
Speaking of the weather, when we woke up on Saturday there was more snow dumped all over the city. The weather just keeps flopping back and forth between sunny and warm, then cloudy and snowy. As we left the apartment for the day, our cat friend was waiting outside the door to say hello to us. We did some contacting like always, but we also had a second lesson. This guy is pretty cool, and seems to clearly recognize that we have something special that he should make time for.

Our cat friend waiting for us in the snow.
At the end of the day, we had a lesson set up (but we didn't manage to get a confirmation out of him, so we didn't know if it was going to work out) and set out to the address he gave us. It was kinda hard to find his particular house number, though, and there were some kinda sketchy-looking alleys involved, but we eventually found the right apartment door. Though, we didn't know which buzzer to push. But, by some miracle, we got let into the building on the second buzzer we tried. By another miracle, we didn't get kicked out. As we tracted the building, we eventually found his Mom, who told us that he had already gone out for the night, but we of course arranged to come back soon.

Sunday we had CHURCH! Church is always great. Later in the day we had some lessons scheduled, but nothing came through. We tracted another sketchy apartment building, and we did some planning. The end.

Me playing the piano for church
Today, Monday, we got haircuts and did our emails and everything and the weather is back to being really awesome. I don't think the weather around here ever knows what it's doing with itself, but that's ok.

Your homework for this week is to read Hebrews 12, which talks about how hard times help us improve. Sometimes we need to be chastened in order to grow.

Have an awesome week! Keep up whatever hard work it is that you're doing.
Elder Ryan Echols
Adriatic North Mission
Svačićev Trg 3/1
HR-10000 Zagreb

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