Elder Echols

Elder Echols

Monday, May 8, 2017

Week 38: Copies of the Book of Mormon, and Cafe Rio

Well everybody, welcome back to the Elder Echols Chronicles. I hope you all have had a good week recently, and that the weather is good wherever you are. Right now in Sarajevo, it's raining. But I guess that's ok.

So, last Monday after emailing, we went to get Sister McColm her first portion of ćevapi, and she really liked it (success!). From there we went around the tourist-y part of the city and saw some cool stuff, such as the Gradska Vijećnica. The Vijećnica is an old, triangular, striped building, and it looks really cool. It has some cool history, and the architecture is sick.

Me in front of the Vijećnica
Beautiful Architecture
On Tuesday we had a really good lesson with one of the people we talked to on Monday morning. He was really open, told us his story, and we taught the restoration. After that we read 3 Nephi 11 together, and he said that he felt a sense of relief or ease from reading it. It's interesting how powerful it is to simply read The Book of Mormon for the first time with an open heart. If you haven't read it yet, you should. After that we did some contacting and the usual stuff, and then went to visit our recent convert and his friend that he'd taken to church. It was just a short visit, but really good. That night for ECG, only 2 people came. People were mostly still in holiday mode, I guess.

On Wednesday we had district meeting, a lesson with an investigator about The Book of Mormon, and then we had to take care of some stuff with our land-lady. But, we got her to take a copy of The Book of Mormon! That night we got ditched on some more lessons, and did some tracting. During our tracting, we got firmly advised to read the Kur'an. Honestly, it was already in my plans.

Thursday was May 4th, as in, "May the 4th be with you". Happy Birthday, Elder Ralph! Anyway, we had a lesson with our investigator that we'd recently put on baptismal date, and talked about getting him to stop smoking. We put a plan together, and talked about the Gospel. After that we had some other lessons ditch, had video call interviews with President Grant, did some more tracting, had some more lessons ditch, and then had ECG. Thankfully the main crowd was back, since the holiday was pretty much over by then.

On Friday we headed out with the Newtons for Banja Luka to go to zone conference. In total it's something like a 4 hour drive, but on the way there we went a bit out of our way to visit the self-referral that we'd gotten. What a cool guy. Apparently he'd somehow received a Croatian copy of The Book of Mormon about 10 years ago and read it all the way through. That was something like 6 years before there were missionaries in Bosnia, though. A bit further in our trip to get to Banja Luka, we stopped for lunch at a place called Jajce. They had these cool little hut things sitting on mountain streams that are water-powered grain mills. Also, the restaurant we had lunch at was right on a lake, and it was a great view.

Me in front of the lake where the restaurant was.
Old Grain Mills at Jajce
Once we got to Banja Luka, Elder King and I helped the STLs and ZLs prepare some food for zone conference.

Saturday was zone conference! Like always, it was great to see other missionaries again. The presentations were good, and the food at lunch was awesome, haha. It was "Café Rio" food, except that there's no Café Rio around here. So, it was BBQ pulled pork burritos, pretty much. Also, Elder Evans brought some Australian spring rolls, I guess they were. Some people started joking around that they were made from Kangaroo meat, so people started just calling them Kangaroo Rolls. Plus there were some of Sister Newton's highly reputable cinnamon rolls. Also, we were reminded that neither "Books of Mormon" nor "Book of Mormons" are the proper way to put "The Book of Mormon" in plural. It has to be COPIES of The Book of Mormon ;) Thankfully that's not a problem in Bosnian.

Zone Conference in Banja Luka...we are eating Sister Newton's yummy cinnamon rolls
Zone Conference in Banja Luka
On the 5-hour bus ride back to Sarajevo, Sister Martineau started feeling car-sick. Thankfully she was fine. On that bus ride, we all also planned out something cool for this Thursday's ECG. No spoilers though, haha. When Elder King and I started heading home from the bus station in Sarajevo, we discovered a young lady from South Korea trying to get directions from a taxi driver. We talked to her to help a bit, and it turns out her destination was very close to our apartment, so we just showed her to the tram and also where to get off. Apparently her name was Taijung, but as I assume is the case with all Korean names, her name had some particular tones to go with it. I tried saying the tones, and I think I got it right after a few tries (shout out to anyone learning a language with tones). Apparently she was just doing some travels between semesters of school in the UK, or something like that. She was thankful for the help, we gave her a card, she bowed to us, and it was really great to be able to help someone.

Can you guess what was on Sunday? Church! Haha. Since it was fast Sunday, we got to hear some really good testimonies. Then Sister McColm taught Sunday school (in Bosnian. she's been here for almost 3 weeks), and Elder King taught for combined Priesthood/Relief Society. After church we planned a bit more with the Sisters for Thursday's special ECG and how to get ready for it. After that Elder King and I did weekly planning, and called some potential investigators to set up lessons.

Your homework for this week is to read Mosiah 4, which is part of King Benjamin's address. It talks a lot about repentance and forgiveness. See what you can learn from it!

That's it for now. Here are a few photos. Some from Jajce, some from the Vijećnica.

Gorgeous Scenery at Jajce
Me and Elder King next to the Grain Mills at Jajce
Elder Ryan Echols
Adriatic North Mission
Svačićev Trg 3/1
HR-10000 Zagreb

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