Elder Echols

Elder Echols

Monday, May 15, 2017

Week 39: Atheists, Visas, and Skype

Hello again! Happy Mothers' Day! I hope you all have been enjoying seeing pictures on Facebook of missionaries Skyping their families. Anyway, here's the rundown of the week.

So, last week after email we ended up running into a particular RM from this mission, Elder Morgan, as well as his parents. Evidently they're touring around the mission seeing where he lived for 2 years. Really nice people. After talking with them a bit, we did some more P-day sightseeing, including the Latin Bridge again and the Gradska Vijećnica. We also went up the hill to a cool fort/castle thing, getting lost on the way, and took some pictures from the cool view when we did get there.

The view from up on the hill above Sarajevo
Sarajevo has some beautiful views
On Monday we had a lesson with an atheist former that we'd just called up from the area book. He brought a young friend of his that was studying religious sociology, or something. Tip for lessons: don't have an atheist sitting in on one if you want it to be effective. But after that we had a pretty good lesson with one of our main investigators. He's really close to being ready to be baptized, but right now there's a catch with some stuff about his job. We'll keep working with him.

After that we did some contacting to advertise for our special activity that was going to be on Thursday. While doing that, a discussion with one guy went the direction of ECG very briefly, but then he said that he was more interested in learning about our religion than learning English. That's highly abnormal. We got his number to set up a lesson later. Also, we ran into a girl from America who was just there for a few weeks doing something for work. It's really weird to us when we run into people that speak English natively and without a Slavic accent.

While we were in the church preparing some miscellaneous stuff, a lady just walked in and asked if this was the Mormon church, and then if she could have a copy of The Book of Mormon. We have no idea how she heard about us, but we set up to meet with her. That night for ECG we had somewhat low attendance, but it went quite alright. After it finished, we went with a few of the regulars to get some food at the mall across the street.

On Wednesday we had district meeting, then did a lot of prep for our Thursday activity (is the suspense building yet?) such as printing off 50 copies in Croatian of the introduction to The Book of Mormon and gluing them in the covers of some copies of The Book of Mormon, since the Croatian translation doesn't have the intro. The sisters also colored a poster for us to stick out front to advertise. That evening, Elder King and I went with the Newtons up to the Jahanje (horse-back riding) barn to do service. The weather was great, and so was the view from the mountain.

The Sister Missionaries made this awesome poster to advertise our special event. 
The view from the horse riding area where we do service.

Another view of the horse riding area
Thursday, we did a little bit of stuff for Elder King's visa, and then did more work getting ready for the activity we were having that night. The schedule that day was kinda crazy, especially with the sisters needing to travel to finish up their exchanges, but everything worked out. So, the activity we did was called "Upoznajte Mormone" which means "Meet the Mormons"! We invited the branch and everyone from our English Conversation Group and a bunch of people from the street. We the missionaries gave a presentation of sorts on who we are, why we're here, some basic beliefs of ours, etc, and gave everyone a copy of The Book of Mormon (with an introduction glued in). After the presentation thing, we had dessert and time to just talk and answer questions if people had any. A fair number of people showed up, but it could've been better (of course). Anyway, now there are more people that know anything about what we believe in and have a copy of The Book of Mormon.

Sister Martineau on the hill overlooking Sarajevo
On Friday morning we went to do a whole bunch of visa work for Elder King, and the sisters were there too since Sister McColm needs her visa too. We had to get some stuff notarized and have their blood tested and whatever else, but it wasn't really too bad. After that when we got lunch, I somehow got the lady at the Burgdžinica to break my 100 Mark bill, when it only cost 3 Marks. #missionaryMiracles.

Shortly after that we had a lesson with that guy from a few days before who'd said he was more interested in our religion than English. The only problem, though, was that we had to meet him at a cafić. Those are places where people chill and drink coffee and smoke for hours at a time, and they're generally really noisy. So, not too great for a lesson. It was alright, though.

Later that day we went to visit a part-member couple as a surprise. If you tell them you're coming over, she'll prepare an entire meal, and it's hard to teach anything while you're eating. Even though we came unannounced, she still somehow had some home-made strawberry cake thing to give us, plus home-made currant juice (everything at their place is home-made).

On Saturday we started off by cleaning the church. There was a giant cockroach that Elder King found, then sprayed with bug poison. We watched it die. After cleaning, we got ditched for a lesson, then had lunch at Woki. We did some regular contacting, and found a sassy new investigator. He was the kind of person that, when asked something like, "Can I help you with that?", he'd respond with something like "I don't know, CAN you?" and it was pretty darn funny. After contacting we did weekly planning.

On Sunday, yesterday, we had church like we always do, and it was great. After church we did a whole bunch of phone calls and got 7 potential investigators to agree to meet up with us. So, that was remarkable. Then we went over to the Woods' place to Skype for Mother's Day! That was pretty great. The Woods also fed us an dinner, American style. Double awesome.

Your homework is to read 2 Nephi 21 and 22. They're some of the chapters that are quoted from Isaiah, so you could also read them as Isaiah 11 and 12, if you so desire. Isn't it interesting that prophets quote each other? It's almost like they're a reliable source or something...

That's all for this week, folks! Have a great week!

Elder Ryan Echols
Adriatic North Mission
Svačićev Trg 3/1
HR-10000 Zagreb

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