Elder Echols

Elder Echols

Monday, July 17, 2017

Week 48: FHE, Translation, and Pizza

Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a great summer so far and that the weather is nice wherever you are. Over here it's been going between being barely too hot, and just right. So, no complaints here.

Anyway, last Monday evening we missionaries held a branch Family Home Evening (FHE) activity to start facilitating friendships between members and investigators. We played some games, including crazy Uno, and it was great. The turnout was pretty low, since it was the first time, but the people that did come were one member and one investigator, so I think it was effective anyway. We'll be doing it again this week, but we've had more people say that they're coming already.

On Tuesday we went to an inactive member's house to visit him and his wife who isn't a member. They fed us lunch, and we taught them the Restoration for our spiritual message. After that we contacted, had comp study, had a lesson with our recent convert, got ditched for a different lesson, had dinner, and then ECG. Pretty standard day, I guess. The new investigator that we found was a guy from Holland, and he apparently is here on an internship.

Sarajevo is a beautiful place.
On Wednesday we tried getting some appointments set up with a less-active member or an investigator that lives out of town, but those didn't work out, so we ended up with just district meeting and a lot of finding. We used that large block of finding time to go out to a part of our area that is far enough away from our apartment that it never really gets touched. While we were out there, we happened to discover that there's a place where you can go bowling: in Zetra, the old Olympic Hall. Apparently they've re-purposed the place into a recreational center of sorts. We're definitely going to check that out one of these P-days.
Thursday morning we were supposed to meet a guy for him to fix the AC in the church, but we were kinda late getting there. I guess it's a good thing he was almost two hours late...? A bit later we had a quick park lesson, and then for lunch we had some leftover burritos. Our lesson with our Dutch friend fell through, and his number wasn't working, so we ended up going out to visit that less-active member. It was a pretty good visit, and as some spoilers, he ended up coming to church this week! While we were visiting him, he also told us some good news; pretty soon he and his siblings will be selling their mom's old property and splitting the money, so that'll be enough for him to buy an apartment. That'll be really good, since right now he's pretty much in a homeless shelter that has plenty of mentally unsound residents. It'll be good for him to get out of there.

Sisters Turner, Orchard, and Beus teach the advanced class in our English Conversation Group (ECG).
Anyway, that evening for ECG, we switched groups with the sisters so that we were the ones with the advanced group. That was pretty fun, getting to know those other participants a bit better. After ECG, our newest member and I helped Sister Turner translate an article for the church's Bosnia page, and that was pretty funny. Sister Turner or I would translate a sentence from English into Bosnian, knowing of course precisely what it means in English, and then our native friend would say that it doesn't make sense, but he'd agree that we got the translation right. So, he was basically just complaining about what it said in English, haha.

We see lots of interesting buildings while we are out and about in Sarajevo.
Friday we had a lot of contacting, and contacted down the river a bit to a really good pizza place called Montana's. After we ordered and were waiting, we discovered that they had stuffed crust pizza. So, now we know what we'll be ordering for next time! A bit later in the afternoon, we did a "finding activity" with the sisters. A scavenger hunt of sorts. We each had a list of particular people to find and try to talk to, such as "an old man with an ice cream cone", or "a college-aged couple". It kinda seemed like any time we'd contact a normal person who wasn't specifically on the list, then someone would walk by us that was on the list, while we were busy talking. In any case, the sisters won, and so we bought them popcorn from the movie theater (we might not be able to watch movies, but that doesn't mean we can't walk into the theater and get popcorn, haha). After that we spent some time with our newest member and his girlfriend, so that we can get to be friends with her too. At the end, even though we didn't specifically talk about religion the whole time, she saw the copy of The Book of Mormon that Elder Smith was holding, and asked to see it, asking what it was. He of course explained it to her, let her keep the copy, and she said that she'd read it. Progress!

The streets of Sarajevo at night.
For Saturday, we started off with contacting, and then had a lesson in the afternoon with our newest member, talking about the priesthood. We don't have any details yet, but the plan is for him to receive the priesthood really soon. So, we're excited for that. After that lesson we cleaned the church with the sisters and figured out a special musical number for church. That night after language study we went contacting some more. We met a guy that basically said "I don't really get what you want to talk about when we meet up, but I'm down. Recently I've been having some really bad luck with dating, and maybe you all can help me figure it out" so that was pretty funny. Sadly he had to cancel for the lesson because he was feeling really sick, but we'll get him eventually.

On Sunday I played the piano for a musical number sung by the other missionaries.
On Sunday, we had a visiting family of members come to church. They've been living in London, but are just on vacation right now around the Balkans. One of the sons passed the sacrament, some of the daughters helped with primary, and I sat with some of them during Sunday School to translate for them. It was really great to have them there. They seemed to enjoy getting to see how the church is doing well even way out here so far from any temples or stakes. After church, we missionaries had a bit of lunch together at the church while Elder Smith was waiting for the office to be free and while the sisters were waiting for a lesson. The rest of the day was just kinda planning and the regular stuff.

Have I mentioned how much I like the food here? Look at this dough pocket full of sausage!
The grocery stores have lots of fun snacks
Today we've paid bills and gotten haircuts and gone grocery shopping and looked for printer int, and it's not even 12:00 yet. Adventures yet await.

Your homework for this week is a bit of a correction from last week. I'm pretty sure I mixed up two chapters. I said to read 2 Nephi 2, but that description was actually about 2 Nephi 31. So, whichever of those two chapters you didn't read last week, read this week. Sorry about the confusion!

Have an awesome week and enjoy life! Talk to you next week.
Elder Ryan Echols
Adriatic North Mission
Svačićev Trg 3/1
HR-10000 Zagreb

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