Sunday, January 25, 2015

January in Podgorica, Montenegro

                Christmas this year was never-ending.  The celebraions went on until January 12.  We will be glad to see all the decorations go.                                                  

This was a very unique Christmas tree made from plastic bottles.  Kind of funny looking during the day, but not so bad lit up at night.   (Millenial Most in the background)

The big Orthodox temple on January 6 (Christmas Eve).  Hundreds of people were all over the temple grounds and kids were lighting firecrackers and throwing them everywhere.  There was a big video screen in the front.  Needless to say, we didn't stay around very long

Off to the side of the temple, everyone was throwing their oak branches into a huge bonfire.  We didn't want to go onto the temple grounds, so the fire is from a distance.

On Monday, December 29, Alan (with permission from President Grant if Alan drove) took the four Elders to the Albanian border to exit and re-enter the country for white card purposes.  Everything was going fine until they came to a narrow bridge.  After Alan had started across, a delivery van decided to cross from the opposite direction.  Of course, there was not room for both vehicles.  Needless to say, we ended up with a nice white stripe down the driver's side of the car.

Because of winds and cold temperatures for a week, we had been spending our days inside doing office work.  By about January 8, we had a bad case of cabin fever and decided to go for a drive.  South of Podgorica is this beautiful large lake called Lake Skadar.  Huge mountains rise from the shores.  It looks like it will be beautiful in the Spring.

This cute little fishing village was in a cove of the lake.  Unfortuately, the road was narrow and their was no place to pull off and take a picture.

Elder and Sister Sharpe, the Welfare Area Specialists from Frankfurt, Germany, came on January 15.   They spend five days visiting Podgorica, getting to know us, and training us in our responsibilities as Welfare Service Missionaries.  What a wonderful couple they are and, what a delight it was to spend time with them.  The weather was beautiful the first two days they were here, then it turned cool and stormy.  Elder Sharpe and Elder Taylor don't look too cold.

These ruins are called Duklja.  They date from 1 AD to 300 AD.  It was inhabited by Illyrian tribes and eventually destroyed by other tribes and earthquakes.  It was quite a large, intricate settlement.  The stone work and carving is amazing.  This is where Elder Russel M. Nelsen dedicated the country of Montenegro for missionary work on September 7, 2010.  Sister Sharpe and Sister Taylor were freezing in the cold.

   We are really enjoying our experiences here in Montenegro.  It is a great adventure that we are sharing.

On January 16, we had a "Branch" social and talent show.  This picture was taken before everyone arrived, but we were excited to have about twenty people come.  Rajak, thespecial lady we found in the bakery, is in the pink coat.. Srecko, an investigator is in the black shirt in front.  Marco, one of the English students, is in orange, and Elder Poore (our celebrity juggler) is sitting on the front row.

It was great that Elder Sharpe just happened to bring his flute, so he and Sister Sharpe played a piano/flute duet.  They did a great job without any practice.

Elder Hixon left to go to Novi Sad, Serbia on January 19, and Elder Fisher (Centerville, Utah) came to Podgorica from Novi Sad the same day.