Sunday, April 26, 2015

Happy Spring!

The last few days of March and the first week of April were transfer days for the Adriatic North Mission.
Usually the transfers don't involve us, but we were busy this time with three trips to the airport - one to take Elders to different assignments and two to bring new Elders here to Podgorica.  The four new Elders in Podgorica - Elder Hixon, Elder Uhlig, Elder Trotter and Elder Bennett.

We were also asked by President Grant to deliver one of our Elders to Sarajevo, Bosnia, and his new assignment.  We were excited for the opportunity, but a little nervous about exploring new country.  As you can see by the road behind us, driving anywhere in Montenegro is a challenge.  We actually counted eighty-three tunnels on this trip.  They are a little scary with dripping water from the top and rocks rolling onto the road.  As we entered Bosnia, the road was more like a trail, with hardly room to pass another car.  The drive back to Podgorica from Sarajevo was not so fun.  It rained in the lower areas, but we drove into snow in the top of the mountains.  We were very thankful to arrive safely back in Podgorica.

Downtown Sarajevo - interesting city with new, modern buildings and many old buildings that still show signs of war.

Old narrow streets in Sarajevo.  They are barely wide enough for a car to pass through.

Since arriving in Montenegro, we have been involved in two different hygiene kit projects.  Our second project was for kits to be provided to refugee children throughout Montenegro.  The kits contained shampoo, toothbruses, toothpaste, hand soad, a towel, a brush and comb, nail clippers, crayons and a coloring book which showed good hygiene practices.

Elder and Sister Taylor with their great group of hygiene kits helpers - a little tired, but happy to have been part of a great service project.  Our wonderful team consisted of six missionaries and two investigators.  What a good way to spend a Saturday!

We have been very busy during the month with meetings and visits and writing projects.  We have traveled from one end of Montenegro to the other.  During our trip to Pljevlja, we crossed the Tara Bridge which is 163 meters high and is a very famous bridge in Europe.  It spans the deep gorge of the Tara River.

Because of several meetings that we had scheduled for our visit to Pljevlja, we spent the night.  We could see this view of a shepherd with his sheep from our hotel window.

While in Pljevlja, we helped the Red Cross deliver our hygiene kits to a group of Roma children.  Our translator, Jovan, loved being with the children as much as we did.

On our return trip to Podgorica, we passed this beautiful little village by a crystal, clear river.  In the background on the hill is a step ditch bringing water down the mountain.

We visited the Municipality of Berane, where we helped UNHCR distribute more of our hygiene kits to a camp of Roma.

The children at the camp in Berane.  They loved having their pictures taken.  It's amazing how children are the same wherever they live, no matter their circumstances. They love to have fun and laugh and have someone notice them.

When we arrived in Podgorica, these rocky mountains were bare and gray.  Now they have green bushes and trees growing around and on them. What a difference it makes!

One of Montenegro's fun roads to drive on.  We're still trying to figure out how plants and trees can grow out of solid rock.

This is our view every time we cross the Moraca River going and coming from church, doing business on the other side of the river, or just out for our walk.

Our "garden" on the balcony.  It's not quite the same as the big veggie and flower gardens at home, but it's the best that we can do in limited space.  It's amazing how well plants grow in this climate.  We will enjoy this through the summer and into the fall.  It helps us to feel like we're not in the middle of a big city.

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