Hello! This is P.J.'s mom. We received word that he is now allowed to receive e-mail from anyone who wants to drop a line. I don't know if I should publish it on-line, but it is on his FB somewhere. Let me know if you want his e-mail and I will be happy to e-mail it to you. He would love to hear from family and friends! He is only allowed to respond on his p-days which are Mondays. Have a great week!
Friday, May 3, 2013
Sorry...this is going to be a lame email....
I got sick sometime about a week ago with a sore throat, and it knocked me out a bit. I had a bit of a nasty cold. My throat was super sore and it hurt to swallow and I was coughing up a lung every hour. Well, if that wasn't enough, I managed to catch pink eye some how. But it never got that bad. I got some eye drops from Elder Winters and they took care of the pink eye. I got some sort of cough medicine pills from a pharmacy here....it didn’t work so well. My throat doesn't hurt anymore, but every now and then, I have weird coughing fits. Like right in the middle of church yesterday....
Speaking of church yesterday, we had one person there, V, the member. We started and it was just us missionaries, which was kind of weird, but then V showed up during the opening song. So that was good. We had church in English yesterday and even sang in English. It had been over a year since I had that. It was kind of nice.
So one more thing about being sick. Elder C and I were planning for something the other day around 3 o'clock pm, and I just couldn't do it, so I told him that I needed to lie down for a few minutes....He was nice and let me sleep. I woke up at 7....and went back to bed at 10:30 without a problem. I actually felt kind of awake the next morning.
That bites that Mollie was sick during spring break. I hope she feels better. Tell her that I can wait a week to hear from her.
So that's pretty exciting for the Greer family. It feels like that was a fast pregnancy on my side over here......sorry. I had to try and rub it in ;). I hope the baby is nice and happy.
That's cool about the mission calls. Brent is like freakin' Hannah Montana. He's got the best of both worlds....Foreign and English speaking!!
So on Tuesday, we had a Mormon Night at the church (room). Since we keep religion out of our English classes here (no spiritual thoughts or prayers), we decided that it would be a good idea to talk about what we do here as missionaries and talk a little about the church and stuff in a manner that we could invite students and other people without it being weird. So we had an hour meeting where we talked about ourselves, the importance of families, the Winters' humanitarian work, the Book of Mormon, our missionary work, and we watched the 20 minute restoration movie. It was really good. We had questions and answers at the end, and people were super curious about temples and why they couldn't go in. It was kind of funny. We got some good responses though. One kid who's like 18 was really impressed and wanted a Book of Mormon and wanted all of us to sign it. He just really liked the way we presented things. The other elders are going to be meeting with him.
So the weather here has been nice, until a few days ago when it started snowing. We also had a cold front, so it stuck. It was in the teens here. We got about 6-8 inches, but it's all pretty much gone now. It was a mess walking through town. And freaking cold.
Another exciting thing from this week....We had to get medical exams for our visas here. We had to get blood drawn, do a urine sample, get a chest x ray, get blood pressure done, and then have an "evaluation" from a psychologist and a psychiatrist. The mental exams were the worst part. All they did was ask if everything was fine, and if you say yes, they just sign it. As a mental health professional, don't crazy people usually think they're fine?
So to answer your questions:
1. Do the missionaries have to pay for detergent and fabric softener?
When you go to the MTC, you receive an id card that gets $5 a week for elders and $7 a week for sisters....Everyone always said that the two extra dollars was for "makeup and stuff....." (the words of Brat Johnson. We were just kidding when we asked him why girls get more money than the guys) And that's plenty. Since she's only there for 12 days, I would suggest just buying the single Tide boxes from the vending machine in the laundry room instead of buying a box of detergent. It's like 50 cents per "serving" or whatever you want to call one load's worth. So ya. You can usually just find fabric softener in the laundry room. Other people just leave what they have when they leave, so if you're a good scrounger, you can find stuff.
2. Do the missionaries have to pay to do laundry?
You slide the card, but it doesn't charge you. So no, you don't pay for laundry.
3. Do you really need to take hangers with you on a mission?
You can buy them at the MTC if you don't take them. That's what I had to do.
4. Does the MTC have hangers?
Ya, for sale in the bookstore, but I didn't get to go there until day 3, so it was kind of annoying without hangers, so I would just suggest taking them if you can fit them.
5. Any advice for us getting Bri ready for the MTC?
Sleep while you can. Eat while you can. Be glad it's just for 12 days. It'll be great. Be ready for tons of missionary cheese. You'll be just fine. Take your scriptures. If you want a new Preach My Gospel, you can get one. Study a lot, because you'll be teaching a lot. I wish you luck!
I'm trying to think of other good things from this week. People weren't the nicest this last week while tracting. Last night, we decided to do one more floor before we went home, so we rang a doorbell, and heard a little baby shriek and cry, and some one yell what translates to "really?!?!?!" Elder Compton and I looked at each other and realized that neither of us wanted to be there when the door opened so we got the heck out of there. We took off running and covered 6 flights of stairs in like 20 seconds. It was a little terrifying.
So we have zone conference in Sarajevo on Thursday....or Сарајево as it is in Cyrillics. I find it funny because it's all Latin letters, but with different sounds. So ya, back to Capajebo. That'll be cool. I will hopefully get my package then. It's killing me that I have to wait this long. We should also be getting transfer calls this weekend. Although I would be absolutely shocked if I move, since I've only been here for 6 weeks or so. But we'll see.
We found some super good burek the other day...the meat pastry. It's always exciting when you find a place with good food. Elder C made bagels from scratch yesterday after church. They were so good! It was the first time I've had a bagel in over a year.
On a side note, what happened to Brett's blog? It's not online any more, and I'm just curious why. I just want to know what's up with him.
~Let's just say that he began this letter telling his friend how disappointed he was that the friend has opted to go somewhere else rather than BYU-Provo. Yes, Brett, he was talking to you..... ha! If you want, Brett, let me know and I'll e-mail what he really said.... ;) ~Dore
Sorry for the spelling typos....I'm using the Winters' laptop, and they only have Internet Explorer, which doesn't have a spell check. So now you really get to see my emails uncensored and see how bad my spelling is.
So about the MTC laundry. They have Tide. It won’t be an issue. ~His sister is very allergic to most laundry detergents and is about to enter the MTC in a month.~
Shopping sounds terrible. No thanks. Has she realized that when shopping for missionary clothes you have a choice....fashionable and expensive, or durable. You can't win; especially as a sister.
That's cool about Brent's call. I'm interested to hear where he ends up. Maybe he'll come out here.
That's cool that sister Ferguson called. They were really nice. Americans are always nice, it seems, over here in Bosnia.
I'm completely serious about the whole MTC drop off ordeal. It really is better from the plane. Just tell her that she couldn't have really done anything fun with her friends anyways, so it doesn't really matter. And besides, after 14 months on my mission (today marks the day!!!) I would much rather spend the time with family, not friends.... ~awwwww!!!~
So, we had another week of 15 people at church! We had 3 more members, so not as many investigators there, but it's good to have that much no matter what. I had to teach the Sunday School lesson. It was good...until no one could read my handwriting. I decided to teach about the scriptures, so I gave a definition of what each book of scripture was, and then I wrote random scriptures on pieces of paper, and people had to draw them out of a bag and decide which book it came from. The point of the lesson was that the different scriptures all sound similar because they have a common purpose. Well, it would have been better, but no one could read my handwriting on the pieces of paper, so I ended up having to read all of the scriptures. But it was still good.
So the package is in Zagreb. I should get it next week at zone conference in Sarajevo. Speaking of Sarajevo, we were there today. We went with the Winters. We had to get more Book of Mormons and new bank cards. While we were there, we went and saw the spot where Elder Nelson dedicated Bosnia a couple of years back. It was pretty cool. We also got to see the "Tunnel of Life." These people made an 800-meter tunnel that's 1 meter wide and 1.6 meters high in the space of 4 months during the Siege of Sarajevo back between 1992 and 1995 (nonstop shelling from Serbs…destroyed most of the city). They used the tunnel to move goods and people between the airport and the other end.....Well, they have the original entry point...and about 25 meters of tunnel...the rest collapsed. It was okay. I can say that I went there. They also have a little museum, and they have pictures of famous guests on the wall. John Travolta, Morgan Freeman, Orlando Bloom, and Daniel Craig...
A random cool part was seeing the Olympic complex from 1984. It's kind of funny. I thought it was weird how Salt Lake really still prides itself because of 2002....well Sarajevo was 18 years before that and still going strong, from the looks of it.
Tuzla has always had a reputation of being an accepting place. During the war, they never had prejudice between the 3 groups. They really pride themselves on that. And to answer your question, the groups did mingle before the war. At least they did in Croatia. But that's because there really only is one group of people, and that's Slavs. Somewhere, somehow, many years ago, the people's religions became their races. It's made such huge problems. It is still a little sore, I guess.
And more than anything else I have ever known in my life, I know that I am not fluent! Not a chance. There's a small minute chance that I might be before I fly home, but we'll see.
That cat is freaking huge and looks kind of possessed. I was picturing him to still be small like he was. We saw a cat with 5 tiny little kittens with unopened eyes last night while tracting.....we also got 2 new investigators, a 20 year old guy and his mom....don't have time to go into more detail though.....
Happy Aniversary....and yes, I did remember before you said something.
You can send the birthday package around the end of May and it should be here on time...and about D...the kid is just a genius. He loves American TV.....like the Discovery Channel. He's so smart...way too smart for a 12 year old. He's so funny.
I gotta go. It's 6. I love you all. Sorry for the shortage of time. That's why I can only send a general one today. I hope all is well and that spring break is fun!
Well, no matter what I am, I guess you still have to be my favorite mother ;).
Wow! Those Facebook updates are pretty crazy. Everyone seems to be going on a mission. And on a side note....the best language studies come from reading graffiti and bathroom stalls...you learn all sorts of new words and how to conjugate them. Elder Compton tells me that if we're having an English language Fast and I say something off colored in Croatian, that it's like I'm saying it in English, but whatever.....
I still can't believe that Jake is home. That's so nuts. It's really weird how everyone I know is now either starting to leave or get back.
That's good that you've been able to find everything for Brianne for a decent price. I honestly think that getting dropped off at the airport is a much better deal than the curb. I had to host (welcome the new missionaries and carry their stuff) twice, so I saw both ends of it. It was nice to be able to have a few hours to think about stuff instead of the abrupt drop off at the curb and go straight to class. It's just easier to everyone. It bites watching people cry at the curb and stuff. It might seem hard to believe, but going by plane and then shuttle really is better.
I miss people in Zadar a lot, and I kind of miss the city, but I really do like missionary work here. I liked the branch in Zadar, and it was nice at times to be so involved in it, but finding in Zadar was really hard. People are so nice here and they'll talk. It makes things nice. And there really are no branch obligations here because there is no branch!
Cool story about church yesterday: So we had an answer to prayer yesterday. We all decided to fast together as a district for Fast Sunday. We were fasting that we could see our vision for Tuzla come to pass. Yesterday we had 15 people at church! That's the most it's ever been. A couple (non missionary) from the church welfare/humanitarian services was here, and we had 1 member, V, his cousin M, and then a bunch of English students. We had I, 22, a couple: F and A (30), and a man named E and his son D (12....he's a freaking genius. He speaks fluent English already). And everybody loved church. We had every seat filled. It's still pretty crazy. It was a good testimony meeting.
So about the horse....I know that they eat horse in Sarajevo and Banja Luka. Probably here too, I just haven't either found it or known. I don't get the point about the horsemeat. It's just another animal. It's not that bad. It's just because everybody thinks of horses as pets....and because I guess a lot of them have sorts of hormones and stuff injected, but don't the chickens too? Whatever.....
The English classes are going well. They're keeping us busy. I got conned into something for class on Thursday. Somehow, I got stupid and did my Scooby Doo impression for Elder Compton one night, and while playing a game last class, Elder Compton told everyone that I could do Scooby doo and they all wanted me to do it. I told them that I would next Thursday. They're gonna hold me to it....wish me luck.
So for p-days...we are going to take a bus out to a place called Srebrenik next week and see an old castle fortress there....they have places around Tuzla that might be cool....today, I , the one that came to church, had a graduation presentation today. When you graduate college here, you have to present in front of a panel of professors as a final project and it's a huge deal. She invited us to it. So we've been with her family and friends all day. I honestly didn't understand the presentation, but afterwards, we went to a really fancy restaurant here with her family. It was way good. We were just hanging with her 13-year-old brother the whole time. He's an English student too (her whole family is investigating). It was way fun.
We got a new investigator named H this week. He's so nice. He's Muslim, by tradition, but doesn't go to mosque. We had a good discussion with him. He said no to baptism...for now. He'll come around. We also have a few good potentials from tracting that want to meet up again. It'll be great. People are so nice here. It’s hard not to find someone who will talk to you.
I haven't gotten the package yet. Packages are more of a rarity here in Bosnia, because usually when people come to Bosnia from Zagreb, they fly to Sarajevo, because the roads are so bad it takes forever to drive. The Winters are going to Zagreb tomorrow, so if it's there I might get it tomorrow. We'll see. I hope I can get it.
The weather is getting great here. It's finally sunny after 4 weeks of constant rain and snow. I'm walking around with short sleeves today. I love it.
Everything is going well here. I hope all is well with you. I don't have a whole lot of time left because the library is about to close for the day, but I love you all a lot and hope everyone has a great week!
a quick ps...so a couple from Utah with welfare/humanitarian services were here this week. The Fergusons. They are super nice. She wanted to get all of our mothers' phone numbers so she could call them and tell them we are alive, so you might get a call on your cell phone this week....just wanted to give you a heads up.
~Dore here...I did get a phone call from Sis. Ferguson! She is so awesome to think of us moms and give us a call to tell us our kids are doing well!!! Thank-you, Sis. Ferguson!
~A little shot of their kitchen in Tusla. Pretty cool!~
So....Brianne goes on a mission, and somehow I lose the title of favorite missionary....I think you are counting your chickens before they hatch. I could still end up being the favorite ;).
That's cool about the shoes. Isn't it crazy? The type of stuff we're prompted to do. I guess it just shows how much Heavenly Father cares about us...to help us with the little things. You have an all powerful being, and somehow, He still cares enough to help you find a good pair of shoes.....it's pretty nuts.
The Winters (the senior couple) are humanitarian missionaries, so they had their supervisors from Germany here. They spoke in Church. Because we had 3 people in church that needed to be translated for, I got sucked into translating. It wasn't too big of a deal. I've conducted meetings before, but it was the first time I ever translated in church. Well, we had 2 people show up along with 8 missionaries (Valentino and his nonmember cousin). Well, during the lesson, a drain in the floor started spitting up a little water. It was just a puddle, but then something happened, and it flooded the room. We ended early. 45-minute church is so nice. I'm spoiled over here. We borrowed a squeegee from the bar next-door and got the water out. We are trying to get the landlord to send a plumber today. We'll see. We stopped by the church on the way here (the library) and it hadn't flooded anymore. So, so far, so good.
Tell the Gardners hello.
So...about the safety factor.......Last week, it would've been scary, but it's all good now....A guy threatened to slit our throats, but we saw him again and he said that everything is fine now and he'll love us like his children....Okay, so more details....We met a guy... some old guy named S or something like that. Well we ran into him everyday for like a week. He then told us that we'd better get out of town, or "slides finger across throat". We didn't take it seriously because he's just a crazy old guy. We saw him again, and everything is fine now. So, no worries. It's totally safe besides that. Which is good, because "becoming a Christian martyr while a Mormon missionary in Bosnia" isn't one of the things on my bucket-list.
This week was good. We had good English classes. Nothing out of the ordinary. We found 3 new investigators. One is a single old lady named A, her husband died in '96. We had a good lesson about eternal families and that the Book of Mormon tells us what we need to do in order to secure an eternal family. The other two investigators are a senior lady and her grandson. They were super cool and said that they would read the Book of Mormon. We've got hope they will.
We had interviews with President Rowe this week. A thing to cross of the bucket list: having an interview with your mission president with call to prayer going off outside at the same time. The interview was really cool. We talked about the best way to work here. He mentioned that because of the culture, finding investigators really shouldn't be very tough, which has proved to be true so far. He said that hard part would be getting over the walls of traditions and people's fear of change. He suggested using Alma 32 and telling people that they just need a particle of a desire, and then they can find truth from there. We just have to help people have enough courage to experiment.
I'm trying to think of more to tell you. I think that that's probably about it for this week. I'm doing well. It's not really ever easy, but it's good. Time seems to be going by faster and faster. It's really starting to be scary fast. I'm over halfway done and that blows my mind. I hope you all have great weeks!
P.s. the Tanners (the ones who were called to be mission president) got their official call this week. They aren't English speaking after all. They got called to open up the Philippines Cibu east mission (one of the new 58 missions). I wish them luck. It's kind of sad. We were all hoping it would be somewhere in the U.S. so we could all road-trip and visit, but oh well.