Just a side note....Brianne, P.J.'s older sister, received her mission call and will be serving in the Denver Colorado North Mission!!! She reports to the MTC (Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah) on April 3rd. We are so excited for her! Yes...we will now have 2 missionaries serving at the same time for about a year. Note to those who are thinking about starting their families...you may want to put more of an age space between kids! ;)
That's so exciting about Brianne and her call. Wow...Denver North...that's nuts. Once again, that's the last place I would have ever guessed. She's going to love it. Do you feel old now that you'll have 2 kids on a mission in just 6 weeks? ;)
Oh, that barbecue sounds so good. I think I might kill for some right about now. It's been over a year now. I miss beef. It's been mostly chicken and pork, and now not really pork because of the Muslims here.
So, answers for you!
1. How are you liking your new area?
It's great. The people are so nice here. You pretty much have to have something wrong with you if you don't get let in while tracting. Everyone just wants to talk and be friends.
2. How are you liking the English classes (so many classes, too!!)
It's good. We had two classes with 20 people last Tuesday... I guess one of them was boring though, because one of the classes dropped to 6 on Thursday. But Advanced is fun too. We pretty much just play games and have discussions that will help their English. We teach Englins as service, so we've pretty much have cut religion from it. Now we have "uplifting thoughts" at the end and keep it pretty secular. We figured that if people get to know us as normal people first, the questions will come later when they see who we are and what we do, and so far it's a pretty true thing. That being said, the weirdest part about English class is going by "P.J." It just feels so weird. But it's kind of funny.
We have a big guy named Tomislav in our advanced class, and he wanted to show the other missionaries a trick and asked me to help. I said okay. He told me to completely relax. I did. Next thing I knew, he picked me up WWE style and was spinning me around and dancing around while holding me above his head. It was terrifying. It was so funny though. We were all cracking up afterwards. I don't think I'll do it again though.
3. Have you bought a new suit yet?
no...but I probably need to soon.
4. How is the food over there?
It's pretty much the same as Croatia. They don't really have any sit down restaurants here because no one can really afford them, but the little places that they do have are good.
5. How do you introduce the Gospel there?
Good question....We spent a lot of time thinking about that this week. It was something that both of us felt clueless about. We realized that you just have to go down to the basics, and just tell people about what it'll do for them. We talk about what it has done for us, verses what it is, when we first start out. For example, how it has blessed our lives, drawn our families together, and made us happy. We also figured out what we relate to the people on. We decided on prophets. So when we introduce or talk about the Book of Mormon, we talk about how it was written by prophets, and it's a story about a family overcoming problems. We then talk about how it's strengthened our relationship with God, and has helped our lives.
Religion here is basically tradition. Every now and then, people are actually religious, but most of them aren't really involved with anything.
It's still an ongoing process we are trying to figure out.
8. What brand are your appliances in the kitchen? Not such a random question…Someone wanted me to ask you.
I haven't got a clue. I know our air conditioner is a panasonic. There are a lot of LG units around her as well. I'll check the appliances and let you know though. A lot of the time they are "Goring" or something like that.
Ya, the apartment is way nice. It no longer takes laundry 4 to 5 days to dry. Everything is dry over night. It's crazy. For some reason, the dish washer isn't working....along with the elevator in the building, so we have to call our land lord. But it's still a nice place.
The senior couples are all great...Which brings me to sad news that I learned today.... The best senior couple ever, the Tanners, are leaving at the beginning of the month. They are the couple we had Thanksgiving with. Originally they were supposed to go home in July, but they recently extended until December....Well, things changed when President Uchtdorf skyped them last week. It turns out that Elder Tanner has been called to be a mission president somewhere in an English-speaking mission. They don't even know where yet. So now they are going home on March 1 and they have time with their families until July 1 when they start. It's sad that they're leaving, but maybe a bunch of us will road trip from BYU and visit them.
So we had a good finding experience this week. We went tracting and knocked on the second door of the night on the 14th floor of a big apartment building. Well, a young guy opened the door because he was leaving, not because we knocked...he didn't hear us. We scared him pretty badly. Well anyways, we started talking to him about the Book of Mormon, but he said that he had to go. But he called his mother over and we started talking to her, while the son was waiting for the elevator behind us. She asked us where we were from, and we said America. They were pretty shocked. Tuzla doesn't see a whole lot of tourists, especially from America. The son then started talking to us in English and seemed pretty excited. The mom invited us in, and the son said that we had to stay for at least 20 minutes because he would be coming back and he wanted to talk.
So we went and sat down in the living room, and the coffee table caught my eye. It was a wooden table with a glass sheet on top and underneath the glass top was a bunch of old Jugoslavian money...bills and coins, ranging from now all the way back to the 1880's. I really like old money, so I started asking her about it. Well, you know that I'm weird.....for some reason in my white missionary handbook that I carry in my shirt pocket, I also carry a couple of foreign coins. One of them is my Australian half dollar and the other two is a Macedonian dinar, and an old dinar coin from Jugoslavia from 1965. Well I took out my 1965 dinar and showed it to her. She was looking at it and then got excited because she didn't have one like it. She then asked if I would trade it to her for a duplicate that she had. So I did. So now I have a 10-dinar coin from 1963. So that was cool. We then were talking about the Book of Mormon...
Well her son came back, and we dumbfounded him. It's his dream to go Miami some day. His name is S, he's 20, and speaks super good English. Well, as he said, he had met people from every country in Europe from playing soccer, but he had never met Americans before, but now he had two Americans sitting in his house. It was kind of funny. He then went on talking like we were going to best friends forever and talked about maybe meeting up in America day.
Well we started having a lesson, and he kind of acted like he wasn't that interested at first, but you could tell that he was getting more and more interested. After we finished reading some verses, he made the comment that they were pretty powerful. He then mentioned that his mom and dad are different religions, so he was half and half but he didn't really believe either of them. He said that he believed in God, but other than that, he didn't believe much. He said that he was interested though.
He mentioned later that he wasn't sure how we ended up at his house, but that there was a possibility that God had sent us there. He was also impressed by the fact that we were out sharing our message and that we were so worried about other people's happiness. He is super cool.
Well, there were other things said, but in short, we are meeting again next Sunday, and they agreed to start reading the Book of Mormon. It's so exciting. He wants us to come over when his dad is home, that way he can prove to his dad that he speaks English (I guess his dad doesn't believe him).
I think that's about it for now. I love you a lot, and I better get going. All is going well here. I hope all is great at home in Flower Mound.
Oh...something else....So guess is flying home from his mission today? It's blowing my mind....Elder Jake Follett. Isn't that crazy? From what he's said, he's sad to leave, but that's the way it's supposed to be.
Well, until next week,