Well, here I am in Bosnia! My last few days in Osijek were alright... actually, they were kind of sad because we had planned on seeing and saying goodbye to a bunch of people, but we had to do a bunch of busy work and deregister me from the country, and things like that...the entirety of my last day was spent at the police station, which was a bummer. But that night, Sister Lee treated ourselves for having a really hard day, and we went out to dinner at this hotel we had always loved and wanted to go to, so that was really fun.
On Wednesday we made the transfer. We had a "return and report" meeting for all of the trainers and trainees in a little town called Sremska Mitrovica in Serbia, and President decided we could all do the switch there. Elder Ščirković, (I think I forgot to tell you this, but they sent him to Tuzla in the middle of the transfer, which broke our hearts because we just had so much fun with him), but he was actually been transfered AGAIN, to Zagreb, to be AP AGAIN for the last 4 weeks of his mission, and so there were a bunch of transfers happening mission wide, so we got to see him one more time!! We were all at the meeting, sister peterson, her companion, all the trainees from Bosnia and Serbia and Montenegro, the APs, the Grants... it was such a fun reunion, and such a spiritual experience. There is something so uplifting about being together with all of these missionaries. There is so much power there. It literally reenergized me. One thing i learned from that meeting was that it doesnt matter how new you are in the mission, or how long you have been here, you can always repent, change your ways, replan, refocus, and restart. Just because youve been here the longest doesnt mean youre doing it right. Life is about change. And the Saviors atonement makes it possible for us to change - again and again and again. President Grant asked the new missionaries to make a plan and a goal for what they want to do on their missions, and then he also asked the oldest missionaries to make a plan for their last 18 days in the field. No matter how far along we are, we can make goals, and we can achieve them. It was just awesome, and it helped me decide to remake plans and goals for my mission too. I loved it. After the meeting, President asked the APs (who were taking us back to Banja Luka, the whole district was there because the Elder here is training another missionary) to escort the Osijek sisters back to Osijek. It was great. We all had a caravan and the Banja Luka sisters got in our car, and we all drove back to Osijek together, and picked up some McDonalds :) You know how much I love McDonalds... it was so much fun. And then the APs drove us all the way back to Bosnia. We have Elder Uhlig, who is Elder Ščirković's companion now, who is from Germany, and he is basically the favorite elder in the whole mission. He speaks great English, but it is accented, and its so fun to hear him talk. When we got to the Bosnian border, we asked him to sing some songs for us in German, and so he sang us a bunch of primary songs in German, and it was so cool. He seemed kind of embarrassed about it, but we thought it was the best thing. Its just so much fun to be a missionary!!
We have had a great last couple of days as Ive been working hard with Sister Peterson. I didnt realize how much I loved her until I became a trainer, and I appreciated her so much more. I was so naive coming out in to the field, and she helped me work hard and adjust, and having a new companion from the MTC, I realized how hard it is to train another missionary ... and I just really appreciated Sister Peterson so much more after that. We have been having such a great time here. She is SO FUNNY and we have been doing good contacting the last few days. I read this really great letter the other day and this missionary was talking about how missions are like golfing. When you swing, you have 55 things on your mind, and are trying to make it perfect, and when you think too hard about it, you dont enjoy it. You just have to swing. And even though we go out and we have 55 things we are thinking about and trying to improve, we just have to swing, and just go for it, and just learn as we go. So thats what Ive been doing the last few days, and sometimes I swing and I get a hole in one, and sometimes I swing and I totally miss the ball, but hey... at least Im swinging :) Its been a really good last couple of days.
Bosnia definitely feels like a different country. The houses are different looking, they use cyrillics, and they have giant pravoslav churches and muslim mosques everywhere. Last night, we had dinner at the Davisons (our senior couple who is adorable and from Australia... cant ever get myself away from these Australians :) ) last night and the call to prayer went off from a nearby mosque. It was sooo cool!! We had like, a half an hour long discussion about the Muslim religion after that, and it was really cool to learn about. Elder Bennett is the Zone Leader here and he served in Sarajevo for a long time, so he knows everything about Islam, and he filled me in. Taybor would love it here. :) It was so fascinating. Also, they speak Serbian here, not Bosnian. All of bosnia is muslim, except for Banja Luka, because it is a part of the Republic of Serbia. Serbian really isnt a totally different language, but it is. It is actually a lot easier than Croation. I dont know why, but Serbian has adopted a lot of Latin rooted words, so they use words like "pantalone" and "supa" and "muzika" for pants, soup, and music, while in Croation they use "hlaće", "juha" and "glazba". I also have to get myself out of the habit of saying "Bok" for the word "hi", and start using "Zdravo". I like the words zdravo more anyway, but being in Croatia for so long has just gotten me in the habit of using it! It would be like an Australian coming to America and just using "G-day" all the time. Its just really weird and kind of goofy sounding... except there is a little more animosity between Serbia and Croatia, then Australia and America... so its kind of offensive in a way, to say Bok. So I feel really stupid a lot. Im getting used to it though :)
Im sending a picture in this email of the sunrise that greeted us this morning. It is totally beautiful here. There are mountains and trees and they are all changing color for the fall. Ill probably also send the picture we took with Elder Radaković yesterday. He came to Banja Luka!! He got off his mission last transfer, but he is just going around visiting people now, because he hasnt quite found a job yet, and is just hanging out. He came to Banja Luka for a person he baptized, it was the man's birthday. It was awesome. He walked into church, and I was giving a talk, and he looked so confused. He was like "what is she doing here?" It was really fun to see him again. It was basically the reunion of my entire first district. It was awesome. We also have a recent convert here named Marija, and I have been so inspired by her. She has such a cool conversion story, and she is on fire. The church has only been in Bosnia for about 4 or 5 years. Before President Rowe became President Rowe, he was actually working here in Banja Luka, and he and his family taught another family the gospel, and they became the first members here, and started the church up. The church has the coolest membership here, and it is so exciting to be in a country that is so new to the gospel. We really are making history. Bosnia is having so many miracles right now. The church is just going to explode. It is such an exciting time to be a missionary.
This week I am basically just printing off 100 Neal A Maxwell talks and reading them, because he is one of the most quoted people by modern prophets and apostles, and I was too young to remember any of his talks. Im really excited about it. I read two this morning, and Im already inspired.
I love you all. Im doing really wonderful. We are going on a exchange this week with the Sarajevo sisters. So I get to be with SISTER LEFLER for 2 days!!! AHHH!! If you can remember, she was with me in the MTC for 3 weeks. She has been in Sarajevo her entire mission. They just had a miraculous baptism this past weekend. They are doing so well. Im so excited for this exchange.
Thank you for keeping me in all of your prayers! I promise Bosnia isnt scary. But I do appreciate all the love and messages Ive received. Čujemo