Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 1, 2012

Cute Friends

Not Quite Van Cliburn--but close!

Fermenting Grapes

Dad and the Elders
Friends with Luna, the dog :)

Ponedjeljak 1 listopad 2012

Dear Kiddos,

Good morning,  It was so fun to be with all of you yesterday.  Tashie and Geremy and Greyson, we didn’t see you but we felt your presence and hope they were able to finally connect with you so you could see and talk with all of the family there.  It was a nice blessing, Mitch; we could hear every word of it.  I don’t know who was holding the I-Pad so close for us, but whoever, thanks so much.  You all looked so nice and happy and even peaceful which is amazing with so many of you all together. 

We have had a nice week.  We drove in to Zagreb on Tuesday late afternoon to change our rental car with a loaner car.  They let us have the car for the first 4 days free and then were going to start charging us per day.  The loaner car is also free and we still don’t know how long we will have it.  We left the car at the dealer on Friday the 21st of Sept.  We know they ordered parts for the car but we haven’t heard yet when it will be done.  We hope to get it sometime this week so we have it to pick up Nancy and Greg in one week.  We are excited they are coming.

We just spoke with one of the senior missionaries about a place to stay at Lake Bled in Slovenia.  The Monsons fly into Ljubljana which is about 40 minutes from Lake Bled.  We are not sure about our plans yet, but whatever we do will be great to do with them.

We had a nice experience yesterday visiting with the family in Ilok.  We took the elders with us so they could also play the piano and also translate if we needed them to.  We had a difficult time finding their home.  The GPS couldn’t quite find it and we asked several people and they gave us varying instructions.  The dad, finally came and met us and we followed him to their home.  I had seen a sign with their name on it and we wondered if that had anything to do with the family.  We drove up a hill and came out into a clearing and that was where they live.

The dad and his brother have a winery, with (according to them) the best wine in all of Croatia.  They have kind of an estate with their home, his brother’s home and his mother’s home, a two car garage and lots of land with a patio covered with sort of an arbor over it.  We were about an hour late and had talked with them telling them we had had some problems.  When we arrived they invited us to their table and wanted to get us a drink.   They had been telling us about their winery and wanted to serve us some of their wine.  They were quite astonished when we said we didn’t drink.  They thought we could surely drink their wine because it was so good.  I said we could have some grape juice but they don’t make it.  They had some orange juice and then the mom, brought over 4 different trays full of breads and cake.  She had some wonderful croissant type rolls, some rolled up bread with 2 different fillings, some wonderful chocolate cake and a bowl full of grapes.  We were all quite hungry because it was fast Sunday, so we really ate quite a lot.

We had a great time talking about their family and about our families and then we had a mini-piano recital.  Both of the girls play really well.  Then it was my turn.  I played a song that sounded pretty nice at church but not so good there.  Then Elder Mulder played a couple of songs.  He is a bit of a van Cliburn and they were very impressed.  Then Elder Bates sang with Elder Mulder…”The Prayer of the Children”, written about the war here in Croatia by Kurt Bestor.  He served a mission here before the war.  The song is really nice.  

We went outside to see their winery.  He had a large building with several vats (about 40 inches tall filled with grapes that were fermenting.  Lots of fruit flies were flying around and both dad and I began to cough and choke.  He also had several large stainless steel tanks full of fermenting grapes.  It was all very interesting.  They produce about 100,000 litres of wine every year. 

After seeing all of this we went back inside the home and gave them a Book of Mormon.  They asked some questions and then Dad asked if we could leave them with a prayer.  The mom said they only pray in the church.  We read Alma 34:18-27 about praying over your flocks, etc.  And then the mom said they do have a prayer in their hearts all day long.  Elder Bates offered a prayer and prayed for their home, family, and their lessons in school, their winery and their vineyards.

They said they come to Osijek often and we asked that when they come again they come to visit us and we will have them into our home.  We talked on our way home about what a great family they are.  I don’t know if they are prepared to receive the gospel yet but they are a good family.  They love one another, the children respect their parents and the parents treat their children with respect.  They were very gracious, happy and hard working.  We enjoyed being with them and in their home.  They had a great library of books so we hope they will take some time and read from the Book of Mormon.  We’ll let you know when we see them again.  (One of the books in their library is The Bridge on the Drina). 

All is well here in Osijek.  Our allergies seem to have left us, at least for now.  Everything has really greened up with the rain we have had and the cooler weather.  We have been enjoying the big full moon.  The report on Dad’s face was good.   The stitches were a bit tricky to get out.  It doesn’t look too good yet but we know things get better with age, so we are hopeful.

We took a Brother to Zagreb with us for the Branch President training Saturday.  It was a bit crazy traveling in the car with his Croatian and our English.  We need to learn more Croatian or he needs to learn more English so we can communicate better.  He will be sustained on the 14th at our ward conference.  Then he can begin conducting Sacrament meetings.  He helped Dad give a 10-year old a back to school blessing.  The boy had been sick so his mom asked dad to also anoint him and give him a blessing to get better.  the Brother anointed him and then Dad gave the blessing.  This Brother is really a good, humble man and we are happy dad has a counselor.

All is well here.  We hope you have arrived home safely, Peter.  Send us an email sometime.  We love to hear from all of you.  Annie, how is your back?  We hope you are happy and doing okay.  Gabe, we are glad your cast is off.  Be careful on the crutches and follow your Doctor’s orders.

We love you all.  Mom and Dad/Mutti and Bumpa 

Elder and Sister Ivins
Matije Gupca 7a
31000 Osijek, Croatia
385 (0) 91 444-8114 (Elder Ivins)
385 (0) 91 444-8115 (Sister Ivins)

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