Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday March 25, 2013

Dinner with Sisters Jolley and Burton and Elders Bell and Kirkham

Monday March 25, 2013

Rovnj, Croatia

On road between Rovinj and Pula
At our District Conference the first of March we were challenged by Elder Weidman, a visiting Area Seventy from Suisse, to memorize a scripture.  He said it would help us remember the conference and promised us it would be soul saving.  I have memorized Helaman 5:12 and have been thinking about it quite a bit.  With that in mind, the following happened.  The sisters have invited me to go on splits with them frequently.   Sister Burton and I were visiting with one member mom (74) and her daughter (50).  They haven’t been to church for a few years but are always very kind when we visit.  The daughter speaks English pretty well but the mom doesn’t.  They talked about the death of the mom’s brother and how hard it is for the daughter’s husband with his work.  They talked about other hard things.  So, I asked them to get out their Book of Mormon in Croatian and we read in Helaman.  These are some of the words that Helaman said to his sons, Nephi and Lehi.  He told them that they must build their foundation on the rock of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ so that when the winds, the whirlwinds and the storms of the devil beat upon them it would have no power to drag them down because of their firm foundation built upon Jesus Christ.  What was so exciting was to see the daughter explain everything to her mom in Croatian.  I told the daughter she was ready to go and teach with us.  She laughed but her mom agreed to come to church with us and then the daughter offered a prayer.  The mom did come to church and wants to come again. 

 On a different visit I went with both sisters to visit the mother of a member who has moved away.  She is not a member but has had the missionaries visit her.  Dad and I have visited her before.   We sang I am a Child of God and then she said she has our Book [of Mormon].  Sister Jolley asked her if she reads it and she said she does and it brings her peace.  We have been getting mixed messages from her as to whether or not she wants us to visit her.  But after we had a prayer with her she said she will come to church and she wants us to visit again.  It reminded me of visiting with Jonny in Chile and singing everywhere we went.  Songs bring such a great message into the home and help to soften our hearts. 

Transfers are happening tomorrow.  Our great sister Burton is being transferred to Beograd and sister Jolley will be training a new greenie.  Elder Adams is coming to be in a three-some with Elder Bell and Elder Kirkham for two weeks.  Then Elder Bell is finished with his mission and heads home to school at the "Y".  We are grateful for the chance we have had to serve with these wonderful missionaries.
We are still healthy and happy. Sometimes we get a little lonely and miss being around you.  Dad takes good care of me and we feel very blessed.  We miss each of you but are happy you are all doing well.  We love you each so much.  Love, mom and dad/ mutti and bumpa

water level of Drava reached blue line of trailer in 2010

cooking  the meat for our meal

rowing out to the Drava

Hrvoje and his family who prepared the great meal for us

Friday, March 15, 2013

Baby Isla is Born!


Baby Isla Ivins

Born March 14, 2013
8# 5 oz
20 inches

Proud Parents:  Christian & Amy Ivins

March 13, 2013 Update

Kay and Gary at District Conference in Zagreb March 2013
Elders Bell/Kirkham
Sisters Burton / Jolley
Elder & Sister Ivins

Đakavo Cathedral

Elder Kirkham, Elder Bell, Sister Burton, Sister Jolley

Đakavo Cathedral

Sister Jolley passing out our temple pass-along cards

Sarjevo, Bosnia i Herzegovina

Bosnia i Herzegovina

Haystack in Bosnia  2012

Wednesday March 13, 2013

Dear Family,
We have been busy today getting ready to go to Serbia tomorrow for our zone conference in Beograd and then we have our Nać Glaybe ("Night of Music") concert at the Church Friday night.  I made cookie bars to take to the conference and chocolate chip cookies for the night of music with the last of the chocolate chips from Andy.  We’ll make some lemon bars when we get back to also take to the Music night.  Dad has been preparing some things at the church for the audit still.  He is just now renting the famous kombie to drive all of us missionaries from Osijek to Beograd.  Our car only holds 5 so we are renting the kombie so the 6 of us can go together.  It is cheaper to all go together in the rented kombie than take the bus and more comfortable.  The missionaries play the piano very well and will play and also sing a couple of songs with one of the members for our noč glazbe.  One of our investigators brought his electric guitar and microphones to the church so that will all be used.  We may see if we can find some karaoke so the audience can all participate.  I am going to play "Claire de Lune" (or at least attempt to).  We have invited our landlord and their sons and also our friends from Ilok.  We are hopeful we will have lots of people.

We returned Saturday from Bosnia i Herzegovina;  Banja Luka, Sarajevo and Tuzla.  It was such a beautiful drive;  beautiful country, mountainous with the Bosnia river running along the road, still some snow on the hill sides, beautiful blue skies and clouds.  Gorgeous country!  Homes were scattered all over the hill sides up high, goats and sheep but no cows.  Many people live in Sarajevo, one of the three  major cities of the former Yugoslavia. along with Beograd and Zagreb.  We have missionaries in all three places, but only a branch in Sarajevo since Christmas.  Tuzla and Banja Luka are growing, but they are still more like a twig.  The missionaries are doing a good work, finding people and have had a few baptisms.  We did the audit with the Branch President who is from America.  Dad spent some time training him and taught him well.  Dad has learned much and is a good teacher.  (In a pinch I could step in because I have also been trained by him.)  We spent Friday night in President and Sister Smartt's home.  They have a very nice apartment that was also used for church in Sarajevo before they rented a regular building for Church. They fed us a 10 star meal; filets no less!  It was nice to be in their home and visit.  They are a great couple who have done so much to get the church recognized in Bosnia. They served years ago as mission president in Oakland, CA.

We have decided to take FHE into our members’ homes, one family at a time.  The Elders, the sisters and we will do this each Monday.  Our family wanted to meet at the church for FHE so we met with a young single mom and her daughter (11) and son (9) and with Pres. Zoran and his nephew (10) along with a young woman (Laurel) from the branch.  Dad taught the lesson, and we sang a song and the kids gave the two prayers.  After, we ate brownies and popcorn and played ping pong, sort of a scar pong without the scars.  The two kids want to learn to play the piano so I told them I will teach them on Sundays after church.  We think this will be extra motivation to come to church every Sunday.  It was a fun evening and we hope to do it again for the next few weeks and get the members to start having it in their own homes.  We are grateful you have FHE in your homes.  We hope to hear about the arrival of baby Isla before this is published.   Christian and Amy were hopeful that her birthday would be 03/13/13.  But they may have to settle for 3.14 (pi).   We love you all so much.  Have a good week.  Write and send more pictures.

Love, Mom and Dad/ Mutti/Bumpa

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Weds. March 6, 2013

With Elder Wilson--Friend of the Rawles from Provo

Beautiful Lake Bled

With Sister Tanner, wife of New Mission Pres. in Philippines

At District Conference

Monday, March 4, 2013

Guinness Book of World Records...POPCORN

We're Still Here!!!

Thurs. February 28, 2013

Finally, a new post from Elder and Sister Ivins!  (It's not that they haven't been writing, but we haven't been posting their emails.  Hopefully, this is the beginning of a steady flow of updates from Osijek...)



The New Bridge


Bombed Buildings Done by NATO

The Rice Family--who work for the Air Force


The New Bridge at Night



Mom's New Serbian Birthday Sweater

Četvrtak (Thursday) Velaća 28, 2013

Good morning Dear Family,

We had a nice trip to Srbija to work on the audits there. We are still trying to sort out some things for Serbia so we spent yesterday working all day on it.  Dad is beginning to wonder if he missed his calling in life to be an auditor.  (With all the experience he is getting maybe he will take the test with Christian and they can become a father and son team).  We left early Saturday morning and drove some food to a member who lives about an hour from here.  We arrived at 7:00 am and had a short visit with him and his mother.  Dad offered a prayer in German and it really felt like we had the gift of tongues.  I could understand him and I think both of them did too.  It was a great experience.  We continue to do better in German than Croatian.

We stopped in Novi Sad with the Maughans (Sr. couple who is the Branch Pres. there.)  They are humanitarian missionaries and doing some fun things in Serbia and Bosnia.  They were leaving Monday to head down by the coast to help figure out some water for raspberries.  We left for Beograd and met the District President to do the district audit.  We got to work with him and the missionaries...Elder Bates and Elder Mulder are the zone leaders and both served here in Osijek with us. They came to dinner with us later that night when we finished.  After the audit we drove Pres. Vašića and his 16 year old son home to meet their family.  They are a wonderful family who have been members for 10 years.  They have 7 children which seems a bit rare over here.  The oldest daughter is 21 and their youngest is an 8 month old daughter. They let me hold her for a bit while we talked and I thought about holding Avi and Barrett and felt a bit of heaven.  Their home is a very small apartment but there was such a nice spirit in it and it made us feel good just to be there with them.

It was a nice blessing to go to church the next day in Beograd.  Church is in an old building that has lots of room, a large chapel, class rooms, etc.  Several families come who have joined the church.  There are also a couple of families attending from America who work for the state department and the Air Force. We felt right at home with the little children crawling about, making some noise and the youth blessing and passing the sacrament.  We brought some chocolate chip cookies to share with the missionaries that we made with the cc's Bethany and Andy gave us.  They were a hit with the missionaries in each city where we did the audits.  Sunday evening after doing the audit, we went home with the counselor from America and had dinner with his family.  He and his wife have 5 children and have been in Beograd for about 2 years.  They will go back to America this summer and be re-assigned to another country.  All of the families who work for the US government live in a nice area on a hill outside of Beograd.  They have a really large home and host many people who come from the church.  They had Thanksgiving for 30 and had plenty of room to set up tables in their living room.  We stayed in Beograd 3 nights working on some audit problems and are still trying to figure some things out.

Beograd is a beautiful old city of about 2 million.  The river makes several bends so you can see it from many places in the city.  There are many bridges crossing over the river with a beautiful new one just built a couple of years ago.  Different countries bid on doing the lighting for the bridge and a company from the US won the bid.  We walked about the city early in the morning and late in the afternoon and enjoyed mingling with the people who were very friendly and helpful.  We shopped at a great sweater store that makes very unique and colorful sweaters, skirts and things.  Then we looked for any branch of the bank the church uses in Serbia so we could see about getting some new things working for internet banking, etc. in Serbia.  We walked into one bank to talk with someone who spoke English and after waiting for about an hour we were put with a lady who is the
very one who does things for the church.  We felt the hand of the Lord directing us to her and to this branch of the bank.  We have felt so many times that we have been lead to the right person at the right time and we are so grateful for Heavenly Father’s help.  We have many stories to share with you when we return.

The sisters have had some great success this week with one of their investigators.  Veronika has been scheduled a couple of times for baptism and it keeps getting postponed because she could not quit smoking.  They asked us and several others to pray for her and then went over to visit her.  She told them her friend gave her a cigarette and as she started to smoke it she felt really sick and began to vomit violently.  The sisters told her we had all been praying for her.  The next time just being with her friend who was smoking gave her a headache.  So, she has gone several days now without and is feeling so much better.  Her new date for baptism is March 16th!  She is coming with the sisters to our district conference this Sunday in Zagreb.  We will drive the three of them in with us on Saturday morning and they will stay with a member.  We will stay with Gary and Ann who are coming with the Tanners from Rijeka.  The Tanners will stay at the Mission home and head back to America Tuesday to prepare to be mission president in the new Cebu East Mission in the Philippines.  We think it would be great if they were close enough to Gary and Wilma and could meet them before G and W come home.

We talked with all of our Ivins siblings, except Joyce who is in Arizona with Leilani and Dave.  They are all gathered at Bev and Darwin's for a winter retreat.  They are having a great time together.  It was fun to feel part of them for an hour.  We continue to love our mission and stay busy working to finish up the audits and trying to assist the missionaries with visits and teaching their investigators.  The sisters are bringing a new “British” investigator to lunch with us here today.  We made some cream of tomato soup to go with some bread from the sisters and some biscuits or cakes from the investigator.  We are getting excited to welcome baby Isla into the family.  Christian and Amy just called and assured us they will keep us informed of all that happens. We love you all.  Keep on keeping on.

Thanks for your updates, photos, and love.   Be good and do good.

Love, mom and dad/mutti/bumpa