Called to serve in the Adriatic North Mission.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Sis Derenthal and I on one of the 3 days when it snowed literally all day.
Bok svima!

Another good week in the bag. Mission Leadership Council was a veritable success, I would say. Sis Derenthal and I got a lot of good ideas about ways that we can improve our work and be better examples to the people around us. We've put some into action, and it has been going well. I expect more success this week.

The first thing I should let you all know is that from Thursday to Saturday last, it snowed 15 inches. Thursday was really really wet, and for one reason or another we ended up walking in it for 3 hours straight. We were tired, but I think our boots got the worst of it. They did not hold up. We are now having to wear plastic bags on our feet inside the boot so the water/snow doesn't soak through and make us miserable. It's been worse, though. We're happy. We may buy new boots, we may not. Life goes on. We did a lot of shoveling on Friday, going around town and offering to help people out. It was a really rewarding experience.

The Kupa rijeka (river)

Next, I don't know if I already said this, but I am now the pianist for our branch (congregation). Sister Walker was before, but since she left, no one else knows how to play piano at all. It's a good experience, even though there have been some incredibly embarrassing moments when I either play all the wrong notes or neglect to play any notes at all. Hopefully this will help me improve my playing though. One of our less active members actually knows how to play the piano, so this just gives me renewed determination to help her come back :)

And now for the funny story. Last night we were going from door to door, as is our tendency, and one lady answered the door who appeared to be in her 60s. Before we could say anything, she gets really excited and says, "mačke!" which, literally, means "cats!" We're a little perplexed, since we are probably not cats. Then she asks where we're from and when we say America, she gets even more excited, and calls back to two other old-ish ladies to come to the door. They all seem pretty enthused about the fact that we are obviously "mačke," despite our undoubtedly bewildered faces. Then -- this is the best part -- the ask us if we'll sing for them. We say we don't know any songs in Croatian, but they are persistent, and say we can in English. So, like the clever, sweet mačke that we are, we sing "Nearer, My God, to Thee." They loved it. They tell us to wait, and then disappear behind the door. They come back with a handful of coins. At this point we have accepted the fact that don't have a trace of an idea as to what is going on, but we're not about to accept a handout (despite our stirring performance), so we start to protest. That is when they notice that we're holding something, which was our trusty copies of the Book of Mormon. They ask us what it is, and when we tell them, their eyes get all wide and they start laughing and yelling and just all-around freaking out. That's when they start apologizing to us, saying there has been a huge mistake, and that this whole time, they thought we were mačke! Mačkice! (kitten) They apologized loudly and repeatedly, and then sent us on our way. 

So. Funny story, right? These ladies got us confused with cats, right? It wasn't until we talked later to one of our native friends who is fluent in English that we found out that "cat" is what some people call young girls who they find hot. Kind of like where we get the word "catcall." But in this situation, the ladies thought we were these women who dress up in costume and go around door to door singing to people. They are most often gypsies that do it, and then they ask for money. How funny is that?

Anyway. I just thought that would brighten everyone's day. It definitely did ours. Just goes to show that missionary work is the best thing you could ever do. Who doesn't want to have a spiritually and humorously rewarding 18 months in a foreign place?

I think this letter is long enough, so I am going to end with a good fraza dana and leave you to your lives. This one I got from the Croatian grammar book, it's a 19th century poem by Tin Ujević:
Plačimo, plačimo u tišini, 
Umrimo, umrimo u samoći.

Let us cry, let us cry in silence,
Let us die, let us die in solitude.

Please don't take this poem too seriously. I just thought it was a good example of Croatian grammar so I wanted to share it. Plus it's funny. Have a good week!

Sestra Watts
                                 A couple of things I have made on P-day.

Ummmm yeah. Me cutting Sis Walker's hair at Mission Leadership Council...
I really only cut like a couple chunks. She let me do it to fulfill my dreams,
 and then a sister who knew what she was doing took over.

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