| I finally finished reading the grammar book they gave us at the MTC.|
|The sick shirt that Sister Vukorepa got me for Christmas! It's the famous Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic.|
I think it's been two weeks since I've written a general email, which means that I haven't even told you all about Christmas yet! That was January 7th. We got to go to a Serbian Orthodox liturgy at midnight on Christmas Eve. It was fascinating. Completely and wildly different from your average LDS sacrament meeting. It was basically a huge prayer put to song. We were exhausted because it was the middle of the night and we're missionaries, but it was definitely worth it. I feel like I know these people a little better now since I am more familiar with their traditions.
Thenthe 9th was the anniversary of the Republic of Srpska! They celebrate it almost exactly the way we celebrate the . Fireworks, cookouts, parades, helicopters, alcohol-- you name it, we saw it. And we completely were not expecting it. We were the only city in the mission that was affected by it, too, since there are no other missionaries serving in the boundaries of the Serbian Republic (it's a part of Bosnia). It was crazy and also kind of awesome.
The 13th was our Zone Conference, which took place here in Banja Luka. All the Bosnian missionaries came in, and we had a great time talking a LOT about repentance and God's Plan of Salvation. We've been focusing a lot on repentance this year already as a mission. It's amazing to me how much my understanding of it has deepened in the last few weeks. You guys! Repentance is not punishment -- it is how we become free from punishment. We all sin. Sorry but that's just how it is. We suffer. We do or say things we regret. The cool thing about repentance is that it means that Christ paid a price wherein he took upon himself all --ALL-- our sins. When we repent, we confess our sins to our Father in Heaven (not a paid minister) and we strive to change our behavior so that we don't have to go through that guilt process again. Repentance means change. It means turning to God and letting ourselves be cleansed. It means becoming better (a.k.a. happier).
And then I went on this beautiful exchange to Sarajevo, where I served with a new missionary Sister Johnston for a few days. She's an amazing missionary and already owns this language. And Sarajevo is the coolest city. There are the cutest stray dogs absolutely everywhere! I don't know why my friend Will would be reading this, but if he is, I often thought about the fact that he took home one of those little guys a while back. Good times.
I think that's gonna be it from me today. Don't forget to read your scriptures! Happy New Year.
|The view on the drive from BL to Sarajevo.|
|Sister Johnston and I on the top of a very high tower (it was crazy windy),|