Thursday, March 27, 2008

English Club and the Orphanage

Tonight I went to the orphanage and taught the kids there with some of the students from the English Club. While the team was here they taught at the orphanage and some of the English Club were helping with translation and they (and I) thought it would be great if we could carry on...

Anyway I contacted the director and he was happy with us keeping coming. We came last week and chatted with the teachers who look after the kids (and know better when would work) and decided on the best time and got them to organise for the kids to come.

So, tonight 6 of us came and when we got there, there were about 25 kids, so we divided them into two groups - younger and older and 3 of led the one group - and 3 the other. It is such fun as the kids so enjoy it (although it hard work as they know very little English!). I am so excited to be able to get people who have been coming to my English club and "receiving" from us all this time to get out there and help others who need it (and it seems as if they really enjoy it as well).

I don't have any pictures, because we couldn't find Ljilja's camera. She was convinced that I had it and I knew that I didn't... in the end I remembered where it was - she had lent it to Sinisa!! Anyway will post pictures from next week's time!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


So, I have to admit that I made quite a funny language mistake (PTL I don't make many - but this one is too good not to share). I am busy organising the paperwork for a guarantee letter for an Indian musician Benny Prasad who will be coming at the end of May as he travels around Europe. He has been awarded as the most traveled Indian musician ever and intends to go to every country in the world. He will be holding one concert in Banja Luka in between Montenegro and Turkey. It is quite cool that he is coming here!!

Anyway, I was telling Dragana about it and used the word "Indijanac" which I thought was for "Indian". She got so excited about him coming and was asking whether he was married and what did he look like... I was thinking it was weird that she was getting so excited and eventually I said "but wait, he is an Indian from India" and she says oh an "Indijac"... It turns out that the word "Indijanac" is what they use for "American Indian" and that was why she was getting so excited!! So now at least I know the right word!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hot cross buns and Dragana...

I love hot cross buns and they don't exist here, so I decided this year that I would once again make some to remind me of Easter and also to share with people here! Orthodox Easter is only in April this year (they use a different calendar and so sometimes it falls on a different weekend) and so it really doesn't feel like Easter here at all yet...

This afternoon we were picking up Dragana at the bus station and taking her home - she was returning after trying (unsuccessfully) to get a Swiss visa to visit family that live there. So I thought I would make a batch and take them to one of my favourite Bosnian families... They turned out great and they loved them!! (ok I cheated and used the bread machine for the dough but it means I can make more batches... kneading by hand is for the birds!!)

Ok, on the way in the car to take Dragana home, Ljilja and I were reminded why we love her so much: She was complaining about how much many she had wasted in Sarajevo on trying to get the visa, and on taxis to get around... She then said "and I hate taxi drivers, they are all murderers, and rapists etc. man I keep thinking they are just going to attack me". (now for those of you that don't know, Ljilja's dad is a taxi driver) and then the penny dropped to whom she was talking!!!!!!!!!!!! She constantly has her foot in her mouth!!! But we still love her!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

I lost a fin tonight...

That should read "I lost a Fin tonight." :-) There is a group of 5 Fins here right now to hold seminars and meetings in Tuzla and here in Banja Luka. One of them is staying with me and Ljilja and well, our Finnish guest went for a 20 minute jog around the block and got lost. About 2 minutes after he left I realised that I hadn't given him any address or telephone number (as I usually do) in case he got lost. But I thought "oh it will be alright". Also about 2 minutes after he left he thought "I should go back to get my phone... oh it will be alright"...

Anyway, I started to get worried about an hour in and after an hour and 15 minutes Ljilja was about to mount a rescue-drive-around-the-block mission and I was even joking that we should phone Miika (our Finnish colleague who is responsible for the group) and tell him we had lost his guest... when who should call, but Miika... to tell us where Marko was... in a betting shop about 2 minutes drive away, so we jumped in the car and went and got him!

It turned out after he had realised he was completely lost, he had gone into the betting shop and asked to use the phone, which being friendly Bosnian people they let him use no problem and didn't even want any money in return!! He phoned a friend in Finland who looked up Miika's phone number on the internet and then he phoned Miika, who called us! All's well that end's well... I was never worried that he would be hurt or attacked, as Banja Luka is a very safe place, but I was just concerned about how we would go about finding a lost Fin at 10pm at night...

Marko Mesiaislehto, "still alive"

Other than that it has been fun having him (and for those of you who are thinking anything - he is married and has a 5 month old little girl) and the meeting tonight that the Fins held at the Fellowship was really great - despite the low turnout - and those that came were really blessed.

But needless to say we won't be letting any other guests (Fins or any other nationality!) go out with out at least our address and phone number!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Christian Fellowship Church

We have been now officially as a registered Protestant Church for over a month already - the first in Banja Luka! We spent over 2 years getting the paperwork together (that is a really LOOOOOOONG story), and so it is still sinking in that we actually managed to get ourselves registered!!

We are so excited to be official! And one of the first opportunities that we are looking at is to buy some property: One of our church members is wanting to sell his weekend property and we are looking to buy it for the church to use for camps and seminars and hosting teams.

It is about 6kms from Banja Luka, 1100m2 in size, at a reasonable price and in an area where prices are rising as they become more and more sought after - so it will make a good investment. We are soooo excited about this opportunity and despite the fact that we have no finances for this, we are trusting that God will provide! For those who pray - please pray along with us as we seek God's will for this propoerty!

Here are some pictures:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Goodbye party for the Northern Ireland team

Last night we had a little going way party for the team with some of the people they met while they were here. It was really fun. Here I am with the team leaders: Shelby and Darcy.Here I am with Ceca and Sanja from English Club and Tim from Australia:
Tim taught us how to do a "Bush dance" as he calls it. It is pretty much the same as square dancing and just as fun... Here I am with a group from my English club. I really love these guys: Igor, Sofija, Branka and Zeljka. And this is a picture of mostly everyone who came:

Dubrovnik Retreat

I have been waiting for 6 months to go on the "Women of the Harvest" retreat in Dubrovnik - ever since I signed up last September. It is supposed to be amazing - and I would be rooming with my good friend Janice. And then I was really sick... but PTL was getting better and seemed to be well enough to go. However, on Thursday, when we were supposed to go (Ljilja and I were driving together - she would spend the weekend with her family in Trebinje which is 30km from Dubrovnik) it was snowing really badly and I just didn't have peace about going through the snow. We decided not to go, but to see how it was on Friday and try and go then. On Friday it wasn't snowing, and we headed out. This is what we found at the top of the pass (Maklen, 1163m high). Later we heard that on the Thursday there had been loads of accidents and cars left up there, so it was a good thing we didn't go... it was bad enough on the Friday!The retreat was FANTASTIC and despite missing an entire day I still got a lot out of it, so I was really glad that I decided to go. It was in a nice 4 star hotel - with great food, good teaching and loads of laughter. And all of this was sponsored for us, we only paid a deposit and had to get there! What a blessing!I also got to enjoy a really fantastic sunset: I do miss "sundowners" on the beach in Cape Town!
And I got to catch up a bit with Janice, which was really great! Here we are down at the beach... After the conference finished on Sunday afternoon, I went to Trebinje for Sunday night to spend a little time with Ljilja's family and finally meet baby Mirko (Sladjana and Iko's little boy). Here he is - what a cutie-pie! He is 4 months old and already a heart breaker!
And then it was drive back the 6 hours to Banja Luka and back to "reality"!!!

Monday, March 03, 2008

How fast does my car go?

Ljilja took Corina back to Zagreb last night (she left early this morning so they stayed overnight in Zagreb). I was supposed to go with them, but am STILL sick (after a week of this silly cold I am getting sick of being sick), so I decided not to go. Good decision, as I slept most of yesterday afternoon and had a great sleep last night and am feeling better today.

So, back to the car: Ljilja got back at 10.10am this morning. I knew that Corina's flight was leaving at 8.10 and so I asked her what time did she leave Zagreb. She said "Corina went through to the plane at about 7.50 and I went back to the car and left around then". I said "you took less than 2 hours and 20 minutes to drive back?" (it should take 2 1/2 to 3 hours!). Then she said "well I also stopped for petrol on the way back". I said "what!!!" and she (digging herself even deeper) said "and we waited 15 minutes at the border". I said "how fast were you going on the highway?" and she said "as fast as I could go, my foot was flat on the gas pedal... And by the way, just so you know: your car doesn't go over 160km/h"... Good to know... :-)

Anyway, after that she did explain that she went really fast on the highway as there was no traffic and that she drove slower once she got into Bosnia as the roads don't allow for fast driving...

Am still laughing at the fact that she said "just so you know your car doesn't go over 160km/h"!!!!!!!!!!
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