Archive for ‘Zagreb, Croatia’

8 days left

12 Commentsby   |  07.16.11  |  Zagreb, Croatia

I cannot believe how quickly time is moving! We only have a week left and I am going to miss this country and my family and friends here so much. This past week has definitely been eventful, last Sunday was by far the roughest day I’ve had here. The morning started out with a not so good skype conversation that made me miss home more than ever and then progressed to include me making a very bad decision. It took a good part of the day before everything was resolved between me and my host family, but even then the day was just gloomy. We did have 3 baptisms that day at the community park though! And then to make matters worse the champs camp team decided to come home a few hours early without informing us so we had to rush home and pack all of our bags for Slovenia in like half an hour. The drive was the first break from chaos all day and included some great conversations and sharing of testimonies. When we arrived in Setnica we were greeted by a very smiley old man who made us a wonderful dinner at the bed and breakfast where all the parents were staying. The Camp went really well all week long and I was really surprised by the difference in culture between Croatia and Slovenia especially in how reserved and cautious the children were. The worst part of the week was the shower situation, we had to take showers at 3:30pm in our bathing suits in non-heated (aka: freezing) water in front of every other person visiting the public pool in Setnica. The best part was meeting all the Slovene missionaries and hearing their stories. We met a guy named Eno who takes the cake for coolest person I’ve ever met, and he told us about how he came to know Jesus in prison and the effect it had on his life. The views and the discipleship time this week were also to die for. On Thursday we had to say goodbye to both our Slovene friends and the champs camp team and head back to our humble abode. That night we had dinner at our preachers house and played him in a 3 on 1 game of soccer, I now know why they call him the Croatian nightmare! Yesterday was mainly spent working on our lessons for the art camp this coming week and a break in the late afternoon to go watch HARRY POTTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was amazing once you got past the Croatian subtitles. I also got myself into a sticky situation when I popped the lenses out of the 3-d glasses to turn them into nerd spectacles and then was informed that I would have to pay for them… nice going Madison! Today has mostly been spent moving out of our apartment into the prayer room and cleaning every square inch of house in preparation for the arrival of our guests. Now I think I will spend a few hours napping and reading before our welcoming party tonight. I love Croatia but I am definitely looking forward to a few days of doing absolutely nothing before we go back to school.

July so far

12 Commentsby   |  07.09.11  |  Zagreb, Croatia

The first week in July was full of fun days since it was our last free week. One day we spent in Grats, Austria just walking around and shopping. We went to Ikea and H&M and took pictures of all the beautiful architecture. For lunch L’nae and I tried Kebaps and Felafels for the first time. On Our way  back to the car we saw a kid get hit by a motorcycle because he was J-walking. He looked like he was fine on the outside but he may have had some internal injuries. It was really scary. We spent another day that week at Plitvice which is a National Park between two mountains that has a series of lakes with hundreds of waterfalls and caves. It was probably the most beautiful place I have ever seen. When we got home we had Pizza and Movie night with the family and watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The next day Cameron and Addie left for MK Camp where they had a week full of rock climbing, canoeing and worship. Last monday was July 4th and we had an American cookout at another missionarys house with burgers and watermelon.

Since we’ve been in Croatia we’ve spent several full days handing out flyers and balloons to invite children to Champs camp which finally happened this past week. A group of teens from Round Rock, TX flew in to host this camp at a community park in Zagreb. We had a total of 75 kids divided up into 4 different tribes and the theme of the camp was Hometown Nazareth, Where Jesus Was a Kid. I was the group leader for the tribe of Simeon and we had 19 kids in our group ages 6-14. The tribes all rotated between 4 centers: bible, games, crafts, and snack. The kids in my group were absolutely adorable they only spoke a little english but they were all so attentive and loved the camp. On the last day they brought gifts for me and wanted their parents to take a million pictures. They kept asking me if I would be back next summer and said goodbye at least ten times each. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and I’m excited for Champs Camp in Slovenia next week with a new set of kids.

Today has just been a chill out day which is why I had a chance to catch up on my blogs. L’nae and I have have just hung out around the apartment all day except for half an hour when we watched Roger and Cameron slaughter one of the bunnies for a rabbit stew. Look for pictures of it on facebook lol.

So here’s what happened in June…

11 Commentsby   |  07.09.11  |  Zagreb, Croatia

Ok it has been a month since I wrote my last blog which means this entry could easily be 5,000,000 words long. There has been a lot going on in the past four weeks, some things we do on a regular basis and then some others are just for fun or an every once in a while thing. This is definitely the best WWW internship ever because no matter what we are doing it doesn’t feel like work everything is a blast. Our mission work here is a lot different than what you would think. Most everything we do here is more about relationship building and strengthening. One of the most important things we have been doing is spending time with the Massey children and other missionary kids here in Croatia. Every week we have discipleship with the two older kids and just spend time helping them in their spiritual development and then a large portion of our time every day is spent just playing with them or helping them with homework. Missionary kids often feel very alienated from people because they don’t know any americans there age or have many christian friends in their schools. A lot of times they feel like they don’t fit with the culture they are in or with americans because they grew up in a foreign country. So we spend a lot of time just hanging out with them getting to know them and developing friendships. We also spend time every morning in prayer and discipleship with Erin which has been the biggest blessing to my growth and development as a christian. I feel that one of the biggest reasons God brought us here is to bring some much needed relief to the missionaries here. Each weekend we have one night where we split up and babysit the massey children and the albright girls so that the adults can have a date night together and usually about once a week we go over and help James and Laura Albright as they pack their house in preparation to move back to America. Sunday mornings L’nae teaches the elementary age kids in bible class and has been doing a series on worship with the kids teaching them why and how we worship so that they may be able to join their parents during the worship service. They made tambourines and learned many worship songs. I teach the middle school and high school kids and we have been working our way through the steps to freedom in christ. They each made a prayer journal and have been practicing different types of prayer. Whenever we have a nice sunny day, L’nae and I go out to the garden with Roger and work on weeding beds or harvesting. It is such a joy to grow your own food and be able to just walk outside and make a full meal out all these beautiful fruits and vegetables. Every other week we make a trip over to our friend Ruza’s house. She is from Bosnia and came to Croatia during the war when they invaded her village and took her home, she now lives in our village with her son Ilia. We usually just sit and have a drink and some of her son’s smoked bacon and salami but a few weeks ago she taught L’nae and I to make Pita (Bosnian) or Borak (Croatian) which is this awesome pastry type food that can stuffed with eggs, cheese, meat, or blitva (swiss chard). L’nae and I decided that we wanted to have a date night with each of the kids where we take them out to do something fun and spend one on one time with each of them. Cameron and Ian decided that they both wanted to see the new X-men movie for their date so we went on a double date L’nae with Ian and Me with Cameron. After the movie we got dinner in the mall food court and both of the boys decided they wanted mcdonalds while L’nae and I had some delicious Lasagna. Addie chose to go shopping for her date so we went shopping at Mercator in Samobor. We bought her a dress there and took her to have creme schnitte and cappuccino. We also had a girls night with Erin where we ate at an italian restaurant and went to see source code and several shopping days with just the two of us. Last month we went to Catez with all the kids in the home school co-op as an end of the year treat. Catez is a waterpark in Slovenia about 45 minutes away with several water slides, a lazy river, and a wave pool. Then about three weeks ago we went on a family camping trip with the Masseys and the Nelsons (another family from Minnesota). The campground was on a river so we spent most of the week laying out in the sun and floating down the river. We were there for 5 days and had tons of fun. Cameron found a snake in his shirt and lost a tooth, the kids made a skit for us, we had 2 attempted robberies by gypsies, played kickball football ultimate frisbee and I lost my only pair of glasses in the waterfalls. L’nae and I made a friend named Sylwa on one of our Zagreb outings a couple weeks ago. Sylwa is applying for grad school at ACU. We took her out for ice cream and invited her to our church. At the end of June Cameron was chosen to play his flute at an awards ceremony held by the mayor of Samobor. We met a lot of new people after the concert and found out that the mayor actually knows quite a bit of english. He told me I looked like I was 15 and didn’t understand why my parents let me get a real tattoo lol.

Two weeks in

13 Commentsby   |  07.09.11  |  Zagreb, Croatia

So much has happened since my last post I don’t even know where to start. Yesterday marked two weeks that I’ve been here in Croatia but it feels like so much longer. L’nae and I really feel like we have known the Masseys for years and that this apartment is our home. I can already tell it’s going to be a hard transition back to the states. Before we came we didn’t really know what our trip would look like, we had a basic calendar of major events but we weren’t sure how our daily lives would be. I had some ideas in my head of what might happen but it’s really turned out to be much different than I thought. A lot of times interns show up for the summer and are constantly working camps or working at an orphanage or building houses and that’s the only thing that I could really invision but our work here is much different. I really feel like we’re getting a taste of what it’s like to be a full-time missionary here, we haven’t converted hundreds of people or built houses but we have fully immersed ourselves in the culture and became part of a wonderful family who has dedicated their lives to serving the community. This summer is more laid back and focused on relationship building, we spend a large portion of our time just helping out around the house, babysitting, gardening, helping with homework, cooking and spending time with the kids. I really feel like this summer is more about my personal growth and building strong friendships while I provide some relief to the missionaries here. In these past week we’ve been to a waterpark with the homeschool coop, toured a castle with the family, watched several of Cameron’s amazing concerts, wandered around Zagreb and Samobor, formed a biking/running club in Mala Gorica, recruited for ACU, become addicted to Creme Schnitte and croatian ice cream, folded hundreds of flyers for the christian camps, handed out balloons at the park, taught bible classes at church, had a girls night out with Erin, gotten really dirty at a ceramics workshop, mastered the public transportation system, lost quite a few pounds, got lost walking around a lake, toured a vineyard, picked our weight in cherries and taught the Massey children how to do the cupid shuffle.

I think my favorite day so far was this past saturday. We got to sleep in for the first time since we’ve been here and rolled out of bed at 9:30 and had a quick breakfast before we all piled in the car to go watch Cameron’s last soccer game. It was beautiful outside so we just sat under a shade tree and watched as the boys killed the other team. They won this last championship game and took first place in the league with a score of 12-0. After the match the team was awarded with a trophy and pizza and we watched as they paraded around and celebrated their victory. We then headed over to Samobor to the Art school where Ian and Roger had been taking ceramics lessons all year. They had all the students work on display and we saw some really amazing pieces. Then they helped us make something of our own, I grab a giant chunk of clay and proceeded to make the biggest mess of my life. About three hours later when you could no longer tell what color my hands were I had created an amazing serving plate that I am super proud of. When we arrived back home I squeezed in some time for exercise and rode about 5 or 6 miles on my bike. Around 5 o’clock we piled back into the car and headed over to the next village to visit some of our friends. The Slamars had a beauftiful house and two humongous cherry trees. All seven of us climbed up in the trees and picked as many cherries as we could carry. When we had picked enough cherries to fill the trunk of our car we came down and had dinner and homemade wine. The night ended with us taking a grand tour of the gardens and vineyards which is where I took a lot of the pictures I have posted on facebook.

Today we are spending the day inside because of the  rain. We had discipleship and helped Addie with her essay for school and now we are going to clean up and cook for our guests and then tonight we will have a worship practice for church. I am really in love with this place and the people here and even though I miss home very much I am having the greatest summer of my life.

Week One in Croatia

67 Commentsby   |  06.05.11  |  Zagreb, Croatia

Picking up where Madison left off…Monday night we both slept like champions, I got 12.5 hours and still had to be woken up. We spent most of the next day getting to know the family and exploring a nearby village. Tuesday night we decided to break in our Croatian running skills. The weather is fantastic for running! Cool, 60 degree nights with the slightest breeze and my legs were grateful for the exercise. Wednesday, Roger took us into the heart of Zagreb and we received a quick tour of the capital as well as a breakdown of Croatian culture. We also sat down and planned out our calendar for the summer. I learned that we will be assisting with three different summer camps, teaching Bible lessons, and helping several different families with various needs. Thursday, we started off with what will be an ongoing devotional with Roger’s daughter, Addie. We then had our own devotional time with Roger’s wife, Erin. Madison and I also had our first “cultural immersion” experience. We went to a nearby village for the afternoon by ourselves. It was difficult, but not impossible to get around the town. While we were there we saw an old European cemetery and tried a very popular dessert called something like “cremeshnitte” which tastes like a doughnut. We also learned that when you are at a restaurant in Croatia you have to ask for your bill; yes, we sat around for a long time wondering if it would be considered rude to ask for the bill. Friday, we spent most of our time getting acquainted with and helping out an American missionary family here in Croatia. They are preparing to move back to the states and they need help watching their three young girls. The girls were all endearing and funny, especially the four-year old who tried to cross her eyes. We then went around the city handing out flyers to promote one of the summer camps that we will be helping with. Yesterday the Massey’s took us to a beautiful castle. After we toured the castle we decided to walk what around the seemingly small lake, the lake ended up being VERY long – exercise, right? Today was our first church service with TRANSFORMA, while there we met a large portion of the congregation, roughly thirty loving people. I attended  service for a short while before I was called away to help with the children, but while I was there I saw a congregagtion who truly loves the Lord.  Fun fact about Croatia: the toilet paper is colored and scented.

Travel and Arrival

20 Commentsby   |  05.31.11  |  Zagreb, Croatia

Ok so the past 48 hours have been crazy! We tried to stay up late saturday night so we would sleep on the plane so we only got like 4 hours of sleep on saturday then we couldn’t sleep on the flight still, so the whole 9.5 hour flight across the atlantic we were awake for. Oh and we can’t forget the part where they “saw something suspicious” in my carry on and had to search it lol. We sat next to a guy from Cairo who talked to us a lot during the flight and told us about how he was on his way home to see his family. He works in oil back in Texas and he only gets to see his wife and kids 3-4 days out of the month because he has to work in the states. I watched the Tourist and the Green Hornet on the plane,had dinner and we were told by one of the german flight attendants that we looked like scandinavians! When we finally arrived at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany we had a 4 hour layover to walk around the airport shops and stretch our legs and buy a $5 bottle of coke (the Euro exchange rate is horrible) before the next flight. Frankfurt to Zagreb was only about a two hour flight and we flew right over the austrian alps which was beautiful. After two and a half days of traveling we arrived at the airport in Zagreb, got our passports stamped and were met by Roger and his oldest son Cameron who greeted us with giant smiles and beautiful flowers :) It is beautiful here in Croatia, the weather is a perfect 75 degrees and everything is bright green. We got a short little tour on our way to the house here in Mala Gorica of the little villages we passed. The Massey’s house here is absolutely stunning we have our own little guest house with a balcony which is just adorable! Last night we had a barbeque on the rooftop with several other missionary families and then we got to watch all the kids give presentations of their projects for homeschool co-op. Lots of the kids are very good artists and showed us some of their work and we listened to a girl names Lydia play fiddle for us and cameron blew our minds with his flute playing. He played a piece called Papillion which means butterfly in french we think, but he played it so well I have never heard a flute player that was that good and especially for a 12 year old. Now it is tuesday and I think I have succesfully made the transfer to the new time zone. We are about to go register at the police station in a few minutes so I’m gonna end here but am looking forward to telling all about the days to come!