Tuesday, November 3rd – Today was the only day the weather was not perfect. We walked around the outskirts of Krapina, delivering pamphlets that talked about the Gospel.
“Svaki dom” translates to “every home”
Some houses didn’t have accessible mailboxes, so we stuck the pamphlets in the fence. (Everyone has fences in Croatia.)
We found a cool old well and – of course – took a picture.
And they have driving schools in Croatia, too! Who would have thought?! The sign on the car says “Autoškola.”
Many people grow corn for their livestock.
Every neighborhood has a crucifix somewhere along the roadside.
Here’s a somewhat awkward selfie while we were out;
And here’s the Croatian flag!
We went to breakfast at a bakery, and had coffee (of course) and wonderful pastries. Afterwards, one of the guys on our team was trying to ask one of our Croatian friends what the word “krafna” meant in English.
Problem #1: He asked the question in Croatian: “Zovem se krafna?”
Problem #2: He actually said, “My name is doughnut?”
So now when we want a laugh, we say, “Zovem se doughnut!”
Recently, my homeschool group had a USO party. We took swing dancing lessons for about a month to prepare. Finding dresses and shoes was the hardest part for my family. Rachel and I were gone the first week of November, and we hadn’t found a dress before that. The one we found for me was a size 10, so we had to alter the neckline. I was very happy with the dress, and felt that it looked very authentic.
In addition to swing dancing lessons, we also took line dancing lessons. You know, Electric Slide, Cotton-Eye-Joe, Cupid Shuffle, etc. During the dance, we got to put our line dancing skills to use! After a while (2 hours) we started to get goofy and play Ring-around-the-Rosy: something I haven’t played in about 10 years.
All in all, it was a great party. We had doughnuts, licorice, and Coke in bottles. My mouth waters just thinking about it! Now I have to convince the moms to do it again!
Monday, November 2nd – Today was our first teaching day! It went by fast, so this will be a short post.
The whole morning was spent organizing our lesson plans and running through lessons. In the afternoon, a few of our team (including me) went to a bottle factory near the border of Slovenia. I opened the class with an icebreaker game, then showed some pictures of our city. I then asked if there were any questions. Of course, they asked about homeschooling, because that’s not something that is done in Croatia. But then someone asked, “What’s the difference between what you believe and what I believe?”
I was taken aback! We had been told people would ask us that question, and just the night before the pastor had restated that, using those same words. He told us that we should answer, “What do you believe?”
I asked what they believed, and they told me that they believed in Jesus and Mary, and that God had given the Old and New Testaments. I was kind of at a loss for further words – what to say to that? We were going as a team from a church, so I asked the pastor to elaborate on what we believed. He did a great job. 😉
All in all, our classes went very well. We learned some things we needed to change in our lessons! In our debriefing meeting, we talked about our different experiences and looked at our schedule for the next day – Tuesday!
November 1st – Today being Sunday, we went to one of the few Baptist churches in Croatia. Now, being a Baptist in Europe is different than being a Southern Baptist. Croatian Baptists trace their roots back to before the Reformation.
The church was small, so we felt right at home. Everyone was welcoming and wanted to shake our hand, and we just smiled and said, “Jutro!” or “Dobar dan!” (“Good morning” and “good day.”) We had learned how to pronounce the Croatian alphabet so we could read anything, even if we didn’t know what we were saying. That proved to be very helpful during the worship service. We sang “Change My Heart O God” in Croatian, and were able to sing all the other songs, too!
Our pastor preached, the Croatian pastor translating. We had already heard the sermon before (the first couple verses of Matthew 15) but it was interesting to try to pick out Croatian cognates and hear the people’s reactions to the traditions of the Pharisees. Ceremonial handwashing in that time used 3 half-eggshells of water. The person washing their hands had to let the water drip all the way down to the elbow, then turn their arm and let it drip off the tips of the fingers. If they skipped any of this, they would be unclean and have to start the whole process over again.
Our team sang “All I Have is Christ” in Croatian. My hands were shaking so badly I could barely play my tinwhistle. Apparently people were crying, but I wasn’t paying attention to the audience.
After church, we went to a pizza restaurant – Croatian pizza is good!
That evening, we went back to the church for a devotion and a jewelry-making party. I got to play the piano in front of everyone, and my hands were so sweaty that there were drops of moisture on the keys. Hopefully you can’t tell. 😉
When the party was over, we visited a Catholic cemetery. On All Saint’s Day, Catholics light candles at their loved one’s graves, each candle representing a prayer that is believed to get the deceased person’s soul out of Purgatory. It was very sobering to be there on that particular evening, with the hillside lit up in the cold. We were all quiet as we drove home, and I know that I thought about our visit for a long time afterward.