Dennis and Dionne Newton

Dennis and Dionne Newton
Dennis & Dionne Newton

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Light the World

Happy New Year from Sarajevo! As we sat in our cozy apartment last night, we watched and listened to the constant barrage of fireworks until well after midnight. I've always loved fireworks, the flashing lights and brilliant displays of color against a night sky draw my attention upward and beyond. "Light the World" resounded in my mind as the explosive celebration took place. While those words were shared frequently during the past month, I know the message is meant to be carried in my heart as we move past the holiday season. Reflecting on the past year is not nearly as exciting to me as looking forward to the next, but I do recognize God's hand in both directions. I know we have been incredibly blessed with an amazing family, both at home and here in Bosnia, good friends and strong faith that continues to buoy me up as we serve Him.

We've had a fun-filled holiday week and were able to spend it with some pretty amazing young people. We had 8 missionaries for the better part of the Christmas weekend. We started out on Christmas Eve at the Wood's home for some holiday food and fun Minute to Win It games.

I was able to swing a "Rudolph nose" from a string tied around my neck up to my petroleum covered nose and make it stick in less than a minute!
 Now that's talent, right?!! 

After the fun at the Wood's we moved to the church for some rousing Risk action. With the help of an early alliance with me in Europe, Elder Isom obtained world dominance to the dismay of the other missionaries. 
Two veteran players and two first timers...and one oldie!

Fast forward a few hours and our home was filled with the smiles and laughter we often miss here in Sarajevo. Santa stopped by and left the missionaries some holiday cheer followed by a feast of prime rib roast, ham and all things yummy. 

So easy to please.... 

Thanks for the suggestion, Mom Isom!

Gotta love all the Elders in their Christmas sweaters! 

No one went home hungry... for three days! LOL!
We ate Christmas dinner, breakfast the next morning and dinner
after our trip to Mostar from what was cooked on Christmas day!

As tradition holds true for the Newtons, even in Sarajevo, we played Bingo! It wasn't quite the epic 8 hours that often ensues when we are home, but it was still fun. We made sure there were no losers and everyone had to have a bag to take home their loot!

The BINGO prize table

It was some serious BINGO...
Notice Elder Leach on the far right edge
 is on his way back from the prize table.. .AGAIN!

His most treasured BINGO prize of the night!

So festive in their awesome sweaters!

We had blank cards and each person had to fill in their own numbers before we started...
I'm pretty sure he received divine inspiration when choosing the numbers for his card.
He was the big BINGO winner of the night!

 After all the food and fun, the missionaries got to Skype with their families. Joyous were the sounds of family and friends as they shared some time with those they love! I have to admit, I'm not sure I would be here if I only got two opportunities a year to talk to or "see" my family. I have great admiration for the missionaries and their families. I think when we get home and all these young people that have crossed our path are home, we will have to have a great big "Bosnia Reunion" so I can meet all these wonderful people who support them in person!

There might have been a few power naps too!

Denny already posted on Facebook about our trip to Mostar the day after Christmas so I'm just going to say that it was literally, a breath of fresh air! The weather was beautiful and so was the company! And despite a flat tire on the way home, we had a fantastic time and even got the diver to jump off the bridge for us! A couple of the Elders were bound and determined to make it happen and their diligence paid off! 

This was the third flat tire on a car under his stewardship...
although he wasn't actually driving this time!
 Truly a team effort getting the tire changed! Everyone pitched in, Elder Newton and I watched, and we were on our way in less time than I expected. Good work parents on teaching these guys how to change tires! Very impressive!

The sun was just a little bright, but no one complained!
We hadn't seen much sun for the past couple of weeks.

We were so happy they let us play with them for the day!

We still struggle with the whole selfie thing.... 

It was a wonderful way to wrap up 2016! Our hearts are full and our spirits refreshed as we head into the new year. No resolutions for me... just a prayer in my heart to try to be a little kinder, a little more thoughtful, a little more loving and to try to draw a little closer to God in the new year.. And maybe to eat a little less often from the delicious pekeras (bakeries) on every corner! We wish you all a bright new year full of family, friends and the light of Christ in your life and that you might continue to Light the World around you!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your mission experiences - we are slightly jealous as we miss being on a mission. May 2017 be a wonderful year as you serve the Lord.