Dennis and Dionne Newton

Dennis and Dionne Newton
Dennis & Dionne Newton

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Home Sweet Home

Home can mean many things. Home is a building where you live. Home is a place you go at the end of the day. Home to me is not about a physical location, it's about being with people you love. The past nine months I have found home in my heart, and it's a spacious home with room for so much more. We have actually had limited travel the past two weeks so between meetings and emails I've had time to reflect on our journey and the people that have helped me find home in a new land.

Ready to be inspired!
Last Saturday we had Zone Conference in Banja Luka. Zone conference is a day when all the missionaries in Bosnia gather to receive instruction, be uplifted by one another and share experiences. There are 16 missionaries living in three different cities in Bosnia. In addition to Denny and I, there is one other Senior Couple, the Bradfords, who live in Banja Luka. There are also 12 young missionaries in our zone (Bosnia), 8 young men and 4 young ladies, who serve with all their heart. There are four missionaries in each of the cities of Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Tuzla. They are here to share a message of love and hope with the people. They spend an average of 8-10 hours each day on the streets talking to people, some interested in learning more, some not. As I took pictures and watched their beautiful smiles at Zone Conference I felt at home.

The four young ladies of the Bosnia zone!

After conference

Almost every zone conference I get a request to make cinnamon rolls

Elder King (in the middle) is actually about 6" taller than everyone else!

Elders Hole and Hardy who serve in Tuzla, the smallest of the Bosnia cities.

This picture is older, but still shows
how much Iman loves Amani!
Because our travel schedule has been a bit lighter the past two weeks I have had an opportunity to spend more time at one of my homes here in Bosnia, the barn! As most of you know one of my greatest passions is teaching people to ride, regardless of their ability. In the last week I have taught six lesson and a total of eleven different riders. And I have loved every minute of it! Pegasos (home of Riders of Hope) is hosting a Bosnia and Herzegovina Equestrian Federation dressage show the first weekend of June and I have had the privilege of helping prepare these eleven riders for the show. Teaching these young riders truly inspires me! They work so hard to improve and are some of the kindest young people I've had the pleasure to teach. They are helpful to me, to each other and truly exhibit love for one another and their equine partners. And they almost all volunteer to help with the Riders of Hope program as well. This year Riders of Hope will also have participants in the show. Two of the riders I have been teaching all winter, along with another rider from the program, will make their debut in the show arena. This home definitely has my heart! I wish I had pictures of all of the riders I have been working with. I will definitely put that on my to do list. Here are a few pictures I "borrowed" from other sources so you could see at least a few of the amazing young people I have been blessed to work with.

Asja and Zaid from a previous show last year.
They will compete again this year as well. 

Iman S. competing last year.

Merima is so passionate about horses and has been
working so hard to improve her riding!

Tea and her beautiful black Fresian, Epke.

Esma is very excited to ride Gypsy in her first show!

This picture if from last fall. The young missionaries help each week with my 
Riders of Hope lessons. This rider will also compete in the show next month.
Because of Mala Sirena, he has hope for his future.
Pursuing our vision to leave a positive impact on the lives of those with disabilities in BiH has tugged at our heartstrings on more than one occasion. Visiting organizations around the country that have the same desire for this group of people has been at times heart wrenching, yet inspiring on so many levels. From a small apartment helping three children with special needs, one organization has grown so large it will soon relocate to a full school and serve over 100 students. Out of her desire to secure a better future for her own son on the Autism spectrum, one mother has created a program that now offers multiple therapies and an inclusive kindergarten program in her small community. Not only do they serve nearly 100 children at the center and help with inclusion in the local schools, they also offer educational workshops for parents. Other programs offer vocational training for young adults with disabilities to ensure they have life skills as well as job skills, making their futures brighter. Each time we meet with one of theses organizations and talk to the champions of these programs my heart is touched and I know this is another home for me. A place that will always draw me in, accept me and love me for who I am.

Horse, child, smiles...nothing more needs to be said.

How could a teacher not allow this child to be in the classroom?

Nothing brings my heart greater joy than smiling faces!

The hug says it all. Adisa is one of the greatest champions for
children with disabilities that I have ever met. Because of her
and those who work with her, children in her program have
a much brighter future.

And while I am finding home in this new place, my family still holds my heart, still is my eternal home. AND.... I get to spend Mother's day with some of them. Only about 12 hours until I get to hug at least a few of these special people. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am! I just wish they could all be here!
We got to an amazing couple of days with
Brayden and Erica last month!

Kellan is enjoying time with his other grandma,
but we will get to see him in less than 9 months!
But Britni and Richie will be here in the morning!

Brennen and Amy are enjoying Europe and I will be
enjoying them for Mother's Day!

So excited to see Briel and Mitch in the morning!

Wish they could be here too, but love and miss
them all more than they could possibly know!

Home. No, it is not a place, but a feeling. A feeling of belonging, of feeling of acceptance and a feeling of love. It can be found anywhere you are if you look.

1 comment:

  1. Who the Lord calls he are certainly qualified to be there and work with the children and the horses. We are happy that you are getting to share your Mother's Day with some of your family and we are sure you will be in contact with the others. Thanks for sharing some of your amazing experiences.