Dennis and Dionne Newton

Dennis and Dionne Newton
Dennis & Dionne Newton

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Roller Coasters to Refugees

Well if you happen to know my husband, you will also know that he LOVES roller coasters! As a matter of fact, he has now ridden 427 different roller coasters around the world. ( I'm at a measly 212 and yes, he keeps track!) Soon after we opened our mission call, Denny did a search for amusement parks in the mission boundaries... nothing, not a single one! But he did find out that one was going to be opening in Zadar (a coastal city in Croatia) and put it on the calendar. Two weeks after the opening, we were there. Amusement parks are always more fun with a group so we got permission from the Mission President to take the missionaries serving in the Zadar area with us... and they brought a friend! We had a great time, although it is a very small park at the moment. But... they did have a roller coaster! We had a great time and of course enjoyed the company of these great young people!

Elder Christensen, Elder Hillock, Bo┼żo, Sister Locey and Sister Christensen
The one and only roller coaster as viewed from the Ferris Wheel.

It was an extremely hot day so they found a good way to cool off!
He tells us his phone is waterproof.. we thought he was texting, but
he said he was trying to unlock it so he could take some pictures. 

This was a bit creepy... Elder Christensen fit right in!

After our entertaining day at the amusement park, Denny and I spent the next day at Nin, a small town outside of Zadar. Wikipedia explains, "According to historians, the area of Nin appears to have been settled 10,000 years ago. The present-day town on the islet developed 3,000 years ago and is one of the older towns on the eastern Adriatic. " Needless to say, it is a very old, very quaint little town with two famous churches, the church of Holy Cross from the 9th century, called “the smallest cathedral in the world”, and the coronation church. It is also famous for having some of the only sandy beaches on the coast. "Healthy mud" is also a big draw for the beach goers in Nin. 

The people walking near the church will give you some persepective
on the actual size of this teeny, tiny "cathedral".

We had to check out the "healthy mud". Ironically, I ended up
with a nasty stomach virus the rest of the week.... not convinced
this was truly "healthy mud", but our skin was soft afterwards!
We headed home and back to work after our short trip to the sea. One of our major water projects held a closing ceremony. For this project we cooperated with the local municipality to construct a 3 kilometer water pipe to bring running water to a rural school. Prior to this project, the school staff was bringing drinking water and water to "flush" the toilets each day in bottles and buckets. I was still sick so I was not able to attend the ceremony but Denny got some pictures and it looked like the whole town came out to celebrate. Two TV crews, the mayor and all the children that attend the small school joined in the festivities. It was quite the party! I was sad that I had to miss it, but certainly didn't want to share my germs with the whole town! 

The town mayor (in yellow) and the new school director (on crutches)
being interviewed. This was the director's first week on the job.

Interviewing one of the students and asking what he thinks about
being able to flush toilets when school starts in a few weeks. 

Town children preforming at the closing ceremony.

Elder Newton and the mayor with some of the students.

Bosnians NEVER celebrate without a good meal!
This past week we had more fun with the young missionaries. This time all 11 missionaries from Bosnia joined us for the day before Zone Conference. They all gathered in Sarajevo on Sunday night. Early Monday morning we all headed out to visit Mostar, a Turkish Dervish and Jajce, a small town with a cool waterfall and fort. After we finished up our sightseeing, we headed to Banja Luka for Zone Conference the next morning. It's always so enjoyable to hang out with the missionaries and just soak up all the joy they exude. It was a lot of driving, but we were in good company!
They enjoyed dipping their feet in the cool water and watching the
guy up on the center of the bridge jump into the river below.
Sister Lougee, Elder Roberts, Elder King, Elder Smith, Elder Parkinson,
Sister Turner, Sister Beus, Elder Hole, Sister Mitovic (sp?), Sister Orchard and Elder Echols.

This little boat trip takes you into the cave just a bit, but it
was beautiful inside!

The boat driver uses the rope to pull the boat into and out of the cave

Just a few of my favorite people.....

Aren't they beautiful! They had to be "covered" to enter the dervish. 
Once we got home from Zone Conference we spent the next couple of days finalizing projects for the two refugee centers in Zagreb. LDS Charities will be providing the centers with much needed supplies. We were approved to supply 500 pairs of shoes, sheets, pillows. blankets, laundry detergent and towels as well as an assortment of clothing to name a few items. Also approved was a service project with the missionaries and church members in Zagreb to assembly 500 hygiene kits and LDS Charities will also will be providing them with backpacks and school supplies so the refugee children will be prepared to start school in September. The Croatia Red Cross oversees both centers and we have been so impressed with all the work they are doing to make the lives of these people a little bit better. 

I personally just want to thank any of you who have ever donated to the humanitarian efforts of LDS Charities. Your generous donations truly do make a difference in the lives of so many people. Sometimes we don't realize the impact a few dollars can make when it is multiplied by millions of people. So, thank you from us and from those whose lives have been touched by your Christlike love. 


  1. Thanks for sharing all this detail, and for all the great work you're doing. And thanks for taking care of the missionaries in the Adriatic North Mission.

  2. I always enjoy reading your posts. We, too, love spending whatever time we can with the young missionaries. Their enthusiasm rejuvenates us. You are doing some amazing things there; God bless you both.