April 10, 2017

Adriatic North Mission


Here are free resources about the Adriatic North Mission:

*Other Mission Pages: Adriatic South Mission.



Adriatic North Mission Address

Here’s a recent address for the Adriatic North Mission. We try to keep this information up to date, but it’s a good idea to check the address with several sources, including your mission packet or the mission office.

Adriatic North Mission
Svacicev Trg 3/1
H/R-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Phone Number: 385-1-4577783
Mission President: President David M. Melonakos

Adriatic North Mission Map

Here’s a link to the official mission boundaries map of the Adriatic North Mission (LDS). To access an official LDS.org map for the Adriatic North Mission:

  1. Log into your LDS account here.
  2. Click here.

Adriatic North Missionary Blogs

Here’s a list of LDS missionary blogs for the Adriatic North Mission. This blog list includes the missionary’s name, URL and when their blog was updated.

*Send your missionary a gift (mission-specific shirts, ties, Christmas stockings/ornaments, pillowcases, etc.)

Adriatic North Returned Missionaries lifey.org/adriatic-north-mission 2017
Elder Ryan Echols elderryanechols.blogspot.com 2017
Elder Rasmussen elderrasmussen16-18.blogspot.com 2017
Elder & Sister Newton newtonmission.blogspot.com 2017
Elder Cole Frandsen eldercolefrandsen.blogspot.com 2017
Elder & Sister Krehbiel krehbieladventures.blogspot.hr 2017
Sister Mary Rougeau servingwithamarydisposition.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Chandler Perry elderchandlerperry.wordpress.com 2016
Elder Cole Taylor eldercoletaylor.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Drew Sheesley missionsite.net/elderdrewtsheesley 2016
Elder Ammon Christensen christensenadriatic.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Michael Pantelakis elderpantelakis.weebly.com 2016
Elder Parker Bowles adriaticadventuresblog.wordpress.com 2016
Elder & Sister Schlehuber seniormission2.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Katie Nydegger sestranydegger.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Katarina Watts sisterkatarinawatts.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Holly Higgins smileyholly.weebly.com 2016
Elder Jack Davis elderjackdavis.wordpress.com 2016
Elder David Porter mymission.com/elderdavidgarrettporter 2015
Elder Jacob Hughes mymission.com/elderjacobhughes 2015
Elder Nathan Lamb mymission.com/eldernathanlamb 2015
Elder Brandon Lowis mymission.com/elderbrandonslowis 2015
Sister Brown bringtheworldhistruth.wordpress.com 2015
Sister Holly Cuthbert sestrahollyannecuthbert.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Andrea Vukorepa sestravuky.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Matthew Cox eldermatthewcox.wordpress.com 2015
Sister Catherine Chauncey sestrachauncey.weebly.com 2015
Sister Aubrey Farnsworth sestrafarnsworth.blogspot.com 2015
Elder & Sister Taylor alanchristine.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Cassandra Pelton classyadventuresofcassie.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Mallory Rogers sistermalfunction.wordpress.com 2014
Sister Mekell Peterson sestramekellpeterson.blogspot.com 2014
Elder Joshua Lyman elderjoshualyman.blogspot.com 2014
Couple Missionaries mybellyacres.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Brianne Peterson sisterbriannepeterson.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Katherine Orgill sisterkorgill.blogspot.com 2014
Elder Taran Bailey missionsite.net/eldertaranbailey 2014
Elder Jordan Stuart elderjordanstuart.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Kylee Flanders missionsite.net/sisterkyleeflanders 2014
Elder Cameron Benson elderbenson.blogspot.com 2014
Elder Jacob Hixon mymission.com/elderjacobhixon 2013
Sister Brandie Frampton sestrabrandieframpton.blogspot.com 2013
Elder Nathan Mecham missionsite.net/eldernathanmecham 2013
Elder Ryan Mattson missionsite.net/elderryanmattson 2013
Elder Josh Bell missionsite.net/elderjoshbell 2013
Elder P.J. Quinn elderpjquinn.blogspot.com 2013
Elder & Sister Ivins ivinsadriatic.blogspot.com 2013
Sister McKenzie Giles sistermckenziegiles.blogspot.com 2013
Sister Brooke Mortensen missionsite.net/sisterbrookemortensen 2013
Elder Austin Meline missionsite.net/elderaustinmeline 2012

Adriatic North Mission Groups

Here are Adriatic North Mission Groups- for LDS missionary moms, returned missionaries, mission presidents and other alumni of the Adriatic North Mission.

  1. Adriatic North Mission (220 members)
  2. Adriatic North Mission: President Rowe Era (114 members)
  3. Adriatic North Mission- Youth/YSA (83 members)
  4. Adriatic North Missionaries: President Grant Era (31 members)
  5. Adriatic North Mission Moms and Friends (LDS) (4 members)

Adriatic North Mission T-Shirts

Here are T-shirts for the Adriatic North Mission!

Shirt designs include Adriatic North Mission logo/emblem shirts and Called to Serve shirts. The shirts make great gifts for pre-missionaries, returned missionaries and missionaries currently serving. LDS Mission shirts come in all sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, up to 4XL.  The mission designs are printed on white shirts and are shipped to you.

*Simply click on a shirt design to view the details and submit an order. The designs on mission t-shirts may also be printed on other LDS mission gifts, including: Adriatic North missionary aprons, Christmas stockings, ties, pillow cases, teddy bears and Christmas ornaments.

*Click here to browse Adriatic North Mission gifts



Adriatic North Mission Presidents

Here’s a list of current and past Mission Presidents of the Adriatic North Mission.

  1. 2017-2020, David M. Melonakos
  2. 2014-2017, David James Grant
  3. 2011-2014, Edward B. Rowe

Adriatic North LDS Statistics (2015)

  • Church Membership: 588 (Croatia), 433 (Slovenia), 347 (Serbia)
  • Missions: 1 (Croatia)
  • Temples: 0
  • Congregations: 6 (Croatia), 5 (Slovenia), 3 (Serbia)
  • Family History Centers: 3 (Croatia), 1 (Slovenia), 2 (Serbia)

Helpful Articles about Croatia

Coming soon..

Adriatic North Missionary Survey

Here are survey responses from Adriatic North RMs, to give you a snapshot into what it’s like to live in the mission.

When did you serve?

  • 2014-2015 (Samantha)
  • 2013-2015 (Bryce)
  • June 2013 – June 2015 (Benjamin)
  • 2013-2014 (Sara)
  • June 2013 – June 2014 (Jeni)
  • 2012-2014 (Cameron)
  • 2012-2014 (Schyler)
  • 2011-2012 (Kristine)
  • 2009-2011 (Ben)

What areas did you serve in?

  • Zagreb, Croatia; Sarajevo, Bosnia; Tuzla, Bosnia; Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia; Osijek, Croatia. (Samantha)
  • Karlovac, Novi Sad, Sremska Motrovica, Zagreb. (Sara)
  • Kranj, Celje, Ljubljana. (Cameron)
  • Rijeka, Zadar, and Osijek, Croatia. (Kristine)

What were some favorite foods?

  • Burek, Sarma, Kifla, Punina Paprika. (Samantha)
  • Ćevapi, bakery foods, musaka, Sarma, stuffed peppers. (Bryce)
  • Burek and anything you could buy at a bakery. The yogurt was good. (Benjamin)
  • Cevapi, goulas, sopska salata, punjena paprika, sarma. (Sara)
  • Burek, pun paradis, guros, cabbage soup, anything made by Duska Vucenovic. (Jeni)
  • Čevapčiče and ajvar, pizza, kebab, štruklje. (Cameron)
  • Cevapi, burek (mostly Bosnian & Serbian burek, Croatian burek isn’t as good, also if you can find potato burek, you should get it every day). (Schyler)
  • Anything from the bakeries! Especially from Mlinar! (Kristine)
  • Sarma, Burek, Juha, Krompirjeva Solata, Sadje, Kremšnite, Vroča Čokolada, Krofi. (Ben)

What was a funny experience?

  • I tracted into a lady with a beard. My trainer couldn’t hold in her laughter and I had to struggle through the language until she said that she couldn’t hear us and closed the door. (Samantha)
  • My companion slipped on some ice and ripped his pants from belt to zipper and we had to ride the tram back home before he could change his pants. (Bryce)
  • The entire two years. People act so funny over there. (Benjamin)
  • Language stories. (Sara)
  • Once when we were walking home, a man asked me ‘maramica?’ I thought this was a street name for some reason, so I started gesturing to some corner of the neighborhood. He was really confused, and started grabbing his nose and making funny sounds, which made me really confused. Then I grabbed by dictionary and discovered that the man was, in fact, asking if I had a tissue he could use. (Jeni)
  • Having lunch with a Slovene family. The grandma made this interesting and good cultural dish, cmoki, like potato dumplings with a dried plum in the center. Yet she had a secret sauce on her stove corner that ruined the dish when she drenched the cmoki with it. Eventually I asked her what the secret sauce was. She answered, “Just pure butter!…” (Cameron)
  • Getting the police called on you, and ending up becoming total buddies with the police and them giving you advice on how they think you could tract more effectively. (Schyler)
  • I was studying to be an elementary teacher before the mission. In the MTC with our “investigator”, he asked us what we did before the mission. Now the word for ‘teacher’ is ‘ućitelj’ and the word for ‘killer’ is ‘ubitelj’. I mixed up the words and said I studied to be a killer. He gave me this really weird/worried look. I saw his concern and clarified, “You know, for children.” Yeah, that didn’t go well. We eventually got around to understanding my mistake. Language stories are always the best! Don’t look at the negative whenever they come around. Always look at the laughs! Believe me, I have plenty of them. (Kristine)
  • Trying to convert Catholic priests. (Ben)

What was a crazy/dangerous experience?

  • There were lots of riots that happened almost on a regular basis. (Bryce)
  • Many knives and guns. I wasn’t ever scared. (Benjamin)
  • Getting followed in the pitch black, chased out of apartment buildings, spit on, skirt pulled up. (Sara)
  • I got slapped in the face by a Muslim man while tracting once. (Jeni)
  • Hitchhiking to an appointment from the middle of the mountains. (Cameron)
  • People trying to kick or push you out of apartment buildings. People telling you to leave their doorstep at gunpoint. Trying to prevent a murder. (Schyler)
  • Some of my fellow missionaries got punched. (Ben)

What was a spiritual experience?

  • My companion and I were contacting after a lesson fell through, and she stopped an older couple. She asked them a question, and their answer turned into a 30 minute lesson that lead to a follow-up appointment at their house. They are still investigating the church. (Samantha)
  • Watching a young man read The Book of Mormon and testify to his mom and dad that he knew it was true. (Bryce)
  • Testifying of Christ’s love for people when you feel it in such a powerful way. (Sara)
  • In my first area, there had not been a baptism in seven years. I didn’t know the language, and my trainer had only been out two months longer than me and didn’t know the language either. We were the first sisters in that area in 14 years, and the Elders before us didn’t leave any records of people they were teaching. We were starting from scratch without knowing much Serbian, and the first months were killer. But, after a lot of faith, prayers, and doors in our faces, we found a family with a 17 year old son who was on fire for the Gospel. He baptized his parents, and then his friend, and then more of his friends, and their families were taught by the missionaries, and after about six months, that area was the highest baptizing in the mission and still is today. (Jeni)
  • Reaching out to a less active member on her birthday, her telling us she had prayed that morning to see someone from the church to receive a blessing. She hadn’t previously had contact with any members for months. (Cameron)
  • Seeing people overcome their fears and cultural predispositions to accept the Gospel. (Schyler)
  • I’ve erased this answer about three times because I keep thinking of an experience I want to share. There are so many! My last two weeks, we were going through the area book looking at past members’ and investigators’ records. We shut the books, then my companion looks at me and says, “Sestra, there’s someone else we need to find.” We find a member’s old teaching record, and there was a fellowshipping member’s name that we didn’t recognize. He wasn’t in our records, but there was a number. We decided to just give it a try. A voice answered. “Hi! My name is Sister Jolley, and I’m a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This might sound weird, but we have your number and are not exactly sure know how we have it. Can you help us out?” He laughs and answers, “Yes. I’m a member of your church.” We talk and throughout the conversation he explains his conversion story, how he served a mission and came back to be a branch president. After about a year, he got a job that required him to work 6 months in Italy and then 6 months in Croatia. He lost contact with the church and remained MIA for 5 years. We set a time to meet up later that week. When we met up, it was such a great meeting! We didn’t even ask him what his next step would be, but he just kept saying, “I know. I know. I need to do this or that.” He set his own challenges. It was awesome! The next week he came and took the sacrament. The first time in about 5 years! As we were texting one time, he said “It was really pleasure meeting you and really a blessing to re-connect with the Church. I am grateful to have this opportunity that Heavenly Father showed me through you that He thinks of me even when I ignore Him for so long time!” It just built my testimony so much that God is mindful of each and every one of us even when we aren’t mindful of Him. (Kristine)
  • We got a call to go to the hospital to see a 5 or 6 year old girl who had been thrown off a building by her father. I prayed with all my faith that she would survive but the next day she passed away. It helped me learn that my will is not always in line with the will of the Lord and that I need to trust Him over myself. (Ben)

What are some interesting facts about the Adriatic North Mission?

  • There are five countries, and four main languages. Each country has a different predominant religion. (Samantha)
  • There are five countries in the mission and it’s possible to visit all of them. There are a lot of beautiful places to go see. (Bryce)
  • It encompasses five countries and two language groups. Also this mission contains the area Dalmatia, which is where Dalmatian dogs are from. (Benjamin)
  • Wars, history of the nation, teaching English classes. (Sara)
  • It covers five countries, has five dialects, uses five different types of currency, and contains a wide spectrum of people from different religious backgrounds. (Jeni)
  • There were only 14 missionaries serving in my country and language when I started. You will meet and know all the active members in the country, including the first pioneers. It has 9 week transfers instead of 6 week. I served in one area for a full year. (Cameron)
  • Any person the Elders ever talk to (regardless of the persons age or gender) will always at some point ask them what they think of the girls in that country, and more often than not they will make some comment about you marrying a local girl. I’m not even kidding. (Schyler)
  • Croatia created the first tie or “croata”. Nikola Tesla was born in Croatia. Also Alfred Hitchcock said the most beautiful sunsets can be found in Zadar, Croatia. I totally agree!!! (Kristine)
  • There is only one High Priest in Slovenia and he is less active. The country is around 89% Roman Catholic. (Ben)

What was the weather like?

  • It was very humid. A temperate climate. It rained quite a bit, and the temperature ranged from quite high in the summer (high 30s Celsius) to rather low in the winter (below negative Celsius). Overall it was nice. (Samantha)
  • About the same as Utah, just more humid. (Bryce)
  • Pretty typical. Warm in the summer, cold in the winter. The coast was super warm all year. (Benjamin)
  • All 4 seasons, hot and humid in summer, cold and snowy in winter, moderate fall and spring. (Sara)
  • I loved the weather in Serbia. Hot and sunny in the summer, cold and snowy in the winter. It never got too cold, though. The only downside was that it got dark really early in the winter. (Jeni)
  • Highs in the 90s in the summer, lows in the 10s in the winter. Snow and ice in the winter. Great springs and falls. (Cameron)
  • For the most part it’s pretty warm in most areas, but can get cold and snowy in the winter. (Schyler)
  • Humid, especially compared to Utah. On the coast, the winters were more rainy than snowy. Inland areas were snowy in the winter. (Kristine)
  • It’s humid. Cold winters. Really hot summers. (Ben)

Any things you really like about the area/people?

  • The people are amazing. They are very culturally diverse and everyone has something to say. Most of them are friendly and after they get to know you a bit, they open right up. (Samantha)
  • They will stop and help you every time it’s needed. (Bryce)
  • They know how to eat, how to be the perfect host, how to open their hearts. (Benjamin)
  • People have a lot of scars from the wars, you have to get to know them before teaching the gospel, they’re all Catholic. (Sara)
  • They are very genuine. You always know where you stand with them. There is no warmer place than their friendship. (Jeni)
  • Everyone is sincere and honest. Not many people beat around the bush, but are more direct. Yet can become your best friend once they are comfortable with you. Otherwise Slovenia is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Green everywhere. Mountains everywhere. Lakes and rivers. (Cameron)
  • The places are really beautiful. The mean people are the meanest people you will ever meet, but the nice people are the nicest people you will ever meet. (Schyler)
  • Very hospitable. Whenever we did get let in a door, people always offered food and something to drink. I also loved to learn about the history of the place and why people were the way they were. War changes people and families. (Kristine)
  • Everything. It is the best mission in the world. Slovenians are like nuts, they are hard on the outside but soft on the inside. (Ben)

Any packing/clothing advice?

  • Pack for every kind of weather. The key to staying warm is layering. It doesn’t get too cold most of the time, but when it does you need some good tights. (Samantha)
  • Don’t bring a coat with you if you go into the mission field heading into summer. Just buy one there. (Bryce)
  • Buy your clothes when you get in the mission. Clothes are cheaper and of a better quality over there. (Benjamin)
  • Don’t bring tons of jewelry- it’s a sign of wealthy people will ask you for money, lightweight clothes but bring tights and leggings. You’ll get yelled at or looked strangely at by the locals if you don’t wear tights in the fall and early spring . You can buy what you don’t have there. (Sara)
  • Clothes are decently cheap in Serbia, and they have good fashion choices. Bring some staples (modest skirts and good shoes), but don’t over pack too much. You can buy new stuff out there, and you’ll want to anyway because you’ll get bored of the stuff from home. Big coats, boots, etc can all be purchased upon arrival to the country. (Jeni)
  • Buy more clothes when you get there. They will fit better, look more appropriate to the people (Euro style vs. American style is significantly different), and will likely be cheaper. Get a good winter coat and boots. Again better to buy there if possible. (Cameron)
  • Wait to buy extra suits, coats, shoes and other clothes until you get to the mission field, if you can. It’s way cheaper there and you don’t have to try to pack it with you on the plane over. (Schyler)
  • Thermals for winter. Bring the best shoes (you can walk 5-10 miles a day). (Ben)

What blessings did you receive from serving a mission?

  • I can’t even begin to count the blessings I’ve received. I think the greatest thing the Lord blessed me with is a greater knowledge of His Plan and a knowledge that I have faith. I know myself better and what drives me. (Samantha)
  • I was able to grow a lot and know how to study the scriptures and to become closer to my Heavenly Father. And I know a cool language that not a lot of people know. (Bryce)
  • What blessings didn’t I receive? I am matured, seasoned, and can face a lot more hardship than I thought was possible. I can love a lot more- even love a people who didn’t really care and even hated me. I gained an intimate testimony of the Atonement. (Benjamin)
  • My family was blessed a lot while I was serving. (Sara)
  • I came to know my Savior deeper than I ever had before, and I gained a better perspective of how God feels about his children. He loves us all so very much. (Jeni)
  • Unbelievable personal growth and maturity. Countless strong friends in Europe. Fluency in a few foreign languages. Formation of my personal lifestyle. (Cameron)
  • How can you even ask this question and expect a brief response? (Schyler)
  • Where to start? I understand how to be a better person, daughter, wife and mother. I got to learn a language that hardly anyone knows, so it’s like I’m speaking in code to companions whenever I’m on the phone. 🙂 I don’t know just how to live the gospel, but why. For the whys will help me keep me on the path for the eternities. (Kristine)
  • A wife. Learned a new language. Learned self-discipline. (Ben)

What are some skills you gained?

  • I learned a lot on my mission. I learned a few random skills, like knitting and how to draw better, and I also learned practical things, like cooking on a budget. I learned how to stay within a budget and watch my finances. I learned how to talk with people and be more social. (Samantha)
  • I learned how to cook better, how to budget more efficiently, and how to be a leader. (Bryce)
  • Languages, cooking, planning, street skills, how to deal with shady people and police, how to deal with corrupt bureaucracies, how to stop talking with people, how to start conversations, how to work 10-hour days, 7 days a week. (Benjamin)
  • Confidence, social skills, endurance, learning how to learn, perseverance, not giving up, focusing on the small things each day. (Sara)
  • Language skills, teaching skills, improve skills, thinking on my feet, being bold, planning, cooking, etc. (Jeni)
  • Development of personal characteristics (patience, work ethic, etc). Ability to teach in a smooth and natural way. Ability to relate to others. Fluency in foreign languages. (Cameron)
  • How to deal with people. (Schyler)
  • I became more outgoing. Humility. Patience. Healthy eating. (Ben)

What do you wish you knew/did at the beginning of your mission?

  • I wish I had listened more to my trainer. I think I could have gained a lot more if I had listened and taken criticism and compliments better. (Samantha)
  • I wish I knew how to speak Serbian. (Bryce)
  • The ability to work in spite of fear, and how to banish my fear. (Benjamin)
  • Bring spending money, have fun and be creative, it’s okay if you don’t know the language 100%, you won’t ever, it’s not like Spanish, so you have to be confident at each stage of the learning process. (Sara)
  • Don’t listen to too much advice from people on the culture and how it will affect the work. 95% of people have no idea what they’re talking about, and you can’t predict your experiences from other people who lived there. Almost every missionary I talk to from my mission had very different experiences from another, depending on how they treated their calling. This is not a ‘planting seeds’ mission. Don’t go into it with that mentality. This is a harvesting mission, a baptizing mission, and a successful mission. It’s different from anywhere else in the world, so learn to appreciate it for what it is. (Jeni)
  • Be confident and just talk with people, even if they might not understand you. (Cameron)
  • I wish I had learned more why the basic principles taught in the missionary lessons are so important, and what other people actually think about those things. Often missionaries just teach the lessons, but people don’t get what the real point is of what you’re telling them, because the missionaries don’t get what the basic principle is, that the investigator needs to apply. (Schyler)
  • I wish I knew the language and that you can’t force the people to join The Church. I also wish I knew that service is one of the greatest ways to share the Gospel there. (Ben)

Any advice/testimony for pre-missionaries going to Adriatic North?

  • You will love it! Just love the people. The language will come eventually, don’t worry about it. The people will help. Get to know them- member and non-member. Hear their stories. Take an interest in their lives. And never give up on them. The Lord has a plan for this mission, and you are a part of it. Never forget that. He is watching over you and He will help you. (Samantha)
  • Have fun because it goes faster than you think. (Bryce)
  • Get ready to work really hard, and fall in love with an interesting and sinful people. Get ready to have your heart broken, and tremble under your mantle and the responsibility of your calling. Get ready for the best two years. (Benjamin)
  • Don’t give up. Find peace within yourself and find peace with the people. Love them. Pray to love them and God will teach you how. Be happy and they’ll see your light. Don’t take rejection personal or else it will tear you up. You will have success when you look for it. (Sara)
  • God knows these people and loves them deeply. They don’t just need missionaries who are obedient and dedicated, they deserve them. They are entitled to the peace the Gospel brings, after all that they have been through. Don’t you dare deny them the opportunity of coming to know their Savior because you’re lazy. God will hold you accountable for that. These are a mighty people, a courageous people, and a people who need forgiveness and love in their lives. And they need you to be bold, to have a testimony, and to open your mouth. You don’t have to be a scholar or a linguist to have a profound effect, because this is not your work. It’s God’s, and He’s going to work through you. All you need to do is try your hardest and open your mouth. (Jeni)
  • Let go of personal ambition and just serve. Language learning will be hard, but the more confident you are the faster you will learn and connect with the hearts of the people. They will respect you if you master the language. You will change other people’s lives, but you will change your own the most. (Cameron)
  • The best way to get people to actually want to talk to you is just by being genuine and happy. Don’t worry so much about saying the exact right words or using catchy door/contacting approaches. People in the ANM will be immediately turned off if you seem at all like a salesman, just be relaxed and friendly, but get to the point quick. (Schyler)
  • Learn to love unconditionally. For that is what Christ did for us. He gave each person a chance. He didn’t force them to believe. He showed them. When you feel like giving up on the street or stop knocking on doors, think of how Christ would stop for the individual. He had faith in the individual. Even when people persecuted or ignored him, he would keep loving them and keep trying to teach them. Don’t give up on people. So many have given up on them before. Show how God will never give up on them. (Kristine)
  • People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Take the time to actually get to know the people! It’s well worth your time. (Ben)

What was a funny language mistake?

  • When we were teaching the Law of Chastity, I tried to reference the “Thou shalt not commit adultery” commandment we had covered in the previous lesson, and instead of saying “Do you remember when we talked about adultery” I said… “I feel adultery.” My companion didn’t let me forget about that for months. (Samantha)
  • I said the word for donkey instead of the word for mosquito, in a sentence. I said that I was getting bitten by donkeys instead of mosquitos. (Bryce)Well, I told a woman that I loved her, when I meant to say that God loves her. (Benjamin)
  • The word ‘drug’ means friend. The word ‘droga’ means drug. When I was teaching the Word of Wisdom, I told the guy that he should abstain from any illegal or harmful friends. I also accidentally told him that God is the same yesterday, today, and Saturday. (Jeni)
  • In the MTC, a friend was teaching about the Holy Ghost. Meaning to say, “Če moliš, Sveti Duh bo odgovoril.” – If you pray, the Holy Ghost will answer. Instead saying, “Če moliš, Smeti Duh bo odgovoril. ” – If you pray, the trash ghost will answer. (Cameron)
  • I told a member that I love eating marbled blacksmith rather then marbled bundt cake. (Ben)

LDS Church & Missionary Work


Joe (Adriatic North Mission)

–Paraphrased from Joe’s mission interview–

Serbia & the Adriatic North Mission

So while I was serving, all the only countries open were Slovenia Croatia and Serbia but the mission covered all the former Yugoslavia which includes Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia not Macedonia that’s not for me Bolivia yeah those those countries  are former Yugoslavia but the history behind the mission it dates back to about the 80’ s mostly. I used to be part of the I  think of the Germany, Vienna mission back in the day and it just covered a lot of Eastern Europe so  I’ve even got a bishopric member who served in Serbia when it was part of the Germany mission and basically the mission was really revolutionized by a former BYU basketball star. His jersey is actually still up in the Marriott center. He came to BYU as a student. He wasn’t a  member but he investigated the church and was really good friends with a member of the Twelve Apostles. I can’t remember who it was, at the time they might have even been president Benson. I can’t remember, and then he just basically shares what he learned from the church after he converted and brought it to to Croatia to start out with.He was also the one who translated the Book of Mormon into Croatian and that’s what was used for  a majority of the mission.

Translating the Book of Mormon into Serbian

We didn’t get the Serbian copy of the book of Mormon until I was about to leave in 2008. That’s when we first got that copy and it was a huge blessing to receive the of warning in their language, but the Croatian copy suffice  to say it was good enough to to use while we’re missionaries but she probably did more for the  saints in former Yugoslavia and revolution is really getting things started in that part of the country sadly he he died  of cancer in in the 90s I believe but he was one of the great working hands to to get it going  and President Monson worked with the members and dedicated the land of all of former Yugoslavia starting in Croatia for missionary work. That’s kind of where it bloomed in the the power of the spirits and missionary work got started but like i said before that did a dedicatory prayer by President Monson it was just part of the Vienna Germany mission when I was serving. There’s one district in sylvania to in Croatia and just one in Serbia but that’s what  I know for Slovenia Croatia, but  Serbia definitely we had one district and there were three organized branches when I first  started and also 13 missionaries just in Serbia. The cities that were open in Serbia were Belgrad, Novisad and another one and I started serving in Novisad then went from there to my other area.

Kosovo Becomes Independent

And from the beginning of of my mission having only three branches by the end of the mission we spread out to starting more groups we didn’t have enough people to organize more branches but we were able to start some more groups just outside of Baghdad and then the other on the northern tip of Serbia where were able to start to to organize and have senior couples to kind of be the leaders of those groups or or even of the branches and get work starting to spread and missionary work was spreading like crazy up until about 2008 until well December 2007 or February of 2007, it kind of started to crumble before our eyes and that’s a very very significant experience because in December 2007  that was the dedicated date for Kosovo to declare its independence away from Serbia and it was also conveniently at the time that the book of Mormon  was supposed to be in our hands in Serbian. We just thought okay everything’s fine we just go back  to serving and then mid-February of 2008 both Kosovo declared independence and we received the Serbian translated copy of the book of Mormon at least. They were in  her hands yet we couldn’t get them into Serbia because of all that was happening with Kosovo because long story short Kosovo wanted to declare its independence but Serbia said you’re not going to do that you’re still part of Serbia so if you even try  that we’re going to come  back we’re going to come at you full force and and take you and take you  back essentially and that was backed by Russia but then America us we kind of stepped in and they said no Serbia Russia leave them alone let Kosovo declare their independence away from you if you don’t if you go in and invade Kosovo then we will back Kosovo and attack you now that’s kind of pretty general that’s all very like I said long story short but Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia as you can tell as you could probably guess was very very very mad very upset with Americans and since truth be told the church is looked at as an American church and so our lives were kind in danger because of that so what  happened was the area authorities and a mission president at the time decided that the best thing to  do right now just in case nothing was happening to  the church or anything just yet but nothing did happen that way just to spoil the story nothing happen to the church but as a precautionary measure they took all the Serbian missionaries they took us all out which I unfortunately was not in Serbia at the time I was on exchanges with the zone leader doing a zone conference type meeting.

Leaving Serbia for Safety Reasons

We were doing a meeting with the mission president of all the zone leaders throughout  all of the mission but when i got back we got back from Slovenia to Croatia to Zagreb stay the night. We had tickets for the next train the following morning and the president called us early that morning before we left we started just basically telling us that we’re not going back to Serbia so I had all my things there and as you can imagine hearing that news we were heart broken absolutely heartbroken and I thought for sure  now this is just temporary where we’re going to go  back but all of our stuff came. All the missionaries, after a lot  of different complications, we eventually all got back into Serbia or into Croatia and that was that was kind of it we got into Zagreb. We opened up a big box of Serbian copies of the book of Mormon because I got transferred we took a few boxes from the mission home and brought them to Croatia. Then the Serbian missionaries came over and we basically told him hey we have a big present for you and we started distributing the Serbian copies of the Book of Mormon.  the Lord is filled with so much mystery and  so much wisdom that it doesn’t matter what Satan tries to do. His work will be fulfilled and  it’s kind of a testimony of the Book of Mormon in and of itself because even though we we were using Croatian copies of the book of Mormon and Serbian Croatian is very very  similar. you read one you understand you basically know the other is what it comes down to but at the same time it’s not their language so even though we had the  Serbian copy or the the Croatian copy it’s not it’s not their language. It’s just like how Americans if we receive a book that’s in Australian or British English  we can understand it perfectly fine but it’s still not our language. It doesn’t communicate to us as powerfully as it being in our language so to receive  a copy of a book so powerful so true so impactful into so many lives in your language means so much more. It’s revolutionizing the work and because of all the events that  happened with Kosovo declaring its independence  and with all the complications that went through with border control for Serbia and Croatia getting those books into Serbia was nearly impossible and you can kind of say that’s because of all these experiences. Satan knows that the book  of moon is true just by this experience he knows  of its power. He knows of its truthfulness and he will do anything in his power which compared the Lord’s is very limited to keep truth away from people he’s trying to influence, but it happened little by little. Members from Serbia were able to come from Serbia by car or by train and take boxes from the mission home in Slovenia or even those boxes that we had in Croatia to the different parts of Serbia. The members could enjoy the  book of Mormon in their language and the work of the Lord will be accomplished in any way possible so it didn’t matter that we were taken out.

Madeleine (Adriatic North Mission)

–Paraphrased from Madeleine’s mission interview–

Slovenia & The Adriatic North Mission

Slovenia is a part of the Adriatic North Mission which includes five countries now. When I left they added either Macedonia or Montenegro. It’s a country down in the south. It was Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia- so basically the northern reaches of Yugoslavia- most of which was in war with each other just 20 years ago, about the age all of us were born- that’s when they were all basically in genocide.

Languages Spoken In The Mission

Linguistically the three lower countries Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia speak the same language, they just say they don’t speak the same language- they say the speak completely different languages, because they hate each other essentially. Slovene is actually a different language, so missionaries who go to Slovenia tend to stay in Slovenia. But I did learn a lot of Croatian- there’s a lot of immigrants that come up to Slovenia from Croatia and our mission home is in Zagreb, Croatia.

LDS Meeting Houses In The Balkans

We have about 12 branches- maybe more in the mission. We don’t have any wards. The biggest branches have about 100 attendance, and we have actual church buildings for them. In Serbia- it’s not an actual standing building. In Croatia we have a nice building and in Slovenia we have one, and otherwise they are usually storefronts converted into small chapels.

LDS Church Growth In Slovenia

So in Slovenia we have about three branches- I think they just opened up a fourth in Kranj. The average size of the branch is about 15 people who go every week and Ljubljana had 80-100 people, but now it might be smaller because it divided with Kranj- we’re working on getting it from a district to a stake. Eventually some day there will be a temple in Slovenia- that was promised by an Apostle once.

The growth is enormous in the region right now- from 20 years of stagnation. In Slovenia The Church opened right when Slovenia pulled out of the war with Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia. So The Church has been in Slovenia the longest out of the four countries- the other three countries continued to fight until 1994-1995. So The Church started going down only recently, and Bosnia only opened two years ago and they’re mostly Muslims.

Ethnic and Religious Division

They’re not only divided by mutual ethnic problems, but they’re also divided by religion- the Slovenes and Croatians are Catholic, the Serbians are Greek Orthodox and the Bosnians are Muslims. So people who serve in the lower three countries get to serve in all three usually, and you get completely different cultures because of their religious backgrounds- that’s part of the reason they ended up fighting, because of religious conflict.

The people tend to identify themselves deeply by their religion, whether or not they actually practice their religion. They feel this real sense of nationality tied to their religious sentiment- so when they convert to a different faith it’s like they are leaving their nationality and ceasing too be a Serbian or ceasing to be a Bosnian, and so it’s very difficult for them. But the people who do it are sincere and do it with enormous persecution- in Slovenia it’s not as bad.

Slovenians also have this sense of angelology- they focus on angels and mystical things and magic in the forest. They don’t care exactly what you believe as long as you believe in some greater force. The church is doing an amazing thing in bringing together people who have for several hundred years- back to when the Turks invaded- been slaughtering each other. They come together because they share a mutual faith and love of Christ.

Nathan (Adriatic North Mission, 2012-2014)

–Paraphrased from Nathan’s mission interview–

Mission Overview & History

The Adriatic North Mission consists of five countries- when I got there in 2012, it only consisted of three countries- Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. Then in 2012 Bosnia was added to the mission. Then in July 2013 Montenegro was added to the Adriatic North Mission, from the Adriatic South mission.

The church is relatively new. In 2012 they celebrated the 40th anniversary of The Church in the former Yugoslavia area. They had a wonderful gathering in Zadar, which is where The Church was founded and started growing.

Krešimir Ćosić

One of the main founders was a man name Krešimir Ćosić- a lot of older people remember him as the BYU basketball player- he came over from Croatia, joined the BYU basketball team, was converted and eventually brought the gospel back to Croatia and was one of the first members and missionaries in Croatia to help the church grow.

Now the church is growing. It’s all branches and districts. There are two chapels in the five countries- church built chapels- simple, but very homely- you can really feel the spirit of unity between the countries in these chapels.

Living in Zagreb, Croatia

While living in Croatia, I served in the capital city of Zagreb. It was more of an urban area, and it wasn’t that much different from the U.S. There were a lot of apartments, and the main road of transportation was bike, bus, or tram. Zagreb was more modernized than most of Croatia, but it wasn’t quite up to par with the rest of western Europe. They’re definitely heading that direction there.

Shopping in Croatia is very different there. Most of their stores are a lot smaller and there’s more spreadout throughout the neighborhoods. Most people would buy groceries on a day to day basis, with few people stocking up for a week or two like we do here. Often, you would see an outdoor market (also known as a platz in Croatian). You could find fresh fruits and vegetables, clothes, and other goods. Sometimes the markets could get very big, and normally they were found in centralized locations. The stands would be put up and taken back down every day, which was a lot of work and would often require a lot of cleanup.

The weather in Zagreb and the Balkans in general is very similar to that of Utah, except more extreme. They have warmer, more humid summers. Moisture captures the heat, but it also captures the cold as well. Winters would get much colder.. With the moisture came more rain and precipitation. It wasn’t that different overall, and I enjoyed having four seasons a year.

Learning Serbian

Serbian is the language I learned first, so I got a better handle of the grammar. It’s different from Croatian in that they don’t have the same y or j sounds. They’re different in the way they use pronouns as well. They have a few words that are completely different as well. In Serbia they double conjugate their verbs. For example, in English you say “I want to run,” while in Serbian it would translate directly to “I want that I run.” In many ways, this was a lot easier for missionaries because the two conjugations can go together. I kept my Serbian accent as I served in other areas in Bosnia, and it was a lot harder for me to get rid of my accent than it was to pick it up.

Another difference between Serbian and English is its Cyrillic alphabet. It’s somewhat similar to the Russian, and many letters have corresponding letters in the Latin alphabet, but it’s quite different.

Learning Bosnian

Bosnian is one of the easiest languages I learned because it takes languages from nearby countries and you can use whatever you want. It’s very laid back. The best way I can explain it is that they use the Croatian grammar rules but more Serbian words. You’ll find a lot of the same greetings and farewells as you would here in Serbia. Bosnian people tend to speak slowly and precisely, so it was very easy to follow. They use their hands a lot as they speak or as they thought as well.

Learning Croatian

One of the most recognized traits of the Croatian language is the use of the “j” or the “y” sounds. In Croatian they don’t double conjugate like in Serbian. If they want to use two verbs they use the infinitive just like in English. Some words for hello and goodbye can be used interchangeably. Sometimes they’ll string several farewells together as you’re walking away.

Muslims and Latter-Day Saints

I loved serving in an area where the dominant religion was Islam. Most people, when they hear the word Muslim, they think “oh no, terrorists.” But there’s never been a nicer people on the planet. There’s a lot of similarities between Islam and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Muslims believe in prayer, fasting, and giving offerings. They believe in being kind and having a strong family just like we do. Muslims believe in a trek to a Holy City, and we believe in going to the temple. It strengthened my testimony to see how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints incorporates all of the truth. Followers of Islam are so devoted to their faith, and it was amazing to experience that and be able to share my faith with them as well.

Balkan Food

The food was absolutely delicious. It was the best two years of eating of my life. Dishes tended to be really healthy and simple or really fatty and greasy (but still simple) On the healthier side, they had a lot of salads. Kupus Salata or cabbage salad was a mission favorite. New missionaries would hate it when they arrived, but you eat it so often you fall in love with it.

On the fat and greasy side, Balkan peoples eat a lot of meat. My favorite dish was Cevapi, which was a kind of “steak fingers.” It would be served on a platter with a round type of flatbread, into which you would stuff inside. The meal would always be accompanied by onions or onion soup and Kaymak, which is a really salty kind of butter. It was really delicious! Another dish they had is called Pljeskavica. Cevapi-like meat would be served in patty form. I loved it even more when it was stuffed and served with Kaymak.

Bakeries could be found on every street. People would buy bread daily, and missionaries would buy pastries daily. The fresh, homemade bread and pastries were absolutely delicious. They served pastries with meats, fruits like apple or strawberry, or chocolate.

The best dish they served was Burek. It was similar to a meat pie, but it comes with so many different varieties and possible ingredients. Often, it would be served with plain yogurt.

Economic Conditions

Living conditions varied between Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia. Croatia was part of the EU, so they were held to a higher standard than the other countries. They had better apartments and public transportation. Serbia and Bosnia aren’t on the same level quite yet. I don’t think it made much of a difference in preaching the gospel, but the lack of public transportation made it a bit harder to get around.

Crime and Safety in Serbia and Bosnia

Because the economic standings weren’t the best in Serbia and Bosnia, crime seemed to be a bigger issue. In both places I served, poverty was an issue, and that led some people to drastic measures. Usually, however, the poor were just as friendly if not more so than others. In most cases, these people weren’t people to be afraid of. It’s easy to misjudge them by appearance, but it wasn’t always true. Crime did happen, but anywhere you go you’ll have those kinds of people who are desperate. For those that are in that tight situation and end up trying to steal, you can’t really blame them.

If you’re smart and aware of your surroundings, you won’t have any problems. Try not to keep things in your back pocket, and keep bags in front of you. If you have a companion or are traveling with someone, look out for each other. Have common sense, and you won’t have any problems. I never did during my whole mission

Places to See in the Adriatic North Mission

There’s a lot of geographic diversity between the 5 countries. Croatia has an extremely long coastline along the Adriatic sea that’s beautiful. Some cities go from the sea up into the mountainsides. Zadar and Split are other coastal cities and are really big tourist attractions because of their beauty and history.

Northern Croatia and Slovenia are very mountainous regions with lots of green hills. There’s lakes called the Plitvice that are beautiful no matter what time of year you go there.

Bosnia was one of my favorite places to go to because it’s reminds me of home. It’s more of a rugged area with lots of canyons. I served in one city called Sarajevo. On the tram it took almost an hour to go from one end to the other. It was a really long city set between two canyons/mountainsides. Sarajevo was a magical place, and the skyline was gorgeous as I drove up. Every night you would hear the calls to prayer ring out, and the city would become peaceful.

Serbia is more flat, and you could see for miles down the road. Just in general, everything there was beautiful, and it was a beautiful place to serve. Because of all the wars and contentions going on, the people in the Balkans have become very humble and willing to hear new ideas. Particularly in Bosnia, people have their religion (Islam) respect that of others (Christians, Jews, etc.), but are willing to sit down and hear more about others’ beliefs.

Religion in the Balkans

In the Balkans, religion is tied to nationality. If you’re Croatian, you’re Catholic. If you’re Serbian, you’re Serbian Orthodox. And if you’re Bosnian, you’re Muslim. They often prescribe to the thinking that if you’re a Muslim, you shouldn’t be in Croatia or Serbia, you should be in Bosnia. If you’re Catholic, you shouldn’t be in Serbia or Bosnia. It’s interesting to see how these differences have arisen, and how they have divided the countries. Part of the reason for the wars that have occurred in this reason is the differences of religion.

Travel Tips for the Balkans

Don’t plan on being able to use your credit card. A lot of stores in the region don’t have card readers, and they deal only in cash. There are ATM’s, but they charge a lot to take out money.

Culturally, people are very nice and welcoming. Sometimes, because of wars that have gone on in the area, there are people who hold grudges. In Serbia, there are a few extreme people who dislike Americans. In Bosnia, however, people tend to love Americans. People in the region overall are willing to help you, especially if you put forth the effort to learn their languages.

Something funny about Balkan culture is that they don’t like air conditioning. Especially the older generation tends to attribute it to health problems. That was one funny quirk about local beliefs


Sarah (Adriatic North Mission, Slovene-Speaking)

–Paraphrased from Sarah’s mission interview–

LDS Church Units In Slovenia

In Slovenia there are four branches now- they just opened Quran branch a little under a year ago- I was there when they opened it. So all of the Slovene-speaking missionaries are in one of those four branches- so you either serve in Ljubljana, Maribor, Celje or Kranj. And I think each branch has one set of Elders and one set of Sisters. There aren’t any wards in the mission- we’re working towards it. The closest temple is Frankfurt- so in August and sometime in Spring they do a temple trip- it takes 8-9 hours, not sure, but they carpool up there and stay for a week. The only building we have is in Ljubljana, which is the capital. The church built a building in like 2007 maybe. That building’s there, and then the other three buildings are rented spaces used as chapels. They’re small branches, depending on where you serve. Ljubljana split, so Ljubljana used to be Ljubljana and Kranj, so it got a little smaller because half the people went to Kranj.

LDS Senior Couples In Slovenia

The branch presidents are mostly senior couples. I think the one in Ljubljana is working for the embassy, but in Kranj they have a branch president’s who’s a local and then the district president is someone from Ljubljana- he’s great. But yeah, senior couples get called to leadership positions a lot.

The church has only been in Slovenia for like 20 years- so sometimes it’s easy to forget and ask why is this not growing faster, but you need to be patient- we haven’t been there that long, not many people know about us, or are comfortable, and so it’s just growing right now, so it’s exciting! I think Bosnia opened up like two years before my mission. I think a couple months ago they opened up a new city in Serbia.

Religions In Slovenia

A lot of them are Catholic, but not practicing- it really depends on what age range. The older people might be atheist because of the communist Yugoslavia, but some of them are really religious if they lived through that, and they really held onto their beliefs. But in Slovenia it’s mostly Catholic. The other countries in the mission have other religions, but not so much in Slovenia. The younger generation- they don’t believe in God, some of them believe in an energy kind of thing- like an energy that connects the universe, but it’s not personified. There are a lot more people there who are Hare Krishna, than I thought, but I had no exposure to Hare Krishna before I got there. I was surprised that there were a significant amount of people who were Eastern-oriented.

Common Challenges And Misconceptions

A lot of them said I already have my religion, I already believe in Christ. We got some misconceptions. In the cities the people kind of know who we are because they’re smaller cities and we’ve been around for a while, but a lot of times we were called Jehovah’s Witnesses, because they’re there too and they’re doing similar things to what we do. I’ve been called Amish a couple things- which is interesting- I always pulled out my cell phone when I got that- I’m like I’m not Amish.

There was a documentary going around for a little while- People kept telling us oh we saw you on TV- I don’t know what it’s about- I don’t know if it was a positive thing, or a negative thing, but we went with it. For the most part people have heard of Mormons before- whether it’s positive or negative is a different story, but they know about us because they have television and the internet. It’s not a third world country by any means, so they have access to those resources.

I think distinguishing us from other Christian religions is difficult, because we do talk a lot about Christ and we are Christian, and so it’s easy for them to believe that we’re pretty much the same, so why do I need to change, and then Jospeh Smith and The Book of Mormon can be hard for them to understand, which is understandable.


Jordan (Adriatic North Mission)

–Paraphrased from Jordan’s mission interview–

Mission Geography & History

The Adriatic North Mission is one of the coolest missions I’ve ever heard of- like you can go to tons of places! When I get to describe where I was serving- next door to Italy, Austria and Hungary- the Eastern European edge- each country has their own culture and history. As a missionary in the Adriatic North Mission you have the opportunity to serve in each country. The countries include Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro and these countries have their own significant history, being former Yugoslavia, lots of Civil Wars and things that happened there. The countries are nationally recognized by religion. So being in Slovenia they are a majority Roman Catholic- structurally and culturally they are influenced by Austria and Italy. Their buildings more up towards Maribor have an Austrian feel. It was really cool the different cultures that way.

Missionary Numbers

Missionary wise there were about 70 missionaries when I got there. In Slovenia there were 12 of us, and that was tiny comparatively. Towards the end of my mission they almost doubled missionaries- we doubled the amount of sister missionaries.

Senior Couple Missionaries

We had senior couples in almost every area and they helped us out so much when it came to missionary travels, member support etc. It was nice having someone to turn to, because sometimes it was a struggle. You’re with your companion, but at the same time you feel a little isolated from the world. It was good to have senior couples there.

Missionary Ethnicities

Missionaries called to serve there- most were Americans, however a few of them (superstars) were from the area. We had a couple mini missionaries and a couple full time missionaries- one got called to our mission he’s from Celje- one of my favorite people in the world- he’s serving in Serbia currently. The majority of missionaries in the Adriatic North Mission were from the United States, not all from Utah.

Being One Of The First Sisters To Serve in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Sisters got pulled out of Serbia for a little bit. I was lucky enough to be one of the first sisters to serve in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We opened up a city- me and a brand new missionary- I had been speaking Serbian for about four months and she was brand new into the country, and we just white washed the area. That was an incredible experience, realizing how much faith we had to put forth walking out each morning. Talking to people in the streets and through their doors. I know contacting can be spiritually guided- we had miracles all the time.

Serving the Balkan People

The people there are so incredible- the people from the Balkans- Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia- they are in my heart forever. My mission changed the way that I love. In the beginning of my mission I felt really strongly about being an example of the believers (see Timothy). When I finished my mission it was that perfect love casts out all fear. It didn’t matter how many struggles I had because I wanted to be there for the people there and if the people could tell of my sincerity they were way more willing to have a conversation with me. Learning what struggles each person had. It was cultural- a lot of the family struggles or lifestyle struggles- but being able to testify sincerely that God loves them- it made a huge impact.

Gospel Planting vs. Reaping

A lot of the time the mission was seed planting. As much as I would’ve loved to watch all of the reaping I was really blessed to go and put out the face, being that disciple that could leave a good impression of the Gospel. It doesn’t matter if it’s a struggle, keep that smile on. You know, because that’s what matters when people see that you love life and start to wonder why you are so happy.


Culture, Language, and Travel


Nathan (Adriatic North Mission)

–Paraphrased from Nathan’s mission interview–

Living in Zagreb, Croatia

While living in Croatia, I served in the capital city of Zagreb. It was more of an urban area, and it wasn’t that much different from the U.S. There were a lot of apartments, and the main road of transportation was bike, bus, or tram. Zagreb was more modernized than most of Croatia, but it wasn’t quite up to par with the rest of western Europe. They’re definitely heading that direction there.

Shopping in Croatia is very different there. Most of their stores are a lot smaller and there’s more spreadout throughout the neighborhoods. Most people would buy groceries on a day to day basis, with few people stocking up for a week or two like we do here. Often, you would see an outdoor market (also known as a platz in Croatian). You could find fresh fruits and vegetables, clothes, and other goods. Sometimes the markets could get very big, and normally they were found in centralized locations. The stands would be put up and taken back down every day, which was a lot of work and would often require a lot of cleanup.

The weather in Zagreb and the Balkans in general is very similar to that of Utah, except more extreme. They have warmer, more humid summers. Moisture captures the heat, but it also captures the cold as well. Winters would get much colder.. With the moisture came more rain and precipitation. It wasn’t that different overall, and I enjoyed having four seasons a year.

Learning Serbian

Serbian is the language I learned first, so I got a better handle of the grammar. It’s different from Croatian in that they don’t have the same y or j sounds. They’re different in the way they use pronouns as well. They have a few words that are completely different as well. In Serbia they double conjugate their verbs. For example, in English you say “I want to run,” while in Serbian it would translate directly to “I want that I run.” In many ways, this was a lot easier for missionaries because the two conjugations can go together. I kept my Serbian accent as I served in other areas in Bosnia, and it was a lot harder for me to get rid of my accent than it was to pick it up.

Another difference between Serbian and English is its Cyrillic alphabet. It’s somewhat similar to the Russian, and many letters have corresponding letters in the Latin alphabet, but it’s quite different.

Learning Bosnian

Bosnian is one of the easiest languages I learned because it takes languages from nearby countries and you can use whatever you want. It’s very laid back. The best way I can explain it is that they use the Croatian grammar rules but more Serbian words. You’ll find a lot of the same greetings and farewells as you would here in Serbia. Bosnian people tend to speak slowly and precisely, so it was very easy to follow. They use their hands a lot as they speak or as they thought as well.

Learning Croatian

One of the most recognized traits of the Croatian language is the use of the “j” or the “y” sounds. In Croatian they don’t double conjugate like in Serbian. If they want to use two verbs they use the infinitive just like in English. Some words for hello and goodbye can be used interchangeably. Sometimes they’ll string several farewells together as you’re walking away.

Muslims and Latter-Day Saints

I loved serving in an area where the dominant religion was Islam. Most people, when they hear the word Muslim, they think “oh no, terrorists.” But there’s never been a nicer people on the planet. There’s a lot of similarities between Islam and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Muslims believe in prayer, fasting, and giving offerings. They believe in being kind and having a strong family just like we do. Muslims believe in a trek to a Holy City, and we believe in going to the temple. It strengthened my testimony to see how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints incorporates all of the truth. Followers of Islam are so devoted to their faith, and it was amazing to experience that and be able to share my faith with them as well.

Balkan Food

The food was absolutely delicious. It was the best two years of eating of my life. Dishes tended to be really healthy and simple or really fatty and greasy (but still simple) On the healthier side, they had a lot of salads. Kupus Salata or cabbage salad was a mission favorite. New missionaries would hate it when they arrived, but you eat it so often you fall in love with it.

On the fat and greasy side, Balkan peoples eat a lot of meat. My favorite dish was Cevapi, which was a kind of “steak fingers.” It would be served on a platter with a round type of flatbread, into which you would stuff inside. The meal would always be accompanied by onions or onion soup and Kaymak, which is a really salty kind of butter. It was really delicious! Another dish they had is called Pljeskavica. Cevapi-like meat would be served in patty form. I loved it even more when it was stuffed and served with Kaymak.

Bakeries could be found on every street. People would buy bread daily, and missionaries would buy pastries daily. The fresh, homemade bread and pastries were absolutely delicious. They served pastries with meats, fruits like apple or strawberry, or chocolate.

The best dish they served was Burek. It was similar to a meat pie, but it comes with so many different varieties and possible ingredients. Often, it would be served with plain yogurt.

Economic Conditions

Living conditions varied between Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia. Croatia was part of the EU, so they were held to a higher standard than the other countries. They had better apartments and public transportation. Serbia and Bosnia aren’t on the same level quite yet. I don’t think it made much of a difference in preaching the gospel, but the lack of public transportation made it a bit harder to get around.

Crime and Safety in Serbia and Bosnia

Because the economic standings weren’t the best in Serbia and Bosnia, crime seemed to be a bigger issue. In both places I served, poverty was an issue, and that led some people to drastic measures. Usually, however, the poor were just as friendly if not more so than others. In most cases, these people weren’t people to be afraid of. It’s easy to misjudge them by appearance, but it wasn’t always true. Crime did happen, but anywhere you go you’ll have those kinds of people who are desperate. For those that are in that tight situation and end up trying to steal, you can’t really blame them.

If you’re smart and aware of your surroundings, you won’t have any problems. Try not to keep things in your back pocket, and keep bags in front of you. If you have a companion or are traveling with someone, look out for each other. Have common sense, and you won’t have any problems. I never did during my whole mission

Places to See in the Adriatic North Mission

There’s a lot of geographic diversity between the 5 countries. Croatia has an extremely long coastline along the Adriatic sea that’s beautiful. Some cities go from the sea up into the mountainsides. Zadar and Split are other coastal cities and are really big tourist attractions because of their beauty and history.

Northern Croatia and Slovenia are very mountainous regions with lots of green hills. There’s lakes called the Plitvice that are beautiful no matter what time of year you go there.

Bosnia was one of my favorite places to go to because it’s reminds me of home. It’s more of a rugged area with lots of canyons. I served in one city called Sarajevo. On the tram it took almost an hour to go from one end to the other. It was a really long city set between two canyons/mountainsides. Sarajevo was a magical place, and the skyline was gorgeous as I drove up. Every night you would hear the calls to prayer ring out, and the city would become peaceful.

Serbia is more flat, and you could see for miles down the road. Just in general, everything there was beautiful, and it was a beautiful place to serve. Because of all the wars and contentions going on, the people in the Balkans have become very humble and willing to hear new ideas. Particularly in Bosnia, people have their religion (Islam) respect that of others (Christians, Jews, etc.), but are willing to sit down and hear more about others’ beliefs.

Religion in the Balkans

In the Balkans, religion is tied to nationality. If you’re Croatian, you’re Catholic. If you’re Serbian, you’re Serbian Orthodox. And if you’re Bosnian, you’re Muslim. They often prescribe to the thinking that if you’re a Muslim, you shouldn’t be in Croatia or Serbia, you should be in Bosnia. If you’re Catholic, you shouldn’t be in Serbia or Bosnia. It’s interesting to see how these differences have arisen, and how they have divided the countries. Part of the reason for the wars that have occurred in this reason is the differences of religion.

Travel Tips for the Balkans

Don’t plan on being able to use your credit card. A lot of stores in the region don’t have card readers, and they deal only in cash. There are ATM’s, but they charge a lot to take out money.

Culturally, people are very nice and welcoming. Sometimes, because of wars that have gone on in the area, there are people who hold grudges. In Serbia, there are a few extreme people who dislike Americans. In Bosnia, however, people tend to love Americans. People in the region overall are willing to help you, especially if you put forth the effort to learn their languages.

Something funny about Balkan culture is that they don’t like air conditioning. Especially the older generation tends to attribute it to health problems. That was one funny quirk about local beliefs