Friday, March 28, 2014

My Mustached Dinosaur: My happy thought

Not many of you know this story. I told it to the senior sister in my area during my final days in Serbia. She heard I liked stories and wanted me to tell her one. What started out as a harmless, playful story turned into something a bit more personal. I call it my happy thought.

Once upon a time, there was a raccoon who visited the Land of the Dinosaurs. They were big and scary and roared all the time! This scared the little raccoon.
Being a smart raccoon, he brought a buddy with him. However, they somehow got separated. In the dinosaur feeding ground no less! Poor Raccoon was alone. The dinosaurs looked bigger and scarier than ever. They gnashed their teeth and almost stomped on Raccoon.
Just when Raccoon was about to cry, he heard a very kind rumble. It wasn't a gnash. It wasn't growl. Just a sweet welcoming roar.
He looked up to see a great big dinosaur with a very white mustache. Raccoon didn't speak dinosaur, and the White Mustached dinosaur didn't speak raccoonish very well. They eventually discovered that both speak goat.
The White Mustached Dinosaur found out Raccoon was from the Land of Cowboys. He always wished he could have a ten gallon hat. Raccoon wanted to learn how to speak dinosaur.
(Keep in mind I was trying to breathe during this. At this point I was NOT feeling well AT ALL) So the White Mustached Dinosaur and Raccoon became friends. Raccoon learned to roar, and White Mustached Dinosaur got his ten gallon hat and became a REAL cowboy.
The End.

So the real story of what really happened? I smile very time I think of it.

It was my first full day in working in Serbia. My trainer was showing my the landmark places as we passed out "bez platno" English class flyers. Each town has a place called "Centar". It's like their town square or strip mall. Novi Sad a beautiful one! You can find it by following the steeple of The Name of Mary church.
The Name of Mary Church. You don't have to be christian to be an answer to prayers. Prayers are answered in many different ways. It's like a surprise. It keeps life exciting.

So we went to Centar. I have never seen it so crowded since! We had already gone through a couple parks and down some random alleys. My trainer really wanted to show me these gypsy musicians that she thought were the bees knees! We found them in the thick of the roving people. I encouraged her to follow her desire to give them a flyer. I stayed and watched her weave through the crowd.
It was then that it hit me. No one knew where I was. No one even knew me. No one knew my fist name and people would get anxiety attacks trying to pronounce my last name! My friends and family didn't even know which country I was in! I felt very very very alone.
Centar at night. This was taken much later. 

It was then I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and saw a smiling. laughing face. It was a man, his wife, and their dog that we talked to in a park. "Zdravo, my friend!" he laughed out.
I can not explain the joy that shot through me! It was pretty transcendent! The loneliness was forgotten. In that moment, I knew God was listen to my thoughts. I knew that even though I felt, and looked, alone, I was surrounded by those who deeply care about me. About how I feel. About what I was thinking. The timing was too perfect if you know what I mean. I knew that I was safe, that I was loved, that not only was God looking out for me, but that he cares, that I matter, and that He is SO aware. I suddenly understood the depth of the meaning of that word. Someone was aware of me. All of me.

His english was okay and my Serbian was in the works. So we settled on German. Turns out my German was replaced by Serbian, so I spoke Sermanglish. He laughed and nodded that he understood as I struggled through sentences. His wife smiled and laughed too. She'd roll her eyes when he asked me questions about cowboys. Both had greeted me as if I was an old friend of theirs.

To your usual english speaker, Serbian sound like their angry when they speak. We may make fun of Germans for the way they speak, but they sound gentle compared to your usual Serb. You'll think they're mad at you, when really they're talking about a cute little dog they saw. It's just the way they speak. I grew to love this very quickly!
Anyways, I knew when this lovely couple started talking to me that for some unknown reason, they loved me.

 When things got hard, I would think of them. These strangers who greeted me so warmly I almost cried. Unlike my story above, I only saw my mustached dinosaur once after that, when he came in to sign up for english classes. I prayed everyday I would see him. He came a couple times, but he would be gone by the time I finished with my classes.
To this day I still pray for him and his wife. I pray for the greatest thing I could wish for someone. Eternal happiness. To be sealed to your loved ones fro time and eternity, not just for this life. To find the joy that comes from truth. Not the proverbial kind, but when you can tangibly feel and know for yourself that there is a God, that He loves his children.

Znam da kroz Duha Svetoga možemo znati da je Mormonova Knjiga istitina i da je evanđelje istinito. Znam da smo djeca Božjia. Bog voli nas! Molila sam se i Bog je uslišao moju molitvu. Možete saznati se sebe ako čete se moliti i čitati svetu pismimu. Volim te!

So mothers, fathers, families, friends, and whomever else has a missionary in their heart, they're being taken care of. Down to the last insignificant detail.

I always smile when I think of my white mustached dinosaur. He's my happy thought!

God speed!