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Helping Hands in Slovenia

Ljubljana members participate in Slovenia day of service

Members in all three branches in Ljubljana were excited to join with a national effort to clean up Slovenia. Wearing their yellow Helping Hands vests, members from Ljubljana joined with members in the Maribor and Celje branches to help to clean up Slovenia in a day of service on April 17.

Preparations started a few months ago when national organizers invited local authorities and the general public to participate in locating sites across Slovenia where some felt to discard their unwanted rubbish.

The Church offered widespread support, including the full-time missionaries and President David H. Hill of the mission. Because of their smaller numbers, members in the Maribor Branch joined with members in the Celje Branch.

Members of the Ljubljana branch were assigned to clean up the vast area of Hill Roznik, behind the city park Tivoli, a favorite place among young and old who enjoy the out of doors by walking on several well designed paths through the woods. Joggers and walkers occasionally discard bottles, tissue paper and empty cans along these beautiful paths.

The hill is near the Ljubljana meetinghouse. Some 35 members and missionaries including President Hill and branch President Evan T. Haglund with his family gathered in the meetinghouse. Dressed in their yellow vests, they headed up the hill where organizers provided gloves and plastic bags of various colors for the collecting and sorting of various debris.

Members and missionaries found the work exhilarating as they laughed and worked together. Several bags of various rubbish were collected and left at the appointed sites for collection by the dustbin men in dustcarts.

Some 250,000 people assembled across Slovenia for the service day. Organizers held parties with popular Slovene musicians in three cities in the evening.

Members of Celje branch participate in Slovenia day of service

Members from the small branch of Celje gathered near the town theater at 9 a.m., for instruction about where to precede for the day of service. Equipped with Mormon Helping Hands vests and a good deal of enthusiasm, they were given large black bags and gloves and sent to the embankment near the city park, site of an unauthorized dumping grounds.

Members swiftly began to work. From a puddle on the embankment they pulled out a bicycle, followed by a set of other junk bottles. Members divided into groups and spread evenly across a relatively wide area. Together, missionaries and members tallied about 20.In two hours, a dozen large black bags were dumped into a container for bulky waste, which stood nearby. While working, there was no shortage of laughter. Members were pleasantly surprised with Caritas ladies who brought cakes and water. When completed with the dike, members went to the Celje library, headquarters of the project. Organizers asked for more volunteers to go to Heracles temple in the park where there was another unauthorized garbage dump. They found old car seats and a toilet pan lying beside a toilet paper roll.

Members of the Celje branch felt a great sense of unity and accomplishment following the project. They also felt great satisfaction for helping beautify their town and country. In the process, they became better friends with happy memories, and left a favorable impression with towns people and leaders. — by Andreja Peri Jezernik

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