Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Senior Couple Conference

This past week was another busy week with too much traveling, at least a little more than we would like to do. With the price of gasoline, traveling is one of our major expenses. The outlook for the near future does not look any better. We kind of had a curve ball thrown at us on Friday. The President asked us to go to the city of Dortmund and assess the situation of the Outreach Center there. A couple will be leaving in two weeks to go home. With a very busy and successful Center in Dortmund and with no new couple on the horizon the President needs to make a decision and set a priority. The question is, is it more important to keep a busy and going center open or try to make the effort to build up a struggling and promising center as we have in Bremen. We still keep praying that the church will assign a couple to our mission so our President does not have to make that kind of decision. It will be interesting what the next two weeks will bring.
Other than the above news we had a great day on Friday. All of the senior couples came to Bremen for a one day conference. We spend the morning touring the beautiful "Alt Stadt" old city center of Bremen. They were all surprised of how much there was to see in Bremen and the historical significance of Bremen. The only complaint came from the brethren that the sisters spend too much money on stuff. The sisters also thought that we should extend the conference for one more day to allow for more time to walk around. There is no question that Bremen is the most beautiful city in all of Northern Germany. The city is over 1200 years old. Of course the Weser River played an important part in the development of Bremen. Many of the buildings standing in the old city center had it's beginning before America was discovered. The old city "Rathaus" Hall is as impressive and beautiful of a City Hall as I have ever seen. It dates back to the 15th century. It just celebrated its 600th birthday. The large and ornate churches rival any of the cathedrals I have seen in Europe. Anina has to tell you all someday of the uniqueness of the "Boetchersrasse" and the "Schnoor" section - the oldest part of Bremen.
Saturday the Stake had a "Wiesenfest" - a summer picnic in the beautiful Buerger Park in Bremen. We all brought our own food and drink and we enjoyed playing, meeting, and visiting with the saints and friends of the church. It has been a good and busy week.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


So we have finally got some great pictures for all to enjoy. There is a lot to view so I hope you have fun getting a taste of our little life here in Bremen, Germany.

Pictures of our home in Bremen

This is a view from our back deck The front view of our apartment from the street. The balcony on the 3rd floor is where our apartment is.

This is our front room.

And more pictures...

An old windmill built in 1699 - still works - in another city park near the Old Town center Anina at the "leaning tree" in the old city park
This is me at a statue in front of the Park Hotel Bremen Old Town Center and Market
An old Cathedral in the center of Old Town
The old Bremen "Rathaus" - City Building
Anina and I at the "Talking Animal Statue"

Even MORE fun pictures

This is Anina and I in front of the Frankfurt Temple Two of our favorite young adults, Stefenie Dobberke and Alex Lorenze with Anina on the Temple grounds
Anina with Elder and Sister Meng - one of two couples who coordinate and train new Outreach Couples.
Missionaries from our District at the Outreach Center, Elder Weinle, Elder Read, Elder Riding, Elder Kincaid, Sister Rieske, and Sister Jones.
Anina in the beautiful "Buerger Park", a large park with a lake and Forest in the center of town.

MTC Pics and getting to Germany

Some of our friends in the MTC: Elder and Sister Rust, us, and Elder and Sister Gill
I was the district leader for this group in the MTC... Anina and I in the MTC front lobby
Here we are in Germany with our mission car, a red Opel Corsa
And this is the mission president and his wife, President and sister Thomson

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


This past Sunday was Fast Sunday and we completed another assignment for the first time. By the Stake President I was assigned to the Bremerhaven branch. We left our apartment at 7:30 this morning to make sure that we would find the church building in Bremerhaven by the time church started at 9:00. As it was, we found it quicker than we normally find places in Germany. The church is in a very beautiful part of town. There is a large city park across the street and large mansions all around. The church building itself is an old mansion built for a Sea Captain. Very beautiful and ornate with some stained glass windows of ocean going vessels. I understand that the Church has owned the building for some 35 to 40 years. Of course they have done some remodeling to better meet the needs of the branch. Anina could not wait to take the tour of the building. There is room in the basement for the Branch to have some activities. The first floor has a nice foyer and the chapel, kitchen, and bathrooms. The second floor has a number of class rooms and on he 3rd floor is the primary room and the room for the young women and young men.
At one time they had a regular ward and an American Military Service branch using the building. The church membership has declined to a point that they had to bring two units together some 50 miles apart to even have a branch, it is not even a ward. When I was assigned to this branch, I was given the assignment to try to talk to the Branch President and Elders Quorum President about having a Sunday School as part of the meeting block. On this our first visit, I was glad to see that they had started a Sunday School for the first time that day, with an attendance of about 25 in the Gospel Doctrine class. Today, when I go to Hamburg for the High Council Meeting I am going to report that I completed my first assignment (even though I had nothing to do with it).
The testimony meeting was especially sweet. There were some very wonderful and spiritual testimonies that were given. The spirit was very much present. After the meeting block we visited with some of the members until the food was served on the patio. Families just get together, each will bring something and there was enough to eat for all of us. Anina felt bad that she did not know about it so she could have brought something.
While eating they were passing this calendar around from one person to another and the month of June was just about full with one name for each day. They kept saying that we need only a few more to fill in each square. The title on the top of the calendar said "Fast Day". I asked what it was for and they told me that throughout the Stake every day someone is fasting to ask the Lord to bless the missionaries and missionary effort. Each Ward or Branch has an assigned month to do it. During the month of June it is the Bremerhaven Branch's privilege to do it. What a neat idea!
The weather is still very nice and maybe even a little on the warm side.
We love you all! Oma und Opa