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