Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Beautiful Sunny Weekend

The weather is just absolutely beautiful. It could stay this way all year long. The leaves on a few of the trees are beginning to change colors, other than that it is still very green and luscious. The fall flowers are in full bloom. It is actually warmer now, than it was most of the Summer.
This past Friday morning all of the missionaries joined in a conference call where the we were told of all the transfers that will take effect this Thursday. One of our young missionaries will be going home to Idaho this Thursday after completing a successful mission. Quite a few of our Missionaries from the Mission will be going home, but we will be receiving a large group of "Goldens" (New Missionaries). The Mission will be full strength again and as a result we will receive a second set of Elders in Dortmund. The missionary work in Dortmund is not going as well as we would like to see. The missionaries are working hard and talking to a lot of people and even teaching a lot of lessons, but commitments are few if any.
We had the Elders over for dinner after church today. The two Elders ate as much as our whole family ate at home at our Sunday dinners. It was fun to see them enjoy Anina's cooking.
We are looking forward of receiving the General conference meetings. We should be able to see all of the Sessions.
I will miss going to priesthood meeting with all of our Sons and Grandsons that hold the priesthood. Just hold a place open next to yours for me and pretend. I don't know how I am going to get the Ice Cream to you after the meeting. I will have to make it up to you when we get home.
In a few minutes the phone will probably ring and we look froward talking to some of the family. Thank you, Heidi, for giving us that pleasure almost every week it means so much
to us.
We always talk about the good things that happen, so here to let you know that we are not perfect, we have to tell you this bad thing. Here in Germany they have cameras set up all over that take your picture when you disobey traffic signs. Well, I got caught for speeding in a constructions zone. I was just following the busy traffic. I remember seeing the light flashing one after another. They tell me that it can many pictures in a row and catch a 100 cars at a very small amount of time. We were going only a small amount over the speed limit and we had to pay the minimum amount of 10.00 Euro. Not too bad for a bad experience. I am going to have to be more careful in the future. We have one of those cameras close to our home. They are permanent fixtures and the regular drivers know exactly where they are, so it is a deterrent for driving within the speed limit.
We are in good health and we enjoy our work and our associations we have here in Germany.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

We left our mission area for 4 hours today

It is Sunday evening, about 8:00 PM. We just arrived home after we left at 8:00 AM this morning. We had Stake conference yesterday and today. The Saturday afternoon and evening sessions were held in the Dortmund Stake Center. It is the same place where our Institute Outreach Center is located. The theme of the conference was on Missionary work, and of course it was like music to our ears. We should see some results from the ideas and challenges that were given. Tomorrow in our ward we are starting a 40 day fast for missionary work. From the sign up list we noticed that a different family or person is going to fast for the next 40 days. We signed up for tomorrow (Monday). We will be praying that the Lord will lead us to the people He has prepared to except the Gospel.
The conference today was held in Düsseldorf. Our Stake Center is not large enough to hold the saints and friends that come to Stake Conference. In the past they rented a hall closer to Dortmund, but that has become very expensive, something like 6000.00 Euro.. For us to drive to Düsseldorf took us a little over an hour. The Stake Center there is more the size of a Stake Center in Salt Lake. Next to the Stake Center is a building where the old Düsseldorf Mission Home used to be. They have now turned this building into the Düsseldorf Institute Outreach Center. We met the Missionary Couple that serve in that Center. We had a chance to meet with them a short time to get some fresh and new ideas. They have been on their mission two weeks longer than we have.
This is the first General Stake meeting we had since we were transferred to Dortmund. So, today was the day that they sustained me to serve on the Dortmund Stake High Council. I learned a new meaning of the phrase, "When ye are prepared you need not fear." I assumed that I would be called upon to speak, so I prepared a five minute talk and I did not have to talk. The lesson I learned from that, is that when you are prepared you will not be called upon and it is only when you are not prepared you need to fear because you will be called upon.
After conference we had an invitation with the other missionaries (Elders) in Dortmund for dinner at the home of our Relief Society President. They have 3 small girls and one of them is a baby of only 3 or 4 weeks old. They truly have their hands full, but they still made the time to invite us. We had a wonderful meal.
Last Thursday we had a every six week Zone Conference and as usual it was great to be part of a large missionary group. It is always an inspiration to be with those young missionaries. They are so full of enthusiasm and full of the Spirit. It truly is a joy to see them in action.
You may ask yourself why we left the Mission Area? It is because we went to Stake Conference in Düsseldorf and Düsseldorf is outside the Hamburg Mission. All of the full time Missionaries had to get special permission to attend Stake Conference out side of the mission boundaries.
Thank you for all of your mail and words of encouragement.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Dear Family and friends this past week has been filled with a lot of activities, a lot of travel, a lot of visiting, a lot of meetings and even some sight seeing. We had some good news and some news that made us very sad.The news that a dear friend Dick Jensen passed away caused us to shed some tears, but it mostly caused us to reflect about the things in live that really matter. We felt so helpless to not be able to be there and express our appreciation to Joann for the wonderful privilege it has been to count them as one of our best friends. Many wonderful activities came back to our minds that we had with the Jensens. The work of Dick in the Bishopric, the work on the Stake Ranch, helping neighbors, Home Teaching, going out to eat, sharing stories about our children and grandchildren, a trip to McCall, Id., are only a view of the memories that Anina and I thought about. Oh how we wish we could be there to say good bye and in some way give support to the Jensen Family. I think, not being able to do just that is one of the sacrifices we are required to make while on this mission. So, whenever you see Joann, be sure to express our love and admiration to that very special Lady.

Last Monday evening we had a good Home Evening. We discussed the importance of a testimony and for the need to be valiant in the testimony. Many of us have testimonies, but are not valiant.

On Tuesday morning (Sept. 9, 2008) we made a three hour car trip to Bremen. The Mission President ask us to help orient a new couple that just arrived to serve in the Outreach Center in Bremen. We enjoyed that assignment for it gave us an opportunity to visit and see some of the Saints we learned to love while we were there. There were a lot of hugs and tears as we were able to see each other again. (It is still a miracle to us how we grew so close to so many in such a short time while we were in Bremen for only 2 1/2 months.) This was a two day assignment and we stayed overnight in a hotel close to the couples apartment. Is is the same apartment we lived in during our stay in Bremen.

We made the three hour trip back to Dortmund on Wednesday evening. Thursday was filled with preparation for the Institute Evening and Food preparations. The young people lingered a little longer than usual visiting and playing games that evening. It was especially noticeable to us since we had to be up by 5:00 AM on Friday morning so we could make the 4 1/2 hour trip to Hamburg.

On Friday and Saturday (Sep. 12 and 13, 2008) we enjoyed the Senior Couples Conference. The Conference was mostly held in the Mission Home. Altogether there were eight Missionary Couples and the Mission President and his Wife. Those of us that came from out of town stayed in the Mission Home overnight. Friday was mostly filled with social activities and some sightseeing and a wonderful dinner at a very fine restaurant right on the River/Ocean Port/Harbor. The sight was absolutely breathtaking. As we visited and ate our meal we saw several large cargo ships passing by. Each time a cargo ship passed by, the Captain would announce over the loudspeaker in the restaurant the name of the ship how many tons of cargo and than would play the national anthem of the home country of the boat. Earlier on Friday we took a boot tour of the harbor. We saw some of the enormous amount of freight and how the containers are processed. As we came to Hamburg we drove through a long tunnel that goes right under the River /Harbor. That was an experience in and of itself.On Saturday we enjoyed the serious part of the conference. As a result we have a clearer vision of our calling.But mostly we enjoyed the wonderful Spirit that we all felt and our testimonies grew as a result of the experience.

It was a long 4 1/2 a journey back to Dortmund.Sunday, September 14, was a very busy day. The church block starts at 9:15 AM. We had a luncheon appointment with a family (some are active and some have nothing to do with the church). They live some 30 Kilometers from Dortmund. We were sorry that we could not stay much after we ate to visit. When we returned home we had just enough time to take the food that Anina had prepared to the Outreach Center. At the church we had two meetings, the opening of Institute Season and Introduction of the subject material for the year. The other meeting that followed was the broadcast of the Single Adult fireside by Elder Holland. Of course, we had to have some food for the Young Adults after the Fireside. Since it was late, we drove a couple of kids home before we were able to go home ourselves and crash.

Looking over our calendar and appointments, we are looking forward to another busy week.In spite of our busy schedule we do miss our family, especially our Grandchildren. If it were not for the promise that our Children and Grandchildren would be blessed while we serve on this mission, it would be very tempting to just take the next flight home.