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.