It is Monday morning and we did not get a chance to write to you on Sunday night because we were too tired when we arrived home late last night.
The week-end started early Friday morning when we had to drive for three hours on the autobahn to meet the other Missionary Couples of the mission and the Mission President and his wife. We all meet at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial. We all took a tour through the memorial. To be more exact, they took a tour through the memorial and a couple of us only visited the sight that was more like a place where they honored those that lost their lives in that concentration-camp. The places we visited was more like a place of honor and a place where one could reflect on the lives of those who had to suffer so much during the dark days of World-War-Two. The Places we visited were more like visiting a cemetery. It gave us a chance to reflect about the lives and of the worth of the human soul and even of a better future of those who lost their lives. For myself and another older couple from Germany we avoided the pictures of horror and the terrible things that transpired in that camp. We wanted to avoid bringing back the terrible things that we witnessed during the war and having nightmare's for many days to come. Some of you may recognize the name of the place as the place where Ann Frank was transported to and where she died as a young person.
After the memorial visit we drove to the nearby town of Celle. Celle is a beautiful old town that was not bombed during the second world war and therefore still has many old and beautiful historical buildings. We would like to have had the time to see more of the town. (Maybe another time). We enjoyed our time with the other couples of the mission as we exchanged ideas of how to accomplish our assignments and be better missionaries. We even enjoyed a good meal at an old German Restaurant. We had a chance to say good bye to two of the couples that will be going home during the next week or two. --Only one couple is coming to replace the two that are going. As result, the missionary couple that served in Bremen has been pulled out of that city again. To say the least, the Ward in Bremen is not very happy.
After our meetings we all went to our separate places. We only took a short 30 minute right before we received a wonderful welcome from my cousin as we arrived at her home in Wendeburg-Bortfeld. The place is near the larger town of Braunschweig. We enjoyed our stay with them, visiting, going sight seeing , eating and going to church. They were very interested to hear what we were doing in Germany. It gave us an opportunity to tell them a lot about our church and our beliefs. The family in Bortfeld is from my mothers side of the family. Hildrgard is the only child (daughter) from my mothers Sister.
She has two daughters, Andrea and Simone. Andrea and her husband Wolfgang Ehlers with their two children -Christoph and Vanessa- live in the same home where Hildrgard lives. They have build out the old barn next to the house and have a very nice home there. Simone and her husband Thobias Springer along with their six year old son Niklas live some six kilometers from Hildegard. Thobias is a contractor that is doing very well and they live in a new home that is very similar to an American type of a home that one would find on the east bench of the Salt Lake Valley ( about $ 900,000.00 range).
On Sunday morning we could get only Wolfgang to go to church with us to the Braunschweig Ward. In Braunschweig they have a beautiful ward house and we felt very welcomed and comfortable. It was great to worship with the Saints in that area. The attendance at church was greater than we have in Dortmund.
After church we returned to Hildegard's home, where we enjoyed a good meal. We had a chance to talk a little more about the church and of our beliefs. We gave the family a Church CD called "Finding Happiness" and a copy of the "Proclamation of the Family". We hope for some kind of a spark and desire to learn more about the church and it's teachings.. We hope and pray!
We said a very emotional good bye and received a plea from them to come back. We would like you all to know that we are happy to be on this errand of the Lord. Anina is still very home sick and longs for the grandchildren. We stay busy and enjoy good health. We have been blessed and may the Lord bless all of you with joy and happiness.
Anina, Hugo, Niklas, Simone, Thobias in their beautiful new home (kitchen)
Andrea, Vanessa, Hugo, Hildegard and Anina
The restored Schloss in Braunschweig