Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Great Seminary Activty

We enjoyed a wonderful week at the outreach center and associations with the Young Adults and Missionaries.
The highlight of the week had very little to do with our normal calling. We received an invitation to participate in a young men and young women activity sponsored by the Seminary program in the area.The young people from three Stakes (Düsseldorf, Honover and Dortmund) came to Dortmund to have a "Schriftstellenfestival" - Scripture Festival. There were about 110 young seminary students that came. It was a whole day of activities and dance and food.
The major part of the program was to test the skills of the young people in knowing the Scriptures. As they arrives they were all given a name badge and number on that badge (1-10). They were quickly divided into 10 groups. There were 10 stations set up and each group went from one station to another station, led by one of our young adults. At each station the group was tested of how quickly they could identify various scriptures, find them, quote from memory and talk and give testimony about a certain scripture. All of that was done under certain time restraints. Points were given for each completed task. Anina and I managed one of the stations.
It was an amazing experience to see the level of competency they displayed and how much understanding they had. Thy were able to know the location of the scripture, able to find the scripture and able to quote it from memory at a proficiency we had not seen among young or old. I visualized those young seminary students challenging all of our full-time missionaries to a similar activity. The outcome of that challenge would surprise many of us.
Some future Mission President will be thrilled to have many of those students as full time missionaries in just a few short years.
In some ways they already act as missionaries. They put away as much food as our missionaries do. It was a great experience to be involved in such a fun and uplifting experience.

We are doing well and enjoy good health. We just wish we could get over our homesickness. We are beginning to think that that illness is going to stay with us for the remainder of our time.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Celebration of a Milestone

The two Sister missionaries (Sister Rieske and Sister Fowkes) and the two Elder missionaries (Elder Wecker and Elder Questerreit) here in Dortmund did not have an invite to dinner today. They all decided to celebrate our "hump week". They wanted to surprise us and cook a dinner for us in our apartment after church. They told me about the surprise, but I was to keep it from Sister Diederich. This is a task that is easier to think about, than to do. How were we to keep ourselves from our apartment for a couple of hours, especially right after church and what reason would I give Anina for not taking her home to freshen up and change cloth before going on a little drive in the country? It was a hard sell, but we did it. By the time we arrived home her suspicions were confirmed as the missionaries jumped from the door and said "Surprise !!!"..
The dinner worked out very nice. The food was excellent. They prepared "Schnitzel" and potatoes and a good desert.. There was more than enough for everyone. The Elders did most of the cooking and the sisters helped with some of the clean up work.
We had a wonderful time together and than I took the missionaries closer to town, so thy could do some contact work - talking to people on the street. I am always amazed of how faithful these young missionaries are in trying to meet people who may be interested in the message of the gospel. They just keep on going even as they are rejected all day long, day after day.
During our visit this afternoon they told us about some of the people they thought they had been making progress with, and now they have told them not to come back. Any flicker of interest gives them hope, so it is devastating when they receive the word, not to come back.

This past week we had the "every six week zone conference" in Dortmund. Both the Bielefeld Zone and the Dortmund Zone met together. All of our spirits were lifted as we committed ourselves to go and give it all we have to testify and teach and invite others to come unto Christ. I can certainly see the wisdom in having these conferences so often, for we need the extra assurance that this is the Lords work.

There has been some sad news from home this week. It was a great surprise for us to hear that our good friend Mel Knight passed away. Since our first meeting, with than Bishop Knight, as we moved into the Cottonwood Third Ward and later of having had the privilege to be one of his councilors and than succeeding him as Bishop, we stayed in contact. He has helped me out in many ways over the many years and I learned many valuable lessons from him. Oh. how I wished I would have taken the opportunity to let him know how I appreciated and loved that great man.
As we are so many miles from home and loved once, we feel helpless to be of comfort. There have been several that passed to the other side of the Veil since our stay here in Germany. Each loss seems to be harder to cope with. May the Lord bless all of you good people at home.
We are doing well and feel that we are being blessed with an extra measure of the Lord's blessings.
The Gospel of Christ and his atonement means a lot to us. We pray especially for our immediate family that they will stay true to the faith.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


This coming week (April 14, 2009) we will remember that it has been a whole year since we entered our short stay at the MTC in Provo. We look back and find that the time went by quite quickly and yet it seems like a lot time since we have associated with all of you that we love so very much. We have missed Sunday family dinners with the grandchildren; we have missed watching the ball games and wrestling matches of our grandchildren; we missed dance recitals, gymnastic meets, Birthday parties, the first steps or words of the little once and many more activities that grandparents live for. This is the sacrifice we have been called upon to give.
We have been called to serve in an area of the world where we enjoy all of the comforts that we would enjoy at home. The Saints in Germany are wonderful people to be associated with. We have the privilege to work with wonderful dedicated Missionaries. Many of the young adults are responding well to our assignment. We love them and they show their love and respect in return. We work with the Saints as we would at home. We are traveling to the various parts of this part of the mission as we visit some of the missionaries and thus we are able to enjoy this beautiful land with some of the most beautiful landscape. This past week we visited a couple of places where I spend some of the fun days of my childhood. As I leaned on one of the fortress wall of the Hercules Castle and looked down on the cascading waterfall down to the Palace below, I imagined myself , my brother Wilford and my father walking up to the castle while leaving my two little sister with my mother down below on the Palace lawn. We enjoyed seeing young families still doing the same things on this beautiful sunny day. So much has changed over the more than 60 years as I looked at the sprawling City of Kassel below. I am grateful that there are a few things that did not change, that are reminders of the past.
We are enjoying good health and some other wonderful blessings. So !!!!, where would the sacrifice be if it were not for the longing of Family and Friends.
This is the Easter Holiday Week-end. Friday was a national Holiday and today and tomorrow (Monday) is the Easter Holiday. A lot of people were out of town and the Sunday services were not well attended. We held our Fast and Testimony meeting today. For the few of us who were there, it was a wonderful meeting and the Spirit of Easter was felt by all. I felt a strong urge to bear my testimony of the "Empty Tomb" and the "Resurrected Savior". He lives and because of that we shall all live again.. What a wonderful hope for the future that gives us.
It is our hope as we look forward this next 11 months that we really will be able to make a difference in the life's of the young people in this part of the Lords Kingdom.
Thanks for being there for us. Your prayers and encouraging words really make a difference in our life's

Monday, April 6, 2009

Conference Weekend

Sorry to be late again in mailing out these notes. Enjoying the conference messages threw of our schedule and we are trying to catch up. On Saturday we were able to view the Saturday-morning-session live. Because of the time difference, this occurred at 6:00 PM our time. On Sunday we watched the Priesthood-session at 11:00 AM and the the Saturday-afternoon-session at 2:00 PM on a delayed basis. At 6:00 PM we were able to see the Sunday morning session live. All of these sessions we were able to watch via satellite at the Stake Center in Dortmund. Between sessions we were able to visit with the Missionaries and the Saints. Many brought food and we fixed us something to eat. As you can see, Conference is an all day event. We came home at about 9:00 PM. Just as we arrived home we received a phone call from Daniel's and also from Heidi's Family. They were just getting ready to watch the Sunday-afternoon-session. It is always wonderful to hear from the grandchildren and catch up on their latest activities. After the phone call we found the link to the conference and watched on our computer screen live the last session of conference. It was midnight, our time, when that session ended. We took many notes during the proceedings of the conference. There were many wonderful doctrines and gospel messages given. For us, to pick out a favorite one is hard to do. The talk that occupied most of my mind and thought processes since the conference was the talk given by Elder Holland. It certainly gave me a deeper understanding of the Atonement of the Savior. The phrase of "being alone" will forever have a deeper meaning to me. I am looking forward getting a transcript of that masterful doctrinal sermon.

We are in the midst of the quarterly Missionary-Apartment-Visits. We have made 6 of the 14 visits to date. All we can tell you is that the Missionaries are an incredible wonderful group of men, who are obedient and they will do anything that is ask of them. When expectations are high than they will met those expectations. To date we found every apartment to be in perfect condition. All have been anxious to have us come and others are asking us when we will be coming. The stoves, refrigerators and dishes are clean in the kitchen. In the bedroom the beds are made and the clothing is put in it's proper place. The bathroom is clean and orderly. In the study/front room the desks are well organized and the floor is clean. Other than a few minor repairs, such a dripping faucet, is about all the work that we needed to do. The missionaries have even been working hard to remove the mold that can show up quickly in our climate. One set of Elders even greeted us by presenting a bouquet of flowers to Anina, before starting our apartment visit.

We are experiencing a lot of joy while on this mission because we are so closely associated with the missionaries.

Anina is about ready with her food preparation for the Home-evening tonight, so we will close these thoughts, and get ready to go to the Center for Young Adults.