Sunday, June 28, 2009

Joy To See The Fruits of Missionary Work; June 28, 2009

We thought that we wet the appetites of three of our Grandchildren that will visit us just about a month from now. So; Heber, Hunter and Spencer get ready to visit a few of the Historical sights as the Bentheim Castle. The first mention of this largest hilltop castle in Northwest Germany dates back to 1050. We toured the ground of this castle last Saturday. We hope to see it again when Heidi and the three boys come.

This afternoon (Sunday, 28 June2009) we returned from a visit to the Herne Ward. It was great to visit with the Saints and especially to be with the Young Adults. We were surprised to see that Christian Wiezoreck gave the lesson in the Young Adult Sunday School Class. It was the first time that he gave a gospel type lesson. Christian is a convert to the church and was baptized only two weeks ago. The subject was on Belief and Faith. He used scriptures to make his point and he gave his testimony. The class was also attended by a young lady that is investigating the church. In fact the Missionaries told us that she has a baptism date set. Both told us that they would come to the Center for Young Adults this coming Thursday. A couple of others said that they would come if Anina would make the Tacos this Thursday. So, we guess that it will be Tacos for the meal on Institute night this coming week.

We are now in our Summer Institute Schedule. The attendance has been quite good during the last two weeks and we hope that it will continue. Our next challenge will be to increase the participation at our Family Home Evening night.

Next week will be the 4th of July weekend for you in States. For us it will be just another weekend. Our Ward in Dortmund is taking a bicycle tour this Saturday and there are several who insist that I come along. They are trying to find a bicycle for me. I am a little apprehensive about the whole idea. So, wish me well. I will need all the help I can get since I have not ridden a bike for many, many years.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day June 21, 2009

It has been a very hectic week. There has been an activity or event that we enjoyed every day this past week. The most enjoyable event was the wedding of a couple from our Young Adults (Madelein Wahle and Matthias Hiemer). Here in Germany the couple getting married had to have a civil ceremony first: before they could be sealed in the temple. We gathered at an old, but very beautiful palace, about an hour drive from here for the "Standesamtliche Trauung" (the official state wedding). The place is called "Schloss Nordkirchen". We will try to send some pictures of the grounds and palace. Both of the couple come from a fairly large family, so there were quite a few people that witnessed the wedding ceremony. After the ceremony we had a picnic type of a meal as we were gathered in the court yard. I explored some of the ground and found a group that was visiting the palace ground. As I talked to them and asked some questions, I found out that they were a singing group (chorus) from the Northern part of Germany. It was not long until I had a conversation with the conductor of the group. I just mentioned that it would be nice if the group could sing to the wedding party. The reply was instant with: "we would be happy to do that". They quickly assembled on the Stairs in front of us and serenaded the young married couple and us guests. It was cool!

The couple had a lot of pictures taken and then they were of for the 2 1/2 hour drive to the Frankfurt Temple for the Sealing. We did not go to the Temple for we had to be back for the Institute night and the meal for the Young Adults.
The celebration continued the next day with a "Hochzeitsandacht" at 6:00 PM. It was held in the Chapel with the Bride and Groom sitting under an arch of flowers. The Bishop conducted this service. The mother of the bride gave a wonderful talk about the bride and gave some timely advice. The Father of the groom did the same as he talked about his son.

The bishop concluded the service with some remarks. There even was an opening and closing song and prayer. It was a gathering that was mostly spiritual and lasted for about 50 minutes.

Next the wedding party of some 200 guests sat down to a very nice sit-down meal. Many family and ward members were asked to bring some items of food. Anina, for instance was asked to bring a large desert dish. All of this was served buffet style. Right after the meal they showed some pictures on a large screen of the bride and groom. They played some games and even had a dance as part of the festivities. It was a wonderful event. For a few it was a long night to clean up the decorated hall and do all of the dishes. (Everything had to be cleared out, for the Stake needed the hall for a young man and young women event the next day.

Earlier of the week we were asked to help in closing down an Elders apartment in the city of Meschede. Not only did we have to remove all of the furniture, but even had to paint and fix everything that needed to be repaired before we turned the keys over to the landlord. We only had two days to get all of this done. Walking up and down the stairs, to from the 3rd story apartment with all of the stuff dozens of time each day was more than I should have done and I paid for it with some very painful leg cramps most of the night. (I promise to be more careful next time). By the way there was a small Branch of the church in that town and the Branch was dissolved and the few remaining members were added to the Una Ward.
Today, Sunday, we said goodbye to a wonderful family (Roark) that is moving to Budapest. This Ward will miss them very much. She was our Relief Society President and he was on the High Council. In a Ward like we have here in Dortmund it will leave a real void.

In the USA it is Fathers-day today. I am glad that some of the family called today, or we would have missed it since it not celebrated here in Germany.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

When you hear of a special weekend, you may guess that it must have been a baptizing weekend. You are right! We had a baptism this Saturday afternoon. Today (Sunday) at our Fast and Testimony Sacrament meeting Matthias Ilske was confirmed a member of the Church. We felt great to have a couple of investigators to the meeting. We certainly hope that they could feel of the Spirit that was present during the meeting. It is always a boost to our spirits as missionaries to see someone except the Gospel. It gives us hope that there are others out there that the Lord has prepared.

This past Thursday we started our Summer Institute Class. We had some 22 Young Adults (plus 6 Missionaries) attend the class.. Anina was able to make the Food stretch so all were able to have something to eat. We did not expect that many, but hope that we will have this many and more during the upcoming weeks.

Our Mission President encourages the young missionaries to see and experience some of the culture and beauties of Germany, by visiting special places. The Missionaries in our district received permission to visit some of the places that have significant interest to us. So, the eight of us drove in two cars to the small Village where my Mother was born and where I remember some very wonderful childhood years with my Grandparents. We were were able to meet with some family that still lives in that beautiful village of Meissner-Vockerode. We took a stroll in the garden and were able to pick some of the best tasting strawberries on earth. My cousin, Brigitte even had a Strawberry Torte (pie) prepared for us that was out of this world. (My taste-buds are acting up as I write about it.) The highlight was our visit to the very small village church (Karl-Heinz had a key to let us in). One of the Sister Missionaries (Sister Moline) played for us the old pipe organ in that church. It was more than music to our ears, it was an Erlebniss (experience). We visited the Border Museum only a view kilometers away. It was an eye opening experience for the young missionaries to see the "Fence" that separated the DDR (East Germany) from the West. To some of us who remember the "Cold War" between East and West, it brought back memories. To the young people it is only a time in History a long time ago that they understand a little better now.

Before we drove back to our field of labor we were able to visit a couple more beautiful old towns along the way. It was a great way to spend a missionary P-Day.
We are doing great and are still enjoying good health. We do tire easily, but that is to be expected for our "young" age.

The old Pipe Organ in the small Village Church of Meissner-Vockerode. (From left to right, Elder Questereit, Sister Fowkes, Karl-Heinz Bartnig, Sister Moline, Elder Hastings, Elder Wecker, Elder Lawler.

Elders and Sisters (Missionaries) getting ready to enjoy the Strawberry "Torte" (Pie). We (Anina and Hugo) were lucky to a taste of that pie.

We just thought that we show you a tractor that you don't have. Eat your heart out!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


A group Picture of most of the Youth at the Moehnesee Tagung.

It is Tuesday morning and we are about to go to our District meeting. We will be finishing this writing probably sometimes later today.
We are finding out that people are reading our weekly message, for some of you wrote to us, saying, that we did not get an e-mail this week.
We returned yesterday late in the afternoon from a four day Young adult "Tagung". (It is like a Young Adult Conference or Super-activity). We left Friday morning to help in setting up and prepare the facility for the arrival of the 48 registered Young Adults. It was a very nice facility in a small village near a most beautiful lake (Moehnesee). The Girls fixed up the upstairs next to the Hall as their sleeping area and boys made their sleeping area in a room next to the Hall. There was a nice kitchen and eating area for the whole group. Two young couple had the assignment to prepare the meals.
The activities consisted of a dance on Friday night and one on Saturday night. We held seminars and played a lot of games and listened to a lot of what they called music. In fact we asked at the dance, when they were going to play some music that people could actually dance to, instead of just hearing a loud beat. They did not think that we were funny and told us just to get with it.
On Sunday we held our meetings and had a wonderful Fast and Testimony Sacrament Meeting. A member of the Stake Presidency and many other Young Adults joined us for our Sunday meetings, closing of the Institute Year and Fireside. We were kept very busy in giving talks and helping where we could. Anina spend a lot of time in the kitchen. She also spend a considerable amount of time talking to many of the Young people. They sure love her and treat her just like they would their favorite Grandma. My endurance on the Foosball field with the young men lasted less than five minutes.
We forgot to tell you that we did not sleep at the facility like the rest of the group, but rented a nice "Bed and Breakfast"room only five minutes from the "Schuetzen-Halle" (the Gun Cub Hall). For the mornings we had a nice breakfast with the Host and another couple staying at the same place. The first morning we took the opportunity to tell them what we were doing at the Lake and in general,what we were doing in Germany and told them a little about the Church (Saturday morning). On Sunday morning we again had breakfast with the same couples. We came to breakfast with our Sunday attire, only I did not have a tie. (I forgot to pack one in our suitcase ). I ask the Host if we could borrow a tie for the day. Of course they said, yes and came up with a black tie. The man said that we are lucky, for he bought the tie recently to go to a funeral. He told us also that the tie should be appropriate for me to hold the "Gottesdienst" (Church Services). Next they ask us: "Now, are you "Katholisch oder Evangelisch"? (Catholic or Protestant.) Oh, how did we fail to tell them who we were. So, we tried again and had a very pleasant conversation about the Church and some of its teachings. The next morning (Monday morning) we again sat around the dining room table and having a good German type breakfast.. The conversation started like " I think I know who you are; are you Jehovah's Witnesses?" So, the next 30 minutes we had a good conversation about our Church and a couple principles of the Gospel that made us very different from the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches. Just as we thought that we very clearly told them of who we were, came the statement from one of the men: "I think I know now who you are; You are the once that have several wives." With that remark I was never happier to say :"You are getting closer! Let me explain." So we did, and soon left to go to our Young Adult group.
It always surprise us when we think that there are so many people who have never heard of the Restored Gospel. There is still a lot of work ahead of us. We must all do a better job of spreading the "Good News" of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are a little worn out and tired, but we had a wonderful time associating with all of those Young people. Most of the Young people were from the Dortmund Stake. A few (about 12 ) came from other parts of Germany (like Berlin, etc.) There are other "Tagungs" that are held in other parts of Germany and in August is a "Tagung" for all of the German speaking Young Adults for Austria and Germany.
Moehnesee Dam