Sunday, July 26, 2009

A wonderful relaxing Sunday

It is Sunday afternoon. The sun is out and it is very comfortable outside. It is approximately 70 degrees outside. It is ideal for a nice walk. During the week it rained every day, but that did not stop us from going places or talking to people.
We said good bye to three young missionaries that were transferred (Elder Questereit, Elder Wecker and Sister Fowkes) and welcomed three others in their place (Elder Clegg, Elder Thompson and Sister Seiter).
We have been blessed with good participation in our activities. For some reason we are enjoying good attendance at our Family Home Evening and for our Institute night. Last Monday we had a short spiritual presentation and than had a farewell party for Stephanie Wilson (one of our American exchange students at the university). There were 19 Young Adults, a few over 30 years and a number of Missionaries. We kept a couple of waffle irons very busy, satisfying the hunger for waffles. Stephanie wanted to do something special by getting some American root-beer for root-beer-floats. The comments about the root-beer were from "that's interesting", or "this taste like toothpaste", or "what a way to ruin good ice-cream", or "why would anyone add medicine to ice-cream". The few who had been to America and got used to the taste actually enjoyed it. It is probably not something we will give as dessert after our meals.
Considering that it is Summer break we still had an attendance during the Institute night of 22 Young Adults (plus Missionaries). We hope that this kind of attendance will continue and we can build on that when the regular school year begins..
It has been a week of reflecting on the effectiveness of the work in Dortmund and with the calling that has come to us. There are too many who are not responding, too many we have not reached. We have often commented that we should have had this assignment 5 or 6 years ago when our energy level was 20 years younger. If any of you are thinking of serving a senior mission, our advice is to do it sooner than later.
We can hardly wait for Friday when we anticipate of picking up Heidi and Spencer,Hunter and Heber from the Frankfurt Airport. It will be wonderful to see Family and be able to spend some time with them. Our Mission President suggested that we take some time off and enjoy the visit. We plan to do just that.. If next week you don't receive a note from us, we hope you understand.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Payday, It does not get any better than that!!!!!!

We came home quite exhausted last night and did not have the strength to write as we usually do on Sunday evening. The two trips to the Frankfurt Temple were very special. It was the first time that we went to a Temple in over a year. We attended the Temple on Tuesday as one of our Young Adults that was baptized only a year ago took out his own endowments. It was a great experience for us and for him. We came home that evening and he stayed the whole week. During the week he spent every day, the whole day in the temple doing as much proxy work as possible. On Saturday we drove back to the Temple with many of our Young Adults from the Out-Reach Center. Some of the Young People went on sessions and others performed baptisms. It was a joy to see the young men who went thru the Temple last Tuesday for the first time, doing the baptizing.
It was fun to see a number of young missionaries from the Frankfurt Mission on the Temple Grounds and in the Temple. They get to go to the Temple once a transfer on their P-Day. We told our Mission President about that experience with the Missionaries and he told us that he wishes that our Missionaries could have that experience, but that is not the program since there is not a Temple in our Mission.
Yesterday, Sunday, was a red-letter day in our area. We don't get to see very many people come to the waters of baptism. To have two on the same day is a real treat. In the city of Hamm lives a widowed lady (Monika Della Corte) with three children. The oldest son (Dennis) is about 24 years old. He joined the church some 4 years ago and already served on a mission. His two sister (Davina and Deborah) who are 19 and 20 years old also joined the church. The mother has been very supportive over the years, but efforts by many missionaries and members of the ward seemed to go nowhere. Special fasts and many prayers finally worked a miracle, she was baptized. The Saints in the Ward, the Missionaries from area all showed their support. There were many tears of joy and many embraces. The Spirit of love and true happiness was very evident. She told us that the Temple was her next goal.
We were not able to stay very long in Hamm, for we wanted to drive to the city of Herne. Most of our Student Council and other Young Adults joined us by witnessing another Baptism. It was the Baptism of a very special Young Adult. She had been coming to the Center for the last three months. Daniela Krieger was introduced to the church by her boy friend (Christian), who joined the Church only three months ago. We wish we could show you graphically the influence and difference the Gospel makes in peoples lives. It was a very beautiful service.
The above is the good news. The sad news is, others that we thought who were making good progress decided not to have the Missionaries continue to teach them. So, the finding process continues.
This week is transfer day. The good news is that we are staying in Dortmund. We have mixed feelings about the transfer of both of the Elders. They are being replaced by another set of Elders. One of the Sisters will be leaving us and another Sister will coming to Dortmund.
Tonight, during our Home-Evening we will say "good-by" to one of the students from America that has completed a year of study here at the University. After a short spiritual thought we will have a party for her tonight. We are fixing a lot of fun things to eat and hope the kids will like it. We will miss her, but hope to see her again when we will get home. Stephanie lives in Salt Lake and will finish her studies at the University of Utah.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Birthday!!!!!!!

As everyone knows, this past week was Anina's Birthday. We received a lot of cards and e-mails and phone calls from home. We thank you all for the nice things and well wishes that we received.

Her birthday was a very busy day for us. We left early in the morning to drive to the city of Bielefeld where we attended a Zone Conference (a 2 1/2 hour drive from Dortmund). We left the Zone Conference a few minutes early to be back in Dortmund to complete preparations for the Institute and evening meal. The attendance was good and Anina managed to feed some 30 young adults. They enjoyed a nice Salad, Hot Dogs and a Desert and of course some Drinks. During all of those activities we did manage to remember that it was Anina's birthday. During the few minutes at the Zone Conference lunch time the Missionaries (42 of them) sang Happy Birthday to Anina. After the Institute Class and just before the meal the Young adults gathered around Anina and gave her 69 beautiful long stem roses and sang the birthday song again. A lot of hugs were exchanged. It was a very emotional time for Anina and a lot of tears. So, before you ask :"Dad what did you do?", let me quickly say that we did go out the night before and had a wonderful German type meal at a nice restaurant close to our apartment.

Right now, Anina is in the kitchen preparing a meal for 7 Missionaries that she invited to come to our home for Dinner. They will be here in a few minutes. I should probably go into the kitchen and be "good to her", by helping in the kitchen - if she will let me.

Both of us are well and look forward to a very busy week. We are scheduled to go to the Frankfurt Temple twice this week (Tuesday and Saturday). One of our Young Adults is going thru the temple for the first time on Tuesday. He ask the Mission President if we could go with him and his request was granted. The Young Adults of our Stake are having a Temple Outing on Saturday and the Stake President asked for and received permission for us to accompany them.
Thank you for being there for us.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hard Work and Pain

We certainly hope that all of you had a wonderful 4Th of July weekend. We did not hear one single firecracker or see any fireworks on the 4Th of July. The closest thing to a fourth of July get-together came from the missionaries in our Zone. They all got together for a barbecue. We did not even go to that, because of a ward outing that the Elders Quorum sponsored. It was a bike tour, and then we finished with a picnic at the church.

They insisted that I go on that bike tour. They arranged for me to have a helmet and probably the best Bike in the whole group. They kept telling me that the bike would go by itself, it is such a good bike. I will send a picture of part of the group, as we started at the ward. A couple of the older brethren joined us later on the tour. I was by far the oldest in the group. To go on a 46 kilometer (30Miles) ride was not a big deal for most of the young guys, but for one that has not ridden a bike for many years it was a major task. I fell down only three times during the event. It was when we stopped to cross a street or stopped just to rest a minute. I don't know what caused my legs to totally collapse. It was embarrassing. It took a little time to get some life back into those legs and then we were off again. On our way back some of the guys felt sorry for me and offered me a free train ticket to get me back home. We actually passed by a couple train stops as we were traveling. I kept telling them that with such a support group I would achieve the goal and make it back all the way. We traveled on a very nice bike trail (-There are many very beautiful bike trails in this country-). We rode trough tunnels, under bridges, over bridges and mostly under tree lined trails. The scenery was so beautiful and peaceful that there were many times that I forgot the pains in my legs and knees.

There are probably some real good lessons from that experience.

Many things worth doing takes some real effort and often some pain or sacrifice.
With a good support group we can accomplish many things that seem to be impossible to do.
The reward and joy of accomplishment comes to those that finish, in spite of obstacles.

I am doing well today, especially after some kind and tender care from my Missionary Companion (Anina).

We enjoyed a wonderful fast and testimony meeting in Dortmund today. Anina fixed a very nice dinner for just the two of us. We are in good health and are enjoying our work with the people. We continue to pray that we will find some more wonderful people who are willing to listen to the message of the Restored Gospel.

We are glad that the Stake has called someone to help with meals each week. It should make things a lot easier for us. We have been without any help for the past three months.

May the Lord's choicest blessings be with you all.
Thanks for just being there and being the great support group in our lives.