Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A great week and weekend 9/28/09

When we see 3 people join the church, all of the heart aches go away and it makes up for many rejections. Our Mission President called me last week and asked if I would conduct a baptism interview, because of a very sensitive nature. It was a single mother with two of her children being baptized. One is a young adult and has been visiting our young adult program. We have never seen the repentance and cleansing process so vividly before. The great Atonement of our Savior is truly sufficient for us all regardless of our past shortcomings, if we truly repent and turn to the Savior. Our Mission President drove for 3 1/2 hours to attend the baptismal service to see three of his Elders baptize one person each. It was a great event that will not be forgotten by many of us for a long time.It is Sunday today and the meetings went well although the attendance was sparse. If the Saints would realize that it is important not only for them to make the effort, but they would also help the work to progress in this part of the Lords Kingdom if church attendance would become a priority. For the investigators we would like to have made an impression of a more vibrant group of people. It seems that for the slightest excuse people stay home. Even those with assignments sometimes just don't show up and substitutes need to be found at the last minute.
(The above was written during a short period between our church block and our afternoon and evening activities.)Well, it is now Monday morning. It was past 11:00PM when we came home very tired. We celebrated a very successful opening of the Institute year and also had a rebroadcast of the CES Church-wide Fireside. Then we had a wonderful meal afterward. It was a great evening where about 45 Young Adults and about 16 Priesthood leaders with their Spouses were present. I had a speaking assignment, luckily it was a short talk that I was expected to give.
As soon as we get this letter on its way, it will be time to prepare for our Home Evening food and activities.
This week we will be having a Two-Zone Conference here in Dortmund. Our Institute class and meal is scheduled for Thursday. We are looking forward to the weekend of General Conference when we should be able to, via satellite, watch all of the sessions.
We are grateful that our health is doing very well. We do tire a little faster, but they tell us that this is normal. We continue to pray for all of our family and hope that the gospel will always be at the center of their lives.

Oh, the innocence of little children 9/20/09

We just returned home from a wonderful Sacrament meeting. It was the primary's sacrament program in our ward. The language spoken may be different from the one you have had or will have in your ward, but the spirit is the same. Yes, there were some laughs, not for what they said , but the way they said it. We even had a ten year old boy who was visiting with his family as an investigator read a couple of sentences from the "Proclamation of the Family". It was so wonderful to see the parents and grandparents smiling and enjoying every minute of it. It was evident that there was a lot of love and joy. It was contagious and we did not wanted to leave the meeting. To have "joy in your posterity" is a real and a wonderful blessing.
This last Friday we participated in another wedding for one of our Young Adults. The Groom comes from the Southern part of the country, so they had the civil marriage in his home town and afterward drove to the Frankfurt Temple to be sealed and than drove to Dortmund for an "Hochzeitsandacht" meeting (a short spiritual meeting conducted by the Bishop) and then for the "Hochzeitsfeier" (Wedding dinner and Party). It had to be a long and very tiresome day for the Family. The joy was real and wonderful as a monumental milestone in the lives of Aaron and Franziska was celebrated.
Last evening the Stake put on a great musical presentation. They sang and performed to the music from the 1950's. The stake house was filled to capacity with members of the church and many who are not members of the church. It was a great missionary tool. It was a lot of fun!
This past Thursday we enjoyed to opening of the new Institute year and we had a good group of Young adults. It was the start of the Book of Mormon study for the year.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pay Days

Sometimes it is hard to measure success. It seems that no one is keeping score. We just work and hope. But every once in while we see a score and that keeps us going till the next time we are rewarded with a success. Yesterday the Sister Missionaries had a baptism. A young adult that they contacted through street contacting, only about three months ago. He is a refugee from Africa and speaks only English. The baptism Service was conducted all in English. A Councilor in the Bishopric conducted the service and the Bishop spoke. They did a remarkable job. Martin is a well educated young men. He lives in a group home with a lot of other refugees. To the baptism service he brought several of his friends. We hope that they too felt the wonderful Spirit that was at the baptism service.
You may have read that the Church closed the Temple in Nigeria for safety and security reasons for an undetermined period of time. There is a lot of unrest in that country and Germany has taken in a lot of refugees from that land. He is taking some schooling in Germany and hopes that he can go back sometime to his own country. The Ward has given him a very warm welcome. It was good for the ward to provide some wonderful refreshments for all of those that came to the Baptism.
Today is Sunday and he was confirmed a member of the Church. We wished we could have been there, but we had an assignment to be at the Mülheim Ward today. It is a Ward that is about an hour drive from Dortmund. Several of our Young adults live there and we were to give them some encouragement to make the effort to come to more of our activities at the center. Anina encouraged them by providing some of her home made cookies at the Sunday-School class and in her way, letting them know that they are loved. At Sacrament Meeting one of the assigned speakers did not show up, so the Bishop asked me to do double duty. It is surprising of what can be done when the Lord helps you. The Spirit was at the meeting and the message was well received.
The other wonderful thing that happened was a wedding that took place on Friday. It was a wedding or sealing that took place in the Frankfurt Temple. In fact the young couple are making their home Oberhausen. Oberhausen is located with in the Mülheim Ward. It was good to see them at the services today.
This next Friday there will be another wedding for one of our Young Adults sisters, who waited for her missionary to return from a mission. One of the barometers of success of an Out-Reach Center is the number of temple marriages that come from a center.
This next week there is another Baptism scheduled in the Hamm Ward. A lady that is originally from Vietnam, who owns a couple of restaurants is getting baptized with two of her children. The Son that is getting baptized is a young adult and has been coming to the center for the last couple of weeks.
Needless to say, with all of that activity we are keeping occupied and are enjoying our work.
We close with this week's report.

The picture shows the new convert, Cyril Martins; the two Missionaries, Sister Seiter and Sister Moline and Bishop Wojciechowski (Bishop of the Dortmund Ward).

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Still Going Strong

This past week was transfer week. Our Young Missionaries who received a new assignment had only one day to pack and get to their new field of labor. One of our Elders figured out how to get an extra day. They locked themselves out of their apartment. They took the train and arrived after midnight and rang the doorbell of the Zone Leaders in Dortmund. There they stayed until the next morning. They borrowed our car and drove to Una to see if they could break in. By the time they ruined a door to get into the apartment, it was too late to join the other Elders to travel to his new assignment. Since it is never a good idea to have any missionary travel alone, it was decided to have us drive him to Hannover. We left early Friday morning to Hannover. It took a little longer than we expected because of construction slow downs. We had to be back for an appointment in Dortmund by 3:00 PM. We barely made it and we were only 5 minutes late.
We had some great Institute and Outreach activities with good attendance from our Young Adults. Yesterday (Saturday) the Ward sponsored an Open House. The Missionary Sisters held a musical concert that was a real hit! Both of the Sisters have some great musical abilities. Sister Moline at the piano and Sister Seiter plays the Violin. Sister Seiter is an amazing violin player. The people enjoyed it so much that they were asked to put on a concert. They are planning to do just that on the 9th of October. The Ward had an Emergency Preparedness demonstration, the Relief Society Sisters prepared some food for all of the visitors, the young Adults played games. The Genealogy center gave some classes. A financial adviser gave some tips on how to stay out of debt. At the Institute we taught mini lessons every 15 minutes and Anina served waffles to all that attended classes. Many of our members invited friends and neighbors to the open house. The Missionaries handed out many fliers. We were hoping for a greater attendance, but we were satisfied and feel that it was a great success.
It was fast and testimony meeting today and it was good to hear the wonderful testimonies that were given. We had a couple of investigators at the meeting today. There is a baptism planned for this Saturday and we hope and pray that all will go as planned.
Last evening I woke up in the middle of the night because I could hear some loud noises. I got up, and while I was up, I looked at the Internet and figured out where the noise was coming from. I must have heard the cheers from the BYU fans all the way over here in Germany! This morning I called a couple of Elders and told them of the news and for some reason or another they would not believe me. They may have to wait until tomorrow, their P-day, to learn that BYU really won the game!
We are looking forward to another full week of activities. We may even include fixing the broken down door, if it can be fixed. It is too bad that the Elder that caused the problem won't be here to help in that project!