Monday, October 26, 2009

An extra hour of sleep

We enjoyed a long day yesterday (Saturday). It was a day of activities for the young adults of the stake. In the morning the Stake Presidency conducted a class for the Young married people of the stake. We just called it "eternal marriage". Even us old marrieds learned a thing or two about relationships and how to make things work when two people come together in a marriage relationship. It was of interest to note that couples in Germany experience the same difficulties as they do in the States. It does take some effort and willingness for both partners to make the marriage an eternal marriage. We had a laugh or two as we discussed the difference between women and men. (you know about the Mars and Venus idea).
In the afternoon we enjoyed meeting with the single young adults. We had a class-room activity to begin with. Other activities included cutting up pumpkins, baking pumpkin and baking pumpkin cake. It was supposed to be an American Style Halloween activity. Some kids enjoyed it and others thought that it was crazy!! For some of the young adults it was the first time that they had cut out a pumpkin and they laughed at what crazy things the Americans do on Halloween! Some played games and others just sat around and had a good time. All enjoyed one American food, Chocolate Chip Cookies that Anina made. Altogether we had about 40 young adults (marrieds and singles) that participated in the activities.
We came home very exhausted and we were glad that an extra hour of sleep was ahead of us. Last night was the end of day-light savings time. -I just remembered that there is another clock that needs to be changed.-
We think, that we mentioned before, that as a mission, we are receiving fewer missionaries. There have been some changes and there will be more changes coming as the number of missionaries will be reduced on a gradual basis by the end of the year. Where we had six Zones in our Mission we now only have five Zones. There are still a couple wards in our mission that have two sets of Missionaries, which will change.
There have been some of you dear friends who have written to us about how well our grandchildren doing and how happy we should be for their accomplishments. We are always full of joy when we hear that our family is active and enjoying the Spirit of the Lord in their lives. We all need to work hard to listen to our leaders and parents and to live the gospel teachings of the Savior. This is the only way to truly be happy and find joy and fulfillment in this life. Heaven will not be the same if any of you are missing!
Just a couple of pictures that show a few of the young adults laughing at the crazy pumpkins they carved. The other picture is Anina with a couple of the young adults in the kitchen.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Conferences, A Wonderful Way of Life

There is General Conference, Zone Conference, Mission Conference and Stake Conference. We have had all four of those Conferences within a three week period. We are not complaining, for they all are great spiritual experiences. All of those conferences give us renewed strength and courage to continue the work of the Lord. These are times of learning and help us stay close to that "rod of iron". They are times when we learn to appreciate the leaders the Lord has given us in the Church of Jesus Christ.
Today was the Dortmund Stake Conference. Our Stake Center in Dortmund is not big enough for the whole Stake, so we had to travel to the city of Herne. There we met in a city auditorium. It was not quite the same as meeting in our own stake center. The most important thing, however, was that the Spirit was there and that the Saints were able to be together in such a large group. It was especially interesting to see how many people we have learned to love and are good friends with from all over the Stake.
The highlight of the week was our Mission Conference that was held in Hamburg on Saturday morning (October 17, 2009). It is quite a distance from Dortmund to Hamburg (about 350 Kilometers). We were asked to travel up to Hamburg on Friday and stay at the mission home for the night. We also took with us the two Sister Missionaries (Sister Seiter and Sister Jensen). We left a couple of hours earlier so we could stop and spend some time in Bremen. We spend some time in the old city center and Anina actually did some shopping. It took us a lot longer to travel the distance to Hamburg than was expected. Just like in the USA, there are a lot of construction projects here in Germany. It seems like most of the Auto-Bahn is under construction between Dortmund and Hamburg. (We think that it has something to do with "jump starting" the economy.) There was one stretch that took us 1 1/2 hours to travel that should have taken us 5 minutes. If we would have realized that it was such a big problem we would have taken a different way, but once you get into it there was no way to escape.
The conference was well worth our efforts. It was the first time of our mission that we had a whole mission conference. It was awesome to get together with some 124 missionaries and our Mission President. Then we had the great opportunity to be instructed by Elder Wondra of the Seventy and Elder Russell M Nelson. We did get to shake their hands . Elder Wondra, when he saw our name he wanted to know if we were related to Elder Stephen Diederich. He remembered our Stephen. We told him that Stephen has 2 children and another one on the way. He was glad to hear that Stephen is doing well.
There were so many things said and we made many notes. One of the things that come to my mind now, is that we must do all we can to be ready for that day that Nephi talks about in 2 Nephi 9:41 and what we must do is in vs 45. As good as the words were that were spoken, the most wonderful part was the Spirit that was felt by all. There definitely is something special about the office and the mantel that accompanies the members of the twelve. We were given an Apostolic Blessing at the conclusion of Elder Nelson's remarks. This we will cherish and hold on to for the rest of our mission and beyond.
We are encouraged by the progress that is being made here in our "Center for Young Adults".

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We Need the Rest 11_11_09

Besides our normal Missionary Activities and "Center-for-Young-Adult" Activities we were involved in a couple of other happenings. We took the Sister Missionaries from Dortmund to Bremen where they performed during a "musical Open House evening".
The new Ward House in Bremen is finally ready. It is a very beautiful and spacious new building. It is more like a stake center. It also includes a very nice Center-for-Young-Adults. Secretly we are wishing that we could go back and finish out the last few month of our mission in Bremen. --No chance, but it is fun thinking about it!
While in Bremen, we took an hour to visit the old City Center, had an eating appointment at two places, toured the nice new facilities and enjoyed the musical program. It was an exiting time meeting and visiting with some of the Saints from the Bremen Ward. The musical evening was a very nice event.(We will try to send a picture of all those that performed during the program.)
The two Sisters from Dortmund are very talented musicians.(Sister Seiter plays the violin and Sister Moline is good on the piano). Another set of Sister Missionaries drove down from the city of Keil to be in Bremen. (Sister Jones and Sister Folsom.) Both of these Sister have beautiful voices. We will try to send another picture of all the Missionaries that were there for the evening. We sent a picture of the Missionaries to our Mission President and told him that we had a Bremen Zone Conference with-out our president. (We are not going to tell you what he wrote to us in return.)
It was a full day, and then some. We would liked to have stayed in Bremen for the night, but thought it best to return, for the next day was another day filled with activities. We arrived back in Dortmund at 2:00 AM.
Our Ward in Dortmund had a musical program scheduled for a long time. The Sister missionaries were asked to perform. Sister Seiter and Sister Moline asked one of the Elders to come to Dortmund and help with the program. President Thompson gave permission for Elder Wadsworth to play the guitar (he is an amazing guitar player! The Sisters also invited one of their investigators who plays the Violin to join them for the wonderful musical performance. The members of the ward and the missionaries passed out a lot of flyer's and invited many friends to the musical event. We were hoping for a greater turn out, but still had a good number.
Today is Sunday and we just came home from our church meetings. I (Hugo) had to teach a Sunday-school lesson, something that is still stressful because of the limited language skill.
This evening at 6:00 PM the four Dortmund missionaries are coming to our home for dinner. Anina is working hard to prepare for the meal. We wanted to have the missionaries over for dinner, for Elder Thompson is going home this week and it is likely that one of the Sisters will be transferred this week.
This next week there are several places we need to be at the same time, so we need to figure out how to accomplish that.

There is nothing more important than to stay close to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to hold on to that "Rod Of Iron".
We love you all.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Great Conference Week End

This past Saturday was "der Tag der Deutschen Einheit". It was 20 years ago that the two Germany's were allowed to come together. It is a big day of celebration and a national holiday.
It was also the weekend of general church conference, because of that we did not see much of the celebrations. We enjoyed watching all of the sessions (including Priesthood Session), only the Sunday afternoon session we will see in a couple of weeks. (We may jump the gun and watch it on the Internet.)All of the messages really touched our hearts and as a result we hope to be better disciples of Christ. The other plus for watching conference was the feeling of getting a little bit of "Home". Home seems to be so close and yet so far away.
We look forward to enjoying conference with family again. I miss going to priesthood with our sons and grandsons. So, get ready for April 2010.
General Conference was not the only conference of the past week, for we had our every six week Zone Conference. Both the Bielefeld Zone and Dortmund Zone came together here in Dortmund for the conference. It is always great to get together with all of the missionaries.
The other activities also went well for the week with good participation from our Young Adults. At our Institute night we had such a good group that we ran out of food, so the young people could not have second or third helpings.
We look forward to a great and busy week.