Thursday, December 31, 2009


We are in a winter wonderland. It has snowed off and on for the last three days. There is more snow than we have seen since we have been in Germany. We need to really slow down while we are driving. The car (Opel Corsa) drives quite nice and we are sure the snow tires help. If anyone drives without four snow tires, he is subject to a fine. All of the people change to the snow tires in the first part of October and than change back in the end of March.
We have had a chance to go to a few Christmas Markets. We don't know how the merchants’ stays warn in the cold weather. The markets are full of people regardless of the weather. It is a real wonderful festive experience just to walk around and see what is going on.. It will definitely be one of the things we will miss as we return home at the end of January, 2010.
In fact the whole Christmas experience is steeped in many old German traditions. Many of those traditions have some wonderful meanings. We have noticed that just about every window shows some arrangements of candles (either real candle or electric once) that carry the meaning of "we have not forgotten you" or "we are thinking of you". Just this past week we have bought a very beautiful wooden bow with some carving inside the bow and 10 candles on the outside of the bow. We are displaying it in our outside window and it can easily be noticed as people walk or drive by our apartment. From where you are, you may not be able to see it, but as we see it, it means that we have not forgotten you and soon we will see each other again.
This is a hard time to be away from home. It is made a lot easier by the love and acts of kindness from many of the wonderful Saints here in Dortmund. It is a sweet experience to be associated with some great missionaries. As we get together we remind ourselves often of the great Christmas message we wish to share with all we meet. If in this country of Germany we could only insert and emphasize among their traditions the message of the birth of the Savior and the great blessing this birth is in our lives. The setting would almost be perfect. For us, the beautiful carved peaces of wood depicting the major scene, the Shepherd's, the wise men, the star, the Holy-Land and of Joseph and Mary are representations of a real and important event in the history of the world. The artists are masters at producing such wonderful peaces of art, but fail to recognize the significance of the events depicted.
We are struggling to keep from purchasing some of those masterpieces of wood carvings. They can tell a story that is very dear to us at this Christmas season.
This past week we had our Zone Conference in Bielefeld. We enjoyed being together with the missionaries of the Hannover and the Dortmund Zone. We enjoyed a very spiritual day with a Christmas program and instructions from our Mission President and his Wife (President and Sister Thompson). At this conference we were reminded that this would be our last Zone Conference before going home and that we were to give some remarks to the group. Being obedient, we took a few sobering moments to offer our thoughts about the mission and about our testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Both of us will come home soon and perhaps somewhat changed. One can not be in this missionary service without gaining a greater appreciation of the Savior and Redeemer, whose birthday we remember at this Christmas Season.
We love you all and do miss you.

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