Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Second Candle is Burning

The second candle is burning. A sign that the Christmas season is in full swing. Some of you have asked what this tradition of the four Advent candles mean. So, here it is: "Der Adventskranz hat eine lange Tradition, die immer noch sehr gepflegt wird. Immerhin dienen die vier Kerzen nicht nur der zeitlichen Orientierung der Festtage, sondern symbolisieren mit der Zunahme des Lichts die vier Adventssonntage sind of Papst Gregor den Grossen zurueckzufuehren: Die vier Wochen sollen 4000 Jahre versinnbildlichen, an denen die Menschheit auf die Ankunft von Jesus Christus warten musste." Now you know!
This past week was a very busy week, full of activities. There was no time for even a short afternoon nap. We were either driving to, preparing for, shopping for or attending some event. We almost forgot that they even removed three kidney stones for my (Hugo) body. We were lucky and I only had to stay in the hospital on Monday and Tuesday. This coming Wednesday they will go in and remove a stint and the ordeal will be over with.
We had a good group of young adults out for the institute class and the meal afterward last Thursday. We did not get home until quite late. On Friday morning we left before breakfast to take the 2 3/4 hour drive to Hannover for our Senior Couples Conference. The Couples get-together was not all meetings. We even went about the serious business of "shopping". We learned that the Sisters do not loose the urge to go shopping, just because they are on a mission. It may have been the fault of the place we visited. A place like the "Steinbach Nutcracker Factory" was just too much of a temptation. They not only know how to make beautiful things out of wood, they also know how to keep us brethren occupied while the sisters find just the right gift. They served us peppermint tea and all of the great German pastries we wanted to eat. I was proud of Anina; she bought the least amount of all of the couples.
At the "Out-Reach Center" in Hannover we enjoyed a great time with all of the Senior Missionary Couples from our Mission, as we shared ideas and had a nice Christmas program. We had a nice meal together. We could not stay because we had to hurry back to Dortmund. The Young Adults had a Dance Evening and we needed to be back for that by 8:00 PM. The dance was well attended and some came from other places around Germany. We even enjoyed visiting with four Young Adults that we knew from Bremen. We all had a good time. The dance went until 12:30 AM (just past midnight). By the time we cleaned up everything it was 2:00 AM. It was a long and exhausting day.
The next day we could not even sleep in, for preparations needed to be made for our Young Adult Christmas part on Saturday. Also, the kids from Bremen had breakfast with us in our apartment.
Today is Sunday; we are having a hard time keeping our eyes open. Looking at our calendar, this coming week will not be much better. Anina keeps saying, "when we get home in a couple of months, we are going to sleep for a couple of weeks".
We are beginning to worry about a replacement for us here in Dortmund. The Mission President has not heard of a couple that may be coming. There is such a great need for couple missionaries. There are just not enough couples to take care of all needs of our Hamburg Mission. The President keeps asking us if we know of someone we could recommend. There are four couples that will be leaving within the next three months and no word from the Missionary Department of any that are coming. It has even been suggested that if we do not find a replacement that we come back and finish the work. As a second thought, there is no such thing as "finishing the work".
We better close for now.
Enjoy this wonderful Christmas time of the year.
May the Lord bless you all.

All of the couples at the Steinbach Factory ( 4Dec2009).

Sister Thompson (Mission Presidents Wife) accepting accepting a needle point art picture from all of the couples. (Anina found this beautiful picture in an antique store).

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