Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thanksgiving and Weihnacht's Preparations

Thanksgiving Dinner

        We decided it would be fun to prepare Thanksgiving for the YSA’s, and of course, for us it is one of our favorite holidays. We decided to have it on the Monday before Thanksgiving as a Family Home Evening. Normally on FHE the Elders and Sisters are only allowed to come when they have an investigator with them, but this time we decided to invite them to come.
        Of course no Thanksgiving would be complete without turkey and all of the trimmings, so we went a week before to our neighborhood grocery store to order the turkey. They eat quite a bit of turkey here so we didn’t think there would be any problem getting one (or two). The man in the meat department told us they had plenty of turkey breasts, but weren’t sure they could even get a whole turkey before the day that we needed them. So it was off to Citti Markt, a huge Costco type of store, where we had seen all kinds of frozen poultry. There we were able to buy two good sized turkeys (each about 13 lbs costing $28 dollars each.). We bought potatoes, bread and other items for stuffing them. We also bought a 20 lb. bag of potatoes for mashing. Elder Frank said he would be happy to make homemade rolls. We also remembered that we had a can of Libby’s Pumpkin in the pantry at the Institute. The Sister Missionaries said they would bring green beans and one of our YSA women said she would cook a green bean casserole.

It's all smiles as we prepare the Thanksgiving Meal.
Gravy and dressing and more turkey to come.

Elder Frank's homemade rolls
Sabine and Victor helping in the kitchen.
One turkey ready, stuffing roasting on the top rack.

Tonya (Russia) and Jules (USA - Provo, UT)
Our Thanksgiving group
Everyone's had their fill
Elder Gerhardson helps with dishes
        We knew we would need to use our oven at home and the oven at the Institute. We made the pumpkin pies on Sunday evening. Even though I had to use butter for making the crusts, they turned out to be really good, albeit a little bit rich with the whipping cream on top.
        When Monday arrived, we made the stuffing at our apartment, even using fresh roasted chestnuts. We decided not to stuff the turkeys, but rather to bake the stuffing in casserole trays. We had thought through everything down to the most minute details, but It literally took us all day getting ready peeling potatoes and cutting them up, making the stuffing, roasting the turkeys and making the rolls, gravy, etc. We even set the tables with placemats and had sunflower centerpieces. We were sure we had thought of everything, but as it was, we didn’t have room for baking the yams, so we went without. We didn’t have any cranberry sauce because we couldn’t find it in the stores here. In addition, we needed every possible burner, oven, and even the microwave for cooking and keeping everything warm. Also, Jorge, one of our JSA’s brought a wonderful käsekuchen with him. He makes the best we’ve tasted--anywhere.  All in all, it was a great evening and we hope everyone enjoyed it because afterwards we were exhausted.

Christmas Preparations: Zone Conference

        Our "Christmas" zone conference was special.  Since we changed to having individual zone meetings (held in Kiel) we hadn't gotten together for a large multi zone conference until Nov. 27 in Hamburg.  It started the holidays in a great way.  The President's and his wife and several missionaries gave inspirational talks and lessons on obedience, teaching,  and always the savior.  There were also several Christmas musical numbers   The meal was a Subway Sandwich (may not seem very Christmas-like but the missionaries loved them), a chocolate santa and a gift (white elephants brought by each missionary).

President and Sister Kosak 
Elder and Sister Neslen (Senior missionaries Hamburg YSA) 
We love Zone Conference too!
Senior missionaries from the different zones... and Elder Spendlove.
(L. to R.) E. & S. Smith, S.  Neslen, E. & S. Wilhelm, E. Neslen, Franks and Spendlove
Lunch in Hamburg Stake cultural hall
Sister eating together, of course.
Santa and Mrs. Santa (LOL) 
Everyone playing musical white elephant.
Elder Clayton and Elder Lloyd in his white elephant Santa outfit.
 Christmas Preparations:  Weihnachtsmarkt

        We know you are all getting ready for “Christmas” at home with your decorations and shopping. Maybe you're already finished. For the most part Christmas is the same here in Germany, but there are some things that are different and really fun. Here in Germany there are little Christmas Shops in all of the cities called “Weihnachtsmarkt.” These town markets that spring up in late November through December include little cabin-type shops that are decked with pine boughs and lights that line many of the shopping streets. The fronts of these little markets are open to display all of their different foods or wares and they give such a festive atmosphere to the cities. Plus, they have all different kinds of fun things to buy or just look at (some of the prices are too expensive). Of course, we decided that we needed to get our shopping done in a hurry, since we haven’t had time to go shopping and we knew their would be a deadline for shipping packages to the USA in time to arrive for Christmas. After several afternoons, we finally finished our purchases. It just so happened that when we went the Post to get them mailed they said it was a good thing because that day was the deadline….a small but great blessing for us.

This Weihnachtsmarkt wasn't quite ready yet.
Here is the real thing, all decked out.
After an afternoon's shopping.
Can we go back to the apartment now?
Kids love the lights and toys.

Preparing for the Message
        As missionaries, our thoughts during this season include the spiritual preparations we need to make to show our Savior that we are truly believers in Him, doers of His word in thoughts and example. He is The Savior of the World, Our Redeemer, Our Older Brother, Our Perfect Example, and we need to be striving to show him that as his disciples we know this. As missionaries, we feel the joy this knowledge brings to us, as well as the joy it brings to those who are willing to hear His words. He was born to take upon Him the sins of the world so that we might live again with Him and our Heavenly Father. He completed His mission through the atonement and his death and resurrection. We wish to share our testimony of the truthfulness of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is true! It is the greatest gift and blessing any one of us has ever received or will receive. The Book of Mormon is a witness of it’s truthfulness and was translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith through the power of God. It’s teachings can increase our understanding of our relationship to God, increase our ability to love and obey our Savior, give us a better understanding of our relationships to our families, our friends and neighbors. This is our wish for each of you this Christmas…to know these things are true. We send our warmest greetings to our family, friends, and anyone else reading this blog. May the Lord bless you and help you in your preparations for the Christmas season.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Schedules and Changes

What Are We Doing?

It looks easy on paper.  It's the "doing"  that's hard.
        After a little more than six months, I think Sister Frank and I both thought we would be settled into a routine, the language issue would be gone; we would know everyone and would have brought many back into the fold. Actually, that last part was really optimistic thinking, but we did expect a little more routine than we sometimes find. Below is a general schedule of our work. We are writing this partially for ourselves…that we can remember years from now what we used to do, but also, because we have been asked by many what a CES Young Adult Mission actually entails. Remember, however, that nothing stays constant. No week has actually been exactly like the outline below, only vaguely so.
        All of our days begin with prayer, study, and preparation (all in various quantities). After that, we take a good look at our calendar.
        Mondays start with helping the elders and sisters at the RIZ (it’s their P-day so they use the computers at the RIZ to communicate with family and friends). That day we do janitorial work on the building; keep our records and reports up to date; get groceries for the FHE meal (family home evening), dessert, or both; prepare the meal; attend FHE; clean up after FHE; help the YSA get home (not very often); go home and find no parking place; park at the local grocery store (called SKY); then walk home; look at the clock; take an hour to unwind; then go to bed at around midnight.
        On Tuesday, we sleep in try to recover from Monday, then get our old bodies going and expect and hope the phone will ring. We make ourselves available to the missionaries for joint-teaches and really enjoy them. They come unexpectedly, but on Tuesday that isn’t much of a problem. As on most days, we always check email for messages from home, mission, ward, and YSA information. Messages from home are a highlight. Later Tuesday, we have opportunities to meet with the other missionaries in our ward missionary meeting. There is also a German class taught by the ward missionaries and that can be helpful, but most of the time we have other commitments, i.e., home teaching. We have been assigned to 11 families and many live quite a distance away from Kiel, but usually not more than a 30-minute drive.
        Wednesday is similar to Monday except a little more stress. It starts with our weekly district meeting. Training and learning together is such a great part of missionary work. We normally have an assignment and try to help the missionaries with their work as they also help us. Though we may be anxious to get going on our own assignments, the district meetings have become an integral part of our preparation also. Then abut 11:30 a.m. we are off to get our shopping done for the Institute meal. There isn’t as much time to prepare because of our early meetings and we have later afternoon obligations. The YSA council meeting starts at 6:00 p.m., followed by a missionary preparation class that sister Frank and I teach. So far we have only had two students, but expect more following the age change announced by the First Presidency at the last General Conference. After that our meal and table setup has to be complete because Institute follows at 7:30. We like to attend Institute for at least an hour to see who is there and participate in the discussions. Then it’s up to the kitchen to finalize the meal. After cleanup we follow the Monday pattern ending up at home close to midnight.
        Thursday and Friday we recover a bit and have freedom to organize our work and make personal contacts. We have a few obligations at the center, but not every week. Zone Conferences are held on Thursdays. We also catch up on items that never seem completed: making appointments and doing more home teaching; working on ways to activate and contact less active YSAs; making sure that we are keeping up on birthdays and special events back home; endlessly organizing lists so that we have a better understanding of who needs what help; writing our blog; and always trying to work on our Deutsch. Sometimes on Friday nights there is a special event at the RIZ for the YSA that we also attend.
        Saturday is P-day sometimes. (Other times we substitute a Thursday or Friday). We clean our apartment, relax, enjoy our area and think about family, friends and home. This is also the best time for sight-seeing.
        Sunday we worship and enjoy the company of the great members and missionaries in Kiel. Often we are invited to delicious Sunday
meals at member’s homes. Once a month we have a High Priest’s fireside and these provide a wonderful opportunity to get to know the members better.

The Sisters Plan Halloween
        When the sisters signed up to plan FHE for Oct. 29, they simply said, “Halloween Party.” Below are some of the results. We had a great time and even began with a nice spiritual thought. After that, we got out the three pumpkins sister Frank and I had purchased (expensive compared to home) and watched the fun. On many Monday FHE evenings we have visitors and this time we had a young woman from Russia, Tanya, who has visited once before. We were very happy to have her back. She has a cute personality and a very Russian accent in her German. She is a nanny working in Kiel and taking a classes at University. She enjoyed the pumpkin carving adventure and seemed to get along with everyone. After FHE, she missed her bus, so sister Frank and I took her home. We hope she will visit our Center again and, of course, learn about the Gospel.
        Christoph won the prize for most artistic Jack-O-Lantern. His 3-D teeth and tongue were impressive. I couldn’t get sister Frank to go for a chocolate covered donut, but I couldn’t resist.

Halloween and the sculptors begin their work.

Saher, Sara, and Malta have been watching too many horror movies!

Jules (from Provo), Tonya (from Ukarine) Benny (from Kiel) need practice. 

Christoph and the sisters win only because the sisters just watched.
They only participated because the donut was dessert.
I didn't win, but the half I ate was pretty good. German donuts are not as sweet as in the US, but the chocolate on them is delicious. 
        When we first received our call to work with YSA, we thought that teaching institute might be part of the call. Fortunately, there are so many gifted CES teachers called throughout Germany, that we have several who alternate throughout the year here in Kiel. Some are experienced in CES teaching and are even employed by the Church. Others are teachers by profession which also helps as they try to involve the YSAs in gospel subjects. The young people are great students, very involved in the discussions. As is the case in all gospel learning, it is the spirit that truly teaches. These instructors do a wonderful job bringing the spirit to our Institute. So anyway, most of the time there has been no need for us to teach
        Recently, circumstances came up at about 5:00 p.m. on a Wed., however, and I received a call from our Institute instructor, Uwe Zickler. He couldn’t get out of his Flensburg office on time and wouldn’t make it to instruct institute. I said I would be happy to fill in, got off the phone and started to worry. The teaching aspect didn’t bother me. Not knowing the material and nor being able to express it well in German bothered me. The lesson was on the calling of the twelve apostles. I used the forty minutes as best I could then watched as the young people filtered in. It’s always amazing what prayer and the spirit can do in spite of our weaknesses. I asked them to leave the student desks and come back to the comfortable couches and chairs and we would sit together and learn together. My part of the lesson wasn’t great, but we all shared our feelings of what it must have been like for these men to have followed and watched Christ perform great miracles and teach profound lessons, then to be called to follow him and eventually spread the gospel to the far ends of the world. We moved to the present and talked about what it must be like to receive phone call from the prophet’s office that would then lead to an apostolic call to serve. From there we ended talking about our calls to serve and the differences, but yes, the similarities. Uwe eventually arrived and shared a brief ending. I didn’t walk away thinking I had given a great lesson. I really just walked away having had my testimony strengthened concerning the power of the Holy Ghost as a teacher. So much of our teaching jobs at home and in the church require creating opportunities for those we love and teach to be in a position to feel and hear the spirit themselves. Rarely does that occur as we lecture. Am I lecturing now? Sorry. Old bad school teacher habits.

Saying Goodbye
        We’ve talked before about saying goodbye to missionaries as they are transferred to other areas or as they leave for home. Over the past couple of months, we have learned about other goodbyes. Some are student goodbyes. Kiel is a University city, and many of our young YSAs are students who have moved here. As they finish their studies they often move to other schools or back to their home areas. We have had at least three YSAs leave Kiel on military assignment, and because it is a career, probably won’t be coming back this way. And of course, there are those great goodbyes caused through missions and marriages. In all, we have had 15 active YSAs who have moved since we arrived. At home that might not seem many. To our group, it is a large change. Even the ward feels the change. Several families have moved out of Kiel. At least two very active families have moved to the U.S. For us, each goodbye just reminds us of how brief our stay here is and how changes in a ward here in Kiel are just things the members have to get used to.
        The only goodbyes that are truly sad come when those with whom the missionaries are working say they can’t go any farther. As we watch testimonies grow stronger, it’s easy for Sister Frank and me to make assumptions that that brother or that sister will be baptized soon. The road to baptism requires many steps and some who begin the process find that they can’t quite make it all the way.
        We felt that sorrow when Wen Hi emailed the Elders to say that he was finished. He is a great young man, and I believe he is better off for having studied the gospel and having felt the spirit. He will have another day. To him and others like him, we can only wish them well and and say goodbye for now.

"We love you Wen" -- Sister Frank


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fall Comes to Schleswig-Holstein

Changes in the Mission
        We’ve mentioned before how adapting to changes is important in a mission. Recently, we experienced a large change in our mission conference procedure. Previously, when we had a zone conference (usually every 6-8 weeks), we would travel an hour to Hamburg where a large conference of two zones would meet. Now we are meeting as separate zones and the Mission President will not attend all zone conferences. They will also be shorter and will not include a lunch (usually provided by members who have to donate an entire day to the preparation and cleanup.)
        I think the change will help in several ways. First, it gives the president a chance to slow down just a bit. In a mission as large as ours (in area as well as number of missionaries), it can be taxing on the mission president and his wife just to attend all the zone conferences. I believe the mission president was traveling to conferences every week or two. Now that has slowed down a bit. He also has a bit more time interviewing missionaries when he is here because there are fewer at any one meeting.
        That’s at least what we experienced as we had our first new “Zone Meeting.” Instead of Hamburg, we met at the RIZ here in Kiel. Less travel time for the elders and the president, the same good instruction and interaction, and I’m sure it saves the church money.

Elders and sisters at the RIZ getting ready to start the zone meeting.
These two elders were the hit of the conference.  Here, they sing a duet for the conference.  They serve in the small town of Heide about an hour from Keil, and create quite a sight as they walk along side by side. 
Our Neumünster zone missionaries with Pres. & Sister Kosak. 

Visit in Heide
        On a beautiful fall day, we decided to visit Heide. We hadn’t been to the branch before, but we knew there was one Young Single Adult who lived there. The problem was that we didn’t have her phone number and Heide is an hour away. We had always wondered if it would be a good use of our time and gas to go there.
        On Oct. 19, however, we decided to go. It is always amazing to me that when we begin our days praying for an opportunity to help someone, the Lord never fails to provide those opportunities for us. We knew that the chances of finding a young woman home in the middle of the day weren’t very good, but our backup plan was that we would enjoy the nice fall day and count it as a P-day if we couldn’t talk to anyone.
        We found the address, knocked on the door and introduced ourselves to a young girl named Megan. Her sister, Colleen, the one we wanted to meet, however, didn’t live there. We asked if Megan, at least, had a phone number. She invited us in, dialed a number on her phone and then handed it to me. Almost immediately, a young woman answered and seemed surprised that a man was on her sister’s phone. I quickly told her who we were, and that we were here to talk to her and had instead been talking to her sister. She said she would come right over and visit with us.
        The meeting with Colleen and her sister was great. They are both lovely and personable. Megan had talked to us quite a bit before her sister arrived, and we gathered that her sister no longer wanted to attend or be associated with the church. When she arrived, we talked to her about the church in Heide and how we wanted to come once a month to Heide in order to provide an institute class for her. Though Colleen was very appreciative that we would be willing to come so far just to speak to her, she did tell us that she no longer believed in the church. She obviously loved her sister and family, who are members, but had been alone in Heide as a young member for a long time and had lost her faith.
        Though we encouraged her to continue in the gospel, she seemed set. She is a wonderful young woman and was very willing to meet with us again, if we were to call and make an appointment. I gave her our personal card with our web site on it, and I hope she will read our blog a bit. Though we only talked briefly, we could tell how much love there was between her and her sister. We pray that the Lord will bless them both and their father. We look forward to our next visit to Heide.

Had to take a photo of Sister Frank along side this road to Heide.

Probably the only site you can find if you Google  Heide is this Water Tower  (Wasserturm).

A little church stands near the old town in Heide

Baptism in Kiel
        Steve is a young man from Nigeria who has been meeting with the missionaries and coming to church for about two months. We have mentioned him before and are grateful for his outgoing and friendly personality. He was baptized on Oct. 21 in Kiel by Elder Lloyd. We are always amazed at the international way in which the gospel is spreading. Steve’s story keeps growing as we hear and learn more about him and his family. He met the elders while they were tossing a basketball around, I believe, in a store. The conversation started and proceeded and Steve became interested in the gospel. We first met him at church after he had had several lessons. He came to church several weeks in a row, but had difficulty because he is slowly learning to speak German but really only communicates in English right now. He has a masters degree in Environmental Science and had come to Germany seeking employment. He still hasn’t found a job in his field, but is very positive about the future. One Sunday in church prior to his decision to be baptized, we sat together in priesthood meeting. I commented to him, “Steve, where did you get that big smile of yours?” He laughed. He is always smiling. Then he said in his African tinged English, “I guess I got it from God.” Later, we heard the story concerning his mother. He had called her and told her he was investigating the church. Later, when he called her shortly before his baptism, he found out that she had already been baptized and that several of his brothers and sisters were also listening to the missionaries in Nigeria. The Lord works in mysterious and wonderful ways.

Here Steve and all the missionaries in Kiel pose after the baptism .

Esang came to be part of Steve's baptism.  We hope his will come in the near future.

Nancy fixed two large pans of lasagna for a dinner following the baptism.
Though only YSA were invited, we also included a few others including the bishop and his family.

Fall Cleanup at the RIZ
        One thing about all the green during the summer…it will eventually turn color and fall to the ground in fall. And that offers plenty of cleanup opportunities for sister Frank and I in the fall.

The RIZ in the fall.

Next week I'm sure we'll get around to raking these leaves.

We gathered up a handful of huge leaves to press.  Probably won't make it home, however.

The Copenhagen Temple
        A couple of weeks ago, we got a call from a sister in the ward asking if we would like to go with ward members on a temple trip to the Copenhagen, Denmark temple. It is actually the closest temple to Kiel and though it isn’t the assigned temple for our stake (the Frankfurt Temple), the ward usually plans one temple excursion a year for the Copenhagen temple. Our only problem was clothing. There aren’t temple clothes available at that temple. Sister Timm, who had invited us, said not to worry. She would arrange everything…and she did. The next Sunday, Brother Benn handed me a bag with his shoes and temple packet. Sister Frank and I were both able to get some clothing from the ward’s baptismal clothing supply, as well a packet from Sabina for Nancy. When we only had a few days remaining, the only thing needed was a pair of shoes for Sister Frank. We made a quick trip downtown to Woolworth’s and she had a pair of white slip-ons.
        We called to get permission from Pres. Kosak and he said to go, but that we wouldn’t be able to take the mission car because they don’t carry insurance for the car anywhere else than Germany. That made things a little problematic since I had suggested that we could drive. I quickly called Sister Timm and told her not to plan on our car, but she still felt we should go and that she would take care of that too.
        The trip was an early morning trip (we were up at 4:30 a.m.) by auto, then a ferry from Puttgarden, Germany to Rodby, Denmark. Seven of us boarded the bishop’s van and after an hour or so arrived at the ferry port, drove onto the ferry in the the car and had a nice forty-five minute ride on the ferry to Rodby. The day was cold and cloudy early on and we didn’t step outside the ferry, but it was modern, and quite comfortable inside. When we arrived at Rodby, we still had another two hour drive to get to the temple. The ride was uneventful but we enjoyed a slight change in scenery from what we were used to in Schleswig-Holstein. Denmark is very flat, and though there is a lot of water, the farms we passed were showing a lot of late fall brown and mowed-down harvest stubble.
        The temple was beautiful. The interior was small but elegant, with hand painted murals, toll-painted door trim and finishes on the furniture and if you looked very closely, you could see slight, but insignificant differences in the pattern, enough to know that they were hand painted and not stenciled. The baptistry was one of the most beautiful we have seen. We were fortunate to be able to attend both sessions held that day (one in Swedish and one in German). Before we left, one of the temple presidency took us down and explained the murals depicting John the Baptist baptizing Jesus Christ, on one half of the circular room. The other half of the mural depicted people of different generations, or those people who have died who are waiting for their opportunity to follow the example of the Savior and enter into the waters of baptism. It was simply beautiful. The artist’s name is Brickey.
        Evidently the exterior was formerly used as a ward house. When they remodeled it into a temple, they removed virtually all of the interior and added all of the rooms necessary, and only added the Baptistry and the square column with the Angel Moroni atop.
        By the time we arrived home it was about 9:30 p.m. It was a long but wonderful day!

Here we are on the Ferry.  Jules on the left is an American living in Kiel for a year.
 Sister Kamm and Sister Strelow are also shown.
Though the temple sits near the center of town, the grounds create a separation
that brings the kind of tranquility that is part of every temple.  In summer the area with plants in the forefront is a reflecting pool.

The classic columns of the temple seem somewhat different for a temple,
but they make a beautiful exterior.

Ward members attending the temple with us

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Visiting the Temple, Conference, Family and President Monson Come to Germany


        With the approach of General Conference and the announcement that President Monson would be coming to Germany, Sister Frank and I wanted to attend the temple in Freiberg both as a preparation for those events, and as an opportunity to visit the southeastern part of our mission. We had a break in the work at the institute. Wednesday, the 3rd of October is National Unity Day in Germany, and because of the holiday, there would be no institute or mission preparation class on that day. We called President Kosak and got permission to travel to Freiberg and attend a temple session. On the way, we would stay in Dresden. That in itself would be a reminder of an experience I had on my mission years ago. At that time members who lived in or near Dresden (which was behind the Iron Curtain) were meeting together near Dresden for a conference with a visiting general authority, S. Dilworth Young. I had been called upon to interpret for Elder Young and still remember that experience. Now as we entered Dresden, we saw it quite differently. We had heard from Jon and Larissa how beautiful it was and it certainly was all of that.
As you enter Alte Stadt (old city) Dresden the view is impressive. 

Everywhere you look there are Baroque structures creating the skyline.
Here, Sister Frank is standing on the Alte Stadt side with a view of the bridge.

Freiberg Temple

        From Dresden, we traveled to the small town of Freiberg only half an hour away. There we came to the historic temple in Freiberg. It again reminded me of the last year of my mission in Berlin when this area was deep in Communist East Germany. At that time there weren’t many chapels in the country let alone a temple. The saints in the East were very strong, but since religion was virtually forbidden by the government, their only hope hope for temple ordinances would come if they were somehow given a visa to visit a western country. That was rare. Then, of course the miracle happened and through the work of Pres. Monson and others, a temple was eventually built in Freiberg. The story is worth reading.
        Our day in the temple was perfect. Though a very small temple, the significance of the Freiberg Temple is large in the hearts of the German Saints. We felt blessed to meet with the Temple presidency and be part of a small session. It certainly rejuvenated us and prepared us for conference.

The Freiberg Temple is a small temple, but beautiful both inside and out.

For us, going to the temple again after so many months, was an edifying event.  We met other missionaries working at the temple and also spoke to the Temple president.  Meeting them always reminds us of what a great cause in which we are engaged. 

General Conference - The Prophet Comes to Hamburg

        General Conference is always a tremendous spiritual event, but on a mission it becomes even a greater blessing. For us, it brought us closer to home for a couple of days. It also taught us much in regards to our mission.
        Another unanticipated, but particularly spiritual event for us was the announcement that right after General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson was coming to Germany and speaking to all members of the Church who could come to either Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt or Munich. We were able to get four tickets and attend the special conference held in Hamburg on Saturday, October 13th with Tim and Nicole. TIm and Nicole were only here for three days and to think that, even though it was not planned, we were able to share such a spiritual event with them was very special. The visit from the Prophet was such a joyous occasion for everyone, and you could literally see it in their tears of joy as the saints sang Gott Sei Mit Euch, (God Be With You) as President Monson left the building. They especially loved it when he said Ich liebe dich (I love you), before he left the podium. The next day was Fast and Testimony Meeting and if you wanted to bear your testimony, you had to be fast on your feet. Everyone wanted to express their feelings about Pres. Monson’s message and his visit. We are so grateful to have a living prophet on the earth today.

That President Monson decided to come to Germany so soon after General Conference was a thrilling surprise for the German members.  They had little time to prepare, but were able to secure this large Sportshall in Hamburg for his first of four conferences.  The other three were in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich. 

After the end of the conference, he started to leave guided by security then turned and moved into the crowd greeting many of the children,  their parents and others.

What a blessing it was to have Tim and Nicole with us for this special occasion.  I believe they felt the great spirit of love for the prophet that was there and were edified as much as we were.

Tim and Nicole Visit Kiel

        While Tim and Nicole were here we were also able to show them a small sampling of Schleswig-Holstein sights. Just as it had been with Jon and Larissa, saying goodbye was hard, but the time we had spent together was worth a moment of sorrow.

Sister Frank and I took Tim and Nicole to one of our favorite places in Schleswig-Holstein – the tower overlooking the lakes surrounding the beautiful town of Plön.  It was a clear, windy, and cold day, but we loved it.
After we had been to Hamburg to see President Monson speak, we took Tim and Nicole to Laboe hoping to visit the Monument you see rising up the the photo above.  Unfortunately, it was closed but the U-boat and monument are interesting even from outside.    From there we went to Stein were we walked out toward the ocean and took a few photos of the monument as the sun was setting.
On Sunday the Zicklers (Uwe and Sabina) had all the Elders and Sisters over for dinner after church.  They also insisted that Tim and Nicole come too. It was a large group but Sabina fixed a wonderful meal.  They couldn't stop talking about their trip to Utah and the great conference they has seen.
Dinner was a wonderful German meal (…mmm lecker!)  We had three different kinds of pork (stuffed, smoked and plain), rotkohl, klöße, potatoes and gravy, green beans and Brussel sprouts.  Then, of course, there was Uwe's usual oversized ice cream fantasia.  Missionary life is tough!
The Work Goes On

        Together with the visit of Tim and Nicole, the coming of President Monson, the wonderful time we had in the Freiberg vicinity, there is, of course the great work of the mission still moving forward.  We are excited about the progress of several investigators, and saddened by the loss of others.  We are thrilled to have new elders and sisters move into our area and that means we have to see others go.
        In the past while, we have seen two of our great Kiel missionaries leave, Sister Dieterich and Elder Lloyd. They both have given much to the ward members and to those non-members they have taught. They have also meant a great deal to us. We wish them well and pray they Lord will be with them both.
        We are also excited about the new missionaries in our area. In our next blog we will introduce you to two new elders and one new sister.

Elder Lloyd, Sister Diederich, Sister Laubaugh and Elder Spendlove are cleaning up the chestnuts that fall on the ground at the RIZ and make such a mess.  (It was even worse the next day.) 
Elder Lloyd, Elder Frank, Sister Diederich and Sister Frank 
Sister Frank, Sister Diederich and Sister Laubaugh at the bahnhof seeing Sister Diederich off to her new area in Leipzig.

About Us

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Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
We have been called to serve the Lord in Germany as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (sometimes referred to as the Mormons). We are witnesses to the Savior, Jesus Christ, who has blessed our lives in every way. We hope to help others in their efforts to find true joy and happiness in their lives and in the lives of their families.