Tuesday evening May 29, 2012, we got a call from President Pimentel informing us that we would be serving in the Kiel Young Adult Center and would work with Brother and Sister Marks for a week before they returned home from their mission. We would stay in a hotel near the center. He told us he had prayed fervently about the decision and was certain the Lord wanted us there. We have watched and listened to President Pimentel. He has great faith in the Lord and an absolute knowledge that matters in the mission are directed by the Him. He talks continually about the miracles that are happening throughout the mission. We receive a text message each morning sent to each missionary announcing the miracles called into him each evening by those missionaries. Those most often are the investigators who have committed to a baptism date.
We accepted our transfer wholeheartedly, but in both of us there was a slight sense of disappointment that we wouldn’t be going to Dresden. When I think back at it now (we are finishing this blog a couple of weeks later) I’m not sure exactly where the disappointment came from. Maybe, for me it was again that sense of returning to where I had been years before. For Sister Frank, it came perhaps because office staff had hinted that we would be there and of course, there were all the cultural treasures that made Dresden famous. In any case, we stuffed our luggage and found that in a month we had acquired enough to make our luggage bulge to the max and still had a few bags besides. Below is a photo of Nancy on the balcony of our homely but now loved first apartment. Next to it is a photo of us and the Johnson’s standing on Potsdamer Platz next to a few pieces of the “Wall” conveniently situated for tourists to enjoy.
Moving to Kiel
Kiel is a beautiful city, much smaller than Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, or Dresden. It is situated on a coastline of a Baltic Sea fjord. The air is clean and there is always a breeze blowing. It is an hour’s drive to Denmark and in the northernmost part of Germany. The weather has been colder than either one of us expected. Nancy’s uninsulated jacket which we bought in Berlin is hardly enough to keep her warm when we are outside on cool days in Kiel. We did say in our mission application that we would rather be cold and know that we could layer our clothing, than to be too hot. We didn’t think we would be in an area where the warmest days of summer will probably reach 70 The couple we are replacing, the Marks’s, are incredible people and very easy to get to know and love. We hope that the Young Adults and the people in our Gemeinde (ward) will come to love an appreciate us for who we are.
The Center is in an older LDS church, but now is used only for the Young Adults. It’s called the RIZ--pronounced Ritz (which stands for Religious Institute Zentrum in German), so you could say that we are at the Riz everyday. The building itself has that old world charm, although the equipment and facilities are modern and the kitchen we have here is very nice for preparing dinners on Mondays (FHE) and after Institute class on Wednesday evenings. Below is the RIZ and next is a sign the JAE (young single adults) had placed inside the door to welcome us.
Our hotel accommodations the first week we were here were modern and clean, however, the bathroom is worth mentioning because of its size (about 3’x3’). That includes the shower, the sink, and the toilet. We didn’t do much unpacking because we would just be packing again on Monday the 4th of June. Living out of suitcases has never been something we enjoy doing. The six days we stayed there seemed long because of it.
On Sunday June 4th, we were welcomed into the ward by everyone, and of course, they asked the missionaries who are leaving and the new missionaries (us and those mentioned in the next sentence) to bear testimonies. Elder & Sister Marks will be going back to Oregon. They live in a small town on the coast about 100 miles from the California border. Sister Peltier, from Vernal, Utah is finished with her mission and her companion Sister Tidwell is from St. George, UT. Sister Tidwell will be getting a new companion tomorrow and getting new companions is always hard for the first few days. Elder Skoczyliz, from Heidelberg is also finished with his mission and his companion Elder Cottrell will be getting a new companion tomorrow, also.
Our Gemeinde (ward) is a large ward (by German standards) and they usually have about 120 people there. There were a few less this last week though. We, along with the sister missionaries and a couple from the ward (Jeremiah, from Nigeria, and his wife Genevieve, from Kamaroon) were invited to dinner by a wonderful young family, the Timm’s. The couple provided a very interesting conversation, since Jeremiah speaks some English and is learning Deutsch, but Genevieve, who is not a member, (she is being taught by the sister missionaries) speaks only French. The couple does have one language in common though, “Pigeon English” which Jeremiah explained is a language used by many in Africa. Back to the Timm’s: They have five children ranging in age from 7-1/2 years old to a baby about nine months old. We figure the Timm family is about the same age as Janet and Chet and their kids, plus one more than Janet and Chet. It wasn’t long before Elder Frank turned into his “Grandpa mode,” playing with and teasing the kids. The kids loved it, and of course it reminded us of our family and grandkids. Their daughter Lani was the oldest and was telling us how she was going to be baptized in October. She played the piano for us--every piece she had ever learned, including Weinachtzeit music. Her younger brother who is about a 6 years old proceeded to ping on the higher notes of the piano, just to bug her. Sound familiar? Below is a couple of photos of the Timm family, the Sister missionaries, Jeremiah and Genevieve and our dinner with all of them:
Our “Wohnung” in Kronshagen
Below are just a few photos of our apartment in the town of Kronshagen. The town is a beautiful small suburb of Kiel. It is clean, with beautiful smaller homes and a few smaller apartments. All of the landscape is very green and we are totally happy to have landed in such a great home. There is an added bonus as we have a very nice grocery store just around the block within walking distance. Another interesting sideline is that because the Germans are so eco conscious, you have to purchase grocery bags, like the ones we have at home, otherwise you must carry your groceries whatever way you can or purchase another new bag. You must also deposit a coin (,50 Euros-1,00 Euros) for your grocery cart. When you return your cart, you get your coin back. The great thing about it is that all of the carts look like new and all of the wheels work properly, and they are all in order and none left standing in the parking lot. We have had great experiences in Kiel and look forward to sharing them with you as we get more time.