President Jensen and New Assignments
It was our first real week at the center. The Marks would be leaving Tuesday morning and we were getting all the information we could from them before they would head home and pack. They had been so thorough in creating typed instructions for us that we couldn’t have asked for much more. That evening, all the Young Adults had planned a going-away party for the Family Home Evening and it was quite a party. It was obvious to us that the Marks were well-loved. Gifts and tributes were abundant. We told them we would take care of the dinner and cleanup so they could enjoy being with everyone one last time. It didn’t end until well past 11:30 p.m.
Tuesday was transfer day and we were at the Bahnhof (train station) seeing the Marks off together with one loan sister and one lone elder. They both had lost their companions to transfers, so they would be with us until later that afternoon.
On Wednesday, we went to the center to get ready for our meal preparation and the evening institute class. When I opened the office door I inadvertently interrupted a meeting that Pres. Jensen our stake president was having with the missionary zone leaders. He motioned for me to come in, apologized for not meeting with Nancy and me sooner, and asked me if we had time to meet now. I said yes, but Nancy needed to start the dinner. It as our first institute meal: spaghetti, salad, and Grandma Woods’ brownies. I knew she was a little worried about her dinner, and I had planned to help, but I didn’t want to say no to the Stake President.
The meeting included a skyped conference call with Brother Dietmar Matern, a former German mission president originally from Switzerland who is now on the NeuMünster Stake High Council (our stake) and is over missionary work in the stake. I listened while missionary work was being discussed with the elders. After the call, Pres. Jensen asked if he could meet with my wife and me for a few minutes. I ran upstairs to see how Nancy was doing. The two sister missionaries were there helping her and I explained the President’s request, and the sisters said they would take over. Nancy and I went down to talk to the President.
President Jensen is young. I don’t think he would be any older than Ben or Jon and perhaps younger. I had heard from Elder Marks and his wife that he is a great man, and our first encounter with him confirmed that comment. He sat us down, apologized again for not meeting with us sooner then asked us about ourselves. We chatted a bit, all in English, and Nancy made a comment about how she was just learning German. He assured us that there had been ehepaare (married couples) at the center who never learned German and were good missionaries. Then in a very kind but serious way, he told both of us that we haven’t been called to speak German, but to love the young people. Later, he would emphasize that again.
His and our goal is to increase attendance at the center. He suggested that we travel on various Sundays to other branches outside Kiel to attend church and meet with leaders and single adults and encourage them to attend institute at their own branch and family home evening at least once a month at our Kiel Center. He wants to meet with us regularly with others assigned to help with the YSA and made us both feel that the Center and YSA were very important to him. He spoke individually of several with whom he was concerned. He seems genuinely concerned with all the youth and expressed his support for whatever we needed to help with the center.
President Jensen and the two of us.
One of the interesting things that happened at the end of the meeting with President Jensen, was in answer to his question of how we like Kiel. We proceeded to tell him of an incident in Berlin where we had talked to Brother Berndt, the former regional representative who had us over for dinner. Knowing that we might go to Kiel, we had asked him what he thought of Kiel. He answered, “I don’t like Kiel very much. It is too cold.” After we mentioned that we also told the Pres. how we had secretly wanted to go to Dresden because of the history and cultural aspect, but now after being in Kiel for a week, we are convinced that this is where the Lord wants us to be and we already love it.
He then took out his iPad expanded a view of the area around Kiel and asked when our Pday is. We told him Saturdays, but it can vary. He then suggested four different places we should go to really see the area around Kiel. The first would be attending a primary activity on on next Saturday, June 9. It would be held in an Plön about 40 minutes from our home in Kronghagen. We were happy with the suggestion which would also afford us an opportunity to meet new members, and maybe help with the kids.
PRIMARY ACTIVITY IN PLÖN – 6/9/2012
Saturday came and we were excited for our activity. We called sister Timm, the primary president in the ward, and she and her husband were anxious for us to come. The drive to Plön was spectacular. Plön is surrounded on all sides by five connected lakes in the midst of lush rolling green hills and forests. Brother Timm had said we could help at the tower, which would be the end of a long journey the older primary children would make as they simulated trek back to Jerusalem made by Nephi and others to gain the Brass Plates. We would have the plates at the top of the tower. Little did we know how high the tower really is. It was put in place for military reasons during the 18th century. Now it is sort of a monument that is visited by many people who would like to get a good view of the area around Plön. Below are some of the photos we took of the primary activity next to one of the lakes and also a few shots from the top of the tower.
The next two show brother Timm and me, then Sister Frank enjoying a Kiel breeze.