Monday, September 24, 2012

Meeting with Family and Friends

Jon and Larissa in Germany

        Over the past few weeks, we have been very busy with young single adult events. But, during September we have also had a couple of events with family and missionary friends. On September 7, we took a train to Berlin to meet one of our sons, Jon and his wife, Larissa, in Berlin. We went to a symphony performance at the Berlin Philharmonia that evening, then did a little touring around Berlin the next day before heading to Kiel. Of course, it was a joyful reunion with the two of them and we enjoyed just being in the car with them and talking as we headed back to Kiel.
        Though not listed as high priority in the “Sites to See in Germany” brochures, Kiel and surrounding areas of the German State, Schlewsig-Holstein, have their own beauty and we were proud to show them a few before they left for Hamburg on September 12.
Jon and Larissa at the restaurant
After Jon and Larissa arrived in Berlin, it was afternoon so we took them to a small restaurant in an area of Berlin near Friederichstadt called the Gendarmenmarkt.  The square has several great buildings including the Berlin Music Hall situated between two large domed churches.  As you can see behind Jon and Larissa, the walls are full of wines, but we were really there for the Potato Soup, which we love.

The Gendarmenmarkt

Sister Frank and Larissa standing in front of the Berlin music Hall
Later that evening we attended a concert at the Berlin Philharmonic (not the Berlin Music Hall), and the next day we briefly toured some of Berlin before heading north to Kiel.  Though it wasn't a lot of time in Berlin, we all enjoyed the music, architecture and just the unique tempo of Germany's capital city.

Laboe and the U-Boat Monument

On the way to Kiel we stopped at Laboe, a resort town on the Baltic only 20 minutes from Kiel.  There we watched large numbers of windsurfers with their multicolored sails out from the beach at Laboe.  Then we visited the U-Boat monument and museum dedicated to those who lost their lives in the 1st and 2nd World Wars.  It is an enormous and very respectful monument that started out honoring just the German sailors whose lives were lost, but then changed after WWII to a monument honoring the lives of all those from any country who have lost their lives in submarines.  There is also a replica WWII submarine that we went through that added a little realism to our visit.
The beach at Laboe from the top of the monument.
The U-boat we went through--claustrophobic, but it made us grateful for those men and women who serve our country  in these boats.
We all climbed to the top of this huge monument.  The inside is not only an interesting museum, but the view from  the top is spectacular.

I decided that we needed to try a little traditional Kiel fish, called Kieler Schotten.   Not knowing much about presentation, we put our smoked sardine-like fish between a roll (German Brötchen) and began.  Jon and I went for the head first...not good.  Too much bone snap and crackle.  The middle wasn't much better as I squeezed down and felt some semi-liquid stuff come out.  I was impressed that all four of us tried the Schotten before moving on to an ice cream bar that washed away the "sardine like" taste--not bad,  just too bony for our tastes.
Nancy finishing off her Schotten.

The next day was Sunday, and we left for the Neumünster Ward where Robin Lohmann, a great young single adult from our area was speaking prior to leaving for his mission to South Africa.  He had attended institute and attended, briefly, our missionary preparation class.   We had promised him we would be there.  Afterwards, we had to hurry back to Kiel because we had been invited to the Zicklers for dinner.  We were excited for Jon and Larissa to meet Uwe and Sabina Zickler and they were excited to meet the Zicklers.  The Zicklers left for Salt Lake City the last of September and Jon and Larissa would be one more family they might visit while there. 

The Zicklers have all the missionaries from the Kiel area over for dinner once a month, and it is a real treat.  Not only is the dinner good, but Uwe is a master of creating ice cream delights.  They are wonderful people who love the gospel.  Uwe teaches institute this year and together they are the ward couple to work closely with us at the institute center.

Having family close is always a blessing.  Of course we would like to have all of our children visit, but through the great technology of our time (Skype and FaceTime) we talk to children and grandchildren weekly.  It was a special treat for us to have Jon and Larissa here.  They immediately loved everyone they met and we think they were loved in return.  It was hard to see them go.  

Senior Missionary Conference: Berlin
        It was only a week after Jon and Larissa were here that we returned again to Berlin, but this time with our "little red" Opal, the only red car left in our mission, as the new Opals are all dark blue--It was much easier finding our car in parking lots with the other missionaries.
       This was our first Senior Missionary Conference with our new Mission President.   President and Sister Kosak had sent out information and the itinerary a few weeks before and we were excited to meet with the other missionaries to discuss their work, and to hear from our Mission President. Though we know many of the senior couples by name, our mission is so large, that we rarely get to meet more than a handful, so this conference was really a treat for us.

Dinner at the Hotel 
Elder and Sister Gibson handle finances, supplies, phones, much more in the mission office.
The APs having Elder Johnson demonstrate a concept. 
Elder and Sister Böhm from Alpine, Utah
Elder and Sister Wilhelm - He served with Elder Frank in Berlin on their first mission.
Sister Stank and her husband supervise the Centers for Young Adults.  Here she uses two seniors to help make a point.
For the fireside at their home, Pres. and Sister Kodak sing an old Russian folk song for all the senior missionaries. 
Sister and Elder Williams work in the office and handle transportation, housing and all logistics concerning missionaries.
Our conference started with a dinner at the Lankwitz chapel
The hotel had a great breakfast bar for all of us. 
We tried to get a photo shoot outside the Lankwitz ward house.
The courtyard at the Nazi Resistance Museum

Fireside at the Mission Home

Sister Böhm and Sister Frank

Elder & Sister Wilhelm & Elder Frank

Elder & Sister Frank

Fireside at the Mission Home

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Full Summer

        Sometimes we wonder why our journal (blog) falls behind. As we started putting down topics for the past few weeks, we were reminded of just how busy our summer days have been. So, below we have tried to capture a few of the special summer events and our feelings associated with them. At times it might seem like what we are doing is not really missionary work (P-days aside). But, as we look back, hopefully, every activity we engage in is planned to help someone come closer to the Savior. We try to make sure that anytime someone calls to us: “Sister Frank…or Elder Frank” we respond with something worthy of the name tag we wear.

Gemeinde Sommerfest
        On Saturday, Aug. 18, our ward had a “Sommerfest” (summer feast). It’s an annual event and this year they had a dancing group there who specialized in square dancing. Sister Frank was out there mixing it up with some of the dancers (not necessarily her choice). Quite interesting hearing a German explanation of how to dance, even though the caller used perfect Sanpete quality English as he called the dance.

Sister Frank is a little undersized for Christoph

        Outside there were games, face painting, and plenty of bratwursts on the grill. There were quite a few non-members there and we had an opportunity to talk to a few. We spent much of the afternoon talking to a young family who had been invited by the elders. The father is a member but the wife isn’t. They were both very friendly and we had a good time chatting with them. Elder Lloyd said he has a good testimony, but has gotten out of the habit of coming to church because he is a baker and is up most of the night until about 4:00 a.m. baking.
        Recently, he came to church again and told the bishop that he and his family will be coming every other week. We know it is only through the work of the Elders and probably the Sommerfest that he is coming back.

Baptisms in Neumünster
        “Anni” (Ann-Christin) just turned 18 in April. She started attending Institute a month or so after we began in Kiel. She was always quiet and somewhat shy. We started to get to know her but never realized that she wasn’t a member of the church. On Sunday, the 26th of August she and another young woman, Hanna, from Neumünster were baptized.
        Anni made a special point to invite us to her baptism. We were honored and Elder Frank was grateful to be asked to be a witness. Anni is such a cute girl and is special in many ways, but she is rather shy.
        One evening Anni arrived late for Institute and was embarrassed to go into the Institute class. Sister Frank knew how shy she was and tried to encourage her to go in and sit at the back. She didn’t want to so Sister Frank asked her to come into the kitchen and help with the meal preparations. We knew that she enjoyed cooking because a couple of weeks before that evening, she had brought some delicious brownies that she had made with her mother. Sister Frank also really needed her help that night because she was forming bread rolls and was going back and forth stirring the soup she had made and then back to forming the rolls. She had Anni stir the pot of soup to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. During that time she tried to make conversation with her. We say “tried” because she speaks very little, if any, English. Sister Frank still doesn’t speak great German and said that at times there was just a comfortable silence between them. They had a good time working together, anyway, and every now and then she would just grin when Sister Frank said something that probably didn’t make much sense to her. She really appreciated her help that night.
        Anni lives with foster parents who are members of the church. They had waited until she was 18 yrs. old at the request of her other family. At the baptismal meeting, one of the speakers made mention that her other family was there, then proceeded to thank them for coming and explained about baptism to them and bore witness of the gospel.
        Hanna is also a cute girl, and 17 years old. We don’t know her as well as Anni, since she doesn’t come to Young Adult activities yet. (She isn’t old enough.) We were excited for both young ladies, as was the whole ward. Following all the meetings, we were invited to have dinner with the ward. Many of the members had prepared salads and cold meat dishes that were arranged beautifully on tables in the cultural hall. We gathered there and visited with many.
        Later the next week Anni came to Institute, sat in the very back and gave Sister Frank a note and flowers thanking her for coming to the baptism.
Anni after baptism

Hanna after baptism.

The Bishop enjoying the food.

Saying Goodbye
        One sad part of any mission, and especially working at a Young Adult Center, is the number of times you find yourself saying “goodbye.” Missionaries are transferred or leave for home, young student members leave after university graduation or transfer somewhere else. Others leave because they are in the military and are assigned elsewhere. Some leave to get married in the temple and of course, we are truly grateful for those occasions. Whatever the reasons, those goodbyes can be hard. You might think that being here for only a year or so would make relationships hard to build. We find it just the opposite. For us, whether they are missionaries or young adults, they become our mission family and we grow very attached.
        Over the past few weeks, we have seen quite a few of our best young adults leave (1 temple marriage and moving away, 1 going away to school, 1 taking a new job, 3 with new military assignments). It not only makes us sad, but it leaves a void in our group. Last night at our institute class we only had about five young adults there. Below are a few of the great young people we have have said goodbye to in the past while.

Nadine (L) has gone to school and Millie (R) got married in the Temple 

Elder Sowards (R) completed his mission and returned home.

Cleanup at the RIZ
        The RIZ (nickname for the Kiel Institute Center) is very close to the center of Kiel. It was formerly a ward house, but from the outside looks very much like the other apt. complexes that surround it. Next to it and part of the property is a short driveway where we park, a grassy area surrounded by hedges and trees, and an area in back that is difficult to see from the front.
        The grassy area and the hedges had been neglected for a few months. Sister Frank and I have taken care of the inside of the building but hadn’t done much on the outside. Actually, we didn’t know if we were supposed to take care of it or the YSA’s. Well, it was quickly resolved. One day Pres. Kosac came for interviews. Apparently, an older lady who lived in the area must have seen him. She walked up to him and asked why no one cared for the property. We had already talked to the YSA council about a project, but when Pres. Kosac mentioned the encounter, it pretty much became mandatory. At our next Young Adult Council meeting, a “clean-up” activity got planned for a monday night Family Home Evening. We would have a very short lesson, then a “Garden Party” outside, and finish the evening with wieners and salads upstairs. Below are a few of the photos from the night. It was a great success, and in the process, we met Bastian, a young member who hadn’t been to church in months. We got to know him and though he is in the military and will be leaving Kiel soon, he decided to come to our YSA conference at Stein the next week.

Notice the size of the lawnmower.

Even Elder Frank got in on the clean-up.

Schriften und Meer
        The big summer activity put on by the young adults in Kiel was called “Schriften und Meer”. It literally means “scriptures and the sea”, but the last word is a play on “meer” which means sea, but sounds the same as the word “mehr” which means “more”. The event was on Friday, Saturday, and ended on Sunday, Sept. 2. when we had a Sacrament meeting and a testimony meeting. The purpose of the conference was to introduce the new Institute curriculum for the year: The New Testament. This is the second year Kiel has sponsored the event and young adults from all over Germany were invited. We didn’t know quite what to expect even though we were in on the planning, and had several assignments. First, we would help with the meals. Fortunately, Ruth, a member in the ward volunteered to plan, buy and cook food for all the meals. We would be the grunts, so-to-speak.
        Together with that, we were also asked by our area institute director, Günter Borcherding to plan and carry out two different activities: the first was a get-to-know-you game at the beginning of the event, and the other was a fun two hour scripture activity on the beach that was supposed to be a break between some intense study sessions.
        As you can see by the photos, it is a beautiful area, secluded, a great lodge that would accommodate our 60 young people, and a wonderful beach and view right outside the lodge.
        Fortunately, we were given the name of a lady to call who rents out apartments on the “Strand” or beachfront. It was such a nice place to stay, but the sad thing was that we were only in it each day long enough to sleep at night and then get ready the next morning for the day’s events. We would love going there sometime when we could actually have time to relax and enjoy the beautiful sunsets.
This is the beach apt. we stayed in at Stein.

From our balcony we could watch the cruise ships coming up the förde.

Bastian helped us with the grilling.

One session involved the YSA in drawing a scene from the
New Testament that had an impact on their lives
They love to dance.
The Richters from Hamburg and Sabina Zickler from Kiel are ward members
assigned to work with the YSA.
A path follows the beach from Laboe to Stein (about 20 minutes from Kiel).
From the path you can see the lodge where the Conference was held. 

Two of our cooking photos.
Ruth slaving over the big pots, and Sister Frank cooking waffles.
 It took over 1-1/2 hours.  She didn't count how many... several hundred anyway.
Br. Borcherding was a station chief during our "Amazing Scripture Race" activity.
As they came to him he had clues in the sand that would lead to a New Testament scripture.
The faster you found the scripture the more points your group received
Another station another scripture hunt.

At our station each clue was earned by transferring a noodle from one
person to the next with a spaghetti stick until the noodle had made it through the whole group.
Now trying to find the scripture.
Robin, a young man who just left on his mission
 is  playing scripture pictionary in the sand while
others try to guess which scripture.

Uwe and Sabina Zickler were in charge of one of the favorite stations.
He was building his house on the sand.  They all could sing the primary song,
but had a harder time finding the scripture.
Our Lodge from a distance.
How could we not love being here!

Our Sunday ended with a great testimony meeting, then our photo shoot
before packing up and heading for Kiel.

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.