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.


  1. You are both AMAZING!!! I feel so lucky and blessed having you as parents and I'm grateful and proud to be able to share you with all of the amazing people you have described in this post! Relationships are one of Heavenly Father's greatest blessing given to us. You are working so hard and I hope Jake and I will follow your inspiring examples! I hope you are happy, healthy, and well. I hope you feel loved! We love you so much!!!

  2. Wow, that was an awesome post. I love how you are sharing your experiences and testimony. You both look great. I really think the two of you are having way too much fun. I do see that you work hard, also. I know what it is like to make friends with the missionaries and others and then they leave. These young people are so easy to love and serve.
    Miss you both and I love to read your posts. We still need that phone call sometime.
    Blessings and hugs to you!


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.