Sunday, September 2, 2012

So Far Behind!

        I remember back a few decades when I was on my first mission how diligent I was in keeping a journal. In the beginning I wanted each new thought and activity to be recorded. Then as the work seemed to speed up the journal writing slowed right down. I guess we’ve hit that point right now. But, unlike that mission, I have a companion who wants to keep up. So we’re dedicating this entry to catching up. In order to do that we will say less and show more. (Probably will be a relief for those of you who only look at the photos anyway.) So, here is a quick overview of the last few weeks:

The Bishop’s House
        We were at the Bishop’s house a couple of times this past month. The first was a Sunday High Priest “social” (best English word I have for it). Brother Timm, his wife and child are seated in a very North German creation (Norddeutsch StrandKorb). Check it out online to see the varieties of these cool beach and patio chairs with shade. Would love to have one at home but don’t think they’re available. We had an ice cream night with those in the picture and got to know each other better.

The Timm's with their new baby

Bishop's kids

Brother Bornholdt and Brother Weyrich

Sister Bornholdt and Sister Hartel

        A few days later, we were invited to dinner with the Bishop and his family. Their children were way too fun and we ended up with pictures of them and not the Bishop and his wife. They liked with we played like animals with them.

Bishop's cute kids playing animals with Elder Frank

Sister Frank reading to Bishop's kids

        On our next Pday, we visited a Schleswig-Holstein (the state in Germany) city called Lübeck. It has one of the most beautiful “old cities” (Alt Stadt) we have seen. The German people take pride in their heritage and also the reminders of that past. Most every town has an Alt Stadt with a walking street with many shops and either original old buildings or rebuilt old buildings. The wars, especially WWII, devastated some cities (Kiel, for instance, which was a major port for the German U-Boats). In these cities, often the Alt Stadt never was rebuilt to it’s original spendor. Lübeck seems to be a city with smaller amounts of damage and has been rebuilt. Our visit was short, but we vowed to return and see more. We visited the St. Mary’s Cathedral which originates in the 12th century (1174 AD). The aerial view after the WWII bombing provides a sobering reminder.

Missionary Lessons & Conferences
        Sister Frank and I have had opportunities to teach the gospel both at the center and in investigator’s homes joining with the young Elders and Sisters. Those are special moments to us. On occasion, I have asked if I could take a photo. Vladim is from Ukraine and loves and needs the gospel. We sit and read the Book of Mormon with him – we in German (which he speaks) and he in the Russian (which of course, he reads better). He is working hard and wants to be baptized. We pray he succeeds. He asked Elder Spendlove to play his guitar one visit. He played “Go Johnny Go” then a few hymns.
        The Elders love music. They are very selective in what they listen to and many take what little free time there might be and try their hand at some musical instrument. Most try their hand at learning simple piano songs by ear. In our Zone Conferences, there is one elder who works on his German “Blockflöte, an instrument that originated in Europe during the Renaissance period. I’ve listened to him during breaks and every conference he has improved.
        There are also those missionaries who are new and those who are ready to leave. We never thought we would become attached to them as much as we do. Elder Sowards, our District Leader is on the right side in this picture and left shortly after this photo was taken. He was a great missionary. We will miss him.

Elders Risley, Spendlove, Lloyd and Sowards

Hamburg and Old Friends From Berlin
        Elder and Sister Johnson, whom we helped in Berlin during the first month of our mission, asked if we would like to visit Hamburg with them for part of a day. The young adults in their area were at a conference in Vienna for a few days and they wanted to see Hamburg, which is part of our mission. We are close to Hamburg and met them for a few hours of sightseeing on a Pday. We didn’t have much time for more than an hour-long bus tour to see major sights, lunch, then a trip to the “Miniatur Wunderland”. This exhibit is quite famous around Germany. In several large rooms, hundreds of miniature trains travel around miniature lands and cities constructed with hundreds of thousands of miniature people, structures, and landscapes representing famous places worldwide including Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Paris, Hamburg, and many, many, more. We only took enough time to visit a couple of rooms. Maybe we’ll do more another day.

One of the canals in Hamburg

Another canal in Hamburg

Dusk in an Apline Village at Miniatur Wunderland

Strip at Las Vegas Min. Wunderland

City of Hamburg, Miniatur Wunderland

Hamburg again at the Miniatur Wunderland

Looking down in the Alps, Miniatur Wunderland


  1. Great "catch up" post!! GREAT pictures! Sounds like some amazing relationships have been made and will continue to be made! I can easily imagine how much fun those kiddos have with you both! They sure are darling!

    Dad, Your "companion" isn't the only one who wants you to keep up on your journal... We LOVE it!

  2. I of course loved the pictures. I enjoy seeing what you are both up to. I know how easy it is to love those Elders and Sisters. I always found it so amazing at zone conferences to meet the new missionaries and here their testimonies. Then two years later here them bare testimony at their last Zone conference. Their testimonies grow so much. Nancy, how is the German language going for you? I really liked the pictures of the Miniture Wonderland. I would love to talk with you sometime so email me your number and maybe I can call you.
    Blessings, love and hugs to you both!

  3. I love reading about your mission! I am sure the kid's help fill in a little bit for your cute grandkids at home. I am sorry I missed your phone call the day after Heidi's wedding. We missed you there, but are so happy that you are where you are, doing wonderful work in Germany! Love you! Michon


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.