Saturday, April 27, 2013

Frankfurt Temple Pictures

First view 
My daughter in law asked for more photos, so here are the photos of the temple from yesterday's temple trip.  We filled the room with about 40 senior missionaries who work at the two offices here: in Frankfurt and Bad Homburg, which is 15 km from us, but quite near the temple.  We were joined by some couples working with YSA in more outlying areas.  Names were provided by one of the missionaries.

  After the session, we all went to a Mongolian Buffet for dinner.  

There I met the Merrills, who are serving their 8th mission!  He is a doctor and they have served several times in Africa (which they both LOVE, and the South Pacific.  Very interesting stories about various worms and the missionaries they infested.  Well, at least I found them interesting.  He even had photos!  Great dinner conversation.  I also met Sister Foster who used to work in Church History, so we also had a lot to talk about.

Angel Moroni in the rain.

Randy going in

Looking toward housing
As always, beautiful temple grounds

Prettiest Garden in Germany so far

E/S Swift: we share a car and drove over with them : Lovely People.
We have heard that the Church has purchased adjacent land and will move a street (like they did in Kirtland), enlarge the temple and build a new chapel with a cultural hall next door.  The current chapel is too small and has no way to expand.  Probably some additional parking, too, which is sorely needed.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Frankfurt Temple

I love to see the temple.  I'm going there  . . . TOMORROW.  To the temple in Frankfurt, that is - which isn't actually IN Frankfurt: it's about 1/2 hour north.

I chose these photos because I think you can see a bit of Germany around the temple, to place it in its context.

We invited Elder Karl-Heinz and Sister Virginia Goeckeritz to dinner on Dienstag (Tuesday) this week.  They are serving a family history mission here.  They told us of some interesting experiences they've had with finding cool stuff about their own families' histories in East Germany while serving.  

After the Freiberg Temple was built in then-East Germany, church leaders asked their members to bring their genealogy - Books of Remembrance filled with pedigree charts and family group sheets - to the temple for safe keeping.  Apparently, there was some concern that such papers and documents might be confiscated or destroyed.  The members were promised that any temple ordinances that had not yet been completed WOULD be done for them.  So, the members complied and boxes of genealogy have been stored at the temple ever since.

The Goeckeritz assignment is to go through those old books: look up every name on every sheet in the new LDS Family Search website and determine if everyone in the books is listed and see if  all their work has been done.  LONG hours at keyboards, meticulous labor.  They have completed thousands of pages.  One day, working with one family group sheet, they found six children in the family had not been entered into the computer.  After reuniting that family, Sister G. turned the paper over to put it in the 'DONE' pile and found her OWN grandmother's name on the back!  She had just found lost cousins.

Experiences like that are happening daily as missionaries work as 'Saviors on Mt Zion' in Germany.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

High on a Mountaintop

This is one of my favorite hymns. It reminded me of my valley home when I was living in the flatlands of Michigan and Ohio. 

Then we found out that the author, Joel Hills Johnson, had lived about 1/2 mile from our home in Amherst when he joined the church and became the first Amherst area 'branch president.'  He also built the original sawmill and ashery that the Church rebuilt in Kirtland.  Today I learned that when he moved to Utah, Joel harvested lumber from Millcreek Canyon, which is WHERE I GREW UP!  The Millcreek stream was just at the end of my street and I had to cross it every day to get to Wasatch Jr High and Skyline High School.
Randy said, "He probably cut down a tree in your yard."

  We love to sing this song.   BUT today is the first time I have sung it in German, with Germans and Joel would have LOVED it.  Germans sing with ENTHUSIASM!  When we got to the final verse, the organist kept crescendo-ing, so the singers followed her lead.  And then, after the last written note of the song, the organist pulled out the stops on the trumpets and added a voluntary 8-10 measures of flourishes to grand effect.  

WOW.  We should definitely import this idea back into the states!

Saturday, April 20, 2013


We had a wheelchair distribution this month. We no longer have mass distributions, but instead provide intensive training to both the handicapped and their therapists and helpers.  This way we are sure each person receives the best fitting and functioning wheelchair for their own personal needs.  Special teams fly out from the US to do the training all over the world.
In one country in March, eleven recipients received new chairs and were also trained on the proper use of the chair as well as positioning and going up ramps and stairs. Some of this training and a motivational talk was given by another local wheelchair user. After the ceremony we had a basketball game with the sponsoring partner’s wheelchair basketball team. The young LDS missionaries joined in the game in wheelchairs and even some of the new recipients. The game was a great way to show the recipients that life doesn't end in a wheelchair but that there is hope!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

German Food of the Day : Eier

I really like the eggs here in Germany. 

 First, they are a lovely shade of brown.  

They don't cost much.  

The yolks are a beautiful shade of orange.

  They taste really good.

I realize the taste and color are a result of the feed given to the hens, but there is a school of thought that the reason the more orange an egg is shows how little stress the chicken was under therefore providing a relaxed egg which is tastier.

So, are German chickens more relaxed?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

sMTC = MTC for Senior Missionaries

Monday, March 25 - Sunday, March 31  

We reported to the MTC on Monday, March 25th.  We walked into this well-known lobby, having brought Mike and Doug here for their missions so long ago.  David and Steve also walked these halls, but they flew out on their own as we weren't allowed to come by then.

In the lobby is a reproduction of the Scottish stone carving made famous by David O McKay’s mission experience.  What my kids may not know, is that the couplet, “Where ere thou art, act well thine part,” was a favorite of my convert Swedish grandmother, Anna Elizabeth Holmquist Graff, and she wrote those words in the Book of Mormon she gave me when I was baptized by my dad in the font in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

It took three tries before we could get an in-focus obligatory photo at the MTC map pointing to our mission field.

After checking in at the front desk in (1 M), we were given a packet and sent off to 2 M to visit the MTC bookstore to get our name tags and a gift bag of goodies, like a missionary day planner and our 3rd and 4th copies of the white handbook, which has essential 1 ½ pages which apply to senior missionaries.  We also had our immunization records checked and they decided we needed 3 more shots each,  just in case we go visit our humanitarian couple in the Cape Verde Islands (the Thompsons,[see below] who trained with us): thyphoid, diphtheria, and meningococcal meningitis vaccines.  We are now ready for the apocalypse!  

We also visited my friend (who was generously hosting us in her house these two weeks!), Claire Crowley Field, in the alterations room, where she and the rest of the volunteer crew do something like 400! alterations a month on sister missionaries’ clothing.  We really need to get the word out that skirts MUST cover the knee when sitting, tops should not be skin-tight or revealing, and lace and organza skirts often don’t even survive the first week at the MTC, let alone 18 months of bike riding!!!

Next, we used our passes to go out the north gate of the MTC to the chapel which is serving as the SENIOR MTC under the able direction of Brother and Sister Thomas.  The offices are set up in the foyer, the cultural hall doubled as both the TRC and the lunchroom, and tables, chairs and audio-visual systems were set up in classrooms for training.  ALL of that was set up and taken down EVERY DAY so that the local ward could still have YM/YW and Relief Society in the evening.

Our first full week was spent in “Preach My Gospel” training, just like every other missionary receives.  Our trainers were awesome.  They were able to be spiritual, challenging and encouraging at the same time. 

Our full group of about 50 Senior missionaries was divided up into districts of 8.  Ours included (from left to right) : E/S (that is the shorthand for ‘Elder and Sister’) Parker [going to the Siddell Louisiana Bishops’ Storehouse as employment specialists, E/S Stay, E/S Savoldi [district leaders; going  to Italy as records preservation specialists], Sister Minnick [going to California as a mission nurse], and Sister Shumway [going to be an office missionary in Tulsa Oklahoma where her brother is mission president].  We learned a lot from each other, especially how to love strangers quickly through the Spirit.

These are Elder and Sister Savoldi, the senior seniors of our district.  This will be their FOURTH mission.

Speaking of brothers who are Mission Presidents, here is a very proud Elder Stay pointing to the photo of his younger brother Laurence (Larry) Stay and his wife, Joyce Cutler Stay, who are serving as the president of the Guatemala Mission.  Randy’s sister Linda Stay Danielson and her husband Darrell were also serving their last week in Guatemala, in the mission presidency, during the first week of our mission.  Grandpa Jesse and Grandma Helen must have been thrilled (two Stay sisters have already served some awesome senior missions, Judith Stay Moore as mission medical doctor in South America and Sharon Stay Brown and her husband Keith as Chile Area Welfare Specialists).

On Sunday we went to our first Devotional with all the young missionaries.  We met in the southern most building of the MTC, the Lorenzo Snow bldg.  We passed Parley’s building on the way there.  It was wonderful to be back with all our old OHIO friends!

As we entered the building, an elder who was ushering looked familiar.  I looked at his tag: Elder NORD!  Turns out he is my cousin Laurie Thomas Nord’s son from Vancouver and he looks just like her!  What are the odds that I would see him out of 3000.  But there are no coincidences at the MTC.

The meeting opened 15 minutes early with a hymnsing led by Brother Leggett.  AMAZING to sing Called to Serve with 3000 other missionaries.  Brother Leggett also conducted the 1000 voice MTC choir, now with at least 500 women’s voices blending with the men’s.  They expect 5000 missionaries in May and 7000 by July!

Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the 70 encouraged us to go about doing good, as Christ had.  He encouraged us to read 3 Nephi 5:13, Matt 7:28,  Matt 13:54,  Matt 22:33,  Mar 1:22,  Mar 5:42,  Mar 6:2, Mar 7:37, Mar 10:24,  Mar 10:26,  Mar 11:18, Luk 2:47,  Luk 4:32,  Luk 5:9,  Luk 8:56, Act 9:6,  Act 10:45, Act 12:16,  Act 13:12, Alma 10:12, 11:46, 12:19 and 14:6.  Teach His doctrine.  It is the most important thing.

And this is how beautiful Timp was all week.  For the strength of the hills we bless Thee, our God, our fathers' and mothers' God.

German Food of the Day : Chicken Soup with Rice


In April I will go away
To far off [Germany or] Bombay
And dream about hot soup all day
Oh, my, oh, once, oh, my, oh, twice
Oh, my, oh, 
Hühnersuppe mit Reis.

It has rained every day so far in Germany.  To be expected, it is April.  So, today for lunch after a morning outside at a flea market, we had hot soup and cheese sandwiches.

German Food of the Day : Brot

Inspired by my son's blog post about the delicious food he and his family ate on their recent trip to Germany , I thought I would occasionally share with you what we have been eating.  

So, on Tuesday, the day we arrived, E/S Leonard (the couple who are training us as their replacements) took us to a grocery store.  There I found one of my favorite German food words: 

Sonnenblumenbrot (sonnen = sun; blumen = flower; brot = bread). 
Dense and moist, sunflowerseed bread is lovely with butter (German butter is unsalted), toasted with jam or as toasted cheese.  More on cheese later.


Saturday, March 30, 2013


We have been learning German in preparation for our mission to the Europe Area.  We will be living in Frankfurt, Germany.

Language training for senior couples no longer takes place at the MTC.  Instead you contact them and they set you up with a private tutor who teaches you over Skype.  We each met separately with Brother Thorley for an hour three times a week.  The MTC bookstore has LOTS of language resources: cds with audios to listen to and PDFs to print out, digital files of entire books, German hymnbooks (it is really fun to sing in German), and textbooks.  Free online resources include Quizlet (flashcards and games to practice spelling and pronouncing vocabulary), Duolingo (a wide variety of methods to teach Spanish, French, German or ESL), Google Translate (when you are desperate) and Skyping with RMs to practice listening and speaking German. Our first Skype partner was Alicia Cutler (our sister-in-law Joyce Cutler Stay's niece now studying in Atlanta GA).

If you have the time, you can also be immersed in the language you need to learn.  Immersion takes place at the LDS Chapel at 100 W 800 N in Provo.  From 8-5 everyday, it turns into a Language Training Center.  We went three days (it's all we had left) for 4 hours.  Each day we had 2 hours of tutoring in a classroom with other German learners, one hour of private study time on an MTC computer system, and one hour of private time speaking German with a 'study buddy.'  Study Buddies are people who live in the Provo area and volunteer their time to talk with and help you with your German pronunciation.  Wonderful people.

We have a LOT of German yet to learn, but it is pretty amazing that in 3 short weeks we learned to pray ("Unser Vater im Himmel: wir sind dankbar fur . . . ."), bear our testimonies ("Ich weiss dass das Buch Mormon wahr ist."), get acquainted and buy some food.

[Somehow this next sentences got cut: ] We can testify to the reality of the gift of tongues: it is amazing how much German we are able to understand and speak.  We pray that gift will continue with us.