Monday, September 19, 2016

Frankfurt City Tour

I am copying a friend's blogpost, since I have been on the same tour.  The biggest difference is that we saw the same demonstration in Stuttgart, which is where we were on Saturday.

Romer Platz in Frankfurt, the main square
According to our guide, Jim Morrison of the rock group "The Doors" made a donation of $500 to the pastor of this church and then proceeded to play the organ for over an hour

Old architecture near Romer Platz
Karmelite Monestery-built in 1460, with murals painted by Jorg Ratgeb (1514-19)
Spiderman on this building-apparently there are several depictions of spiderman throughout the city
We saw dozens of policeman preparing for the demonstration protesting against the EU-US trade agreements. Tens of thousands of people showed up, we tried to stay out of the way, although it appeared peaceful.

Opera House-built in 1880, destroyed in war and rebuilt
This tower was part of the original wall which surrounded frankfurt
Frankfurt stock exchange-bull and bear are in the plaza in the front of the building
Choose your favorite chocolate at the Klein Markt Hall
Meat Market at the Klein Markt Hall
Flower Stall in the Klein Markt Halle
Holocaust Memorial Wall-memorializing over 11,000 individuals who were killed in the holocaust
Stones are put on each memorial as a sign of remembrance to the individual who died

Stolpersteins or stumbling stones are placed throughout Europe. Over 50,000 have been laid in 18 European countries. They bear the name and life dates of individual victims of Nazism

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Institute classes in Salt Lake

This was the info from last year and I don't know if it's still true, but if you attended one of my  Salt Lake Institute classes then you should know that Mandy Green teaches on Thursday from 11-12:30 at the South Jordan building where I used to teach (on 104th South past the JR temple at about 2400 W), and on Wednesdays at the Ensign Stake (135 A Street) from 10-11:30 am

Thanks, Anita, for the reminder!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Lovely Week

Welcome Back to the Peerys

Friends we served with on our first mission here have just returned for another assignment! The Peerys are back again as Europe Area Mental Health advisors.  Randy found them just off the plane and took them home for lunch.  I conveniently had homemade soup and rolls on hand.  Welcome back!

Boxes for Babies 

Senior missionaries plus Lisa
We've been collecting items for newborn refugee babies.  We know of 70 pregnant moms who could use a few things : onesies (called 'bodies' here in Europe), outfits, socks, hats, jackets, blankets and so forth.  I found a great booth at the flea market where I got some great stuff for 'eine euro' for each item: I bought 20.  Sister Woodford has been busy knitting and made some great sets of sweater/hat/booties.  Sister Enger made more baby booties.  Many people donated adorable things.  Then I ordered diapers and wipes and blankets and towels and sanitary napkins from the warehouse.  To that we also added baby powder, bath soap, lotions, breast pads, and sleeping bags for every baby.  We have boxes of small cloth toys and hats and shoes. A few baby carriers like I wished I had had when my kids were babies!
hand knit sweaters
lotions and powder

Sisters Sabin and Lovell
We washed everything (even the new stuff) and Sister Bausman sorted it all into boxes (like our Bags for Refugee Children project).  On Tuesday, we got together to pack the first 20 boxes: 10 boys, 10 girls.  Less than an hour and we were done.  They are BIG boxes and they were PACKED : 4 packages of diapers (that's about 180 diapers!) as just the first layer.  
We just wish we could hand them out personally and meet each mom!

That night, we saw a report that an Eritrean refugee had given birth to twins onboard a boat in the Mediterranean trying to get to Italy.  Mom and baby are in an Italian ICU and doing OK.  I wish we had a way to give her a couple of boxes
The contents of one box

Wednesday with Alan and Shelly 

My cousin, Alan Holt and his wife Shelly are traveling around Europe with some friends, the Maloofs, and they stopped here in Frankfurt for a few hours on Wednesday.  We took them on a quick walking tour of town, with a good meal at Nord See. 

Then back home for an hour-long powerpoint about Refugee Aid in Europe (they really wanted to do that, I promise!) followed by German Apfel Kuchen and 4 different forms of cream to choose from (we all tried them all: why not?).  It was great to see them

Bike Ride on the Rhine

Randy took the front wheels off our bikes and managed to get them both in our car! We drove over to the Rhine as I have wanted to bike there since our first mission.  We stopped and parked in a free lot in the town of Eltville : the bike trail connected to it through a tunnel. 

Several FREE OPEN bathrooms on the route!

This is wine country : this vineyard is tended by Jesuits

Kleine Garten houses on stilts because of flooding of the Rhine

Hindenburg Bridge : 2nd longest Rhine bridge

Built in 1915

Blown up in 1945

Camping is a favorite German holiday

 It was a glorious day: overcast and cool.  In two hours we biked the 18 K to Rudesheim.  There we had lunch : Randy got a Bretzel brochen with meat and cheese; I got a multi-fresh fruit torte and we split them.  Big spenders: it cost less than €4! 

Dreikonigs Church

LONG line to the Denkmal cable car

We wandered around town, up Drosselgasse street (only 2 meters wide), past the long line for the cable car up to the 'Germania' Denkmal, and then rode back to Eltville.

A dozen swans in one spot : lots more up and down river

Sand toys and  cook outs on the beach

It's like riding through a Monet painting

Cultural Celebration in Freiberg

The Freiberg temple has a very unique history.  It was the first temple to be built in a communist nation and the first built on German soil.   Soon after the Swiss temple was dedicated in 1955 many Saints from the German Democratic Republic (GDR) were able to go there to receive their sacred blessings.  After 1957, because of “growing political difficulties,” only an occasional member was able to visit the temple.

When the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, visits to West Germany almost ceased.   Communication with Utah was sparse and books / lesson manuals / handbooks of instruction were forbidden.Tensions were high on Sunday, November 10, 1968, when Elder Thomas Monson of the Quorum of the Twelve met for the first time with the members of the Church in Górlitz, Dresden, Germany far on the communist side of the wall that divided East Germany from West Germany.  Quoting from President Monson's journal recorded in the book Faith Rewarded, A personal account of prophetic promises to the East German Saints from the journal of Thomas S. Monson.:

"I was touched by the sincerity of these wonderful Saints.  I was humbled by their poverty.  They have so little.  My heart filled with sorrow because they have no patriarch, they have no wards or stakes - just branches, they have few teaching materials.  They cannot receive temple blessings, neither endowments nor dealings.  They are forbidden to leave their country.  Yet they trust in the lord with all their hearts and lean not unto their own understanding.

I stood at the pulpit with tear-filled eyes and a voice choked with emotion and made a promise to the people: 'If you will remain true and faithful to the commandments of God, every blessing any member of the Church enjoys in any other country will be yours.' Although this was a dramatic promise, I believe it was inspired by our Heavenly Father and will be fulfilled under His direction as the Saints in the German Democratic Republic continue to demonstrate their faith. . . 


This evening in my hotel room, as I realized the full impact of the promise I had made at Görlitz earlier today, I dropped to my knees and said to my Heavenly Father 'Father, I am on Thy errand; this is Thy Church.  I have spoken words that came not from me, but from Thee and Thy Son. Wilt Thou, therefore, fulfill the promise in the lives of this noble people.' There cursed through my mind the words from the Psalm,'Be still, and know that I am God' (Psalm 46:10)"

A German member, Henry Burkhardt repeatedly petitioned the German government for visas for Saints to attend the temple.  In 1978, the Ministry of Religious affairs summoned President Burkhardt to a meeting. The officials made it clear that the members would never be permitted to leave the country to visit the temple in Switzerland.  The officials then asked “what we do not understand is why your church does not build a temple right here?”  Seven years later in 1985 many tears were shed when the new Freiberg temple was dedicated. (Information taken from “The Freiberg Germany Temple: A Latter day Miracle, by David Boone and Richard Cowan).

With the rededication of the Freiberg temple set for Sunday, Saturday the Cultural Celebration was broadcasted to our chapel.  We took Elfi Herrmann with us.  Youth from several different countries participated, most of whom were from Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Germany. 


Elders Dieter F. Uchtdorf and David A. Bednar, were both there with their wives. Elder Uchtdorf spoke in German to the youth, with occasional phrases in English.  He counseled the youth to keep the commandments and trust in the Lord and suggested that the youth learn English, not because it was a better language than German, but because it would open many more opportunities to talk with people around the world.  Videos were shown using real footage of the history of the Church in East Germany .  The youth enacted various historical scenes from the region, including building a Berlin Wall keeping them from the temple. Kids wearing national costumes from Czech, Slovak and Hungary all did regional dances.  All the you joined in dancing to Hava Nagela in memory of the Jews from their countries who died in WWII. 

Recorded interviews were also shown of the youth telling how they are trying to accomplish the three goals of the Area Annual Plan set by the Europe Area Presidency: 1) Bring a friend to church; 2) Become spiritually and temporally self-reliant; and 3) Find an ancestor and do their temple work.  

At the conclusion of the celebration the youth sang while holding up their temple recommends, a depiction of the Freiberg temple behind them. As the youth were singing and holding up their recommends, Elder Uchtdorf smiled broadly and pulled his out also and waved it back to the youth.  The kids LOVED that.  The spirit was strong in the meeting.

 At the conclusion of the cultural celebration, Elder Uchtdorf went and shook hands with the youth.  Many had tears pouring down their cheeks.  I spoke with one friend in the Frankfurt building who is now a Relief Society president.  She said she was a 12 year old, living in East Germany, when the temple was built.  She was in tears about the fulfillment of the promises of Elder Monson.

Rededication of the Freiburg temple.

We drove to Offenbach for the English translation of the Dedicatory service held at 9, 12, and 3.  I enjoyed the videos of the interior shown before the service.  Elder Bednar, who served in the German South / Swiss mission, conducted the service (we went at 12) and Elder Uchtdorf spoke and read the prayer. 

 Probably the sweetest moment was right after the Hosanna Shout (I used a linen hanky with Bavarian lace: that seemed appropriate).  We all stood and sang "The Spirit of God" in German.  Memories of singing that with Dad in the Kirtland temple flooded over me.  

Baptism of a Brazilian family

Somehow (I haven't heard that part of the story) a family of Brazilians out of money and starving in Germany, found our chapel and seated themselves at the doors.  They didn't know we never use the front door, out on the big main street, so it was by coincidence that Elder Leimer of the 70 happened to go for lunch and walked by that side of the building.  He met them and helped them hook up with Portuguese speaking members who work in our office.  They were fed, clothed and taken in.  Now, 10 days later and just before they return to Brazil, Elder Leimer baptized the three adult women.  A huge congregation of members showed up with only hours of warning.  We missed the meal as we had already arranged a FHE meal with Elfi.  Overly filling Potato dumplings (what is that?  maybe 10 times now?) and meat with gravy, which was delicious.