Monday, August 13, 2012

A Grand Return

July 18 marks the day of our return from our mission in Germany.  We flew to Paris and then a non stop 10 hour flight to Salt Lake.  It was a grand reunion with all the family with signs, balloons and a brief delay as we waited in the International terminal and they held up their signs in the main terminal.  Nevertheless, the meeting was glorious and exciting!

Grandchildren have grown up and changed but most of them still know us and that is a plus.  We spent several days getting reacquainted and having great fun together.  Our family is the joy of our lives and it is quite amazing to all be together again after our 18 month separation.

Our mission was an amazing and interesting assignment as we directed the Centers for Young Adults throughout Europe.  We were so blessed to serve with such outstanding and inspired leaders as President Teixeira and Elder Wright.  We hold  wonderful people in many lands close in our hearts and also made many friends with the devoted couples serving in the Europe Area Office.
Our lives have been truly enriched by this blessed opportunity to serve this mission.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Amazing visit to Croatia and Slovenia--last trip!

We went to Zagreb, Croatia and Ljubljana, Slovenia last week to meet with Center couples and local Priesthood leaders.  Both locations have a Center but they have become dormant and everyone wants to revitalize and build the program and get the young adults involved again.  We met with the Westergards and other leaders in Zagreb and had a really good meeting.  We know they will get things rolling again there.

We were able to have a great tour of the area...the downtown market and local people.  There was a group in native dress who sang and danced that were so charming. 

The next day we drove to Slovenia and attended church with a delightful small Branch.  They were such friendly and happy people.  After the block we drove from Ljubljana up to a beautiful lake that lays at the base of the Alps.  It was really hot and was the first time this year that we have felt summer.  There was a castle sitting on a cliff overlooking the lake--incredible.

That evening we had another meeting with the leaders and couple serving there.  They also have had a functioning Center which has dwindled to inactivity but we had a great discussion and they have good plans to move forward.

Moving on to a happy and fun July 4th dinner with our dear friends serving here.  We had KFC and A&W with other goodies provided by all.  It was fun to be with these good missionaries.  We had our farewell tribute ... how we are going to miss these fun and devoted friends.

We missed the fireworks (sitting in Karli's front yard) and our thoughts were with our family who we love and miss so much.  We are also very thankful for our great land of freedom and look forward to planting our feet back on AMERICAN SOIL !

Monday, July 2, 2012

Catching up with family, friends and adventures

We have been so happy to have visitors in the past month.  Our good friends, E & S Stacey, who serve in Albania brought 18 people from Albania to the Frankfurt temple for 5 days .  We stole them for a day to see the sights here and enjoy our last time together during our missions.  We both came on our missions the same month and we have held hands often during the struggles with their Center in Tirana.  They are really fun and devoted friends.

Soon after we had a wonderful visit from Craig and Lynette.  They came for 3 days and it was so good to have them here and be able to see some of the local flavor and have time to visit together.  We sent to Branfels castle one day and to our ward barbeque.  Sunday they loved attending our international ward and hearing "English" in church for the first time in 6 months .  Monday we went on a cruise down the Rhine River and that was beautiful as usual.  We are so glad that we were able to have this time together before we leave.  (unfortunately I always had their camera in my hands to take their pictures).

Craig and Lynette were able to meet many of our friends and fellow missionary couples at the ward barbeque.  We absolutely love this ward with wonderful families from about 13 countries and some also from the U.S.  They are so fun and bring such charming character from their cultures.

Our best buds Vickie and Marv Paxton who came and will leave with us.  Also Carol and Jim Brande who serve in Public Affairs.
Susan Stephensen and her husband do auditing and Karen Dearing and her husband are mental health doctors for the Area.
How we love the Simonet family ! He is our video production manager from Britney France and they are the funnest couple. 
Sister Causse will be taking her family to join Bishop Causse in Salt Lake next month.  And Veronica (in stripped shirt) is here with her family from the Caribbean .

Our lives have been so incredibly enriched by these international friends.  They are faithful members who have left families and their homelands but are enthusiased and positive about their assignments and open their arms and hearts to each member of the ward family. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Primary Activity Day

We have been the Activity Day leaders for the past few months and love this great group of kids.  Here the boys and girls meet together because there is no scouting.  We have 12 who attend, ages 8-11.  They are really nice kids--smart and very international.  They come from 5 or 6 different countries and all are so nice and get along quite smart!  This month we made candy leis for their Dads and then we had some competitions - the tallest towers made with marshmallows and spaghetti - paper airplane designing - crabwalk soccer and pic pocket tag.  It was a wild but fun evening.

Last Saturday we had our cultural outing with the other missionary couples.  We went to the Burg Eltz castle which sits down in a wooded are that is one of the most beautiful settings that we have seen.  We had a lovely tour of the castle and walked around the valley and then went to Cochem, a small city on the Rhine river for lunch.  It was a cool but very beautiful day in a lovely part of Germany.

During the summer many of the villages in Germany have summer festivals called Hessentags.  There are many local delicacies and entertainment and interesting markets.