We returned to Germany from Cape Verde on August 26 and promptly moved to our new apartment, which should be our home for the next two years. The next morning, on August 27, we left for the U.S., arriving in time to host a family reunion of my cousins and their families on August 29.
I believe that we had each of my cousins (or a close family member) that are in the state of Utah in attendance. We also had the two remaining aunts from the previous generations, my mother and my aunt LaJuana. We do this every two or three years. It was certainly good to get together and we especially made an important connection with my cousin Gloria, who knows so much more than we do about our Germany relatives. We began plans for her to visit us while we are in Germany and we will work together on a short family history trip to the home of our grandmother in Nuremberg.
The following weekend we had our annual Rueckert Reunion with my mother, my brothers, and their families at the Heber Valley Girls Camp Cabins. This has been a special time for many of our grandchildren and this year we were able again to hike to the lake and spend an hour in canoes, paddle boats, etc. Good memories were had by all. We had a special opportunity to have two of Camila's children, Kaisha and Cherish, with us. They were so well behaved, they are adapting to their new situation very well. Caide and Isake were not able to come, since they are now playing youth football. We also had Ammon's girl friend, Flor, with her two children with us. These newcomers did very well with their other cousins and had a great time together. Although not all of our children were able to participate, we still had nearly thirty of our posterity with us.
During this trip we were able to follow-up with Camila and her family. Her
children are receiving excellent care from their aunt Caren, Eddie's sister. We spent quite a bit of time with Caren during this visit. We are impressed with her efforts and love for these four grandchildren. We felt that love and also the great challenges that she has as she tries to bring more structure and love into their lives. We were also able to visit a few times with Camila, who is currently receiving treatment in the University Neuropsychiatric Institute. She is recovering from years of challenges prior to the death of her husband Eddie at the end of June. We were able to help identify some options for her continuing care after she leaves the UNI.
During and in between reunions, we were able to have many individual visits with our children and several meaningful conversations, including some good spirituality checks. We were able to attend a sacrament meeting where Ammon gave an incredible talk about his journey back to the Lord. We had a wonderful opportunity to perform almost 30 baptisms for our family names with our grandchildren, Braden and Katelyn, in the Salt Lake Temple. Moroni succeeded in gaining joint custody with his daughter Tiare and Moroni, Leenee and Tiare were able to visit us in our home. We also had visits from Jared and Pollyanna and their families. Each of these three families were not able to be at the cabins but still were able to spend time with us.
Finally, we were able to come to Pennsylvania to visit with Melanie and her family and attend the baptism and confirmation for their son Thomas. This included meeting our grandson Timothy (born last March) for the first time. After spending most of Friday with them, we were able to go to the newly completed Priesthood Restoration site near the Susquehanna River on Saturday. This brand new visitors center and restored buildings will be dedicated by President Russell M. Nelson next Saturday. It is always good to be on sacred ground especially with our daughter and her 6 wonderful sons (James was working on Saturday). Thomas's baptism occurred that very night with his confirmation the following day in their little branch. We love this special family who have been through so many trials, but have maintained incredible faith. They are an example to all of us and the fruits of their labors is seen in their well behaved and faithful sons.
Tomorrow we will be heading back to Germany. We managed to spend a few days in the Self-
Reliance offices in Salt Lake, hold some video conference meetings with our managers and participate in our Area Self-Reliance Committee by Video Conference at midnight our time (8 am in Germany) while we were in the U.S. We are anxious to get back to our full time responsibilities, but will miss our wonderful family who show us so much love.