Saturday, October 24, 2015

Ponderizing in Frankfurt in Autumn

We have been in Frankfurt all week, amazing!  It has been a wonderful chance to better organize and plan for the self-reliance work in Europe.  We have spent the entire week in the office and have had significant time with Thomas King our Area Self-Reliance Manager.  This has included planning for our manager seminar in December and the next Area Self-Reliance Committee next month.  We have also worked on many special projects relating to different challenges in our stewardship, all this while staying in Frankfurt.  The autumn colors are beautiful and the last few days have actually been mostly clear and beautiful.  The following photos are the view from the balcony of our apartment today:

This has allowed Debbie to get more accustomed to having her friend Bagley with her all the time. She has done amazingly well and has not missed a beat in her service.   We also have started to work harder on our German language.  We are learning a new phrase each day and sharing it with the receptionist at the Church Area Office.  We have also started back up with our language trainers at the MTC and are now committed to weekly goals.  As we study the language more, some of the words and phrases are becoming more familiar.  We have hope to make some progress!  In November, while we are back in the U.S., we will spend several days in the immersion program at the MTC, fully concentrating on German.

We also started this week with a weekly Ponderize scripture.  This includes a new form of studying all footnotes to the scripture and the footnotes to those scriptures and the footnotes to those scriptures.  This can go on forever, we stop when the scriptures start repeating themselves.  It is an amazing way to understand the message of the scripture in depth.

We chose to start this week with the power of doctrine to change behavior.  This has been a common theme that we have shared in several of our training sessions with priesthood leaders.  If we want them to be excited about the Self-Reliance initiative, they must understand the doctrine.  As we have been able to share the initiative from the scriptures, we have seen that many feel the spirit in the meetings and that changes their attitudes!

As we are studying this in more detail, it is powerful to see the power of the Word of God in our lives and in the lives of all who listen, not only to the words but to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  I personally believe that this is the main reason that we should read scriptures, so that the Holy Ghost will speak to us and we will be listening when this occurs.

Today we are heading to Venice, Italy for a training session with Bishops in that stake.  This will be our first visit with our SRS manager in Italy.  This will complete our goal of spending some one on one time with each of our managers before we return to the U.S.  We will spend a P-day in Venice on Monday and then return home to Frankfurt on Tuesday of next week  On Wednesday, October 28, we return to Utah, having exhausted our quota of days in Europe for the next while.

We will be visiting a urologist on the Friday morning after we arrive to better understand the treatment that Debbie will need.  Hopefully, this can be taken care during this time so that we return to Europe soon after Thanksgiving.  We are excited to see family and friends again during the month of November!

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