Saturday, October 3, 2015

Unification Day in Germany, blessings from heaven this week

Today is Unification Day, celebrating 25 years since East Germany and West Germany were reunited.  We understand that all of the stores in Germany are closed and celebrations are occurring downtown.  This country really knows how to have a holiday, not just a day off of work.

For us it is also General Conference day, although we have to wait for our night time for it to begin.   For Debbie, it is the first time in her life that she has not been in Utah for General Conference.  This week we tried to watch the funeral of Elder Scott through the internet, but we got the message that live streaming of these events is not allowed in Germany.  As soon as the funeral was over, we were able to watch it on the internet, just not live.  We assume that we will have the same situation today and tomorrow, so we might be a few hours behind the rest of you to hear the words from our prophets, seers and revelators.  At least we can get to them quite quickly after each session finishes.

This has been a week full of blessings here in Frankfurt.  First of all, we have been able to stay in the same place for a full week.  By Monday morning, Debbie will have spent 9 nights in a row in Frankfurt for the first time.  However, on Monday afternoon we are flying to England, so 9 days will have to stay the record for some time.  Neither of us has made it to 10 days yet.

During this week, we have gotten more settled and have received many blessings from our Heavenly Father.  First of all, our exercise goals have been difficult to keep while doing so much traveling.  When we arrived back in Frankfurt from the U.S. last month, it was already turning fall and the weather was quite a bit cooler and rainy.  Our morning walks and jogs through the cemetery were not quite as much fun.  So we thought about getting an exercise bike that we could use in our apartment during poor weather conditions.  On Monday morning we sent an email to all of the senior missionary couples (several are leaving in the coming month or two), asking if any had an exercise bike that they wanted to sell.  That night our zone leader, Elder Riggs, brought up a stationary bike that he had inherited when he arrived and which he had never used, it was in a storage shed.  We were thrilled!  It needed batteries which we bought the next day and have found that it is in excellent shape and is an answer to our prayers.

It actually gets better.  We found that our I Pads fit perfectly on the instrument panel of the bike, so it is super easy to read from the I Pad while we are biking.  I love multi-tasking, it makes it so much easier for me to exercise if I can be doing something else worthwhile at the same time.  We are both using this time to read (reread for Debbie) the book "The Infinite Atonement"  by Elder Tad Callister.  This is an amazing book, it presents and explains the atonement in such a wonderful way.  We have made this part of our daily study efforts and we can do it while working out.

We moved into a new apartment right before we returned to Utah at the end of August, so we are still getting settled.  We were furnished a nice couch, but no love seat or chair.  This week, when I went to run (while Debbie was biking) I saw a nice chair in a spot where old furniture is discarded waiting to be taken away.  Yesterday, I showed it to Debbie when we went for a walk and we both agreed that it would be perfect in our living room.  It is in excellent shape, so this morning I went out and carried it to our apartment building and up the elevator.  Now we have additional sitting space in our living room and it helps fill our blank wall.  See our new couch and our new "to us" chair with some pillows that we brought from the U.S.

Last night for our date night, we stopped to make a few purchases, since the stores are closed today.  In a nearby mall, Debbie found a few items so that she can put some decoration to our apartment.  Now we have a nice wreath on our door, something that Debbie has always had during our married life.  We also have some hedge hogs and a mushroom.  This wasn't free, but didn't cost too much.  

Hedge Hogs and a Mushroom in our living room
New fall wreath on our outside door

At minimal cost, we have been able to make our apartment "our home".  We fully recognize the hand of our Heavenly Father in our lives. He helps us in all things, including these seemingly small items.  

This has been a beautiful week in Frankfurt.  The weather has been on the cool side, but it has been beautiful with blue skies and no rain.  This has still made for enjoyable opportunities to go running in the mornings.  On Thursday I went back and recreated the scene of the 5K run when I got lost in Frankfurt (see July blog post).  This time I paid better attention and was able to complete the course with only two temporary wrong turns.  Even with the wrong turns, I was able to finish the course in under 30 minutes.  Today Debbie and I walked in the same area and I was able to share where I missed my turn during the race.  I have added photos of the beautiful area and the challenging turn that I missed.

Park (to the left) where most of the race took place. 

Below is the street where I missed the turn, see where I am standing.

 Above is the turn that I should have taken to go to the finish line.  Below is the overpass that I followed, a continuation of the street where I was running.  Once I went over the overpass, all of my efforts just made me more lost.  Now I understand!

Our week at work has been very productive as we have worked very closely with the new Area Self-Reliance Manager, Thomas King.  He is very capable and a joy to work with!  Our role is to assist him and work together to strengthen this initiative throughout Europe.  He will spend some time with us in England and then on to Utah for some training there.  We feel that with his capabilities, our assistance and the help of the Lord, whose work this is, we will see many members in Europe become more spiritually and temporally self-reliant. 

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