Sunday, May 22, 2016

No place like home

After five trips in the past 8 weeks, we are very much enjoying being "home" for a little while.  We have learned to love our apartment and our community in Frankfurt, Germany.  Some of the things that makes us feel so comfortable include the missionaries and employees in the Area offices, we love to be with them.  Also, we love the conveniences around us, like the little stores and restaurants within walking distance and some that are not so far away.  We love our apartment which is our home.  It is clearly sufficient for our needs and has touches of decoration that Sister Rueckert has added.  We enjoy our daily routines, which include walking/jogging in the cemetery close by, studying the scriptures and the German language.  We love participating with our Self-Reliance groups and fellowshipping a family in the ward.  Through all of this we feel very fulfilled and uplifted as we strive to do what our Heavenly Father asks of us and to be guided by promptings of the Holy Ghost.

When we arrived home from Rome, Italy, this last week we were thrilled to see that our flowers in our flower boxes were thriving and our tomato "tree" was still well.  In fact they are growing very quickly and adding much beauty to our daily view from our dining table.  These small touches add to our feelings of being home.
Elder Rueckert and our garden
Thriving Flower Boxes and our Tomato tree
Tomato already growing, and it is still May!

One of our favorite places to eat, is a restaurant names Zum Lowen.  It is walking distance from our apartment.  We had dinner there again last night.  The restaurant is owned by people from Croatia and their specialty is Weinerschnitzel of all types and an excellent Hungarian Goulash soup (Sister Rueckert's favorite).  Elder Rueckert loves the Zweibel Schnitzel, which is covered with fried onions.  The photo below is of my Onion schnitzel and Sister Rueckert with her Goulash soup.  We eat in a beautiful outdoor setting which is perfect this time of the year.

Sister Rueckert with her Goulash and my Weinerschnitzel with fried onions
Outdoor sitting area at Zum Lowen
Large Geranium bush at Zum Lowen

We enjoy our Self-Reliance classes.  Our last lesson in our My Foundations lesson was to Use Time Wisely.  This is lesson 3 and asks us to prayerfully prioritize our tasks of each day, including asking the Lord who we can serve that day.  We then report back at night in our evening prayer.  Since that lesson, I have slacked a bit, keeping my prioritized list in my mind.  The impact has been less than ideal.  On Friday, I decided to follow the process exactly as outlined and the results have been amazing.  I have felt prompted to contact a family that we our fellowshipping for the last several days, including before we traveled.  For different reasons that didn't work out.  On Thursday, I simply spaced it when I came home.  On Friday, I tried to call from the office and could not find the phone number, which was at home.  Finally on Saturday morning, I followed my number 1 priority and talked to Sister Mendes.  She is a sweet lady from Cape Verde, that speaks limited English or German.  We communicate in Portuguese for the most part.  She invited us to come visit her that very same evening.

As a little background, we visited Sister Mendes last month, she lives in a tight living quarters with three of her children, ages 16, 18 and 20.  She is awaiting a better living arrangement to come from the government in the next little while.  We had invited her and her children to come to our My Path Workshop last month.  She had arrived with her three children and another daughter that is not living with her (and also a friend of her youngest daughter).  They became prime participants in the My Path Workshop.  She and her two sons are participating in the My Job Search group and her youngest daughter is in the Education for Better Work group.  Her oldest daughter came to the workshop but has not yet come to a group.  She also had a birthday while we were in Italy.

Last night when we arrived, her oldest son was at home with her and she invited her oldest daughter to be there with us.  We were received with open arms and had a wonderful visit.  She was enthusiastically telling us all that she and her sons are learning in the Job Search group, focusing on what she has learned about Using her Time Wisely and Obedience from the My Foundations subjects.  Her son shared with us his Me in 30 Seconds.  Both of them are much more outgoing, confident and happy.  What a blessing is is to work with this family.

However, the real treat is to work with her oldest daughter who has been inactive for quite a while.  She wants to go back to Church but is not sure of how she will be received.  However, she had a wonderful experience at the My Path Devotional and wants us to have another one.  It was a sweet experience to visit with her yesterday and to feel of her love and appreciation.  She committed to go to Church today and to participate in the My Job Search group next Friday with her family.  If nothing else were to happen in our Self-Reliance efforts in our ward, the progress of this family makes it all worth it.  We left the home feeling so edified by them.  We understood why the Lord kept telling us to contact her and we are glad we were able to visit them before this Sunday.

These are the joys of missionary work and of all service that we do in the Church. When we can in some small way help individuals to understand who they are and that their Heavenly Father loves them no matter what, the Holy Ghost testifies so strongly to individuals of the truth of that message.

Yesterday, I finished all of my priorities on my task list but was most blessed by the one item that the Lord had added to my list.

Before posting, one great update, our special friends did make it to Church today, including the older sister.  She spent time with one of the primary teachers, giving assistance.  She says she will be back next week.  This made our day!

Our pruned trees are finally beginning to sprout leaves!