Sunday, October 2, 2016

"Fährt" from Frank"furt" to Roman "Fort"

A Self-Reliance week in Frankfurt and ending as we traveled (Fährt) to an old Roman fort!  Our primary focus this week was to start the next Self-Reliance Groups in the Frankfurt 2nd ward.  

In front of an old Roman Fort, our Saturday activity

The week started with a Self-Reliance sacrament meeting in our ward.  17 graduation certificates were awarded to those who completed the last Self-Reliance groups.  Each was able to shake the hand of the bishop and the stake presidency member and high councilor from our Stake Self-Reliance Committee.  We were then able to listen to three speakers from among the 17.  Each shared a wonderful testimony of the principles of Self-Reliance and their experiences in the Self-Reliance Group.  It represented one person from the Education group, one from the Finance group and one from the My Foundations Sunday School group.  We were really pleased with the Sacrament meeting.  We felt that it did a good job of sharing the doctrine and the tools of the Self-Reliance initiative.

We prepared invitations to hand out to all at sacrament meeting and the bishopric extended 13 personal invitations to attend our My Path Workshop on the following Thursday evening.

We trained three of our new facilitators on Wednesday afternoon, preparing them to facilitate some of the groups and to assist in the workshop.  Personal invitations were given to some returned missionaries and investigators.  In fact, on Wednesday night, the missionaries introduced us to an investigator who was looking for a job.  We promptly invited him to the workshop the next day.

On Monday night we went to the office to run off copies of some of the new manuals.  We need to do this at night to not dominate the printer when others are using it.  We also went on Thursday to set everything up.  With everything that we could think of to be prepared, we came to the workshop with faith that others would be there.

My Path Workshop facilitated by Sister Rueckert for the Frankfurt 2nd Ward
Another photo of the workshop from a different angle

As can be seen in the photo, we had around 30 individuals in the workshop.  Four were from the German ward who came to see how this works.  Seven were supportive senior missionaries.  Counting us, five were facilitators.  That left 14 individuals who came to pursue their own self-reliance. In the end four groups were organized with a few more to be organized if we can identify others to participate.  Below is a photo of the My Job Search group that began the very next evening. This includes the one non member and another member who did not attend the workshop the night  before.  The other groups will start next Sunday, since today is General Conference.

My Job Search group (4 plus the facilitator)
Coming back around, the photo below is of the Mendes family, who are our dear friends.  We have the privilege to home teach them.  They all graduated from the Self-Reliance courses and have been so supportive and kind to us.  They had invited us to dinner, but did not have necessary chairs for us to sit at their dinner table, so we decided to have dinner with them at our apartment.  They brought the food and we provided the space.  We were able to have this wonderful dinner right after Church on our Self-Reliance Sunday.

Melissa, Ury, Wilson and Sister Mendes (mother)
 The photo below shows the end of the first phase of our mission.  Sister Rueckert provides incredible note taking expertise to all of our meetings.  She is always writing on her yellow legal pads.  She writes on both sides of the paper.  The problem is we cannot find this type of writing pad in Europe.  We brought a large package of these on our mission.  The yellow pad below is the last of those that we brought.  Sister Rueckert will need to adapt to local supplies for the rest of our mission.

We also started a formal German class on Tuesday evening.  For the next 10 weeks, we will meet with 4 other senior missionaries and be forced to learn and practice more German conversation.  The instructor is a local member of the Church who is a translator.  We know quite a bit of German vocabulary and grammar but have great difficulties to express ourselves.  Hopefully this will help us take the next step forward.

On Friday night, we felt like our challenges of the week were over and we could relax for a long weekend.  Next Monday is a German holiday (reunification day) and we are planning on enjoying the General Conference weekend.

On Friday night we were invited by Elder and Sister Healy to go with them to Saalburg, the ancient Roman fort which is fairly close to where we live.  We decided to make this trip on Saturday, with time to return home before conference began (6:00 pm, German time).  The following is from our trip to Saalburg.  The following is a description of Saalburg form Wikipedia:

The Saalburg is a Roman fort located on the Taunus ridge northwest of Bad HomburgHesseGermany. It is a Cohort Fortbelonging to the Limes Germanicus, the Roman linear border fortification of the German provinces. The Saalburg, located just off the main road roughly halfway between Bad Homburg and Wehrheim is the most completely reconstructed Roman fort in Germany. 

 The ruins here date back almost 2,000 years to the time when the fort was active.  Most of what we saw in the fort has been reconstructed.  However, we were able to see several items from the Roman era and a few remains of structures that were there:

In front of the entry to the fort.  The reconstruction was ordered by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1897
Elder and Sister Healy looking out from the fort

Inside of the fortification, easier access than from without
Near the back gate to the fort.  It was a rainy day, but not too cold
Other original foundations and ruins.  Looks like water ways

An old original bath foundation?
Old Cooking ovens

Old roman cooking utensil to put items in the ovens

Room full of Roman items from the 2nd century A.D.
Part of monuments to Roman Gods

Roman base for a statue, dated 222 A.D.

This fort is part of a long line of walls that separated the Roman Empire from the German Empire.  The  item below shows where this line of fortifications were.  Below that shows some of those fortifications.

We ended our week attending General Conference.  We are not through yet, but so far it has been amazing.  Our thoughts are too many to include in this blog.  We will save that for next week!