Sunday, October 30, 2016

From Start to Finish in many ways

While at home in Frankfurt, we were able to participate in or witness several acts of "finishing" as well as some new "starts".  One activity was the culmination of a major project to benefit the refugees in Europe held on Friday evening.  Some of the sisters in our ward and the German ward did a project to supply newborn boxes for the new babies being born to refugee families.  This photo shows Sister Rueckert, Tom King (our Area Self-Reliance Manager) and his granddaughter, Elizabeth finishing the packing of one of the last boxes that was prepared.

Finishing up the packing of the boxes for newborn refugee children
We started our week with a family home evening and dinner at the home of Tom and Raelene King.  It was a delightful evening and a delicious meal.  They have become very special friends to us. This was also our first trip in our new car since i got my drivers license back the previous week  

No travels this week, but there are always many things to keep us busy.  On Tuesday we had our monthly meeting with senior self-reliance missionaries around Europe.  This was also a sad finishing moment as two of our couples will be leaving in the next few weeks.  As well as being a great session to share ideas, it was also an opportunity to thank them for their friendship and service as they finish up their missions.  The two couples are Elder and Sister Michaelis (upper left of screen) who have been serving in Birmingham, England and Elder and Sister Anderton (third from the left on the second row) who have been serving in Lisbon, Portugal.

Every Tuesday evening we many opportunities to study German.  Sister Rueckert starts with the German class with Sister Enger.  After that we go to our hour and a half German class with Sister Rika.  We finish with our one hour German session with Sister Peterson, in Provo, by Zoom.  After all this, Sister Rueckert does her daily DuoLingo session and I work on my Rosetta Stone lessons.  With all of this constant effort, we are feeling that the German language is making more sense.  Still an incredible amount to learn and to understand, but we are not so overwhelmed.  On the theme of finishing, I was able to finish my second unit of Rosetta Stone this month, my best month ever.

The photo below is of our young return missionaries who have been participating in our "My Continuing Mission" class.  We aren't finished yet, but only have two more lessons to review together.  We love meeting with Pedro and Jimmy.  

The previous week we received notice that Debbie's great aunt Vera passed away. This is the relative that we visited in the hospital in Berlin last August.  She was 90 years old.  Her funeral was held on Friday in Berlin.

On Friday evening we participated in the service project to pack boxes for the refugees.  80 boxes for newborns were completed with about 30 for toddlers and a large amount of additional clothing was boxed for refugees in Ukraine.  This had been organized and prepared over the past several months.  Friday was the culmination as the packages were assembled and packed.

Many of the tables that are filled with items to pack into each box.

Other boxes of items to include
Diapers that had been purchased.  Each newborn box had three packages of diapers.

Sister Bausman giving initial instructions.  She is one of the organizers of this event and is a dear friend and wonderful example.  The sister next to her with the child is one of the organizers from the German speaking ward.

Receiving initial instruction .

My job was to help prepare the boxes for packing.  Elder Stay and I created the 80 boxes for the newborn kits.

Trying to keep up.  Those on the stage behind us are packaging the materials for the refugees in Ukraine.

Many helping hands filling and packing each of the boxes

Sister Rueckert ended up on the "finishing" end of things.  Here she is taping shut one of the boxes that are filled with diapers, clothes and other baby supplies.

As I finished "starting", I was able to help Sister Rueckert "finish".  Each box needed to have labels on four sides to identify it as for a male or female baby.

Working together with the "Mormon Helping Hands" vests

Carrying the finished boxes to the stage for storage until they are loaded on the trucks
Saturday we took advantage of our P Day and went to visit our home teaching family at the hospital.  The oldest daughter of the family had a baby earlier this month.  Due to complications the baby was taken early and born at 3 pounds.  She has now grown to 4 pounds.  However, the only ones who can be with the baby are the parents.  Visitors can only watch and see through the window, outside of the room.

This little baby girl is so small and beautiful.  Although we couldn't hold her we were able to marvel at this very special "Start".
Neusa, the mother, with her little girl

Sister Ruckert holding up our baby gift to the window for the mother to see.

Close up photo through the window

Being held by her father

On Saturday I was also able to "finish" the identification of the images that we had captured at the Ergersheim pastor's office a few months ago.  This now completes this second phase of images.  They are still being indexed by our two angels in the U.S. who continue to make progress.  We have identified about 1500 names of potential relatives in these images.  Work continues to organize the names into family trees.

Some of the work is becoming more personal and exciting.  The image below is the marriage record of George Andreas Rückert from 1907.  It ties to the photo of his gravestone which we captured at the cemetery.  George Andreas is the third great grandfather of Werner Rückert who we have met in the city of Buchheim.  We hope to prepare a more complete genealogy of this family to share with them at Christmas time when we return to make another visit. We also have additional information for others that we have met.

Goerg Andreas Rückert, born 1873 and his wife, born 1880.  Also includes information of his parents born in another city. We still need to gather more information out of this neighboring city.
Georg Andreas's gravestone and that of his son, Michael