Sunday, January 8, 2017

A New Year in more ways than one

We started a "new year" in many ways.  The new year officially began last Sunday; we completed the first year of our mission on January 3;  Sister Rueckert celebrated her birthday on January 7.  Our week focused on finishing up the prior year and starting anew.  The photo below highlights Sister Rueckert with the roses that she received on her Birthday.

As we finished our last blog post, we were still working on our New Year's Eve puzzle.  In Germany, January 2 was not a holiday, so we went to work.  Between Monday and Tuesday evenings we were finally able to finish our puzzle, which was of a Castle in Germany. 

We found it in the Kellar of the office building, but had to settle for a 1,000 piece puzzle, requiring additional time to complete.
Final Cheese ball, finished off with the puzzle

Not bad for a finished product, photo taken before putting it back into the box.
Christmas Cards falling form the door
Dying poinsettias
With finishing the puzzle, it was time to put away our recent holiday season.  As we arrived to the office on Monday morning, we saw that the Christmas cards had fallen from the door and the poinsettias were dying in our apartment.

Our work week was focused on preparing for our Area Review and Area Self-Reliance Committee meeting which both occur this week.  From that time on, our January will be busy with events and travel.

Tuesday completed our first year on our mission.  So much has happened in the past year.  Much of it has been covered in our blog.  Let us just say that we are so very thankful to be serving as missionaries.  The Lord has blessed us immensely during this past year. Our love for our Savior continues to increase as does our love for each other. 

On Tuesday, our can of  Cooking Spray finally ran out.  It was here when we arrived and lasted the full year.  We have not been able to find this type of spray here, so we have been blessed that it has lasted.  Fortunately we found some more that was left behind by Elder and Sister Matheson.  Hopefully we will be okay for the rest of our mission.

On Wednesday it was my turn to teach the Book of Mormon class for the Senior Missionaries.  The assigned chapters were Alma 38-41.  Overall, the lesson went well. The senior missionaries are easy to teach since they have many insights that they are willing to share.  I just wanted to share one special insight that I received while preparing for this lesson.

In Alma 40, the focus is on the resurrection.  Alma spends much of the chapter focusing on what he does know, what had been revealed to him after he "inquired diligently of God". He tries to avoid discussion of details that he does not know about the resurrection.  Of those details he says 3 times that "it mattereth not",  3 times "I do not say" and twice "no one knows".  In verse 5 he summarizes an important truth for all of us:

Alma 40:5 "Now, whether  . . . . it mattereth not; for God knoweth all these things; and it sufficeth me to know that this is the case - that . . . "    

I can say that I have been blessed with the ability to fully trust the Lord in all those things that I do not understand.  I truly believe that many of our unanswered questions will be answered in time, but for those that I do not know now,  "it mattereth not; for God knoweth all these things; and it sufficeth me to know that this is the case."

On Thursday night we went shopping for items for our upcoming meetings and also to print the updated photos of our grandchildren that we had received for Christmas.  Of course, this was the basis for new wall displays of our treasured grandchildren.

Updated wall display of our grandchildren in our office
Updated photos on our Family Tree in our living room
On Friday, Elder Caracena came to our office and shared the display of part of his family history that he has been working on during his mission.  He has prepared a scroll of one of his family lines which goes back to 1 A.D.  I'm not the only one bitten by the Family History bug.  He has nearly 1,000 names that he has ready for temple work when he finishes his mission.  The scroll is an idea to make this more interesting for his grandchildren who will need to help in all of the baptisms.

The scroll includes photos of ancestors, including coinage for some of the royalty, included in this particular line.
Starting point of the ancestry (1 AD)
 Friday was one finally the finish to the European Holidays.  It is called Epiphany and is meant to represent when the Wise Men visited the Baby Jesus.  It is not a holiday in Germany, so we worked.  Sister Rueckert started receiving her birthday greetings, including a birthday luncheon with Sister Healy.  She also received thoughtful gifts from other missionaries.

A plant and some toffee from a few of the missionaries
Friday night we went to the airport to pick up Elder Joseph Sitati, of the Quorum of the Seventy.  He will be with us in Europe for the next week.  We then took him to his hotel, he will be traveling to Italy this weekend and will return on Monday to spend time with the senior couples in a Family Home Evening.  He will conduct the Area Review with us on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Saturday, when we opened the door of our apartment we found a birthday surprise from one of the senior missionaries.

The wreath was newly decorated by Sister Rueckert for the winter season
 We enjoyed a relaxing day at home to celebrate Sister Rueckert's birthday.  We considered a movie or a museum, but she wanted to just relax and put things in order for the new year, including updating our new calendar with birthdays, finishing the family tree, etc.  She was able to enjoy a few presents that she had selected at the Christmas Markets in the Czech Republic the previous week.

A woman never has enough jewelry

Hand made holiday table runner.  On sale on the last day of the Prague Christmas Market
 As I went out to the store during the day, I was able to surprise her with some German roses.  They were wrapped in paper to transport in this cold weather (-4 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday).

Opening her only wrapped gift

Wrapped Roses, with a vase

We did decide to go out in the cold for a birthday dinner.  We both thought of a nice restaurant that we had not visited for almost a year.  When we got there, it had changed hands and was a different type of establishment.  We tried to find a Chinese restaurant, but finally settled on one of our favorite places, Chicago Meatpackers.  Once again the ribs were tasty.

We chose to buy a slice of carrot cake to go, so that we could have a birthday cake.  We brought it home and found another surprise from the Senior Missionaries, which included a cupcake with a candle.  So we now had two birthday cakes.

 After returning we also were able to Skype with our newest little grandson (and his mother).  He will be blessed in Church today.  This was the first time that we saw his eyes open.

Hudson Daniel Ferguson
 We woke up this morning to our biggest snowstorm of the year.  At least it covered the ground.  However, by the time that I write this blog, it is all melted.  The weather has now warmed up to 35 degrees, Fahrenheit; 2 degrees Celsius.

No comments:

Post a Comment