Sunday, May 21, 2017

Gold and Glory and an Egg

Our week home focused on edifying senior missionary activities and an unexpected harvest in our new vegetable garden.  However that changed when Tom's mom (Goldia) and cousin (Gloria) came to visit on Thursday and will stay for nearly two weeks.  We will be taking a break from most of our self-reliance activities.  We immediately started sharing some of our favorite places with them. 

In front of The Hague Temple with Tom's mom and cousin
On Monday we took an hour to buy some vegetables and flowers to grow on our balcony.  Since we had the window boxes left from last year, it was a pretty quick set up.  Below shows our tomatoes, geraniums and pepper plants right after we planted them with the Frankfurt skyline in the background.

Newly planted plants on our balcony
Monday night we had our monthly senior missionary devotional.  The speaker was Elder Stay who shared photos and his insights to evidences of Christ in Ancient America.  He has researched this ever since his young mission to Central America.  This was very informational, enjoyable and full of new insights.

On Tuesday we had a farewell lunch with Sister Lovell.  She has worked us for the past year, helping mentor PEF students in Europe.  She will be going home in the coming weeks and this was our last opportunity to all be together before she leaves home.

Farewell lunch with Tom King, Sister Lovell and Constanza
Tuesday evening we had lesson 10 in our Health and Well Being self-reliance group.  This one focused on growing a garden.  This was one of our incentives to getting our garden started the day before.  As we arrived home from our group meeting, we found a surprise addition to our garden, an egg that appeared in the first day after our planting.  See photos of progression below:

See the egg that appeared between the tomato plants

Close-up of the newly appeared egg

Soon we found the mother of the egg appearing to sit on the egg

Mother on the egg in between our tomato plants
So we decided that we were now to be guardians of this new little pigeon.  We moved one of the tomato plants to the left to allow more room for the pigeon.  However, the pigeon is still moving right against our plant.  We are learning much about the dedication of a mother pigeon who stays on the egg 24 7.  We did see another pigeon arrive (we think it is the father?) and they traded places.  I guess even a mother needs a break sometime.

On Wednesday, we had our quarterly zone conference.  This was a chance once again to say good bye to five senior missionaries that would be leaving in the coming months.  Each shared their mission experiences.  We love them and the great work that they have done.

Sister Lovell speaking, Elder and Sister Malcolm, family history digital names processing, Elder and Sister Jensen, Legal Services.  Also shown here is Elder and Sister Sabin of the Europe Area Presidency who also addressed us.

Elder and Sister Sabin also shared some thoughts.  Elder Sabin is in our Area Presidency.  He taught us that our Lord is on our right hand and on our left and His Spirit shall be in our hearts.  He shared counsel to list those things that we will always do and those things that we will never do and gave us some ideas.  He told us that it doesn't matter how deep the water is (speaking of the wickedness of the world).  If it doesn't get in the boat it won't sink us.  He also quoted Elder Christofferson who said that the second coming of the Savior is not waiting for more wickedness, no more is needed.  What we need is a people ready to welcome Him. 

Updated photo of our Europe Area Senior missionaries

On Wednesday we had our last returned missionary lesson with Giada.  She will be starting a job at the MTC in Spain on the first of June  We have really enjoyed getting to know her better.  She is a great example of what is right with the young adults of the Church.

Glada working on her Returned Missionary lessons

In between these activities, we had German lessons, worked with our senior missionary couples and prepared for the visit of my mother and cousin. If we were ready or not, they arrived on Thursday morning.  We took some time to share some of our favorite spots on our mission.  We visited around Frankfurt on Thursday, visiting downtown on a train ride.  After introducing them to others in the Area office and working on some family history preparations, we visited the Badenburg Castle for a Thursday dinner treat.

Mom, Debbie and Gloria at Domplatz in Frankfurt am
On the train going downtown

Debbie, Gloria and Mom at the Badenburg castle

Enjoying a meal in the Badenburg castle

On Friday morning we took off to visit our favorite sites in the Netherlands.  We started with a visit to Keukenhof, since they will be closing the park after this week.  Even though many of the tulips were finished we still found several beautiful arrangements.

All four of us behind some beautiful lavender tulips
All four of us in front of the windmill at Keukenhof

Tom with his mom in a big Dutch shoe

One of the beautiful remaining tulip fields

Together with my mother

Gloria with her Dutch shoes
 After Keukenhof we visited the temple (on the outside only).  We will take more time to do some temple ordinances next week when we visit the Freiberg temple.  We finished up at a hotel on a beach south of Rotterdam near Hellevoetsluis.  This was our first visit to this hotel, we were quite impressed.  Besides having space for four of us, we had a nice view of the beach from our balcony.  We also went into the small town and had a nice dinner.   In the morning I was able to go down and run a little on the beach.  All in all a nice experience in the lowlands of the Netherlands.

View of the beach from the balcony of our hotel room

View of our hotel along the beach

Selfie on the beach, light house in the distance
View from downtown in Hellevoetsluis, Netherlands 
Saturday we took the day to visit as much as possible and still return home that evening.  This included our favorites spots in Rotterdam, the Delft pottery shop and the Windmills at Kinderdijk.  This finishes our touring efforts.  Even though Tom's mom is 86 years old, she wants to do everything as evidenced by the photos below.  Next week we start working on more Family History.

Making our first 60 Poffertjes
Going after the last 2- Poffertjes,  a great breakfast

Visiting the Cube Houses in Rotterdam
Mom coming down the stairs of the Cube House

In front of the Round Mall, one of our favorites in Rotterdam

Enjoying a Delft Pottery tour
In front of one of the Windmills

Panorama view of many of the windmills at Kinderdyk

Mom coming down from the top of the windmill

Cruise ride on the boat, going by all of the windmills at Kinderdyk

A picturesque view of one of the windmills on the river bank

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