A stay at home week in Frankfurt, celebrating the 4th of July and transitioning responsibilities to Miguel Adriano, our Self-Reliance Operations manager.
|At our 4th of July celebration with Senior Missionaries. An opportunity to wear my Pittsburgh Pirates baseball jersey.|
|Sister Rueckert updating Family Search with information from our recent visits. Elder Rueckert finishing our weekly blog.|
Monday was a normal work day. We had a good visit with a new missionary couple in Greece. We were very impressed with how much they knew in a short time. They had just arrived the previous week and had received the assignment to add Self-Reliance to their responsibilities. We were also able to get caught up on things with our Area Manager, Tom King. We had not seen each other for over a week as he had been away on vacation visiting his new granddaughter.
As we often do, we had our Monday night meal from the Chicken Man. He sells fresh rotisserie chicken at a location near us every Monday evening.
|Rotisserie Chicken, always tasty, inexpensive and quick|
|Special luncheon, Constanza, second from the right. Jennifer, third from the right.|
|Sample view of our 4th of July meal|
|Cooks were Elder Swenson and Elder Garrett|
Elder Holland closed by relating a story — being careful to protect the privacy and anonymity of the participants — of a young man from southern Idaho. One night the young man stormed out of the house and set off to join an infamous motorcycle gang. He succeeded in that resolve and for 20 years became immersed in a culture “of temptations yielded to and degradations explored,” never contacting his parents, who feared that he was dead.
Then, the two elders stopped, looked at each other, conversed a little, “likely said a silent prayer,” then turned around and approached the gate.
|Elder Gary B. Sabin addressing the senior missionaries on the 4th of July|
After the meal we were treated to a sing-a-long of patriotic and other music, accompanied by Elder Steineckert, on the guitar.
|All of the missionaries, being led by Elder Burt, who is charge of family home evenings|
|Elder and Sister Steineckert|
We spent most of the remainder of the week working with Miguel Adriano, our Self-Reliance Operations manager. He is based in Lisbon, Portugal and came to Frankfurt to help transition to new responsibilities. He will assume the direct responsibility for quarterly reporting to Priesthood Leaders which has been done by Elder Rueckert and Constanza. We had a few meetings that also included Constanza's husband, Kiever, who has supported this quarterly reporting process with technology expertise. On Thursday we (with Thomas King) spent time preparing for our 2018 budgeting cycle. This has been done by Elder Rueckert in the past and is now also being passed on to Miguel. While Miguel was with us we also took time to make preliminary plans for the agenda of our annual seminar that will be held in October.
All in all, we had three very productive days with Miguel. These are all necessary steps that need to be made before we complete our mission.
On Friday afternoon we had our farewell Zoom conference with Elder and Sister Neiswender who will be completing their SR mission in Portugal in a few weeks. They have become some of our dearest friends. The good news is that they live in Sandy, Utah so we will certainly be able to continue our friendship with them after our mission.
One more blessing this week:
We have been using a debit card from Charles Schwab Bank during our mission. It has been accepted most everywhere and with it we are able to get funds in any currency from ATMs where we travel without paying any fees. One problem is that this card expires this month. We called earlier in the year to see if they could send a new card before my mother visited and we were told that they could not. They also told us that the card had to be mailed to our home address. So we waited for the card to be mailed at the end of June. Two weeks ago, after finding that no card had been sent we called Schwab. They told us that the card had erroneously been missed in their updates but that they would have a new card to our home on an express delivery by Tuesday, July 4.
Since my brother Rob is coming to visit this week, we thought that he could bring it with him. We called my mother on Thursday to confirm that she had received the card and she had not. We called Schwab again and they told us that it had been sent by regular mail the night before our previous phone call and should be arriving any day. The other complication was that the street in front of our condominium is being ripped up and replaced and is not currently allowing traffic to our mail box. We were afraid that the postal service could not deliver the mail. On Friday, we talked again to my mother who prayed and than found help in the neighborhood to find our debit cards. A neighbor helped her out, called the post office and took her there to pick up the cards which were in their possession. The next morning Rob stopped by our condo and picked up the cards on his way to the airport.
There were a few other options, but none of them as simple as this one. We are thankful for the help and inspiration of my mother and look forward to the visit of my brother.
Another Pigeon Update:
Last week we declared ourselves pigeon free. However, they keep coming back to visit. Sister Rueckert keeps finding one on the ledge and one on the floor of the balcony before she shews them away. We have added plastic forks to our flower boxes to discourage their visits. On Saturday, we found them building a nest in our large tomato plant on the bottom of the balcony. Once again we chased them out. On Saturday afternoon we purchased a pigeon resistant plastic black crow and installed it in our flower box. Two hours later we found the pigeon sitting on an egg in the tomato plant. Hopefully it will work better in the future. We disposed of the egg, our third to dispose of in the past few weeks.
|Our new plastic Black Crow to scare off the pigeons|
|Pigeon and egg in our large tomato plant|