Sunday, June 11, 2017

Enjoying Frankfurt is a GROWING experience

We love being home in Frankfurt!  A full week in Frankfurt has edified us as we participated in several self-reliance groups in our ward, learned from other missionaries and explored the city of Frankfurt.  We were also able to follow the progress of our new little pigeon.

On a footbridge over the Main river in Frankfurt am Main, overlooking the old Frankfurt and the beautiful churches
Last Sunday we were able to hold our 5th lesson in our Sunday Personal Finance Self-Reliance group.  On Tuesday evening, we held a make-up class to finish our Health and Well-Being Self-Reliance group and on Friday morning we held the 11th meeting of the Education for Better Work Self-Reliance group. We are finishing up the facilitating for this last group for Sister Lovell, who finished her mission last Monday.  There is something very special that happens in a self-reliance group.  More than just developing skills and improving individual self-reliance, the group setting builds relationships between group members that become lasting.  Through the self-reliance groups in our ward we have built relationships that would never have occurred otherwise.  Participants share their lives with each other and we find ourselves cheering each other on in our challenges.  It is an experience that is very difficult to explain. One needs to fully participate to understand this magical impact.  Needless to say, we enjoy this experience and the wonderful people that we have learned to love in this process.

This was also a good week for working with self-reliance missionaries.  We were able to hold our monthly self-reliance meetings this week with missionaries in Greece, Romania, Cape Verde, Portugal and Spain.  We have also been blessed with four new couples receiving Self-Reliance mission calls in the past few weeks.  We were able to visit with these new couples in preliminary video conferences to welcome them and get to know them.  This includes couples going to Sweden, Madrid, Malaga and London.  These will be arriving in Europe near the end of our mission.  Helping them get established will occupy much of our efforts in September and October.  The couple going to Madrid will only arrive after we are gone, but we will pass this task onto Elder and Sister Carrol when they arrive.

We were also blessed to enjoy time with our zone missionaries in Frankfurt.  We had an inspiring experience in our Wednesday Book of Mormon class.  The chapters covered included 4th Nephi.  The instructor, Elder Cottam, had us ponder as one of the missionaries read verses 1 through 16.  We then spent most of the hour sharing our feelings about the blessed state of those people which is summarized in verses 15 and 16: "And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.  And there were no envying, nor strifes, nor tumults . . .  and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God."  The thoughts that came to my mind were similar to those voiced by other missionaries.  There was a general feeling that we experience many of those blessings within our missionary zone.  We associate with consecrated individuals who come from all walks of life, many with great worldly successes,  yet there are no envyings or contention.  We are content to live in small apartments with limited worldly comforts, but we live with love and in happiness.  What a blessed people we are.

As we mentioned last week, we had a little baby pigeon born in our window box.  It has been fun to watch the daily progress.  It is amazing to see how fast the pigeon has grown.  To show this growth, the following are photos from the first day that we saw the baby until this morning.  It was a slow blog week, so these are the only pictures that we took before Friday evening.

First day we saw the hatched egg (June 2).  It appeared to be a pile of yellow fluff.

June 3
June 4

June 5

June 6
June 7
June 8

June 9

June 10
June 11

Mother still sitting almost on the baby yesterday
Each time we go out on the balcony, the mother pigeon usually flies away.  That is when we take the photos.  She is always ready to come back as soon as we leave.  We have been especially impressed how dedicated the mother pigeon is, to stay night and day with her egg and then with the baby pigeon.

We have experienced a little bit of the same by long distance with our newest granddaughter, who was born on May 27, less than a week before our pigeon.  We were able to see her again this week by FaceTime.  She is also growing and has a mother and a big sister who are taking good care of her.

Baby Paisley on June 5

With her mother, Pollyanna, and her sister, Aria

Had to add this photo of the Hotel Aria, that we saw in Frankfurt yesterday since it carries the name of our granddaughter 
On Friday night, a group of senior missionaries decided to go downtown and attend a free concert by the Jerusalem Duo at the Alte Nicoleikirche.  

As we met to go by train, a gigantic rainstorm hit us, one of the worse that we have experienced.  We waited five minutes for the worse to pass and headed on our way.

At the train stop, waiting for the train in the rain
We stopped downtown for dinner together and by the time we arrived at the concert it was sunny and beautiful.

Missionaries waiting for the doors to the concert to open

We were not disappointed in this concert.  The music was beautiful and was played by a saxophone and harp player.  They have been married a year ago and you could see their love for each other and for the music that they play.  They are from Israel, even though he lived in Russia until he was three.  This was their first concert since recording their first CD, which we bought a copy of.

Playing in perfect union
Expressions of their love for their music

Taking their final bows

Sister Keyser getting them to sign her CD

On Saturday after studying and doing some cleaning, we decided to visit the Bible Museum in Frankfurt.  We had heard about this museum some time ago and have wanted to visit it.  We once again took the train downtown, walked on the foot bridge over the Main River and enjoyed the afternoon.  We really love the old downtown of Frankfurt, with the beautiful churches and museums.

This Biblehaus museum has three floors.  The top floor is of the Old Testament, the second floor is of the New Testament and the bottom floor is related to the printing of the Bible.  It is built to be totally interactive for children of all ages.  We joined in and participated where possible.

Elder Rueckert in the clothing of Abraham's day, in a tent similar to one that he would have used.
Next to a full size replica of a fishing boat that would have been used at the Sea of Galilee
Sister Rueckert in the fishing boat
Elder Rueckert sleeping under one end of the boat.  Could be where the Savior was sleeping when the large storm came, when he calmed the sea
Group of children in the boat, part of a children's tour
Sister Rueckert successfully reading the German explanations.  Her German has come a long way.
Photo of one of the actual coins of Caesar
Carrying a vase of water on my head

Some of the original Bibles

Views of Frankfurt from the Footbridge over the River Main

Some of the many locks put on the rail of the bridge.  This is a custom throughout Europe.

The following shows some German engineering to compensate for technical difficulties.  The foot bridge requires the climbing of stairs to access.  As you can see in the photos below, you can access the bridge through an elevator, which is out of service.  However, you can see an alternative, a handicapped friendly ramp as part of the staircase.

Access to bridge by stair
Non functional elevator
Functional wheel chair access on the stairs

We went downtown on both Friday and Saturday by train.  This is the easiest way to get there.  We buy a group day pass for 11,30 Euros.  This is cheaper than two tickets for two people.  It also allows you to get on and off as you would like.

Waiting for the train after stopping for a world famous ice cream at Eis Christina

During this week we were also preparing for a Self-Reliance visit to Strausborg, France this upcoming weekend.  Since I have an ancestor line that ends in this area from my mother's ancestry, I thought I should identify what more we can do while we are there.  With the help of my cousin, I was introduced to on-line French records.  So far, it appears that any research we need can be obtained on-line for free. To verify that, last night I was able to find the death record of my 5th great grandmother.  I had known her death date and location from my very first family history research success years ago. However, in looking at the actual record, I was able to identify where she was born.  I was then able to look in the births of that region on-line and found her birth record.  This gives us more information about her mother then I previously had.  One more family history success with much more work to do, hopefully on-line.

Death Record of Elizabeth Raber, born in Molsheim (Bas Rhin)