Family Home Evening last Monday evening in our apartment: front left Lt. Merkley from Orem, Ut; PFC Watts from Ypsilanti, Michigan; PFC Jones from Merida, Texas; us on the back row.(Those are not halos over our heads, it is a glare from our white concrete wall!)
Happy Easter everyone! Even though we have had about 6 to 7 inches of snow in the past 3 days the sun was shining for a little while today. It is still very cold yet we have hope Spring won't forget us.
We are adjusting and making plans for the big move. It is hard to say goodbye here since we have actually put down roots in Baumholder. We expected to be here for a full 18 months. We have an adjustment to make but we "will go and do as" we have been asked. This past week we visited the apartment where we will be living. It is quite a bit nicer than the apartment here but also doesn't have all the features either- no spare bedroom or bathroom. However, for all of you planning to come and visit - we will make arrangements for your enjoyment and comfort! Don't change your plans.
Today we had a family and 2 single soldiers over for Easter dinner. All together there were 10 of us. For those of you that regularly feed 10 people at dinner, my heart goes out to you. We are washing the dishes in shifts because there isn't counter space enough and we have to put away one batch before washing more. We are taking turns. It is about a 2 hour job! There are times a dishwasher would be handy!
The meal included the traditional ham and fixings and everyone enjoyed themselves. Then we watched a church video, "The Testaments". It has been a great Easter. The Nelson family includes 3 little girls and a young man age 14. It makes us miss the grandchildren. Perhaps they miss their grandparents enough to let us love them as substitute grandparents. It is the branch president's family and they are wonderful people. Last night we went to the American school's presentation of Robin Hood, produced by the Missoula children's theatre. This company travels all over the world. Right now there are 11 groups in the world going to schools to produce this play. There are auditions for all the parts except the narrator. The children even help direct the play. Everyone practices for a week with shipped in costumes and set - then they present the play for a small cost. It was fantastic. The Nelson kids were all in the play. In June the Nelsons will make a permanent change of station(PCS) to Las Vegas. We wanted to do something nice for them for all their time and sacrifice to the branch.
On Friday we had "game night" with the soldiers here in our apartment. It was lots of fun and we played until 10 pm. Have you ever played "Last Word"? Wow, we were up a bit late for missionaries but they were having such a good time. Tomorrow we have Family Home Evening and dinner with them. They promised to bring more soldiers with them so we prepare a big meal (they eat BIG meals) and a little inspirational message. They keep telling us how much they love us. It is nice to be appreciated. They deserve all the attention we can give them before they are deployed in two weeks.
Our real success story for the week is that we were able to obtain the "Alpha Roster" from the bridage chaplain's office. This is a list of all the soldiers in the 2nd Brigade here in Baumholder that put down "LDS" as their religious preference. We have worked on getting this list since we got here 5 months ago. It is wonderful that our prayers were answered. The timing is good in that now those "group leaders" going to Iraq will have these lists so if an LDS soldier is interested in being involved he will more than likely be found and invited to join with the group. Also, the branch here will be able to keep better track of them. There were 22 on the list that we were unaware of.
And one more success to write home about . . . . we have in our hands our German driver's licenses. All total the cost was less than what the Germans pay. And they are for life! If we live a long time we will get our money's worth. We had to trade in our Utah licenses and we understand we could make the trade again when we leave Germany. But who wants to give up a lifetime driver's license? Not us. We will just pay for a duplicate and be happy to have 2 licenses. Is that legal?
The 2 young missionary elders here are also being transferred, one to Bitburg and the other to Koln (Cologne). There will be young missionary sisters assigned here. It will be great since most of the men will be gone. The sisters will be a support for the women and wives and can teach any female investigators without problems.
We have learned that our assignment will be at the Institute Outreach Center or IOC, as it is correctly named. Our hours will be from 4 pm to 10 pm every week night, Monday through Friday, and occasionally a Saturday, to work with the young single adults in the Kaiserslautern US Military Stake. Evidently the long hours were wearing down the couple that are assigned there now. They are older than us and have a few health problems. So they will come here to Baumholder and we will carry the heavy load for a while. It seems fair. We will miss the country-feel and rural area of Baumholder as we will be located in the center of a city with no view! However, we have feet and can walk and find some new and interesting things to see in Landstuhl. It will be an adventure.
Sister and Elder Karn