Sunday, March 2, 2008

March 2, 2008

These little chalk scratchings written beside the doorway are very traditional here. Businesses and homes alike will have them. They are indicative of blessings bestowed, usually by children, after paying an offering for the blessing. The symbols and numbers stand for the year and specific blessings.

In the Army we used to say, "Every day is a holiday, every meal is a banquet, every gathering is a party and everything that happens is a surprise". That is about the way it is on a mission. Some times we think we know what will be happening but some days turn into real surprises. One afternoon this past week we received a call from the mission president's wife. She told us that one of the young missionaries was in the hospital and she wanted to know if we could go join up with his companion and stay there until the matter was settled down a bit. So off we went.

It ended up being a seven hour mission but it was really interesting. The young missionary was a German missionary and through a number of events he passed out, probably due to dehydration. The German medical system is supposed to be very thorough and they conduct all the tests they can think of and some they can't. He spent a couple of days in the hospital but is back to work now. It was interesting to see the health care system here in operation and to try to deal with folks when we don't speak the same language.

After a couple of hours we thought it best to get the healthy missionary some food. (He is British). He wanted us to take him to Burger King. We took him but it wouldn't have been my first choice. I know there are better places to eat than Burger King or McDonald's!

We were walking to get our exercise this week and saw a slate roof being installed. It was really neat and here is a picture of it. Roofs are made of slate, tile or other very long lasting materials here so it was fun to take a few minutes and watch them installing one. We knew it was slate because a couple of pieces fell and broke. It looked like slate, it broke like slate, and sounded like slate.

Saturday we travelled to Frankfurt to attend the Temple. We rode with others and it was really fun. The wind was blowing so hard that the car was really being pushed around. And the car was a Ford SUV not a little bitty job. Some trucks were moving pretty slow on the Autobahn to keep from being blown over. At times the rain was really pouring down. The weather was better on the return run though.

The weather continues to slowly get warmer and the days get longer. It is getting light by about seven in the morning now and stays light until about six thirty. It is hard to say exactly when the sun rises and sets because we don't see "Mister Sun" very often. And when he does make an appearance it is more of a "cameo appearance" that a real center stage act!

Gas prices had dropped here for a bit but they are back to where they were when we arrived. When we arrived in November the gas prices were 1.449 Euro per liter. If you take that 1.449 and multiply it times 3.8 (liters in a gallon) and then divide it by 0.6443 (the current conversion rate for the dollar to Euro) you end up with $8.546 per gallon for gas. It must be good stuff at that price! We drive a little car made by Opel and it gets 30-31 miles per gallon. Even then we some times put sixty to seventy dollars worth of gas in when we fill up. And that only gets you about eight gallon of gas! Gas has been down as low as $7.40 per gallon and just about as high as $8.60 per gallon.

We still are doing our volunteer thing on post. Mondays we are at the "Thrift Store" and Fridays we are at the "Art Center". This past Friday I cut about three hundred pieces of picture frames for them. They have a really neat machine that cuts two forty-five degree angles in the framing at each slice. If I have a bunch of the same ones to cut I can really chop them up. They had an order for a military unit and needed seventy cut for two sizes and sixty cut of two more sizes. That should make 260 pieces! It was a big order and I understand that it cost about $11,000. It was really fun helping with projects like that. And during the same period of time Sister Karn cut mattes for the frames. She was quicker than I was so I had to work just a little longer than she did - she worked on an art project of her own!

We try to make friends for the church every where we go. We also get to have some neat conversations about "why we are here" with those we work with. And on top of those activities we visit, teach, and befriend everyone we meet!

We sure all of you are doing well - we are! We love and miss you!

Elder and Sister Karn