Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Less than 2 weeks ago one of our young single airmen brought two nonmember friends to the German conversation class held on Wednesday evening at the Institute Outreach Center (IOC). All three work together in security forces at Ramstein Air Base. After the class the missionaries asked if either one of the nonmembers was interested in learning more about the Church. One said yes. He has since been taught by the missionaries on several occasions and a baptismal date is scheduled for a Sunday in June. We are excited about the missionary work and the great elders that work through the IOC.

This is Joshua, our investigator

Tomorrow the missionaries will be teaching three new YSA investigators at the IOC. Miracles are happening and we thank the good Lord for how we have been able to be a part of this.

This past week we have had the excitement of having some family visit! Kirk and Annie Drennan found some cheaper airfares from Utah to Frankfurt. So they quickly took the challenge to find places for their 4 children to stay and threw some stuff in a bag and hopped over here. Thanks to all those sweet souls for helping care for our grandchildren and also supporting the Drennans in their adventure. And even though Annie is a little pregnant (well, one can't be a "little" pregnant, but she is showing a little) she has faired well. We are delighted to have them. For a day and a half we took some driving tours and saw the sights. Right now they are taking side trips outside the mission but we will see them again in 2 days for one last day together. It has been great fun to have company and Germany is so beautiful and welcoming right now.

Annie is Bruce's daughter. Her husband Kirk is an optometrist and often goes on humanitarian trips ("Give the Gift of Sight") to third world countries, sponsored by the Lion's Clubs. The castle in the background is Burg Eltz.

This coming week we will be working with the Air Force and the Army chaplaincy in assessing the possibility of the members of our Church doing a huge service project for Pioneer Day. There is a 40 ton humanitarian clothing contribution given to the Wounded Warriers project. The large medical center here in Landstuhl receives all the wounded military from Afghanistan and Iraq. They come without personal clothing as their uniforms are usually cut off from them. The average stay for most of the wounded is only 72 hours and then they are flown to military hospitals in the USA. But, during that time they need clothing such as shoes and sweats. The 40 tons are not sorted into sizes or types of any kind. The chaplaincy had considered hiring some people to do the inventory and sorting, which might cost upward of several thousand dolloars. Our LDS chaplain, who is leaving very shortly for a PCS (permanent change of station), thought it might be a good idea for the Church to organize a service project. We will be visiting the 40 tons tomorrow with some other people to see if that is possible. It would be a great road "in" for the Church. With all the negative media attention (some people confuse FLDS with LDS, which it is not) we can help people understand we are just good folks. It is possible that other secular and religious communities will want to join in for this day of service. It is tentatively planned for Sat., July 26th. We hope it goes.Since Elder Karn has been designated as the POC (point of contact) for the Kaiserslautern Military Community, this is also a great opportunity for us to work shoulder to shoulder with the chaplains.

Last week we had a zone conference in Heidelberg where Elder Robert C. Oaks and his wife spoke to us. Elder Oaks is the president over the Europe Central Area, comprising many missions (counting just 4 in Germany alone). That zone conference will always be a highlight to us. He is a great speaker and we will remember some of his sayings: "Goal setting without planning is daydreaming"; "Until it is written down it is not a plan, it is just a discussion"; "We boast about not having a professional clergy and then we act like amateurs", and "There is a difference between believing and knowing; the Holy Ghost makes the difference". Elder Oakes retired from the Air Force as a 4 star general. He was in charge of all the US Air Forces in Europe longer than any one has ever been in charge. It was great to listen to him.

With Memorial Day we once again ponder about those sacrifices given by so many who have fought for the cause of freedom. For them, "Freedom will have a flavor the protected will never know". We honor and appreciate all those who give so much.
Sister and Elder Karn

A C-5 aircraft, one of the largest transport aircraft in the Air Force. These planes come and go many times during the day from Ramstein Air Base, taking troups and equipment to Quwait (for transfer to Iraq) and also bringing back the wounded.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The above three photos include a family home evening at the IOC with a family and the young single adults playing the "shoe game". The next is of the "Porta Nigra" gate at the city of Trier. It was built by the Romans 2000 years ago without any mortar between the stones. It is massive and impressive. The last is of us, also at Trier, this time at the Roman baths. What a beautiful day!

If you ever doubted the old saying about the sun always shining on some folks let me remove all questions in your mind. For two weeks we have had the best weather Germany has ever seen. It has been 70 to 80 degrees and sunny every day! So that proves that the sun always shines on that girl Pam! Well at least it did for two weeks and that must be some kind of a record in Germany. And just to let you know that we don't spend all of our days basking in the sun and relaxing let me tell you about today. We are invited to attend all of the ward conferences in the stake because of our responsibilities with the Young Single Adults. The ward that was having ward conference today starts their regular block of meetings at 0900. That's not bad but the first meeting today was scheduled for 0700. And the unit is over an hour away. So when you program in the get ready time we set the cell phone alarm for 0438. The super waker-upper alarm was set for 0440. (The object is to wake up on the quiet cell phone alarm and stop the ear shattering killer alarm from ever happening. And I "got 'er done" this morning.) So we bolted out of bed, raced through the bathroom routine, gobbled down a quick breakfast, and rocketed down the road! (Those are all things that Pam hates to hear and even more - hates to do.) And then walked calmly and serenely into the meeting five minutes before it started. How cool was that? Ya' gotta' love it when a plan comes together! Then eight and a half hours after breakfast we were ready for a nice lunch.

The work has been going well with some successes (which are always nice to have). We have met with all three senior chaplains in this area and they have all been very helpful. Some have been reported to have been less than cooperative in the past. But we seem to have found favor in their eyes and so we will try very hard to keep the ship steady on that course.

This past week the attendance of the Young Single Adults has been super. There have been great numbers and they have brought friends with them. The only scarey thing about that is when you have such a high you just hope to keep rolling faster and higher and that seems a little tough to do. We'll keep working hard, praying hard and hopefully it will continue to get even better.

I know this seems like a never ending story with me but I just want to say again what wonderful young people we have out in front defending freedom. The military folks and their families are some of the best folks to be found any where. What a debt of gratitude and respect they are owed. I sincerely hope our nation never holds anything back from caring for these folks. They earn every good thing they could possibly receive. We are humbled to call them our friends and even more humbled to be called their friends. May the Lord bless and keep them!

Best regards, Elder (and Sister) Karn

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Oh no, it is 10 pm here and I need to do the blog! Where has the day gone? Well, it has been a good Mother's Day for me because I got to talk with all my children. It is a little painful to be away from them but talking to them really helps. We hope all of you mothers out there have felt the love of your family today. Family is everything.

Our time is racing by so fast . . .two weeks have just whizzed past. I don't know where to start. Somehow I will try to make some sense and keep this brief . . . .

We had some wonderful success at the Institute Outreach Center (known hereafter as the IOC) this evening. We had a potluck dinner and a rebroadcast of a CES (Church Education System) Young Adult fireside from BYU. We started advertising several weeks ago with flyers in the halls of the church, notices in the bulletins, online web notices and email updates to all the young adults we had addresses for. So tonight we jumped from our average attendance of just a few to 10. That is major progress. And who can say what really made the difference but we will keep up the work of getting the word out. We just want to make sure these young people know they have a place to come and feel loved and comfortable and also a place to have wholesome activities. The speaker for the fireside was Elder Russell M. Nelson and he talked about the good that can come from listening to good music. Then his 9 (NINE) daughters sang a hymn together for the audience. They were good but they weren't fantastic, but the number of them was definitely a statement for teaching good music to your family. We think everyone had a great time tonight.

Tomorrow we have family home evening (hereafter known as FHE) at the center. One of our favorite families, the Nelsons from Baumholder, will be giving the lesson, providing the treat and showing us a new game. I am excited. This family is so awesome. They PCS (permanent change of station) in 3 weeks to Las Vegas. These are people we will miss much like they are our family. And actually, while away from our families, we have adopted them as surrogate children and grandchildren.

Two nights a week we have meals at the center (we cook). Tonight our potluck dinner was an exception. The meals have been free but as our numbers increase we have been advised to charge a small nominal fee. Otherwise our budget will be drained. So far we have had chicken noodle soup, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, spaghetti, chicken enchiladas - all good German food as you can see. Tomorrow we are having haystacks. Yes! I hope you know what that is as Elder Karn is still wondering. He will have to wait and see! Being raised on a farm kind of interferes with your imagination at times. We have a saying on the wall in our apartment left by the previous couple. It is on the wall above the doorway going into the dining room and it says,
"Im not, schmeckt die Wurst, auch ohne Brot". It means, in an emergency, eat sausage without bread. And we will do that too.

We have had the most glorious and beautiful weather for the past 10 days than we have had since we arrived. It has been perfectly clear and sunny and blue skies and 70-80 degrees everyday. We have done a lot of walking, and castle-ling, in addition to our very busy schedule. We just don't want the good weather to go. It is energizing.

This past week we had an appointment with the senior garrison Army chaplain here in the Kaiserslautern Military Community (hereafter known as KMC). We had been forewarned (by the LDS Air Force chaplain) that he was not too friendly toward the Mormons. Well, he was wonderful and extremely supportive and friendly. Maybe that was because Bruce is retired Army. Anyway, it was an answer to our prayers. We hope to be able to obtain the Alpha Roster (listing everyone who put "LDS" as their preference on their military paperwork) for the Army in this area. This coming week we have appointments with two other chaplains in the Air Force, one over Landstuhl (huge medical center here) and Ramstein Air Base. 'Wish us well.

Speaking of air bases, the other day we saw from a distance the tarmac of the airbase. There were 12 C-17s lined up. These planes are so huge and then to have 12 of them there at one time is interesting. We are not sure what they transport but we do know they bring the wounded back and take out those being deployed. We were just told that the average length of stay of those wounded in Afghanistan or Iraq is only 72 hours. Then they usually go to the USA military hospitals. That is a lot of coming and going. They also carry heavy equipment and other stuff. It is really fun to be under one as it comes in to land.

On our last castle-ling adventure we took in some castles on the Mosel River. These are included.

Much love to you all.
Sister (and Elder) Karn