Sunday, June 22, 2008

Goodbye to Major Jared Nelson and Jeannette and family (Nelsonville) as they have moved to Las Vegas. President Nelson was our branch president in Baumholder. What a great family. They will be sorely missed.

Summer is here and it is so lush and green. I want to memorize how beautiful it is with all the wildflowers and vegetation. It is hard to believe that the barren and dreary landscape could change so dramatically. I don't know why it is so amazing because it happens that way at home too. It is just that the humidity and rare sunny days of a German winter made it seem different. When in the middle of this coming winter I will remember the beautiful days of summer. Today we started out with blue sky and in the 80 degree range. During Church meetings the clouds darkened the sky and we had thunder and lightening and rain showers. I didn't look out the window but I could see the skies darken from the middle of the chapel and also the flashes of lightening. When we got out of meetings 5 hours later there were light fluffly clowds, blue sky and sunshine. There was just a little dampness under the car where the sun hadn't evaporated the rain. 'Missed that altogether. It is now 8 pm and still 82 degrees. With the humidity at 65 to 70% it feels much warmer. Although I always feel cool if I am not exercising! I wear sweats unless I am in the sunshine. Yes, I am weird.

When it is my turn to write the blog you certainly get a varied perspective of our mission. My organized and efficient Elder Karn has this huge service project running like clockwork. To me it is overwhelmingly difficult. But we keep marching forward. Now we have posters in most of the wards and the plans for the day have been announced to the bishops. Tomorrow we meet with Senior Chief Campbell (works in the Wounded Warrier Ministry chaplaincy) at the large hardened aircraft shelter (HAS) or hanger, to re-assess the project. The large overhead roll-up steel door isn't working and must be fixed soon. The list of supplies to order include 18,000 feet of package sealing tape, 300 empty cardboard boxes, 50 markers, 10 reams of colored paper, box cutters, etc., etc. We plan on between 150 to 200 volunteers but that could change radically. Everyone is invited to bring a friend and neighbor. We will pray that it won't rain that day as the work will mostly be outside. A little breeze and some cloud cover would be nice though.

We had a trade-in on our mission car. We went from a red 4-door Opel Corsa to a red 4-door Opel Corsa. The one we had before had a ding in the rear door from when someone backed into it in a parking lot when it was being used by another couple. We inherited it and often had to explain that we didn't do it. The mission was going to fix it but the estimated cost was $2,490. So it was never fixed. Then 3 weeks ago the mission office called the night before and the next morning we had a new car with only 300 kilometers on it. We don't have cruise control but otherwise it is pretty much the same. We put 7000 miles on the older one. Every once in a while we see the red car with the ding in it at a district or zone meeting. It was nice they gave us a newer one. Fuel is running at $9.70 a gallon right now. Maybe we will even get better gas mileage!

No "P" (Preparation Day) day this past week as we had more meetings than you can imagine. Yet there were days we still had time to take a walk, or take a nap, or watch a movie. If we don't take the time to regenerate ourselves periodically we will crash. Well, somedays we do crash, but we recover. Fortunately this week we will have a full P Day.

We continue to get better attendance some evenings at the Institute Outreach Center. Some college students are home for the summer and have been coming to some events. We always get new young single adults through the military while others are transferred or PCS'd (permanent change of station). This past week we had a young adult that came back from Iraq. He was from the Baumholder Branch so we had lots of questions for him about our friends that were deployed with him. It was all good news and our hearts were warmed to hear of them. We will lose about 5 young adults in August as they leave the military or go back to school in the states. We hope we get some new energetic active young adults to take their places.

Today we printed off an Air Force alpha roster (list of those in the military who put what religious preference they want on their enlistment papers)for the new missionary elders. Also we printed off some copies of the brochures about our church we made up for the chaplains to hand out on the base or post. There is a map of the meeting house and the times of the meetings, along with the names of the bishops, etc. This would be very helpful for the missionaries when they meet someone that is interested - either a non-member or a member. Then we printed off the young single adult contact list for one ward for the elders. We were just finishing our printing as we walked out the door for meetings this morning. Thank goodness for a printer that was left here by the couple before us!

We have two new zone leaders to work with at the IOC. One is from Texas and the other from Ogden. They are great but need some orientation. And unfortunately neither has a German driver's license so they are doing a lot of biking and walking and riding the trains. For zone leaders that is hard as our zone is pretty big. One has applied for a German license and that is the one from Utah as Germany has an agreement with Utah to cooperate with their driver's testing and licensing. The cost is only about $150 and the paperwork is not difficult. However, the elder from Texas would have to pay $3000 if he were to get a German license as Germany does not have an agreement with Texas. So - mostly the elders that drive here are from Utah. And also anyone can drive here with any state license for the first 6 months. After that you must have a German driver's license. Elder Karn and I both have a German driver's license. You won't catch Sister Karn driving the autobahns unless it is an emergency however!

Have I told you about the bells?? There is a clock or a church steeple somewhere here in the village that rings a bell every 15 minutes. We usually have the windows closed and we can't hear it. When we open the windows like today we can hear the clock bells and the church bells announcing mass. The bells are wonderful and make Germany even more quaint. I love the bells. I also love the sound of freedom - large jets taking off or landing just north of us. We owe so much to those who sacrifice so much.

Volunteering at the Wounded Warrier Ministry where new clothing and toiletries are given out to the wounded or the patients at the hospital, we have learned more about the war. It is gratifying to tell those who come in that we care.

God bless,
Sister and Elder Karn