Sunday, November 30, 2008

The following photos are from the open air Christmas market in Kaiserlautern.

We had another surprise last week in relation to the chaplaincy here. Two months ago, while meeting with a newly installed Army chaplain, Chaplain Butterworth, we were quite impressed with his openess and willingness to assist us. He expressed a desire that we would always be treated fairly. At that meeting he invited Bruce to read a scripture at a Thanksgiving program. We knew nothing else of the "program" and just planned to attend and for Bruce to read the assigned scripture as asked. And we were delighted that Bruce was asked to participate. We expected it to be a small group as it was planned for mid-day. Last Tuesday was the Thanksgiving program. When we arrived we were surprised to find a very large gathering of chaplains and staff and also wounded warriers from the outpatient units at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. A very nice lunch was about to be served! It was a good thing we hadn't eaten. We had a reserved seat at a table near the podium. Needless to say we were very honored to see Bruce's name on the printed program along with several other officer chaplains. There were five different chaplain's names (captain, major, colonel, etc.) on the program, with prayers, readings, speeches, etc. Matter of fact, and we think this was unintentional, but the name of our church was the only religious entity mentioned on the entire printed program. Bruce's name was listed as "Mr. Bruce Karn, Military Rep., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". It was a lovely lunch and program and it was a great opportunity to meet some wonderful people who have devoted their lives to helping others.

Thanksgiving dinners have abounded! We ate our fourth Thanksgiving in quiet at home with turkey and the trimmings. Our first was earlier this month with the missionaries at a zone conference, where about 100 young missionaries and 4 senior couples were fed a fantastic feast. Our second one was last Monday where we cooked all day for a group of 22 people, including 13 young single adults, that came to the Institute Outreach Center for Family Home Evening. A young adult smoked a turkey and others brought other portions. We were in charge of green bean casserole, dressing, gravy, and pumpkin pie. The meal was good but the company was better. One young German adult brought three fellow college students from Morocco. It just happens that three of the young adults were going on a trip to Morocco this weekend. They had much to discuss. And then there was the language exchange where German, Arabic, English, and other tongues were all spoken. One of our American lieutenant female intelligence officers majored in Arabic. It couldn't have been planned better for three nonmembers to attend! And then our third Thanksgiving was the lunch with the chaplains mentioned in the first paragraph. We hope all of you had a wonderful time on your holiday.

This is the time of year when many Weinacht Markt (Christmas Markets) opens up in cities around Germany. These are open air festive market places, usually in town centers, where seasonal goods, drinks and food, are sold. There is also music with live musicians and other activities. Yesterday, Saturday, we walked through two Christmas markets, one in Kaiserslautern and one in Landstuhl. I think we bought a kasebrezel (cheese pretzel), kinder gluwein (nonalcoholic hot grape punch), brotwurst, a set of suspenders for Bruce, a leatherman case, a chocolate cookie, and a large bunch of mistletoe. You can't buy a small bunch of mistletoe. We paid 3 Euro for this bunch that separated into six smaller but still large bunches. It is now hung in every doorway of our apartment. You won't find that in too many missionary apartments!

Fuel prices dropped to a low of 1.10 Euro per liter today. That converts to $5.35 per gallon. Our highest price was $10.00 per gallon earlier this year. And the current exchange rate is $1.26 per 1 Euro. That is the best it has been since we have been here. The European ecomony is very reflective of the US. For the time we are excited for the drop in fuel costs and the increase in the value of the dollar.

Have a good week! We have another big event this next Saturday, Dec. 6th, with the LDS Military Workshop for the Kaiserslautern Stake. Bruce is the chairman of the committee. We hope it will be beneficial for all the families. Your prayers would be appreciated.

Sister and Elder Karn