Friday, March 13, 2009

Internet connection

To our beloved readers,
Unfortunately we have lost use of our Vonage phone (unless a miracle occurs) and the internet except when we are at the Center. Our visits to the Center will be less and less as the new couple is taking over our responsibilities. So, please continue to send emails to us ( and we will check them when we can. We will be unable to access the blog for the rest of our mission (due to the move).

Pam and Bruce

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Guess what! We are moving again. It will be our third place to live on this mission but it is only for the last 6 weeks of our mission. Our replacement senior missionary Military Relations couple will come March 10th. One very nice young airman (Katie - who deployed out today)said we could use her apartment since she will be away a few months. This has saved the mission president a big headache in finding a place for the other couple to live. Katie asked that we be the couple that stay in her apartment since she knows us. And there certainly isn't room here in this apartment for 2 couples. So, in 2 weeks we move out of this apartment just short of being here for one year. The younger missionaries move with so much more ease - just grab the suitcases and go. For us older folks who gather things for comfort it will be a little harder. We see it as a few trips with the car hopefully with some help. And all of these comfort items will not be going home to Utah with us of course. But that sorting will come later.

The result of this move is that we will lose our German mailing address and our Vonage phone number. We may be able to use Katie's Vonage phone but we will have to check on that. After March 7, you will not be able to reach us on our regular Utah phone number. That will be out of service until we get home to Ogden and set all that up again - probably the middle of May would be my guess. We will continue to get email at our regular gmail address:

The other apartment is about 5 miles from here. It is away from most of the conveniences we enjoy here. The new grocery store EDEKA is just around the corner from here but there are also 2 other grocery/variety stores within a few blocks. Our favorite Italian restaurant is also around the corner. The train station is very close also, besides the bank and the post office. At the other apartment it doesn't look like there is much nearby. The challenge is that we will be sharing the car. We figure we will have it 3 days and they will have it 3 days and we will share it on Sunday when we go to meetings together. But that may not be how it will work out. The other couple should have some say. On the days we have the car we will be doing grocery shopping, checking mail, paying taxes, and banking, etc.

In case you are wondering what comfort (absolute necessity) items we have gathered, here are a few: a sewing machine ($5 bargain), electric heater, special neck pillows, CD player, VHS player, office supplies, kitchen ware - special cake pans, etc., books, tools,. . . . and so forth.

We currently have a service project going on with the young single adults. There are some Latter-Day Saints in Hungary that are barely existing on their income. We are told that they have very little. Brother Pele, the facility management service man for our area, visits Hungary about once every year in the Spring and he takes good used clothing to the saints. So far we have quite a few large boxes labeled for Brother Pele. And this comes at a very good time for us as we clean out our closets. Some of us have more clothing than we need (me).

Our APO address will remain the same and we can still pick up our US mail at the post office on the air base.

Speaking of the post office, we are sending you our love and best regards. Have a great week.
Elder & Sister Karn

Sunday, February 15, 2009

In days gone by you have received many farm and weather reports but this week it is time to give the long awaited and anticipated report. This report comes after much trial and research. Perhaps if you are fortunate this information will some day be of great value to you as you visit Germany. You see, after many tests and trials I am prepared to give you a food report. There have been many things that we have tested that have failed and some others that have been really note worthy. So let's begin!

A local bakery - shelves stocked fresh every day.

The kase bretzel is coated with melted cheese and is very delicious.

BREADS If you ever got beyond Wonder Bread and the white inflated breads you will love the breads in Germany. There are bread stores every where and almost all of the breads are better than anything we ever had at home. Normally I am not a rye bread fan but in Germany that all changes. Rye bread is good! Rolls are good! Bread stores are good places to test everything. We don't buy much bread at the commissary because the German bread is better!

DAIRY PRODUCTS Cottage cheese in Europe is not good. I've tried some from the commissary and some at the German markets. I would pass on it all. Cheese and milk are a "whole 'nother story"! Milk comes in either 3.5 or 1.5% fat one liter boxes and both are very good. I would say the milk is pretty reasonably priced at about $2.50 per gallon and tastes the closest to fresh farm milk that I have had in years. Good stuff! The cheeses are also great. A huge variety that are very good and lots to test and taste. I like them. The ice cream can be a bit trickier! Some of the ice creams we have had have been pretty poor and other have been really top stuff. The safest bet is if it is Italian ice cream it is probably really really good. Butter gets one of the four star ratings! If you want the best in butter go for the Irish butter (Kerry Gold)! Put that on the breads and you will have a whole new idea of how good the simple things can be!

Our favorite restaurant around the corner where the Italian pizza is very good. It is always great to hear the cook speaking Italian.

PIZZA This isn't Kansas or the states when it comes to pizza. Sorry but Pappa Murphy's or Ogden Pizzeria or The Pie have no competition from the standard German pizzas. Most of the German pizzas are on a hard quarter inch thick waffle type type crust and they don't get the cheese right. There are a lot of "Tuna" pizzas. Hmmmmm! But you should also know that if you want pizza here go to a restaurant where they are speaking Italian and you will probably get a really good fresh pizza. There is one place about an hour away in Wiesbaden that has tremendous pizza and one just around the corner from our place that is really good. After that I'll pass on the rest.

Translated: In an emergency eat wurst without bread. This saying is over our dining room entrance doorway. It was put up by the previous couple.

This is Frikadelle - a combination spicey ground meat mixture on a hard bun. Nothing like hamburger. It is the other choice at a fast food place.

Most bratwurst is longer than this one.

BRATWURST The Germans have those babies down to a science. One German friend said that we should try the sausages in Germany because they are very good. Then he went on to say that he said they were very good but certainly not good for you. I will say they are really really good. And some how we missed the mark on the roll. At home we made it a big deal when we got hot dogs long enough to fit the roll. Bratwurst comes on a four to six inch long hard roll and are from eight to twenty inches long. That is the way it should be. Put some good dark mustard on it and lets have some brat!

A giant range free egg from our neighbor store "Kiefer Eier".

EGGS Our landlord, Herr Kiefer, has a store that sells just eggs. The store is across the street and that is where our eggs come from. Eggs in Germany also get a four star rating. They have a real shell and the yoke is dark yellow or golden in color like a real egg is supposed to be. Our hens back home are kept in cages and pushed for numbers of eggs and it shows. These are restaurant quality eggs and they have taste and are of quality!

WATER & JUICES For centuries the water was not safe to drink in Europe and the Europeans have never gotten over it. They either drink alcohol or juices or water that is carbonated. I can't stand carbonated water and juice isn't much better. Tap water is fine to drink or we ask for water without gas!

GRAVY MIXES There are lots of quick mixes on the market shelves in Germany and most of them are pretty good. We like most all of the gravy mixes.

NOODLES Germans have some great noodles. "Spatzle" comes with many meals or is offered as one option. If offered - take it! It is good! A noodle per say, is really a knodel, or dumpling, usually potato but we have seen liver dumplings in the stores.

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES Most fresh produce comes from Spain and is very good at the German stores. It is fresher than the commissary and lasts much longer. Clementine tangerines are wonderful as is the lettuce. A favorite apple is "honey crunch". Avacados are great too.

SCHNITZEL You hear a lot about German schnitzel and let me tell you it is good. It is pork which is pounded really thin and then breaded and then fried. By itself it is okay but when you go "Jagerschnitzel" it is great! "Jager" is "hunter" and it supposedly came from hunters using what they could find in the forest to make a gravy for their schnitzel. It has mushrooms and lots of good things and I love it.

Nussnacker Ring or Nugat Ring, usually available at the bakery on Thursdays.

DESSERTS Well this one is a mixed bag. The famous "Black Forest Cake" of Germany failed every test I gave it. The cake part is pretty poor and you have to be careful because most of them have alcohol in them. I didn't find any cakes or pies in Germany that I would recommend. Apple streudel is another story. "Apfel" streudel is great. It is the most like an apple pie that you will find and they do a great job with the crust. It is another four star winner. There is a FIVE STAR winner I wish to mention. It is called "Nussnackering". It has a great cookie base that it topped with nougat and then covered in chocolate. This baby is the Grammy winner! It is a five and a half star winner! Look for them at the bakery shops. If they are out of them then I or some other wise person was there ahead of you! And I know which shops have the very best ones!!!!

The best is the Belgium chocolates in the pop can.

CHOCOLATE Okay here is the big one. German chocolate is very good. Swiss chocolate is very good. Austrian chocolate is very good and you won't go wrong with any of them. But if you are looking for the very best in chocolate I would give the award the Belgian chocolate boys. (Five star chocolate!!) We have had some from Belgium that was about as perfect as it can get. They seem to come in small packages or at least it seems to disappear quickly. Either it evaporates overnight or someone was helping it escape! I don't know which but it didn't last long.

EAT OUTSIDE Europeans love to eat outside. Until early 2008 smoking was allowed in restaurants and it made it pretty tough to enjoy your food inside but that has changed. Europeans eat outside all year long. I admit that I am more of a fair weather outside eater. It is fun and we have enjoyed some great meals outside!

Well, that's the travel/dining report for this mission. We hope you all have a wonderful burger from the quick food place - we'll be down the street at one of our favorite places. (And for the kids and those who have lost their taste buds - they do have Burger Kings, McDonalds, Taco Bells, etc., over here. We confess to going to a McDonalds the first night in Baumholder because we didn't know where to get something to eat and at one Burger King because we were still pretty new and didn't know of anything better in the town we were in that day. But that was it!!!)

Love to all and may your taste buds enjoy every thing you send their way!

Elder & Sister Karn

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Some weeks are great. This has been one of those great weeks. Besides our fun activities with the young adults we also have the opportunity to work with the military chaplains in this area. Thursday was the National Prayer Breakfast for the US Army Garrison in Kaiserslautern. Bruce was invited to read some scriptures over the pulpit, which was an honor as there were some very important people on the program that day. The scriptures and prayers and talks given were all in honor of the families and loved ones experiencing deployment. It was a patriotic and spiritual feast. The speaker, CH. Bailey (Colonel), an ordained Methodist minister, and the US Army Europe command chaplain, gave a great talk. He said that to find peace in one's personal life a person must

1. Look backward (Review mistakes in the past but learn from them and move on. Let go of past hurts and pains.)

2. Look forward (Am I achieving my dreams? Is my life taking the direction I want it to? Am I becoming the person I want to become?)

3. Look up (The true giver of peace, our Heavenly Father, must be involved. Have faith. Seek His peace through prayer.)

4. Look out (Beware and look around. Some people are like garbage trucks. The stuff builds up inside of them and they are looking for a place to dump it. I might be their target whether they are a total stranger or not. Don't take on their garbage and let it affect me. When someone cuts me off in traffic, smile and wave and say, "Have a nice day!" Is it worth getting upset over? I am the only one that can spoil my day. What can I do to help someone have a positive experience today? Am I making a difference?)

5. Look ahead (Focus my life forward. What will I remember about today some ten years from now? What is really important?)

We felt very welcome at the breakfast. The senior garrison chaplain put his arm on Bruce's shoulder and asked Bruce to call him "Mitch". It is a privilege to call these individuals friends. We look forward to introducing the next senior missionary couple to these great men. How that will work we will yet see. There is a couple scheduled to replace us before we leave but we are not yet certain how that will take place. We should know more in a month.

Yesterday and today, Saturday and Sunday, we had stake conference for the LDS Kaiserslautern Germany Military Stake. Our presiding authority over the Europe area, Elder Robert C. Oaks, spoke in all sessions. We may have mentioned before that he was the US Air Force Europe Commander for about 6 years here more than a few years ago. He and his family lived in this area for 8 years. He is a retired 4 star general. There is a lot of credibility in his remarks to these military families. He spoke with power and with understanding. He said this stake is very unique in the Church (as most stakes are) in that there is a greater number of downrange deployments taking place in this stake than any other place in the world. He put things into perspective for all of us. All of the exciting things we do in this life will some day come to an end; he regretted his last supersonic flight (former pilot), an aging golfer misses his best swing, the professional skier isn't able to make that fast run any more. But something we have is forever. That is the family. The family is the organization of eternity.
Some other thoughts from this weekend:
If we want something to last forever, we must treat it differently. For example how does one care for sterling silver? Special treatment must be given to keep it untarnished and unmarred. Despite the distance we are trying to make sure our families know they are priceless to us. We do the best we can.

Elder & Sister Karn

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sometimes there are little things in life that really strike a chord in us. And there are little things that serve as reminders for us. This week I would like to tell you about one little thing that serves as a reminder for me. A couple of months ago I was in a meeting where one of our leaders talked about the importance we all can be to someone in need. It was a great short talk and at the end of it he passed out a "Lifesaver" mint wrapped in clear plastic to each one of us to remind us to be "lifesavers" to those around us. Some folks opened their lifesaver and started enjoying them. Mine has remained unwrapped in my scripture case.

Every time I open my scriptures I see the lifesaver and am reminded again of the lesson and two thoughts that I gained from it. First, the scriptures and the Gospel of Jesus Christ are "lifesavers" for me. They have been my lifesavers when I have struggled through difficult days and they have been my joy and hope in every day. Just seeing that lifesaver reminds of the importance of the scriptures. Second, every day when I open my scriptures to read I am reminded that I have a responsibility to be a "lifesaver" myself. We never know what difference we might make in a life if we just have a little sweetness in our words. As I think about the folks in my life that have made the most difference I can only think of kind words and actions that made a positive difference. It seems the old saying, "Advice is like snow, the softer it falls the longer it dwells and the more it sinks in" is so true.

Our mission has been a time to just be there for others. We have been blessed only because we were serving others. The world has not been changed dramatically by our time away from loved ones but there have been those sweet moments when our being here has been of benefit to others. Perhaps to someone some place we have served as a bit of a "lifesaver" and helped them. One of the briefest descriptions of the Savior's ministry is "he went about doing good". What a wonderful thing if in time the same could be said of all of us - we went about doing good.

Is a "mission" the only place we can "go about doing good"? It would be crazy to think that. As the song says, "there are opportunities all around right now". One of the teachers in one of the lessons I attended today shared a quote he had heard and it said something like this. "Rush is the enemy of a spiritual life." Too often we are led away from the "spiritual life" and even the Spirit itself because we are in too big a rush to hear or feel the Spirit. Or some times we believe we are under too much pressure to "go about doing good". How much time does it take to do good? Probably we would all be surprised to learn that it takes no more time to do good than it does to race through life. Today while walking across the cultural hall I saw a broken piece of candy cane and its wrapper on the floor. I stopped and picked it up and on my way to where I was going I dropped it in a trash can. I would guess the total time added to my walk was two to three seconds. It hadn't taken much time and I could spare that much. Later while walking almost the same path I noticed another piece of the candy cane on the floor about ten feet from where I had spotted the first piece. Leaving the job unfinished didn't make much sense so I went over and picked it up and dropped it in another trash can on the course I was now headed. Certainly the entire pickup job had been done in ten seconds. Those few seconds saved people getting the candy stuck on their shoes and long periods of time cleaning it up from all over the building for a custodian. "Going about doing good" is simply doing things that need to be done and making life better for others. Many will never know that we did some thing good or anything that helped them but that is okay. The point is that we did something good and all good benefits someone, somewhere, some time. It is sweet to do good for others. Thank goodness for the "lifesavers" in life.

We wish all of you well.
May the scriptures be your "lifesavers".
May you be a "lifesaver" to others.
And may it ever be said of you that you "went about doing good".


Elder & Sister karn

Sunday, January 25, 2009

How big do you think this German wind machine is?

A lovely walk on a quilted road in farm country yesterday.

This was an amazing museum with four originals of the Gutenberg Bibles from the 13th century.

The large cathedral (Kaiserdom) in the town of Mainz.

This is big. That is Elder Karn standing at the base.

We are back in full swing! For those who tune in to the blog for a weekly update you either thought we had a long week or that our calendar showed a week that was two weeks long. And while it may be true that some weeks are longer than others (a scientific fact - I'm sure of it because I've experienced some of them) the real answer is that we were aware that a week went by and we didn't write but our laptop was in the hands of one of the Young Single Adults getting its brains blown out. It had gotten to the point where the fan would roar like a jet on takeoff and we didn't want it to take off so we had one of the YSA who works on computers blow the New York, Asuncion Paraguay, Ogden Utah, Baumholder Germany, and Landstuhl Germany dust out of it. Our laptop is about five years old and that equates to about seventy in human years. It has been with us for a while and it was at the point where it was time for a visit to the doctor in order to keep its youthful vigor. The laptop survived the rehab, is back in action as evidenced by this entry.

You also may wonder what has happened while "Tabi Toshiba" has been down - well let me tell you! In the last entry we told you the weather was cold. How cold? Colder than it has been here in twenty-one years. On the 12th of January when we went to the Institute Outreach Center we didn't have any water. It had been down to five degrees for a couple of nights so my guess was that the water was frozen. Sure enough it was frozen and it took all that week for the new water pipes to be installed. New water pipes had to be installed because the old steel ones burst. So we had a week of short meetings - no bathroom facilities will shorten meetings.

Then on Saturday the sixteenth we went to visit Gutenberg in Mainz. Well, he wasn't there but we did go to see his press and learn about him. The museum was really interesting with lots of books and presses. Many of the books were from before Christopher Columbus sailed to America! Now that is a while back in case you haven't stayed up on your history. In book years that is not last weeks news - it is way old! Older than our laptop! The day was rainy and cold and it was good to be inside the museum. We would include many, many pictures of the museum and all we saw except for the fact that we didn't take very many pictures. I can tell you that we carried two cameras and it was so interesting that kept reading about the things and not taking pictures. Sorry, you should have been there!!

This past week the temperatures have picked back up and we have made it up to forty plus degrees and things were not quite as pushed as they have been for a few weeks. It was good to have a little break but it seemed almost like we didn't know what to do because we weren't as rushed as we had become used to. So we got some things done that have been waiting and went for a walk. How cool is that!

We drove to an area where we walked in the country a while back and walked on the paved path through the fields. When that ran out we drove to a small village that we drove through a little while ago that looked interesting so we went back to walk through town and really see the sights. There were many neat old buildings and some very interesting old dairy buildings. There were cows, tractors, farm equipment, fields, and all of the other neat things in life! It was a real recharge to the batteries of life! At least my "fun meter" was pegged to the max!

The travel section of the missionary department has made travel arrangements for our trip home. We are scheduled to fly out of Frankfurt on the 30th of April and arrive in Salt Lake City at 6:30PM. It will be long day and we will be tired but I am sure it will be really good to see home. There is still much for us to do here and for now we will concentrate on that but we do know when we will be home!

So, don't let your water pipes freeze, keep your laptop humming along and we'll be home soon.

Much love to all!

The Karns from Landstuhl

(Landstuhl means - Land stool - because there is some land nearby - a small hill actually that looked like a stool to the guy that is charge of naming towns. At least I think that towns are named by the official that has a stamp and goes around naming them. All officials have stamps with which to stamp their paperwork.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

January on a sunny Sunday - a good day to catch some rays - from inside! The current temperature with the sun shining and a clear blue sky is about 20 degrees F - which doesn't seem so bad - it is just the humidity that makes it seem much colder. This morning as we drove to our church meetings we saw a heavy frost on everything - tree branches - bushes and grass. It reminded me of the scenes in Dr. Zhivago when they were in Siberia. Of course it is colder in Siberia than here!

This week was not too rushed but it was eventful. We had a call on Monday from a fellow LDS member at the hospital who had come with her family from Stuttgart (about a 2 hour drive) with very sick children. Some how the process opens up when an LDS member needs to find someone to represent the leadership in the area. (We get some interesting calls and most say they found us on the Internet - ?)The two year old was very ill and they had to bring the rest of the family so here they were with no food, etc. The 2 year old was admitted to the hospital and the family was set up in a temporary residence near the hospital. We took them food and gave them some encouragement. The biggest trial for them was their being in a different environment with their 6 year old autistic boy. We saw the woman today in church and she said they are doing better and should be going home soon. The 2 year old should be released tomorrow. They have had a very rough week. It is hard to be in a foreign country even in the military when you need urgent medical care. Sometimes a long drive and a long wait are the problems.

And then the head chaplain for the Ramstein Air Force Base called us. How did he get our number? (from the Internet) He said an LDS lady had called urgently wanting to speak with the LDS chaplain. He told her there isn't currently an LDS chaplain in the Kaiserslautern military community. So he ploughed through files and notebooks looking for any contact information on the LDS Church. (We have given stacks of brochures with all contact information to the previous chaplain who is now deployed - don't know what happened to those brochures). Anyway after talking with Bruce he now has the phone numbers of the local bishops and a promise that we will soon drop by with information brochures for his reference. We hope the woman received the help she was looking for. And we are glad that our number can be found on the Internet.

One couple we met up with at church last year said they knew they were moving to Germany on assignment and they wanted to find out more about the area. Somehow they found this blog "Karn Kronicles". They told us they really appreciated being able to read about what it was like here. Go figure. We still don't know how they found the blog or how one can locate our phone number via the Internet - but it is a good thing.

Several months ago we received a phone call from a very distressed young woman needing to talk. I, Sister Karn, spoke with her for about an hour. She was very discouraged. She only gave me her first name and told me she lived quite a distance away, outside our mission. She had been investigating the Church but felt that she was a bad person and that she didn't feel confident on what to do next. I basically listened and encouraged her. She said she knew I was a missionary and that she found our number on the Internet! It was one of those experiences that just leaves you wondering if that little conversation was helpful and/or did that just really happen?

Since we still have our Utah phone number we still get some sales/solicitation calls at times and we used to get calls for substitutes at the Ogden Temple where we used to work. It was fun to tell them where they had called. It is nice to be able to receive and make calls from Europe with low costs via the Internet.

So, since there is some good on the Internet here again is another advertisement for the basic information about the church:
Look it up. Maybe you will learn something.

Have a super week! We have a busy one starting tomorrow with lots of events. It will be fun for us.

Elder and Sister Karn

Sunday, January 4, 2009

This past week we had our second New Years in Germany. Things are a bit different on New Years Eve here. In the United States we go big with fireworks on the 4th of July but here New Years is when everyone buys fireworks and sets them off. As soon as Christmas is over the sale of fireworks goes into high gear. Near us there is a little place that turns into a Christmas market about Thanksgiving time and then as soon as Christmas Day comes it turns into the local big fireworks place. I guess they sell about anything and everything in the fireworks department.

Then a couple of days before New Years the tests start. Everyone who bought fireworks starts setting a few off so my guess is that they are testing to see how well each thing works. When the New Year happens then it really turns into a constant display of fireworks in every neighborhood. People pour out into the streets and the show begins. Some of the things they set off are pretty good size and reach a pretty good altitude. There were a few set off in pretty close proximity to our car but there doesn't seem to be any damage. We did see one fellow who was slapping his pants and he acted like he might have been set on fire for a few moments. I just have to believe there are a lot of visits to the emergency rooms after that many amateurs playing with explosives.

In the morning light of New Years Day the streets are a mess. Every where you go there is the trash left from the fireworks from the night before. It was the same way up in Baumholder last year. Fireworks have pretty much ended now but there were a few late ones that went off a day or two after the first.

We were at the Institute Center for New Years Eve with a few Young Single Adults. Some of our YSAs were in Sweden for a conference so we didn't have as many as we might have. For the most part we had the quiet portion with us. Like most groups there are some that really like to be active and some that are just interested in sitting and watching a movie or doing something quiet. We watched two movies and then watched the people in the street setting off fireworks. (Most of the folks we could see were from the bar next door and they had a bunch of big stuff.) It was about 1:30 AM when we left the center.

Your weather report - most of the time the weather here is pretty constant. We hold most days to a high of 28-35F and lows at 18-28F at night. And we might see the sun for a few minutes a day or go a few days without any sun and then have a couple of days where we see the sun. We do have a forecast that calls for the low to be 0 (goose egg)F tomorrow night and we are supposed to see a little snow over the next three days. A little snow being trace to three inches. So far this year we have had an inch or two on a couple of occasions but that is about it. So we shall see what really happens.

Yesterday we did have a sunny day and so we went for a walk in the country. The temperature was about 28F so we bundled up and went to gather some rays through the slightly exposed skin of the face. When we were walking with the wind it wasn't bad but most of the walk back to the car was into the wind and that was hard on the face. The sun was worth getting cold for!

So the New Year has found us well and working hard. We wish the same to you! May the rain fall, the clouds part, the sun shine , the wind be to your back, and your walk in 2009 be a pleasant one.

God bless and our love to you!

Elder and Sister Karn