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