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