Tuesday, March 3, 2015

OCTOBER 2014 - Wilhelmshaven, Germany

Steady - steady - do not faint!  We are doing Sep & Oct in the same week - (Feb to March 2015) - just a little behind now.  Only 4 months to go to get all caught up.  So much to do - so little time:-)

We started the month of October with a Zone Training Meeting (ZTM) in Oldenburg (OL). Transfers come every 6 weeks, so you an imagine that the faces change often - except for senior missionary couples:-)

Got a quick snap of Elder Wilde (our DL) while we stopped off for lunch at one of our favorite places near the Bahnhof in Rastede, just outside OL toward WHV.  
Yes - this is a beer mug (Beck's), but this i what is a fine missionary drink called Spetzi.

On 3rd Oct, there was a 2d annual District OL Table Tennis Tournament in Osnabrück (OS). It is about 1.5 hours drive from WHV and we had a young man (25) in our branch who was baptized last November, but who is not very active in church attendance.  As he teaches Table Tennis to help support himself, I offered to take him to OS to compete. He thought it would be fun.  It was:-)

On the left of the picture is Hartmut Lehman - the District Executive Secretary. On the right is Br Jahnel (Nelson). It was fun to see some of the older guys (not me) who could really play quite well.  

And the winners are:  I don't know them all, so will have to forego the names. 
In the front row L-R is an unknown young sister, Br Nelson Jahnel, Br Rudolph Münzer (who was recently released as Branch Pres OL and became our Pub Affairs Rep for the District), Br Lehmann as above, and others I don't know.

Brother Jahnel took the winner trophy. This is him with his certificate, medal and trophy.  We will keep the trophy at our Branch Bldg for a year until Oct or Nov 2015 when the next tournament takes place.

The next FUN thing was to get a birthday box from Texas. This box contained goodies and presents for both Sister (Brigitte) Porter and me (Elder :-))
I think the BLACK was intentional and did not choose to ask in order to confirm our suspicions!


YES!!!  I do miss Chips Ahoy cookies.
The Altoids were nothing personal, just can't get them in Germany - at least not where we are.

The confetti was a nice touch and we felt touched by the thought.  We carefully swept all the pieces up and sent them back to origin in the next letter/card we sent:-)
What goes around comes around does come to mind.

The slippers were for Gigi and she was very happy as the pair similar (handmade) were already very worn.  Favorite things seem to go fast:-)  Incidentally, the old ones are definitely on their last threads.


However, I too have some bragging rights - this tie and card are from Elders Wilde and Williams for my birthday.

This is a great opportunity to point out to those who have started the rumor I am tough on missionaries - simply are WRONG!!

(Don't anybody say bribery schemes don't work)

May I have the card please??!!

On 18Oct the District RS put on a Sisters' Day. Many of the Branches got assignments to do a presentation table and be available to talk about it.

WHV RS did a table on being prepared:-)

 The table:-)


L-R: Margaret Langer, Brigitte Porter, Amy Woolcott, Maria Langer, Marion Sandmann

Great job ladies:-)  They did us proud.

Our next pleasant adventure was when Brigitte's cousin came to visit us from Göttingen.

Wolfgang Schwigon is her cousin, son of Werner and Ruth who lived most of their lives in OL.
On the right are: Christiana Schwigon, Gigi and LKP.

I got a poor picture of Christiana, Wolfgang and Gitti on the seawall of the North Sea coast in WHV known as Südstrand - or the south beach.  Nope - not Miami:-)

Wolfgang also took a pic of Gitti and me standing in front of the Kaiser Wilhelmbrücke. He did a much better job, but then the sun was also in the right place as opposed to getting a shot as above:-(

We also went to OL on a trip to visit Uncle Werner and Aunt Ruth Schwigon's grave site.

Br Lehmann cared for Aunt Ruth for a long time as a faithful home teacher.  He told Gitti a lot about this period of time and also was kind enough to come show us where they are buried.

Just wanted to get this pic of Gigi at Südstrand during an October fall day. The wind was blowing and it was definitely brisk!!

We also attended our weekly District Training Meeting in OL. When we have ZTMs, then that replaces a DTM - got it? :-)

Here is Elder Wilde leading the meeting.

Below L-R: Sister Porter, Elder Schaal, Elder Rasband, Elder Wilde, Elder Williams, Elders Smith & Rich, Elder and Sister Benson.

These sticky notes are not to help Elder Wilde's memory - it was part of the lesson and messages.
I simply don't recall what it was about.... Perhaps I need the sticky notes myself:-)

We also had been holding a "Home Evening" for branch members who wished to attend at our apartment. Here are Elders Wilde & Williams, Sisters Margrit Schmidt and Maria Langer.

Elder Williams "beanie" was knitted by a member who is hindered and does knitting as a means of supporting himself thru the German social system. Note German flag colors:-)

The next exciting thing was in our own neighborhood, right across the street from us. The following pics were taken from our living room window.
The trees produce chestnuts, which crunch A LOT under one's feet, is really messy and we are glad they are on the other side of the street:-)


 And the leaves remained for weeks - but the tree trunk pieces and branches were all cleaned away the same day.  Good work,  but less shade for Heinz and Margaret who live across the street. We wave at each other when we go out and they are there. If you look closely, you can see Heinz "supervising" from their balcony seat:-)

 To close this issue, here are a couple of pictures of the walkway along our branch building. Autumn leaves indeed .... a BUNCH of them.  This will continue thru November and will take a lot of efforts to rake/sweep them all up, but them in large, heavy plastic bags and take them away to dump them in a special spot - not NOT the mayor's front lawn:-)

 See you later - be well and allow yourself to be happy too:-)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

September 2014 - Wilhelmshaven (WHV)

September 2014 - WHV

Sorry we are so behind in getting or keeping our Blog up to date.  It just shows we are not taking charge of our time and priorities:-)  Most of our September was spent in many meetings and some very nice places to visit.  Buckle up - here we go----

First thing, there was a combined missionary Zone Meeting of Oldenburg (OL) and Hannover Zones with President Kosak in Hannover.

After the meeting, our Elders (Young & Williams) asked if we could find a bank so they could "reboot" their budgets.  We found a very nice little place in the Hannover area  and some pictures seemed in order:-)

Here are the Elders coming back from "hitting" the bank. They did seems to have a little more spring in their steps, as they had discovered the joy of budget "reboot".

 We also found this building that was built in the 1500s in the parking area where we stopped.

OF COURSE - great opportunity for a quik pic!
Brigitte likes so much of the German architecture. I find them both beautiful:-)

And as our grandkids like to say: "And then guess what".  Elder Young was transferred  on the 4th. It takes a team effort to move missionaries out and in to apartments. Elder Young seemed to be here for such a short time and we were sad to see him move on.  This was his start as a DL in the field and he did well.

Elder Young loading the Porter Shuttlecraft at Gödenser Weg. (Go ahead and try to pronounce it. If you can, then next step is to put in your papers to join us in the field) :-)

L-R: Elder Young, Elder Williams, Sister & Elder Porter at the train station (Banhof -- bon - hoaf) in WHV. Behind us are some of the back views of shops and businesses in the "Innenstadt", or inner city.

Of course, the best picture is when Sister Porter comes out of the shadows to stand with "her" missionaries.

Later in the day, Elder Wilde arrived at the WHV train station and Elder Williams hurried to help his friend. 
Elders Wilde and Williams are BOTH from Cedar City, UT and knew each other in high school there. It was quite a reunion.
We did our usual "initiation" and took the Elders to lunch at the BBQ right near our branch building. They serve up very good hamburgers and fries. Haven't found an Elder yet who didn't like this part of the program. Will have to get some pictures for our memory book - our minds don't work that well anymore:-)  We also have a "Henkersmahlzeit" - which is literally a "hangman's meal" - or a last meal before the victim is executed.  It dose make parting such sweet sorrow - and it keeps the Elders well fed and a bit uplifted.

But back to work.  We have a contract for the buildign that a landscape company trims the hedges around our building twice a year. We like that, as our active branch members are becoming quite elderly. There are fewer less than 50 than over 50 yrs old.
This is one of the younger ones - Reinhold Ramic. Br Ramic has always been willing to step in when someone is in need.

I took this with my iPhone 4S - and it shows!
It was also later this month that my 4S seemed to "crash" and I had to buy an iPhone 6. I can attest that the prices for such in Germany are quite a bit higher than in USA, but I couldn't get one shipped from USA here because of German law. So I bought it out of Berlin Apple and then had Apple USA help me set it up and get operational again.  There are many such instances, but one learns to accept it and also learns how to  work with it or around it in the spirit of the law - if not always by the "letter".
It is true - the "letter of the law killeth". If I had to follow the letter of the craziness I don't understand, I would be dead of a heart attach from frustration:-) Learning to adapt and succeed is also a very important life experience.

OH YES - i also got my monthly haircut from Sr Beuster who does a great job!  She keeps Sister Porter and me in good trim.

We also had a great experience on Sep 14th. Elder Bednar and two other General Authorities from the US, visited many sites in Europe, etc.  Elder Bednar came to Berlin and we had a mission-wide meeting with him.  The evening before, he had a special meeting for young adults and we were able to attend.  The next morning, he held a leadership meeting with Stake/District Presidencies and Ward/Branch Bishoprics/Presidencies. The sisters had a special meeting with Sr Bednar. It was very interessting to watch and experience them work and interact with the attendees.

Toward the end of September, 23-26, Sister Porter and I received approval from the Mission President to drive to southern Germany to visit some of Brigitte's relatives from her Father's side of the family.
As Russian forces came closer to the outskirts of Breslau, Germany - where Sister Porter was born - their family caught the last train out to the "West". Her father's family all stayed behind in what became East Germany under Russian rule. That part of Germany was annexed to and became territory of Poland and the name was later changed to Wroclaw.
In any case, the last surving sister (Ruth Priesnitz) of her father Kurt Max Priesnitz - lives in Wurzen, near Leipzig. Gigi also has an Aunt Eva Priesnitz who lives there. Eva was married to Gigi's father's youngest brother, who died some years ago. So - off to Wurzen we went.
We like to go to a new Greek restaurant right across the street from where Aunt Eva lives. We invited Eva, her friend Harry, and Gitti's cousin Joachen and his wife, Heidi to all have dinner together.
Joachen and Heidi had made the trip down from Bad Doberan on the coast of the Ostsee (Baltic) to also travel together from there to Tanne where the most of the known Priesnitz cousins lived.

L-R: Kent & Brigitte, Harry & Eva,  and Joachin and Heidi.

L-R Eva, Brigitte & Heidi

L-R Kent, Joachen, Harry

We also were able to visit Aunt Ruth (Tante Ruth) in the hospital in Wurzen.

 Joachen & Heide then led the way in our drive to Tanne to visit the cousings. Tanne is a little dot on the German map in the neighborhood of Hof and Thüringen Germany.  Here is one pic of the area as we came into Tanne.

Along the way, we stopped for a "true" Thüringen Wurst at a littel roadside "grill".

We saw this old vintage car with was one of the DDR built vehicles - mostly out of plastic.  I assume it still would run,

but the fellow who was minding the store was sound asleep in his chair be the grill and we waited for about 2 minutes to see when he would wake up. He did and we got our Wurst with mustard between a slided hard roll. I should have taken a picture as it is like a foot long hotdog being put between two halves of a doughnut sized roll.

We found our hotel and also got to visit some cousins the next day. 

The hotel restaurant is off to the right and our rooms were on the left as we came thru the Hof entryway.

The restuarant entrance - but we were eating out for lunches and dinners. Breakfast was nice and the people were friendly:-)

Interesting bike rack at the entrance gate to the Hof.

We stopped along the way to the hotel to see Margita (Priesnitz) and Thomas Hegner in Tanne. Brigitte had been talking with Margitta to make all the arrangements and coordinate the cousin meeting.  Thomas is a teacher and does quite well with English. They also travelled in the US by bus and saw Grand Canyon and also stayed overnight in St George. They thought the area was really beautiful, but admitted it was not during July or August in the Dixie Desert:-)

Brigitte meets Margitta's twin sister Monica (L-R) Brigitte, Margitta, Monica and Heidi (Bordelle)

Just up the street from Monica's house, the old homestead of Brigitte's grandfather Priesnitz still stands. It has had a number of modifications, but there was much to talk about and recall of the "old" days of the family. Joachen also remembers sledding down the streets and running around this rural area.  It must have been fun for kids, as kids can find all sorts of things to have fun with.  We seem to forget how to do that as we age:-)

 Just saw this unusal building and colors and took a pic while we stopped to pick up a few Euros from a bank for Joachen and Heidi:-)  Nice plaza and lots more pics, but will hold off overloading you with them.

We also visited Wolfgang and Liana Priesnitz.  Wish the weather had not been so overcast, but we were just happy to meet the cousins who we had never seen. 

Notice that Liana sets a mean plate of "snacks". She insited all the calories had been baked out of them.  We accepted that and enjoyed our visit and getting to know them a bit.

The cousins met at Gasthof Ganz for dinner 25Sep14.  As you can see, Ganz means Goose. The cousins stand in the street awaiting the arrival of all and for a group picture.

L-R front: Monica (Priesnitz) Leisner, Brigitte (Priesnitz) Porter, Margitta (Priesnitz) Hegner.

L-R back row: Manfred Priesnitz, Joachen Bordelle, Wolfgang Priesnitz

Dinner: L-R around the table -
Thomas Hegner, Joachen Bordelle (hidden), Manfred Priesnitz, Wolfgang Priesnitz, Heike (Manfred) Priesnitz, Monica Leisner.

L-R: Monica Leisner, Heike Priesnitz, Margitta Hegner, Brigitte Porter, Thomas Hegner (standing), Manfred Priesnitz (Heike).

L-R Kent Porter, Thomas Hegner, Joachen Bordelle, Wolfgang Leisner, Manfred Priesnitz, Wolfgang Priesnitz

Brigitte having a great time with her "Priesnitz" cousins.

L-R Liana (Wolfgang) and Heike (Manfred) Priesnitz


Brigitte next to Monica

The next day (26Sep), we all took a trip to look at a castle in the neighborhood. Along the way we came to an observation tower and decided to stop and climb it. There was something like 105 steps, and we took it slooooow with rest stops along the way. Some of these folks demonstrated that they stay in shape with lots of walking and biking, and just went right on up.

It was very foggy and overcast so the view was not really great. But this view was just fine:-)

This view shows you what living off the fat of the land can do for/to you.

The parking lot from the top.  The cars look a long ways off, but in fact, they are a bit smaller than we are used to. 

The folks like to live within their means and also favor frugality.  Not a bad idea.

Here's what one view is supposed to look like. Hmmmm.

Another one in how it is supposed to look.

The actual - no - it is foggy and not just a low pixel camera:-)

supposed to look like - but actual was not very visible.  Would have been pretty.

Oh wait - there it is. Yup, it would have been much nicer with the sun showing brightly:-)

Ok - one last supposed to look like and then off to the castle.  Not off with their heads - this is not a fairy tale with a Cheshire cat.


Right - let's go down to the river and eat. 

Manfred shows Gitti where we are.  Lots of fishing around here.

We're here- This looks good:-)

Boy does it ever:-) Very nice.

NO!  Not there ---HERE!!
We going for the ambiance of the area, and remember, we talked about frugality:-)

OK - so is it quain, rustic, or just rusty?
Doesn't matter, the foods good and the price is right.

Hmmm  I recommend something fried or well cooked as opposed to fresh and raw or smoked.

JUST EAT & quitcherbellyachin!



 OK - now let's go to the castle.

Stay with us and try to keep up.

OK - I will apologize up front for not labelling all of these pics - but enjoy going thru them and visiting Schloß Burgk with us.

After the castle, we visited Manfred and Heike's home. Manfred is a fireplace and chimney specialist and wanted to pass it on to his sons. He isn't sure they are interested in this line of work - as many father learn:-)

Very nice property and well kept. The rabbits above were also interesting as many families raise rabbits for food and subsistence support vs buying everything.
We had a great dinner at the same Gasthof to the Goose, much like the pics above. It was a great time and everyone really enjoyed each other.. Gigi got to see many books and notes, pictures, etc. from the families at dinner that night. We were also able to get copies of some of it and it was great to have this otherwise "lost" information.

We left the next day for WHV and were so happy to have had this wonderful experience.
See you in the next issue as we catch up October (Oktober):-)