We spent about an hour updating our Blog yesterday, then I hit some key and everything disappeared - never to be seen again. Hence, a retry --- and please, no comments about it being too bad that it all disappeared and that we are redoing it :-)
It has been very busy since the end of Feb when we last "Blogged". There was much ado in the branch with family dynamics and needs of the members and church functional needs. Sometimes folks who have families, jobs and a lot on their plates can seem overwhelmed and need a break to regroup.
Branch WHV was reorganized a bit with my being placed as the Branch President, one of the members accepting the calling to become EQ President, and a little shuffling in the branch presidency. The most recent Branch President accepted the call to act as a counsellor and one of the other counselors was happy to get a rest and stick to being Branch Finance Secretary. The other counselor stayed in the presidency and this seems to be working well. As you might imagine, much of the challenge has been having to use a whole lot of German:-) Some experiences have been very special when I feel the Spirit step in to help me when conducting or speaking. He is VERY WELCOME and it is comforting to know he is there if I do my part.
The RS (FHV) has also been very active and involved with very good things. Sister Porter (Gigi, Gramma, Gitti, Brigitte) has been doing great things since she was called as RS President in December 2013.
In March, the ladies celebrated RS "birthday" anniversary, and it was very well attended.
They set up the Chapel for their program and it was very nice:-) With space limitations, many things are multipurpose for us here.
The ladies laughed at some of the antics untel ther were crying :-)
Such things as presented one of them with a new BMW! However, this also means Brot mit Wurst - or bread with cold cuts :-)
Another was a new kitchen appliance - a potato peeler!
Another one was a candle lit dinner for two - a candle and a can of soup!!!
They spared no expense! I don't know whaat some of the others were, but all the members, the semi- & in-actives, & nonmembers all enjoyed the experience and "bonding" that went on.
It was a very nice event and experience.
On 19Mar we had our weekly district meeting in Oldenburg (OL) at their church building. We are a little jealous (or covetous) of such a nice building - but that gives us more motivation to get more members so we can justify one ourselves :-)
This is a pic of the back of the bldg with Sr Porter and me, along with Elder Stephens (one of our Zone Leaders - ZLs)
This is the Edlers in our zone at that time -the Sr was good enough to offer herself to take the picture :-)
From L-R: Elder Flack, Katy (Houston), TX - Elder Kossin, Bountiful, UT (DL) - Elder Brown, Gilbert, AZ (ZL) - Elder Porter, Dallas, TX - Elder Stephens, Logan, UT (ZL) - Elder Matthews, So Jordan, UT - Elder Billings, Provo, UT.
DLs are in Leer (which in German = "empty") - the ZLs are in OL - the rest of us are in WHV.
Also in March, we and the Elders in WHV received official invitations that are sent to every new "move-in" to WHV. We arrived here in Sep2013 and the letter came to us in late Feb2014, so we anticipated this is a year thing - sort of like annual (I know - LAME). There were about 70-80 people who attended, including WHV "chamber of commerce" and the mayor (Bügermeister).
There was much presenting and slides which showed what is on WHV's dream sheet. We hope they are successful, as at the moment, so many jobs have been lost and industry close down in this area, that it seems heavily populated by retirees and young folks going to school. We may not be running in the same circles as the middle-aged crowd - so we don't really know.
After the program, all were excused to mix and mingle, drink their beers . or other "refreshments", and eat what was available to order from the pub that was in the bldg. We stepped outside, as they also had a "band" that was very loud. We went out to the entry foyer and chatted with a couple of folks who were there. Gigi said, "We came to meet the Mayor", so she went over and asked someone who looked official about that. She took Gigi inside the pub and Gigi ran the Mayor to ground and dragged him outside to meet us.
The mayor came along and did his political thing and welcomed us. He did seem like he wanted to get back inside to continue the beer he was holding, and to mix and mingle with the "voters" of WHV - so he politely excued himself and we also went on our way. It was fun and entertaining to see Sister Porter going after the Mayor and making things happen - a great example for the men who watched her do her thing:-)
22Mar14 we all met in Leer to participate in a display and "Finding" effort for the District.
This is a panoramic of the downtown "square". It was a little rainy, windy and even cold, but we stayed with it and met a lot of people. We hope the Elders are able to get some good meetings from our efforts.
Here are Elders (L-R) Billilngs and Stephens "finding". Elder Stephens has a naturalness about him that make people want to stop and chat when he approaches them. We noticed they spent some good time with a number of people they stopped along the path.
Here are Elder Stephens and Billings chatting with some of the locals :-)
This is our group.
A very nice - and energetic - member of the Leer Branch took the picture.
He is from Holland, but has lived in this area of Germany for about 15 years. He is very enthusiastic about "missionary" work and was looking forward to getting a calling in the branch the next day - Sunday :-
And - here we are singing "'Til We Meet Again" before we close up shop.
Elder Kossin did very,very well playing his violin while we were "finding". It was quite cold and I noted he just wore his suit, no jacket and I didn't see a sweater underneath.
Sister Porter and I treated them to lunch at a local Subway sandwich shop just down the street behind us.
As we were leaving, the rain really started pouring down - but we had our umbrellas, so we didn't get as wet as we could have.
the thunder and lightning was not as exciting as we get in Texas :-) I may change my mind with more experiences here :-)
On 29March our branch volunteered to clean up a pretty good sized park near our bldg. The park is named Brommygrün (go ahead and try to pronounce it :-). We planned ahead and picked up 20 "Mormon Helping Hands" vests from the Mission Home. However, you will notice not everone is wearing a vest. That's because we had 24 show up!!! What a great showing!
Here is Elder Brown going after he leaves!
Here are Brother Schulz and Sister Woolcott. He is origanlly from the WHV area, however, she comes from Chicago :-)
It is an adjustment for her, as she struggles with German, but they both so so much for the work and are great people:-) We are grateful to have them with us.
Here are Brother Beuster (L), ,Brother Offner (M) and young Leon Stelter (R). They make a great team:-)
Leon will become 12 this year and is looking forward to graduating from Primary.
Here are Elders (L-R) Flack, Matthews, Kossin and Stephens taking a water break.
Water break - oh sure - BUSTED !!!
It was really great having them all here. They really made a difference in our success and also their cheerful personalities were uplifting to all of us too.
To the right are Lukas Stelter and Sister Schmidt working together.
Lukas has just turned 14 and will be made a teacher very soon.
Sr Schmidt was baptized about 5 years ago and is currently a branch missionary. She plays a nice role as "Oma" (Grandma) to Lukas and it is nice to them working together on so many things.
Ma & Pa Porter got some good licks in too.
We found quite a treasure of leaves, etc. naer this bench on the playground area for kids.
It kept us occupied for about 30 minutes and we all had targeted 2 hours of work to get the whole park done.
Here are Leon Stelter and his Dad, Jürgen.
Brother Stelter was recently released as Branch President and ther are a great family.
His energy and enthusiasm are catching!!
Much better than a flu virus - but both are hard to keep up with for old folks:-)
We do what we can, as do they all. Many have medical challenges and handicaps, but here they are, working right along and pitching in without complaining about this or that ailment.
It was interesting to see how we all felt the day after:-) We were lower on the enthusiasm scale, but still getting things done :-)
Amy Woolcott and Margrit Schmidt coming to the rally point, tired, but still willing to go on if needed.
The Elders pose over their work -and ours.
These are about 1/3 of the bags we all filled. There are as many here as are at the other end of the Park. There are also many not showing in this picture - so we can take great satisfaction in our accomplishments today.
SO - that catches up MARCH!!f
What a great month - and we hope to see our pictures and a write-up in the Liahona in the future.
We thought there would be someone from the WHV News there, as we had the biggest group that supported the WHV Putztag effort - but Nope!
Perhaps next Spring - but we did what we did for the purposes of contributing, not the noteriety.
The group picture of the branch was put up on the branch bulleting board and there were many great comments about it - it built unity and showed what we can do when we work together.
Now to get April caught up:-