"The Pearl of the North"

Oct. 11, 2017

Rostock has been referred to as the "Pearl of Northern Germany". When the cruise ships  disembark from their Baltic Sea Tour at Warnemunde, the passengers are encouraged to come to Rostock and see the various sites: St. Marienkirche (kirche means church in German) with the 13th century clock and the apostles that go around Jesus at the count of 12 as well as Petrikirche which is even older and you can go up in the tower and see the whole town. 

                                  The tower of Petrikirche can be seen along the Rostock skyline.
It is so funny to see this old church which has stood here for centuries and now see modern cars. What did this street look like in 1400? Lined with carriages? Horses? And the church has seen it all.

                                                          The clock at St. Marienkirche

See the apostles going around at the top? They all get Christ's blessing except for Judas:)

 It is interesting as one goes through all of these old churches that many of the nobility
 are entombed within the walls of the church. This is a duke, duchess and their child.

I just cannot get enough of these beautiful stained glass windows!!

Not only is there a lot here in Rostock, but just within an hour or two there are many wonderful sites to see. From Mid August to the end and then the first week of October we had  visitors from America  and it was fun to show them all the enchanting places, so I thought it was time to share some of them with you.

Wismar is a nearby coastal village that is a World Heritage site that means it has been declared to be a culturally important site and should be preserved for the world to see.

                                            Just one of the three beautiful churches here

 We were treated to an impromptu short organ recital as we were strolling around the church.

Gentz found this poignant picture of a German soldier he was particularly moved by. He looked into his eyes and felt  sorrow as he realized that this young man was probably going to his death. On his belt buckle it says: "Gott mit uns". That means God with us. He very well may have thought that God was with him and perhaps he was. Not all German soldiers were true Nazis. They were simply soldiers, doing their duty to their country,  and we hope that indeed God was with them in their dying hour. Isn't that what we would wish for everyone?

 My friend Becky and I in front of another old church that isn't open for touring now. 
 There was a downtown street Swedish Festival the day we were there.Sweden ruled Northern Germany for several hundred years it seems. It was great fun with people strolling, bands playing and vendors selling their wares. 

From Wismar, you can go just 30 minutes to Schwerin, the Capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the state in which we are located. There is the wonderful castle which is the second most visited castle next to Neuschwanstein in Southern Germany. I'm sure you have heard of it and seen pictures as Walt Disney designed the Disney Castle after it, but this one, you have probably never heard of. It was built in the 15th Century and has been rebuilt and added on to so it is much older than the one in Southern Germany. My sister Julie who has been to Neuschwanstein loved Schwerin and felt it was somehow more impressive. That's what we like to hear:))

The king's room in the castle. Above are all of the town coats of arms from the surrounding areas that make up the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

On the Castle grounds, an artist well known in Europe places these frames in front of natural settings and then you can stand in them and the natural scene behind you looks just like a real painting. True natural art! We were amazed at how much it looked like a painted landscape!

Let's go to Lübeck next about 11/2 hours from Rostock. It has a wonderful medieval downtown section with of course, more amazing churches and also twin gates that once stood at the very outskirts of this city to protect it against marauders. 

Gentz has this terrible (sweet) habit of kissing me in front of many of the sites we visit, so I thought I would just share one with you:))

Lubeck is the Marzipan Capital of the world for those of you who like that almond favored candy. We found a great store where Julie bought some souvenirs. They even had a Twin gate made out of Marzipan!

Lübeck platz (center) and Rathaus (City Hall)

                                    I loved this shot of several church towers all together.

 This was a cool old street we happened upon as we were traveling to the churches. Such old buildings and streets. Even a Puppet Museum! Germans love museums!! I wish it had been opened but the day we were there happened to be Tag Der Einigkeit (Day of Unity). It is the day that Germany was officially reunified with East and West together once again. No stores or museums were open. 

That is about it for Lubeck as we ended up in quite the little, no big rainstorm and had to run for our lives to the car!! It was a terrific time however and we enjoyed touring this wonderful old city. I still want to share Warnemunde and especially Bad Doberan (my favorite) with you but will do so in another blog. Thanks so much for coming along with us on this little trip and we hope that you will be as astonished as we all have been with the beauty and the history here. Rostock area is a well kept secret, but if you ever get to Germany, make sure you travel North to the "Pearl of Northern Germany"! We are so grateful to be here for a time!  Tchüss!

For God So Loved the World

Sept. 9, 2017

As I watched this video published on Lds.Org my heart was overcome with all  the Savior has done for each one of us and why He came to earth so many years ago. As a young child growing up in the Methodist Church, I sang with gusto: "Jesus Loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so." Now as an adult member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I still know that Jesus loves me, but the children's songs have advanced to "I'm trying to be like Jesus" and "If the Savior stood beside me" giving a little more accountability to what we are to do with this knowledge of a Savior. He sacrificed so much, loves us  and tells us simply: "If ye love me, Keep my Commandments." (John 14:15) and "As I have loved you, Love one another."

Just this morning, my dear husband said to me on his way to a street display with the young elders,"You know why I came on this mission as hard as it was to leave our comfortable home, our dear friends and our family who we love so much? It is because I can't stand to see people suffer. I want them to have the same peace and joy that I have because of my love for Jesus Christ. I want them to have someone to turn to when loved ones die and they cry out of grief, when they feel alone, when bad things happen as they do often through no fault of their own."

Because of what the Savior suffered in Gethsemane, He can succor us, He knows just how it feels to have cancer, to have a sick child, to be addicted, to lose that which is most dear to us, to feel alone. None of us can cry out that no one understands if we have the knowledge that Jesus Christ lives and He is right there with us and He felt in that sacred Garden,  just what we are now feeling . He came to earth so that we might live more abundantly and joyfully in this life and have eternal life in the world to come. That is why God, our Heavenly Father out of his great, powerful love sent Him here. "For God so loved the world...." (John 3:16.)

I will never forget years ago as a young mother with a critically ill baby I fell to  my knees on a particularly hard day, and cried out, "Oh, Father, I can't stand to see Jakob suffer like this anymore."  My answer? Oh so quietly into my heart and mind came these words: "I know, I saw my Son suffer too." He understood! He had to stand by as His only begotten Son died on the cross..how His heart must have broken as He had to turn away so that even that rejection of the Spirit His Son could understand. The earth broke into two, mountains fell down, the whole world was covered in darkness at the death of His divine son. His heart was breaking.Yet, He, the most powerful being in the universe, reached out to me in my grief and heard me. I knew I could get up from my knees and go on, a little more peaceful, a lot more comforted. "As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be." (Hymn, How firm a Foundation).


Our baby did not live to see two years old, but because of what our Heavenly Father did for us in sending His son, I know that we will see Jakob again. We will live forever and be united as a family because of the covenants we made in the Temple. Yes, I know that Jesus loves me. I sang it with fervor when eight years old and now I  sing with fervor the hymn: "I know that My Redeemer Lives." He certainly does and it is He who can be our closest friend. I know that Jesus loves me and you and you and you and you and everyone in the world. Does God love us? Yes, He loved us so much He sent His son. And they live! That is our message. That is our mission. 

Zoko and Hansa Sail!

August 14, 2017

I am a missionary and I am sometimes a tourist in Germany. As a missionary this week, my favorite companion, Elder Franz and I rode a train with our two young missionaries Elders Clyde and Behrndt to Berlin for a double Zone meeting (area of missionaries) called ZOKO. These are held once a transfer which is once every six weeks.

 Dear Elder Clyde from Utah, always happy!

My traveling and cooking buddy, Elder Behrndt from Southern Germany!

My dear husband hates driving in Berlin and so I figure that every time we go there now, it will be on the train which was very relaxing for him of course. It took quite a bit longer than a car simply because of schedules but I felt like a real missionary, running to catch the bus just in time to get to the church building. There is nothing I love more than seeing a missionary run...it fills me with such a love and gratitude for them and all they are willing to do and sacrifice for the Lord. Gentz used to do this quite regularly 40 years ago as a young missionary in Southern Germany. 

At the Zoko, there were 12 young sister missionaries, 32 elders and four of us senior missionaries. I can't quite describe to you what it is like to be in a chapel with all of them and their wonderful mission president, President Fingerle and his dear wife. There is a strength and a spirit that fills my soul with awe and reverence as I see them and the work that they are so freely doing. They all stand and in unison recite from memory their missionary purpose and Doctrine and Covenants 4, all in German. 
“My purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”

Then Doctrine and Covenants 4:

Then we are instructed...by our Mission President and His wife, by other missionary leaders. Some of the gems I wrote down:
We need to continually improve ourselves...even just 1% can make a huge difference. If your discipleship is serious it will show. We can't go home after the mission and retire. We need to stay involved in people's lives. Become like the Savior.

Sisters Gines and Harger are both going home in ten days. They have been awesome missionaries. Here are a just a few more:
 Elder Skidmore who served here in Rostock when we first arrived in December and is now one of the assistants to the President in Berlin. He holds a special place in our hearts. Tremendous young man and missionary!
 Sister Ingalls, from Minnesota, the home of our heart and yes she is related to Laura Ingalls Wilder!!

 Our dear Mission President Fingerle and his wife. A mission president serves for three years with his family; he and his wife are from Southern Germany and still have two daughters at home. They are dedicated, fearless and valiant in their testimonies and wonderful teachers! How we love them!

 It is always good to renew ties with our fellow senior missionaries. Elder and Sister Ball (the one with the hat) are going home in September after having served 23 months in the mission office tirelessly. My they have worked hard and we will miss them!! The Schwicks on the other end from Alaska will be replacing them. Sister Brown next to me is from Germany,.left 50 years ago and married her husband who had served as a young missionary here. 

And so our day went and then we headed home. After a stop at Elder Berndt's favorite Doner place to eat supper! If you don't know what a Doner is...google it! Like my favorite place to eat!!

                                                              Waiting for the bus!

An old church on a busy Berlin Street. There is always something interesting to see.

Elder Berhndt reading a letter from home. He goes back to Southern Germany, his home, in ten days after serving 24 months. How we will miss him! He's such a great missionary and an excellent cook as well:))
It was a good day, a full day and a fun missionary day!!

Then the Hansa Sail was here in Rostock this weekend and so like good tourists, we went and checked out all the ships. It is like a car rally but instead all these huge ships come sailing into the harbor. And on the wharf side there are carnival rides,  lots of merchants selling whatever you might want....think state fair and like a million people. Our apartment is like two blocks away from the harbor so there was a steady stream of festive people heading down there for three days.

Such Beautiful old ships!! It would have been fun to take a ride on one but we figured it was probably too pricey, so we just enjoyed walking around.


We attended on Thursday with Katrine and Alex from church. They are great and Katharina the other family member is on a mini mission in Southern Germany. She is seventeen and just joined the church last August. They are a wonderful family whom we have grown to love so much! 
Beautiful day and not too many crowds

Then on Saturday after a little grocery shopping we went with our "adopted daughters", Nosheen from Pakistan and Vimal from India. We always have a great time with them. Such fun!

So, all in all it was a great week as a missionary and a tourist and we continue to be astonished at the beauty here, both in the countryside and the people and the missionaries. What a rich experience we are having and how grateful we are to God for it!! Life is good! 
Tchüss till next time!

Jeri and Gentz