Easter Week. Etc.

April 19, 2017

Easter Monday is a holiday over here in Germany. The day after Easter, no stores, banks, or schools are open and people just enjoy the day, often going out for a stroll. Back in the older days, they used to have an Easter parade, but now not so much. Several members of the church and the missionaries and  Gentz and I went on an "Easter walk" along the beach in Warnemude....and we had to wear winter coats, as Spring here is rather chilly and windy, but it was a fun morning! Apparently here with this group the custom is to get some Danish ice cream when finished with the walk:)

 Warnemende is always delightful to visit; it is  right on the Baltic Sea Coast and people are  strolling about and street musicians and "statues" abound like this one with Gentz. It's a charming village and a popular stop for Cruise Ships.
 With our young missionaries on the pier...yes, we have "civilian" clothes on as Mondays are our preparation day and not too much fun to walk on the beach in Sunday clothes:))
                          This is a view of Warnemunde from the top floor (women's bathroom) of the Hotel Neptune. 


Speaking of ice cream and desserts, Gentz and I wanted to host a dinner for those who have nowhere really to go for Easter dinner, and since our apartment is too small, we had it at the church. I'm so sad that we didn't get a picture, but it was such a fun event...Daniel from Ghana was there, Vladimir and his sweet family from the Ukraine, Ignacio, our new move in member from Mexico, Bodo, a German from our English class that meets on Tuesdays, the missionaries and us. Vladimir's sweet wife, Nadia made a lovely Chocolate Torte for which I was ever so happy about as I made some no-bake cookies, that should have been called no "set up " cookies! I'm sure you've all made them..so easy..sugar, milk, oats, nutella, drop them on wax paper. Well, mine just wanted to stick to the paper and after I had frozen them to try to undo the damage and put them in a container to take to church, they were just all glopped together. But we all had a good laugh about it and I went around with a spoon and plopped some no bake cookie on each dessert plate next to Nadia's cake. We had such a good time, we would like to do that more often..minus the no bake cookies. Gentz had made his famous rolls in the shape of a big bunny...his rolls just don't turn out so great over here. Our oven is very small and doesn't heat evenly, so we think we are done with those as well and besides, there are so many bakeries with lovey rolls, why bother? 

If any of you have good recipes that are easy and feed a crowd, send them my way. I looked up German potato pie by Rachel Ray and made it for the missionaries last week but it wasn't so great either. I think I'm just going to have to stick to barbecued pulled chicken and pork and Italian Beef. Good grief! 

Friday night, we had a real treat. Yes, I cooked again..this time a chicken broccoli casserole but they don't have regular cream of chicken soup over here, so I had to put something together like it. It turned out all right and we had our little neighbor Katharina over. WE got to know here through the window across the street. I nicknamed her "Clara" when we first moved here and I think just looking over at what she was doing (usually studying, as she is studying to be a doctor) made me feel less lonely for my sweet daughters. Finally, we waved after a couple of months, then we met her on the street, found out her real name and invited her over for dinner. As seems to be German custom, she brought over a lovely plant as a gift with a darling little card she had drawn attached to it. She is only 18, lives about 6 hours away, loves to dance, play the piano and draws the sweetest little pictures. She was just a delight and spoke good English..I think we will be fast friends. We like to think we help her be a little less lonely when she looks out the window and sees us and our lights as well.

Today we said goodby to our young missionary, Elder Keller. He came to Rostock the same time that we did, so we have 'grown up " together. He is such a dear, dear young man and we will miss him! We feel so blessed to be able to share in this work with these young men and women and are so humbled and inspired by the good work they do day in and day out because or their love of and devotion for the Lord. Their work is not easy but yet they don't complain. They get transferred to another area in the mission every three to six months. Gentz took him to the train station where he will travel for 7 hours to get to his new city and we will receive a new missionary to be companion to Elder Benitz this evening. 
 Elder Keller's "favorite" chair in our apartment with the Apple Shorla that he loves (Apple juice mixed with sparkling water)
                              Elder Keller with Bodo and Sigrid, two "Rostockers" from our English Class

I am grateful for the lessons we are learning over here and the nearness of the Savior that we feel; I know He is aware of each one of us and we can receive that "peace which passeth all understanding" as we turn to Him and seek His help and His enabling power. It was so lovely to reflect a little more than usual on the sacrifice that He made for us so that we can all live again someday on Easter.  I gave a talk in Church Sunday about being united with those we love who have left this earth, and for those who suffer so with infirmities in this life. All tears, all grief, all pain and disappointment will be wiped away as we join with the choirs above who sing Alleluia! to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost! I'm so grateful for the knowledge that I have that this life is temporary and that we are eternal beings. From a talk given by Elder Clayton in the latest General Conference he stated: "Because of God's holy plan, we know that birth and death are actually just milestones on our journey to eternal life with our Heavenly Father. They are essential parts of our Father's plan - sacred moments when mortality and heaven intersect." How very true!! And again, from a Church Leader, Neal A. Maxwell, "Death is a comma, not an exclamation point! Because of what Jesus did that Easter Sunday so many years ago, this is true.

Have a wonderful Spring wherever you might be! 

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