Monday, August 8, 2016

A String of Visitors - Come to Germany in August!

We have been blessed with a string of visitors. Wonderful having family and friends stop by.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir toured Europe for the first time in many years, so beginning with their visit, we have had old friends and then family come see us. How wonderful to have this opportunity to share the people and beauty of Germany with those we love.

Our first visitor was Deby Manning Jensen. She sings with the choir. Jeff was her early morning seminary teacher many years ago, and she was a babysitter for our young children occasionally. We were thrilled to reconnect in person. She was kind enough to spend an entire Saturday morning with us just wandering around Frankfurt. We're so proud of her. She is a teacher, a mom, and a singer. She is a delight to be around.

We love Deby. What a treat.
The same Saturday we spent with Deby, our old friends Ward and Crystal Molen came to town. They were seeing Europe and planning their trip loosely around the Tabernacle Choir's itinerary. It's amazing to have friends that you have known longer than you have been married. Ward and Crystal were in Jeff's church congregation when Jeff first came home from his mission. Crystal gave Jeff a little push when he was mulling over whether he should have the courage to ask this wonderful girl to marry him. They are so easy to be around. We put them up in a vacant apartment we currently have in our building and enjoyed having them with us at church the Sunday after the choir concert in Frankfurt and then again the following weekend when they returned from a trip to Brussels, Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
Great to see dear friends
The concert was held in the Jahrhunderthalle (Century Hall) in a Frankfurt suburb. The concert hall was completely full. We had wonderful seats a few rows from the front. The music was fantastic. We sat next to a woman who had driven 100 kilometers (about 60 miles) to attend the concert with a friend. The public affairs people had arranged for a very nice reception prior to the concert for local religious and community leaders.

Borrowed from Mormon Newsroom:Press Article and Photos

The Sunday evening after the Frankfurt concert, about 30 members of the choir put on a "Music and the Spoken Word" fireside at our chapel in Offenbach. We went with the Molens and really enjoyed that, too. A former missionary from Germany spoke to the group in German, and Jeff and Elder Jarrard were impressed with his German. The choir closed with "God Be With You Til We Meet Again" -- in German. They closed the evening concert the day before the same way. People were clearly moved hearing this sweet hymn in their own language. At the fireside, Clay Christiansen, one of the Tabernacle organists played a piece and provided other music. Okay, our church house organs are pretty common, and the one in Offenbach is not an exception. It is not a pipe organ and generally is played by someone with good intentions who plays it mostly like a piano. Brother Christiansen made the organ live. It was amazing. So, it really is the touch of the master's hand that makes all the difference. It's not so much about the instrument.
Crystal got this great picture of Clay Christiansen at the organ.
On the heels of the choir, our son-in-law Dave dropped in for a couple of days on his way home from Iraq. We loved having him, and we kind of wore him out. Guess we can still go the distance.
Lavender smells wonderful - and the bees love it

A great day on a Rhine cruise and a late afternoon visit to the Niederwald Denkmal above Rüdesheim - dedicated to German national unity. . . and victory over the French in 1870.

Heroic pieces of sculpture

Amazing frieze and relief on the face of the monument
Dave and Janet enjoying the flea market in Sachenhausen

Tried to talk Dave into telling Ayla he bought her this for prom

Flea market on the bank of the river in Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen is every other Saturday. It's a mob.
Also went to Heidelberg

Part of the castle ruin

Some of the castle inner court and portions still intact

Dedicated to sons of the architect who both died

Original builder of the Heidelberg castle

Remainder of the castle built for the daughter of the English king who married in

We had a great tour guide who made the history come alive

Restored portion, but the restorers got it mostly wrong.

Love the ceilings

The church survived

From Königstuhl looking down on Heidelberg

King of the mountain

Good to be together, even with your eyes closed
Dave left for home on a Sunday morning, and our friends the Molens were back the same day. We were able to spend a day with them cruising the Rhine. It was a relaxing enjoyable day full of sight seeing and talk. When you get along with someone well and you share a common love for the Savior and His restored gospel, you can talk about a lot of things.
Jeff wants to travel down the Rhine this way.

Hat and umbrella. Lots of sun and warm temperatures.

St Goar boasts this giant cuckoo clock

Ward had the breezy spot and was staring at a castle

Castle Rheinstein

Rheinstein at a better angle

Disembarking at Assmanshausen

Passing the barge

At the end of the day
Then more family! Mimi, Jared, and Wesley showed up on Monday morning for 12 days (August 1-12). We feel so lucky. More about their visit in the next post since it isn't over yet.