Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Visit to Amsterdam

A request came from the mission office to go to Almere and inventory the contents of the storage units the mission rents up there.  The contents included  furniture and appliances that have been used in missionary apartments that have been closed in the past year.  We drove up Wednesday morning, January 5th, and wrote down everything that was stored in both of the units. It involved a lot of unstacking and restacking in order to uncover everything. We saw some useable items, but a lot of it was junk.  We'll need to get the mission van up here and haul some of this stuff away....soon.

These are the senior couples that helped with this assignment.  From the left:  Sister Anderson, Sister Pankratz, Sister Van Komen, Elder Pankratz, Elder Anderson, Sister Beckstrand, and Elder Van Komen.  Elder Beckstrand elected to be behind the camera for this photo.
After we finished the inventory we enjoyed lunch together at La Place, then we spent the afternoon with the Pankratz at their apartment in nearby Amsterdam.  They are the senior couple over the Amsterdam Center whom we will probably replace when they go home in April.  In the evening we attended their JoVo dinner and institute night.  The young people had already started to decorate for the dance they were hosting on Friday, January 7th.  It was supposed to be a New Year's Dance, but it was postponed because of the bad weather.

Friday, January 7th we were back in Amsterdam for the JoVo dance.  It was well-attended by about 120 young people from all over Holland.  They dressed up in their best bib and tucker for the occasion.

The refresments were plentiful and tasted as good as they looked!  These young ladies were helping in the kitchen between dances, and had prepared some of the delectable goodies.

They erected a canopy for the refreshment tables.  It had greenery and Christmas lights to set it off.  

By 10:00 pm the dance floor was full.  It took a while for the kids to begin dancing, but after a few broke the ice, others began to join them.  The music was DEAFENING, so we were grateful to be able to go into the kitchen to escape the cacophony!

The desserts above were decorated with cookies and then sparklers were set into the center.  At midnight they were set ablaze and carried into the dance to the amazement and enjoyment of everyone. 

The cobblestone roads add a quaint character to this country that is very charming.  We found out they can be VERY slick when the rain freezes on them, however.  I took this shot  just outside the Amsterdam church.

I'm amazed how many people they can stack into these multi-level apartments.  This country has one of the highest population densities in the European area.  The birth rate is dropping, however, and there is now a negative population ratio - more people die in a year than are replaced with births.  In the long run, this will put a huge burden on the young people in the work force who will have to support the growing number of elderly people. 

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