Sunday, February 27, 2011

Senior Couples Retreat to Deventer

Saturday, February 19, 2011 we had a 'couples' conference in Deventer.  President and Sister Brubaker were here to welcome us and offer counsel and encouragement. 

It was fun to get together and discuss the needs, challenges, and rewards of working in the Centers for Young Adults. 

A delicious potluck lunch was enjoyed by all present. 

There were nine couples present.  This CfYA was beautiful!  It was in the center of town and consisted of a large meeting area (shown) with a kitchen and bathroom to the left.  The Hofmans lived upstairs in a spacious 3-bedroom apartment.

Our hosts - The Hofmans - who are the Senior Couple over the JoVo Center here in Deventer.

 We took the time to pose for a group picture when the young elders came for an investigator appointment. 

Following the meeting we took a short walk through the center of town.  What a beautiful city!  This church was right in the heart of the centrum.  It was called the Broederenkerk - Church of the Brethren.

Inside the church were many gorgeous stained-glass windows.

There was a street fair taking place on the Saturday we were in Deventer.  This pipe organ was filling the air with happy calliope music.

The Grote Kerk (The Great Church) was large enough to fill a city block.  It had several buildings attached to the main cathedral.

I love the detail on these old European buildings.  The architect enjoyed creating interesting contrasts between the red and white building materials.  The crest over the door denotes that this is a government building.

Elder Beckstrand stands in the main square of the centrum.   Every city has a center that is always the oldest part of the city.   Because of their antiquity, the buildings in the centrums are always the most picturesque.

 This is the Deventer City Hall.  It has been used as the center of government in this city for hundreds of years.  The Grote Kerk is on the right.  The two buildings face each other on either side of the square.
We loved this little cart advertising the items available inside this shop.

This is the Deventer Center for Young Adults from the outside.  Quite a beautiful building, and a plum in the mission.  Each of the couples would love to serve here.  There would never be any conflicts between ward and JoVo activities because the Young Adults have the building all to themselves.  How spoiled! 

Elder and Sister Anderson - Rotterdam Center for Young Adults

Elder and Sister Tibbitts - Mission Office Couple 

Elder and Sister Van Komen - Groningen Center for Young Adults

Elder and Sister Pankratz - finishing up their service in the Amsterdam Center for Young Adults.

Elder and Sister Everton - newly arrived this past week.  Sister Everton will be the Mission Nurse.

Brother and Sister Noot - Brother Noot is the Institute Director for The Netherlands.  He teaches institute in all of the centers and the young people love him!  He's a great teacher and example for them.

Before returning to Dordrecht we took a slight detour south to Nijmegen.  We might not get the opportunity to come over to this part of the country again.  It was a foggy day but we loved this view of the city from across the river.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Helping with Missionary Apartments

Today is February 8th (Elder Beckstrand's Birthday!) and we're in Assen.  Our purpose in coming is to clean out an apartment previously used by the young elders in this city.  It would appear that we are not working really hard right now.  Actually, we are being treated to lunch by the other senior couples with us today.  This is our first opportunity to try the wonderful Indonesian food in this country.  How could we turn down an offer like that?  

Elder and Sister Pankratz, who live in Dieman and are the senior couple over the Amsterdam Center for Young Adults. 

Elder and Sister Van Komen, who are the senior couple for the Groningen Center for Young Adults.  These two great couples are amazing!  What hard workers!

The food was delicious and best of all - free!  The other couples insisted on treating us for Elder Beckstrand's birthday.  How could we refuse?  We needed lots of energy to enable us to face the job of cleaning out the elder's apartment.  That will require more than one day's hard work even with everyone pitching in to help.

Fast-forward four days and we are now in Gouda - the 'Cheese Capital" of Holland.  The church here is just opposite this beautiful river.  The sisters' new apartment is just across the street from the church and about a block from the train station.  After having to travel from Rotterdam everyday to work here, they're in HEAVEN!  What a plum location.

The city is all decked out for Valentine's Day.  Everywhere we looked there were heart balloons tied to the trees, the store fronts, the light posts, wherever they could think to put them.  How colorful!

I wouldn't usually take a picture of a parking lot, but this is such a typical parking lot for this country.  Bikes, bikes everywhere.

Do not attempt to adjust your screen.  This is really how these 'legs' looked!  The store owners are displaying the wide variety of tights available for sale within.  I LOVE this country!

All the young children can have a red heart balloon of their own to carry around the town.  Valentine's Day is on Monday, and they go all out to celebrate the holiday.  I was surprised that it wasn't just an American tradition.

This is the main square in the city center.  There is an open market set up for business today.  The large building in the background is the govenment headquarters with a beautiful church just behind it.

Here the shoppers have a large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

And here we see the famous Gouda cheese wheels.  They are cut in wedged-shaped pieces to sell to customers.  The cheese is delicious!  We always have a chunk in our refrigerator at home.

Mmmmmm.  Fresh baked croissants and rolls, along with many other delectible bakery items.  The breads here are out of this world.

This darling couple saw our badges and stopped us on the street to introduce themselves.  They are members of the Gouda Ward - he is the mission leader.  What an enthusiastic duo.

They offered to take our picture together.  Aren't the balloons festive?  The city streets are always tidy and clean in this country.   We notice that everywhere we go.

Back at the sisters' new apartment the Pankratz move furniture around.  There is still quite a bit of work to do.

Part of our job was to assemble furniture for the sisters' bedroom.  We put together the white armoire on the left,  a twin bed, and two chest of drawers.  Elder Beckstrand is working on the second one, (the other one is just behind his right shoulder.  We left that evening with sore fingers from screwing all the little screws in the appropriate holes.


Sister Garvin (left) and Sister Rich  are totally delighted to have this new place.  Their smiles were enough payment for the sore fingers.  The young elders and sisters in the mission are all wonderful young people.  What a pleasure to work with and for them.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Introducing the Rotterdam JoVo's

Family Home Evening is held every Monday night.  The young people come for a lesson and games.  Treats are ALWAYS part of the evening.  The JoVos from left to right:  Michael, Lydia's sister (not old enough to be an official JoVo), Lydia, Celeste, Afraim, and Aleena.

Continuing around the circle - Afraim, Aleena, Jonathan, and Mark.  Mark has everyone working on little boxes that will hold candy hearts to give out as favors at the dance.

Aleena is heading home.  She is one of our youngest members, having just turned 18.

Lydia and Catherine make letters to spell the word "Love" in several languages.  The letters will go on the walls of the cultural hall to carry out the theme "Alles is Liefde".  ( Everything is Love)

 These young men are making boxes to display long-stemmed red roses.

Celeste and Alia-Zon put sticky tack on the reverse side of the letters before sticking them to the walls.

Although they aren't Young Adults, Elders Anderson and Beckstrand are drafted into service.  Here they put together a floor lamp that will be used at the dance in place of the overhead lights.  Atmosphere is everything!

Mark and Sister Anderson hold the fabric strips against the side wall while Sister Beckstrand stretches it across the room and cuts it the right size to hang from the wires above their heads.

Here Sister Anderson hems each strip so that the edges don't fray when pinned to the wires.  Sister Beckstrand is kept busy cutting each strip and pinning it for Sister Anderson to sew.

Everyone is involved in the decorating.  The dance is tomorrow night!

The night for the Valentine Dance arrives - Friday, February 11, 2011.  Tyler and Celeste pose behind these beautiful roses in the boxes they built on Thursday.  They look lovely, don't they?

Our D.J.'s really were 'Bueno".  The young people really enjoyed the music they chose.

The cultural hall is all decked out for the big event.

Lydia puts together 'pigs-in-a-blanket' for hungry dancers.  The young people prefer healthy snacks to sweet ones.  I need to follow their good example.  It's way too easy to put on weight over here.  Every new food I see looks so delectible that I can't resist trying it.  I hope my clothes will still fit a year from now!

The arrival of nearly 175 young people makes the dance an unqualified success!  The setting was beautiful, the music well-chosen for LDS standards, and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time.

As you can see - 'Alles is Liefde'.  Amore, Liebe, Love, whatever the language, Valentine's Day is about LOVE!  Wouldn't it be great if some of these young people found their liefde tonight?  After all - that's one of the main purposes of these Centers for Young Adults.