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.

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