Sunday, March 21, 2010

Auf Wiedersehen

It is hard to say good-bye to the place where we have lived for more than half of our married life. Many a time we have heard returned missionaries say that their missionwas the best years of their life and how they grew to love the people. We can only echo their words.

We are caught up in a whirlwind of activities, joint-teaching appointments, last "farwells," financial and young adult quarterly reports, preparations, a talk in church next Sunday, newsletter requests, cooking, packing, etc. etc.

These are bitter/sweet days as we are so anxious to re-connect with our wonderful family and at the same time already missing what we will leave behind. We drove to Salzburg for the last time for interviews on Thursday. We were trying to take a mental recording of the scenery. The meadows are turning green again and as we see the wandering trails through the woods and meadows -- we wish we were on them, re-discoveirng the beauty along the way.

One sister we visit has recently returned to activity. She thanked us for helping her and being patient along the way. She crochets the most beautiful curtains, table coverings, etc. We were most grateful when she gave us a piece of her beautiful crochet work as we were leaving from our last visit.

The next picture is high up in the Tyrolean Mountains. We were visiting a sister on a joint-teach with the young Elders. She takes care of an older couple who remind us of humble farm people -- who we also love visiting with. Each time we go there to teach a lesson a most delicious meal is waiting for us. It is about an hour's drive to get there.

We love the young adults and their activities. This game is called "round the table ping pong" and they are very competitive. And the winner is -- ELDER MESERVY. Our young adults say we are now "Tyroleans" -- which is quite a compliment.

All the Relief Society sisters knit beautiful things here. I was determined to knit something to take home (even though I don't know much about knitting.) Watching them is amazing. All you see is a blur of click click etc. as their needles fly. So I made a scarf -- and it only took me about NINE months to complete -- BUT I did it!

I also decided I was going to read the Bible -- which I have never read from cover to cover. Along with the Book of Mormon study, and lesson preparations, I have finished reading the Old Testament and I am part way through the New Testament. We love and cherish our daily study time.

We had a baptism in February -- a Mother and Daughter. Elder Meservy was privileged to baptize the mother. This was a very special day as the daughter has been attending church for three years, but could not get permission to get baptized. Then her mother decided to come to church and she attended the Investigator class that we teach. Soon she wanted to be baptized too.

The picture is of Elder Meservy, Mara, Rakel, and Elder Beckstead. Elder Beckstead is completing his mission too and will fly home with us. He lives in the Salt Lake area.
We were hoping for another baptism at the end of March, but due to her mother's illness, she has been in Salzburg, and the date has been pushed back a few weeks. We are anxiously awaiting conference and to hear from our Prophet again.

The church is true. May we all be missionaries in all that we say and do, and as Easter approaches may we ever be grateful and true to our King, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


January is not our favorite month because it is so cold. But the coldest day we have had was in December -- a freezing minus 17 C and that was the day we were walking around Old Innsbruck with another senior couple. We wanted to
see the Christmas lights, etc. but the only good part was when we were inside a restaurant trying to get warm.

One of our young adults was married in the Swiss Temple in December and had their reception here in Innsbruck. They served a full, delicious dinner (some of us brought a salad) and the program was delightful. Then they danced. I was glad to see that the groom had two left feet, just like me! (Rosalyn) Jerry and I also danced and it was a fun, fun evening. They will make their home in Italy and we will certainly miss them. Rosalyn and Kristin, a young adult leader (at the wedding)

We also had a baptism of a special young man. He is the only member in his family, but is so happy to be a member of the church.
Another baptism is planned in February. A young girl has been attending our branch for a long time. She wanted to be baptized but her parents said that she must wait until she is 18. She is now 16 and her mother said -- "OK, but maybe I will be baptized with you." This was a surprise, but the mother has been taking missionary lessons now too and a baptism date is set for February 14th. YEA Us with the cute mother of the 16-year-old girl.

We continue our busy schedule working with the young adults. They did two service projects last week -- one was helping another single adult move to another student apartment. We took our car and loaded it up and helped with the move. Then a few of them also helped a family in our branch do some painting at their new apartment. The apartment is one of the largest we have seen around here and is very lovely -- they have a pink room, an orange room and a green room (the one the young adults painted, plus other room colors and designs on the wall. The painting gang.

We are also cooking a full meal after Institute every Thursday evening. Each week we prepare a different menu. Most things are cooked at home and then transported to the church, then I can do other things while something is in the oven, etc. Then we finish it all up at the church -- cooking, warming, setting up tables etc. We prepare a lot of food for a lot of hungry kids. Sometimes I think that we have prepared too much -- but then every single crumb is eaten. #1 Chief - My favority, happy cook -- cooking at the church

January has been a wonderful month. Last year we had tons of snow, but very little this year -- we are always grateful to drive up and down these narrow, winding roads on dry pavement. (On one side of the road is the mountain, and on the other side is a very steep drop-off !)

We are always truly amazed to be in the midst of all this wonder. We are happy, healthy and feel truly blessed.

Sunday, December 13, 2009



One of the greatest blessing I have ever received is being a missionary, and serving with a wonderful companion (Elder Meservy!) I say "one" of our greatest blessings because our wonderful family is right at the top of our "blessings list."

Missionary work at times is hard -- but the rewards are very high. What a blessing it has been for us to study, teach and focus on our Savior, his love and teachings every day.

During December we have tried to emphasize the Spirit of Christmas in our Investigator class. The true meaning of Christmas is not about "things," but the Spirit of Christmas is found in our heart.

This class has been a wonderful opportunity for us to talk about serving others. In fact, in our class today, I told them several stories -- including the story in McKell's blog.

I also told a story found in last year's Ensign that really touched my heart. It was about a family who was very poor, but nevertheless they gave to someone else who was in need. At the end of the story they said, "we wept in gratitude that the little we had was enough to give joy to someone who had less."

You can talk about service a lot, and stories are great, but it is doing something that really counts. (In Jenny's blog she mentions her family doing a Sub for Santa.) We passed out papers and had everyone write down something they could do for someone else before Christmas. Service does not always take money -- sometimes your "time" is very important. I also told them that if something seemed hard to do, they should ask Heavenly Father to help -- such as giving a friend a Book of Mormon and asking them to listen to the missionaries.

Today, one lady in our branch that attended our class, invited a friend to come to church. The friend invited her friend. AND her friend invited her friend. We taught the class in English which was translated into Portuguese for the three investigators. Service has a way of multiplying!

President Monson put it this way -- There are hearts to gladden, there are kind words to say, there are gifts to be given, there are deeds to be done, and there are souls to be saved.

Heavenly Father truly blesses us when we give service because the person receiving the service is blessed -- but the person giving the service is doubly blessed with the joy he feels in his heart and sees in the hearts of others.

Elder Meservy and I love family traditions -- one of the things we enjoy most at Christmas time. Being together with our family, friends and gatherings really warms our hearts. We love the Christmas breakfast, the sleep-over, the pajama kids, the pickle on the tree, the excitement of children's laughter, pulling the string on the musical bell at Grandpa's house, playing games together, and enjoying good food.

Because we are so many miles away from home this year (and last), we have had to look for the Christmas Spirit in many other ways. We have decorated a table in our apartment, sang Christmas songs in German, and made cookies (Yes, and, surprise, I made them all by myself!) We have visited the elderly, the lonely and those living many miles away who have enjoyed our visits and a Christmas message.

Our Christmas wish is that we will all remember that tiny baby that was born over 2,000 years ago. But not only remember his birth -- but know that not many years hence He will come again. He will come in power and might as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The greatest gift we can give to Him this Christmas time is to emulate his life and do the things he did. He gave His life in service to others. May we follow Him and do the same. Remember -- Wise Men Still Seek Him.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


We are thankful for the wonderful days of November 2009.

We were able to attend a Senior Couple Conference the first part of November in Munich, Germany. We gave a presentation in the training part of the program, but then after we just relaxed and enjoyed visiting with the other couples. Oh, how we love them and their sweet example of dedication and service.

On our way home from the conference we stopped in Kufstein. We had said many times -- "some day" we will stop and tour the fortress. As we were whizzing down the autobahn, we decided that "some day" was today. And what a wonderful experience. The weather was warm and we walked for hours up and down narrow stairs, down tunnels, into prison rooms, etc. The fortress is a very, very old large structure on top of a hill. (Everything here is on top of a hill!!!) You can take a cable car to the top, but we opted to walk up and enjoy every minute of our adventure.

As an "official" young adult center now, we are busily engaged in the organization. We are cooking full meals every Thursdays and mini meals on Monday night. It was really scary the night we had to cook for Stake visitors. Elder Meservy is quite involved with the Stake in getting furniture and computer equipment ordered for our center. It is coming along nicely.

Elder Meservy loves being with the young adults -- and they love him. He is always right in the middle of a hockey game. These kids are fast and good -- but he can certainly hold his own. Every time they start a game they yell -- "Elder Meservy -- we need you!" He also enjoys ping pong games. AND, he and a young missionary who wrestled in high school last year did a wrestling thing -- and Elder Meservy received the winning points.
He is just a kid at heart.

We sent a young gal off on a mission last Friday. She will be a great missionary and did a lot of joint-teaching with the young Elders. She has personally brought many people into the church and is a very motivated missionary.

Here are some of our kids acting "goofy." Diana is in front wearing an orange hat. These kids may be young -- but they are all spiritual giants.
On Thanksgiving we decided to prepare a full Thanksgiving dinner for the young adults. It was actually quite fun. Jerry did the turkey that we had bought in Garmisch at the military base and some Stove Top dressing. I made sour cream potatoes (that they just love), green salad and sunshine carrots. I also made delicious pumpkin pie squares with whip cream. It is an easy recipe using a yellow cake mix. Again we had to buy the pumpkin and cake mix in Garmisch -- something they just don't have here. We fed about 15.

I told them that we had a tradition at home of going around the table and saying something we are thankful for, but you cannot say the same thing that someone else has said. They enjoyed it, it was fun and reminded us of home.

The young adults are so fun to feed. As they go through the food line -- they look and point and say, "What is this?" They are rather skeptical about American food. I usually say that "It's a surprise" or "It's a secret!" But they love it and always eat everything we have prepared.

We have probably gone on our last long hike in the mountains. Last week we called it our "Melancholy Trail" because we will sorely miss the hikes. The wind is whipping up outside now and snow is predicted in the next few days.
In some places the trail is against the mountain, and the other side is quite a steep drop off (as you can see in the above picture.) And in some places it is quite a steep climb up.
We had a wonderful baptism today -- Mark Ibe. He had prayed for a long time to find the truth and just by chance he met the missionaries on the street. (Of course, we know that it wasn't by chance -- he was directed by the Lord.) On the baptism program was one of our young adults who is in our English class. He gave his talk in English because Mark only speaks English. He did a really good job and asked me after if his English was okay. I told him that it was "super."
We are busy and happy with our work here. Last night after a long day of visiting, we dashed home quite late and started making brownies for the baptism. I also had to put the finishing touches on our Sunday lesson and complete our weekly visit report. Just as we were putting the brownies in the oven the young missionaries called and asked us if we could do a late joint-teach. As soon as the brownies came out of the oven we put our missionary clothes back on -- and off we went again.

Every day is full to the brim -- or you might say "our cup runneth over." (Yes, our cup runneth over with blessings.)
We are so grateful at this Thanksgiving time as we continually see the Lord's hand in our life.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


The days come, the days go -- and what wonderful never-to-be-forgotten memories.

As we go for our morning walk, the meadows are changing. The cows, goats and sheep are gone along with the high stalks of corn, and the autumn leaves are appearing. There certainly is "Beauty all Around."

For a while we had 8 or 9 cows in our backyard. We loved the sound of the cow bells, even when they woke us up at night.
We are experiencing a nice Indian Summer and have seen a few sites close to home. We visited a wonderful museum in downtown Old Innstruck -- I could have stayed there for hours because there was so much history and things to see.
And we took the cable car to the top of the mountain, Hafelekar, and then hiked to the peak. Jerry -- sitting "on top of the world."

On the top of the mountain we could see all the way to Italy. The view was spectacular. It is much cooler at the top. The cable car was really fun. We had to disembark twice to catch another car going up. On the way back we stopped and hiked around for a while -- oh, it was so beautiful. On one part of the hike, I didn't think I was going to make it -- it was so steep and my feet were sliding. I was afraid to move ! ! ! Jerry tried to help, but I was afraid I would pull him down the hill too. Needless to say -- because I am typing this -- we made it. The rest of the hike was wonderful and we found another trail back down -- avoiding the steep part.
Our "One Year in the Missionfield Picture"

Because of the mountains, we very seldom experience a sunset or sunrise. On our way to Salzburg, very early in the morning on my birthday -- this is the sunrise that greeted us. Before long the whole sky was orange and pink -- oh, the beauty of ths earth.Our youth greeted us at the end of the day with a Birthday surprise and a cake. The girl standing next to Rosalyn holding the cake recently received her mission call to Homburg, Germany. She will enter the MTC in Provo on Jerry's birthday -- December 15th. What a wonderful blessing it has been for us to have our lives intertwined with these wonderful, faithful youth. We love our visiting. This is Christine Clingraber. She is inactive, but a very dear friend. She knitted Jerry and me some sox -- and we love 'em. In Austria everyone takes off their shoes before entering someone's home. So some warm sox are nice to use, expecially in the winter time. (This is a great tradition -- and sure keeps the house clean!)
A few days ago we were in Munich for a Mission Tour and were taught by members of the Seventy. Elder and Sister Carmago of the Third Quorum of Seventy spoke to us in the morning session and Elder Teixeira from the First Quorum of Seventy spoke to us in the afternoon. They are all originally from Brazil but have lived here for many years. The Mission President asked if they could speak to us in German. They said they spoke Portuguese, Spanish or English. He opted for the English -- YEA! What powerful testimonies and conversion stories.
And to finish the week, we had a baptism last night -- Peter Kojat. He was so excited and so ready for this day. After we had a wonderful buffet dinner prepared by a member of our branch. Our tummies were fed -- and we were spiritually fed. Peter thanked us for our class that we teach on Sunday. He said every time he had a question or was wondering about something -- he received an answer in our class. After the baptism we had a late appointment with an investigator and the young Elders. He had also come to the baptism and felt the spirit there. We had never been to his apartment before. It was very clean, however, sparse of furniture. I sat in the only chair, Elder Beckstead sat on the floor and the others on the bed. He speaks English, is very receptive to the lessons and has recently stopped smoking, drinking alchol and coffee.

The Lord is blessing us in this work. One of our greatest blessings is our family and we are so grateful for their support. What a joy it is to serve. As we listened to a church CD while traveling with the young Elders, I remember the words of a song that went something like this . . . .

Don't you know -- Can't you see -- I'm not who I used to be.
Don't you know -- Can't you see -- what His love has made of me?

As we accept His love into our hearts and our lives, we will never be the same.

Monday, August 24, 2009

August Happenings

Our summer is almost over and we will soon be entering into the lovely Fall months.

We do a lot of cooking for the young adults and other ocassions. The tricky part is in getting it in the fridge until time to transport everything to the church. The fridge measures three feet by one and 1/2 feet. It didn't take us long to love German foods -- especially the bread, cheese, homemade soups, etc. We still prefer American deserts and ice cream.
MY SUPERMAN. We are trying to stay healthy. We have walked everyday except Sunday for 124 consecutive days. That is really a record considering the weather and time constraints.

Jerry in the corn stalks. This picture was taken several weeks ago and now the corn is at least two feet higher.
The homes, roads, parkways, etc. are all so beautiful with flowers of all kinds. We are also harvesting our tomatoes growing out on our patio -- YUM!
This is one of the new hiking trails that we have discovered. I don't want summer to end as we are still exploring trails close to home in Axams -- oh, how beautiful they are.
Yes -- this is a chicken (we think -- at least it was in the chicken coop with the rest of the chickens!)
I never thought I would be taking pictures of CHICKENS. Have you ever seen any like this before? And, yes, we have pictures of cows, goats, rabbits, etc. Yesterday we saw a strange site -- a lady was pushing a very nice baby buggy. Inside was a nice size dog who was thoroughly enjoying the ride.
Youngest member -- one week old Kalie Sue. Her mother is Austrian and her father is a returned missionary from California who served in Innsbruck several years ago. I asked how much she weighed and was told 3,350 pounds. (oops -- I mean grams!)
Our good friend, Konrad Nagele, had surgery to implant an electrical device to help with his Parkinson's Disease. The survery and Priesthood blessing, has done wonders. Three holes were cut into his head, one in back and two in front. He jokingly says the two in front were to remove his "Mormon horns!"
Because of health issues, Paula cannot stay alone. Their son stayed with her for the first week after Konrad's surgery, and now their daughter, Susanne, now living in Salt Lake City, came for a week. Konrad left the hospital for a few hours long enough to attend Sacrament Meeting. When someone is baptized, it is their choice who will perform the baptism. and also plan the program. Because of our love for Karin, we were happy that she asked Jerry to baptize her. We have been looking forward to this day for several months -- and what a beautiful day it was.We were present for several joint teaches with two super young missionaries, Elder Beckstead and Elder Wilcoxom. We were always amazed at her prepration -- studying, praying and seeking to "know" the truth.
We have enjoyed our friendship with Karin. She speaks English very well and is very friendly and outgoing. The custom here is to shake hands with everyone, and for the women to also hug and a kiss each other on both cheeks. I love this custom as it makes everyone feel welcome. Karin is so friendly and enthusiastic that I have to be careful of her handshake -- it can be a hand "crusher!"
I was the ward historian in our Canyon View ward for about a year. I enjoyed the calling because I love history and scrapbooking. Yesterday we had dinner at the church prepared by President Roth and his family. What a meal! Three main dishes with salads, fruit, rolls, and desert. When Jerry was here serving as a young missionary, he was Branch President in Salzburg and President Roth's grandmother was the Sunday School President.

After our dinner, which also included the young missionaries and the newly baptized member, he brought in the Innsbruck Branch's history books. Some were very old and had type written pages with all types of paper and format. Some books had pictures and it was fun to find a picture of Jerry as a young missionary.