Monday, November 3, 2008

Weekend in Friesland- Back in Time

This past weekend was an opportunity for us to travel to the northern most part of our mission to an area called Friesland. We wanted to visit another missionary couple, Elder & Zuster Kirkman in Leeuwarden. They live on the 7th floor of a new apartment building, with a wonderful view of a shipping canal below. They wanted to share some of the unique sites of the area with us. We were able to visit the old village of Dokkum with its beautiful old buildings. Then we visited the site where the first convert baptism in the Netherlands took place in a place called Broek bij Akkerwoude. There is a monument there that was built in 1936 to mark the spot where Gerrit and Bouwdina Van de Woude were baptized in the canal on October 1,1861. I had visited the site in 1967, and I am happy to say that it looks even better today (new fence). The same windmill and canal are in the background. We then went to the oldest working planetarium in the world, the Eise Eisinga Planetarium in Franeker. It was amazing to see what Eise built in 1781 in the ceiling of his living room. It is a working model, to scale, that has the planets rotating about the sun and so on. It still keeps near perfect time.

On a spiritual note we were able to attend two Sacrament Meetings, one in the Leeuwarden Branch and the other in the Groningen Ward. I had served in Groningen for 5 months during my mission 41 years ago. It was great to be back there. I got up to bear my testimony and the bishop (not knowing who I was) asked me if I needed a translator. I assured him that I could do it myself. Then I proceeded to give my testimony. Most of the congregation had no idea who I was, or where I came from. They now meet in a very nice chapel with a large membership. I was able to meet Brother De Jonge, & Bro. Dallinga, whom I knew back then. Brother De Jonge has 10 children who are all active in the church. One son, Jelmer, is our Stake President here in Rotterdam. We drove past the place where I had lived, and even though neighboring buildings had been replaced, my apartment was still there. It was great to be back in Groningen, it was truly a step back in time for me.

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