We arrived at our hotel in Halberstadt early this morning. We found out that one of the men involved in the failed plot to kill Hitler lived in Halberstadt, and this hotel was his home. He was executed for his complicity in the affair. He lost a beautiful home, to boot!
We stopped by to feed the animals first. They have a cute little zoo with a lot of tame animals that you can feed. Crystal loves zoos only second to safaris, and enjoyed feeding the alpaca.
The church is very small here with only a dozen or so regular attendees. They meet in an old mansion, and the missionaries also live in an apartment upstairs. What the church lacks in size they make up for in heart. They really love the missionaries and show them they do.
Thomas was baptized while Amanda served here, and it was so good to meet him and his son Tobias. They were happy to see us and gave Amanda a German flag to bring home. Thomas said he was sorry he spoke slowly as a result of a stroke earlier this year. I didn't notice he spoke slowly, but I did tell him, that that was better for me anyway! It would make it easier for me to understand!
Bruder Lau gave us chocolates, which always makes us happy! He is retired Navy and had lots of stories to tell us, most of which we didn't understand, but Amanda did. He made us feel so welcome!
By the time we got to Sister Munke we were starting to feel the love that Amanda felt for the four months she was there. She didn't speak much German when she first arrived, but the branch welcomed her as a member of the family and appreciated the musical talents she brought. Sister Munke fed us a roast pork dinner better than anything we've eaten in the restaurants so far! We were glad Amanda told us we were expected to have seconds, because we really wanted them!
The Schwabe family has been stalwarts of the branch for many years. We got to see their 175 year old farmhouse that was big enough for two families. They had a daughter who spoke English who translated a lot for Ed and Crystal. That was nice for them, so they could follow the conversation. The daughter is going to Guatemala in two weeks to visit her boyfriend. His dad is a stake president in Guatemala, but he has studied in Germany. We told her mother not to worry, that Guatemala is not to dangerous, or maybe just a little dangerous!
We got back to the hotel well fed and happy in the knowledge that while our daughter was so far from home she was surrounded by lots of surrogate parents in a very caring branch!