Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ein Zweig in Aachen

By popular demand (or, more precisely, grandmother's request) I'm taking time away from my stimulating cataloging homework today to tell you about the Mormon church in Aachen. The Aachen Branch (meaning small congregation; "Zweig Aachen" in German) has about 60 members that come regularly. The congregation is a pretty diverse group. We have members from West Africa, Mexico, Peru, the Netherlands, and the Philippines. We meet in a nice new building in the Aachen-Brand area, 30 minutes by bus from our house.

The church on a very, very cold morning. It may be a boring standard-issue building, but there is no burlap on its walls. For this we are grateful.

The multipurpose room/chapel during the Karneval party (more on that in a later post).

My calling (church job) is teaching the youth Sunday School class--in German, of course. When the branch president (pastor) asked me to do this job, he told me that he was given the same assignment when he spent a summer in Kansas while in his twenties. "It was a challenge for me, and it'll be a challenge for you," he said. And though it is still a challenge, after three months of teaching the class it is no longer the nerve-wracking ordeal I feared it would always be. Most of the kids speak good English, so if I don't know a word I need or don't understand what they're saying I can just ask. I still spend a large part of every class in verbal bumbling, but they're very patient about it. Sometimes they get into arguments about the best way to say something in German. It's cute.
Here I am with the lone regularly-attending girl in the class. She is happy to have another female around.

Last Sunday we had a big group. There are usually two to four kids in class.

Tyler's calling is playing the organ. Though this requires no German, it does require us to get to church half an hour early every week so he can practice. One perk of this calling is that he now chooses the hymns for the congregation to sing--meaning we only sing good ones.

We have been warmly welcomed into the branch. The first Sunday we came, back while we were still living in Bonn, our upcoming move to Aachen was announced over the pulpit with great excitement. Members of the congregation have given us Christmas cookies, bread, towels, and even a bed frame. Perhaps best of all, we've found board-game buddies. Harald and Mirjam (below, with their children) enjoy Dominion and introduced us to Dixit. They also happen to be the bass and alto to our tenor and soprano. On Sunday we sang "Be Still My Soul" in church as a quartet.


We're very lucky to be part of such a wonderful community. However, Tyler is having trouble in one area in which he normally excels: winning over the children. Six months in and the three-year-old on top of the family pile above still won't give him the time of day. Perhaps it's the accent.


  1. Sounds like you guys are having a great adventure - you made me feel nostalgic and jealous at the same time! Thanks for the post.

  2. So sorry to hear Tyler's lost his touch! Or never got it, auf Deutsch. The four- and five-year olds around here are still asking when he's coming back to play with them, though . .


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