Service, activities in centuries-old city

Approximately 100 youth from the Nemuenster Germany Stake and 59 stake and full-time missionaries from the Germany Hamburg Mission recently converged on the city of Wismar for a weekend of service and Church activity.

Arrangements were made for a Saturday fireside and a Sunday morning sacrament meeting in the town hall. Thousands of invitations were printed and handed out. Several local shop owners showed their support and posted their invitations in shop windows. A local newspaper wrote an article about the missionaries and their work.Twenty-five stake missionaries and 34 full-time missionaries traveled to Wismar for the special day.

Testimonies were written in 200 copies of the Book of Mormon, and new professional-quality street displays were made. A 60-voice choir of stake members and missionaries performed near the displays and at the harbor. "Our goal was to do more than just tell these wonderful people about the gospel," Germany Hamburg Mission Pres. Charles W. Dahlquist said of the weekend's activities.

More than 800 years ago, Wismar, located on the north coast of Germany, was a bustling seaport; it became the second-busiest harbor in the former German Democratic Republic. Today, the harbor continues to be a place of business, as well as a tourist attraction.

The citizens of Wismar have been trying to beautify their city, repairing the physical dilapidation of buildings that ensued during the years of Communist control.

LDS youth conducted various service projects while in Wismar. Some went to the town square to clean and beautify the main monument opposite the town hall. With wire brushes, they scrubbed the surrounding wall and walkway, and, as the previous paint was chipped and dulled from years of neglect, they repainted the fence. At the local zoo, the youth helped refurbish the park by hauling materials for a playground sandbox area, cleaning out animal stalls, and clearing debris from a small stream.

"I feel the youth learned how much could be done when they all work together to serve somebody else," said Elke Benn from the stake seminary and institute committee.

Missionaries returned to the former German Democratic Republic in 1991 after an absence of more than 45 years. Since the time missionaries returned, the member group has grown slowly.

Brother and Sister Uwe Franke are well-known in Wismar, and offer tremendous support to the missionaries. The upstairs room of their local bakery is used as the meeting room for a growing group of members.

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