2012_12_31 Dear Family, We are in a different city in our area, so it seems that I will only have maybe 15 minutes to write to all of you. Unless we are able to write again when we get back to Concordia. I am doing well and very excited for this new year, as I have so much that I can do to apply myself and give all in the service of the Lord. Love, Elder Luschin
That is all we heard from Fred. They must not have had any time to write any more but our Christmas Skype call was great. We tried to involve all the family which turned out to be more complicated than we had expected. Fred called us from a computer at the home of a member in his area. We don't have the details of whose home he was at but we could hear another American Missionary in the other room talking from a different computer to his family in the USA. This did make it a little hard to hear Fred who was on the balcony trying to talk to us with the twitter of birds and other street noises it prove to be a challenge.
Here are the details. Arnold and Amanda and their 3 children are up in Wolfsburg Germany, which is the Volks Wagen City Headquarters.
Christoph and Emily and Franziska are living in an apartment in Frankfurt near Christoph's office.
Dorothea and Warren and their 4 children are in Buena Park California along with our son Philipp who spent the Christmas Holidays with them.
Hanno and I joined Christoph and Emily because we felt their Internet connection would be the fastest.
Well though we tried to pay for video conferencing so we could all see each other this didn't work. Every computer needed to download something to make it work so it was a flop. It is also very hard to ask questions when so many people are involved in the conference call. We learned our lesson. So after awhile Arnold decided to get off because communication just wasn't working. Then the Williams signed off and we skyped from just one computer to the one Fred was using and low and behold it was fantastic! We could see our son grinning and smiling and looking like his hair has gotten blond on top from so much time in the sun. Fred has always been a brunette and to see his hair turning blond was a shock. But he was so relaxed and enjoyed showing us the beautiful blue sky with puffy white clouds and the vegetation. It was just delightful. Then we had some communication reception problems and quickly said goodbye and we were finished. But then Phil managed to get in a few minutes of his own with Phil from LA. We decided that most of our hour of communicating had been a flop since we had spent so much time trying to connect everyone and getting the picture working which never did so advice...stick to just one on one and give everyone 10 minutes. But the call was the high light of our Christmas. How wonderful it is to have a son serving far far away and actually be able to see him in a skype call. This is truly a modern miracle.
Christmas in Brazil is summertime. But the realization that 6 months of his 2 year mission are already over and he will have one more Christmas and then a half of a year and then he will be finished. I think that this is a turning point to realize how fast a mission can actual go. We took some photos of talking to Fred on skype which I will try to post. Fred didn't get the Christmas package I sent which is fine. I realize now that when he gets it, any chocolate inside will probably be totally melted. It is the fact that we tried and he knows all his family, his siblings and nieces and nephews are praying for him each day and that we really care.