Sunday, September 10, 2006

Final Letters from Home

Hi All,

well our wild adventures continue. You might have heard about little baby Ian, but did you hear where I am sleeping in Wisconsin?
I stay at Bishop Nelson's house now. I sleep in their basement. It is very nice to be at their house. It is like going to my parents house or something. They are great, and I'm not alone anymore like at my house after the kids left.

Two weeks from now all of us Wheelers will be sleeping in the same place - in Germany. What a crazy thought. I can't believe the time is almost here. We will be staying in a furnished apartment in Düsseldorf (Jülicher Straße, 40477 Düsseldorf) until the end of October. I don't know the telephone number yet, but will let you know. I wanted to tell you a great story about getting the apartment. It is hard to get apartments for a large family and we were looking for a short period of time, which is also hard. The larger furnished apartments always want to rent for 3 or 6 months or more. Here is the story:

I emailed the furnished apartment rental agency MWZ-24 and listed our 5 children and their ages, which they usually request. I had not received a response and so I called the company a day or two later. A gentleman - Herr Schmitz - answered and I introduced myself. He said he had seen my request and was not sure how he could fill it. Gratefully our conversation went further.

After explaining our situation in more detail (from the states, where I will work, what our plans were, etc.) - Herr Schmitz said in good natured way: "Wait, you wouldn't happen to be a Mormon, would you? You must have a 2 or 3 wives in order to have 5 children?" I graciously said that I only have one wife. He then made a joke about there being no alcohol in Utah, and said that any man with 16 or so wives would definitely need the alcohol. I think I agreed with him - it was quite funny when he said it.
We spoke a bit more and he said - I think I can find you something. There is a nice landlord in Pempelfort and he would probably make arrangements for you. And that is the place we will be living in for the first month in Germany - Jülicher Straße.

It was a great blessing. There will be more hurdles once we arrive, like finding an unfurnished apartment, but we trust that the Lord will continue to bless us and that we will continue to find nice people in Düsseldorf to help us.

Here is a great story about Emma after Ian came home from the hospital. I think it was Ian's 2nd day home that this happened. I was lying on the couch resting, when I noticed this.

I looked up and saw Emma on the floor. She was about 2 meters from Tamara (who was feeding Ian on a chair on the other side of the living room). Emma was sitting down with her back to Tamara and she held two binkies (Schnuller) in her hand - her own binky and Ian's binky. We had told her several times not to take Ian's binky and she kind of knew that it wasn't good, which is why I think she had her back to Tamara. But despite our instructions - there Emma sat - in the middle of the floor with her back to Tamara holding both binkies. She seemed to be examining the differences. She repeatedly looked at her binky and then at Ian's binky. Then finally she stuck Ian's binky in her mouth. After a few seconds she took it out; put her binky back into her mouth; stood up; turned around; and took Ian's binky back to Tamara and Ian. It was very cute.

Speaking of cute, watching Emma play with Ian is very cool and because she looks almost exactly like Shantal did at that same age, which is about when Spencer was. Shantal did the same things Emma is doing - taking the binky, trying to give loves, and being very excited about her younger brother. Whenever Emma sees Ian she gets excited and starts smiling. Even if Emma is crying and screaming and acting like all is lost she gets excited when she sees Ian. She stops crying, starts pointing at Ian, makes happy sounds (she doesn't speak words yet), and then goes over to give him a love. It is really cool - almost like they know each other already.

Well I have to run. I hope you have a great week.


Final Encouragement to the Kids

>>>>To Tamara - shortly after the birth of our fifth child. She was having post pardon complications. I lived in Wisconsin and she in Salt Lake City and I asked her to read this to the kids.

Love Ya babe. Good luck with all your preparations and be sure and ask your dad for a blessing.


Well our time is getting short and very soon we will be in Germany. If you are like me, you are probably getting nervous and a little worried about the change. I am excited and glad that we will be together, but there will be so many new things, that I am nervous as well.

I had two thoughts for you before we go.

First off. The Lord is aware of your needs and cares about you. He cares about us and is preparing us for the move. A small example of this is your ability to speak German.

I noticed when I was in Salt Lake City last week that all of you kids could actually understand and speak German better now than I you could at the beginning of the summer at the family reunion. I remember thinking at the reunion that you would lose all of your German by the end of the summer. I was worried and prayed for you.

And the exact opposite has occurred. Your German has actually gotten better over the summer. That is the Lord taking care of you. There is no other way your German could have gotten better than through the Lord.

I noticed the same thing happening for me. I wrote several emails in German this week - without much trouble. Usually it is hard for to write in German. I have a hard time remembering the right words, but it was much easier this week. I felt the Lord helping me as I wrote.

Second, I wanted to quote from a talk by President Hinckley. Mark Mills shared this with me. Pres. Hinckley spoke about how the church should care for each other. He told a story about american members of The Church of Jesus Christ who move to Japan.

A knowledgeable man, who had lived abroad a number of years, who watched Americans come to Japan with their families to work said,

“I have never seen anything like your people to make others feel comfortable and at home. Whenever a Mormon family came to Japan, a week had not passed before they had many friends. It was different with other [families]. Most of them felt extremely lonely and experienced great difficulty in making adjustments.”

Remember, we are not alone. We belong to a great body of friends, thousands upon thousands who are striving to follow the teachings of the Lord.

I remember interviewing a discouraged missionary. He was having trouble with a language which was not his own. He had lost the spirit of his work and wanted to go home. He was one of 180 missionaries in that mission.

I told him that if he were to go home he would break faith with his 179 companions. Every one of them was his friend. Every one of them would pray for him, fast for him, and do almost anything else to help him. They would work with him. They would teach him. They would get on their knees with him. They would help him to learn the language and be successful because they loved him.

I am happy to report that he accepted my assurance that all of the other missionaries were his friends. They rallied around him, not to embarrass him, but to strengthen him. The terrible feeling of loneliness left him. He came to realize that he was part of a winning team. He became successful, a leader, and he has been a leader ever since.
That’s what each of us must do for one another.

Paul wrote to the Romans, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak.” And then he added these significant words, “And not to please ourselves.” (Rom. 15:1.)

This will be important for us after we arrive in Germany. We won't make it alone. We have to rely on each other for strength. We'll have to watch for those who are sad and help them and pray for them. Everyone will be sad at different times, including mom & dad. And maybe sometimes we will all be sad at the same time. Let's try and do two things.1) tell each other when we are having a sad day or a sad time. 2) help those who are sad and pray for those who are sad.

I love you all and look forward to seeing you in roughly 10 days.

<<< For Mom - another section of Pres. Hinckley's talk that I thought would be good for us to think about when we are dealing with the kids over in Germany. >>>

There is a sad tendency in our world today for persons to cut one another down. Did you ever realize that it does not take very much in the way of brainpower to make remarks that may wound another? Try the opposite of that. Try handing out compliments.

For a number of years, while I had responsibility for the work in Asia, I interviewed each missionary one-on-one. I asked each what virtue he or she saw in his or her companion and would like to put into his or her own life.

When I raised that question, almost invariably the missionary, an elder for example, would stop with a surprised look on his face. He had never thought of his companion that way before. He had seen his faults and weaknesses but had not seen his virtues. I would tell him to pause and think about it for a minute. Then the answers would begin to come. Such answers as, “He’s a hard worker.” “He gets up in the morning.” “He dresses neatly.” “He doesn’t complain.”

It was a remarkable thing, really. These young men and women, for the most part, had been oblivious to the virtues of their companions, although they were well aware of their companions’ faults, and often felt discouraged because of them. But when they began to turn their attitudes around, remarkable things began to happen.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

2 Weeks to Departure

Well in 2 weeks, my wife and our five children will be flying to Düsseldorf Germany to live and work. My company, CGI, has contracts with Vodafone - a cell phone company. My company helps write the software that generates the cell phone bills, creates the unique pricing plans, etc. I will be working as a software developer for CGI.

One of the most exciting or nerve wracking aspects of our move is the age of our children - Shantal, age 8; Spencer, age 7; and Hannah, age 5. These are fine ages for travel. Young and exuberant and full of energy for new things. The excitement comes in when you consider Emma, age 16 months; and Ian, age 8 days. These two will make the trip very exciting.

You can view pictures of the little tykes at the link below. By the way if you need a photographer in Salt Lake City, I know a great photographer. My sister-in-law is a professional photographer and did a fine job on Ian's first days in the hospital:

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Ian is Born

We are proud to announce the birth of our fifth child.

Ian Robert Wheeler was born on August 31st at 1:04 p.m.
Ian weighed 7 lbs 8 oz (3402 grams)
Ian was 21 1/2 inches long (54.61 centimeters)

Ian looks very much like his brothers and sisters. It was a joy to receive him into our family. Here is a picture of mom and baby which we have thanks to his Aunt Colleen. Both look great don't you think!!! : -)

Mom & Ian