Thursday, 29 March 2012

March 26, 2012 MTC (7:41AM)

Dear Family,

So, today is P-Day (Preparation Day)! So pumped for that! Haha! This week has been nuts.
Our district had 3 practice investigator lessons this week in German and Elder T and I were able to set a baptismal date! Then we find out it is our last lesson for him, so we try to teach him about Jesus Christ. It was so hard to do. We tried to teach that he should have faith in both God and Jesus Christ but it was really hard to teach in German. We learned how important it is to be in tune with the spirit and really prayerfully prepare for each lesson that we have. Prayer is everything, and the spirit is everything. It was frustrating because our Deutsch vocabulary is pretty terrible although we are picking it up pretty quick. We basically bombed the lesson, but we did better than Elder A and Elder M. Haha! They told Benni (the pretend investigator) that “Jesus kills people”” Haha! They also thought that Benni asked, “Who killed him?” and they said “All the Jews in Jerusalem.” They were so mad and upset over it because they got the word “tot” (dead) and “toeten” (to kill) mixed up – and didn’t understand. HAHA! I laughed so hard when I found out. They did not think it was funny at the time, ‘cause the language is frustrating everyone.
So we held a district meeting and established that when we have companion study, we will go into separate rooms with our companions to prepare our lessons. It has been working so far.
On Thursday, when we had our last lesson with Benni, we found out that he might  be our teacher on Monday- we will find out today. Our current teacher was Brother Z. He is awesome!
Sister L broke her thumb playing volleyball. It’s good we still have 5 weeks here so that she can recover.
Elder G, from our zone (a zone is made up of a number of districts) did MMA at home too, so every night our conversation is about our fighting experiences. Haha!
I don’t know what else I can tell you…Oh yeah, Jocelyn (cousin in Provo at BYU) sent me a package of cookies and letters from everyone in her building! Lol  So, I got, like, 10 letters at once. It was awesome! Apparently, getting mail around here is a pretty big deal, so I really appreciate all the letters you guys send me. It means a lot to me!
Oh, yeah, Elder Oaks (an apostle leading the Church under the First Presidency) came to our MTC devotional and talked about the spirit. It was way cool! I was able to go to the temple with our district.
 I love you guys and miss you guys but I’m having a good time. Days are hard some days but prayer’s always lifting me up! I miss you and love you
Elder Luening

March 20, MTC (snail mail)

Dear Family,

I played foursquare in PE. But when I was King, I did this sweet dive for the ball and hit it perfectly but forgot the rule about no diving! The ball was taken away and I had to play basketball! It was still pretty fun though. Elder T and I gave a blessing to a sister missionary from a different district – Elder T gave her a wonderful blessing. It was his first time. I felt the spirit for the rest of the day.
We were able to sit down and plan for Benni’s  (practice investigator) lesson, and we really just went back to the basics. It was completely by the spirit. 100% (200%, even!!!)
Our devotional was given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, an apostle! It was so cool, and his wife addressed us too! Their talks reminded me of how important the sacrament is and what it means to me.
Our district is getting closer and closer to each other every day. We eat every meal together and our Zone is really starting to unify. The Branch President (Dom) is such an awesome example to me and so is his councellor, President Peterson. President P served in Germany 50 years ago. He is such a loving man and has a totally German manner about him.
I’m really enjoying it here and always wish I had time to write, but it’s crazy busy for me, so I have only about 10 minutes per day.
I love you all and thanks for your letters.

Love, Elder Luening

March 19

March 19, 6:49 AM, MTC (e-mail)

Dear Family:

The MTC is crazy! I’ve been rushed through everything pretty much every day. I got a package with homemade brownies from Jocelyn! And I received the letter from you. The website works for sending me letters. It works fast too.
My companions are great.
I don’t have a lot of time because my computer messed up and erased everything, but I’ll write a letter home. Thanks for writing me!
The spirit is so strong here! I love it here and I’m having a good time. The first couple of nights were the hardest. I miss everyone! But the language is good. I’m ahead of mostly everyone and am able to help others out with what I know.
On my second day I was assigned as a District Leader!! woot haha! It’s made everything so much crazier, and I have like no time to write letters or anything, which is why I haven’t written yet.
Mom, thanks for your note in my scriptures, dad, thanks for your e-mail. I only get w-mail on Mondays- it takes forever. Please mail like Kassandra did with Dear Elder – that was awesome!
I am almost out of time – I have like a minute left to write but I will be sending a letter by mail. I love you guys so much and I’m doing so good!
The testimony meetings are so powerful, and my companion is awesome. Day 2 we started teaching a practice investigator in German! It’s going crazy. I love it here! I miss all of you!

Love Elder Luening

Note: There is a 7 segment documentary on the inside of the MTC for anyone interested in an in depth look at what Chris is doing on a daily basis. It begins with the arrival at the MTC, and follows all the activities that take place there. It can be found on google; ” An Army of Faith: Inside the MTC”

Note: It is possible for anyone to e-mail a letter to Chris at the MTC by opening a FREE account at All letters are handled without charge. A representative makes a printed copy of the e-mail and it goes in his mailbox the same day. This service is also given when he goes to Germany but there is a small postage fee of less than $2 for each e-mail. It is fast and convenient!

March 17, 2012, MTC (snail mail)

Dear Family,

Life at the MTC is super! My German is terrible but it is better than everyone else’s. We are all learning it quickly even though we haven’t really studied through any book yet. By the way, mom, your ancient MTC German lesson book (from 1985) that you taught me out of ….is exactly the same – haha!!! I was surprised to see that and then glad that we studied out of it.
In our district we have 6 missionaries including Elder T and I, Sister L and Sister B (they knew absolutely no German), and Elder A and Elder M. Elder T and I are like best friends already. He has such a strong spirit about him. Our Zone Leaders are leaving on Tuesday for Germany so we’ll have to see who becomes our new ZLs. I was assigned as District Leader and my companion was assigned as senior companion. We’ve been so busy running around everywhere trying to figure out our schedules and assignments that we have like no time to study or write letters on our personal time.
I gave Elder A a blessing today in our classroom and it was so powerful. He’s been getting really sick from a cold and Sister L told him to ask for a blessing so he asked me to give him one. The spirit was so strong in that room. The words just flowed from my mouth 100% by the spirit. It was so crazy. I pray all the time for strength.  All of our meetings are powerful and uplifting. I love it here. It’s only been 3 days, but the only time I realize that is when I’m looking for my next class. (lost!)
I check the mail for my district everyday so I feel like Santa Claus, haha!  Everyone loves me!
Thanks for everything! I miss you guys but I’m doing well.
I love you all.  

Elder Luening

P.S. Kassandra sent me a letter using that Dear Elder thing and it is so awesome. Oh yeah, and letters from the MTC only cost me $0.35 and I get $6 on my MTC card every week! Oh yeah and I got the tetanus shot again! LOL

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Mission Address and Trail Times article

To the right you can find the address to which you can write Elder Luening while he is in the mission field.  I'm sure he would love to hear from everyone.
The following article appeared in the Trail Daily Times last week.

Trail Local Serving Mission in Germany
Christopher Luening has become known in the community in the last year as an MMA fighter with the Pride Gym.  He put his heart and energy into training and fighting, but looks forward to channeling that enthusiasm and love into the service of his fellowman.
The son of two parents who both served missions in Switzerland for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), Luening planned at a young age that he, too, would become a missionary.
Throughout his youth, he developed a strong conviction to the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and an even stronger desire to share his beliefs.  He has had the opportunity to work often with the local missionaries and has seen how it changes and enriches people’s lives. He began the application process to serve a mission almost a year ago.
In November, Christopher was surprised as he read the letter from Thomas S. Monson, the President of the Church: “You are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to serve in the Germany Berlin Mission… for 24 months.” Luening was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany until he moved to Trail with his family at the age of 6. He realized he would need to relearn German.
The primary role of missionaries is to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people who are interested and are seeking truth. Many people request missionaries to visit after viewing the website and Missionaries also offer service to the communities and individuals they meet while proselyting. They prepare financially before their service to support themselves in the mission field through personal savings. Missionaries are transferred to different cities and companions throughout their mission boundaries. 
On March 14, Luening will enter the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, where he will be taught the German language as well as proselyting and teaching skills. After 5 weeks of training, he will begin his service in Germany.
Luening will be keeping in contact with his family through weekly e-mails. “Those will be awesome days!” he replied when he learned that he can phone home on Mother’s Day and Christmas. Missionaries remain in their mission area for the duration of their assignments and are committed to their responsibilities 24/7. It requires a lot of determination and sacrifice, but missionaries develop a great love for the people they serve.
Luening welcomes all who wish to attend to come and hear him speak this Sunday at 10:00 AM at the LDS Church in Trail. There will also be an open house at the same location from 1:30-4:00 PM for friends and acquaintances who would like to wish him well before he leaves.

Finally the day has come!

One comes one goes!

The passing of the torch so to speak. Elder Jones from Wales just arrived from the MTC (Missionary Training Center) and had his first Sunday in Trail and Elder Luening had his last Sunday in Trail leaving on Wednesday to go to the MTC.
Farewell Lunch
About 100 people came, brought their well wishes and mingled for the luncheon.We showed our Swiss mission filmstrip from 1985 called "Families are Forever" using the great projector / tape recorder "beep film technology of the day! Good times!  Nina Wolffe played the piano for LindaAnderson and Kaylee Fisher who sang "Go Now In Peace". Go now in peace, never be afraid
                                                God will go with you every hour of every day.
                                                Go now in faith, steadfast, strong and true.
                                                Know he will guide you in all you do.
                                                Go now in love and show you believe.
                                                Reach out to others so all the world can see.
                                                God will be there watching from above.
                                                Go now in peace, in faith and in love.
                                                Amen. Amen. Amen.
                                                                         Don Besig and Nancy Price
Writing thank-you cards  
Elder Luening was surprised at the support that came from so many friends. He wrote some notes while traveling in the car to Spokane and continued until the late evening at the hotel on Tuesday night. Thank-you to you all! 
Chris leaving MTC teacher (Mom's Training Center)
I guess our Mother - Son bonding time is at an end! For at least 6 weeks, we spent up to 4 hours / day studying the MTC materials from my mission 25 years ago. He will find better technology and advanced learning methods at the MTC but not a  more dedicated teacher than me! We laughed a lot at each other  and I gave Elder Luening many a headache! He was a quick learner and I am sure that his dedication and submissiveness to learn will bring him a great advantage now! He is my favorite German student.

Farewell with Mom and Dad


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Chris has been called to the Germany Berlin Mission

We are excited for Christopher to be serving his mission in Germany.  This site exists to keep family and friends up to date with his experiences while serving for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in the Germany Berlin Mission.
He will be entering the MTC on March 14, 2012 and will be training there for 5 weeks.
There is a virtual tour of the MTC found HERE.