Wednesday, 30 May 2012

May 28, 2012, Forst

Wow! This week has been pretty intense! It is hard for me to remember what happened because it went by slow and fast at the same time! I still can't believe how Kassandra is married already, and how Jeremy is graduating from school. It is unbelievable hoe the time keeps moving forward!
This week seems like it has changed me a lot. I'm not sure in what ways, but I am just starting to feel different! I feel like I am starting to adjust and am able to be myself in the German language! I feel the spirit more as I speak and as I listen! My rate of understanding what people are saying has sped up again! I was at Church yesterday, and I could hear and understand what people were saying without having to think about it. It seemed to just come to me when I am not worrying about it so much. Every Sacrament meeting, I write down words that I don,t know and have a young man preparing for a mission in England to translate them. He keeps asking me why I have him translate instead of Elder V, but I just laugh and say that it is going to help him for his English speaking mission!
Na ya, this week has been interesting! On Monday, once our P-day was over, we had 3 hours of tracting ahead of us. We walked around and found about 20 people to talk to. Not a single one of them had more than 5 seconds for us! It was rough, but we were able to talk to each other and keep our spirits up! I am so glad that we are companions because we get along so well, and are able to share experiences that boost each other!
On Tuesday, I cut my hair. I accidentally cut it way too short! What can you do!  I went on an Austausch ( exchanges) with our district Leader, Elder J in Guuerlitz. We enjoyed it, although our 3 appointment fell through. We had a lot of time to talk to the students at the Studentenheims (student housing) and set up a few new appointments.We talked quite a bit and it was interesting to serve with Elder J because I saw how he talked to people and how he was himself! He's hilarious and he is so humble! We were able to have this really good appointment with a man who has been seeing the missionaries for 10 years. We felt the spirit so strongly in this discussion and were able to help him see how much the Lord has blessed him ever since he's met with the missionaries. It was really powerful and I realized that my German is good enough to be an instrument in the Lord's hands in Germany! Once  we got back, we went running in the rain to get some snacks for watching "The District". We got back to the apartment a bit wet, but watched "The Mountain of the Lord" and Together Forever". It was nice and it was good to have something boost our spirits when times were getting tough.
Wednesday was our district Meeting and Elder V and I switched back together again.We headed back to Forst and had a lunch appointment with B. Because he doesn't have much money, we bought the food and he cooked it with us. He made this really spicy soup with chicken and something else that we ate.  Apparently it is African food and you eat it with your fingers. It was so hot in his room. We were sweating like crazy in his hot, sweaty room, trying to eat this hot spicy food. It was awful, but we had a good time and were able to leave a message about prophets. we then went ot a few appointments that fell through do we went tracting for an hour before our Abendbrot (evening meal) appointment / Branch Mission Leader Meeting. we were able to teach 2 lessons on the street and we pleasantly surprised that people listened to us today! All in all, it was a long, but good day! Sister G made us amazing bread to eat along with the Broetchen (buns). Oh, yeah, I tried Teewurst for the first time. It was sooo good!
Thursday morning, we got up and got ready for a service project. Most of the houses in Germany are made of bricks. We had to take out a wall inside one of the houses that a member is renovating, so we spent about 3 hours bringing down a wall and removing the dirt and bricks from the house. It was a lot of work, but definitely fun! The member gave us 40 Euros which he said we could take because it was not for the work, but because he liked us!We headed to the bus station to take the bus to Gueben to tract for the day, but arrived just as the bus had left.We had no Idea what to do, so we decided to stop by some contacts. We saw Herr P sitting on the bench that he is always on, and taught him a lesson.He said he wants to be baptized and set a baptismal date!we still have a lot to teach him but are really excited that he wants a new life and feels that the Lord and us can he4lp him with that! We then went to teach B and an old contact next door. We were able to give him a powerful lesson on how faith is like a seed, and how it is hard but in the end it is worth it.We compared it to hiking a mountain.You could tell they could feel the spirit - it was so strong!We knew it was something they needed to hear and that they were appreciative of us stopping by and sharing a message with them. We were feeling so good when we went home and knew that we were doing what the Lord wanted us to be doing. Even though we didn't make it to Gueben as we had planned, the Lord used us in other ways. We got home and found out that our oven kicks the breaker so we can't use ot anymore. We had no hot water, but were able to light the hot water heater again. We have no idea what is happening with our oven! Oh, and apparently when I was on exchanges in Guerlitz, Elder V woke up to a flooded kitchen because our kitchen tap was broken. We had a new kitchen tap installed on Saturday! Crazy, but it's all good! On Friday, we had our Zone Conference in Leipzig- it was awesome! It was the Dresdon and Leipzig zones together. It was way cool! We had good lessons about how we can feel the love of God and Jesus Christ for us more in our lives. we were also made aware that all of Germany is going to be fasting and praying for finding, It is called "Esprit de Corps like never before!". We are all fasting from last night to today and praying that we will be able to Find "Golden investigators" to teach and bring to Christ! We feel that the Lord will pour out his blessings to all the missionaries when he sees us all fasting together and praying on the same day and working hard to find 100 golden investigators. People who are ready to receive the gospel. we are going to be expecting miracles. At zone confernce Iwas able to share my "golden" testimony and the missionaries who were "dieing" (going home this transfer) gave their departing testimonies as well. The spirit was strong and I absolutely loved it there!
On Saturday, we did some service at a sister's house. We mowed her lawn and did some garden work. She gave us a meal and we headed home to change. We went to a member's little birthday party.Their baby just turned ! year old and they wanted us to reflect our message on Mickey Mouse. We compared the Church to the Mickey Mouse house and how he is always happy because he invites his friends to his house to have fun with him! We shared it before, but there were more members here this time and they all loved it! We then checked on a few investigators to confirm whether they still planned on coming to Church. They said that they were. we shared a message with B and A again. this time it was on Mosiah 24 and how the Lord strengthens us enough so that our burdens seem like they are not there anymore, and that through His grace and our faith, He will always look after us and ease our burdens. They loved it and I know they felt the spirit. We felt good being able to influence their lives and bring the spirit into their homes whenever we visit them. After  that we were able to talk to 3 people while tracting and one person took a card from us. we still needed to make an appointment to reach our goal for the day, so Elder V called a person we have never met before and he said he would love to meet with us on Sunday! We were pretty happy about our day and i have just been feeling more and more like a missionary every day! I have been reading the book "Our Heritage", and learning how much faith the prophet and the saints had in their lives. It's been really inspiring and I feel like I have been applying things that I learn in my own life and seeing ways that the Lord is blessing my life personally every day!
On Sunday, we went to Church and Elder V was translating all the talks during all the meetings into English for the Spanish Member, J. I gave him an English and a Spanish Book of Mormon. He is so happy to be able to have them and read whenever he wants to. He told us that work is so hot on the solar fields. Also he is the boss there so he sits around and makes sure that everything is in order, but is also really busy all of the time. It is inspiring to see how much he loves coming to church. He said his coworkers party almost every night and he is just glad to have a break on Sunday when he can get away from all of that and feel the spirit! After church we went to Familie G's for dinner. His wife made us Rouladen , Kloesse (dumplings), and Rotkohl (pickled red cabbage).It was so good and we had a really good visit with her. Once again all of our appointments were "ausgefallen" (fell through), so we decided to stop by some more contacts and talk to everyone we met in the street.Then we ran into j, the man we called the day before. We walked to his house with him and had a lesson with him. His heart was completely closed and it wasn't reaching him. But we felt the spirit so strongly as we testified of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. we left feeling really inspired from the spirit and so good about how we were directed by the spirit in that lesson. Even though his heart was closed and we don't think we helped him at all, we felt really good because we testifies. We then went to do some more tracting and stopped by B's place again. A was there too, and we talked to them both a bit to see how they were doing. Both of them are from Kenya and fled to Germany to escape things that were happening there.They left their families and are just waiting to get their papers so they can go back. they have been in Germany for about 4 years now and are Christians.We left a message about hope, faith and charity, and how these three things can create miracles. We have seen them.We told them that we loved them and that we always were impressed with how patient they were while waiting around and working in Germany. We knew that they felt the spirit and left with such a happy feeling.
I am really starting to feel myself change and I love the Lord more each day. I'm not sure how to describe it but I just feel like I am more useful each day! The days seem long sometimes and I feel like I am going to be away from home forever, but time keeps moving forward and I am feeling the Lord push us forward to do whatever He wants us to do! I'm so glad the Lord is taking care of all of you and that He is helping you get through your trials and hardships! You are in my prayers everyday and I am proud of all of you. I can't wait to see pictures of what the wedding was like. I am proud of all of you for making righteous decisions and moving forward in the gospel.
I'm doing well!
Bis Montag,
Elder Luening

May 21, 2012, Forst

May 21, 2012 Forst (3:41 AM)

Wow! I can't believe Kassandra  you are already married, Kassandra! That's so crazy! thanks for the e-mail, dad and for letting me hear all about the wedding and about how the week went. You all must be pretty exhausted. That's a lot of travel and excitement for one week-end! I am really excited to see some pictures!

Also, Jeremy, congrats on giving such a powerful talk and for finishing your Duty to God! I am so proud of you and know that you are on your way to being a good missionary. don't ever forget the kind of missionary you want to be, even when you get out into the field. No matter what other missionaries or people are doing, remember the type of missionary you want to be, and then be it! I'm so proud of you and so happy that you are working hard!
Charlene I miss you and I hope that you are doing well!
This week went really fast, but was definitely a tough week. I learned a lot about myself and a lot abut how you feel when you give your best and when you don't. Our P-day last week was really cool! we wrote our e-mails in Cottbus and then after we had a district BBQ and played a bunch of games (soccer, football, frisby, card games) and just relaxed, talked and stuff. It was a lot of fun! After that we got back to Forst and went to Young Single Adult (YSA) Family Home Evening. We learned the positives about things we want to change about ourselves and, man did I learn a lot of new German vocabulary words, haha!
For our District Meeting this week (every Wednesday), Elder V and I were assigned to teach about "Teaching and Repentance", so we studied together and made a plan the night before. Then in our meeting, we shared it. We shared the who, what, where,when, why, and hows of teaching, and then how to teach repentance. afterwards, the rest of our day seemed weird. We got home and studied and didn't do much.Then we went out and did some quick shopping,Then at 4:00 PM., we went to meet an investigator at a park. We sat for 5 minutes and didn't think he would show up, but we kept waiting! Then all of a sudden we saw him coming and we got ready to teach him! He didn't have much time, but we were able to teach him about prophets for 15 minutes and made another appointment to teach him on Saturday! Then afterwards, we did some tracting and checked up on old contacts, but no one would open the door because they were all out buying liquor or were all drunk! It was tough and I feel like we could have been more diligent that day! I got home not feeling very great and knew that we had had an off day!
So, then on Thursday morning, Christihimmelfahrt (Christ's Ascension Day), we knew that we wouldn't have much success. The Branch President told us not to bother going out because everyone would be drinking all day. Instead, we did spring cleaning in our apartment. It felt great cleaning the whole apartment and making it look nice! We then had a good weekly planning session and companionship inventory. We set a bunch of goals on how we can improve and strength our weaknesses. It was a really good planning session and we were able to tell each other our weaknesses and strengths. We were both open with each other and that played a big part in planning well. We then went to a Ward Garden Party at President V's ( Branch President) house and conversed a lot with the members. It was great talking with the youth and socializing with them.
We left at &;30PM and tracted before we went home. We found a lady who was just going through her gate on the way home and we talked to her a bit. She was a Lutherin and we talked about what we believe.
We talked to her for about 35 minutes and found out a lot about what she believed and how confusing it is. She believed in God, but didn't believe in life after death. She believed that God lived in us and not in "heaven", and that He doesn't help us, but leaves it all up to us to do it all alone. we tried to leave her with a card, but she was really stubborn and said, No, thank you!". Then, we asked her to read Ephesians 4 and she gladly said that she would! we couldn't help her much, but we tried our best and maybe we got her thinking a lot about life and about Jesus Christ.
We then went to check up on E, who we haven't seen for about 11/2  weeks. We knocked on her door and surprisingly, she opened it. i asked id she had time to meet with us ans he said that the baby was sleeping, but maybe another time, than closed the door! We were, like, " what the heck!" We couldn't do much, so we left the house! It is sad because E was making a lot of progress and now we don't even see her anymore. We decided to stop going over and give her a break. We will go back in a week or so!
Friday was awesome! We did our exercises, studied, and prepped a lesson for an investigator, Frau, S on the Plan of Salvation. we then went to her house, but she wasn't home. We did tracting, and contacts instead. We talked to everyone we could and it felt really great - even though most people didn't listen, we did our best! We had lunch at a member's house and gave a spiritual thought about missionary work and trusting in Christ (Mormon 9:21, 36). after lunch, we went back to Frau S and taught her. Even though she didn't have much time for us, the lesson went really well. we set up another appointment and then went to see our African investigator, B. We approached to everyone we met on our way there , but were unsuccessful.  Then B let us come in and we shared a spiritual thought about weaknesses and how the through the Lord, they are made strong. The spirit was so strong!. Then we had another dinner appointment. Elder V and I felt great today, because the time flew by and we knew that we had done everything we could to be 100% obedient. we have been keeping it up ever since Thursday!
On Saturday, we had an Austellung (street display) in Cottbus. Elder Gibson and I (both of us are "Goldens" - new missionaries) teamed up and tries finding people by ourselves. We were able to teach three lessons and bring a young couple to our table of pamphlets and our display! then the sisters took over! It was fun and way cool to be able to do the finding by ourselves! We understood a lot of what the people were saying, but there was also a lot we didn't understand! it was hard, but it was cool that we had the courage to do it! Eld4r J and I taught 2 20 year old girls who had us sit with them when they found out that we were from America and Canada! It was quite amusing! Elder J shared his conversion story and they said they would come to church! We were back in Forst at 5:30PM and went to the park to meet Herr P, but he didn't show up. We had planned to show him the first Vision video and give him a tour of the Church! We went to Ben's for half-time during the soccer game on TV and brought him chicken wings!We taught him a lesson. He is a humble and loving guy! He is 23 years old and I hope that he gets baptized!
Sunday, was sooo cool! I was listening to the talks and everything and I could understand so much more than the week before. My ears are starting to catch a lot of words that I learned throughout the weak and I can pretty much understand everything people are saying. during the first talk, a young man came up to me, and told me there was an investigator outside. I went out and shook his hand. He greeted me in English and I  thought that that was weird! He then said that  he was a member from Spain! He is working with a bunch of people on the solar panels fields and will be staying here for 3 months. He then shared his story. he said. "he had washed his garments and was taking a shower, then when he went back to check on them they were gone. He called his Bishop and was told to go to the church and talk to the Bishop there so that he could get new ones.They both didn't know where the building was located.He prayed really hard Saturday night.Then, Sunday morning, he prayed really hard again and asked the Lord to direct him to where the church was.He left his house and started walking. Every time he came to a crossroad, he prayed and felt the spirit prompt his which direction he should go! He did this for 3 hours because he lives quite a ways from Forst! Then he saw the building! He found it completely by following the spirit!" After Sacrament meeting, the Branch President helped sort out his problems and made arrangements to help him. He doesn't speak German and can only remember a little English from when he served a Spanish speaking mission in St. George, Utah! He just broke down and cried because he was so grateful for the members and grateful to the Lord for helping his when he was in need. The Young Men's President said that he Aaronic Priesthood would administer the Sacrament to him and have him share his story with them.He works with 300 men and is the only member. He said that there is no other place he wants to be than at church on Sundays. It was such a cool experience being able to help this man and see the Lord and spirit work through him!
This week, I have learned so much and learned that when you apply what you have learned, you grow to love it! We are trying our best and seeing the Lord bless us through happiness and through success. We are able to dwell on the people we might have helped a bit instead of worrying about the ones that rejected us. It has been an amazing week and it went really fast.
I hope that you guys will have a good week and I wish you all the best! I love you all!
Bis Montag,
Elder Luening

Monday, 14 May 2012

May 14, 2012, Forst (11:00AM)


 Dear Luening Family!

So,  I was able to Skype with you guys yesterday and didn’t actually realize how much I missed you all until I saw you and said good bye! It’s crazy. I told you a little about the week I had,  but I’ll tell you a bit more.

So, on Monday I went to Cottbus (20mins away) and emailed you, and then went back to Forst with our District and enjoyed a District P-day. We played some Football and then had an awesome BBQ at the B.'s!
It was really cool and man, were we stuffed! The members are totally loving us and it was really awesome being able to have our whole district enjoys our time with some members in our ward.
On Tuesday, we had interviews with the Mission President in Dresden. So, we traveled for 3 hours and then had a Zone meeting and our interviews at about 1:00 PM. It was crazy!
Our train was leaving at 7:35 AM and we got there at 7:27 AM. We then realized we forgot the area book, and raced back to our apartment, and then back to the train station on our bikes! We just made it. probably 30 seconds before the Zug (train) left!! It was pretty crazy!
The Zone conference was really great! The spirit was really strong and it was very motivating. My interview with President Pimental was awesome! He was real quick, and just wanted to know if I had any concerns about anything.

At 4 PM,  we left for Forst and got back at about 7:20 PM. We hit the streets for 40 minutes talking to everyone we saw and were able to teach one person and set one new appointment!
Wednesday, we wanted to teach Frau E. (she has a baptismal date and came to church) but when we were going to her apartment, she was heading to the train station because she was going to meet a friend.
So we then went to meet our other investigator with a baptismal date, Herr M. He said he was sick again and that he doesn’t have time.

Since we had a lot of free time all of a sudden, we decided to go and do tracting in Guben (30min bus ride).
We taught 3 lessons on the street and there was honestly not one person that didn't talk to us for at least 45 seconds. Everyone was really friendly and we were able to set two appointments. Also, we had two students (age 21) walk up to us and talk to us about how they know who we are, and that they've met with missionaries before. It was really cool and they said they want to start meeting with us again.
So Guben was successful! Half the city of Guben is in Poland, so we went across a bridge and stood in Poland for about 2 minutes and then ran back to the bus station to catch our bus. It was way cool!
Thursday we met Frau E. at 11:00 AM and said we would come back to teach her at 4:00 PM. She said ok. So we called Bro.C. (a member, age 28) to joint teach with us at 4:00 PM. We had a dinner appointment with a member at noon and then mowed her lawn for her as a little service project.
We then went back at 4:00 PM to Frau E’s place and she wasn’t home. It was the worst feeling ever. So we talked to Bro. C. for a bit and then went on trying to find people.
OYM's (open your mouth). We ran into an African Christian who had met the missionaries before and hated them because they tried to change his belief. We were able to sit down and talk with him and hear his concerns about everything he was taught. We straightened a lot of things out and he realized that our faith is centered on Jesus Christ like his was. We shared a lot of scriptures with him and he shared his favorite ones with us. It was a really cool lesson and he said that he would come to church sometime to see what it is like. We then talked to a man on the street and he just said "nee" (no), then pulled out 2 beers out of his bag and said "I know what you guys do, and how hard it must be, here is something to drink while you’re walking around looking for people." Ha-ha it was really funny! We took it, not knowing it was beer and put it in our backpack.
We then talked to a Lady and had a really good lesson and conversation with her. We gave her a card, and in return she gave us a bookmark to remember her with,since she lives in West Germany somewhere. Then we went to do some quick shopping and we met a guy that works at a bank (25yrs old). He approached us, and we started telling him who we were and what we are doing on a mission. He's from Cottbus. We gave him a card and told him the Sister missionaries’ telephone number. The Lord was totally blessing us that day and giving us a boost to fulfill His work because we were really disappointed that all our appointments fell through. But we kept going and looking for people to talk to, and the Lord blessed us big time.
Friday we had our service project. Usually the people we work with at the "Tafel". (This is a place where people can buy donated food items that stores have discarded very cheaply.) Ususally the people don’t talk too much with us, but this time everyone was opening up and really wanted to get to know us and what Canada and America were like. It was really cool. Our service was for 3 hours so we got to talk about a lot of things!. Then, before we left, we handed each of them a card and told them we have volleyball on Tuesdays and that they were more than welcome to come to church and play volleyball if they wanted to. There are about 6 people that work there. It was really cool.

We went to check up on Frau E. three times but even though her shoes were there and we heard music playing she didn’t answer the door.
We then went, and taught an investigator in the same building, He is only home for about 3 days / month because of work. We read 3 Nephi 11 with him and the spirit was really strong. His name is Herr B. and he's from Kenya.
We went to do some tracting after that, and it was just pouring rain! We got completely soaked and nobody would talk to us. Actually, one did but he wouldn’t take a card!  So we kept walking around, and then passed a group of kids 18-24 sitting in 2 cars and standing outside a store in a parking lot. The guys in the car honked their horn at us as we walked right in front of them. I'm like; "Elder we should go talk to them." He's like,"No! We won’t get anywhere with that." Then about 5 minutes later we hadn't seen anyone so we had to go back the same way we came from. The guys were just laughing because of what they had done earlier. I was about to go talk to them when some other guys beckoned us to come talk to them in the parking lot. We were able to talk to 3 guys (20-22 yrs. old) and tell them who we were and what we were doing. Their whole countenance changed and we were able to have a really good time talking with them. They were drinking and smoking but they were pumped that we were from America and Canada and about what our purpose as missionaries were and that were doing it out of our own money. The Lord blessed us again!
Saturday we went to all the less active or non-active members and dropped of the Ward newsletters. We buzzed on every door but the ones that did answer said, "No, we don’t want to talk to you." So that was sucky.
We then had lunch and went to a few appointments. On the way to one, I felt prompted to talk to an old man sitting on a bench. We were able to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon and have a really good lesson with him. We set a time for our next appointment and learned that he lives right across from the Church.
We then taught Frau S. She's an investigator that we have only taught once and had left a Book of Mormon with. We taught her the first lesson and afterwards she asked us what we believe happens when we die. She said she has big fear of dying and wants to know what happens after death. She said that the next time we meet that’s what we have to teach her. We were so excited and happy. So we set an appointment and are excited to teach her. We then checked up on Frau E. and Herr M. and we had no luck. Frau E. still didn’t answer the door and Herr M. said he has no time. So we went and tried to have a lesson with Herr B. again (Kenyan) and he made us dinner and we taught him a lesson and got to know him a bit more. It was cool.
So pretty much, the work is hard and sometimes really sad, but the Lord is blessing us as we remain faithful and do the things we are supposed to do. Find, Teach, Baptize, Keep!

Good Luck on the wedding and I hope that everything is going really good for you all! I Loved being able to talk to you guys yesterday and can’t wait to talk to you again! I miss you all and love you, and don’t worry I’m loving my mission!

Love Elder Luening

President & Sister Pimental with Elder Luening & Companion
Eldaer Luening & Companion on the go!

Rain shower in Forst
Goerlitz District