Monday, 4 June 2012

June 4. 2012, Forst

Dear family!
    So, another week done and over with. It was good to hear from you and thanks for your e-mails. I've had an up and down week and it was a crazy hard week too.
On Monday we went to a few appointments that we had during the day and then at 5:30PM we went home and did our spring cleaning. We cleaned the whole apartment till about 10:00PM. It looks so good now but seemed to take forever.
   On Tuesday we traveled towards Gürlitz to do a District Austellung (street display). It was a lot of fun and we talked to a lot of people. We were able to make out a bunch of appointments and it was fun being able to do finding with other missionaries in our district. Oh yeah, another funny thing was that there were Jehovah Witnesses right beside us. Haha, Elder Js (our DL) thought it would be hilarious to put up our display right beside the Jehovah Witnesses and so that's what he did. He tried talking to them for a little bit but they didn't want to so we took off together and talked to everyone we could. Also, Elder G and I (the 2 goldens in the District) took off together and tried to place a Book of Mormon. It didn't work but we did talk to everyone we could using and understanding as much German as we could. It was a little nerve racking but definitely boosted our confidence when we realized we could listen and communicate with people without having our trainers beside us. It was pretty fun and got us excited for our finding day on Wednesday. We went home and J (Spanish member) came to volleyball and had a lot of fun playing with us. He said work has been crazy and that it's tough working around a lot of the workers. He said a guy threw his lunch on the ground today and J punched him. He said that the guy he hit got sent home and he was able to go back to work which he saw as a huge blessing. He called his workplace a 'Jungle'. Every single night everyone parties and drinks. He says its tough but he is thankful to be able to come to church activities that distract him a bit.
    On Wednesday Elder V and I prayed a lot and got really excited to find people. We had our District meeting in the morning and talked about the scripture in Alma where Alma was visited by and angel who told him to cheer up and be joyful. It was a really good Thema (theme). We then went home to a dinner appointment with Brother Dieter G. We had some soup and a really nice visit. I've never eaten at their place before and had a good time. We then went to an investigator's house with a member. We were able to teach her a lot about Jesus Christ and really get to know her. She is way cool and definitely a golden investigator. She recognized the spirit during our lesson and having a sister there from the ward was a huge help, too. Only sad thing is that her daughter is coming home to visit for 5 weeks and she said she won't meet with us again until her daughter leaves. We invited her to church but again she says she'll come if her daughter wants to. It was sad to hear, but we're excited to teach her again. We'll call her and check up on her once in a while. We then cancelled our evening appointment with our ward mission leader and used the 3hrs we had left to do our finding. We seriously spent 2hours "klingeling" (ringing)on apartment doors and 1hr tracting. All day we had been talking to everyone we saw as we went to appointments and now we were still doing it. At the apartments we were ringing on, I would keep ringing and talk to the people that answered and Elder V would talk to the people walking by. We literally talked to everyone we could and didn't set a single appointment. We didn't even manage to talk to anyone for more than 15seconds. It was painful. We got chewed out by some people from India. We got home that night and just looked at each other in disbelief. We just laughed because there was nothing else we could do. Elder V said 'Don't worry, we found Gold in ourselves, haha. Maybe we were the ones that were supposed to be taught by the Lord. It was disappointing but we did all that we could and felt good at least that we did everything we could.
     On Thursday we were pretty excited because we were going to a place called Güben (30min bus ride), a place that we had been to already and where everyone talked to us because they don't know us. We looked outside and saw some pretty dark and thick clouds and hoped it wouldn't rain on us, haha. We went to meet up with B (the other Kenyan) who was moving to Berlin today. Him and 3 women from Kenya invited us to eat some African food with them. We had a really good visit and shared a spiritual thought about Jesus Christ and the enabling power we can receive from the atonement. It was a really spiritual time that we shared with them and we then ran to make our bus on time. I prayed as we raced our bikes to the bus station that we woudn't miss our bus. We got there a minute before it left! We were so thankful. We picked a street in Güben to do some doors. Every house we knocked on people listened to us and thanked us for talking to them. We met a young family walking down the street and made an appointment with them. They are a young couple (prob 25yrs old) with a 7month old baby girl. We talked to them about families and they were really nice. We also talked to an old man riding his bike who stopped and listened to us. He said he wanted to meet with us again and for us to bring him a Book of Mormon so he could read it. It was sweet. We stayed in Güben talking to people from 3:30 to 7:30 PM. We got home and Edler V told me it was my turn to plan the day for tomorrow. We didn't have any appointments or anything so the day was all mine haha. We planned and then went to bed.
     On Friday we checked on all of our investigators and on some contacts. We were able to teach a lesson with Herr L who said he would come to church on Sunday but never showed up. Everyone else we checked on said it was a bad time to visit or didn't answer the door. We again talked to everyone we saw on the streets but no one had time. We still needed to get one more lesson before we went home early and did our weekly planning session. So we decided to stop at the church to see if anyone was there in hopes that we could share a lesson with a member. We got there and the youth were having their youth activity. It was called Maihnachten...Weihnachten (Christmas) in May. haha! But they messed up because it was June 1st. It was funny but they had the Christmas tree set up, and the Young Men's Leader was giving them a spiritual thought about the birth and mission of Christ. They were all sitting around a big table with candles and the Christmas treats that we always have for advent! They were excited to see us and wanted us to come and sit with them. So we did and we were able to share a lesson with them. The Weihnachtsman (St.Nick) came and gave a present to everyone that could recite an Article of Faith or show some sort of talent that they had. Elder V recited D&C 4 out of memory, and I was asked to sing a song. So I sang 'O du Fröliche'. We listened to music and had some laughs and then had to head home. It was way cool.
  On Saturday, we got up at 5:30 to head to the Freiberg temple! We stopped in Dresdon to listen to 'transfer calls'. Our District is staying the same for this next transfer except for Sister K who  is leaving to go serve in Dresdon and the sister from Dresdon is coming to serve with sister M. So we'll have a new sister in our District. Other than that we have another 6 weeks with the same Elders in our District which is way cool. The Freiberg temple was so nice! It was cool going through the sessions in the German language. I got a translating headset for English but listened to most of the session in German because I basically understood it all. The Freiberg temple is as small as the Spokane temple is. Only one session at a time. It was really nice. We also had a lot of fun on the train ride back to Dresdon. We ate at an all you can eat Chinese buffet and it was way good. We had some sushi and socialized a lot. We then made the journey home with the Sisters to Cottbus (2hrs), and then from Cottbus went to Forst (20mins) by ourselves. It was a good day and we were able to relax for an hour when we got home.
  On Sunday we met up with J at church again. He said he had a tough week and broke down twice during sacrament meeting. He told us he wanted to go back to Spain but at the same time has nothing to go home to. He's 36 and him and his wife are divorced. She has custody of their son while he goes around looking for work. He said 2 people at work tried to fight him on Saturday. He says he's really thinking about trying to find work somewhere else. We had a good lesson with him and read in the Book of Mormon with him. By the time church was over he said he was feeling a lot better and said he got the spiritual boost he was looking for. He's so thankful that we're there for him and help him come to activities and spend time in a different class with him. Elder V translated all the testimonies from members and also translated the Priesthood lesson for him. He said hes really thankful for us. We had and awesome lunch at a members house. It was with Brother and Sister V. We had a really good time with them and when we left, we had an hour to do some finding. It was pouring rain and we were trying to figure out what we would do. We pulled out the map and picked a street to do doors on. We were able to teach 2 lessons and set 2 appointments and managed to reach all of our goals for the week! It was awesome. We got completely soaked in our suits but we had a good time because people listened to our message and were really nice to us.
    Even though this week seemed really rough I'm definitely thankful for all the fun and the blessings we did receive. I've been reading a lot in the book Our Heritage and am amazed at the amount of faith the members had back then to serve missions. Its been a great example to me of how to just keep pressing forward when you don't see any success, and just keep your head up and look for the blessings you receive. Don't focus on the big ones that your expecting but focus on the ones that you are receiving everyday. Time seems to just keep moving forward. Thanks so much for your letters this week. Thanks, dad, for your testimony and mom for your letter! I don't think I'll be able to e-mail you back and forth because I just have enough time to write you this letter, lol. And it's probably like 3:00AM where you are when I send i,t haha. I'm glad you are all doing really good, I'm praying for you all the time and hope that the Lord is blessing you. I'm doing well and am loving the mission. Some days are tough but I just press through them. I love you and can't wait to see some pictures of this wedding!! You guys are awesome and don't worry about relaxing a little bit, haha. You deserve it!
 Bis naechste Woche,
 Love Elder Luening

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