Tuesday, 25 September 2012

September 24, 2012, Hannover

Dear Family!

Thanks for the emails and letting me know what’s been going on. Please tell the Young Men thanks for writing me, and also for the S’s for writing me a letter! Heidi also wrote me a birthday card which was really nice.

Your package that you sent me still hasn't arrived! I hope you sent it to the right place, haha. Hopefully I won't have to wait too much longer for it. It is funny cause everyday I say I’m going to get a package, and I get home and there's no package slip, lol. But I’m sure it’s on its way.

 My week has been a tough week but I’m doing well! Monday we had a big Zone P-day, and played sports for it. We went to a big baseball park and played soccer, football, and kickball. It was a lot of fun!

On Tuesday we taught L for the last time before she goes to Denmark. We'll see her again tomorrow for institute, but she's too busy so we won't be able to teach her beforehand. I hope she continues being taught when she's in Denmark. That would be awesome!

On Wednesday we got “Tschuss'd” by Frau H. She's been getting harassed by her neighbors (both Muslim and Christian) about meeting with us and about a bunch of other stuff. She's trying to move, but said that in the meantime that she doesn't want anything to do with religion. We then prayed, like 3 times, while tracting doors. that we would find someone new to teach. During our last prayer (15mins before we had to go home), we told Heavenly Father that we had the faith to see the miracles and knew that he could provide someone new for us to teach. We then left and the next person we talked to had a lot of interest and we were able to teach him about the Book of Mormon, and he wanted to meet with us again so he gave us his information. It was a big 'BAM' that God does answer prayers.

On Thursday we met with J and he told us that he's going to try to read half the Book of Mormon before he meets with us again. He was dead serious, too. He said that he could do it and he has a huge desire to start learning what the book says. So we're meeting him tomorrow and we'll see how far he got!

We also started an English class, to try to find new investigators, but so far it’s only been members who've been coming. Hopefully this week we'll see some non-members!

On Friday we held a ping pong night for us and university students. We met 2 new Chinese people, and afterwards gave them a tour of our church. We taught one of them about prayer and he was so excited that he wanted us to teach him how to do it. We then prayed with him to show him, and afterwards he said his own. It was so cool! And the spirit was so strong. It was really amazing hearing him tell us what he felt after he prayed. The other missionaries are now teaching him!

On Saturday in Bad Fallingbostal we found a new family of 4. They are from Jamaica and the mom let us in because we had an appointment with her 18 year old son. We went into his room with his little brother (14 years old) and taught them both the first lesson. They were so excited about it and about our message of the Book of Mormon that as we were leaving, they told us that we had to teach her mom the same thing that we just taught them. So their mom made us tea and then we sat in the living room with them and their mom, and taught her what we taught the boys. She loves us and wants us to come back. She's a chef in the British military so she's pretty busy most of the time, but we left “The Restoration” movie with them, and she prayed for us before we left. It was amazing.

On Sunday we were able to participate in 2 blessings; one for Brother M, because he's sick, and the other one for Sister S, also for healing and comfort. I love blessings and being able to use the priesthood power given to me from God.

Our lesson with the Chinese guy X, and his girlfriend J Q S, went awesome again! We watched “Finding Faith in Christ” in Chinese haha. And we ate popcorn (from the package you sent me) while we watched it. After wards they had some really good questions, and we were able to teach them about Faith and the importance of Faith. We also talked about Joy, and the difference between the joy members feel through the gospel and the happiness non-members feel. We had a hard time coming up with an example for it, but something Elder W said made me remember Lehi's dream and the joy he felt from the fruit. We used that example of why we're on a mission, and assigned them to read 1 Nephi 8 for their commitment. They are really awesome, and we're building a really strong relationship with one another. They trust us and it’s been a blessing being able to teach them.

We also needed to find a person again before we went home, and so we prayed and told our Heavenly Father again, that we knew he could bless us with a miracle. Within 5 minutes we found a couple who want us to come back to their home and teach them. The Lord is  pouring down his blessings on us. Even if these people don't follow through with commitments or end up not wanting to meet with us anymore, we've had the chance given to us, and they've had the chance given to them. 

We're working hard, and I know we'll see even more success soon. I love you guys and can't wait to hear from you again next week!

Elder Luening

Oh, one more amazing experience that happened. Brother P (the man that comes on joint teaches with us, that I fondly refer to as an angel) had to go to the hospital for a checkup because he's recovering from cancer treatments a couple months ago, and one of the procedures was that a surgeon needed to put a camera into his artery leading towards his heart to make sure it was clear from clogs and infections. He said as he was lying on the table, he prayed for the surgeon and for the surgeon’s hands, that everything would be okay, and that the surgeon wouldn't have any trouble. He said he then looked at the surgeon and he saw, standing beside/behind him, the Savior Jesus Christ. He said he didn't see his face, just his outline, but he said it was the most amazing experience he's ever had in his life. I believe him 100 percent. He's 80yrs old and the amount of faith he has is unreal. He's always on the Lords errand and always trying to find ways to serve the Lord. He's fully recovered and has been blessed by the Lord!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

September More Pictures

Elder Whiteman & Elder Luening

P-Day trip to "Seringatie Park"

Is this the house?

"We are sent to baptize"

Sent pictures by Elder Luening

Elders in Rugby attire
Elder Luening teaching an Investigator

Elder Luening has an investigator committed

P-day trip to Concentration Camp "Bergen Belsen"

Monday, 17 September 2012

September 17, 2012, Hannover

Dear family,

Hey, Thanks so much for the birthday wishes!! i actually had a pretty good birthday. The K family fed me lunch and gave me a Hannover city book for my birthday! And also Elder H made me cookies, and I ate a lot of icecream, haha.

Church was way good. L came to church again, and we're having a lesson tomorrow with her! She's so cool.

The highlight of my day yesterday was that we had an amazing lesson with X and his girlfriend. He's the Chinese guy that we've been teaching and we've been worried about. But our lesson with them was so good! She doesn't know much about God either but she's way open, and they both love us! We taught them about God, prayer, and the Holy Ghost. The lesson was completely guided by the spirit. I gave them some American chocolate (chocolate bars)because they've never had it before and they loved it, haha. I was so thankful for how well the lesson went, because I was actually really nervous for it. I wasn't sure if X would tell us that he lost interest or not. But he didn’t and they're really excited to see us again. Can't wait.

  Also last week, I did my usual MMA with J. He's starting to open up way more to us. He's open with his concerns and we've actually been able to help him and teach him stuff that he accepts and that he thinks about. It's cool to see that as soon as you build a friendship with someone, they open up more and love being around you. Joseph is a good guy, and that picture is of him tapping, haha.

  I wanted to ask you guys if you could send me a copy of Ur-opa's war history stuff. I remember you showing me a bunch of stuff about him and his history in the war and stuff. I'd love it if you guys photocopied it and sent it to me so that I could read it and learn more about him.

 Also yes I did get the Bishop’s Birthday card!!! Tell him that I’m so thankful for that and that I love him and his wife! It was really, really nice of them to send it to me. Also Jocelynn sent me a card and Heidi too! Please tell Jocelynn thanks for me when you get a chance! That was really nice of them. I haven't received the 2nd package from you guys yet but know that it'll come this week!  I'm excited! haha. Thanks for everything, you guys. You're awesome!

  I was a bit grumpy the first couple of days this week, haha, just cause I’ve been exhausted but on Wednesday I just got boosted again, and the rest of the week was really good. Frau A “tschuss"ed us and also another lady. But other than that, our other investigators are still making progress. And we're hoping to get at least one of them on Baptismal date.

 I honestly love it here in Hannover and I’m really glad that I get to stay here for a while! I hope I’m here for Christmas. “Ich habe mich in diesen Stadt verliebt!” (I have fallen in love with this city!)

I love you guys and thanks for emails! You all sent me a birthday wish and a letter! Thanks a bunch; it means a lot to me! Hope you guys have a good week; you’re always in my prayers.

Love, Elder Luening

Monday, 10 September 2012

September 10, 2012, Hannover

Hello Luening Family!!

  I want to start off by saying thanks for the emails! I love hearing from you guys every P-day morning and the stories that you tell me! That bear story that you told me happening to Kassandra and Scott was hilarious mom, haha! It makes me miss Canada because there are absolutely no bears here in Germany. Well it’s not like at home where they just come into our yard, lol. Also I’m sorry that you’re having bear nightmares mom, but glad that you’re learning something from them, haha.

   Also I got your first package that you sent!!  We had a zone training meeting on Tuesday, and the Assistants to the Mission President (A.P.'s) came and brought packages! Thanks so much for all the goodies and everything that was in there! Oh and for the money too! I wasn't sure if I’d be able to write you before you sent the other package, but I guess you sent it already...haha yay, 2 packages in 2 weeks! I'll definitely be spoiled for my birthday!

   This past week has been interesting. It's felt like the longest week of my life. I'm not sure why because work wise, Elder W and I worked really hard. We had a lot of lessons and yet the week just felt really slow. But none the less we had a really good week. Like I said on Tuesday we had a Zone training meeting. It was really inspiring and I love them, because I always feel the spirit really strong whenever the other missionaries teach lessons. Also I was able to see Elder V (my last companion) again! We were able to catch up and have a good talk. He's doing well and he's happy to be in the same zone as me. I hope I stick around long enough to hear him give his “Tschüss” testimony. He's going home December 16th. That would be cool if I’m still in the same area.

   Elder W and I went by on 2 less active members this week. One of them is 32 years old and hasn't been to church since he was 17. The other one is married to a non-member and has 3 kids. His oldest child is 16. He served a mission in Peru when he was 23, and I think he's about 45 now. He was really happy that we came by and visited him, but he's not sure when he'll be able to come to church again. Both non active members wanted us to visit them again, so we're going to try to help them rebuild their testimonies and bring the gospel back into their lives.

  We also had a great lesson with the 17yr old girl L. She came to our appointment at the church, and we had a joint teach with us. She just laid all of her questions out in front of us, and we were like, wo! Haha!  It was a really good lesson. We talked a lot about a lot of different things, but we told her that when we teach her, we can't teach her everything at once. It’s going to be  “Schritt für Schritt. We bore powerful testimony to her and she broke down because she wants an answer right way and she wants to know everything and have everything make sense as soon as possible. She'll be leaving to live in Denmark for 1 year at the end of September. So we are going to try to teach her as much as possible before she leaves. If everything works out, she could be baptized the day before she leaves! We're going to be doing a lot of praying and fasting, and hope to be able to meet with her 3 times a week. She's also coming to institute, which is way awesome!

   Also J, the investigator I do MMA with, met with us inside the Church on Thursday. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it was a really good lesson. He finally opened up to us and let us know his deepest concern. He wants to learn about Joseph Smith, and find out for himself if he was really called a prophet or not. He said he's been searching for the truth his whole life, by experimenting with all types of different religions. He said he doesn't want to make the same mistake and jeopardize himself by making the same mistake again. He wants to find out if Joseph Smith was really a prophet or not. It was really cool, and a pretty powerful meeting with him. We're meeting again tomorrow, (Tuesday).

  We've been running into some interesting people while tracting. We talked with people who have been really open and wanting to learn, but not wanting to meet with us. We would set up appointments with them and then the next thing we know they don't show up, or they don't come. But, “na ja”, we're doing our best and the Lord is continuing to help us throughout our week. Elder Wightman and I have been writing down our miracles that we've seen throughout every day in our planners or on my calendar from Sister Y. As part of our daily planning, we review the day and write down the biggest blessing or the biggest miracle we saw in the day. It’s been helping us remember how much the Lord is actually blessing us here in Hannover. One big miracle that we saw on Saturday was in Bad Falling Bostal. We went by on our investigators and contacts that we had there, and none of them were home. So we did some tracting and went by on a referral that we received. It was a 30 minute walk, and on the way there, a Fijian man yelled to us while he was in his car. We went up to him, and he was so excited to see us. We asked him if he's a member, and he's like “yeah man i'm a member!” and showed us the back of his hand. He had LDS tattooed on it, haha! He's been in Germany for 9 years now. He said that he's here because he's in the military. He said he's never seen missionaries since he's been here, and he has no idea where the church is. It was definitely a blessing for him to find us and showed us that as long as we're where we're supposed to be, the Lord will help us bless other people.

  All in all this week has been cool. I love the mission, and these missionary experiences. I'm glad that my eyes are open so that I can see the many ways that the lord blesses us and other people. I know that if I wasn't here, I would miss these things. I know that as we continue to have faith in God, God will continue to work miracles in our lives.

  I'm still doing great, way out here in Germany, haha. I miss home sometimes, but there's no place in this world where I’d rather be than here on my mission. I love learning, and I love helping others. I miss you guys, and I hope that the Lord continually blesses you and protects you while I’m gone. You're always in my prayers.

Thanks so much for telling me about C. I can't believe that happened. I don't even know what to say right now, I'm in huge shock right now. He's one of my best friends! Please let me know what happened and how it happened, and I’ll be praying really hard for his family!

  I love you guys. Jeremy thanks for your email! I loved it haha, and it made me laugh. I'm glad you’re having missionary opportunities and that you've been going on joint teaches with the missionaries. They want to teach R, and I have no idea who they are, or what kind of missionaries they are. I've seen some missionaries that I would never trust teaching somebody that I loved and cared about. Surprise to me, not all missionaries are 'Missionaries'. You can tell a missionary is good, by his obedience and his love for the gospel. His actions and his spirit will speak louder than his words. Thanks for telling me that you like them and that you're enjoying going out with them.

I hope you guys have a good week and I can't wait to talk to you again!

Bis Nechste Woche! Love Elder Luening

Vocabulary: Tchuss = farewell    Schritt für Schritt – step by step       na ja = oh well

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

September 1, 2012, Hannover

Hey everyone,

   So last Monday, I don't know if you noticed or not, but I tried using my MC debit card. I tried it out buying a suite that I found for 52 Euros at Pre Mark. And it worked! So, it works for buying stuff but not at the ATM's when I try to take out money. It is good to know, though. So last Monday we just went to a bunch of stores here in Hannover and went shopping around. It was pretty fun.

  The weekend before we went to a “Tier Park” called Serengeti Park. You can look it up online if you want. It was way cool and we had a lot of fun! Elder W and I then spent time filling up our week with appointments so that we didn't have a white week.

  I've been doing MMA with an investigator, lol. His name is J and he's from Ghana in Africa. Every Tuesday we've been meeting with him for an hour and doing some MMA jujitsu. It's been helping us getting to know him better, and also helping me keep my skills. I hope it helps us when we teach him lessons, because if it doesn't, and he's not progressing and making commitments,  then we're not going to spend this time with him. He's way cool, but we gotta make sure we're not wasting our time doing it. I love it and it’s so much fun, but that's not why I’m out here.

  We met with an investigator that we found on a bench one night. Her name is L and her dad comes from South America. When we taught her about the Book of Mormon, and told her that it talks about the ancestors of the people from South America, she got goose bumps. She's excited to read and meet with us again.

  We met with a member that we never met before, Schwester S. She's about 87yrs old and so awesome. We went to her house and she apologized that she was too old to make us lunch. She then gave us 20 Euros and told us to go buy something for lunch today. She is such a nice lady. We went and bought Burger King for us and also for Elder H and Elder S. I then talked to her at church and told her what we bought with her money, and told her that we were all really thankful and loved it! She was so happy and I knew it meant a lot to her that I went and talked to her at church to say thanks. She's sweet! 

  One day we rode the “Strassenbahn” for 30 minutes to get to an appointment and then the lady said she was too busy. So we tracted the building she was in and found a lady who let us in to talk to her and teach. We are starting an English class and invited her to come to it. She's very interested and wants to meet with us again!  Her name is V. H.

  We had another awesome joint teach with Frau A. Brother P came with us again and we taught her the last part of the Plan of Salvation: judgement, resurrection, and Kingdoms of Glory. It was such a great and powerful lesson. I'm so impressed with Brother P. It is as if he is a resurrected being or that he's an angel! He speaks and testifies with so much power. He has this white glow about him, and this solid conviction in his voice that is so amazing. He's about 83 years old and he's perfect to bring along.
  Later we went to a member's house to give Schwester D a blessing. She asked me to give her one with oil, and it was so cool. It was definitely hard, and my German was horrible for it, but at least you could understand it and she was happy and thankful that we came over to give her one.

   On Saturday, we went by all the Fijians in Bad Fallingbostal, but none of them answered the door. Both our appointments with the German people we found there last week fell through. So we went door to door. We found a man from Africa. He's a soldier in the British military. He's 30 years old and he's married, and has a 1 year old daughter. He's born Muslim, and kind of believes in it. He says he's open to different religions and said that when he was in Australia he heard about Mormons, so he wanted to hear what we believe in. We sat in his house with him and taught him the first lesson. It was really cool! He said he wants us to come back whenever we're in the area, because he wants to learn what we have to say. It was sweet!

  On Sunday, there was an 18yr old girl that we met the week before, who came to church because she heard about it on the internet. She watched some of the Mormon videos on the website, and wanted to learn. Last week she told us that she was going to Denmark so we didn't expect to see her again. But she was at church again today, and said she wanted to meet with Elder W and I so that we can teach her. She came to all the classes and said that she shed a few tears during Fast and Testimony meeting. She said she felt the spirit, and that she's excited to learn more. She's so prepared and it was a miracle that Elder W and I were able to experience. Her name is L. 

    After church we went to meet with our Chinese investigator X. We finally taught him the first lesson. It was so hard, because we had to explain to him what a prophet was, and a bunch of other things that he didn't understand.  He's still really new to the Bible and everything, so our lesson was really long. We felt bad once we left because we were there for an hour and a half.  He's way cool, and he loves the pamphlets that we're leaving with him, which helps him a lot. He's able to study them and learn more throughout the week when we're gone. He's always so excited to meet with us.

    One other thing that was really cool at Church today was seeing the confirmation of both D, and A. It was so cool, hearing Elder H and Elder S using their Priesthood authority and commanding them in the blessing to receive the Holy Ghost. It was definitely a highlight, lol.

  There are some things that I learned this week, and one is that planning is very important. And that when we testify with conviction, and are straight forward, people respect you more and can feel the spirit through you. It's easy in lessons, to talk around something because you don't want to offend the other person about their beliefs. But it’s better to testify of what you know is true and how you found out, and how they can find out too. And then don't take it back. Also Elder W and I are really open with each other. So when we have a disagreement with something, we let each other know, haha. It is good for solving problems or issues.  We always come to a conclusion, which is way good.

   Mom, I'm glad that you decided not to work for N F. That would have been bad, especially if everything was telling you not to. It's a pretty big sign from the spirit when you keep having unsure thoughts about it, lol. Dollarama was a better choice. I miss S; let her know that I’m always thinking of her and that I miss her!

    I'm glad everyone is doing well! Dad I’m excited that you get to start seminary soon, and that you're totally excited about it. Those youth are going to learn a lot from you. Jeremy, really pay attention to this year of seminary. Learning the New Testament, and everything that Christ and his apostles taught, is going to help you so much on your mission because that is the Book, that people who don't know about the Book of Mormon, use. You can learn a lot from it and know what the Savior taught his people. I love you all and keep you in my prayers.

   I love serving here in Hannover. The Mission President wants me to train in a transfer or two. So next transfer I could be a trainer. I'm prepping for that and hope to bring someone into the gospel this transfer. We're working really hard, and the Lord's blessing us with opportunities. We're learning from every single opportunity we get.

   Talk to you guys next week!
   Love you!

Tier Park = Zoo                   Strassenbahn = tram                  Schwester=sister