Monday, 29 October 2012

October 29, 2012

Hello Luening Family!

  I was really happy to hear about all of the news from you guys, and your experiences! I know that fasting and prayer works, and I'm so happy that you taught me about the power of it. I gained the witness of it in preparation for my mission, and it's something I will never be able to deny. You guys should read Isaiah 58! It pretty much sums up the blessings and power of fasting :) I'm so thankful the Lord is blessing you. That's sooo cool that the Calgary Temple is now dedicated! I'm really happy about that!

   I've got some exciting news from this week. We finally met with J again and taught him the first half of the Plan of Salvation. The Spirit was really strong so we invited J (from Zimbabwe) to baptism, and he accepted. His date is on the Nov 18th, but we might have to push it back a bit because we realize now that that probably won't be enough time to teach him everything. We're praying and hoping that we'll be able to figure out a plan soon for him. He's a really good man, (32yrs old) and has a really good heart. He loves meeting with us and sometimes calls us just to talk. I'm so happy that he accepted the invitation.

   We taught the G family (Jamaicans), and the T's (Fijians) twice this week! On Tuesday, we played soccer with the 2 G boys (R (14) and C (18)) it was a ton of fun. Then we taught brother T and he accepted to be baptized on Nov 10th, but then his wife asked him if he was sure, and said that he shouldn't feel rushed to do it. So he decided to take a couple more days to think about it and give us an answer on Saturday when we meet him again. Well, Saturday we went by on the G family again and taught C and R the Plan of Salvation up to Judgement. They were so tuned in and interested, which completely invited the spirit. They asked awesome questions and we answered them with scriptures and it all made sense to them! Now we just need to teach their Mom, haha! We asked Brother C (another Fijian member) to come on joint teach with us this Saturday. He said to call him to confirm, so we'll see if he's able to on Friday!

   After the visit with the G family, we had a lesson with Brother T, and had also planned to teach the Plan of Salvation. We asked him before the lesson, if he had picked a baptismal date. He said he picked the 10th of November!! We're really excited and have 5 more lessons with him until his baptism so we'll have to make sure we plan them out really well so we cover everything :) I love him and his wife, they are hilarious and always crack jokes about each other, haha. They just got married in April so they haven't been married for too long, but they're really funny. They say Hello by the way! (Sister T served a mission in Virginia.)

   Well, that's kind of my big news for the week ha-ha! We've been keeping super busy, and have been spending a lot of time traveling and teaching people. Early morning Saturday we had a zone service project, in Burgdorf (30min away). Our zone got together and helped for a couple hours in the rebuilding of a Village Gymnasium that burned down last year. It was fun, and we managed to help them out a lot, which was good. It was well organized so no one was standing around wandering what to do! :)
   It's a lot of fun training. I'm so exhausted at the end of the day because I'm the one who figures out what time we need to be where, and how we're getting there, but it’s good too, because right when I hit the bed after my prayers, I'm OUT! Ha-ha-ha. Our work is moving forward. And we're being blessed by the Lord every day. We had one day this week when we spent about 4 hours going by on contacts and talking to everyone we saw. I'm not sure what made it fun, because we didn't see any real success from it, but nonetheless it was a lot of fun ha-ha. We tried a few different approaches and tested them to see if they would work, and I think maybe that's what made it fun!  Naja. Everything is going well here in Hannover!

   I'll make sure I change the names on the mailbox. I thought about it before, but never actually changed it. We changed it this morning because I brought it up while we were cleaning the apartment. So I read your letter and I realized that we should've done that a while ago. I wonder if there were other letters or packages that I didn't get because of it. I'll definitely make sure to change it everywhere I go now! That sucks!

     Anyways, I love you guys, and I'm way proud of you. Jeremy keep it up with work, and with preparing for your mission. I'm glad you're teaching your friend a bit about the gospel with the missionaries and let me know how it goes. Charlene you’re amazing, and keep working hard in your calling. I know that you probably love it! And I'm proud of you for deciding to serve a mission! Kassandra and Scott, keep being married and doing well in school, ha-ha! Love you guys. Mom, and Dad, I'm really thankful that you're my parents, and that you taught me and raised me the way you did. And I'm glad you decided to raise me in Canada, because I think it would have probably been a million times harder here in Germany. Miss you guys, and love you always. I'll pray for Grandpa,

Love Elder Luening

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

October 22. 2012, Hannover

Dear Family,

  Wow, what a crazy exciting week. I can't tell you everything that's been happening, because there is no way enough time, but this has been an amazing week!

  On Wednesday we had a missionary nightmare!  The first day in a long time when we had a completely “White Day” (no appointments in the planner), haha!  Elder B and I spent almost the whole day getting rejected as we knocked on doors, talked to everyone we saw, and called people to make new appointments. It was a good thing that we had a Zone Training meeting the day before to inspire us to work hard no matter what. Well, we made it through the day with one member lesson, but we never gave up and finished hard. At the end of the day, even though we didn't have much to show for our work, we felt good because we knew we did all that we could, and a little relieved because the day was finally over, haha! No, but seriously, we felt the Lord’s strength as He helped us have fun and keep our heads up while working diligently. I think it was a test for the rest of the week!

  Talking about the Zone Training meeting, Elder B and I gave a 'Thema' on the Role of the Spirit in Conversion, it went really well, and the spirit was really strong in our lessons. It was awesome! The whole “Thema” was “auf Deutsch”, which made it a little bit harder, but didn't seem to effect it at all.

   We met with an inactive member on Thursday, and he loved us and gave us permission to visit him weekly. He has 3 children who aren't members but 2 of them are 12 (boy) and 14 (girl) and are curious about the church. I feel maybe if we keep visiting with him and building trust with him, one day he'll invite them to listen to us while we give him a spiritual thought. He's a really humble man and his name is Brother O.

  We also managed to meet with half of our investigators 2 to 3 times this week and see them make progress because of it. Sister T's husband hasn't picked a baptismal date yet, but we're visiting with him tomorrow (Tuesday) so we'll see what he says. Our Chinese investigators are feeling the spirit in every lesson we teach, and we just need to push them to know that they've received an answer already. They all have the desire to be baptized (they’ve said it), but they don't trust that they know enough yet to pick a specific date. So we're helping them with that!

  We had an “Ausstellung” in Nienburg, and saw a lot of success from it. It was a district project, and each companionship managed to teach 2 to 3 lessons during the 1 1/2hrs that we were there. It was very successful and we need to figure out whom to talk to to be able to do it here in Hannover. I know that we'd see a lot of success from it too!

  We met with the Jamaican family too, and they're cool as always. They still have a lot of interest and we'll be able to meet with them twice a week now, because we'll be in there area, when we're teaching Sister T's husband to prepare for his baptism. I'm really excited about that. All in all the rest of our week was crammed busy and we were busy teaching people which was really awesome!

   Training is going really well. It's tough sometimes because it seems like a lot depends on me, but I absolutely love it. Elder B’s excitement is always there, and he's learning every day. Yeah, it's a big responsibility but it doesn't seem to be any harder - just takes up even more of my time, and makes me feel even more tired and ready for bed at the end of the day, haha. It's teaching me to trust in the Lord a lot more during our planning sessions and in our daily work. I love the mission. I'm so glad I made the tough choice to be here. I can't believe I've been gone for 7 months now, and 6 months in Germany on Wednesday! Time flies.

  It sounds like life is crazy busy for you, Mom, and I'm thankful that you’re receiving enough strength to complete all your tasks! Just think about it, when Jeremy and Charlene are gone, you'll have about 9 or 10 months before I come home. Enough time to catch up on all the sleep that you lost, haha!

  Wow, I'm excited for these packages, haha. Yes, people have been writing me letters, the Smee's have written me a few, and please tell them thanks for me! The Shortridge's have sent me letters and Kool-aid packets! haha. L. Silva sent me a letter a couple months ago and I've been trying hard to finishing writing her back, but haven't managed to finish it. J Orth sent me a letter and I sent her one back. The young men sent me a couple letters, and the Bishop, too. I'm getting mail at least every 2 or 3 weeks don't worry! :) Things are going well for me and I'm glad it's going good for the family too.

   I love you guys and the work is going well!

   Love, Elder Lüning!

Friday, 19 October 2012

October 15, 2012, Hannover

Haallllllooooooo!!! :)

So what a crazy busy week! Not gonna lie, this week was a load of fun and a riot, haha! You’re right, Mom, I barely had any time to teach ‘cause of all the traveling we had to do.
Last week on Tuesday Elder W and I said our good-byes and he got on his train heading to Halla! We then greeted Elder H's new companion, Elder W shortly after. Haha, there’s not much of a difference in the names. For the time being I tagged along with Elder S as he said good-bye to investigators and members. We had a way awesome lesson with a girl from Brazil. She's 22 years old and she's in Germany for a year to learn German. During our lesson we asked her how she was doing and she broke down because she was home sick. We sang some hymns with her since we were at the church, and got her to feel better. We had a way good lesson with her. She's only got another 6 months here in Germany, and then she'll be on her way home again. She's super solid, and really interested in the Church. Lots of potential!

  On Wednesday we had our road trip to Berlin! It took us 6 hours to get there because of delays but it wasn't too bad because we were with 2 other elders and a Sister, who also were going to be trainers! We played some games and talked about random stuff which made the time go by. Elder S and I then slept in a “Wohnung” with 2 elders who live in Berlin. I didn't sleep too well on the mattress that they put on the floor, so the whole day on Thursday I was pretty wiped out. In the morning we made eggs and oatmeal for breakfast and then drove to the church for our meeting with President Kosak. He gave a “Thema” on being a trainer and then we met all the new missionaries! It was a big group of 22 new missionaries!! Shortly after, they started to call out the companionships. My new companion is Elder B! He's from Memphus, Tennesse. He's a 6ft 3in, 198lb, football player, haha. He makes me look small! I'm super stoked to be able to serve with him and to be his trainer. He's got a heart of Gold!
He's super excited to be in Germany and to start teaching people. We finally got out of the Church by “15 Uhr” and went to the ”Bahnhof” to get on our train. The train we were supposed to take was cancelled, and so we had to wait at the “Bahnhof” for 2 hours until the next one came. So I bought Elder B his first Döner and checked out a couple stores. There were 4 other missionaries traveling with us back to Hannover; the Sister companionship, and an Elder Companionship from Mitte. We got on the train heading to Magdeburg and it overheated on the way. We were stuck for about 45 minutes waiting for the train engine to cool off so we could keep going. We then finally made it in Magdeburg and we missed our connecting train because of the delay. So our options were paying for an ICE train direct to Hannover, or buying a cheap trip to Braunschweig and then to Hannover. If we took the ICE we would be in Hannover by 11:10 PM, and if we took the other one, we would be home by 12:45 we decided to pay the extra money and take the direct trip to Hannover with the ICE! It was ridiculous! As we were getting all our tickets sorted out, we left Elder B and Elder S (both new missionaries) with the luggage. As I came back to help them move the stuff on the right “Gleis”, i found them talking to a random man holding open and explaining the Book of Mormon to him! haha I was so happy seeing them doing work instead of just sitting around and talking. They told me they had placed 2 Books of Mormon and had a good talk with at least 2 other people in the 40 minutes I was gone, haha. It was amazing! Their German is pretty bad but they're way confident and have deep testimonies and that makes up the rest!

  On the train ride to Hannover, we sat across from a 22yr old man. I started talking to him about some drawings he was making and found out he was drawing them for his 5year old son. He had also skipped 3 years of school, and is already a doctor! His heart was too big and when he was 4 he had major heart surgery, but now everything is okay. He believes in God, and has faith in Christ, but sometimes asks himself why bad things happen even to believers. His brother died in 2006 of cancer, and then in 2009 his mother died also. We had a really good talk with him and the Spirit was really strong. We read Alma 7:11-13 with him and his whole attitude changed. I found out he lives in Halla, (where Elder W is serving now!) and got his contact information from him. The really cool thing about the lesson is that during it, Elder B was having a hard time following along, but he at one point stepped in and bore his testimony about his little brother also having cancer but living. He shared how he felt and how Jesus Christ helped him through his personal worries and struggles. It was perfect! He's going to be and already is a very good missionary! I'm blessed to have a companion like him. We finally got to bed at 12 AM, and man, did I ever sleep well. lol.

  Friday, all of our appointments fell through, so we were busy enough planning for our next week and then on top of that we got asked to prepare a “Thema” for our Zone Training meeting on Tuesday. So we are, and were super busy.

  On Saturday I got to see our Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson in Hamburg, and on top of that OMA and OPA!! It was soooo nice!! It's been 10 years since I’ve seen them and Oma bathed me in kisses, haha! I spent a good amount of time with them catching up and almost missed the bus because of it, haha. Wow I missed them, and I was so happy to see them again. We basically hugged and held each whenever we could! I also got the blessing of seeing Heidi!! She said she's not doing well, but that she was happy to be at the Conference. She was crying with joy because of the opportunity she had to hug me and tell me that she loved me and that she was proud of me. I love her, she's amazing! It was an amazing day with lots of emotions! I'll never forget it! :) When we got back to Hannover, we decided to get out a “Haltestelle” early and walk the rest of the way home talking to people. It was fun talking to people, and we were dead when we finally got home.

  On Sunday, we taught our Chinese investigators. We're still trying to get them on baptismal date, but even though they aren't yet, they're still making progress! I'm glad to say that we teach really well together and that my 'Son' has a strong testimony of the Gospel!

Thanks for letting me know how the Lord has been blessing you guys. I'm proud of my family, and all the decisions you all are making. Kassandra, Charlene, Jeremy, I love you, and keep making those right decisions. You should count how many times it says this sentence in the Book of Mormon: 'Keep the commandments and you'll prosper in the land.' It says it a ton, and it’s true. The Lord will continually bless us! I love you mom and dad, thanks for everything! I miss you, but know I’m doing well!
Bis naechste Woche!

Thema = lesson                                15 Uhr = 3 PM                       Bahnhof = train station
Gleis = track                               Haltestelle =(bus/train) stop

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Octobrer 8, 2012, Hannover

Dear Family.
Wow what an amazing week it has been!! Okay before I start talking about how excited I am about what’s going on at home, I'll tell you a bit about what’s happened during my week. I don't have much time though, so sorry, this will be a quick email again. It’s a busy Monday for us, and I just spent an hour reading everyone’s emails, haha - and loved them!! :)

Last Monday was October Fest. So, Elder H, Elder S, Elder W and I, checked it out during the day, and went on one of the rides, haha. It was a lot of fun, and it was a Monday at 15 Uhr (3:00 PM) so there were, like, barely any people there. It seemed just like the Fair that comes to Trail, minus all the people that are usually there, lol. We stayed for about an hour and then we left. Just “einfach” checked it out, and had fun :)

   On Tuesday we were blessed to meet 2 Africans from Zimbabwe. They were referrals given to us. We taught them the Message of the Restoration” inside the church. The spirit was really powerful and we could see the desire in their eyes to learn more. We're going to try to teach them more often. One of them looked at me and said, “I smoke, and I really want to quit, will you help me?” I'm really excited to start helping them and I wish they came to watch General Conference. It would have been nice for them to hear those powerful talks about gospel principles.

  Our Chinese investigators are doing awesome. They're keeping their commitments, and they have a Chinese Christian Bible class that they go to throughout the week, so they usually have a question for us before we start teaching, haha. They are a lot of fun, and it’s amazing to see how the Spirit is working with them!

   On Saturday we had our TRANSFER CALLS!! I guess Oma and Opa already spoiled the surprise, haha! But yes, I'll be training starting THURSDAY! I leave for Berlin on Wednesday evening, sleep over night, and then pick up my companion and travel back to Hannover! I'm excited and I’m up for the challenge. President keeps saying that there’s no higher assignment of importance on a mission than to train a new missionary. Elder Strom in Mexico is also training right now. He says he loves it, and I know I’ll love it too. Elder W got transferred to Halla as District leader. He serves his mission until March and hopes to stay there until then. And Elder S got transferred to Freiburg and will be training. He goes home in January so he'll definitely stay there till then. Elder H and I will stay in Hannover! :) woot!
Also there is a member sister in our Ward from Fiji, whose husband is a non-member. We've taught him off and on, and he wants to get baptized now! He and his wife are going to pray together and decide a date! It’s really exciting!

Wow, General Conference was wonderful! Right when the announcement came for the change of the ages for missionary service, I was so excited! All I could think about was Charlene and Jeremy being able to leave earlier!! It was so awesome. All the talks were powerful and I am really amazed that all of these messages were given to us. I love being a missionary! I love gaining council for my life through the messages of choice leaders in the Church. They are amazing and know the Doctrines of the Gospel, and understand God's plan for all of His children! I'm not going to lie; General Conference has meant more to me on my mission than it has at any other time.

I love my mission. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world right now. I have achieved my goals and have to look back and take note of the difference I feel and see. First, I finished reading the Book of Mormon “auf Deutch”, and second, I also did 30 chin-ups in a row last night, haha! Woot, 2 goals, “geschafft”! Those aren't my only ones ...  don't worry, haha! This transfer I really want to read through the New Testament “auf Deutch”. Elder Holland got me all fired up to read the New Testament because of his talk!

 I am going to see the Prophet, President Monson, this weekend in Hamburg!! And I really hope to see Oma and Opa there!! :) woot, I’m way excited to see them again! It is raining here off and on, and it’s starting to get pretty chilly, lol! But that scarf and the umbrella that you packed for me have definitely helped out!
Our Mission President is amazing. I know him pretty well, and he's gotten to know me pretty well, too. He sends us really powerful e-mails every week. Maybe I’ll start forwarding them to you so you can read them too. I'm proud of Jeremy and Charlene for starting to prepare for missions. That makes me so unbelievably happy; I know it'll mean everything to them. Now I know why your missions meant everything to you, Mom and Dad, and I’m so glad I’m out here. Don't worry Kass, I’m proud of you too, ....  ‘cause you and Scott aren't divorced yet, haha!  Joking!!! You guys are awesome! I love my family, I don't know what I did in Heaven to deserve a family like this one, but I’m forever grateful. I love you all!

   I love Christ's Gospel with all of my heart. I don't think I really understood the importance of it before my mission. Not as much as now anyways, and I know it'll keep growing and my eyes will keep opening as I learn and teach. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm so thankful for the Lord, for pouring His Spirit upon me as I contemplated about whether to go on my mission. I swear I wouldn't be out here right now if it wasn't for Him. Nobody could have made me come out here, nobody, - but I couldn't deny the influence of the Holy Ghost. For that I am forever grateful. It's like King Benjamin said: when we forget our will, and do the will of the Father, we will receive a remission of our sins and he will pour blessings upon us, and then we will still be in His debt. Even if we serve Him all the days of our lives, we will never be able to repay it. That’s love! I know God lives, and He loves every one of us. Jesus Christ is our Redeemer and Savior. He ministered to Joseph Smith, and He leads and directs this Church through Thomas S. Monson, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The Book of Mormon is true; it contains the fullness of the Gospel! As we give heed to the influence of the Holy Spirit, and bring our lives in tune with its teachings, we will walk the simple way the Lord wants us to go. Alma said to never be slothful because of the easiness of the way, just like with Moses and the brass snake. If we keep our focus on Jesus Christ, we will end up with Him on the right hand of the Father. I know this with all my heart and I hope the people I teach will come to this understanding too! I share my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, (Amen)!

Love, Elder Luening
Vocabulary: “auf Deutsch = in German     “geschafft” = completed      “einfach” = simply

Note: General Conference talks are available to read on the website: There are many talks by the apostles and seventies on a variety of gospel topics to strengthen individuals and families.