Monday, 31 December 2012

December 31,2012, Glueckstadt

Dear Family,

I'm glad that you guys had an awesome Christmas! It sounds like everything ran smoothly and that you all enjoyed your time together. I loved Skyping with everyone! Jeremy, holy smokes, your tall! Charlene, you look so much skinnier than the last time I saw you. Kassandra and Scott, you guys look good and healthy together! Mom and dad you look the same, ha-ha. You both look like you lost some weight since I've been gone, actually. I feel like Skyping went way, way, too fast. But I'm so happy that we're able to do that in this mission. Wow, I miss you guys a lot. Like I said, the time goes by fast but slow at the same time! But I guess before we know it we'll be talking to each other on Mother’s Day again, ha-hah.

Let me tell you what's been going on here in Glückstadt...So on Saturday, Elder A and I had our transfer calls at 9 AM. About 30 minutes before the call, the Mission President called us. I answered the phone and he said 'Elder Luening, how are you? How are you liking Glückstadt?' I said 'I really like Glückstadt, the members are awesome, and the people are nice. I really enjoy it here.' Then he laughed and replied 'Good, good, Elder're going to be leaving Glückstadt. I'm sending you up to Kiel, and you’re going to be the new Zone Leader with Elder G...also tell Elder A that he's going to be a trainer and will pick up his new missionary on Thursday! Have a good day Elder Luening, we'll talk again!' 'Click!' I was so shocked. I didn't expect that at all! So was Elder A. We both looked at each other and laughed!

I have no idea what a Zone Leader does and Elder A has been out for 2 1/2 months and is training already, ha-ha! We're both excited though. A bit sad as well “cause we've only been together for 2 weeks, but we decided it was a great 2 weeks and there is no better way to leave than in the middle of our high, ha-ha. Elder A’s and I get along so well. He's a lot like me, so we've never got into an argument or in any kind of fight. We wrestle each other all the time, and exchange stories about things we used to do at home. We also talk a lot about the gospel and the insights that we've been receiving and things that we are so thankful for. We also shared things that we've gained testimonies of and how we gained them.  We get along great.

   But yeah, looks like I'll be a Zone Leader and leave for Kiel tomorrow. I'll write and tell you the new address next week! Glückstadt is still part of the Neumünster Zone so I'll be able to keep in touch with Elder A pretty easily. I have no idea what I'll be doing but whatever it is I'm excited. I've also heard a lot of good things about Kiel, so I'm excited to see what it's like there. We'll have a car, so no more riding bikes. It looks like I'm going to get fat unless I keep up with my “Morgen Sport” (morning exercises), ha-ha. So, last week I introduced myself at Church and bore my testimony, and now this week I told everyone I was leaving and gave my “Tschuss” testimony, ha-ha.

   There were a couple people that I met that know you, mom and dad. The first one was in Pinneberg. His name is Folko S. He said he knew you from when he was younger. And the other one was from here in Glückstadt – Sibylle (H) L. She said that she used to babysit Kassandra and me. I gave her your email so she might write you soon.

Anyways I hope everything is going well with you guys. I love you so much and I miss you. If Jeremy gets his call this week, e-mail the B family and they will call Elder A who will call me! ha-ha. Kind of a chain but it'll work!
Also thank grandma and grandpa and Oma and Opa for me for their presents and the Sloots for their package! And thanks to everyone else who spent the time to get me something and send me cards! I love them all!

I'll probably write more next week when I have more time again.

 Love you guys!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

December 24, 2012, Glueckstadt

Dear Family,

Wow, congrats to Jeremy and C for receiving the Melchezideck Priesthood! And then being able to give a blessing shortly afterwards...what a blessing! Lol. That’s so cool! I'm so happy to hear that. Looks like things are just moving forward. It's too bad that the mission call letter didn't come in yet, but hopefully it won't take too much longer to find out where everyone's going to be going!

Mom, it sounds like you really need those 2 days of holiday breaks! I hope you use them well and just lounge around with a clear mind, ha-ha! I'm so excited to Skype with everyone!

Things here in Glückstadt are going really well. It's tough right now to meet with investigators because of the Christmas season. Here they celebrate 3 days of Christmas - 24th, 25th and 26th. So on those days we've been asked by President Kosak not to do doors, and to just be with investigators or members!

Elder A is a lot of fun to be with. We clicked really easily, and are having a tough time falling asleep at night because we just exchange stories back and forth at night. But it's starting to really catch up on us so I'm sure we'll be trying to take a nap sometime today for P-day, ‘cause we're exhausted. Lol.

I've only met about 4 of our investigators so far, but they all seem like really nice and promising people. I'm excited to get to know them better.

 I also, don't have a lot to say ‘cause I'll be Skyping with you soon :).

The members here are awesome! The B family is so nice, and they always want us to come over. We'll be at their house today from about 12:30 till later tonight when we have to go home! Yesterday we went caroling with them to certain people that they knew (active, less active, or non-member families). It was a lot of fun and reminded me of caroling at home with English and Deutsch songs together. They're such a good family. Also Elder A ratted me out, that I was a fighter at home, and so they Googled my name and saw some of my fight pictures. Then all of a sudden they found my last fight, the one at the Element, and all watched it! If you go on Google and type in 'Cage Rage 5 element', you'll the video that's on YouTube. My fight is about 49mins into the video. Wow, it brought back a lot of memories! The family was so nice, and really understanding and supportive; it didn't appall them or anything like that. They were cool with it. The also saw at the end of it - how I helped my opponent up on his feet right away and how I gave him a hug and said thanks. They're a loving family. Also their 2 boys are the only youth in the Church, which must be really hard. They're ages 13 and 14, but have really good attitudes about everything. They are glad that they are members because they can feel the amount of love that they have in their family. It’s really cool!

Anyways, I love you guys and I'm really excited to be talking to you soon! I can't believe how fast the time is moving, I remember how nervous I was to Skype on Mother’s Day! Those feelings are coming back again.

 Bis dann,

Love Elder Luening

December 17,2012, Glueckstadt

Hello family!

So, before I forget to tell you, Bettina will be getting baptized on January 6th! I'm really excited and I'm going to try to get permission to go to the baptism since I'm not too far away!

Also Brother Obregon came to church for the first time in 2 years! So exciting! We managed to say goodbye to all our investigators (except for Songsong :( ) and let them know that the zone leaders will be teaching them for the next 2 weeks until we get new missionaries there. We were all really surprised that Elder B got transferred too (up to Leer). But everything happens for a reason. Yeah, I feel a lot better about the transfer now. I think I was ready for a change, maybe I just didn't know it before. It was hard saying goodbye to the members and the investigators. I'm really going to miss them. But I have most of their addresses, so I can keep in contact throughout the mission.

   I'm in Glückstadt right now, and I have a sick companion! (in a good way, lol) He's a stud! He's been out for only 2 months, same amount as Elder B, but we have a lot of things in common. His names Elder A, he's 5' 8'' 150lbs, lives in Utah, about 30mins south of Salt Lake...can't remember the name of the town. He wrestled in high school, and then tried about a month of MMA before his mission. He's got a girlfriend at home, who's actually in Japan right now, and she's sent in her mission papers. So they'll be on missions and get home around the same time, lol. Kinda funny! He's way optimistic and excited about missionary work so we get along really well. I'm finishing training him, since he's got 2 more weeks in the new missionary program.

 Also, I'm District Leader . Glückstadt. Pinneberg, and Elmshorn are part of the District. Sisters are in Elmshorn, and Elders in Pinneberg. It's gonna be a lot of fun, and I'm excited about it. We had an awesome day of work yesterday. This city is really small too. There are 12,000 people in Glückstadt, and then 40,000 in a city called Itzahoe (about 15mins away by train) that also belongs to the area. It is a big difference from Hannover (500,000 people) lol. I'm really glad about the place -  it's pretty and quiet! The apartment was really clean when I got there. Elder Atkinson cleaned it up really well before I came so that was nice! He's really focused and a really prepared and humble missionary. There's a lake behind our building so we can look out on it. It used to be frozen because the last couple weeks have been freezing cold, but this week has been warm so all the snow and a lot of the ice has melted! It's been raining a bit here too, but mostly just cloudy and windy J fun fun. 

I'm really excited to skype with you guys again! Can't wait! I'm not sure what time, but I'll be doing it at a member’s house. The B family. They gave me their email to give to you, so that you can email them and figure out a time to skype!

Elder Luening!

My new address  is:

Elder Christopher Luening
Am Burggraben 1
25348 Glueckstadt

Monday, 17 December 2012

December 17, 2012, Hannover

Dear Family,

Hey so I don't have time to write you today. I got a call on Friday and am leaving Hannover at 12:00, noon, today to catch my train to my new city - Glückstadt (kind of by Hamburg). I'll be the District Leader there and we're going to take our P-day on Wednesday. So I'll let you know then, where and when I'll be skyping. Also I'll be able to write you guys a letter and let you know how I'm doing!

I Love you guys have a good day! Talk again on Wednesday!

Elder Luening

December 10, 2012, Hannover

Dear Family,

Well, another week has come and gone. Mom, you sound like you’re crazy busy at home. I have no idea how you do it. Tell the ward that I love them and thank them for all their support. Also really thank those people that gave me Christmas money: Andersons, Redekops, Smees, and  Yadernuks! I really appreciate it and hope they know that.

I'm feeling a bit tired today, and not too sure what to write about but, I'll try to let you know what's been happening. So Be, our referral investigator, has accepted the invitation to baptism on Dec 29th! On Wed, we taught her the commandments and the word of wisdom, and she was very receptive. R, a 25yr old member who served a mission on temple square, is our joint-teach! After the invitation, we talked about it for about 10mins, and about why she had this desire, and what her expectations were. It was so cool to see how much faith she has, and how much trust she puts into her feelings and into us. She's really prepared. So now I'm wishing that I won't be too far away, so that I can attend the baptismal meeting!
We rocked the “Student Wohnheim” on Tuesday and Thursday and found some pretty cool German speaking students. We'll see what comes of it this coming week - if they really are interested or not.

 Our Chinese investigators (X and his girlfriend J Q S), came to church yesterday! It was really awesome, because they kept their commitment and attended. The hard thing is, is that the church is like 40 minutes away from where they live because they have to take the street trains. And they have to pay for the travel because they don't have monthly passes for the trains. But regardless they came to check it out and really liked it! IT also snowed big crazy Canadian snowflakes yesterday, which was a lot of fun, ha-ha. Made me miss home a little bit, but happy that I get to see some snow before Christmas at least!

This is my last week here so I'll be saying goodbye to everyone. I still don't know where I'll be getting transferred to, but the other missionaries and I have guessed that I'll be going to Leer. And if I do go there, I'll be able to come back for the baptism :). I guess we'll see, not sure when I'll find out but, I'll be sure to let you know on Monday.

Yesterday we had a big mission fast. The 3 German missions (Berlin, Frankfurt, Alpine) all fasted for more guidance and faith for the missionaries, and that we would receive more miracles from heaven. I'm excited to see how this week unfolds. I'm sure it'll be awesome.

Oh yeah, we have an idea that we're trying out tomorrow, to try to catch more people’s attention ha-ha. Elder B plays the Ukulele, so we're going to go to the “Student Wohnheim” and offer to play students some songs, and then share a message with them. It's going to be fun to see how effective it is, and see how many laughs we get from people ha-ha. I'm sure we'll see success from it, ‘cause people love stuff like that. Just thought we'd try something new, and see what happens, lol! We're always up to something embarrassing, lol.

I'm pumped that the mission papers are now in! That would be sick if you get the response letter for Christmas! I'm sticking with my guesses for where you guys are going! I hope that the Lord continues to bless you guys, and watch out for you. I love you all and hope that you have a good week! Stay safe!

Love Elder Luening