Tuesday, 24 December 2013

December 23, 2013, Hamburg

Dear Family,
  Wow, don't you all just love last minute changes and unexpected events that pop up? If you said no, you could've fooled me because it seems to ALWAYS happen to you, ha-ha. Naja, I guess that's just life. What's awesome is that no matter what happens, we have the promise of spiritual peace which is 'not of this world'. What a blessing we have to be able to remember Christ in this Christmas Holiday! J

   I'm super pumped and excited to Skype, ha-ha. My last Skype session on the mission...wow. It's been a while since I've seen all of you and I'm really looking forward to it. We were have a tough time figuring out when and how we were going to Skype, and then suddenly Dane (Anika's husband) came up to us and asked us if we wanted to Skype at their place. They have 2 laptops so Elder Cannon and I could do it at the same time. It's great! So we'll be at their house Skyping at around 6pm our time. Maybe a little after but just be ready at, I guess, around 9am your time. Dane or Anika will probably call you to ask for your Skype account and set everything up and have it ready for us when we come. They are so awesome! I have no idea what I'm going to talk to you about, so if you have any questions just write them down so you don't forget. 1 hour goes really fast!

   Unlike Charlene, I have no idea what's happened this week. I honestly look back and don't remember anything! We are so busy running around, meeting people, teaching people, taking care of our District Leaders and Zones, and yeah, I just lose track of time! But something I do remember is that I. is going to be baptized on the 25th of January. He works so much so it's hard to meet more often as once a week. But he's been keeping all of his commitments and his story is amazing. He went from not believing in God, and wanting to take his life, to a complete turn-around. He now loves God more than anything and has seen BIG miracles in his life in this short amount of time (3 weeks) that has completely changed is perspective and belief. We've taught him things that he never knew before, about Christ, and the Plan of Salvation, and he loves it. Elder McKean and I found him in August, and then lost contact in September. But he contacted us about 4 weeks ago and said he needs our help. Well, we helped him, and he's allowed us and Christ to change his life.

   Now around this Christmas time it's been a bit harder keeping in contact with some of our investigators but we keep finding new people who want to meet with us. It's kind of a weird time of the year. Lots of people are open, but then lots are closed, so there's no real way to say if people are nicer during the Christmas season, lol. It's definitely more stressful for people than any other time of the year. We went Christmas caroling as a district last week by the Rathaus in Hamburg. It was a lot of fun. We handed out DVD's and Christmas pass along cards to people. At the end of the hour of singing our voices were shot! That's how good we sang J!

   I really hope that Jocelynn recovers well! That sounds so painful and I'm so sorry that that accident happened. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. If you can get in on the Skyping Kass that'd be really cool!

   Aunty Kirsten, Uncle Doug, Laurel, Jocelynn and Craig, I hope you have a great Christmas; too bad it didn't work out like planned, but have a wonderful one anyways! Thanks for the updates and I can't wait to see you again. I was really looking forward to it in Skype, but I guess I'll see you soon enough anyways. I really appreciate you guys and I love you!

  Thanks Mom and Dad for all you do for us, unlike Charlene I haven't opened my presents yet ha-ha. I will wait until Christmas J! So I'll probably tell you thank you on Christmas day when we Skype!

  Jeremy, you are such a stud, haha. I love you and hope that you keep having fun this winter. I miss the snow. It's not going to be a white Christmas in Hamburg...it's still like plus 8° outside. I haven't even seen snow yet! But I'll be back in February, so we'll be able to hit up the mountain together.

  Charlene, have an awesome Christmas! I loved Christmas last year with the members. It's so different, but it's still a lot of fun. Keep tearing it up with the missionary work. I'm proud of you! I had lunch with Florian Löhrmann yesterday, who babysat us as were little and he said he thinks it's awesome that you decided to go on a mission. It's true, and you're perfect for it. You've got a bubbly personality for it,ha-ha. Keep it up.

   Kass and Scott, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. Hopefully we'll be able to do a 3-way Skype. If not, then enjoy the holidays and the SNOW! lol.
Thanks for everything and love you all! Please let the family know I love them and miss them!

Elder Lüning

Monday, 16 December 2013

December 16, 2013, Hamburg

Dear Family,

So this week has really run away on me. Anna is so cool. She met with us again last week and we taught her the Plan of Salvation. We had given her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet to take home and study before our meeting and she had done it. She said the part in 2 Nephi which talks about the need for an opposition in all things (misery to enjoy happiness) was a huge answer to one of her biggest questions about Adam and Eve. It was so cool how excited she was to tell us about it, ha-ha. She's a lot like you Kassandra. Her parents live in Kiel, so she's home until January now, but will continue to meet with us when she's back. We asked her if she's been praying too, and she said that her prayers have changed. She expresses more gratitude and thankfulness than she did before now that she does it daily. She said before she only prayed when she needed help, but never really expressed her thankfulness. She said it's a lot more personal now and that she really likes it.

Other than that our other investigators are also still doing well. Henry didn't make it to church because of a funeral but called me later in the day and said he missed us and made an appointment out with us. He's such a loving man. The ward impressed me yesterday with an investigator that we invited to church. We met him on the street, last week and then he came to church. He speaks a little German and English but mainly French. We have 3 members who speak French and they translated the meetings for him and explained a lot of things to him about the church the whole time. We barely had to do anything. He felt so welcomed and wants to come again. We also made an appointment with him for this week.

I thought I mentioned how things went with R and A. It was really cool and man I was pretty nervous, lol. I “klingled” the doorbell and Andrea opened up. She didn't recognize me at first until I stepped in and said hi, I'm Christopher, ha-ha, as I gave her a hug. It was super wierd because I only remember her a tiny bit, and yeah, she looks different, lol. Her mom had cooked dinner for us and so we chatted for a bit and then ate together. R is really, really strong Evangelisch. I asked if we could say a prayer before we ate, and she said “ja” and asked me to say it. I said it and then she said her own prayer afterwards, ha-ha. She didn't know I was planning on coming with my companion, and didn't know we always had to stay together. She really didn't know anything about the church except for that we don't drink alcohol. I tried a couple of times to teach a lesson but it didn't work too well until A asked me what the difference was between our church and the other ones. My companion was busy talking to the dad about American Healthcare and I took the opportunity to teach her the first lesson. She was really interested, R listened in a little bit, but more of the interest came from A. She doesn't live at home either. She lives in Barmbek which is 15minutes away from where we live. I see more potential in her than anyone else. They are really settled in their beliefs. We had a great time together though. We talked about kindergarten and the things we remembered lol, and about why I'm on a mission, and what things we do as missionaries. A left at the same time as us to go home, which gave me the opportunity to bear my testimony to her.  I'll try to see her again and see if she'd be open for the lessons or to come to church sometime.

   Thanks so much for the package mom, and I love the advent stuff you sent me. You are so awesome! I don't know where you find the time for that, (individually wrapping every one...thanks so much) and thanks so much for the Christmas CD's!! Everything else is still wrapped till Christmas. I'll let you know next week about skype times. We don't know everything yet, but I'll keep you posted. Thanks guys for your emails, I love you and have a great week. You're in my prayers, Merry Christmas!

Elder Lüning

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

December 4, 2013, Hamburg

Dear Family,

    Wow, -24 at night and -18 during the day?! O, CANADA! It's been warm here in Hamburg compared to that. It only gets down to about 5°C during the day time. I'm kinda glad it doesn't get that cold, but something I do miss is the snow. We don't have snow on the ground yet! We had a wind storm on Wednesday and then it snowed a little bit, but it was more like hail. So we're hoping for a white Christmas, maybe it'll snow soon J

   Well let me tell you how things have been going here in Hamburg lately. Let’s start with our new converts. H. is amazing. He cooked us African food again, and is now working on reading the sacrament prayer in German so that he can do it one day on Sunday. He's also getting to know the ward more and more and making family connections which are awesome. He's so solid, comes to church every Sunday and loves studying with us and his home teachers every week. We had the ward Christmas party on Saturday and he came, stayed afterwards to clean up, and then ended up cleaning the whole church building with Bishop Back because no one had done it yet. He's seriously the best African, ha-ha. He's so funny. Brother Stephens is also doing really,  really well. We taught him this week about Patriarchal blessings and after the lesson asked him if he would like something like that. He said 'Elder Lüning, I'm over-ready!’ Ha-ha, he told me to talk to the bishop and get him set up with one. It still amazes me every time I see him that he's 73years old. He doesn't seem that old or act like it at all ha-ha. He's super active and the members love him a lot. He bears his testimony to us every time of how grateful he is to have found the Church of Jesus Christ. He's also preparing to go to the temple to do baptisms. Oh, and he's now a home teacher and whenever we visit him he stuffs us with pancakes, lol.  We also met with C. this week and he's starting to change his life around again. He went to church on Sunday in Delingsdorf which was a big step since he hasn't been to church since two weeks after his baptism. He's still living with his girlfriend but also at his mom’s place and said by the end of the month he'll know if they'll break up or not. He said she's keeping him away from the church and that something has to change. He's going to meet more regularly with us again since the hand off to the Delingsdorf Elder's didn't work at all. They didn't visit him regularly when we handed him off to them which was too bad. But his heart is back in it and we'll help him!

   The members in this ward are so awesome! I love them so much, and now that Christmas is around the corner I feel even closer to them than ever. We really have a lot of support from our ward and we're seeing miracles every day. Last week we talked to a student on the street who had interest and then about 4 or 5 days later I made out an appointment with her. She came to the church and we gave her a church tour, told her a little bit about our standards and how the church is organized and how it runs. We then taught her the Restoration and she loved it! She asked questions about the word of wisdom and chastity and eternal marriage, and soaked everything up. We didn't go into too much detail of course but she loved everything we said. She's German, and married to a Muslim from Iran, and really open to learn more about our church and religion so we'll be meeting again this week. She also loved our sense of humour and how we had personal testimonies of what we taught. It was a blessing finding her just from talking with everyone we saw for 20mins of finding time that we had. We also got in contact with an old investigator who wants to change his life around and is very serious now. His names I. We're looking forward to helping him. Then there are a couple more people we're teaching and helping get closer to baptism.

   I'm stuck on Sunday being my absolute favourite day of the week. I feel it’s the most spiritual and happiest day that I have in the week. It's a time to reflect on the week and see how it went and remember where the Lord has helped me and others through me. I feel a lot of weight on myself  in leading the area, and the zone, ha-ha, and helping Elder Cannon learn everything that he needs to do, but I'm still happy all the time, no matter what!  Ha-ha. I always think of Christ calming the storm and think of it as him calming my storms. Whenever I have a ton of stuff going on and it is chaotic, I can call upon Him and there's peace. One of the assistants asked me why I'm so chill or relaxed and happy all the time, and I said it's because I'm Canadian ha-ha. But I think it's really just a gift that I've been blessed with that comes from the Gospel and doing what's right.

    Mom, thanks for the email. Sounds like your busy like always ha-ha. But it's impressive to see how you're rejuvenated with strength through just little spiritual moments of rest. It's a blessing.

   Dad, thanks for your example and for the way you raised me. I was at the Panitsch's for lunch yesterday and they showed me a video of the day that you and Mom drove down to Salt Lake to spend one day with them. They are still so impressed by that act of kindness and have a lot of respect and love for you and Mom.

   Charlene, I'm excited that she was baptized! Keep working hard! I know member work can be a bit slow at the start, but once they love you and trust you it changes everything. Then you can start role playing with them and help them do their own missionary work by going after less actives and friends. J

   Jeremy, I hope you had a great week and I hope you're enjoying the snow! I'm not sure how much it snows in Italy, ha-ha, so enjoy the last year of it! J

   Kass, I hope things are going well with the job, you didn't tell me your mailing address so I guess you won't get the tinsel in time for Christmas since it takes like 3 weeks to get to you. Too bad...but there's always another year I guess. J

   Have a great week everyone and stay healthy and strong!

Love, Elder Lüning

p.s. Oliver Back and his wife but St. Nikolaus in front of our door! They're so awesome! J

November 25, 2013, Hamburg

Dear Family,

Hey Family, so no worries about the small email! Thanks for the uplifting spiritual thoughts and for sharing your experiences.

  We had President interviews last week Thursday which was really awesome. President Kosak is such a good man and his heart is big. We had a really good talk and I'm so grateful have been able to be in this leadership position for so long and be able to get to know him so well from all of our meetings and talks. He's a great man. He seemed pretty troubled about transfers this week though. He said to me, “I don't know if Elder Lüning will be staying in Hamburg. Something’s not right yet. I still need time to figure out what the Lord wants.” Transfer calls for the Zone Leaders were the next day in the evening, so he had about 24 hours to clear everything up. We all prayed for him together as a Zone which I feel helped him a lot. Our zone didn't change much. There were about 4 companionships that changed, including mine. Elder McKean will be going to Berlin, Neuköhln, and I'll be staying in Hamburg for my last 2 transfers training a new Zone Leader! I was really surprised! I'm excited and looking forward to my new companion. I know him already from when I was in Kiel. He was in Flensburg and I was able to go on exchanges with him a couple times! His name is Elder Cannon, and he's from Utah. I'll be picking him up tomorrow!

   We moved all of our stuff out of our apartment on Saturday to get it ready for the renovations, and no members showed up to help because there was another service project where they needed to paint, however, only 5 members showed up to that one. It took us 6 hours to clear the whole apartment and when Bishof found out about it he was pretty upset. He addressed it in the priesthood meeting and pulled out the handbook where it said that the quorum’s first purpose is to serve. Bishof Back rocks. He's a really good leader, and I'm learning quite a bit from him by just watching him and observing what he does and how he addresses things. He reminds me a lot of you, Dad.

   We will be living in Altona until Thursday. Friday we head out to Berlin for a conference, and then Friday night we'll be back in our new renovated apartment! I'm really excited. Elder B. was also transferred who is another missionary in our apartment. The missionary that is replacing him I haven't met yet. So it'll be a bit different but it'll be good still.

   Oh yeah, also Sister H is in this zone in Bergedorf as a Sister Training Leader which is way cool because she was with me in Kiel at the beginning of this year. Elder G and I picked her up from the train station and welcomed her fresh into her first area on her mission. She was in Kiel for 3 transfers and then went to Lübeck. She was then in Berlin, and now she's back in Hamburg zone, ha-ha. It's cool because we get to catch up on our drives to Berlin for our Leadership Councils and talk about times in Kiel. I haven't told you much about her at all but she wanted me to say Hi to the family for me.

   Elder McK. and I were together for 3 transfers so it's too bad we couldn't stay one more together for Christmas. But the decisions come from the Lord and they are for our own good. We're going to check out the Christmas market and look around at things for his last day here in Hamburg.
   Mom, thanks for sending the package! Let me know if there's anything you or the family wants. I love you and you are a good example to me of service.

  Dad, thanks for the spiritual thought. It reminds me of the baptismal covenant in Mosiah 18: to be a witness of Christ in all things, at all times, and in all places! There is so much power that we can receive from the atonement, and just from keeping it in remembrance! I read about the stripling warriors in Alma 58 and was impressed by verse 40. Sometimes we receive wounds through this battle of righteousness but it’s important that we stand firm in the freedom that we have received from giving our lives to Christ. He said whosoever loses his life for my sake will find it. And we'll stay in this peace and happiness and freedom as long as we keep the commandments and keep the Lord in remembrance. Their example was one of Faith and Trust, and throughout these chapters the lord fulfills his promise at the very moments when it seems impossible. I love it. The Lord will ALWAYS fulfill his promises to His faithful servants.

   Charlene, congrats on being able to go back and see the baptism! Thanks so much for the pictures, they're awesome! I love you and keep up the good work in your new area! I'll try to send some Caro soon! J Just don't drink it without sugar and cream...ha-ha, it's really bad like that! J
Have a good week family! Lots of love,

Elder Lüning

Monday, 9 December 2013

November 18,2013 Hamburg

Dear Family,
   It's so great to hear from you all again! P-day is almost over, but it was a lot of fun. Sister Uhtermöhlen, bless her heart, gave us money to go to the Hagenbeck Tropen Aquarium! It was about €56 for the 4 of us. We didn't want to take the money from her but she insisted that we go visit it, have a good time, and then report to her with pictures about all the fun we had ha-ha. So that's what we did and man, that was a lot of fun. Saw some crocodiles, sharks, sting rays, weird bugs, and a lot of cool look'n fish! Ha-ha. And at the entrance there were lemurs that jump on you and eat carrots and stuff. It only took about 1.5 hours so it as a perfect p-day activity! I'm definitely going to write her a nice thank you note for that.

   It was nice to hear from all of you and to hear about your experiences that you had this last week. When you told me that my release information was emailed to you that made me feel weird. Times going so fast. For Christmas...I thought about it a bit, but you know I'm going to be home like 2 months later so there's no real point in getting me anything. Something that I do want is copies of the Christmas music that you would always play during advent J I'm totally getting into the Christmas spirit with all the German Christmas treats already out in the grocery stores! I've got Lebküchen un Spekulatius, and those Herzlebküchen, and Marzipan and oranges and Caro and fruit tea! I also have some German Christmas music, but I like the CD we have at home the most, lol. There are some songs I haven't found yet like the children one that sings 'eine Maa, eine Moo, eine teteretete'. If I got a copy of the CD I would “freu” myself! J That's about all I can think of. You don't need to send money either. I still have about €200 cash personal money, and I'm sure there's still something on my account. I don't spend money too often lol. BUT let me know if there's anything that you would like me to send home to you for Christmas! I can help stock you up on German stuff again. Just give me a shopping list and I can do it. That goes for all of you. If there's something special that you would like for Christmas let me know. I'll be sending home books and stuff soon to help get rid of some weight for my luggage. I've got a way cool 3 book combination of the Max und Moritz stories.

   So, I wanted to report on the FHE at the member’s house on Monday last week. It was a really nice experience. The wife’s sister showed up with her boyfriend and after dinner we taught them the message of the Restoration. It was really positive. They really liked it and took a Book of Mormon from us to read. After they left we talked about how it went with the husband and wife and they couldn't believe how powerful the message and the lesson was. The husband looked at us both and said 'Es war mir nie wirklich so bewußt, wie sie als missionare tatsäglich vertreter Christi sind. Heute abend habt ihr wirklich Jesus Christus repräsentiert.' (It was never really clear to me how you really are representatives of Christ. Tonight you really represented Jesus Christ.) J They loved it and thanked us for sharing that message. They didn't really expect that one since they told us anything on prayer and Christ ha-ha. We heard that and automatically thought hmm...RESTORATION! Lol. The sister and boyfriend left for holidays and said when they're back they want to have a FHE again and learn more.

   We ate African food with Henry, our convert. He made us some fufu and chicken and fish soup. We looked in the pot and there's a fish head in there and some cut up chicken legs, wings and back ha-ha. He made some fufu to go with it which is close to mashed potatoes but really sticky. You eat it with your hands by taking some fufu, dipping it in the soup and grabbing some meat with it and then shoving it in your mouth. It's so African and way good! Henry's like, eat the back Elder McK., it's very sweet! It was a lot of fun and he's such a great member. We've been visiting him every week since his baptism in August and he's doing so great. He passes the sacrament every Sunday and is now going to be practicing the prayer in German.

   I love the ward here and the city. It's awesome and the members are so nice to everyone. We're doing a missionary fireside on Saturday. We're introducing Mormonism by teaching the first lesson from Preach My Gospel. We've put fliers everywhere at the student housings and hope to see a lot of people come. It should be good and we're hoping to see new investigators from it. Also on Saturday our apartment is being renovated so we'll be in Altona for a week and have to move everything out on the same day...Saturday. It's going to be a busy but fast week.

   Opa bore strong testimony about how much he's loving the Book of Mormon, because he's learning a ton from it. He's read it before, but he's finding things that weren't in there the last time. He told us he's learned a lot so far. He's now in Alma! I love Oma and Opa a lot and their food reminds me of mom’s cooking! It's way good! They’re now on vacation for a month. I'm learning a ton from the scriptures too; it reminded me of how there's no end to learning, until we choose to stop!

   Dad, Thanks for sharing the spiritual thought! Did you find out more about your passport?
   Mom, thanks for the email last week. I printed it off because it was so long and read it throughout the week and liked how much you learned from your scriptures study and how it helped you throughout the day. Thanks for your testimony! 

  Charlene, full proselyting! Sounds exciting and I'm sure you'll love it. We'll find out about transfers on Friday during interviews because next week Tuesday is transfer day. So I'll find out what's happening here in Hamburg! I'm pretty positive that I'll be staying my last 2 transfers here. I'm just curious to see if Elder McK. will stay one more transfer here, making it his 5 transfer in this city, or if he'll leave and I get a new companion. We've been 3 transfers together so far so we'll see. It'll be surprising!

    Kass and Scott, Ich freue mich total dass es schon Schnee bei euch gibt! Ich hoffe dass er bleiben wird bis ich wenegstens zu Hause bin, dammit ich mich auch im Schnee vergnügen kann! Ich vermisse die Winteraktivitäten. Wie Snowshoeing, and snowboarding, and sledding haha. But I'm sure it will, it's Canada after all, lol.

  Jeremy, mom keeps telling us good things about you. Like you helped with moving, I'll be doing that this week too lol. Actually there's like 2 member families who are moving in the next couple weeks so we'll be helping a bit with that too. Good to hear you are ready to serve!
I love you all, and hope you have a good week. I thought I'd send a big email this time, since I couldn't for a while now, but could today!

Love Elder Lüning

Monday, 11 November 2013

November 11, 2013, Hamburg

Dear Family,

   Hey, Mom I agree with Charlene. You do a lot and I'm grateful for your example and for how diligently you strive to serve the Lord. I had a little time today to think about progression as we were walking to the grocery store. It's important to look back sometimes and see how far you've made it and how much closer you are drawing to the Saviour. Some might say, don't look at what's been done, look at what still needs to be done, but it's important. Otherwise you forget the ways that the Lord has helped you already. We've received so many blessings from Him, and when we look at how he's blessed us and changed us, it can fill us with immense joy and thankfulness and motivate us to continue. I think the closer we draw to our Saviour, the more light shines on our imperfections and the more we see that there's still lots to work on. But it's important to never lose sight of how far we've come. Step by step is how He works, and it is how we work too! Thanks for your example and for everything you do for us kids. I really appreciate it!! J
   Things here in Hamburg are good. I like serving here and I really like the Ward. I had the opportunity to see a few members from Kiel yesterday because of their Stake Conference being in the Hamburg Stake Center. It was nice being able to catch up with them and it reminded me of how much I do miss them. Also one of people we gave to the Sisters to teach, moved back into our area. I'm grateful for the opportunity to start meeting with him again and teach him.
    We met on Saturday with Uncle Jan. He agreed to meet with us regularly and start working on his testimony again. He's very excited about it and has the desire. What a blessing being able to help family out here. I'm so grateful for this opportunity! It was always a wish of mine to serve in Hamburg, but I never thought it would happen. Well it's happened, and there's always a bigger picture behind everything!
   There is a young married couple with whom we're working. The wife invited her inactive sister and her sister's boyfriend to dinner with us. They accepted and want to learn about prayer and Christ. The sister doesn't come to church and the boyfriend isn't a member but they are looking forward to meeting us and having dinner with us at the member’s house tonight!
Charlene it sounds like you’re doing great! Keep up the good work. Thanks for always sharing your testimony. You're great!

Jeremy, that a boy. Ha-ha. Way to be a winner
J!  Thanks for always being a good example to the youth. I know they look up to you and that you're a big help for them! You're always in my prayers.
Dad, it's good to hear about the youth and to know they're doing well. Also Oma told me you were having troubles with your passport. I hope everything gets sorted out in time for Christmas. Thanks for your example and testimony. I've learned a lot of things from you growing up and have also noticed ways that the gospel has changed you as disciple of Christ.
Kass, thanks for the big update on how you're doing and thanks for the personal email. I'm glad things are going well! I'll be visiting lots when I'm home!
I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Luening

November 4, 2013, Hamburg

Dear Family,

Thanks for the emails! It was great to hear from all of you. I just had a really good week last week. We were busy with meetings. But they really built and uplifted me and I felt edified by the messages shared. Elder Kearon and Elder Fingerle from the Quorum of the Seventies were at our Zone Conference on Wednesday. They were doing a mission tour. We had 120 missionaries in the Stake Center! 5 out of 11 Zones were there! It was really awesome and a great opportunity to hear the voices of the Lord’s called servants.

   On Friday we had our Leadership Training Meeting in Berlin (for Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders) and Elder Kearon and Elder Fingerle were also there for half of the meeting. I can't really explain in an email the feelings I felt during one of the discussions we had. I felt the spirit so strong, and the love that they had for us as they taught us the importance of faith and overcoming discouragement. It just really hit me like a wall and knew that was something that I needed to hear personally, and also a lot of other missionaries in the Zone, that we can pass it on to.

   This last week was a little disappointing with lessons, because a lot of our appointments fell through, and we couldn't contact the people we had found. But there were also a lot of positive things that happened. Things are still moving forward. We have a couple candidates that we're trying to commit to a baptismal date. Sister Uhtermöhlen loves us and cooks for us every week. Oma and Opa too! They stuffed us with the best Grünkohl (kale) that I've had in Germany so far. I ate so much, it was great! Ha-ha. They are really doing well and I love them a lot! Opa's still working his way through the Book of Mormon and is almost finished with Mosiah. He's a big help for the Sunday School classes too ,because he gives good answers and participates freely J!

  There was a man that we talked to on the street that Sister Uhtermöhlen lives on. He was about 45yrs old and we talked to him about God outside. He said he lost his faith in God but didn't tell us why because it was really personal to him. We bore testimony, shared some experiences with him, and encouraged him that he could find that faith again and that life with Him is better than without. Well he completely opened up and said with tears that he lost a lot of family members at a very young age and that that was the cause of him losing his faith. We thanked him for sharing that with us and then bore testimony to him about love and about how the Gospel brings hope and peace! We asked if we could share our message with him and he said no, and walked away. We walked on, but it hurt, because I knew that what we had could bless him and help him in his life a lot, but he rejected it, even after opening up for us. My heart reaches out to people like that and wishes that I could help them, but I can't unless they want it. We're finding the ones who are prepared, and like Ammon worked with the servants to gather the flocks together and contend with the Lamanites, The Lord is helping us gather his flocks while he contends with the ones who try to weaken us!

   I love you, and hope you have a great week! I know I will! The Lord is with us!

Elder Lüning.

October 28, 2013, Hamburg

Dear Family,

   Thanks so much for the emails. I honestly love being a missionary and the things that I've learned so far in the field. We bought our pumpkins today for carving and it was just another reminder of how quickly the time is moving by. Mom, dad, you two are amazing. You're so diligent in planning and sacrificing time for the church. You two, with your solid testimonies and missionary experiences are a huge help in Cranbrook Stake! I get letters from members telling me how much they appreciate you and all that you do out of your personal lives to help build up the Kingdom of God on earth. You're “Großartige” examples for me. (“great” sounds better in German to me, ha-ha).

   So this week was a week where Elder McK and I learned a lot. Our District Leader asked us to study Ch. 9 from Preach My Gospel this week, and so we did. On Tuesday we started at the beginning and made it to the end of the second page before we ran out of time because it was like instant revelation. We reflected on how we talk to people and approach them on the street, how we plan to use our time as we find people to teach, and how we listen to the spirit. There's a quote which says 'Finding by the spirit is just as important as it is to teach by the spirit.' Also it says that the people we find who are prepared for us will want to listen to our message and meet with us again. We really tried to apply what we learned into the rest of our weekly work and we saw the effectiveness of it. When someone would want to talk with us more, but didn't want to meet or learn from us, instead of continuing in discussion with him we ended the conversation in testimony, gave him a card and moved on as quickly as we could. It helped us tune more into the spirit and discern if this man is ready or not. It's amazing how it works. In doing this we've been able to find people who want to meet with us. We found 20 people with who we have contact information with.

Once we have our planned time of finding, we would stop and talk to each other if this is what we should do or if we should be somewhere else. Sometimes we get sudden promptings that tell us to get out of the bus suddenly, or to walk in a different direction, and sometimes the plan stays the same. But through this tuning in and double checking if this is where we should be, we've been able to find these new people who want to meet again.

   One girl we found last night is called J. She's a German girl probably about 28yrs old and from Hannover originally. Before we went finding we said okay, which way are we going, I looked at the map again while we were in the train, and picked out the way. As we just got out of the train stop Elder McK. said to me, 'This is perfect, I just got revelation, we should walk to “Haupt Bahnhof”', I laughed because that was exactly the way I picked out, but I guess I forgot to tell him, so I said, “I feel the same way”. Well after talking to a few people we found J. who was completely open and said that since she left Hannover, she doesn't really have a ward to go to, so she wants to come see ours and meet with us this week sometime. We got her number and gave her a Book of Moormon and pamphlet and testimony to go with it. It was great!

   Another story is about a man named R. He was walking in front of us and as we were passing him, I talked to him about Christ, and he said, “Yeah I believe but I don't have anything to do with a church. We talked a bit more and then suddenly he said he was from Canada. Bwahh! My first CANADIAN! Right then we started talking in English and I told him where I was from. His whole countenance changed. He told us he'd met missionaries before but didn't understand too much about the Book of Mormon. So we set up an appointment with him and he wants to learn more. Before walking in that direction we were on exchanges, so I asked Elder G. how he felt about the plan and the direction we were going, He paused and said really good. These small pauses to tune in to the spirit, and double check to see if we are doing the right thing is what I learned this week. And it works the same way at home.

   A missionary told me once a long time ago, the things you learn in Preach My Gospel and the White Handbook, are really for MEMBERS with a few extra rules and tips for specifically set-apart missionaries.

   One more thing, Opa gave a great talk the week before. I forgot to tell you that last Monday. It was about the importance of General Conference, and really, really well done! He gave solid testimony and it was really touching. Ha-ha, he said he was really nervous because it was the first time in 20 years that he gave a talk but he didn't show it at all! He's a natural! Oma and Opa are doing great! I love them so much.
   Thanks for everything you guys are doing and for the emails you write me. Charlene, your emails are so long I print them off and read them when I have time ha-ha. And Jeremy thanks for the small email and your testimony about prayer!

Love, Elder Luening

October 21, 2013, Hamburg

Dear Family, 

  Thank you so much for all the wonderful e-mails. I really do appreciate all the time you take out of your busy, crazy, stressful lives to write me words of encouragement and to let me know what's been happening in your own personal lives. It helps me feel a part of your life, even when I'm on the other side of the world! So thanks!

     I wish I had time to write you all back individually. It takes me close to an hour to read all your letters, and then I need about 20 minutess to write Pres. and report on how the Zone is doing with its respective Districts. So I usually have only about 40 minutess to write friends and family. I try to reply and wish I could write more than a few lines but it just doesn't work lol. I love you so much and yes...I'm starting to get a bit excited about see you all again, skyping on Christmas! Kass and Scott, I won't be able to see you but I guess it's only like 2 months after Christmas when I'm home again so no big deal lol. I've been a Zone Leader in this mission since January 1st. The Assistent to the President just told me on Monday that I'm the longest serving Zone Leader in the mission. I'm wondering if I'm going to finish my mission here in Hamburg or not. I really hope so, but at the same time I would love to train again before coming home. We'll see what happens. Our Mission President is awesome, and receives revelation from the Lord for each of us.

   I'm really excited that Elder McK. and I are staying 3 transfers together. We get along really well and love working together. We're both hard workers and our Zone is so awesome. We really focus a lot on obedience and striving for exact obedience with everything. Success of a missionary is not based on how many baptisms he gets, but how obedient and faithful he was as a servant of the Lord. It's so important to always have the spirit with you.

   This last week was great. It was the worst week we had number wise because we didn't find a single new investigator and we couln’t meet with the 2 investigators we have. We had a lot of member visits to involve them in the work of salvation, and also a lot of finding time. We're really focusing on using all our time to talk with people wherever we are like Elder Ballard said in General.Conference - that means wherever we are and whatever we're doing. We're risking the awkward and talking with people in the trains and buses! Sometimes they completely reject you and act like they didn't hear what you said to them and then it's really awkward for the next 5-10minutes, ha-ha, but other times you can get some pretty good conversations. Our name tag is a magnet too. We talk to someone about the weather and all of a sudden they're asking us why we're here and why we're wearing a name tag... “Well, let me tell you...” BAM, restoration! We don't see many new inv. from it but the point is to always be engaged in talking. Of course you gotta have a balance. Sometimes you need those train rides or short bus rides to get a chance to cool down and like Kass said, 'Meditate'. But when we're fit we use the time, we as the Zone Leaders, are doing it so that our zone does it too. Lead by example. We also had a man stop us because he saw “Jesu Christi” on our nametag and wanted to know who we were. Don't see that happen too often in Hamburg.

   I have to agree with you Dad, the fall is beautiful. Hamburg is so pretty in the fall, too, because of how many trees there are. Everything green is turning colours. I'll have to take more pictures and send some. M., Brother Stephens son will be able to meet next week. He's finally gets a break from his 200 kids that he teaches French to. We're excited to be meeting him! He's got a desire to learn and be baptized. I think even when we work super hard and don't see the success we want, it’s comforting to know that we're working with the Lord, and that he's always with us.

  Something I've started doing for about 2 weeks now is just taking the last 15minutres of the day (10:15pm) to lie in my bed and read. It really helps me get that quiet time I need so that I never feel I don't have time for me. I can feel the effects from it and I don't burn out so fast.
   Thanks again to all of you for writing me. I'm doing great and so is my companion. I hope you all have a great week, and know that you're always in my prayers.

Elder Luening

October 14, 2013, Hamburg

Dear Family,

So, this week has flown by again. All I remember is that I was extremely tired and exhausted this week. We had a lot of meetings, lol. We had our Zone Training Meeting which was amazing! We taught a lesson about repentance and how we can apply that into our areas and missionary life. It was great, and I love the spirit one can feel at these types of meetings. We also had a Leadership Training Meeting the following day which was also good. One of the lessons given from Sister Kosak (Pres. Kosaks wife), was on stress and stress relief. Well, we all thought a lot about that lesson afterwards and got stressed out just thinking about it! It was a good time though.

We met twice this week with R., the lady who talked to us after General Conference, and invited her to baptism. She said she wants to learn more before she commits to something big like that. But she's aware of why we visit and that baptism is her goal!

     Our Chinese investigator, S., is leaving tomorrow for China. She came to Stake Conference and loved it. She's all set to go home with her Book of Mormon (which she loves), her Bible, and Gospel Principles book. She's really built her faith so much and knows that she has a Heavenly Father looking out for her. She's excited to keep learning and studying the scriptures and doctrines when she returns to China. The closest church to her home is about 10 hours away, so she'll need to keep studying and figure out what she's going to do in the future. She loves the things we've taught her and expressed her gratitude to us after church before she went home. She said she'll never forget meeting us and the things we've taught her. We made her really happy! It was really touching to hear and made us feel really grateful for the work here in Hamburg.  

     We also met a young man about 20 years old on the street and asked him what Christ meant to him. He stopped and pondered for a while and really dug within himself for an answer. He then said, 'I'm actually one of the few who has read the Bible all the way through, and I'm not really sure what Christ means to me. I guess you could say I'm one of those people who are on the search.' We bore our testimonies to him and introduced the Book of Mormon to him. We gave it to him and he was really touched that we would just give him this book for free. He expressed his appreciation to us and took the book and promised he'd read it. It was touching to see how this all impacted him and excited him to continue studying for truth.

   We had transfer calls and Elder McK. and I are staying another transfer together in Hamburg! We've just set some goals and made some plans of what we want to accomplish this transfer and how we'll do it. The Lord is working WITH us in His “Weingarten” (vineyard). (Jacob 5).

Love, Elder Lüning!

October 7, 2013 Hamburg

 Hey family!

     Jeremy I'm proud of you for making the step you did. Guess you'll be home when I get back eh? I'm excited to see you again. Mom, Dad, please let Grandma know I wish her a “Gute Besserung” (Get Well)! That whole accident just sounded really painful. I'm glad she's doing okay.
     This week sped by on by again. On Monday/Tuesday I was able to go on exchange with a District Leader. We stayed in Hamburg and had a really busy day. He was so excited to see how Elder McK. and I talk to people and how we find people, so I made sure we had some time to do just that. It didn't take him to long to realize that he had been doing exactly what we were doing the whole time. Ha-ha!  The only difference was our attitude and how we dealt with those who didn't want to listen. Those that don't want to listen to us, we don't beg them to stay and hear us out. We wish them a good day and moved on to find those elite that God has prepared for us. Elder McK. and I know that they're out there and that Heavenly Father will put them in our paths.

     We've been focusing on the atonement in our mission and it's really helped us with our missionary work. We also had a lesson given to us in Berlin on Friday about Missionary Repentance. We internalized it and brought it into our apartment and introduced it to the other 2 Elders who lived with us. We got a red piece of paper and wrote “HAMBURG UMKEHR” at the top. (Hamburg Repentance) and made a list of things we noticed that we want to change and do better on in the apartment. We have 16 things written down and things have improved a lot already! I've also notice how it's helped us each personally apply the atonement more in our lives because we prayed afterwards for the support to be able to change. It's also unified us more with each other.

     Two miracles happened this week. S. told us that the Book of  Mormon leads her to believe in God. We taught her how to read it and she read from 1 Ne. 3 to 1 Ne. 19 in 3 days. She loves it and said she needs to read it through at least twice. One for the story, and one for her personally where she can apply what she learns into her life.

     Second miracle, is that after the wonderful General Conference on Saturday night (the first Saturday session), on our way home a lady asked us if our church is in English. We told her about General Conference and she said, “Oh I was in Utah and saw the temple!” We invited her to come the next day for General Conference and she came! She saw the Saturday afternoon session and loved it! We will now be meeting with her twice a week and she's coming to church on Sunday again!

     I'm grateful for the atonement in my life and for the power I receive from it daily. These days out here aren't easy. But they're good. From my study of Isaiah this time through the Book of Mormon, I tied what he says together with Nephi. In Lehi's dream he sees people walk away from the tree after partaking of the fruit because they were ashamed of those mocking him. Isaiah talks a lot about the atonement of Jesus Christ and about how we should be proud of being his followers. He says that though we might feel as though we're roads for people to walk on, or that we are persecuted beyond what we can handle, Jesus Christ will lift us up and carry us on His shoulders. He will take our burden from us and those that persecute us, He will separate from us. The message that I got from it this time through is be proud of having a Savior who is more powerful than ALL things. Nephi had hard times, but he never lost sight of his Savior, and knew the rewards of obedience and faith. This is one of the reasons why he loved Isaiah so much.
I hope you all have a great week! 

Elder Luening

September 30, 2013, Hamburg

  Dear Family,

   So I'm trying to think about how the week went and again, I have no idea. It's now October which I can't even believe and the time just keeps moving forward. I just bought a new winter jacket for this last winter here in Germany. I found a TK Max where I can use my Master Card and it's a really big store. Success! I am now completely prepped for winter. I'll probably be sending stuff that I don't need any more home soon, so I'm not all stressed about it at the end of my mission.

   The appointments with the five new people that we found last week all fell through. We thought they were part of the “Elite”, but apparently not. So we are back on the road looking for and searching for the ones who are prepared.  We're having a lot of fun with finding, though. The people that we've managed to find and have conversations with are great. When you talk with everyone you see, you get some crazy people, some people who don't even regard you, some people who stop and hear your first line and then leave without saying anything, but no matter what, there are always the ones that listen. You just might have to go through a bunch to get the ones who are ready. I love it!

    Our new members are doing great still. They're super active and haven't missed a single Sunday. S, our Chinese investigator asked about how she can understand the Book of Mormon better when she reads, so we prepped a lesson for her about that. It was awesome. She had read the chapter we left with her and then the first 3 chapters of 1 Nephi. So we read Nephi 4 with her and helped her apply the things she read to her life. She said, “Now I understand how I can learn from this book!” She's like, I was reading it like a novel and didn't even think about paying attention to what I would do if I was in that situation! She's making so much progress and she said after she read Alma 36 she learned why it’s important to keep the commandments! Oh and their Chinese food is so good! The H. Family love us and as we teach S, it's helping Sister H’s testimony so much too!

  That’s all I have to say this week! It's getting colder now. 13° during the day!
  Love you and hope you all have a good week!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

September 23, 2013, Hamburg

Dear Family,

     I feel like I start all emails the same by saying every time, “This week has gone fast”. Well, this week did go pretty fast. We had our Zone Conference on Wednesday and it was a nice spiritual boost! Our mission also has an awesome goal to baptize 150 children of God before the end of the year so Elder Mc. and I will definitely be doing our part to help out! We've been seeing the fruits of talking to everyone lately and have found 5 new investigators this week.

     I've been exhausted the last couple days! I think part of it is because of the cold weather and that it is getting darker now earlier and staying dark longer. Another part might be because I've been out here for so long already. And another part might be that Elder Mc. and I are working hard and keeping busy with taking care of our zone, new converts, less actives, investigators and making sure we follow up with all the member lessons we have!! We've already seen success from the member visits. There are so many awesome members in this ward and I'm getting closer to them every week. I really hope I get to stay here till the end of my mission.

   Our Chinese investigator, S, is doing great. We invited her to baptism again but she said she wasn't sure yet, but she read the chapters that we asked her to read …..twice! We taught the 10 commandments and focused on church attendance, and bore testimony. I'm really grateful that we have Church….. a place where we can always go to feel spiritually uplifted and to renew our covenants. We can show our gratitude to God for our blessings and also be a blessing to others while we're there.

     I also went on an exchange with a missionary who's been out for about 5 transfers. I'm in my 13th transfer! It made me feel really old, ha-ha. We had fun and were able to learn from each other. I noticed how much the Lord has blessed me throughout the time on my mission in becoming a better teacher. He really has kept His promise to me in helping me teach doctrines and principles in a simple, clear and understandable way. I'm so grateful for that!

    Also we visited Oma and Opa for my birthday last week, and as I told Opa about the missionary reading plan (we're reading through the Book of Mormon before Christmas), he said,'Okay, I'll do that! I want to do that!'. He's got a lot of excitement in him and he's keeping the fire burning!
     Anyway, in short I'm doing great! Way tired, ha-ha! It probably sounds like I just rambled off but nah, I'm doing great. We had a District BBQ today to celebrate some more missionary birthdays and oh,….. the Elders sang the German birthday song and lifted me in the chair ha-ha-ha! IT WAS AWESOME! I love you and hope you have a great week!
   Jeremy, congrats on the investigator. He sounds like a great man and keep enjoying the work! Record the miracles you see in your journal! It's a way that you can personally show the Lord that your grateful for them!

   Charlene, thanks for your testimony, and wow, that young man seems so prepared. I'm excited to see how it will continue with him. Keep up the excitement, it only gets better! J

September16, 2013, Hamburg

Dear family,

Thanks for the Birthday wishes it meant a lot to me!

 This was another really fast week. It honestly went by like a blur and I have to look at my planner to remember what we did. Our Chinese investigator, S, is making so much progress. She told us that as she was reading in the Book of Mormon and thinking about the things we taught her, she felt love, peace and warmth in her heart! She's so excited about everything and just wants to learn more and more. She also said her first prayer! It moves me seeing people having their own experiences like this and finding out truths for themselves and being excited about it. I invited her to baptism of course, but found out that she'll be leaving back to China on Oct 15th, and the last sacrament meeting when she could be comfirmed would be Sept 29th...because of Stake and General Conference...yeah...so we're trying to figure that one out!! 

We did a lot of member work this week with a new DVD program that our mission came out with. It's called the Work of Salvation/ Das Erlösungswerk”.  It is the missionary broadcast from a couple months ago cut up in segments that we can use at member homes. We've used it with 4 families already and invited them to do their own missionary work by starting with names that they pray about. It's so effective because in the clips living day prophets promise blessings of member missionary work and their efforts. It invites the spirit which moves the members to do something. We made sure to have return appointments and so far it is working really well. We also don't take their names. On our next appointment we plan with them and help them set goals with a time frame about what they want to do with the names they prayed about. It's not totally different than what we've done before, but so much more effective with the DVD and a little bit more planning on our part to know exactly what we will do with which members. I love it here in Hamburg. The work is moving forward. I'm not thinking about the time too much, I'm too busy, and Elder Mc. helps me stay busy, lol.
Love you all,
Elder Lüning.


Hey, thanks for the advice Dad, and for the support Mom. I love you both, and I'll see what I can do with the Elders for my birthday lol. So far we had our studies, cleaned the apartment, went grocery shopping, ate lunch, looked for a new vacuum for the apartment, and for some new missionary appropriate CD's (no luck) and emailed. After emails we'll be heading out to Oma and Opa’s. We'll be BBQ next week because a Sister missionary in our district has her birthday this week and we'll celebrate together. Love you and have a great week! I hear good things about you two every week. The ward and members really appreciate everything you do! 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

September 9, 2013, Hamburg

 Dear Family,

     Hey, wow - what a crazy week. These weeks are just blowing by. We were in Berlin on Friday again and had our Leadership Council. There were some exciting things introduced to the mission regarding the Missionary “Uebertragung” (broadcast) from a couple months ago. Our mission made a DVD called “The Work of Salvation” and it is used for member visits. It has the whole session on it, and then extras specifically used for working with members. It's awesome and we've used it already and it works! It gets the members really excited and feeling the spirit that they want to do something. So it's our job to keep the fire burning.

    The Ward is so excited about missionary work. Br. Stephens who was baptized 4 weeks ago has brought a lot of excitement into the Ward. He received the Priesthood yesterday and has already been doing missionary work. His son is now meeting with us, and an African lady friend of his from a different church came to Church yesterday, too. We will now be meeting with her and her German boyfriend on Sunday after church!

     One night last week we had 20 minutes before we needed to be inside and so we did some finding in our area. I had a prompting to go down a street and just stared it down as we walked past it.  Elder Mc. looked at me funny, lol, but we kept walking. Then, I'm like – “nope”, and we turned around and walked the way I felt prompted to. We talked to everyone we saw (like 3 people) but no one was interested. One of them talked to us and said some things that got us pretty upset. Elder McKean was ticked. Then the last person we saw before we had to go inside was just at an intersection. He was a young man from Silvania who had met with missionaries before. He said, “I want to come to institute and FHE! When is it?!”  We got his information and gave him ours. If it would have been any other timing he would have been on the other street already and we would of missed him. The Lord has blessing us and others. Our Chinese investigators are doing great! One of them left yesterday to England but the other one wants to meet at least twice a week with us at the member’s house! So, we are getting fed well!  J

     There's a lot of excitement in Opa for missionary work now. It's amazing how much he's been affected from everything! He passed the sacrament yesterday and participated in ordaining Br. Stephens to the office of a Priest. The Church leaders in this Ward are amazing and are very, very, supportive! Bischof Back is awesome! Chris also was confirmed yesterday and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. His ex-girlfriend and 3 year old daughter were there to see it in Delingsdorf!

     The work is moving forwards! I love you all and thanks for the humorous letters J! I would write more but we have a short P-day today with booked lessons during our P-day time, lol. But hey, it’s a P-day not a free-day!  
Love Elder Luening

September 2, 2013, Hamburg

Dear Family,

   Chris was baptized yesterday! There was a lot of stress this week trying to get his baptism ready, but it was successful! What made it tough was that he belonged to the Delingsdorf Ward because he lived on their side of the boundary, and they had no idea who he was. It was announced in their Ward Council and at the YSA meeting during the week. Then on Friday we made last minute phone calls to inform everyone about the baptism. Yesterday the whole room was full of people and most of them were from the Delingsdorf Ward! It was so awesome to see the amount of support since the baptism also took place at 6:00 PM on Sunday! Chris was so excited for his baptism and it was a great experience. A YSA member, who came on joint teaches with us, baptized him. It was a great meeting. Elder Mc and I are amazed that we reached our goal of 3 baptisms this transfer! The Lord has blessed us and our investigators so much.

   Also we received a text from a less active Chinese member who said her 2 work colleagues would like to learn more about the gospel. So they attended the baptism, and we were able to teach them afterwards. We started from the basics because they didn't know anything about God at all. Good thing I already have some experience with this! J! We introduced the plan of salvation very simply and clearly, and one of them spoke a prayer for the first time in her life! We could see throughout the lesson how the spirit was working with them. It was powerful. We'll be teaching them again this week!

   We had our transfer calls and everyone in the apartment is staying together. I'm happy cause we all love working together. I'm excited for this next transfer and to see how well we will accomplish our goals. It’s weird having only 4 transfers left now, considering I came with 16 into the field...But what I've learned and understand, and experienced, I wouldn't trade for anything! They've changed me, and changed me for the better.

   Pat Sims once said 'I love my mission so much because it's there that I learned to know Jesus Christ.' I've never forgotten that, and now understand what he meant.

    I hope you all have a great week! Keep up the good work!
   Charlene, keep working hard and enjoying the mission. I love your enthusiasm and I always knew you'd be, like dad said, a natural, ha-ha. The good things you learn from your new companion keep them, and apply them also when you have your next companion!
   Jeremy, I'm stoked that you're finally going to Italy. It's been a long rough road but you’re finally there. Your testimony about obedience will only grow more throughout your mission. Never forget it. Tip: always use the Lord in everything that you do. Especially finding! John 15! He's our main source and we can't do the work without him. He will tell us where to go through the Spirit.
    Mom, Dad, thanks for your emails. Things are going great in Hamburg. I love it here, and Oma and Opa are changing quickly. I think Br. Stephen’s baptism really touched them. They are excited to share the gospel with their neighbours. Also, the members here are so loving. They really are excited to have me here in the ward. You've made good impressions on everyone in the Ward, ha-ha!

Love Elder Luening

Monday, 26 August 2013

August 26, 2013, Hamburg

Dear Family
So yesterday Henry and Stephens were confirmed members of the Church and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost! It was wonderful!
 Also, I need to tell you of the miracle we experienced this week. So, on Wednesday we met with C before institute and invited him to be baptized on the 1st of September  instead of the 15th. He agreed and said that he was ready! He said that his friends and parents have noticed a big positive change in him. He asked us if we see that too, and how we would describe it. He's so awesome. He's come a long way and has made a lot of changes to be able to be baptized. The next day he told us that his mom would like to come to the baptism, and because she's going on vacation, he would need to postpone it until the 23rd. We asked him how he felt about it and he said he wasn't sure. Both dates looked good to him. We asked him to pray and read in the scriptures and tell us when his mind was made up. On Friday he called us and said 23rd is the day for his baptism. We said, “Are you sure?”,  and he hesitated and then said yes. Elder M and I were a bit disappointed but thought it might be a good anyways. We still had a feeling that he might change his mind again and were praying for him to be able to follow the spirit. On Sunday we met him at 8:00 AM, right before church, and he said that he has the feeling that next week is actually when he should get baptized, and that his mother wanting him to post pone it was a test from the other side. But he was still unsure. So we read 2 Ne. 31 with him and asked him what he thinks he should do. He said, “I need to get baptized next week! I will get baptized on the 1st instead!”  It is so amazing to see how our investigators are being converted into the gospel of Jesus Christ!  This good news to all the earth: that Christ has made it possible for us to come in by the way, and taste of and dwell in His and the Fathers love for eternities. It is touching to see their faith and commitment.
The time is going fast, but I'm keeping daily logs in my journal because I don't ever want to forget it. Thanks for all the support from all of you and I hope you have a blessed week!

 Love you,
Elder Lüning

Monday, 19 August 2013

August 19,2013, Hamburg

Dear Family,

What an exciting week! Yesterday we had the baptisms of Henry and Br. Stephens! It was really exciting leading up to the baptism. They had their interviews on different days and were both very excited for Sunday. We thought a lot about who would baptize them. We wanted members to baptize them so that they could have a special bond with someone in the Ward.

The man that baptized Henry is his new home teacher, Brother R. We figured that it would be a great way to start the bond they could have to each other.

We thought a lot about who would baptize Br. Stephens. Opa had a lot of contact with him and he really liked Opa, so we told Stephens and he was excited about it. We told the Bishop on Saturday, who then told Opa. He was really surprised! You should have seen his face on Sunday as he came to Church the next day! J He attacked Elder M and I and asked which one of us came up with the idea, and we looked at each other and said, “The Lord did.” He was very grateful! I think this has helped him more than anything, and he'll never forget it. He said to me on the phone on Saturday, “If Br. Stephens would like me to baptize him, then I will fulfill my priesthood responsibilities and do it.”  J He was super nervous and totally filled with the spirit throughout the whole day! It was a wonderful experience for him that he'll never forget. Br. Stephens was so thankful.

   The baptismal meeting was wonderful. The members were very supportive and we had a great attendance. They will be comfirmed members this upcoming Sunday! We were a little disappointed that some investigators didn't show up to the baptism that said they would, so we'll have to check up on them and see what happened.

   Other than that, things are going well here in Hamburg. We're finding new investigators and helping others to progress. Mom, the referrals that you gave me in your letter live outside of our zone. They live in Rahlstedt which is in the Delingsdorf area. But I got permission from Pres. Kosak last week to visit them with an Elder from Delingsdorf , so that they can continue to meet with them if they want to! I'm not too sure when we'll visit but I'm excited to meet them! Do you have any suggestions on how I should contact them?

   Opa bought me 2 suits today for the price of one at C&A. (€80) They are really schick and I am very very thankful. Thanks for the email Mom and Dad, I'm glad you had a wonderful trip! You'll never guess that I hit my “6 month till I'm home” mark yesterday. I'm not allowed to extend, so my return date is Feb. 18th. Love you and have a great week!

Friday, 16 August 2013

August 12,2013, Hamburg

Hey Family,
So I was happy to hear about everyone’s experiences this week! Mom and Dad I didn't get to read your e-mail because it was way, way, way, too big – ha-ha! So I printed it and will read it later at home this week!
So we have 2 baptisms that will be going through this week. S, from the Bronx in New York, and H from Ghana. The ward is really excited about the baptisms coming up. It's been a little while since they've had one...and you can tell too...there are spider webs and spiders in the baptismal font, ha-ha. I'll send you pictures next week!

               This last week was pretty good. Not too much happened but I'll share some things that I really appreciate. There was a Ward BBQ this week and we invited everyone we talked to, to come to the activity. At around 8:10PM on Wednesday, I was starving and tired and had the thought to just go home by bus and eat dinner. But then I felt like, no, walk home and find people on the way. Well, we talked 2 really cool people. One of them was a 22 year old girl who stopped and talked to us for about 30 minutes straight. She was really interested in what we were doing, and the thing that intrigued her the most, she said, was that we stood so firm behind our testimonies and that we would take 2 years out of our lives to do this. We tried everything we could to get her to meet with us again, but she said she would maybe come to the activity. She didn't end up coming, but I'm glad I listened to the spirit and the prompting to keep going. I think what we said to them was something they needed to hear at that time in their lives. It's good planting some seeds. Those first impressions can last a life time.

               The ward activity was on Saturday and really nice. We gave about 8 church tours all together and from 3 of the tours and visitors we now have teaching appointments. There were probably about 20 visitors including children. The ward was really excited about it. Oh, and during the whole activity it looked like it was going to rain! But we prayed, and even though the clouds were black, it didn't rain on us!! It was so cool  J. We definitely said a prayer of thanks!
We were at Oma and Opa's for lunch and showed them the Restoration DVD and Opa thanked me for bringing the spirit into their home before leaving. Uncle Jan also came spontaneously to church on Sunday! The whole theme was on “Walking Steadfastly in Christ”. That's the Stake theme this year, and it was Ward Conference, so all the talks were tied to it. It was very spiritually uplifting.

I also read Mosiah 4: 4-13 this week and King Benjamin promises us how we can live a joyful life. And his thoughts were focused on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His love.

 And king Benjamin again opened his mouth and began to speak unto them, saying: My friends and my brethren, my kindred and my people, I would again call your attention, that ye may hear and understand the remainder of my words which I shall speak unto you.
 For behold, if the knowledge of the goodness of God at this time has awakened you to a sense of your  nothingness, and your worthless and fallen state—
 I say unto you, if ye have come to a  knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long-suffering towards the children of men; and also, the  atonement which has been prepared from the  foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his  trust in the Lord, and should be diligent in keeping his commandments, and continue in the faith even unto the end of his life, I mean the life of the mortal body—
 I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the  fall of Adam, or who are, or whoever shall be, even unto the end of the world.
 And this is the means whereby salvation cometh. And there is  none other salvation save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved except the conditions which I have told you.
 Believe in  God; believe that he is, and that he  created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not  comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
 10 And again, believe 10 And again, believe that ye must  repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in  sincerity of heart that he would  forgive you; and now, if you  believe all these things see that ye  do them.
 11 And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have  tasted of his love, and have received a  remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own  nothingness, and his  goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of  humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
 12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the  love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.
 13 And ye will not have a  mind to injure one another, but to live  peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.
 14 And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.

If we always have him and his love and goodness and patience and etc, in remembrance and repent daily, we will ALWAYS rejoice; “And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the alove of God, and always bretain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the cknowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.”(verse 12)     He's done everything for us. Love is the best 'driving force' there is.
Have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Luening