Wednesday, 30 January 2013

January 27, 2012, Kiel

Dear Family,

   I'm glad that everyone is still safe and okay. Mom, you sound like you’re always crazy busy. I thought about something as I read your email, and wanted to ask you if you are busier now that we (all your children) are basically all gone...or now that you are R.S. President and have 70 or so more children to take care of?? Ha-ha. But on the other hand I'm impressed by your willingness to fulfill all of your responsibilities. It's a blessing that you have been called to be R.S. President. There are always special blessings that you can receive for every calling in the Church. And it's a blessing itself to have the opportunity to receive these from the Lord! I had a thought cross my mind this morning to as I was listening to a song called, `Here am I`. It made me think about the many prophets in the scriptures who stepped up to their callings and had the humble response of 'I'll do it..'

   Zum Beispiel, (for example)1. Jesus Christ offering to do the will of the Father (Moses 4:2), 2. Adam accepting the commandment to build an altar and pray to God (Moses 4:6), 3. Isaiah acting as the Lord`s Prophet (2 Ne 16:8), 4. Nephi saying I will go and do (1 Ne 3:7), 5. Jacob fulfilling his responsibilities (Jacob 2:8), 6. Enos declaring the gospel in all his days (Enos 1:26), and so on and so on. These are rough examples that I just had off the top of my head from this morning, but it made me think that I need to develop this attitude more. That I should also be the one to say 'I'll do it...'! I know that there are challenges that will come with responsibilities that we take upon us, but the blessings will outweigh them by far. Plus, we're never alone. His strength is always with us as we work righteously. Little spiritual thought, I guess. Thanks for yours about prophets, Mom. I really liked it.

   In response to the questions, on P-day: we basically study, clean the apartment, write emails, have lunch, go shopping for groceries, and look for things that we need to buy, or things that we want to buy. By then we're usually exhausted, and either have a little power nap or hang out in the institute center and play piano or relax, and talk about plans or ideas for our 'Zone'. I also try to write letters to members and investigators from cities where I've served. Somehow P-day just seems to always fly by. I was also supposed to say ``Schoene Grueße`` from Brother P in Hannover. I should have told you that in December but I forgot. He made me promise to tell you, so there you have it, J just a bit late. He's the older member that came on Joint teaches with us a couple times and that I thought for sure was an Angel because of his ``Ausstrahl`` (countenance).

   That's good to know about the Thank-you cards. I'll make a list of all the people who have written me and send the cards. I would love to use the Christmas money more J...but the problem is that since it is in my bank account, I can only use it in places that accept Master Cards. I don't know the pin number to be able to withdraw money. But it's not a big problem.

   This week went really well. I thought of some new goals that I want to accomplish every day. I wrote them out on a checklist that I can review at the end of each day, and see where I failed and then make new goals to be able to accomplish the next day. It's been working great. There are about 12 things on this list, to help me be better.

   Our investigators are doing well. We have 2 Chinese investigators, L and E. E is now back in China for 2 months. We had a really good lesson with him before he left, and he really knows that he wants to be a follower of Christ. He's going to talk to his parents about baptism before he comes back! As for L, we've been meeting with him about 3 times a week and he understands everything. We invited him to baptism, and he said that he's not ready yet. This is fine, because he's not,J ha-ha. But he really wants to learn more. He's about 22 years old and way awesome. He's also coming to all the YSA activities so that’s good! V is still making progress. He's cutting down on smoking and hasn't drunk alcohol since he's quit. He set it as a goal to come to church next week. He said he needed one more week to physically look better. He loves meeting with us. He's so sincere and so humble. We had another couple good member lessons to help motivate the members to do missionary work. We have a Family Home Evening planned with a family and will bring an investigator to it. The problem is that they're way busy and only had time for it in na ja, at least we have an appointment in March now J. Lots of time to prepare!

  We also talked to a lady on the street who said ``Keine Zeit``, (no time!) but took a card and walked away -  and then turned around and yelled at us to stop and ran back to us. She said she didn't realize we were Mormons and wanted to know where the church was. She didn't end up coming to church but, at least now she knows where it is. I wish we would have got more contact information from her, but she was in a big hurry so we couldn't. It was a witness though that there are people searching for us, and when we open our mouths, they'll find us, and we'll find them.
   Anyways, the week was good. I haven't sent pictures lately because I haven't really taken any new ones. I’ll have to start taking more again. Charlene don't get too down about the doctor sheet, same thing happened to me, ha-ha. You'll get them in! Thanks for the e-mail! Time keeps moving forward...what matters is what we do with it, I guess.

   Dad I'm curious to know what your mission journal looks like, ha-ha. You didn't tell us too many stories about experiences on your mission. It'll be nice to get home and share stories with one another and also the things we've learned through our experiences. Jeremy, keep doing what you’re doing! Same to you Kass and Scott, keep being awesome! I love you guys and hope you have a great week!

Elder Luening

Monday, 21 January 2013

January 21, 2013, Kiel

Hey, Family!

 I hope everyone gets better from their colds really soon! As of last week Tuesday I've felt back to 100% well again.

 Before I forget to answer your question Mom, every missionary gets €170 per month to spend on food and stuff. Train tickets, or money I spend on traveling I can get reimbursed. So, it’s quite a bit of money. No, we don't go hungry, ha-ha - and if we do, there's no excuse for it.:)

That's good that you're done with some of the shopping for Jeremy’s mission now, ha-ha. I hope it wasn't as hectic as when it was for me! Chris P sent me an email. Thanks for giving him the email address! :)

I have some Thank-you cards that I want to send home. I seriously have like no time for anything as a Zone Leader. I'm lucky if I get to bed on time. I printed off some Thank-you pictures. There are about 15 of them for the Ward. I don't remember how many families there are. Let me know next week how many I should send home for everyone. I wish I could personalize it more but if I do that, they'll never get sent home, lol. Oh, by the way you should email the B family back! I saw them again last week!

   This week has been really busy but really good. On Tuesday I went to the dentist in Hamburg to get my molar checked out. Apparently there's no cavity or anything wrong with the tooth, but my gum between my teeth was really sore and irritated so he told me that I have to make sure I start flossing again. The pain is pretty much gone now! He flossed that tooth before I left and made it hurt and bleed so badly, ha-ha. I was like, “Okay, come on; you know that hurts like crazy”. But "ja", I'm not getting headaches from it anymore, so that's great! 

V is our alcoholic investigator. He's stopped drinking since the beginning of last week! J We're so proud of him. He's just randomly had a change of heart and has stuck with it. He's also cleaned his place up and looks so much better! We're excited for him because he's going to start making progress really fast! He's got a bright light in his eyes and he's got a plan with what he wants to do with his life. 

 I went on another "Tausch" on Wednesday! This time I went with Elder A, my previous companion, in Glückstadt. It was nice catching up and hearing about how he and his new companion are doing. They get along fine! Also I got to see a couple members that miss me. We also sang “Happy Birthday” over the phone to a member that we spent Christmas with. They loved it and thanked us for doing that.

   We now have a new Ward Mission Leader, who helps us with missionary work, here in Kiel. He's really excited to work with us and get this missionary work moving forward with the Ward. He's about 35years old and really down to earth. He's a lot of fun and cracks jokes with us all the time, ha-ha, but is really serious about missionary work, which is great! He was the first councillor to the bishop before he was changed into his position now. He had us over for 3 hours on Thursday to discuss our goals and plans with working together and with the Ward. It was really awesome! His wife is R, and she is R's (from Hannover) older sister! They were the ones that came on joint-teaches and referred Bettina to us! It’s a small world in the church, ha-ha. E, our Chinese investigator is also doing great. We have one more appointment with him and then he goes back to China for 2 months. He's going to ask for permission to be baptized and make a plan for what he wants to do when he comes back to Germany. We're really excited for him and we're going to try to fire him up one last time before he leaves. We also have his email so we can stay in contact with him while he's gone.

 On Saturday we found a cool man doing doors. We had an appointment for a meal but were about 15 minutes early, so we did tracting in the area. He was renovating his apartment, but let us in and we had a really good talk with him. He's about 30 year old and doesn't believe in God, but wants to find out more about what we believe. So he invited us to come back next week! He said he's tried to find out before if God existed or not, but he's willing to try again! J Other than that I've been keeping busy with normal missionary work.

   It's also quite cold here but not as cold as at home. Here it has been staying around -2 C. I was cold one night and dreamed that I was on a winter camp and had to “pinkle”, but didn't want to get up because it was too cold, ha-ha! Then I actually woke up from that dream and realized that those were real feelings! I was cold and didn't want to get up! It was so funny.

Life is going well!

The Bishop gave a really good presentation yesterday - 5 scriptures that can help us through almost everything:

1.       1 Ne 11: 17 (I know that God loves his children),

17   “And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”

2.       Moses 7:26-33 (God allows the wicked things in the world to happen),

29   And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?
32   The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of my hands, I gave unto them their knowledge in the day that I created them; and in the Garden of Eden gave I unto man his agency;
33   And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their father; but behold, they are without affection and hate their own blood.
37   But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of my hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these suffer?

3.       Alma 14:9-13 (our work is not yet finished),

13   And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord. But behold, our work is not finished, therefore they burn us not.

4.       Alma 7:11-12 (the atonement)

10   And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem, which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, even the Son of God.
11   And he shall go forth suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which sayeth he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12   And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people,; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know how to succor his people, according to their infirmities.

5.       D+C 101:32-36 (All things will one day be revealed to us).

32   Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things-
33   things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof-
34   Things most precious, things that are above, things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth and in heaven.
35   And all they who suffer persecution in my name, and endure in faith, though they are called to lay down their lives for my sake yet shall they partake of all this glory.
36   Wherefore fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full.

 It was a really good presentation.

I love you guys and hope that you have a good week!

Love Elder Lüning!

Note from the edittor (mom): 
To those who are following Elder Luening, his sister, Charlene has had her interviews and has completed her mission application, so the papers should be in the missionary department by Thursday. We are all excited and will be anxiously waiting for her call in mid-February!. I agree with Elder Luening, "Life is going well!"

Monday, 14 January 2013

January 14, 2012, Kiel

Hello Loving Family!

 I'm a lot better this week than I was last week. I was pretty sick with a cold this past week, and what’s worse is, is that Elder G also got sick from me. On Tuesday night we played indoor soccer and Elder G had a big bottle of water that he left in the car. So, after the game, we got into the car and I received a phone call. He offered me water when I was distracted, so I drank some, and then he drank more without even thinking because he was trying to listen to the phone call too. So there you have it, now he's sick! So this past week it has been pretty hard to do missionary work, but we've been doing as much as we could.

   On Thursday I went to Flensburg on exchange, and served for a day with the District leader there, Elder S. I was also able to do a baptismal Interview for a 14 year-old girl named J, who had a baptismal date for Sunday. It was such a cool experience. She is so smart and it seemed like she was teaching me at certain points in the interview!
J Her biological father was not a member, so she was never baptized. But her mother has been married to a member for a while now, and J decided to start learning the missionary lessons and meeting with  missionaries. She also put a lot of thought into who should baptize her and she picked Elder S. He thought it would be better if her step-dad performed it. So, she prayed about it again and chose Elder S! J. So yesterday he baptized her. It's so exciting! I learned a lot from Elder S on the “Tausch”. It's only his 4th transfer right now, and he's working really hard. He's also got the whole Ward excited to do missionary work, and they're doing it! His excitement about the work rubbed off on me a lot.

   So I came to Kiel, and watched Elder G for the first 1 ½  weeks to see how he worked, and how he taught. We're a lot different, but I'm pretty sure that's why President Kosak put us together. This last week I figured out how we can work really effectively and well together. On Friday we prepped a lesson for our Zone Training Meeting that took place the next day. Then on Saturday we had our Zone Training Meeting, and it went really well.. Our lesson was about “Working with the Members”.

After the Zone Conference, we had a member lesson -  perfect!
We had dinner with the members and got to know them really well. Then we gave them a spiritual thought which completely invited the spirit.
(1 Ne 7:4-5 “And it came to pass that we went up to the house of Ishmael, and we did gain favor in the sight of Ishmael, and also his household, insomuch that we did speak unto him the words of the Lord. And it came to pass that the Lord did soften the heart of Ishmael, and also his household, insomuch that they took their journey with us down into the wilderness to the tent of our father.”
2 Ne 33: 1 “And now I, Nephi cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking: for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men”.
We invited them to invite someone to Church this week and they accepted! We also gave them a couple tips on how they could do it. They want us to call them on Wednesday to remind them, and then on Sunday they'll report to us and hopefully have a friend there! It was so cool, and they were really excited. Then again yesterday we had a member appointment after Church. We helped them cook lunch (Grünkohl! Kale, yum!) and we got to know each other, and had a really good time. Then we asked them to invite someone to be there for lunch with them the next time we eat with them. They accepted and are really excited to do it. It was really cool to see how when we're excited to do missionary work, it rubs off on the members. When we let them know how hard we're working and about the exciting things we're experiencing and seeing! They want to be a part of it!

  I'm really excited to work in Kiel with Elder G. He's from Iceland and can speak perfect German because his mom's German. He's also a computer Tech person. He's a genius when it comes to computers. He's got a strong testimony and knows how to explain things so they make sense logically. We're going to kill it here in Kiel, and see a lot of success!

I also love being a Zone Leader. I'm really trying to be there for all of the missionaries and am trying to help them as much as I can. I know all of them by name already and got to know them during Zone Training Meeting. It’s also fun preparing and teaching lessons ha-ha. I love feeling the spirit as I teach truths.

   I met one of our really cool Chinese investigators. His name is E, and he is so prepared to be baptized. He has a testimony on everything. The only thing holding him back is his addiction to smoking. His friends don't support him at all. The last time he quit with the missionaries, he stayed strong for 3 weeks, and then fell back into smoking. Now he doesn't trust himself, and said that he won't get baptized until he knows that he can endure to the end without falling again. He's going back to China in 2 weeks for 2 months and he said he's going to do a lot of praying about baptism. Then when he comes back he's going to prepare himself again. He's such a humble investigator. And he's really sensitive to how the gospel has affected his life. He just needs to recommit and try again! We're really excited for him.

Other than that, not too much has been going on now. Thanks for all of the cold medicine, Mom. Yeah, it's coming in handy!

I'm making a dentist appointment this week because I've had a tooth ache on one of my molars which has been giving me big headaches on the right side of my face. The dentist is a member in Hamburg and he gladly checks the missionaries. So, we'll see what’s wrong with me ha-ha! Other than that I'm well.

Mom, you buying all that whipping cream because it was so cheap doesn't surprise me! But have fun trying to make it all into butter ha-ha! 

What's the weather like at home? It snowed here like crazy the last couple days! Big snowflakes that  made me think of home. 

I still can't believe I've almost been out a year on my mission. It has made me think a lot and evaluate how I have done. I know this year will be a lot more effective because of all the things I've learned so far. Jeremy, I'm sure that if you call and find out if you can go on your mission sooner, they won't send you somewhere else. But at the same time, maybe the timing is there for you to help someone in need at a specific time. Maybe someone at the MTC, or in the time before your mission. Everything happens for a reason, and the Lord knows what he's doing. Either way, you'll learn something from it, and someone else will be helped by meeting you at a specific time. You're doing the right thing. Pray about it and let the Lord guide you in what you should do. He's the one with the master plan! I'm so excited for you. Also for Charlene! Hurry up and get those papers in J!

I love you guys! I hope you keep up the excitement for missionary work and keep preparing yourselves. Mom and Dad, I love you - you are great examples to me and I've learned a lot from you both. 

Spiritual thought for you for the day, Mom is:
Doctrine & Covenants 88:
3. Wherefore I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.
4. This comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;
5. Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the Holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son- He that ascended up on high as also he descended below all things, it comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;
7. Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power by which it was made.
11. And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth you understandings:
12. Which light procedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space- The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God, who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.    

Love it!

Have a good week you guys. Until next week!
Elder Luening

PS. My new address is:

Elder Christopher Luening
Eckenfoerder Str. 11
24116 Kiel 

January 7, 2013, Kiel

Dear Family,

Wow!! I'm so stoked right now that Jeremy got his mission call!! Milan, Italy?!?! I would have never guessed that, ha-ha! That's so cool that Sister M can teach you Italian now! I thought for sure that Jeremy didn't get his mission call yet, because I didn't get a phone call from Elder A, or from the B family - so, boooh, -  you guys left me hanging and waiting until Monday! Not cool,J! They were going to tell me right when you emailed and share the news with me, even though I'm up here in Kiel. We all still have phones, ha-ha! Naja, definitely surprised me! And Colton got his mission call too! Woot, that's so awesome that he leaves so soon, and he gets to learn French ha-ha! Becky N went to France for her mission and had to learn French too. She'll be back around August. Bad luck, Jeremy leaving so late, but that gives you a huge head start if you keep taking language lessons with Sister Manning! Wow that's so exciting! I bet Grandpa is super proud, ha-ha. I can totally picture it right now, him with a smile on his face all the time, living in cloud 9! (That means he feels on top of the world mom, lol)

This week felt very, very long for me. I think because everything was new again, and because I got sick on Tuesday! It started with a chest cold, where I started coughing up yellow stuff, and then it hit my sinuses. But, it is a good thing that you prepped me with all of that cold medicine, Mom. I feel a lot better today, and I'm pretty sure in about 2 days I should be completely normal again. This week has been crazy busy though!

 So B got baptized in Glueckstadt yesterday, but no, I couldn't be there for that. J It was just because it was too far away, and we were way too busy to make it. I did find out though that she did get baptized and her R (the girl that came on joint teaches with us), has an older sister that lives here in Kiel, which is really cool. I have a picture with B and me so I'll send it to you guys. Also I'm writing her a letter and sending it to her. I'm so excited for her. She got baptized yesterday, and will be confirmed and receive the Holy Ghost this Sunday coming up!

So Kiel is really busy for my comp (Elder G) and I. There used to be 4 Elder's here in Kiel but for right now it's just the 2 of us. So we've been working on all of our investigators and have been busy running from appointment to appointment throughout the first couple of days.

On Friday we traveled to Berlin for a Zone Council Meeting, and that was right when my cold really hit my sinuses. My nose was dripping the whole time and my head was stuffed up. It was really cool though being at the council and seeing what Zone Leaders do and how we help President Kosak and the mission. I didn't know that we actually play a really big role in leading the mission. We stayed overnight in Berlin with the A.P.'s because it was too late for us to travel home. It ended up being too late because Elder G and the computer technician and were fixing the A.P's computer which took a little while.

 I really like Elder G. It was a little quiet at first because we were getting used to each other, and adjusting to the big change, but now we're like good friends and have opened up. We work well together, too.

On Saturday we had a District Council, (so we met with all the District Leaders in our zone) and we discussed with them about how they can improve their district meetings and how to motivate and help the missionaries in their district. It was a really good meeting. It's awesome to see how missionaries really look up to us for guidance and direction.

I honestly feel like a Golden again in this big city though, ha-ha. We have a car, so we're both allowed to drive, but I pretty much follow my companion around because I have no idea where I'm going! J Other than that though, everything’s still the same. We still do regular missionary work of course, and I'm still getting to know our investigators. I haven't met too many yet, because we've been busy, but we've got a couple that we want to set a baptismal date with.J I really like it here, I'm glad I'm getting healthier, and I'm doing well. J Elder G and I are going to kill it here in Kiel! J

I love you guys so much. Charlene, I didn't have time to read your letter but I printed it off! Thanks for writing me a bunch again,
J, you're awesome! Mom, Dad, I love you both. Thanks for writing me weekly, and letting me know what's been going on at home and in your lives. Kassandra I hope things are going well! School starts again, and hopefully those kids keep listening to you as you teach, ha-ha! Tell Scott that he's a stud, - (and stop arguing with him Kass, -he's a guy and he knows what he's doing,J ha-ha!). Na, “Shöne Gruesse” to him and to everyone at Church!

 I just received a Christmas CD from Stodderts, and a Christmas card from the Yadernucks and the Smees! Thank them for me! While I was in Berlin I checked the post at the office to see if I got anything sent there for me. I saw the stuff and took it home with me!  On Saturday we have a Zone Training Meeting! Should be fun!

I love you guys and hope you have a good week! Congrats again, Jeremy, I'm proud of you! Keep up the momentum for your preparations, but still have fun and do things you want to do before you leave for 2 years, J. ‘Cause believe me, you'll miss them while you're in Italy, Jeremy. Tell Colton I'm proud of him, and I'm excited for him, too! Love you guys!

Elder Luening

My new address here in Kiel is:

Elder Christopher Luening
Eckenförder Str. 11
24116 Kiel