Monday, 25 February 2013

February 25, 2013, Kiel

Dear Family,

   Wow, what a crazy week! Congrats to Charlene for her mission call! Congrats to Jeremy for not having to dish out $400 on a cake at the Scout Cake Auction! Ha-ha! I hope you bounce right back to health again, Mom. Being sick sucks! 

    I had a good week this week. I was able to go tract some doors with S (a YSA) at a student housing, and had a lot of fun with him. It was sweet that he was so willing to help us out when we needed him. We got back in contact with a couple older investigators, and one of them will be coming to Family Home Evening tonight.

   Also I was able to go and visit V on Wednesday with our GML (Ward Mission Leader - Br. T), and as of yesterday, he stopped drinking again. I wasn't able to visit him at all since, but I took the time to call him every evening to see how he was doing and just to talk to him, and he loved it. He said all of a sudden that he stopped drinking again because he had lost the desire to do it. So hopefully that lasts for good now.

    I was also able to go on another split with C (another YSA) and we taught a less active member. So we only had the opportunity to have 3 splits this week because the other ones fell out, but I am still so thankful for those opportunities to get outside. It's really tough staying inside all the time and not doing too much.

   On Wednesday morning we had our Zone Training Meeting. Elder G (my comp) was really sick and stayed and tried to rest in another room through the whole meeting. I gave our lesson by myself, which was a little weird, but it went really well still. I love teaching J! I love the personal learning that comes from it, and then seeing others edified by what truths I have learned for myself. I feel the spirit every time I teach some sort of principle, and I feel like its addicting J! Same in District meetings, I always tell Elder S (the District Leader) if he ever wants to assign me to give anything -like a spiritual thought or power thought or something - I'm totally up for it!! LOL.

    Sorry if this email isn't too long. I don't really have a lot to talk about because not too much has happened. I spent all day inside Saturday and Sunday. My companion was too sick with headaches on Sunday, so we didn't go to Church. He didn't sleep at all on Saturday night which didn't help much. Our GML came by after Church and gave us the sacrament and visited for a bit. He's really awesome - don't worry, I'll let him know that you think so as well, Mom J!

    I spent a lot of time reading in the scriptures, reading Jesus the Christ, Preach My Gospel, and 'Teachings of the Prophet Joseph F. Smith. Then whenever I felt like my brain was going to explode from too much reading and revelation, I would clean the apartment, and dirty it again, J. I also read 'Max und Moritz'! It reminded me of when you read it to us, Dad, ha-ha! But nah, I'm doing well. The Lord is taking care of me, and I'm taking care of my companion.

   I'm really excited for Charlene and Jeremy! The Basts called me on Thursday night to let me know Charlene will be going to the Missouri Independence Mission and entering the Misionary Training Center  on June 26! That's going to be such an awesome experience!

   I'm so proud of everyone at home. You're all so humble and let the Lord lead you in whatever direction He wants! It’s so uplifting to hear about. I was reading St. John Chapter 2 and realized how simple the gospel of Jesus Christ really is. He taught it so clearly: Believe that He came to save us (Faith in Jesus Christ); leave the darkness and come to the Light (repentance and enduring to the end); be baptized with water and with the spirit (Baptism water and fire)! So simple! 

   I love you guys and hope you have an amazing week! Say hello to the temple for me (It feels like forever since I've been there) and have an amazing session. 

For Granny's memorial, it seems like whatever I 'can' say is very limited. But I would say that Granny was always a 'Patient and Loving Great Grandmother', who had an amazing sense of humor, and was always very 'Down to Earth!'  She's AMAZING! (Hope that's not too personal J!)

   Love, Elder Lüning

Monday, 18 February 2013

February 18, 2013, Kiel

Dear Family,

   So this has been an eventful week, full of surprises. Tuesday evening, we went to play indoor soccer and my companion broke his left foot. He rolled it and figured it was badly sprained. We stayed until the game was over (only 15 minutes left) and then drove home. We found parking about 100 feet away from our apartment, so I piggy backed him to the door and then helped him hop up 5 stories to get into our apartment, ha-ha. I felt kind of bad, but it was funny at the same time. I kept calling him “crippled”. He wasn't in a lot of pain or anything; he said it just felt like he sprained it so he couldn't put any pressure on it. The next day, in the morning, we went to emergency and after 3 hours, we left, with his left foot in a cast that he needs to wear for about 6 weeks. He fractured the bone on the left side of side of his foot. So we spent the rest of the day indoors. Then on Thursday he had an appointment with the doctor who told him to stay inside for at least 2 to 3 days and not do anything. So the rest of the day on Thursday, after we (or I should say a member and I) helped a friend move out of his apartment we spent the rest of the day indoors. We stayed home until about 6:30 PM.

   We had a Zone Leader Council Meeting in Berlin on Friday. It takes about 3 1/2 hours to drive to Berlin, so we decided to leave that night instead of in the morning. We got to Berlin at about 10:30 PM Thursday night. It was weird being inside for so long during those 2 days but I tried to make the best out of it, by studying and doing a little planning.

   Zone Leader Council was really good. The spirit was really powerful in the meeting and we were able to discuss a lot of things that we would like to see in our mission, and things that we would like to disappear from our mission. President Kosak is an amazing Mission President. It's really inspiring to see how the Lord his helping him lead this mission and in making decisions to improve it. Elder G fixed some of the computers in the office and then we left with the Elders from Hamburg at about 9:30 PM, to drive them home. We made it to Hamburg at about 12:00 AM (midnight); then slept there and drove home to Kiel at 6:30 AM.

   Then we had our District meeting at 9:30 AM, and the rest of the day we planned for Zone Training Meeting (Wednesday this week) and for District Leader Council, (which we had yesterday in Neumunster). We were definitely busy, and really tired.

   Our Ward Mission Leader is awesome, though. On Sunday he helped set up 9 splits for this coming week, so that I can go out and do work while someone else stays with Elder G. We desperately need to do finding and find new investigators to teach.  The ones we have now (besides 2) aren't making progress. I'm really excited to work with the members. We're going to spend a lot of time planning out this week and praying for places for to go to find people.

   We met with V this week once on Tuesday, and were devastated to find out that he started drinking again. I talked with him a couple more times on the phone, throughout the rest of the week, but it seemed like he was really depressed. I felt prompted to call him last night and did, and he was sober, and really appreciated the call. I hope that it was just a little bump, and that he still has the drive to stay away from drinking. The last time he was drunk for 4 months drinking 16 beers per day. We'll be trying to do a lot of work with him daily this week to keep him busy and focused.

   So yeah, that's how my week went so far. I was a little up and down this week (mood wise); just because of everything that was going on. But I feel really excited for this week, and to see what will happen.

  Wow I can't believe Granny passed away. I thought for sure I would be able to see her again after I came home. You're right though she is in a better place. I miss her already and thought about her a lot since I've been out. Having a Great Grandma at home, who's about 103 years old, seems to come up more than one would think. Thanks for letting me know! 

  I got Auntie Kirsten’s big letter on Friday while I was in Berlin. I picked it up from the office and wow, its long! I haven't had time to finish it yet, ha-ha, but I really love it! Thank them and Uncle Glenn for the card and letters for me!

   I also received a letter from Sister Wilson, who I don't know, but thought it was cool that she wrote me! Anyway, things are going well and I'm really excited to see hear where Charlene is going to get called to. Jamie O wrote me and let me know that she got her Mission Call! She's also going on a mission and will be in the MTC at the same time as Jeremy (May 5th). She'll be serving in the states, I don't remember where, I'll have to read the letter again, but yeah, its exciting seeing how many people we know are going on missions!

   I love you all and hope you have a good week!

Elder Christopher Lüning!

Friday, 15 February 2013

February 11, 2013 Kiel

Dear Family,
   Wow, that’s so exciting that Charlene is getting her mission call next week!! Yeah, just email the B family and they'll call Elder A, who'll call me and let me know! Ah, I'm really excited to hear where you're going Charlene. I guess France, since you can speak FrenchJ!

  Jeremy that's so cool that you're keeping busy and taking missionary opportunities as you prep yourself for your mission. That's really exciting! Let me know when your Profile is finished, maybe I'll check it out. I won't be able to understand it, but naja; I'll still be able to see it.

  I'll let you know a bit about how my last week has been. On Monday we had our Zone P-day. So we had 20 missionaries in Kiel and we all wrestled, ate pizza, and played board games and socialized. It was sweet being able to have everyone together and have some fun. At about 6:00 PM that night, Elder G and I travelled to Berlin to work with the Assistants to the President (APs) there. Berlin is a big city. We stayed the night and then spent the day with them and at around 6:00 PM headed back towards Kiel. The cities are about 3 hours apart by train. While we were with them we talked to people and handed out fliers for a free English course that they have every Saturday. We got into some pretty cool conversations with people, and I just happened to meet my first JEW in Germany. Ha-ha, it was way cool! He's like 'I kind of believe the opposite things as you guys.' and then we asked him what he believes in, and he straight up told us he's a Jew. He was about 80 years old. He laughed after he said it and wished us a good night as he closed the door. He left me thinking there, wow, my first Jew! Lol.

  On another note, V is still making a lot of progress. He decided not to come to church this last Sunday. He still doesn't feel confident enough to be around other people. But he's really glowing more and more every time we see him! L is also doing really well. I'm pretty sure he's really rich because he doesn't have school right now so he just travels around Europe on the weekends... and man that's expensive to do. He went to Southern Germany for 10 days. He won't be back until next Monday. Why not, right?? Ha-ha!

We had an awesome meal appointment yesterday at a member’s house. They had a friend there around 50 years old who didn't believe in God at all. We were able to leave a spiritual thought about how to grow faith. Here's kind of how the thought went:

Faith comes through hearing the Word of God.:
 Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 
                   17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Then comes our part: to experiment on what we hear using prayer:
  3 Nephi 27: 28 And now I go unto the Father. And verily I say unto you, whatsoever things ye shall ask the Father in my name shall be given unto you.
                     29 Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

Then our answers come through the Holy Ghost:
  Moroni 10: 4 ...and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth...unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
`                   5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

After the spiritual thought the man really pondered and reconsidered if there was really a God or not. He said he's never prayed before but I know it left some kind of impression on him. The spirit was really strong in the meeting. My heart was burning as my companion and I bore testimony of how we found out that God really does exist and that Jesus really is our Savior and Redeemer. I'm excited to see if we were able to move him in any way to try again and really find out if He's there or not. We'll find out this week.

  We had our transfer call on Saturday and Elder G and I are staying together for one more transfer here in Kiel. I'm glad because we got to know each other pretty well and we get along great. He's from Iceland. I'm not sure if I've mentioned that before or not. And his last name is Gerhardsson, because his father’s name is Gerhard. So he's Gerhard's son ha-ha. It's what they do in Iceland. I thought it was pretty cool, lol. His sister’s last name is Gerhardsdaughter. 

  I absolutely love being a Zone Leader. I learn so much and love being able to help and learn from the other missionaries. I'm trying really hard to be a good example and I know the Lord is helping me to do that. I don't really know how to describe it. I just know that everyone watches what you do and that they look at you as an example when you’re a ZL. Also, I love preparing and giving lessons. I find a lot of joy in it and love bearing testimony.

  I didn't get Aunty Kirsten’s package yet. If she mailed it to the office, then I should get in on Friday, because I'm going to Berlin for a Zone Leader Council meeting with President Kosak. I'll let you know if it's there or not. 

  Thanks for letting me know about your highlights of last week Mom and Dad. It's going to be really weird for you once everyone's gone, ha-ha. Don't worry; it won't be too long till I'm back again!

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

Elder Lüning

Monday, 4 February 2013

February 4, 2013, Kiel

Hallo Familie Lüning!

   I'm excited that Charlene has sent her papers away, and that Jeremy is going to the temple in a month! That's so great how everything is moving right along.

   I feel this week went a little too fast. I also don't have too much to tell...and not a lot of time because we're having our Zone P-day today.

   I'll give you a quick update on what's been happening. So our investigator L, has been making progress. He keeps meeting with us and has been coming to English and German classes, and FHE on Mondays. We didn't get the chance to teach him lessons as much as we wanted to, because WE'VE been too busy. It's funny; - usually our investigators are too busy to meet with us...but not this week. But anyways, he's still making progress.

   V is doing really well. He didn't make it to church this week because he injured his foot, but we taught him the Word of Wisdom, and he set a goal to stop smoking in 2 weeks to be able to get baptized in 3 weeks. It's really exciting. He's just beaming with so much light, now that he's stopped drinking for so long. He's also reading and studying the scriptures daily, and praying daily too. You can really see the difference the gospel makes in a person.

   I also met this really awesome person. His name is E, and he's about 26 years old. He's a totally faithful strong Christian, and was a referral from the Sister missionaries in Bremenhaffen. They met him and gave him a Book of Mormon, and he was coming up here for work (he's a sailor) and wanted to learn more. We met with him and he told us about his past. He was in a bad group of people, and had a rough childhood. He hated his parents and got into the drug scene. He's been to jail before, and the girlfriend he had cheated on him, and left him for someone else. He was always full of hate and always felt abandoned. He then met a girl who was Christian, and saw how different she was. One night he prayed in front of his bed on his knees, and the next morning he was full of love. He said he took that as a sign that God is there and started on his journey to change his life. He read the Bible and started going to different churches. He basically knows the Bible off by heart now, and has such an amazing love for Jesus Christ and God. He met the Sister missionaries and wanted to know more about the Book of Mormon. He said he's read in it quite a bit, but said he's scared to find out that it's true, because that means that he gave his whole life to God, but God in return only gave him half the truth. We talked for 2 hours and the whole lesson went around in circles. I have such a huge love for him, but the lesson was terrible! We all decided we'd meet again, and he emailed me and apologized, and said he really wants to meet again and find out if it is true. It was a really cool experience though, to see how much a person has changed from such terrible past. He's married now to Christian who prayed to find out if she should marry him or a different guy. They said they both got the same answer and got married. He said his life would be nothing without Christ and that he's just trying to find out truths and follow his feelings to see if there is more that God has to offer him. It was really cool meeting him. (He's German).

 On Wednesday I went on a “Tausch” (missionary exchange) with Delingsdorf missionaries. It was fun and knocked on some doors and ended up getting 3 referrals from people who didn't have too much interest but liked what we were doing. We also had a discussion at the door for about 20 minutes with a lady - we talked to her about prayer. We taught her the first lesson, and gave her the church website address to give to her 36 year old daughter who might be more interested. It was cool.

   We also did a couple service projects. We helped a member move, and painted inside their house. Then last night we were at a newly married couple’s apartment for dinner. They are both 25 years old.  After dinner another member couple (who are getting married in March) came by and joined us. It was a lot of fun and it was cool to see how excited they are for the wedding, ha-ha. They are awesome members!

  Otherwise, not too much happened this week. I'd love to go into more detail about everything but I don't have the time for it! I love you guys and hope you have a good week! Thanks for taking the time to e-mail me, even though it was so late at night for you. I love you guys!

 Bis nächtste Woche, tschüß!

Elder Luening