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 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