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

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