Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Week

Fresh Snow Right Outside my Apartment
Today it snowed a good 5 inches, I couldn't believe it.  Yesterday was probably the coldest day I have ever witnessed in my life, everything was frozen.  Today for Pday we are visiting the city and seeing the Holocaust Memorial for all the murdered jews. So that should be interesting.  We are also going inside the Berliner Dom, which is a huge church looking building.  Then to the Rittersport Factory and getting a ton of chocolate.  They sell 6 pounds for 6 Euros, which is a great deal.  Look for chocolate in the mail!

This past Christmas week we didn't find and talk to people because there was no one to talk to because they were all inside.  Christmas Eve was great.  We went to a members house and played the game, Settlers of Catan, which  I have played with my family in Utah.  It was fun to play that game again.  I ended up winning of course.  Then on Christmas day we went to the Doudous'.  He is our Ward Mission Leader.  He is fairly young, about 23, and just returned from his mission to England in like April, so he is awesome.  We went over to his Mom and his house.  They cooked Turkey Routcol and Knodel(dumplings).  It was really good.  After that I talked to my family for 40 minutes. It felt very short but it was good.  So good to see your faces and hear your voices on Skype!  I had a wonderful Christmas and it was so great to see everyone in my family.  Everyone looks great and healthy.  I'll see you again in 5 months!

The 26th was our Pday, but a member signed up to have us for lunch.  We went over to the Richters and it was good.  They are an older couple and that invites us over often.  We have been going over there every other week.  We usually sit at the table for an hour just talking.  This time they cooked pizza.  One pizza they cooked had ketchup, Rotcoul, Wurst, and Cheese.  It actually tasted pretty good.  After that we were so tired, my companion and I went back to the apartment to take a 30 min nap and  then go out and go shopping for the rest of Pday.  But we were so exhausted from the week, it ended up being a 3 hour nap.

We did teach a couple of lessons this week! One of our investigators Brother R. was a referral from the church office.  We met with him and he came and said, "I already know everything about your church, that's not why I came".  He said he believes and knows our church is true, however he has strong opposition from his family.  His friends and family are Muslim and they think he is going crazy and will not accept him.  He has to hide his Book of Mormon from his family, and he has no friends in the church.  He asked us what he should do, and we asked if he prays.  He said he does when he can come to church.  He then asked if he could come on the 26th and pray in this church.  We then said, "You don't have to be in a church to pray."  At that point he was surprised, he didn't know that!  We gave a lesson about prayer.  At one point there was a good silence for about a minute and you could feel the spirit so strong in that lesson.  He said he wants to be baptized and he would try praying everyday, now that he knew he could.

Our second new investigator, Brother A was the older man we found on the street.  He forgot our first appointment but we called him and he showed up right on time to this one.  He has golden written all over him!  Golden means "ready" in missionary language.  So yeah, he is in his 60s and was a Protestant and is way cool.  He talked about how he believes it was no coincidence we found him.  He said the day we found him he had a voice say to him, "Hey those 2 nicely dressed young men are going to talk to you, pay attention to what they say to you."  He described the voice as a whisper and then said that he thinks it was God saying that to him.  SO that was amazing.  We know that it was definately the voice of the Holy Ghost.

We didn't teach him too much doctrine because it was the first lesson.  He complimented us on our dress and said we always look so nice.  He even saw our watches and my companion's watch is a square touch screen ipod nano.  He was like,"Wow, the missionaries even have ipods for their watches, Wow what a church!"   He is an architect and he builds American Houses in Germany.  The houses here are so different and small compared to the U.S..  He showed us some pictures of the houses he built that would be huge compared to German houses but normal compared to U.S. houses.  He also gave us a cookie mix.  We are now pretty good friends.  He told us some good places to eat at and to go see.  He even said that one Pday he is going to take us and show us some places in Berlin.  So hopefully he thinks we are normal people like him, and we will stay in contact.

On Sunday we had church.  A cool story is that one of the sisters investigator's Mom came to church.  She drinks, smokes, and uses drugs.  She had her kids taken from her because she isn't able to care for them.  So she came to church for the first time and nobody knew who she was.  The spirit touched her so strong you could tell.  She would always nod and be like, "Oh veah um hum, yes" to the talks that were given.  After that the sisters got her number and now she is an investigator.  The sister that sat next to her said that she smelled so bad and smelled like smoke, but she still came.  So that was a cool story worth sharing.
After church we had a dinner appt at a members house.  Br. Silva picked on me so much because my German isn't that good.  His German isn't that good either, it's just that he likes picking on people who don't speak German as well as he does.  He is from Brazil.  But he is awesome and really funny.  Then we had a meeting with the mission leader.  Just before the meeting started we got a call from the zone leaders saying that a dad of one of the investigators in the different area called the missionaries and said he is committing suicide.  He lives in our area.  The Zone Leaders told us to go to the man's house and see if we could help him.  Then the AP's called and said NOT to go, that the Mission President doesn't want the missionaries involved, so we didn't go. The man called the missionaries again asking if they were coming over and instead, the police went over.  Hopefully everything went good.
Elder Spangenberg

Thursday, December 25, 2014

This is the letter the Mission President posted on the Germany Berlin Mission Blog

Dear Missionaries,

What is Christmas about? There have been many great and wonderful people, even religious teachers who have taught men how to live, but there has been but ONE Messiah, ONE Christ, the ONE Annointed, even Jesus Christ.
I testify of Him, Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is the Savior, the Messiah. He made the Atonement for our sins and opened the Resurrection.
This is what Christmas is about.
Those of us who know the plan of happiness, know what Christmas really is all about!
When we were children we were more "Believing is Seeing". Then, unfortunately, we leave often the Christmas of childhood disillusioned. It is easy thereafter to feel that "Seeing is believing."
When we're fixed on that, we do not have the hope of ever again finding Christmas as it once was and as it ought to be, because it works the other way around: "Believing is seeing."
See in Moroni 7:41-48.

President Boyd K. Packer taught, "If you would see what you get in exchange for giving up the childish illusion of Christmas, you could look forward to the greatest of all discoveries. No matter what your age, you can find and can keep that "little-kid" feeling about Christmas."

(Hence, we don't need toys in the mission field - we're disciples and find joy in helping others to come unto Christ and in sports and in Germany chocolate :))

Therefore I would like to suggest that we all read the Christmas story in the second chapter of Luke EVERY DAY this WEEK. It will take a minute and a half to read. It might take a minute more to ponder on it - but FIND YOURSELF IN THE STORY as Angels who proclaim, as Shepherds who take care, as Wise Men who seek after the true meaning of happiness, as Sheep who follow the Master, as ... FIND YOURSELF.
The Christmas story does not end there. It is only the beginning. With Christmas and because of it we have Easter. When we, as adults, accept a new status as children of our God, our Father, we may humble ourselves and believe again and in so doing begin to see that in exchange for the fanciful poetry of The Night Before Christmas comes the miracle of the first Christmas that grows in every season.
The whole account—from Bethlehem to Calvary—is the Christmas story, and it takes simple, childlike faith to find that out.
Missionaries, use your time wisely. Show it to investigators and members whose errand you're.
If there is no finding time, WATCH the "Work of Salvation" DVD you have in your apartment, PREPARE your "My Family" pamphlet for further usage in finding and teaching, MASTER scriptures we want in the mission, etc.
This is a time of preparation, this is a time of listening and teaching, this is a time in CRESCENDO.

We love you and wish you a Merry Christmas!! He is the Gift!

Monday, December 22, 2014

It's Begining to look a lot like Christmas!

Today is my 2 month mark from the start of my mission!  Wow time has flown by, I still remember when I got dropped off at the MTC.
Everybody here is preparing for Christmas.  They love it so much they have 3 days for it and the city shuts down.  Everything is closed and nobody is on the street.  We are going to a member's house for all 3 days of Christmas, so that's good.  We did get to check out the market in Spandau.  It is the biggest Christmas Market in Germany.  It was huge and we kept asking ourselves,"When is this going to end?"  It was street after street full of Christmas Markets!

We had a lesson with Br. G and he made a ton of progress.  He said he will make a baptism date when his daughter enjoys coming to church and knows why he is baptized.  So that was great to hear and she usually comes to church and in the past has enjoyed it.  
We had a few appointments fall through but a couple of them were because they forgot and we set up another one this week so that is good.  We didn't find any new investigators but we did meet this really cool African on the street.  He said he was moving back to Africa but he would come back later next year and would call us when he got back to Germany.  He was really nice and spoke English, thank goodness!
We did receive 2 referrals this week which is awesome.  My companion and I believe part of it was us trying so hard to find people and it not working out.  One man just called the church headquarters and said he wanted to meet with the missionaries ASAP.  We called him and he is from Saudi Arabia and he speaks English.  He said he wants to meet with us soon and wants his brother there too.  We are excited to meet with them and it sounds like they are very interested in the Gospel.

Our second referral is a man from Serbia.  He lives right by us but he traveled almost an hour to go to the church in another area.  He just walked in the church and said he wanted to meet with the missionaries! We called him but couldn't understand him and thought he said to call next week.  Last night we received a call and it was his friend saying he wants to meet tomorrow and asked where we could meet.  We told him there was a church by his house and he was surprised and excited.  So today we have 3 meetings, it's crazy!  My companion and I have never had a day like this.  My companion has also never received a referral either, so we are both very excited. They both sound interested in the Gospel so that is different from our other investigators who have been investigators for 7 or 8 years!

For Pday, we missed our train to go to Potsdam because of having to find a McDonalds.  The Germans don't believe in public restrooms, its the worst!  The only ones are at McDonalds!  After missing our train, we decided to go to Potsdamer Platz instead. Its a huge city with stores everywhere.  We went to a Nike store, Sony Center, and a Lego store.  It was huge with 2 stories full of legos and they had bins full of specific replacement parts.

 After that we went to this old church that got bombed during WWII.  It is in the center of the city and it very cool looking.  It is called the Gedachnis Kirche and it looks awesome.  They left it how it stood after the war.  It is an amazing site to see.  Then we went to the Mall of Berlin.  It is the Biggest Mall in Europe, it's 3 stories tall and has 2 buildings that attach.  There were so many stores we spent forever just walking through it, we got lost in it.  That's how big it is!  After that the weather got bad so we had to go to our apartment.
The weather here is terrible, it rains every day.  That's the worst for this reason....Nobody will talk to you if it is raining and it gives them an excuse to ignore you.

Me and my companion did make cookies from scratch!  We also made chocolate covered pretzels. We are giving them to our investigators and members in the ward.  We are pretty proud of them. They tasted amazing.  I'm gonna gain so much weight..I've already gained 5 kilos (about 10 pounds) but I can't help myself the food is sooo good!
Elder Spangenberg   
Huge Nutcracker

Christmas market

Spandau Rathaus lit up with stars at night
Our Christmas tree we made!
Our home made Chocolate Pretzels!

Thigh of a Doner Beast!

Falkensee neighborhood

Monday, December 15, 2014

Second Week in Berlin-Spandau

Grant in front of the Brandenburg Gate

This was a really good week!  We found 5 new investigators which is amazing!  That is the Standard of Excellence for our mission, so we felt pretty good and we hope to find even more this week with the "He is the Gift" initiative.

This week for Pday we went to see the Brandenburg Gate and the Rathaus and the space needle thing.  We also went to this store called Saturn.  It's pretty much like Best Buy and Sears combined, it's huge.  One of the things in that store is a 20,000 Euro TV.  Yes, that number is right.  Most of the missionaries just go there and stand and look.  We all say it's better than actually being there!

The chocolate here is amazing.  They have this thing called Ritter Sport and its sooo good and its pretty cheap too.  My favorite kind is Kakaoo Mousse.  It's milk chocolate with chocolate mousse in the middle.
Everyone loves pronouncing my name and I've explained my family history to it feels like every ward member!  One of the members even said that they work with someone who has the last name Spangenberg.
So something I thought you should know is that I love veggies now!!!  Weird huh.. Salad is like one of my favorite foods.  Yesterday we had a vegetable stir fry and it was so good.  I literally eat everything now except fresh tomatoes.  Those are still hard for me to stomach down but hopefully I'll get over that.  One of the sisters in our district only eats bread and cheese.  She will not eat anything else so its sad when the members prepare huge wonderful meals and she says all she wants is bread and cheese!  But it's okay cause I end up eating her serving anyways haha.  They all love me cause I eat so much.  Last week we also had cucumber soup and that was amazing.  So yeah I'm finally normal now!

 So this week we went on exchanges with the zone leaders.  I was companions with Elder Bankhead, the zone leader for a day.  We spent like 2 hours helping this guy write a letter so he could have his girlfriend visit him from Ukraine.  She only knows English and he only knows a little bit of German but not enough to write.  We helped him so that was good.  Then we spent an hour finding and no one listened or they said, "No time" or "Get a job and do something with your life!"  At the very end, I felt like we should talk to this guy walking his dog.  Turns out he is actually a less active who hasn't been to church in like 20 years!  So we invited him to come to the Christmas Party and he said he would.  Although we didn't find anyone new that day we both thought it was cool that we established contact with a less active.

Wednesday, we had a little time before our appointment.  We met one Russian who dissed on our church for baptizing dead people.  We were hurrying to our appt and there was this older man and we both thought to stop and talk to him even though we would be late for our next appointment.  So we did and it turns out he really liked what we said, especially about how there are 3 parts of life.  He said he believed the exact same thing and he never met anyone that thought that besides us.  He was like ,"Can I talk with you more, I really want to hear more about your church and what you have to say?"  We said we had another appointment and asked about next week.  He said,"What works for you?"  At that point we were speechless because this never happens to us.  We made an appt for next week at a coffee shop.

                           Christmas Market in Alexander Platz

                                   Space Needle Building

                                                     Berlin Cathedral

                                                       Berlin Reichstag             

This is right by my apartment.

Spandau is essentially a dead area.  There hasn't been a baptism here for about 6 months and that was the sister's investigator, the elders is a lot longer than that.  We have 2 investigators that talk the whole time and don't let us teach anything.  They have been investigating for years and years and are not ready to take the plunge of faith to be baptized.

We had Zone Conference on Friday.  It focused on Christ and the "He is the Gift" initiative.  They gave us 400 cards and my companion and I made a goal to hand out all the cards by Christmas, which is 40 a day.  President Kosak and his wife talked about their history and how they had nothing and she visited him in the East German Army and after he got out they got married.  I'm very glad he is my mission president.  Pres. Kosak also knows more scriptures than anyone, he literally just quotes scriptures that come to his head to something that is said.

Saturday, was the Ward Christmas Party and there were a ton of non members!  It is a tradition to act out a Fairy Tale and the ward performed "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs".  It was a little different than the U.S. version but it was still great.  Sunday, we went to the Bishops house for dinner after church and it was really good.

Elder Spangenberg

Main Train Station in Berlin

    This is called a Pyramid.  Lots of people have them and they are very expensive.  This is the coolest one I've seen.  This lady's husband made it.

Friday, December 12, 2014

December 2014 Zone Conference with Christmas Packages

                                                    Grant is in the back on the left.

Monday, December 8, 2014

First Week in Germany!

Well I'm finally out of the MTC! It took forever haha. So our flight was good  and we all got to everything on time and arrived at the airport safely. The airport however lost one of my luggage so I was without that for a couple of days but luckily they found it and I have it with me now. 

We arrived in Germany on the 4th and we were so tired. We met the mission president and his wife. They seem really nice.  He is really funny but he's also very serious. She is always serious. I'm sure all of us missionaries when we got there were afraid of Sister Kosak but I'm sure she's nice after you get to know her. We took a bus to a church and there we had interviews and lessons. Then we paired off in twos and got to go finding for a little bit. It was very cold. However we did find one man who was a Jehovahs Witness and he said he would read the Book of Mormon and call us, so woo hoo!
After that, they took us to a hotel and told us they would pick us up tomorrow at 11, so we could sleep in because we were all so exhausted. Everybody in my room fell asleep at like 8 that night we were so tired.
Then the next day they picked us up and we had a meeting and we found out where we where going.

I got assigned to Spandau. It's pretty much the heart of Berlin so I was excited that I got to see the city. So about Spandau its only about 15 minutes away from Brandenburg and In the 2 Berlin Zones. On P day you can go to any place in Berlin so this P day we are going to the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Cathedral and the Berlin Rathouse.

Then my companion and I took a S Baun ride to Spandau and it was very short. In the city of Berlin they have what's called a Monats card. Which gets you on any public transportation in the whole city with that card. It's great! Their transportation is rated the worlds best. There is no need for a car in Berlin; we have bikes but we barely use them.
We haven't got to teach anyone yet cause we were getting settled in. My companions name is Elder Fowler, he is from South Carolina. I really like him, he's also the district leader so we are always busy. He's also only 2 transfers older than me(3 months) so we both are pretty much greenies.
Saturday was service day. We went to this old building that used to launch blimps and we pretty much ripped a part a whole room. It was kind of fun to destroy something. He wants to turn it into a refugee house; there is a lot of work to do there. He served a mission in England. Everybody that served a mission from Spandau either served in England or the Alpine Mission so most of them know English.

Sunday was fast Sunday and we went to church.  I understood some of church but not a lot. They speak so fast, it is so hard to hear what they are saying. After that we went to a dinner appointment. They fed us so much food! I've never ate so much in my life. First, they brought out a huge plate of salad then a full bowl of soup and I was full by then. But then they brought out potatoes and meat and then pudding and whipped cream, it was crazy! I'm definitely not going to starve here!
So the food:
They have what is called a Döner. It is pretty good and tastes similar to a Gyro. It's Turkish and they load them so big! It's hard to eat it cause everything falls out when you do. Then they have these things called kinder  eggs, which are really cool. It's hollow chocolate with a little toy inside and the chocolate is way good as well. Every food here is cheap except American food. A loaf of  bread is only .7 Euros. My companion said that he and  his past companion only used about half of their mission budget every month.  So I'm going to be eating a lot of chocolate haha.
Well, I love it here!  I would send photos but my camera isn't letting me send them for some reason. Hopefully I can fix that by next week.

Elder Spangenberg

This is the German Berlin Mission Map. There are 10 zones. Grant is now in the Berlin North Zone--Spandau.

Friday, December 5, 2014

First Companion!

Grant with Elder Fowler and Sister and President Kosak

This the letter that the German Berlin Mission President sent to us when Grant arrived.

Mr. and Mrs. Joe Spangenberg

5 December 2014

Dear Brother and Sister Spangenberg,

We are pleased to announce that your son, Elder Grant W Spangenberg, is safely with us in the Berlin Mission.  We have had the opportunity to get to know him, and he is ready and excited to be here.  Sister Kosak and I look forward to working with him and will do all that we can to help him serve a happy and successful mission.  Elder Spangenberg's first companion will be Elder Fowler, and they will be working together in Berlin for the next several weeks. If you would like to send letters to your missionary, please send them to the mission office address:

Elder Spangenberg
Kirche Jesu Christi HLT
Zerbsterstrasse 42
12209 Berlin

We have discussed the mission goals and agreed that we start right, work hard, and finish strong in order to fulfill our purpose to invite others to come unto Christ.  We, along with your son, appreciate the support which you give through your weekly letters and daily prayers in his behalf.  Thank you for raising your son so that he can be part of this amazing work.
For a glimpse inside the mission, including occasional pictures of your missionary, you can check the blog we maintain at  I've included a picture of Elder Spangenberg, his companion, Elder Fowler, Sister Kosak, and me.

May the Lord bless you in all that you do.

Henry W. Kosak, President
Germany Berlin Mission

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Elder Spangenberg arrived in Berlin, Germany Wed., December 3, 2014.


Elder Spangenberg with Provo MTC Germany Berlin  Missionaries at the Berlin,Germany Airport.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

That we Might be One:The Story of the Dutch Potato Project. This was posted by the Germany Mission President, Henry Kosak.

he Germany Berlin Mission President, Pres, i  

I was asked by a missionary's family to post the movie below "That we might be one".

"I just saw the remarkable story of the “Dutch potato project” and the testimony and experience of your father.  I tried to relate the story to my son, Elder ..., as best I could.  I hope you can include the video on the mission blog.  It was truly inspiring and uplifting.  Brother ..

My Dad just turned 89 and has a strong health and still loves herring and potatoes!