Monday, January 26, 2015

3 Month Mark!

This is my animal hat.My companion has one like it except his is a jaguar.  That's the key board that I play every night, Brother G gave it to us.

For P day we went to Zoologischer Garten and checked out some shops.  My companion and I both bought German Soccer Jerseys and had our names put on them.  We also went to this second hand shop and my companion got this hideous tie, that he thinks looks beautiful!  It looks just like a tablecloth!  We also bought these pretty cool animal hats that give us more comp unity! ha ha

We had a tough time finding this week.  We did have a good conversation with a Muslim.  They are generally pretty stubborn about what they believe.  All they say is, Well the Koran this and the Koran that.  He said he would read the Book of Mormon if we would read the Koran.  We obviously can't read the Koran, but he said he would look up our church.  Great, another person who will google Mormons and see the stuff about polygamy and that.  We also talked to an Atheist.  He talked himself into believing there is a God while we were talking to him... But no interest in the church.

Our deaf investigator took us to a cafe and then ordered coffee for us.  He then wrote,"Why are you not drinking your coffee?"  Then I pulled out the Word of Wisdom pamphlet and he started laughing.  He thought it was hilarious for some reason.  So he brought his tablet and he has just about every single app there is about the LDS church.  It was awesome!  He is definitely interested in the church.  We are now trying to find someone who speaks German Sign Language.  He pulled up a Jehovah's Witness video in sign language.  He asked why we didn't have one.

Monday, we had a lesson with Brother H. It was a great lesson, we talked about the Book of Mormon and the importance of it.  It did get side tracked when he brought up the topic of abortion and birth control.  Anyways, we brought it back on track and read Moroni 10:3-5.  He loved that scripture.  He was like,"Wait you can pray and God will tell you this book is true?"  We were surprised he had never been taught that because it is one of the first things you teach.  He even marked the page.  Then we read the intro and he loved that too.  It was a great lesson filled with the spirit.

Brother G!  Well obviously he didn't get baptised  on Saturday!  We went and had a lesson with him on Thursday.  The first 45 min of the lesson was just nonsense!  He was talking the whole time about why he couldn't be baptised.  Stuff like, "Well what if I become less active when I'm older?"  "Look at that member they are less active now" and other little excuses that really didn't make sense.  Finally, we were like," Look those reasons aren't reasons, You know you need to be baptised, so do it!"  Then he was like, "Okay, yeah let's pray."  It actually turned into a good lesson other than the first half, which was a train wreck. :

Sunday, we had 2 investigators show up...Brother H and Brother G! It was great.  (Editors note: Both of these brothers have been investigating for years.  One is married to a Buddhist and the other is married to a Muslim.  The spouses are not interested in the church) After church there was a baptism for an 8 yr old African.  It was really cool and it reminded me of my baptism when I was 8.  After the baptism they served African food.  It was good!  There were fried bananas, but they didn't taste like a banana, kind of like a potato.  And we also had this African bean stuff with meat.  I had a few plates of it!

That's my week!  We just established contact with a couple of other investigators so hopefully we will have more lessons this week.  Today for Pday we are going to Museum Island, which is world famous.  I'm pretty excited, they are all different things so it should be interesting.

Oh I almost forgot, last night we went to this member's house and she pulled up this website to search last names.  There was page after page of Spangenbergs. All of them are in Germany.  We were able to find Pete's Grandparents in Germany, it  was way cool.

We should be getting Ipads next month hopefully.  If that happens, then we will probably do emails later in the day from the church, so you won't have to wake up early in the night.

Elder Spangenberg

Monday, January 19, 2015

7th Week in Berlin

Us at the Banhoff before Sister Stacey got transferred to Bremehaven
(Sister Stacey, Sister Titensor, Elder Fowler, and me)

Great week but not the best numbers!

My German is a lot better and I can understand people when they speak.  This past week there was a leadership meeting and I attended because my companion is a district leader.  The whole meeting was in German and I understood the whole thing.  It was great!

I'm playing the piano everyday and I am trying a new hymn each time. I play in Priesthood every week.  I'm really enjoying it.

Me and my companion gave ourselves haircuts because we didn't want to waste Pday time on it. So we buzzed our heads. haha It doesn't look that bad actually and we won't have to get another haircut in like 2 months!

On Pday we went to the museum called, The Story of Berlin.  It was amazing, the best museum I've ever been to.  It had all of Berlin's history.  At the end we got to go down into a cold war bomb bunker and that was a really cool experience.  It was huge and could hold 3,000 people.

Tuesday was transfer day.  My companionship didn't change but the sisters did,  so we went with the sisters to Hauptbanhoff (train exchange place) and helped with their luggage.  The sister here that was transfered had 2 bags that each weighed over 70 pounds!   We helped all the missionaries there.  So we were at Hauptbanhoff for most of the day.

Wednesday, we went to the mission office building because my companion had a package and a sister had 2 in our district, so we spent most of the day traveling.  We also needed new Book of Mormons in German.  So we stuffed our bags with them and we got to ride in the new mission car on the way back to the train station.  It was pretty cool.

  My companion had a birthday and I took him out for Sushi at a Sushi Bar! His Grandma sent him a package and put a sports page from the newspaper in it.  That was way fun...a lot had changed!

Thursday, we met with Br. G.  It was a great lesson, however, he still has doubts about baptism.  Like how he doesn't have a calling now and we explained you can't have a calling until you are a member and he knows that, but he still brings it up.  We gave him the best lesson we have ever done, but it still didn't erase his doubts.  We got him to think about some things so that was good.

Friday, we went finding and didn't get any new investigators.  We did talk to some really cool people.

Saturday, we decided to meet with Br. G again.  It was a good lesson again.  However, he still kept going back to his doubts. so baptism isn't going to happen this week.  He did say he knows this church is true and he wants to be baptized, but he won't do it. It's hard and frustrating.

Sunday, we went to a really cool members house.  They are British so they have the best accent.  It was nice to talk in English with them.  We had knodel which is my favorite German food.  It's like a potato ball with wheat in it.
 Also, on Sunday, this man walks into church saying he needs money and assistance to get back home.  He proceeded to tell us a sad story about how he is being persecuted here and how he wants to go back home.  Europe is still rascist a little bit.  Africans are not treated the same here, it's pretty sad.  So we sent him to a place to get help and hopefully everything works out for him.

Well that's my week.  Transfer week is always a little different so hopefully we'll have better numbers this next week.  Hey, I did better on the pictures, Mom.  Even pictures with me in them!

Elder Spangenberg

The missionaries at a member's house for Family Home Evening

Me any my Companion on the train with Fred, a recent convert.  He is really cool.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ist Transfer Complete!

Grant and Elder Fowler at the Internet Cafe emailing on Pday!

Saturday was the 6th Saturday, which meant Transfer Calls!  We had to stay in our apartment for forever because we aren't supposed to leave before they came, and the APs were 3 hours late with them.  Me and my companion are staying!  One sister in Spandau is leaving and one is staying and training a new missionary.  After that we had a normal Saturday doing service.

We went on companion exchanges twice so I was in a different area for 2 days.  It was fun, we taught one investigator, who of course read up on the internet, and learned about polygamy and Joseph Smith having more than one wife.  So that was hard but now she's on baptismal date so Yeah for the Glienicke Elders!

After that was mission tour and we had Elder Kopischke and his wife came to talk to us.  He is in the Presidency of the Seventy and was President of the Germany Berlin Mission ten years ago.  He is from Germany and he talked about faith.  It was during this lunch that President Kosak told me in front of the other missionaries that he was very proud of me and what our companionship is doing. That was nice to hear!!  I'm sad he is leaving in July.  We did hear about the new Mission President being also from Southern Germany.

Sunday, we went to a members house to eat and he works with a Spangenberg, so that's cool!  Somehow we have to be related because it's not that common of a name, even in Germany.

We did a ton of book work and long story short, we have over 70 former investigators we are going by to establish contact.  So yeah, big things are happening in Spandau!

Lesson learned for the week: (Editors note: Grant was asked about something he learned during the week.  This was his response:)  I had been praying to find more investigators this week because most of ours were gone.  We weren't able to go finding that much because I was in a different area for 2 days and had mission tour.  However, on Sunday we went to church and halfway through sacrament, the usher pulled us aside and said, some man just walked in the church he had never seen before.  The man ended up being deaf, but we were able to communicate to him through writing and now he is a new investigator.  So I learned the Lord really does answer our prayers and he helps us!

Editors note: Grant was asked about what was hard on his mission.  This was his response:  Everything!  Language especially, talking to random people is pretty hard too, Adjusting to missionary life is way hard also.  It's a lot harder than I thought!  However, it's also very rewarding.

Elder Spangenberg

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My First Commitment for Baptism!

  We only had 1 teaching appointment this week because everyone else was busy.  However, that teaching appt was great!  It was with Brother G.  We committed him to baptism in 3 weeks!!!!  It was amazing, our lesson was perfect, we helped him make a plan to prepare for baptism.  He came to church this week and the Bishop gave him a calling that day to be the usher at the door.  You could tell he enjoyed doing that.  After church he stayed and talked with some of the members.  Usually he just hurries and leaves.  So we are very excited for his Baptism on the 24th of January!!  We text him a good scripture everyday and talk to him every week, he has really progressed.  Our lessons went from 1 hour and 30 min  for the first lesson, then 1 hour, then the last lesson was 45 minutes.  It was better than any of the other lessons that we have had! (Editors note: Grant has said this about him in other letters: He is a really nice man in his late 50's and he has a wife and kid.  He is the school master, so his job is to take care of the school and his house is actually on the school grounds.  He loves to serve people and has been an investigator for 10 years so he knows literally everything.  He said he feels the Holy Ghost when the missionaries meet with him.  At first he talked the whole time in the lesson and you'd have to interrupt him to say something.  Now he listens to what we say and the lessons are shorter.)

This week was New Years.  The Germans really celebrate it!  We had a rule that we had to be home by 6:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve because everyone drinks and lights off fireworks, so it's not safe to be out on the street after 6.  They have this firework which is 1/8 the power of dynamite.  That's totally illegal in America, anyways they just buy those things and throw them and they sound like a bomb, it's so intense.  The first one I heard I dropped to the ground because I thought it was a bomb, NO JOKE THAT IS TRUE!  We had a normal day of tracting, then the fireworks started around 4:00 p.m. so we decided it would be best if we went to our apartment.  It was so loud.  I took a great video of the fireworks.  It literally sounded like World War 3 was happening!  All you heard was: Boom, Boom,Boom all night long! Some people were still lighting them off in the morning.  The next day when we went out, the streets and the sidewalks were covered with fireworks and gravel.  Germans don't use rock salt for snow, they just pour gravel on the streets, yeah it's good cause you don't slip, but then the snow melts and there is a ton of gravel on the sidewalks that get in your shoe and they don't clean it up.  At the end of the day I have to empty my shoes cause there is so much gravel in them.

This week was my one month mark in Germany, and man, time has flown by!   Last week for Pday, we went to see the city and boy that was a mistake!  There were so many tourists from all over.  I have never seen so many people in my life at something.  There was literally a line to get a picture by the Brandenburg Gate.  We went to the Berliner Dom.  It was so huge, we got in free because we were missionaries!

This week for Pday we went with a member and an investigator to the Sachenhosen Concentration Camp.  That was amazing.  The feeling you get there is indescribable.  It was huge, I don't know what to compare it to besides more than 3 or 4 football fields.  Most of the buildings got demolished but the foundations are still there.  They still had some ovens where they would burn the bodies. There is a sign by the camp that tells about the death march.  After that we went to a Thai Restaurant with the Sister's Investigator (the Sister Missionaries came with us).  It was way good, everyone knows him because he used to be a monk for Buddhism.  But anyways, he is quite possibly the nicest man I have ever met in my life.

It turns out mushrooms are very good and I like them a lot! Just like I like veggies!  It truly is a miracle.
I miss everyone!  I'm still loving Germany.  My German keeps getting better and better each day!
Elder Spangenberg
 This is just outside of the Concentration Camp, it translates to "Memorial"
 This is the star that a Jewish prisoner would wear on their clothes, this is an actual one that was used.
 Bottle found with a message inside.
 What the message said
 The gate to enter the camp.  It translates to "Work makes Free""
 Poster about the Assassination attempt of Hitler by the Camp
 A poster outside of the camp
 Model of the camp.  It is huge, bigger than anything I've ever seen before.  We saw less than a quarter of it because the rest of it was demolished or it was mostly housing for guards.
 Memorial for the different groups who were persecuted at the camp.  Each triangle is a different group.
 The ovens where the dead prisoners would be cremated.
 This is the neutral zone. The sign says you will be shot without warning if you are here.
 Sign for the memorial of the Death March
 This is where they would take prisoners (mostly Dutch) and shoot them in that room.
 Where the Prisoner Ashes are buried
This is one of the work sites.  There were 50 of these.