Thursday, February 26, 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Zone Training with Interviews--Berlin North Zone
Elder Spangenberg is on the right in the middle by Sister Kosak
This week was an okay week. We got in trouble from President Kosak because our apartment wasn't clean, but we fixed that and now it is spotless! We were not able to do that much work this week because Elder Fowler was sick the whole week. But now he is better. Just in time, because he leaves Tuesday for Greifswald!
I was nervous this transfer that I would have to train. Luckily I am not. My new companion is Elder Morton. He is from Utah. He is the fastest cross country high school runner in the nation with a 15 minute 5k. He has already committed to BYU to run after his mission. He is also a really good singer and has sang in some events like temple dedications. I am excited. Also, he trained my MTC companion, Elder Gibbs, who is training now. It was cool, when I was talking to Elder Morton on the phone, I got to talk to Elder Gibbs and see how he is doing.
So yeah, that's my week. We didn't do much besides stay in the apartment. The couple times we tried to go out Elder Fowler felt like he was going to throw up so we went right back inside!
Posted by Joe Spangenberg at 5:32 PM
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
This week was good. On Monday, we went to Potsdam which is palace grounds. It was huge. The palaces are like a 10 minute walk from each other and there are 5. It felt like we were walking the whole day. It wasn't as cool as going in the summer because all of the statues were boxed up and lots of the trees and vines were dead. But I still got a lot of cool photos. Then we went to Freidens Kirche and saw the Christus statue and original one. It is one of 3 in the World. One in Denmark, Germany. It's like the one at Temple square but it is made out of copper so it kind of turned a little green. It was really cool. Then we went to a coin shop and I got some 3rd Reichs Gold!
Tuesday, we had service at the creative center. We mostly just got hammers and broke all these wooden things and then carried them to the trash. Then we had studies. Then we went to the Dentist. They accepted the card this time with the paper the church provides that says that the church will pay for the bill if they send it to the office in Berlin. So the lady called the office and everything worked out. A cool thing is that her last name is also Spangenberg! So I'm sure we are related somehow. Then they looked at my teeth and they couldn't find anything wrong with them. I had no cavities or anything so that was interesting. They still hurt. Then we bought stuff to make cookies and we had an exchange that night with the Glienicke Elders.
Wednesday, I woke up in Glienicke. I was companions with Elder Smith. He is on his last transfer. He is a really good missionary. I got a lot of helpful advice from him. He also taught me how to cook this German food, so now we don't just eat pasta!haha Then we had an appointment with a Jehovah's Witness Family. They are an older family and if I were to describe them it would be wolves in sheep's clothing. We just tried to teach the first lesson but periodically they would search through their scriptures and say something to combat what we were saying. Essentially, they were bashing us. They kept saying all these scriptures about their religion. It is a very weird religion.
They believe God is a spirit. Jesus was crucified on a pole, not a cross. Adam is like the most wicked man on the earth because he partook of the fruit. They think they won't remember anything after they are resurrected. They can't talk to anyone who isn't a j-dub unless it is for missionary purposes. They believe people who aren't their religion are of the devil. And each member has to do a certain amount of hours of missionary work. The government doesn't allow them to go up to people and talk to them like we can. So they just stand there and try to give people a pamphlet. They have their own version of the bible too, where everything is changed in it.
So back to the appointment. We said we aren't going to prove your religion wrong. Then they were like, "No you have to, if our religion isn't right then tell us. If you keep the truth from us then you are like satan." Then they scheduled an appointment with us to go back and bash. But they said,"You can't use your book, you have to use our book". So now we are looking for a j dub shuffle, Which is a paper that proves the j dubs wrong with their own Bible. A former j dub made it who is now a member of our church. We left that house not feeling good. You could tell something was wrong about that house even from the moment we walked inside. It was weird.
Then we had another appointment with a lady named Frau Link. She was late to pick us up so we went inside a store because there was a demonstration for Neo Nazis and NPDA and all those groups about having no foreigners in Germany. So we decided to not get involved in that.
They finally came to pick us up. We drove past the concentration camp and he told us the story of that. That field is where from 1945-1950 the Russian's shot everybody in a uniform that wasn't theirs. Quite a bit of people died there. It didn't matter if it matter if it was a Nazi Uniform or not. They shot guys who served in WW1 for the Germans. They just found people who had a German Service Uniform and shot them, it's pretty sad. Then we had our appointment . it was good we didn't have much time so we didn't stay for long, then it was time to exchange back. My companion was Elder Frost in Spandau. They couldn't exchange that night because all the trains got cancelled. It turned out a wild pig was hit by one of the trains. So I ended up staying the night in Spandau.
Thursday, we had to stay in our apartment for some of the day because the landlord was coming by to check our window. Then we went home teaching with a member. We went to the one sister's house. She gave us root beer floats, which is unheard of in Germany! They hate root beer and think it tastes like medicine. That being said, they think cough drops taste like candy. You can't buy root beer in many stores and it's expensive. So it was nice to enjoy that. Then she talked on and on. She is definitely a feminist. She kept talking about how women aren't equal in the church and how women need this and women need that and women need the priesthood. Then she talked about Gay rights and stuff and how she supports it and pretty much everything she said I didn't agree with, but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to argue. So yeah then she asked for a blessing and my companion gave it and we went home.
Friday, we made cookies because we had a Ward party that night. It was a good party. Everything was centered around Berlin... Berliner food, Berliner music. It was really great. We got to meet with a lot of members during that.
Saturday we were in Tiergarten the whole day. We had Zone Training and it was really good. Then Presdient Kosak spoke. He talked about Auschwitz and showed us a video about it. 1.1 million people died there. He said everyone should go to a concentration camp and experience the feeling. He talked about focusing on the one. It was very powerful. Then we had interviews. My companion and I were the last ones to be interviewed. I got to talk to Sister Kosak while we were waiting. She is really nice and she told me about Russia, which was interesting. The we had interviews. President told my companion he is leaving this transfer. So I am getting a new companion this transfer. I think I will be staying here in Spandau.
Then Sunday we had Ward Conference. A member from the stake came and scolded all of the men for not doing their home teaching. It's so true though only like 2 members do their home teaching. As a result of that more than half of the ward is inactive. Then we ate at the Richter's home. We had my favorite German food: Rotkol and Knodel. Then we had studies and went finding but no luck.
There's my week. Sorry it's so long. A lot of stuff happened that wasn't normal.. This is my last week in the transfer before I am done being trained. German is coming. President Kosak scolded all of us for not doing German from 9-9. He also committed me and my companion to run a 5k every other day for morning exercise. He felt my arms and was like,"You are like pudding!, I need strong elders! 5k every other day!" We did that today, wow my legs are sore, haha. I'm excited and sad for this last week. Me and Elder Fowler have really got along lately, we are like the exact same with how we think about things. We both love sports and the same movies and music. But I'm also excited to get to know a new companion.
Posted by Joe Spangenberg at 5:33 PM
Monday, February 9, 2015
Spandau Missionaries with Bishop Schlief
Monday, we went to Bernauer Strasse. That is the street where the wall was. It was really cool, they had poles showing where the wall was. They also had things that marked where the escape tunnels were and the houses that people would jump out of to get to the other side. It was very interesting and I have lots of photos from that.
We also had a lesson with Herr Ferch. In case I forgot to mention, Herr means Lord, they call each other Lord and Lader, hence Herr and Frau. Herr is not his first name. Anyways we had a great lesson, we spoke about baptism and he said he would be baptized when he finds out the church is true. And he had already been praying about baptism! So yeah pretty great stuff. Herr Ferch is awesome.
We also had a lesson with Br. Greb. I have no idea why we call him Brother and not Herr Greb! But it was just like any other lesson with him, us just bearing testimony he is ready. We finally said, "You are ready, you know it, you have no reason to not be baptized and we don't have anything else to say". He just said , "Yeah, I know" but doesn't do anything about it. So we are going to take a break from meeting with him for a bit and hopefully that will get him to do something.
Sunday, we had a guy walk into church wanting a picture of Jesus praying so that was cool. That investigator I found last week, we went by and we think it is a fake address, but we do have his phone number so we will try and get in contact with him. We had an appointment fall out with Alfred this week as well and were not able to get in contact with our other investigators so hopefully that will change this week.
We were not able to find any new investigators this week. It snowed almost every day and it was freezing sold. One day it was -2 Celsius. We had some good conversations with people. We almost got one lady interested. She asked us where our church was and about the Book of Mormon. Then she just had no interest after that and walked away. My companion was also sick this week, so going out into the cold would not have been good for him. I also tried to go to the dentist this week, but the lady didn't recognize my insurance card, so we will try a different one this week.
I'm doing great. There is only 2 more weeks, then I will officially not be a greenie anymore, ya!
Those poles are where the wall was. Those blocks are where tunnels were.
Picture of the famous photo of the east soldier jumping over the wall as it was being built.
Model of the wall going through Berlin. If you look closely you can see where the wall is.
Picture of the anti vehicle things they put up. People would really ram their cars into the wall hoping that it would break it. They tried to do anything to escape.
Picture of me compared to the wall. It is pretty huge!
Picture of the church by the wall. The Soviets ended up tearing down the church.
Photo of a man jumping out of a house to the other side of the wall. They ended up putting boards over the windows so that people wouldn't be able to do this anymore.
Chronology of the wall
Rest of the Chronology of the wall
Picture of what it would have looked like back when the wall was up. That tower is a watch tower and the middle is the dead zone!
Picture of a sign promoting Berlin hosting the Olympics.
Picture of the street. That round building is a church where the old one was.
Posted by Joe Spangenberg at 8:02 PM
Friday, February 6, 2015
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
This is Elder Fowler and Elder Spangenberg at the Bukowskis after eating with them on Sunday. Editor's note: Notice the "House Slippers". Everyone in Germany takes off their shoes when they go inside a house and puts on "slippers" provided by the family.
This was a good week! Monday, we went to 2 World Famous Museums. The Neues Museum and the Pergamon Museum. The Neues Museum was so big. It had over 6000 artifacts most of them were Egyptian. Basically in the 1800's German people went and dug up all of these artifacts in Egypt and brought them to Germany. And they can't go back because they had them before World War II. So yeah, it's pretty awesome. We spent 2 and a half hours there not even looking at everything. There are 4 floors and each has over 1000 artifacts. The best thing they have is the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti bust. It is 3,300 years old and was made in 1300 BC!
The Pergamon Museum was awesome too. The Pergamon Museum is mostly stolen loot that the Nazis took. The most famous thing there is the Pergamon Altar which was the entrance to the temple. However, that is being refurbished so we didn't get to see that. But there was a lot of cool stuff there as well. Another famous thing there is the Gates to Babylon. They are huge! Yes, that Babylon is the same Babylon mentioned in the scriptures. After seeing both of those museums, we were both exhausted and went back and did our studies.
We went on 2 exchanges this week. I went to Glienicke for a day and was with Elder Frost. We only had 8 hours, but we still got some work done and taught some people. Then we went on an exchange with the zone leaders. I love exchanges with the zone leaders, I always learn so much. I got to go to Tiergaren; which is the center of Berlin, where all the tourists are. I love staying there in the city. I got paired with Elder Bankhead, who is from St. Louis. He is a really good missionary. Our day was great! First we got to go to a class. This class was for teachers who are teaching their students about American history. Part of American History is the Mormons. So the guy teaching the class asks the missionaries to come and talk about Mormons. This only happens once every 4 months or so. We went to the class and we just let them ask questions. Of course, they were about polygamy and the Law of Chastity and abortion and stuff like that. It was very good though, they said they learned so much about it and that they see it is a respectful religion. Elder Bankhead said it is one of the best things we can do, because now they will say the same thing about Mormons to their students,"A good respectable religion with good normal people".
Then we went to the best doner place in Berlin and wow that doner was amazing! It was pretty cheap as well. American food is expensive here like McDonalds and KFC, but German food isn't. So after we ate that delicious doner, we went district finding. We found 2 new investigators and 1 of them I found speaking in German! It was so great, I felt so proud of myself; that was the first person I've found on the street like that. After that exchange I just felt so confident and was ready to talk to everyone on the street and find a million investigators!
We did teach Br. G and Br. A this week. I was on my exchange and wasn't there for the lesson with Br. A, the architect. My companion said it was a good lesson even though he likes to talk a lot. Then when we taught Br. G., we brought a member with us. The member gave him a blessing. It was a good lesson and the spirit was definitely there and I'm sure he could feel it. This week will decide whether we continue to have contact with Br. G.. President Kosak has told us, he is wasting our time and he has set over 45 baptismal dates and all of them have fallen through! So yeah, this week it's either we have a set date that we know is going to work for baptism or otherwise, it's tshuss, which means we don't continue to meet with him because he isn't making any progress.
Sunday, church was good. I understood most of it. Br. G came, and he had problems with what the teacher taught. He literally has a problem with very single part of church doctrine. Like he thinks Joseph Smith didn't translate the Book of Mormon. He thinks tithing is giving your time and other stuff like that. So yeah, he has a lot of work to do.
After church, we went to the Bukowski family for lunch. They are an older couple. Brother Bukowski comes to church but his wife can't because of health reasons. So his wife usually stays home and cooks. We sat down and she just kept bringing out plate after plate of food. Really good food too. We had knodel and rotcol, which is my favorite thing. Knodel is like a potato ball with wheat and sometimes they are stuffed. That's a complete meal right there. But she kept bringing out more food, there was 12 things on the table! It was great and a perfect meal for fast Sunday. After that we left and went back to the church.
We both learned so much on exchanges, we decided that we needed to find some investigators in our area. So we went finding. We talked to everyone and some had interest, and said they would check out mormon.org.. Then 2 turkish guys started walking down the street. German is full of turkish people. It was my companions turn to talk, but he was like, oh no they don't look like they would be interested and kept walking. I thought differently, I stopped them and talked to them, again in German about the Book of Mormon. One of them had interest and we talked for a while and long story short, we now have a new investigator that we are going by this week. That is the first person we have found in 2 weeks! That's also the only person that got found in the whole district. Now our goal this week is to be finding machines. So find 1 new person everyday which is totally do able. Me and my companion hope that if we start finding new people then that will get the other missionaries in the district finding people also.
I'm still loving it here and my German is getting a lot better. I can understand things and speak. My main problem is my American accent, haha but that will get better after speaking German all the time. Me and my companion are now trying to only speak German with each other. So soon I will forget how to speak English, just joking! Have a wonderful week!
Market Gate in Pergamon
Lions in Babylon
Panarama of Ishtar Gate
Posted by Joe Spangenberg at 12:00 PM