Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Last week of Transfer 3

Elder Morton and Elder Spangenberg

Amazing Week!
For Pday we went to the BerlinDom and got to go outside on the top of it and look out and see Berlin.  It was soo cool ! We also found 8 new investigators this week, so we are keeping up the finding.  However, we also  taught other people.  And now we have 2 progressing investigators and 5 investigators came to church. It was so wonderful!

One of our progressing investigators is Herr Merankowich.  Me and Elder Fowler found him a while back, but we lost contact with him earlier.  We taught him 2 lessons this week.  The first lesson was good but a little hard because whenever we would ask him if he wanted to live with his family forever, he would say,"eigentlich schwer zu sagen".   Which means, "Hard to say.  But our 3rd lesson with him was great.  We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Normally the TV is on and his kids are running around the house.  But this time he muted the TV and him and his wife and kids all sat around the couch and listened to us.  It was amazing, by far the best lesson I have ever been a part of.  The spirit was so strong,  He even prayed, even though he had never prayed before and was nervous to pray, but he said the closing prayer!  He and his wife even came to church this week!  And they are coming next week to watch General Conference.

Another one is Mohammed.  We had a lesson with him that was 2 and a half hours long literally. He talked for 1 hour straight without us saying anything.  He is Muslim and we figures out that's how they are.  Even when we talk to Muslims on the street they talk for forever.  He has a hard time with mixing Muslim and what we believe.  So next time we meet we are going to tell him that the stuff we believe doesn't mix with what the Muslims believe.  But we invited him to sport and to church.  AND he came to BOTH!   That was the first time he came to church!  Afterwards, he said that he loves how we feel like family.  He talked about sport and how we don't keep score but just play for fun.  He also said he has been praying and he had a dream that he should keep learning from us.  This week we will put him on a baptismal date along with Herr Merankowich!

We were so busy this week.  Running from appointment to appointment.  We talked to I swear every single Jehovas Witness on the street.  Most of them were mean to us.  One said that their website was in 700  languages (which is definately not true) and ours only had 100.  Then others said we preach false doctrine and  we aren't right cause we don't call God by his name and all sorts of stuff.  We also talked to a ton of Muslims who totally bashed the U.S. for everything in the world.  But now we have a JehovasWitness investigator who we are meeting this week.  We have been studying the Bible a lot lately for that appointment! haha

German is coming along good.  One member knew a Spangenberg and I asked him if I could get his phone number to call him and see if we are related....well it turns out there are 15 pages of people with the last name of Spangenberg in the phone book in Germany, so I probably will not be finding any of that out soon!

I'm doing great, exhausted, but great!  I still haven't gotten sick.  Tell Lincoln Happy Birthday!  I do eat breakfast every morning.  Germany has this amazing cereal called Nougat Bits.  It's basically cereal with Nutella in it and it tastes amazing!

This week is the last week of this transfer.  I feel like I am leaving.  But you never know I could be one of those missionaries that spends 5 transfer in an area.  But anyway, I will let you know what happens next week.  We are watching Conference on Saturday and Sunday.  Sunday will be live and Saturday will be a taped broadcast.  My mission is already going by so fast!
Till Then,
Elder Spangenberg

Elder Spangenberg

German Family that fixed Authentic German Food (Roasted Duck)


District Photo-Missing an Elder! (Notice on the left a face coming and a blur of an arm)

Elder Spangenberg with Elder Oldroy and Elder Westbury
Elder Spangenberg next to a Statue of Poseiden and a Church

Inside the Berlin Dom
Inside the Berlin Dom

German guys playing American Jazz Music.  They were actually pretty good

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spandau is on Fire!

 Elder Morton, unknown German Man, Sister Montierth, and Elder Spangenberg
 (courtesy of Sister Titensor's blog)

This week was a fantastic week!  We found 14 new investigators, but 2 were false addresses and 2 ended up not really having interest.  We found 6 in one day!  We had a feeling to door an apartment building and we did and ended up finding 3 people ready for the gospel.  Some days this week we were traveling from place to place and literally running to be on time for appointments.

Some of our investigators have made a ton of progress this week.  One of them is M****.  He is  muslim, but he doesn't really believe in it.  Me and Elder Fowler never got a hold of him, but one day me and Elder Morton saw him on the street.  We ended up talking to him and set up an appointment.  Then we invited him to play basketball and soccer with us on Saturday.  He came and it was great, he had so much fun!  Then after that we ended up teaching him the restoration on the train going back.  He also came to a family home evening we had and he had a blast.  He is in his twenties, not married and his family is from Dubai.  When we called him on the phone he said he has been reading in the Book of Mormon everyday and wants to talk with us about it.  He was going to come to stake conference this week, he even got his suit dry cleaned and everything, but sadly Sunday Morning he called us and said he was sick and he ended up going to the doctor later that day.  But next week we will for sure put this man on baptismal date.

Another investigator is D****.  He is a very nice man, we aren't sure whether he is all there, but he came to stake conference and has been meeting with us every week and making progress.

We ended up having 3 investigators come to church this week.  Which is a huge difference compared to last week.  Also we visited a member this week and talked with them about missionary work.  They said they want to share the Gospel but they don't know how, so we arranged another time when we could some over and do some role plays with them.  I hate role plays, but they help improve your teaching so much.  Me and Elder Fowler never did them, but me and Elder Morton do them almost every day.  It also helps a lot with German too.

So Stake Conference was this week and it was great.  The speaker was a man from the quorum of the Seventy, he was German and he spoke a lot about missionary member work and having the ward and missionaries work together. He had a really thick accent from Saxony, but I still understood most of what he said; that in itself is a miracle.  Stake Conference was in a hotel because there was not a place big enough.  The hotel was absolutely beautiful, it cost the church 10,000 euros, which is now the equivalent to 10,000 U.S. Dollars, since the U.S. started exporting oil.  But anyways the building was huge and so beautiful.

 After that we went over to an older members for lunch.  We ended up being there over 2 hours, because he literally told us his whole life story.  Luckily his life story was actually pretty cool.  He talked about when President Monson as an Apostle, came to Germany and told him he was to be the new Bishop at about age 24, not long after he received the Priesthood.  The food was really good, we had duck which is very common here.

I'm still doing great.  To be honest I haven't been homesick once.  There is only 2 more weeks of this transfer, then most likely I will be leaving Spandau.  My German has made so much progress, but still have more to go.
Till next week,
Elder Spangenberg
Elder Spangenberg, unknown Elder, and Elder Oldroy (Courtesty of Elder Oldroy's Blog) 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Another Great One!

Monday: We got a call from this guy who said he wanted to meet.  This was during Pday, but we were just like,"Okay, yeah, we can meet now."  So we went to the church to wait for him to come.  3 hours later he finally gets to the church.  So Pday was really short this past week, but we did have a great lesson with them.  He is from Palestine and is Jewish, but he is very interested.  He speaks barely any German, but is friend translates very well.  And his friend is also interested, so yay!!

We also had a couple of lessons with some Evangelist people (Protestants).  They are nice people, but their belief on religion is: we are right, they are right, everyone is right, so it doesn't matter which one you are.  It is very tough to teach them.. We are probably going to end up dropping one of them because he hasn't kept any of our commitments we gave him.

This week we found 7 new investigators!!!  We found a lot more, but some gave us false addresses or numbers, so we took them out of our numbers.  We had district finding this week, and I went with an Elder who is struggling a little bit.  I helped him with finding and we ended up finding a new investigator for their area so that was awesome!

There was a Leadership Meeting in Berlin.  So I went because my companion is a District Leader.  I got to see my old companion and we talked for a while about everything, which was good.  Then it was time for the meeting to start and President Kosak paired me up with 2 other elders, and told us to go to Spandau for the day while the meeting was going on.  We couldn't believe that President would let us go out by ourselves for a day.  But we got quite a bit of work done.  We ended up finding 2 people that day!  It was really cool, one the Elders in my group that I went with, is now companions with my old companion, and he hasn't had much success with finding.  So he got really excited after we found 2 that day, cause he hasn't found that many in a week.  But yeah, that was an awesome day!

Friday: we went on tausch (exchange) with the Zone Leaders.  I love tausch with the Zone Leaders.  I always learn so much.  This tausch I stayed in Spandau.  We got a lot done and I learned so much about everything.  We found this one lady who is Atheist and she had interest in the Book of Mormon and what is after this life.  So we are excited about her.

Saturday:  We had dienst (service) which was awesome.  Then we had weekly planning which is not so fun!  Then we went to an activity at the Tiergarten Church.  We brought along one of our investigators, Mohammed.  It was so fun; we played basketball and soccer.  I'm a little rusty, but hopefully that will get better, haha.  Anyways, after that activity, we taught the 2nd lesson to him on the train.  It was awesome, he has a lot of interest.

Sunday, church was really good; no argument in Priesthood Quorum for like the first time ever!  Then we went to this really cool German Family's house for lunch.  This is an older family and they gave us A & W Root beer, which is the rarest thing ever in Germany!  The food was also good too, it was a traditional German dish, roasted duck.  It tasted way good.  He showed us his wood carved pyramids for Christmas and those are amazing.

We had a lesson with a guy, that we were a little worried about.  Turns out, he is a bit crazy.  We walk in the apartment and immediately you can tell something is off.  There are hearts drawn all over the walls and he has a lot of stuffed animals.  But we still had a lesson with him, he is mostly there but he is just a bit childish.  He had prepared all this stuff for us to eat.  So he asked us if we wanted some apple juice.  We couldn't say no, although it was in a sketchy container.  So he poured me a glass, then he poured my companion a glass.  In my companion's glass there was cigarette ashes, no joke.  He put it to his lips, but didn't drink it.  I drank mine!!?  After that we got a ride back from a member, and they immediately asked us if we had been smoking, cause we smelled so much like smoke from the guys apartment.  His friend was smoking in the house while we were there.  It was so healthy for us!
We are trying this week to keep all of the people we find and not let them just turn into contacts.  German is coming, but still need a lot of work with it.
Mom, could you find out when the Spangenberg family reunion is in the town of Spangenberg?  The reason is that another Elder who is from the USA but has a German last name, got to go to a family reunion on his mission.  President Kosak actually encouraged him to go, even though it wasn't in his area or zone.  So if you could find that out, then President might let me go to it, and I could meet our relatives still in Germany.
Elder Spangenberg

Monday, March 9, 2015

Best Week Yet!

This week was amazing!  So much happened this week.
Monday:For Pday we went to Alexanderplatz. (Shopping Area)  It was way cool.  My companion thought that these guys that walk around wearing a grill selling hot dogs was the funniest thing ever. haha
Tuesday: So Monday night, we got a call from our Assistant Ward Mission Leader, and he asked us if we could come over on Tuesday to give his non member Father a Priesthood Blessing.  So we went over there  and he was very nice.  He was having pain in his head,.  He didn't want his son to participate in the blessing.  His son tried to participate but he said, "No." So I did the anointing in my broken German.  Then my companion was like, "Uh, my German isn't that good, it would be much better if your son would give the blessing."  Then he was like, "Okay, whatever."  Then his son gave one of the most spiritual blessing I've ever witnessed.  After he tried to hug his Dad, but he wouldn't let him.  It was very sad.  Then we talked with them for about an hour which was good, but he was really stubborn in his belief that there is no God.  It was so sad, you can see the love his family has for him, but he doesn't show it back.  
Then it was late at night but we decided to walk to our apartment instead of take the bus.  Because we set a goal to find 2 investigators and we had to get our goal. We ended up finding 1 investigator that day and it ended up being the last person we talked to!

Wednesday:  We had a Training Zone Meeting.  It was really good and a lot bigger than I remember our zone being.  But that's because they combined both of the Berlin Zones into one.  So now we are by far the biggest zone in the mission and the best. haha. There was some really good lessons given by other missionaries about using time wisely and stuff like that.  Then, President Kosak talked.  The first thing he talked about was the IPads.  The beginning of April we are having a Mission Conference, which never happens.  He specifically said it is for the IPads.   He also said it's going to take some STRICT Obedience!

Then we went back and had a lesson with our new investigator, Rafael.  We met him at a place where you can play table tennis.  So we played a couple of games with him.  I'm terrible at it, but my companion did pretty good and beat Rafael.  His friend was also there.  His friend is from Russia and he already has a Book of Mormon.  Long story short, they are now both investigators in our teaching pool.  We set up a return appointment and they are both pretty interested.  Rafael said that he is looking for something that can help strengthen his family.  They also invited us to play soccer with them on Tuesday nights after our English class, so that will be way fun.

Thursday:  We had District Finding.  It went really good; the total number of investigators found in our district that day was 8!  We went and visited a less active who seemed really nice, and he told us to call him and then we could set up an appointment.

Friday:  We met with the Bishop to discuss the work. It went really well, the Bishop was really excited about the work that was happening.

Saturday:  We had service with a member which was really fun.  Then we had an appointment with Ab and Al.  They are 2 students in their 20s.  They're both Muslim but not really.  They say they are only Muslim on paper.  One of them comes from Saudi Arabia and the other comes from Syria.  They are way cool.  We had the lesson with them in English.  One of them was so interested, he was literally reading the book as we were teaching him the lesson.  They both are very interested and said they don't know if it's true now, but will definitely read the book and ask God if it is true.  We even extended the baptismal question to be baptized when they find out the church is true.  We committed them to come to church and they said they would.  But we got a text from them later saying they couldn't come.  But, hey at least they let us know, most people just won't show up.  So we are very excited about them.

Sunday:  Priesthood got a little heated.  One member had some weird views about something and others didn't agree with it, so then it pretty much turned into a bashing argument.  The spirit was definitely not in that room at that hour, that's all I have to say!

Then we went to an appointment, which turned out to be a fake address, but hey that happens.  Then we went finding with the only hour we had and we ended up finding 3 new investigators.  2 of them are guys from Syria, who are really cool and we are meeting with them next week, we even got their telephone number.  And another guy we found right in front of the church.  He is an older man and he talked about how his wife is dead but she still lives on.  He kept saying,"Her spirit lives and I will see her again someday.  We couldn't believe it.  Most old people just act like they don't hear you and keep walking down the street. But not this guy, we had a great conversation with him and set up an appointment.

So there's my week.  In all, we found 10 new investigators this week.  Yeah, crazy! Double the Standard of Excellence!  Our district found 19 new investigators, we doubled just about every number from last week. We are trying to be as obedient as we can, and we have definitely seen the blessings that come from it.  We are speaking German to each other from 9 to 9, and I am also reading my scriptures for personal study in German.  We are very excited for this week.  We are so busy every day.  It's nice to not just do finding all day, which is what I am used to.  Me and Elder Morton get along great.  He's so happy and enthusiastic, which are both good qualities to have! 

Till next week, 
Elder Spangenberg

 A bigger version of Truffles! ( Grant's dog at home is named Truffles and looks similar)
 Rafael playing table tennis
Elder Morton watching Rafael and his friend playing table tennis.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

Awesome Week!

 This statue shows how Elder Spangenberg is feeling now! 

 It's a Potsdam Statue

This is Elder Morton, the new companion!

This was an amazing week.  Pday was okay, it was raining so it was really cold but we still got to see some stuff before we left.   Then it was transfer day.  So, me and Elder Fowler were on each other's nerves when we left.  Literally, the last week was so hard.  We didn't get along that great, we both had different views with everything.  He was very stubborn with his views.  So it was very hard to get work done, so we didn't get anything done.  However that changed this week.

My new companion is Elder Morton.  He is great!  He is so energetic and enthusiastic about everything, he is also very obedient.  And an amazing runner and singer.  We had a great week together.  We found 8 investigators this week!  That is more than 3x what me and Elder Fowler found in 3 months!  We are going to do some great things with Spandau.  We are working this week on trying to get the wards support because in the past the ward and missionary correlation has not been that great.  We are speaking German 9 to 9 now.  So that should hopefully improve our German a lot.

I am learning a lot from Elder Morton.  We try to talk to everyone!  In the past me and Elder Fowler would only find when we scheduled finding time but now we find when we are going to appointments and whenever we see people on the street.  I have really seen the success that comes from talking to everyone.
Well that's it for the week.  Next week we have appointments out the wazzoo.   Which is a big change.  I will send lots of photos this week.
Elder Spangenberg

Elder Fowler and Elder Spangenberg

 Sister Montierth, Sister Titensor, Elder Fowler and Elder Spangenberg
 German food that we made.
  It is Knodel with rotkol(red cabbage) and beef.
 Bishop Schlieft
 Spandau Missionaries at the Ward Party 
 Brother Doudou, Ward Mission Leader
 Brother Doudou

 Selfie of me and Calvin
 Calvin is the coolest kid ever.  He loves to steal name tags!
 Nika, the cutest girl ever!  Her hair is so long and her front teeth are missing.
Leonie, the craziest girl I have ever met!

 Selfie of me and Elder Fowler

A Famous Schloss(palace) in Potsdam
 Place where Kaiser Wilhelm I's dogs are buried.  He had 11 and they are buried next to him.
 Place where Kaiser Wilhelm I is buried.   He was King of Prussia from 1861-1888
 A schloss (palace) in Potsdam
 Christus statue, one of 3 in the world that is original.

Old Brandenburger tour in Potsdam