Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mission Border Change in the Germany Berlin Mission

District Erfurt ( look at the green one at the bottom) was taken out of the Germany Frankfurt Mission and included in the Germany Berlin Mission. (Fun fact: President Kosak's Dad and siblings and their families are in that District.) District Erfurt was put in the Leipzig Stake and that was the reason for the change.

Missionary Training as Disciples of Christ in the Digital Age-Berlin

The entire Germany Berlin Mission (240 missionaries) with Elder Kearon and Elder  Nielsen of the Seventies with his wife.(Look for Grant over in front of the window by the building.)

6 Months!

Elder Spangenberg and Elder Benfell

On Pday we went to a church and went to the top of it and looked out and saw Hamburg.  It was really cool.  I took lots of pictures.

We had 2 lessons with the Memetovich family this week.  Memet has not read or prayed, and we think we are going to lose him, if he doesn't keep trying to build his testimony.  We also had 2 members visits this week.  One, we talked about how the Gospel can change people and the other about how we should always heed the promptings of the spirit and not to hesitate to do them.  

Something  special that happened this week was a big mission conference in Berlin.  It was titled "Disciples in a Digital Age".  It was specifically about Ipads.  We are the first mission in Europe to have the conference and were supposed to get the Ipads.    However, there was a delivery problem and we didn't have them for the conference.  They think we will get them in the next week.   Every missionary in our mission will get one and it will stay with you till the end and then you give it back when you leave.  You can also have a blog.  
Elder Neilson spoke, he is the one who spoke in conference about his less active sister, and how she came back after 25 years.  Also Elder Kearon, of the Europe Area Presidency spoke  .I am so excited for the work we will be able to do with the Ipads.  We are authorized to use facebook, so we will be able to find more people through that.  Create a facebook account and then be friends with me, then you can see my posts even though they will be in German.   We received two packets to study.  One frames the actual duties we have and what we can accomplish on these devices.  The other shows us how we can make a plan that will help us use these to fulfill our missionary purpose during these 2 years.

I also got to see my past companion, Elder Morton.  Oh that was so great!  The best news came from him.......one of the investigators I was prompted to walk back and speak to, is now on Baptismal date in two weeks!!!  That was during my first 6 weeks and I could not speak German very well and talking to people was hard.  The Lord totally made up the difference.  Sometimes when I talk I don't even think about what I am going to say, but somehow it makes sense and I am able to speak German.  I was told in my setting apart that the Lord would at times carry me.  This was definitely one of those.

Sunday we went to a member appointment.  The man did not like the U.S. and criticized our system of politics and everything.  It was not that fun to hear!  But I was an obedient missionary and didn't argue with him about it, so yeah there you go.

I am doing great!  Last week I had a dream that I was training, so who knows.  My German is good.  I think of things by their German word, not English word!  We have been doing good at speaking 9 to 9 lately and it helps.  I am loving my mission so far, even the tough parts.  I am doing great, don't worry about me!
Elder Spangenberg

Statue of Martin Luther


Hamburg Rathaus

Photo of the Harbor

Biggest Moving Ferris Wheel in the World!

Hamburg Harbor

Inside the Church we went into to go on top.

Look at that word!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2nd week in Delingsdorf

Elder Schulte, Elder Spangenberg, Elder Morton, Elder Bankhead  (Grant and his companion  with the Zone Leaders on the sides) 

On Monday, we went to Hamburg.  Oh my goodness, that city is beautiful!  I would say it is even prettier than Berlin.  We went inside the Hamburg Saturn, which is the biggest electronic store in all of Europe.  We spent the day walking around and taking pictures and buying some weights.  Then I had to lug around 30 pounds of weights in my backpack for the rest of the day, which was not fun!

We had Family Home Evening at our GML or ward mission leaders house.  It was really good.  Our GML is so cool.  He loves American cars and has an engine from a car in his house that he restored.  He even has a plaque and paper for it that tells about it.

Wednesday, we had district meeting and then went on an exchange.  I went with Elder Petersen and got to stay in Lubeck.  He is a great missionary!  He is going home this transfer but he knows everything about mission work.  Besides chatting the whole time we actually accomplished a lot!  We ended up finding 4 new investigators and 6 contacts that day.  It was  amazing!  Our exchange lasted 2 days.

Saturday, we found 2 investigators in Delingsdorf.  One of them is an Albanian man who just started talking to us.  He met with missionaries in Albania and now he wants to meet with us here.  The other guy is in his 40s who is Greek Orthodox.  He believes that church is the church that Jesus started.  He is interested in what we believe.  This week we have an appointment  with him. He knows so much about the Bible, my companion and I know nothing compared to him.

We also had a lesson with an investigator that is moving to a different area and  we had an appointment with the Memetovich family.  They will only be here one more month and then they are going back to Serbia.  Memet, the man, is afraid for baptism because of his job, but his wife is totally ready.  We decided it is better if we keep them spiritually strong and that they get baptised in Serbia, rather than push for them to be baptized here.  We are going to skype with the missionaries in Serbia when we have our appointment with them.

Sunday church was good.  During Sunday School, our GML gave Memet's wife a priesthood blessing.  She can't speak any German or understand it, but she could feel the spirit and she was crying at the end of it.  Man our GML is so cool.  He is the exemplary priesthood holder.  He is always ready to exercise his Priesthood whenever he needs to.   Then we went dooring and street contacting the rest of the day, no success, but that's okay.

We will be traveling to Berlin this week with all the missionaries for a conference and receiving IPads.  They will be teaching us how to use things like Facebook and the area book with it.  It's going to be weird using them, but I'm sure that great things will come of it.

We have bunk beds to sleep in and at first, I got the top and didn't sleep at all.  So now I'm on the bottom and didn't sleep.  The beds are very squeaky and when ever you move the bed squeaks.  I solved that with ear plugs.  I am running out of them though and I don't know where to buy more.

I have had like 3 people ask me if I know a certain Spangenberg.  One lady in the ward was doing genealogy work and there was a person named Spangenberg.  Also I was at the grocery store and the cashier asked me if I knew this one Spangenberg!   And then when I went on tausch to Lubeck, someone else asked me if I knew another Spangenberg.

Elder Spangenberg                        


Hamburg Rathaus

Biggest Electronic Store in all of Europe.  It has 5 stories.

Spandau Missionaries saying Goodbye at the Banhoff

Church we are going to see today.

Bus Pass Photo!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

First week in Delingsdorf!

I spent my last day in Berlin with Elder Morton going to the Zoo.  My companion absolutely loved it!  He knew so many things about the monkeys and just every animal.  The zoo was cool; it wasn't too big, maybe just a bit bigger than Hogle Zoo.  We also went by the Aquarium and saw some enormous fish.

Tuesday was transfer day, so I spent one and a half hours on a train to Hamburg.  My suitcase broke so that was fun dragging a broken suitcase throughout the Bahnhof(train exchange place).  Then I met my companion and we went back to our area.  He is good and we work together well and teach well together. I love this new area.  It rains a lot here too!

The name of the area I serve in is Delingsdorf.  Delingsdorf is where the church is and that's about it.  The population there is 2,000 and we never go there except for church and visiting a couple of members there.  We live in Ahrensburg, it isn't a huge city but there are lots of individual houses and not huge apartment buildings like in Spandau.  It is a nice city and cleaner than Berlin.  The city that we travel to for district meetings is Lubeck.  Oh my gosh, that city is absolutely beautiful.  It has hills and it's so green. Sadly, I don't serve there, but get to see it once a week.  But in our area, there is a part of Hamburg and we'll be going there on some Pdays, even though it's not in our Zone.

After I met my companion, we had a quazi(?) lesson.  We met with this family from Madeconia and they don't speak any German.  They speak Macedonian, and there is no Book of Mormon in that language.  But there is in Serbian, which only the father speaks.  So we went and watched the Restoration in Serbian.  We aren't sure how much they understood, but the spirit was definately there and that's all that's important.

Then we had a lesson with this guy named M.  He is really cool; we aren't sure if he is all the way there, but it was a good lesson.  We are meeting him at the church for a lesson!  Then we found an investigator on the way home.

Wednesday, we had a District Meeting and had to travel to Lubeck for that.  Well, we ended up missing our train, so it took almost 2 hours to get to the meeting.  But District Meeting was good.  This new district is filled with experienced missionaries, a lot different from Spandau District.  Then we had a lesson with a new convert named Claudia.  She was baptized 2 weeks ago and is from Honduras.  She is really cool and super nice.  She also has a really strong testimony.

On Thursday, we had a lesson with Frau J.  She just showed up at the church 3 weeks ago and since then the missionaries have been teaching her.  We had a good lesson about prayer.  Her situation  is tough because she doesn't like her job or her apartment.  But as soon as she gets those sorted out, she will definitely be baptized and become a member.

Friday, we fasted for some investigators.  But that night we had an eating appointment with a member named Hadi.  He is really cool and is from Iran.  He was in the Iranian Army so this guy is ripped.  He has a strong testimony and is a convert of 10 years.  He also draws really cool pictures.  he loves America too, which isn't that common of people born there.  But almost every one of his drawings has something to do with America.
Then we had a joint teach with the ward mission leader and the family we fasted for.  So their story is that they are from Serbia.  They haven't been living here for that long, we think they refugees or something.  But the Government is probably going to make them go back to Serbia.  They are all really interested in the gospel and want to be baptized.  The problem is that the father sold fake sunglasses there; he doesn't want to be baptized and then go back to doing that job because he knows it is dishonest.  And 85% of people in Serbia are unemployed.  And he says there are no honest jobs there.  The ward mission leader gave him a priesthood blessing and the spirit was so strong.  The father said that after the blessing, he saw Jesus hugging him.  We are trying to organize skype between the family and the missionaries in Serbia next week, because we are pretty sure they are going back.  But if you could please pray for that family that everything will be okay and that the father will find an honest job, that would be great!

Saturday, we did street contacting for about an hour.  No new investigators but some good conversations and a couple of contacts received.  We meet this one lady who tried to convince us that Jesus was black. haha .
  Then we went to the hospital to visit a ward member.  It was really sad.  She had a stroke at home and her son didn't know to call anyone.  She waited 2 hours for the sister to get home and she called the ambulance.  Because they waited so long, the lady can't speak.  My companion gave her a blessing, she was crying at the end of it.  She is a cool member that loves the missionaries.  You could tell she was happy to see us.
On Saturday, we also played soccer with the members.  Every week we play soccer with the Bishop and most of the young men in the ward.  It was really fun, but holy cow, we got wrecked!  Even the Bishop was amazing at soccer.  It was really fun though, hopefully I will improve.  There was about 20 people there, which is a great turnout.

Sunday we went with the Claudias family to church.  The ward is really great and has 80 active members.  Which is a lot more than Spandau.  The church is exactly like the Spandau church too, the same plan and everything.  After church we had lunch with the members, then we saw the Sunday Evening Session of Conference.  We had to watch it in German, I am surprised, I understood most of it.  When President Uchtdorf spoke in German the members were so happy, it was really cool to see that.
 Then we spent the rest of the day dooring.  We doored over 100 houses and nobody was home.  Which is weird because on Sunday usually everyone is home.  Then we had a meeting with our Ward Mission Leader and his Assistant.  It was great, they are so cool.  Next week we are going to meet and go by car to all of the less actives and see how we can help them get to church.  Our Assistant is in the Priest Quorum and he is so eager to help us with anything.

That's my week.  A cool thought is that we could potentially have 7 people baptized the next month.  That would be amazing!  Today for Pday we are going to Hamburg, I am so excited to see that.  No photos this week, I couldn't figure out this new computer to do it.  Next week!
Elder Spangenberg

Monday, April 6, 2015

Last Week in Berlin...

There are stones for each of the Olympics.  Here is the Salt Lake one and the names on it are the Germans that medaled in that Olympics.

Well the title says it all.  I have been transferred.  Me and Elder Morton truly served a "Once Hit Wonder", as they call it.  The work we did in one transfer was amazing.  We led the zone in finding people and lessons taught, and probably the mission as well.  We took Spandau from a teaching pool of 2 investigators to 20.  I am so thankful I had the opportunity to serve with him. I learned so much from him.  
So I have been transferred to Delingsdorf.  It is the opposite side of the mission in the north by Hamburg.  Delingsdorf itself has only 2000 people, but the area also has a chunk of Hamburg which is the second biggest city in Germany.  I am so excited I really wanted to serve in Hamburg and my dream came true.  My next companion goes home in 3 transfers, so it will be nice to learn from a missionary who has been out here for a long time.  Hamburg has a rich history like Berlin.  It dates back all the way to the Medieval Times and now is a port city.

I will be in the Neumunster Zone.  We have permission from President Kosak to go to Hamburg on Pdays, so that will be cool.  I am already all packed and ready to go; I was surprised. haha!  I am
coming right back to Berlin in 20 days for the Mission Conference.

This week the weather was so bad, it was even hard to go finding.  I am convinced that Germany is now Utah.  It snowed almost every day last week and there was actually a hurricane warning in Berlin. The winds were way strong!  It didn't cause too much damage; a couple of the streets were closed off  because of stuff from the roofs, but other than that nothing happened.  

We were able to find 2 new investigators this week, which is good considering all the meetings we had this week.  We had Zone Training Meeting this week, and Elder Morton and I gave a lesson about bearing your testimony.  It was a great lesson.  Then after, we went on an exchange with the Gleinicke Elders.  After Zone Training Meeting, there was a meeting for District Leaders and their companions.  I didn't go because I went on an exchange that day, but I heard it went really well.  My companion said that the Zone Leaders used our area as an example of a huge turnaround, because we went from 2 new investigators a week to 20.  Apparently the Zone Leaders got really emotional during that meeting.  I am sad I couldn't go, but I was happy to hear about how it went.

We had a lesson with Herr Merankowich, which wasn't great.  He was literally watching this movie on youtube with some guy trying to prove the Book of Mormon and Mormon Church not true, during the lesson.  Yes, it was really frustrating for us, and we got mad.  That wasn't good, the spirit was definately gone from the room after that happened.  It was a good learning experience for both of us

Oh my goodness, Conference this week was great!  We went to the stake house to watch it, and ate out of members car trunks between conference break. They had both English and German translation; all of the missionaries choose English, haha, go figure!  We only got to watch 3 of the sessions and priesthood, but those were amazing.  I love all of the talks and how they really put an emphasis on the family.  I thought it was so cool how Elder Perry talked about the conference they had in Italy, and how a Muslim there quoted The Family A Proclamation for the World.  Elder Erying's talks always make me emotional too.  I don't know what my favorite one was, they were all great.  I also love how the Apostles called out teenagers for texting or using their phones during Sacrament Meeting.  Well that's my week, I am sad to leave but excited for what's in story for me there.  I have an hour and half train ride tomorrow, so that's always fun.
Elder Spangenberg  
Photo of the ceremony of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Cool Photo of the Swimming Stadium and Olympia Stadium filled for the Olympics

Me in front of the Olympia Stadium

 Me in front of the Stones
 The 1936 Olympic Stone.  The winners of each event were carved into this stone.  Note Jesse Owens on this 3 times.

Jesse Owens with the Oak wreath seedlings.
(editors note: Grant wrote a report on Jesse Owens in High School and has great respect and admiration for him) 

Me in front of the Famous Oak Tree.  At the 1936 Olympics, Germany gave each gold metal winner a potted oak sapling.  Owens received 4 (one was for the relay he was in).  The United States team was presented a total of 24.
 Me in front of the Olympic Cauldron

Inside the Olympia Stadium

 The Olympic Bell 
 The Swimming Stadium

Friday, April 3, 2015

Zone Training--Berlin

Elder Spangenberg is in the middle in front of a tree.