Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Life in Nienburg

Hannover Zone

This week we had a lesson with one of our members that lives in a care center.  She had a stroke not long ago so she is in a wheel chair, but she is the sweetest person ever.  We are preparing her to go to the temple!  Last week she received her patriarchal blessing.  She  always comes to church late because she has to order one of those big vans that can take her places, so she comes as early as she can.  We gave her the sacrament after church ended and that was really a cool experience.  Next week I will send a picture of her.

Also we now have 2 progressing investigators.  Their names are And and Sab.  And is the son of a less active in the ward.  Wow, Brother Schmit collects old Bibles and Book of Mormons.  He has a really old Book of Mormon, one of the first ones to be printed into German.  The only problem is, And is mega addicted to smoking. Like he smokes over 30 cigarettes a day.  So we are doing everything that we can to help him stop smoking.  He totally wants to be baptized, the only problem is the smoking.  Please pray for And that he will be able to quit smoking.

We had Zone Training meeting this week and it was really good.  I really like our new Zone Leaders, one of them has a lot of energy and it's just great!  We went to the Gills a couple of times this week.  They treat us like we are their grandkids, giving us chocolate bars and food, haha.  We are going over there tonight to watch the funeral for Elder Scott.  I'm excited for that.  The Gills are the cutest couple ever, this is their 3rd mission.  Without them, this ward would not function.

At Church this week we had 15 people there.  So our numbers are decreasing.  But I played the organ for church again.  Funny story...one of the members told me the hymns that we would sing next week so I could practice.  Well, turns out those weren't the right hymns..so it sounded a little rusty this week, but no worries!  I've been playing it like a piano, but now the Mission President has given me permission to look up on the Internet how to play the organ.  I had a small interview over Skype with President.  He thanked me for what I had done in this area.  So that was cool to hear!  This week we are going to Stadthagen for general conference so we will be having a sleepover in Stadthagen.  Party!

You asked for ideas for the Christmas package, I'd love some gold toe socks from Costco and that hair stuff from Stacey.  Shout out to those Utes for destroying Oregon!  Thanks, to my little brother Lincoln for giving me the details!

In Zone Training meeting we focused on Christ and his atonement.  We heard the testimonies of the apostles and prophets about Christ and his atonement and I want to share mine.

I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he was sent to the earth for us.  I know that he has suffered for me and for everyone else on this earth and that Christ really knows me and that he can help me.  I feel him helping me everyday.  I know that through him we can be clean and return to live with God.  In the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Have a wonderful week.
Elder Spangenberg

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

First week in Nienburg!

This was my last night in Delingsdorf.  This is the Kopsichke Family, they just barely moved into the ward and they are great.

I LOVE MY NEW AREA!  Elder Larsen is so cool.  He is such a nice guy.  He never says anything bad about anyone.  We work really well together. We found 5 new investigators this week!   We found this really cool guy named Mustafa this week.  He is from Turkey but has been here in Germany for 25 years.  We are really excited about him.  We met him for the second time yesterday and we had a great 1st lesson.

 The branch has a few problems.  Pretty much our goal is to keep this branch from closing. The branch is tiny.  It is a lot different than what I am used to, but I love it.  There were 17 people at church this week, 4 missionaries and 5 people from the stake and 8 members.  The stake has actually called people from Hannover to serve in our branch presidency and other callings, because they don't want this branch to close.  And me and my companion will not let this branch close!  I played the organ this week during sacrament.  They loved it!  They usually go without because no one can play.  So I'm pretty sure that's my calling now.

This is the Nienburg LDS Church

 I can easily see this area as my favorite.  It felt surreal this week being in Hannover where my ancestors came from. But seriously this area is the greatest, I feel at home here.

There is lots of work to be done in this area.  My companion Elder Larsen, has only been here for 1 transfer and they were not able to go outside and work because his companion was sick and would get bad migranes from the sunlight.  So it's the closet thing to us whitewashing.  It makes it exciting.  We are both brand new to the area and literally starting from ground zero.  Being the older companion is new as well.

And wow the senior couple in our area are sooo cool, they are the nicest people ever!  Last night we had lunch at their house and my was that a good home cooked roast!  They give us a chocolate bar anytime we are at their house or whenever they take us anywhere.  Well, we each got 3 chocolate bars last week! So now I will be saving lots of money on chocolate, haha.  Literally I don't think I have ever been happier on my mission than now.

District Photo
Elder and Sister Gill are on the far right by Grant, and his companion, Elder Larsen is in the very back by him.

Well the apartment has been rented to elders for like 20 years.  We found maggots on the floor, so today we are deep cleaning that apartment. Also the shower drain needs some work.  I need to get a haircut today and get a drivers license too.

We email at the church.  It takes a lot longer because there is only one computer.  I might buy a wireless keyboard for my I Pad, like many of the other elders.

Sister Fingerle told me to go to this pharmacy and I bought some good face wash, so hopefully that works for clearer skin.

My blue suit pants are fading now.  I am sending a picture. That's great the Missionary Mall is replacing those gray pants.

Hope everything is good at home,
Elder Spangenberg

Monday, September 14, 2015


Brother Pinder and Elder Spangenberg
Brother Pinder is the first counselor in the Bishopric and is from the Bahamas.  He has one of the most lively personalities I have ever met.  He served his mission in France, Luxembourg and Belgium.

Questions from Mom: The other blogs talked about interviews last week with the mission President being in German, how was yours? Yeah, it was in German but it wasn't a problem.  I understood everything and it didn't feel much different than the one in English.
Nienburg Aerial View

Well my days here in Delingsdorf are done.  I have been transfered to Nienburg.(Pronounced knee-en-burg)  It is a small city by Hannover.  I am really excited to go there.  The branch has....16 members! And 4 of them are missionaries!  That's going to be a lot different than 120 here. There is a Senior Couple in the area with us, so I'm excited for that.  The city is right next to a river and all the members here said that the city is really pretty.  My companion is younger than me by 2 transfers.  He also went to...Timpview to High School!  Wow my 3rd straight companion to go there.  I think I still have time to be companions with all of the Elders that went to Timpview here, haha.
Elder Smith is staying here and a elder who served in Lubeck is coming to Delingsdorf.   Sister Brim is still in my district, she is going to be a sister trainer leader in Hannover!
I am really stoked to serve in Nienburg.  For those of you that know, my family ancestors are from Hannover and I will be in the Hannover zone and this city is right by Hannover.  We are allowed to go to Hannover on Pdays, so that will be fun.  So far, I have served in the 1st, 2nd, and now the 3rd biggest city in our mission.

It has been raining a lot and it's impossible to go street contacting when it is raining.  But a cool story happened this week.  So me and my companion were in bed and it was bedtime and our phone was sitting on the desk. Sometimes we just leave it on the desk when it charges at night.  I had the strange feeling to get our phone.  I knew the alarm was on, so I kind of put it off, then I kept feeling that we should have the phone by us and that it should be on ring.  So I finally got it.  Later that night at 11:30 p.m. a lady called us....the missionaries gave her a card and her brother died 7 days before and she specifically wanted a blessing and to learn more about our church.  So my companion talked to her and we set up an appointment with her.  Well the appointment fell out because she couldn't come, but she said she will call us when she can meet and that we are really nice people.  Me and my companion both were super tired and almost fell asleep the next day during church, but we decided that a consecrated missionary would have picked up the phone even at 11:30 pm and try to help others come to Christ.

Church was sad this week.  Some of the members said I have changed a lot since I came here.  They said when I first came that I was kind of reserved and held back.  They said I have opened my heart more, so I was happy to hear that.  I am going to miss this ward so much.  My last week we had 4 eating appointments! Yeah that's really right, 4.  Today it rained the whole day and one of the members said that the heavens were crying because I am leaving.

Elder Spangenberg and Mama Waterborgh
Seriously though, she is like the Missionaries Mom.  We probably had over 10 eating appointments with them, she gave us fresh bread every week, and gave me stuff when I was sick.  Yeah, pretty much my second mother!

Tobias and Aaron Waterborgh.
  We do emails every week at their house.  They are both really cool.

Waterborgh Family with me.The Dad is at work.

Joshus Fenzau.  
He is the one that stayed in America with a family.  He is so cool, I told him if he ever wants to come back to Utah he can stay with us.
Elder Smith and Elder Spangenberg

Today I read something in the scriptures that really impacted me.  I read in Mosiah 24 today, it talks about the people of Alma being persecuted for worshiping God.
13. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
14. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your back, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15.  And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and the brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

I also really like what Richard G Scott said on this subject: "If we are entirely dependent upon God, then he can take our limitations and our weaknesses and magnify them into strengths useful for his divine purposes."
 "Problems or trials in our lives need to be viewed in the perspective of scriptural doctrine.  Other wise they can easily overtake our vision, absorb our energy, and deprive us of the joy and beauty the Lord intends us to receive here on earth.  Some people are like rocks thrown into a sea of problems.  They are drowned by them.  Be a cork.  When submerged in a problem, fight to be free to bob up to serve again with happiness."
  "The Lord is intent on your personal growth and development.  That progress is accelerated when you willingly allow him to lead you through every growth experience you encounter, whether initially it be to your liking or not.  When you trust in the Lord, when you are willing to let your heart and your mind be centered in his will, when you ask to be led by the spirit to do his will, you are assured of the greatest happiness along the way and the most fulfilling attainment from this mortal experience.  It you question everything you are asked to do, or dig in your heels at every unpleasant challenge, you make it harder for the Lord to bless you."

I know that Nienburg is where I am supposed to go.  I also know that it will be hard and a lot different than what I am used to.  I'm sure I will have to give talks fairly often and I don't like giving talks or public speaking, but I know that it will be for my good and for my benefit.  I know that the Lord will help me as I trust in him and in his timing.  My German still is no where near perfect, but I know that is is enough through the Lord's help.

  I've been told my new companion is really nice and works hard.  I feel that me and him are going to work great together and we will accomplish big things and be best of friends. Yes, I am scared and it will be uncomfortable at first.  But I know that blessings will come from it and that there are people in Nienburg, who need my testimony.  I go forward with a humble attitude and cheerful heart accepting the will of the Lord, knowing that it is best for me.
Have a great week!

Elder Spangenberg

Holstentor in Lubeck
This is probably the most famous landmark in Northern Germany. It was built in 1464 and is a Brick Gothic City Gate marking off the western boundary. This rich and wealthy city felt the need to protect itself from outside threats during the 1400's.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Rainbows and a Train Museum!

Yes, I drink carbonated water here a lot now.  I actually really like it.  At first, I almost puked drinking it, but now I love it!
We went to a small village in our area this week to visit some contacts, but it took over an hour to get there.  As we were walking to catch our bus, we heard some girls saying, "Hey."   We didn't know they were talking to us but then they said, "Missionaries!"  So we turned around and come to find out,  they had both been in Utah  for an exchange and their families were Mormon, so they already knew about the church!   They want to invite us over for dinner with their families one night.  We think there is definitely potential there.  So that was new and exciting this week.

Our investigators, the Memetovich family, still aren't keeping their commitments.  It is really frustrating.  We had a great lesson with one of our recently returned missionaries in the ward.  During that, Memet said he would read for 10 minutes a day and he still doesn't do it.  Me and my companion have kind of hit a wall with them, it's pretty much to the point where we have done all that we can and now it's up to them.

We met with a less active this week too, and she came to church as well.  She is making really good progress so that's great.

I don't know if everyone has been seeing the news, but there are a ton of refugees coming here in the next couple of weeks.  It is really sad.  They can't work, all they do is just sit around all day.  Apparently there are 800,000 coming.  So yeah, it's about to get packed.  Germany doesn't deny  anyone that comes from a country at war like Syria.  The ones from Syria are guaranteed to stay here 3 years, but since so many are coming from war countries, the other ones like Serbia, they are not accepting anymore.  Also they want to live their old lives here in Germany.  So they still wear their Muslim dress and have a different view of women.  There was a story about that recently, some Muslim men not listening to what a German Police Women said to them.  So there are many problems that go with it.  We aren't really allowed to do anything as missionaries.  We see the camps for them all the time.  I think Hamburg has more refugees than any other city I believe.  It is a port city.
Sunday we went over to another family who has also the biggest baby ever.  This baby is 16kg which is 35 pounds and he turned 1 yesterday.  Talk about a future football player!  The ward is really nice, I will miss all of the eating appointments if I get transferred.

 We also went around with the Spanish Elders this week.  They have a really tough job, they can't teach anyone in German, only Spanish, so they pretty much just go dooring the whole day, only looking for people that speak Spanish!

Transfer calls are this week.  This time I think I am leaving,  I hope you have a great week!

Elder Spangenberg
Look at the name on the Box!

Typical German houses in the background!

For Pday we went to the Biggest Model Railway Museum in the World.  It was really cool.  I thought you would like to see the photos.  Logan and Lincoln would have loved it, it was literally incredible!

The upper one is after WWII, in 1949; the bottom one is the same  street in 1989.  Look at the detail!

This was also a WWII replica.

Look this is Las Vegas!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Summer is Over!

Elder Smith and Elder Spangenberg after a rain storm!

Good luck on the Potato fund raiser!  Haha I remember that potato fund raiser really well because the next day after loading potatoes into every one's cars, my arm wouldn't work!

Yes, Mom, I'm still glad I was called to Germany.  Sometimes it is discouraging because most of the people have no interest, some of them just want to meet with us because we are from America.
Yeah, Europe is like that, they all think their lives are perfect and nothing is missing.  But people in other countries are poor and humble and are more open to the Gospel. I am hoping to go with Herr Merankovich to the temple in a year with Elder Morton.  We will both be on our missions so hopefully all the missionaries that helped him get get there, can be there.

This week was actually eventful.  We talked to the Albanian family on Tuesday and they said they would read the book before meeting with us again.  We also went by on the old lady and gave her a blessing because she wasn't feeling well.  She is 85 and lives by herself because she doesn't want to live in a caretaker home.  It is kinda sad, one of our members said  that many people in Germany live like that.
Wednesday, we were late for every train, bus, subway and meeting.  But we had interviews with President!  They were really good, it was a great get to know you, interview.  I really like President, he is so humble and just a great man.  Also President Fingerle's counselor in the mission presidency was there and I talked to him.  He spoke with a perfect American accent and he also spoke with a perfect German accent.  He lives in Hannover, but what's cool is that he had a companion named Elder Spangenberg when he was in the Leipzig Mission.  So I thought that was awesome.  After that we missed our train, so we were late to our appointment with a new investigator, but luckily he waited for us,  He is a 17 year old kid and he's really cool.  We are going to invite him to soccer this week and then see where it goes from that!

We went on an exchange with the zone leaders this week and I was in Kiel for a day with Elder Morton.  We had a disaster lesson because a member spoke the whole time.  The investigators didn't understand German or English so we brought this joint teach that could speak their language.  Well, before we went in he said, "You tell me what to say and I will translate it for you."  So we went in and he just takes over.  They thought we were Jehovah witnesses at first and he didn't translate anything we said or tell us what they were saying.  Elder Morton finally raised his hand during the lesson, it was kind of funny, he said,"Um, question, what's going on?"  So yeah, that was fun, probably one of the worst lessons I have been in.  But we did find some cool Africans and invited them to the German class the missionaries teach.  I also went to the ward summer party in Kiel!  So overall it was a fun exchange with Elder Morton.  It was fun to reminisce once again of our memories together in Spandau. 

Sunday, was a pretty interesting day.  We went over to the nicest family's house for lunch, they have the biggest kid I have ever seen in my life.  He is not even 2 yet, but her was running all over the house yelling and screaming and causing havoc, he was really funny.  He's not fat, he's just huge for a 2 year old,   Then we had a lesson with one of our investigators.  He doesn't speak much German, and he didn't understand that the Book of Mormon isn't the Bible.  It's different, he kept saying, "Which bible is right, yours or the Jehovah Witness bible?" His Dad is a JW so he knows quite a bit about them.  Also the church doesn't have much content in his native language including the Book of Mormon, so hopefully that will change soon.  After that, it rained a ton and we got soaked, see the pictures this week!

Well we met a creepy lady on the street.  at first we thought she was just nice.  We gave her our card just in case she had interest or needed help.  Well the next day, she starts sending us texts asking if we can go bike riding with her and go on hikes and pretty much date.  She is like 30 years old.  It was kind of creepy.  Sometimes the people you meet as missionaries.

The work is going better in the the area.  Today I read a good scripture that I would like to share.  It is in Mosiah 9:17.  It is talking about Zeniff and how he humbles himself and remembers God before the Lamanites come to battle against him.

17: Yea, in strength of the Lord did we go forth to battle against the Lamanites; for I and my people did cry mightily to the Lord that he would deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, for we were awakened to a remembrance of the deliverance of our fathers. 

Not always will the battle be one that is actually fighting, most of the time it actually isn't.  But we need to remember to not only rely on our own strength, but also to humble ourselves enough that God will help us go throughout our daily trials.  I know that God helps us, I have seen it in my own life.  I know that as we humble ourselves and plead for God's help then he will help us get through our trials and that through the strength of the Lord, we can do all things!

Have a great week!
Elder Spangenberg