Friday, November 11, 2016

Last Email

 2 Years Later!  Elder Westbury,  Elder Gibbs (my MTC Companion) and I all came out to Germany together.  Here we are ready to finish together.

Hello Everyone!
This will be my last email from the mission field.  My time as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ is coming to an end.  I will be flying home on Friday, November 11th.  I am giving my homecoming talk on November 20th.  Sorry, I don't know the address of the church but it's the A Frame by Mueller Park Junior High.  I always thought to myself, well I still have time.  But it's crazy how fast time flies and before you know it, it's your last Pday!

First off, I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to fulfill my mission and serve Jesus Christ for 2 years.  To be honest, it hasn't always been easy or fun, but it was so worth it.  My mission has totally changed my life.  I would like to talk about probably the biggest things I have learned and experienced on my mission.

The first one is that I know God knows each and every one of us because we are his children and that he truly cares about each and every one.  On my mission I have seen how God works with all of his children, no matter what religion they are a part of.  He really wants what is best for us.  I will admit sometimes I did question why things happened the way they did.  But now I know it was because he saw things that I didn't at the time.  As I look back, I can see how he was with me and led me through the good and also the hard times.

On my mission, I have seen the power of the atonement in the lives of my investigators, but also personally in myself.  I am so thankful for Jesus Christ and him going through the atonement so that we don't have to.  Repentance is totally real.. Jesus loves us and he lives and wants to help us.  I am in no way perfect, and I have needed the  atonement just as much as my investigators.  I love my Savior, Jesus Christ.

No matter how many doors were slammed in our face, people yelling and cussing at us, others telling us Yankees, to leave and never come back, I still love Germany.  As some of you know, my Grandpa was born in Germany and many more of my ancestors are from here.  It truly has been a privilege to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the land of my forefathers. I love this country and these people have a special place in my heart and this is my home away from home.  Just like Paul, I can say, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."

I know that this gospel is the only true church on the earth and that Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet to restore the gospel and translate the Book of Mormon.  I know the Book of Mormon is true and the influence it can have in our lives when we read it.  I know that Jesus Christ lives and that he loves us so much.  He suffered for every single person on this earth so we can return to live with him and our families forever.  We really are children of God with the potential in us to be Gods.

I'm so thankful for the Gospel and that I had this opportunity to fulfill my mission.  Now it's time to move on to the next chapter of my life.  To those of you still serving, keep fighting for the truth and be valiant in your testimony of Jesus Christ.  And to the others, I will see you soon!

Elder Spangenberg

Family Hachmann.  We have Family Home Evening with them every week.

FAMILY SCHUMAIER.  He is the Branch President and they invite us over every week.  They are also the coolest grandparents ever!

FAMILY DAHLEKE.  He kept me up to date with sports scores and is also an amazing cook.

FAMILY RICHTER.  We did service for them every week.   They have so  many animals.

They are putting up the Christmas Markest now!

Dying Photo.  Cause every missionary going home has to have one!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Stuck in the Mud

 Village Tonning

Hey everyone!
It's been a while since I have written, so let me update.  Right now I'm in my last transfer in Heide.  It's a pretty small area with a population of about 20,000 but we have lots of little dorfs (villages) in our area that we go to because we have a car, so that makes things nice.  My companion is Elder Jensen and he is from West Point, Utah.  He is a funny guy and we are getting along good.

Lately, it has been a struggle finding people to teach.  We did have a lesson this week with Manfred.  Last week Manfred accepted a baptismal commitment for the 19th of November, but this week we found out that he won't be able to make that, as he is going on vacation for a week.  So that was kind of a let down.  He still wants to be baptized, but that won't be for a little bit.  Besides that we had some fallen out appointments and lots of knocking on doors.  We have met some nice people that respect us for what we do, but none of them have interest to meet with us. 

On Tuesday, this week we had planned to overnight in Neumunster because we had zone training meeting the next day.  Neumunster is pretty close to Kiel, and it would save us kilometers for the car because we are only allowed 2,000 each month. We also had an appointment that was pretty close to Neumunster right before that.  So we did some dooring, went by on some less actives, you know, normal missionary stuff.  Then the family called that the appointment was supposed to be with and canceled.  So we did some more dooring in another dorf.  Well, we decided to pull off the road to decide where to go next before we went to Neumunster.  It was raining really hard because that's the constant weather here in Northern Germany.  So I pull off the road into some dirt and didn't think much of it, until my companion is like, " I think we just pulled into mud, we better not be stuck."  Then I was like, " Oh nonsense we aren't stuck," so I put it back in drive and press the gas pedal, and as luck would have it, we didn't go anywhere, the wheels just kept spinning.  So we sat for a little bit deciding what to do, then we remembered the stick trick.  So we got out in our suit pants and dress shoes in the mud to gather some sticks or pieces of wood.  That didn't work so well because we could only find branches from off a tree, and keep in  mind it's raining really hard and we have been trying for about an hour already.  Cars are driving by us not noticing that we need help. We said a prayer and finally some girls stop by that are about as old as we are.  They said they had to go home quick but they would come back.  We kept trying to get ourselves out, but were doing more harm by spinning the wheel and getting us deeper in the mud.  The girls came back and brought their brothers and they pulled us out.

We then drove to Neumunster to stay the night covered in mud and dirt, but thankful for the people that helped us get out of the mud.  That experience was literally a perfect example of the atonement.  Without those people that helped us, we would not have been able to get out, and trust me we tried for about 2 hours on our own.  But ultimately we just got ourselves in more trouble.  Sometimes that's how we are in this life, and that is why we need the Savior and the Atonement, so that he can lift us out.  I know that Jesus helps us when we need him because I have felt his help lifting me. I know that only through his grace can we make it back to live with him.  In the Name of Christ Amen.
Elder Spangenberg

Monday, October 10, 2016


Companion photo in the woods
 Busum, it's a huge tourist area.
 Memorial for people who died in WWI, who were from Albersdorf.
 This means: these people gave everything for the well being of others.

This says: Traveler! If you linger here your hands will wrinkle silently...?
Selfie in Albersdorf, this town is so pretty!

Memorial for people who died in WWII from the Dorf.  Each gold block has a ton of names on it and this is just a tiny little Dorf.

 Cool windmill

German Crest
 Dog looking out of a window from the 2nd story.  I thought this thing was going to come down and eat us, his bark was terrifying.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Conference was great..We only saw the first 3 sessions and next week at church they will show the last session.  One of my favorite talks was Elder Nelsons, when he talked about having joy.  The joy of the world is different than the joy of the Gospel, but the joy of the Gospel is worth more in the next life.  I also liked Elder Hales talk.

 I said good bye to Elder Williams this week.  He ended up getting us a parking ticket right before he left, so I had to pay for that, but that's okay.  My new companion is great, we get along really well.  He's a hard worker too.

That's sad that Grandpa fell.  I hope I get to see him.  I can't wait to talk to him in German.  It's been really cool to come back to the land of my forefathers and I'm really proud to tell everyone my Grandpa was born in Germany.  They all look at me and say, "Ah Spangenberg, that's a German name".  I say, "It is, Grandpa was born here and moved to America when he was 2".  I love saying that, it makes me so proud that my ancestor came from here.

I've learned to love the north. I think I needed to come again to the north to change my attitude.  The LeVitres gave me a book before my mission and there is a quote in there that says, "Life is 10% of your circumstances, and 90% what you make of it."  Heide is really a great place.  The members are really good to us, we have a great relationship with them.  This last week we had 4 member appointments and this coming week we have 5.   I feel like there is a reason why I'm here in Heide.  We are working really hard.  One day we were dooring and it was raining all day and we had people say mean stuff to us.  One man chased us down and told us he was going to call the cops on us.  He said, "Why are you guys going around asking for money?"  We had to explain that we didn't ask for money and talk to him about what we do.  Its been tough, but I really like it and feel stronger because of it.

The time is coming to an end soon and I'm going to try to make the most of every minute.

Elder Spangenberg

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Last Transfer!

Zone Training Meeting

Transfers happened!  I am staying and getting Elder Jensen.  I have heard he is a quiet guy, from Utah, and was a beekeeper at home.   He has been out for almost a year and was trained by Elder Stott. 

 My current companion, Elder Williams, is getting transfered after being here for 6 months.  

We taught our one investigator AND he came to church!  He really likes church.  We also ran into some mean people this week doing doors.  One guy told us he'd sic his dogs on us if we didn't leave.  Yeah, just normal German hospitality to missionaries! 

 But really things are going good.  I made friends with a less active who now texts me all the sports scores and we are going to play wheelchair basketball next week because his daughter is in a wheelchair and she plays basketball, so they invited us to go!  We are super excited for that!  

Elder Spangenberg

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Hog Time!

                                        This is a boar I found in a neighbor's yard.

Wow, time goes by fast!  I don't have many more of these to write!

This week we received a ton of referrals.  By a ton, I mean like 4, which is actually quite a bit if you aren't serving stateside.  We have tried to contact all of them, but only managed to get a hold of one.

So this guy just sent a letter to the church last week saying he wanted us to come by.  Now the letter was kind of interesting in the way he describes himself.  So we were kind of worried, but he is actually really cool.  He is definitely not all the way there, but this guy has a ton of interest in the church.  The problem is that he met with the Jehovah's Witnesses as well, so some of their beliefs are mixed up with ours in his head, but we are working on that!

We had another lesson with an investigator that we have been meeting with for a while.  The problem is that she doesn't want to do anything and hasn't been keeping any of her commitments.  So we have to stop meeting with her.  It's sad, but if she doesn't keep her commitment, then it's not worth our time to meet with her.

Other than that, we went dooring just about the whole week.  We have a district goal to get a least 15 rejections everyday before we head home, even if it's dinner time.  It's kind of like reverse psychology, but it actually works pretty well.  It helps us see how many people we talk to and gives us motivation to keep going despite the "Nos" we get.

Other than that, some meeting here and there and lots of driving!  We found other people throughout the week and we are looking at a very busy week coming up!

Elder Spangenberg

Monday, September 5, 2016

Service with a smile!

I don't have a lot of time this week because we have district Pday today.  Most of the week was helping people move and doing service.  We were so tired after carrying so many dressers up three flights of stairs!

I was sick a couple of days this week.  But the highlight was definitely the Freiberg Temple dedication.  Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Bednar spoke German.  Well Elder Bednar mostly read German, but it was still cool.  Of course, it was too far to go to in person (8 hours) so we watched it with other church members.

I did kind of a challenge this week that I had read about, to write a list of 100 things that you are thankful for.  It really helped me to think of everything.  I'm trying not to complain.  I have an interview with President Fingerle this week.

Have a Great week!
Elder Spangenberg
 Duck with an Afro!

We found Mexico!

Friday, September 2, 2016

North German Beaches!

 Moin moon!
This week was a pretty good one!  We found a family and they are super awesome and really interested.   We actually knocked on their house about 2 weeks ago and we exchanged phone numbers after finding out  that the Mom actually was best friends with a member when they were both younger and she went to primary activities with her and church as well.  So we called her this week and made an appointment.  Her son and daughter were there too.  They are 15 and 16 years old.  Her husband was at work, but it was a great lesson.  The kids even said they wanted to come to church again and the mom was like yeah, your guy's church is much better than ours.  At yours anyone can speak and it's much more lively.  The mom has knee surgery this week, but we are going to meet again in a week or so.  They said they would read in the Book of Mormon and pray about it too!  Hopefully  everything goes well for them.  We taught another investigator but it mostly involved my companion fixing her computer.

Most of this week was actually service, but that's okay because service is good too, and Jesus served lots of people while he was on the earth.  Most of our service was preparing for our ward party which was a huge success!  We went Watt Wandern (German word) in another huge tourist city Busum.  There is no translation for that, but in the beaches by the North Sea, the tide recedes really far.  Because of that, when the tide is out, you can walk across kilometers of "Watt".  It is a typical North German thing and lots of people were there.  We brought a football with us as well and tried to teach all the kids how to play, but Germans don't really understand how to throw one.   There were a ton of less actives there (5) but that's a lot cause this branch is tiny.  We dug up a big worm which was kinda freaky but also kinda cool and all the kids had a blast there!  Plus we had a barbecue afterwards and I ate so much steak and good food.

In case you are wondering, we actually went to 2 beaches this week.  The St. Peter Ording Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Germany.  Wow that was gorgeous!  And the second one was in Busum, another really popular one.  Sadly, it's not beach weather soon but we might go up to one in Busum on a PDay because it's close.  This week we have Stacey, the polish lady who feeds us so much food.  I will let you know how it goes.  Have a good week everybody!
Elder Spangenberg

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Our car is fixed!

 This week was crazy.  We were all over the place.  We helped the elders in our district who were getting whitewashed carry all their bags, then we got our car from the shop.  I'm starting to drive now and at first it was scary because the roads are so narrow here, but now I'm getting the hang of it.  We also went  to Kiel for a street display with the Neumunster Elders and I got to see my old companion Elder Miller, and meet his trainee who is a pretty cool kid.

 Us and the Pinneberg Elders with a member in Pinneberg.  I served in Pinneberg not too long ago, so it was nice to be back.

We did meet with a couple of people this week.  One of them is a less active and his nonmember girlfriend.  They are a little hard to teach.  The man has a tumor and has challenges mentally.   But in the end he comes to church.  We have a lesson and he won't agree with everything we say.  Like scripture study is actually a commandment and that we should follow all the commandments.  Then we asked him what commandments he is going to work on this week, hoping he would remember scriptures.  He said..... the ten commandments...  But when we ask if he is coming to church, he always says, "auf jeden fall" which means, of course!

We were going by on less actives who live around a small town called Rendsburg.  We went by this guys brother first, and he was like. "what the heck, why do you keep coming?"  And long story short, he is probably going to take out his records, yeah pretty sad, but surprisingly he was really nice.  We explained that the Rendsburg Branch closed a year ago and that's why we went by on him to tell him about it.  We also went by on the guys brother and talked with him too.  We knocked on his door and talked on his doorstep about things, then we asked him what he does and he said his job, then he was like, "But I have a hobby and it's collecting and selling Star Wars toys."  So we were like, "Cool, can we see them?"  He says, yeah sure, he first shows us a display case full of them and I've gotta be honest right here, cause I've never seen Star Wars.  Like I've seen parts of certain movies, but never the whole thing, so I was kinds lost lol!  And then he starts telling us how much some them sell for and some little tiny figure sold for $7,000! What the heck!  Then he opens up a room and it's full of them and at that point he's like, "Well it's a little more than a hobby."  But the guy was so chill, he even has a John Stockton jersey!  Sadly we didn't see that.  We talked with him a while about religion, he's way smart.  Gee its kinda sad, some people in Europe actually think about religion and they are so smart, but they have to have logical proof for everything.  He kept talking about upgrading religion, for example changing the church to conform to society more.  At the end we invitied him to pick up a Book of Mormon and read in it, which he hasn't done since he was a kid.  He said in October his Dad will be there and his Dad is a member, so we will see him again hopefully.

Well I'm out of time again.  We need to plan a lesson for FHE tonight.  The bottom pictures are of Husum, it's a huge tourist city and really pretty.

Elder Spangenberg

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Zone Conference with Area Seventy Elder Charles and his wife.  He taught in Berlin and Hamburg.  This is the Hamburg Zone Conference.

We met with probably the most famous investigator up here in the north.  She is Polish and she loves to cook food for the missionaries.  The bad thing was that me and Elder Glissmeyer were in Hamburg just before because he had a doctor appointment and we decided to eat there.  So we weren't really that hungry.  The other elders that were with us each weigh about 130 pounds so neither of them can eat that much.  I'm happy to say that we did finish th soup and all the polish dish that she made.  But that was probably the most food I have ate in my life!  She is a really nice lady and funny fact is that she absolutely loves Cuba.  She goes there once a year.  This time she brought back a shirt of the Cuba Rebel for my companion.  It looks pretty funny but it's pretty much a shirt supporting communism, so he needs to be selective when to wear it! 

Stacey and Elder Glissmeyer, he goes home this transfer and we had a killer exchange!

We have driven everywhere for appointment, exchanges, and all that.  However, bad news for the companion ran into a smile pole and it totally bent the axel to our car in in the auto repair for  a week.  That was sad.  We did get to go to Wacken.  For those of you who don't know, its a little town of less than 2,000 people.  But it's also home to the world biggest outdoor heavy metal concert.  75,000 people come to this place every year, it's nuts, everyone knows about it.  It had been going on for 24 years now and tickets for next year are all sold out.  So we had to stop in a shop and get some t-shirts there.

 We taught a couple of people this week.  One of them is really making progress and we are working on getting him to do the basics, ya know, scripture study, prayer, and coming to church.  Church was fun this week...nobody was there and I gave a talk and played the organ.  We also did a lot of service for some members and afterwards they fed us some good German food.

Elder Spangenberg

                                 This is the Berlin Zone that I was in a month ago.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I got Blitzed!

 Me next to a Lamborghini tractor.  Yes,  they exist, who would have thought!

Craziest mission week so far!  On Monday, we went to Berlin with other missionaries and were having a great Pday.  We were at the Berliner Dom, which is a ginormous church, just chilling there when the phone rings.  My companion pulls out the phone and turns out, our Mission President was calling!  We were outside on top of the dome looking at the city and it was super loud.  So my companion told President that we would call him back and President said, "Okay, just do it within the next 30 minutes.  I'm freaking out at this point thinking of all the possibilities that it could be because you don't get a call everyday from President Fingerle, so it must be pretty important.  So we rush out of the building and my companion calls him back and he talks with him for like 5 minutes.  My companion saying, "okay, yeah, I guess" with the most surprised look on his face.  I'm about ready to pee my pants at this moment.  Then he finally gets off and is like, "Well I can't tell anyone but my companion", so we go over in the trees and this is what he tells me, "Both of us have to be in the mission home at 8 a.m. on Thursday.  You need to bring your suitcases, but I'm coming back.  We will be meeting our new companions there."  "Oh, and we aren't allowed to tell anybody."  Like literally, I have never been more confused, disappointed, or sad in my entire life.  I had only been at this new place for less than 3 weeks!

 So after that we go get ice cream (I was needing a little cheering up!), then the AP's call and they are like, "Elder Spangenberg, are you ready for your transfer call?"  I say, "What the heck is going on?"  They said that I will be going to Heide and they can't tell me why and that's pretty much it!!  I couldn't believe what they just said, that means that I will be going back to the Neumunster Zone for my 4th time!  It felt like a total joke because Heide is the only Ward or Branch in this zone that I have not been to the church or the apartment!  I think I might as well just live up there, because I can't get out!

So yeah, I had like 2 days to pack and I pretty much just threw everything in my suitcases and then whatever else I had I just put in plastic bags.  Because Heide has a car!!  Yay!! My first area with a car.  I didn't have to ride the train from Berlin to Hamburg with all my suitcases for like the 4th time!  It's actually ironic because the office has been nagging me all the time about finishing my driving record papers and I've kind of just not worried about it because, one I've never had a car, and two I go home in 3 months, why bother.

I did say goodbye to some close members.  I hated to leave Frankfort Odor.  We met with the Egyptian family the night before I left and that was great.  They fed us Egyptian food again and they were so nice made everything great. But I promised them I would come back after the mission and visit them!

This is Ola.  She and her husband are members from Egypt and also teach Arabic to some missionaries learning it.  They are definitely some of my favorite members!

Thursday, we went into Berlin and stayed overnight with the elders for like the 5th time in 3 weeks.  I said goodbye to Elder Thompson and then I met my new companion, Elder Williams and we had a 4 and a half hour drive to Heide.  Road Trip!  Heide is pronounced High-duh.

This area is actually pretty cool.  I'm gonna be honest, I have heard this place is literally the worst area in the mission, but that was when they didn't have a car.  We literally just drive around and knock on doors the whole day, which sounds awful, but it's great because it's so peaceful and beautiful and the area is gigantic!  The dorfs (cities) are so small, the biggest town in our area is 20,000 and we live in Heide, which is 18,000. (Microscopic compared to Berlin!)  The branch here is super nice!  We all ate together on Sunday, so I met all the members pretty quick.  It was really funny cause they walk into church and they are like, "Wait, you aren't the other missionary, what happened?"  So we had to explain to the 40 members what happened, because the missionaries weren't allowed to tell the ward before they left.

Quickly, this is what happened.  In Turkey a civil war is going on so they took out those missionaries and brought all 15 of them to Berlin Germany.  This is because Germany has the second highest Turkish population in the world.  They are not anticipating it to be a long time.  My old companion was studying Arabic and my new companion's companion was studying Turkish so these missionaries were asked to be companions with the Turkish Elders.  The reason for the secrecy was because it needed to be announced by the LDS church newsroom before we let it out.

My new companion is from Arizona and actually went to the same high school as Elder Miller, one of my last comps.  He goes home one transfer after me so we are like one of the oldest companionship's on the mission.  He also loves dub step and electronic music, which I know nothing about but he is "culturing" me about it, lol.
Have a great week!

Elder Spangenberg

Monday, July 25, 2016

Finally 20!

Berlin Zone
This is a memorial for all the Soviets that died.
Hey everyone!  First to start off, thank you for all the birthday wishes.  I'm finally 20 woohoo!  This week was pretty eventful.  We were in Berlin a ton this week.  Zone training meeting was on Tuesday and we had the whole meeting in English.  It was really weird but I guess they were trying it out because normally all the meetings are in German.  I think it had to do with the fact that there are so many new missionaries in this zone that don't speak German yet.  But the meeting was really good and we learned about how we can use the Book of Mormon more to help our investigators and ourselves.

We are finally starting to get a teaching pool here.  We met with the one lady who is super cool.  She used to be a hard core atheist, but she had an amazing experience, she didn't really specify what happened, pretty much she said God saved her in the hospital from a near death experience and since then she totally believes in God.  Anyways she knows the Book of Mormon is true and believes this church is true.  She is waiting for baptism because she is still a little sick and she wants to be healed before she gets baptized.  She feels that she got an answer that she can be totally healed.  I was able to give her a priesthood blessing so that was really cool.

So I don't know if everyone has been hearing what is going on, but there have been a couple of terrorist attacks in Germany this week.  The first one happened just right outside our mission in Wurzburg.  Apparently a guy had an axe and just started hacking people on a train.  It's pretty gruesome to think about but nobody died from that as far as I'm aware, and the second one happened a couple of days ago in Munich.  Some 17 year old kid just opened fire at a McDonald's and killed 10 people including himself it's pretty sad.

So we had originally planned to do a street display in Berlin, but we had to call that off because there was actually the gay parade going through the streets of Berlin and there were supposed to be 750,000 people in that, yeah crazy right!  That day we saw rainbow flags all over the place.  And we decided it would be better to reschedule than to chance it, because the Munich attack happened the night before.  But nothing happened in Berlin, so all is well.

Other than that, it was pretty much my companion doing his Arabic class.  We were out of our area for a big chunk of the week.  But my birthday was pretty good we didn't really do anything cause I had to speak the day after in church.  But the Egyptian family found it was my birthday and they immediately invited us over and we had a really good Swedish cake.  We had a couple of appointments fall out, gosh dang it, but you know that happens.  One of them was our fault because we thought she lived in a different city, but now we know!

I gave a talk on my favorite scripture this week in Moroni 10:32 "Yea, Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God."

I  love this scripture because it really explains what we need to do, which is deny ourselves and serve God and that still isn't enough.  We truly have to accept that without Christ's grace we couldn't do it.  It would be totally impossible.  I know that Christ heals us and that he walked the path before us and showed us the way.  If we follow his example and come unto him, then he can help us reach our full potential.
Have a great week!
Elder Spangenberg

Berlin Dome