Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Christi Himmel Fahrt

Well before I begin with what happened this week, I just want to say that this morning it snowed! It's the 25th of April and it snows in Germany.  That's pretty crazy, the snowflakes were pretty huge as well.  I thought summer was coming, but boy was I wrong!

This week we haven't been able to get in contact with 2 of our most promising investigators, its frustrating, but we aren't going to give up on them!
We did meet with a super strong Catholic guy, who has been meeting with the missionaries forever, and that was interesting.  He gave us super good hot chocolate!  We asked him why the Catholic Bishops aren't allowed to have a family, even though it says in the Bible that the bishops can have a family.  He said that it's  because they have to focus on the church and that the Catholic Church made a statement about it.  It makes sense I guess, but at the same time it's the Catholic Church going against what the Bible says and changing doctrine.  Come to find out, he has read all of the Doctrine and Covenants and totally didn't understand it.  He hasn't read the Book of Mormon, so of course he won't understand the D&C.  We talked a lot about Polygamy and how God gives us commandments that we don't know the reasons why.  He wants us to keep coming back, but I don't know how much that is going to help.  It was a little frustrating.

Another lesson we had was a joint teach with a less active.  We talked a lot about the Book of Mormon because the investigator said she had "keine Zeit" or no time to read.  Man if I had a nickel for every time a German said that to me I would be richer than Donald Trump!  That's the excuse everyone uses, it doesn't even matter if they are taking a slow walk through the city, they still say they have no time.  But back to the lesson, it went really good and we committed her to read in the Book of Mormon. She is moving in 2 weeks, but we will be sure to give her information to the elders in her new city.  She also baked us really good cake, my companion and I each ate a 1/4 of it.  It was that good!

 We have been meeting with an American named George for a little bit now.  He is super cool and has been here for 8 years, but can't speak a word of German!  George is one of the hippiest people I have met.  He's all about peace and he smokes some weed every now and then.  He actually was a roadie (someone who works for traveling performers taking care of their equipment) for some bands and that's what he did for a job.  He met his wife over the internet and that is how he came to Germany, because she is German.  I love George, even though he loooooves to talk, you can't just have an hour appointment with George.  We talk mostly about the Gospel, but he gets sidetracked really easy.  Lately he loves to talk about politics and of course Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  But he doesn't like either of them, he's rooting for the green party which is the lady who wants to legalize marijuana!  Luckily, George believes in God. In fact he has a very strong belief in God and we are just trying to strengthen that.  We make very slow progress with George, but one day he will read the Book of Mormon.  Right now we listen to it with him.  It was pretty funny, we were listening to somewhere in the Book of Mormon and it talked about the Nephites using herbs because God gave them to them to eat and use for diseases.  Well George loved that passage!  He stopped and was like, "Hello, are you hearing what I am hearing, haha!

We played soccer with the Kiel Zone Leaders and some German kids and that was really fun.  Germans are crazy good at soccer.  I managed to score a goal though, woohoo!  Next time we are going to play basketball and then they will see how Americans play basketball.

We gathered stones again this week for service.  It wasn't bad this time because the youth came and we got to talk to them.  We have removed all of the big stones from 1 field and supposedly there are 8 more fields!

There is a holiday coming up and it's called Christi Himmel Fahrt.  They celebrate it as Father's day now and all the men just drink beer and go around the city pulling a wagon full of beer, it's pretty weird.  The ward youth has planned a party for that day and since my companion is the Young Mens Advisor we need to go.  Well, President Fingerle wants all of the missionaires to stay inside the whole day and read the whole Book of Mormon.  Big problem, since we don't want to disobey the Mission President!  Anyway, we ended up talking to the Zone Leaders about what to do.  They approved us going to the party and then going home to read. (editors note: This holiday celebrates the Ascension of Christ into Heaven forty days after Easter.  It is also Father's day and Fathers get presents from their children.  Men tend to leave their wives and children at home on this day and go out drinking with their friends.)

The members here are just the coolest!  We work super well with the ward and they really help us out.  Whenever we need a joint teach everyone is super ready to help!  And when they need help with home teaching, they know who to call!  I don't think I have ever seen better communication and Zusammenhang between the Ward and the missionaries.  I don't know what Zusammenhang is in English, I only know what it means in German, sorry.  (editors note: It means close connection ) But at our eating appointment yesterday, the family said we are the best missionaries and their favorites!  #browniepoints!

Tschuss (bye)
Elder Spangenberg

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Weekly Email

 We had Zone Training Meeting this week and it was about preparing for the temple which is going to be rededicated soon.  So we made a human pyramid and guess who got to be at the bottom!

Transfers came and my companion and I are staying together!  My companion goes home after 5 weeks and there are 7 weeks of this transfer, so I guess I'll be in a trio somewhere.  It also means that I will be killing my first missionary, in mission talk!

This week was pretty normal.  We met with some people and found some people, you know missionary stuff.  On a sad note, one of our investigators Mei the Chinese woman, doesn't really have much interest in God.  She said her life is going good so she doesn't need God, but if it was going bad then she would pray.  That's a really sad outlook on life, but sadly that's why God chastens us, so we remember him.

We did a lot of work with the members this week and on Saturday we did service for some less active families!  We demolished a cement wall, which was pretty fun!  Then we picked up stones in a field so they wouldn't ruin the machine used to till the ground for planting.  So we are both pretty exhausted!  But it's always nice to serve people!

I also went on exchange in Flensburg this week and that was really fun.  It was nice being with a young missionary again with that MTC excitement!

 Even if it rains every day here in the north, there is still stuff to do and people to meet.

Today for Pday we are going to a really famous bat cave, that should be really cool.

Elder Spangenberg

These pictures are with the missionary that was born in Samoa and lived in Alaska.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Neumunster Zone Training Meeting

Conference Week

 I hope everyone had a spiritually uplifting time hearing all of the conference talks.  I love how Elder Uchtdorf even spoke in German.  I have never been to Dresden but it's in my mission and I would love to see it. All the talks were great and I haven't even seen the last session yet.  With the time difference, it's too late for us to watch it, so we will see it next Sunday after church.  Hey, my companion and I had the best seats in the building...oh yah...we were the only ones.  Everyone else stayed home for 2 of the sessions and watched it there.

This week we were pretty much on the streets talking to people the whole time.  It's not really fun, but it's what you have to do when you want to find people to teach!  We were persecuted only a little, just people flipping us off and honking at us.  We just met with a really cool guy from Syria who has a real desire to learn if our church is true.  Sure, he probably was the one person out of the 30 or more people that we talked to that has interest, but it makes him totally worth it.

My companion and I are eating healthier, so we eat salad every week and lots of veggies. It's definitely a change from what most missionaries eat.  See the pictures below.

Now it is our job to read and reread the Conference talks to really get everything we can out of it.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet called of God and that he leads this church and has access to all the priesthood keys.  When we follow him we won't be led astray.

Question of the week from Mom:  What is the single most important thing you have learned on your mission?       Well, ultimately the thing that I have learned is that God really knows me personally.  Everywhere I have been, I know was right for me.  I love Neumunster, it's definitely going to be a favorite along with Nienberg.  Even though I didn't want to come up here (at all!), these members are the best members I have met.  They support my companion and I in everything and it's so great.  We went home teaching with an old Stake President in the ward and he was talking to us.  He was like, "You know I just can't picture the thought of you two leaving Neumunster.  You should come back, marry and stay in the ward."  We actually might take up his offer, haha.  But seriously, God knew that what I needed was Neumunster and I truly know that God knows me better than I know myself and just like Elder Halstrom said in conference, "You can have what you want, or you can have something better" from God that is.

Elder Spangenberg