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

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I Love Long Bus Rides:(

Life in Frankfurt Oder is pretty good.  This week was actually pretty busy and it was great!  We had exchanges and I went to Marzahn, which is like the most populated area in the mission (part of Berlin).  We had a pretty memorable exchange to say the least!  First, we were meeting with this family and all of a sudden one of the friends of a kid in the family told us he wanted to be baptized!  We were like, "Uh, Wow, okay!" That's pretty great, cause that never happens!  So the Marzahn Elders will be working with him, we set a baptismal date without him even being an investigator, if you can even do that!

We also met with a drunk guy at about 11 in the morning.  Yep, it's pretty sad, he went off on rants about how we need to write in our journal.  That guy was all over the place.  But that's definitely not the first time I have met with a drunk guy, but 11 in the morning that's nuts!

One of the lessons we had this week was really good.  We met with a college student who was actually born in Germany but lived in France.  He just asked us questions about our church and what we believe.  It made sense to him and he said that we could come by again and talk more and he lives like right by us, so we will be going there again soon.

Well, now time for the explanation of the title.  So normally we take a train to church from Frankfurt Oder to Eisenhuttenstadt, which is where the church is.  Well Deutsch Bahn ( German Train System) decided to close that, so now we have to take a bus to get there and normally it would take 30 minutes to get to the church, but now it takes over an hour.  It's a pretty big pain especially since the buses are so hot and have no A.C..  Actually nothing here has air conditioning.  I'm surprised I'm still alive!

Besides that we went to a baptism in another area because the girl comes to our ward every 2 weeks.  That was a really cool experience.  I also knew the missionary that baptized her.  He actually came back after his mission to baptize her so that was sick!  Since we live in the boonies and are still part of the Berlin Zone, we are staying overnight with the Marzahn Elders twice this week.  So we are barely gonna be in our area this week!  But life is going good.  The church is true!  Read the Book of Mormon, it will change your life.

Have A Great Pioneer Day!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hello from East Germany! (Border of Poland)

 My New District 
Well I arrived safely in my area.  So far I really like it! Actually it's a pretty cool town and it's a lot different from what I have seen.   I like my new District, this one has sisters in it and they are cool. One of them is a crazy German, but it's good.  Don't worry, I haven't shrunk, we are standing on a hill so I look short.

There is a college in this town so we hear English like all the time because that's the only language that everyone can understand to talk to each other.  My first day we went and got a Doner, and wow it was so different from what I'm used to.  First off, it was only 2.50 which is like dirt cheap and in the west they cost over 4.00 and don't taste as good.  Everyone always said things here in the East were different, but I never believed them until now.  We hear people talking about when the Soviets had this part of Germany.  I can see Poland like everyday!  But I'm not gonna go there because I don't want to be sent home.

The branch here is super small like I heard but they are all super nice.  There is this one old lady who does so much for the missionaries.  She asked us if we needed anything sewn or if we needed shirts ironed.  She also said that in the past she used to clean our apartment, but she can't do that anymore because she doesn't have a car.

This week we actually had ward conference so there was about 50 people there instead of the normal 12, but it was cool to meet everyone.  There were members from every ward in the Berlin Stake except Spandau, I was pretty disappointed because I really wanted to see members from my first area, but that's okay.
One cool thing is that my companion is learning Arabic and there is a family in this branch that is from Egypt and they teach him and the other missionaries every week.  They are super cool, like probably some of the coolest members I have met.  They fed us Egyptian food last night and they are just so funny and great.  They speak English and German as well so it's easy for us to communicate.

My companion and I are pretty different, but I hope we will be able to work well together.  He went to an on-line high school and wants to go into computer programming or video game programming.
Our laundry machine is broken so we are doing laundry today at a member's house.

Elder Spangenberg
We had to carry all our suitcases (6) from the back of the train to the front.  It took like 30 minutes and was exhausting!  We filled up the room with our suitcases, it was nuts!
Some nice German on the train took a photo of us.  I will miss these guys!
All 3 of us had the same tie!
We had district plus Lubeck area last week for the 4th of July, it was pretty fun!

I'm packing my Bags for the 8th time!

Singing in the Rain??
          This is what our faces looked like after transfer calls! 

 Yep, I'm being transfered again.  I  really wanted to stay with Elder Miller one more transfer, we had a lot of fun working hard together.  But I am headed off to the east.  I'm going to a city called Frankfurt Oder, it is right on the Poland Border.  It's a decent sized city just outside of Berlin.  The missionaries with President Kosak were able to go into Poland on Pday sometimes and teach if they found someone.  But President Fingerle has changed that and said that the next missionary that goes to Poland will get sent home.  It is in the Berlin zone so we can go to Berlin on Pdays and that will be great.

This will be my first area in the DDR (the part of Germany that the Soviet Union had when Berlin was split). I have always wanted to go to the deep east and now I'm going there.  It's a tiny branch with 12 people and I have learned to love the small branches.  There is also a university with about 6,000 students from all over the world, so that will be cool. Actually the city where the LDS church is, used to be called Stalinstadt, so it's super DDR.  I'm excited but also sad.  This ward has been fantastic, I have never been to a place where they were so welcoming and it was great to be serving in Young Mens.  You best believe I will be in tears on Wednesday when I leave, but I'm definitely coming back after my mission.

This week was exchanges for half the week.  We helped the zone leader with a street display in Kiel and that was really fun even though it rained us out after only a couple of hours.  We were able to have some good conversations and schedule some appointments to meet again.  We also met with the Catholic guy, he loves talking about polygamy and how that's not from God.  He knows so much about the scriptures, he would just quote like nobody's business.

I won't be district leader anymore, that was bittersweet. Our whole district is like best friends and now we are all getting split up.  Elder Vasai the elder from Samoa and Alaska is going to Spandau!   Me and Elder Miller both loved that area.

Now I guess it's time to return to the tough part of a mission and come off of the high like Elder Holland said.  Don't worry about me, I will be fine.  I'm just kinda sad, it seems like every area I have loved and had great companions, I'm only there one or two transfers.  God really does have a different plan for us.  Looking back in the past, I remember how mad I was that I was getting transfered from Pinneberg to Neumunster, but it turned out to be the greatest blessing on my misssion.  I needed this area to gain strength back.  And I have faith that things will keep getting better.  But man, I'm going to miss Elder Miller, we were like brothers and best friends.

Germany just beat Italy in the European cup for soccer so everyone has German flags, it's awesome to see them all show patriotic pride.  They play again on Thursday against France and if they win, they will be in the final so we have our fingers crossed!

Elder Spangenberg

With our 2014 German soccer jerseys
Pictures after our exchange with the Flensburg Elders.  This is the cover for our new album!??