Buongiorno, Mia Famiglia e Amici
This past week has been interesting. The days have not been that exciting until I found out my Visa was being delayed. I am happy to know now that I might be a citizen of Germany even though I will still be temporarily reassigned to Vancouver for 6 weeks to get my visa. I am happy that you were very diligent in finding out information about German citizenship, Dad and letting me know as soon as you could. I will talk to the travel office more about it just so I know all the details and everything.
I became sick again. I asked a doctor who is in the District Presidency what it had. I had been coughing a lot and as I would cough I would end up throwing up. They told me it was probably Pertussis or whooping cough, but it is almost completely gone now. I have not thrown up in 3 days so life is getting better. I gave Anziano Roe the cough; he is not throwing up but has the cough now. He in turn, gave me a cold and congestion. Ha-ha, I think I got the better deal.
Since being in the MTC we have learned: Present tense, Future tense, Conditional tense, Future Conditional tense, Past Tense, Conversational Past Tense, and Imperfect Past Tense. We have learned to simplify the missionary lessons and each week we talk about how before our missions and now in the MTC we believe/believed that we could easily teach in English, and that one of the reasons for missionaries to get sent to Europe or learn another language is for the Lord to teach them humility.
Speaking of lessons we taught Giosue yesterday and planned to reteach him about apostasy, prophets, and why the restoration and Book of Mormon are necessary. We planned this lesson because in the last lesson we asked him to be baptized, and he said “no” because apparently he had lied about praying about whether Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Book of Mormon was true. I think Fratello Cena got confused as to who he was because Giosue had told us he knew the church was true. Also when we taught him about baptism, apparently he was baptized when he was ten years old by immersion with the 'proper' priesthood authority. I was so frustrated. It was a curveball I didn't want. But we finally learned what his concern is and are dealing with it during the next lesson.
Also, Angela, when we asked her to be baptized, said “No”, so we asked “When you know the church is true, will you be baptized?”, and she said “Yes”. But we don't know what to teach her, so next lesson we will find out if she has any concerns.
Susana has made good progress, though. We taught her the third lesson and asked her to be baptized and she said, “Yes”. So that was good. We will be teaching her the commandments in the next lesson.
On Sunday I took the time to sleep a lot and recover from my whooping cough - so I got 8 hours of sleep spread throughout the day. That night I had the worst sleep I ever had. I was so tired and I was exhausted but no matter what I tried I couldn’t fall asleep.
I read the letter from the secretary. Not much has happened here. P-Day has been pretty relaxed; I will send some pictures. I miss you guys and you Chris. I hope E. gets baptized. You could always share Mosiah 18:10 with him, "Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?" I don't know, it's up to you. Even though we only role play in the MTC, I already feel disappointment and sadness as the investigators don't accept baptism, or don't progress. I know that it will be harder in the field but I just hope they will listen, J.
Yesterday, Anziano B. and I became investigators for Sorella K. and Sorella C.. and they said a something to me and the spirit touched my heart. I hope I will teach like that.
So, usually on Monday we teach members in the Training Resource Center. But on Tuesday we had TRC and we were the first Italian missionaries to teach Members IN Italy via skype. But me and Anziano Berg were the first Italian missionaries to teach a Non-member IN Italy via skype. It was awesome. We taught her about prayer and the Holy Ghost. She has met with the missionaries before and had a Book of Mormon. She is really good friends with one of the teachers. It was awesome! She was way nice and she lives in Venice!
Anyways that's about it. Don't worry - I am not bothered that I will be reassigned to Vancouver for 6 weeks. I hope I still become a German citizen though. That would be way cool.
Love, Anziano Luening
Note: Jeremy was informed that to get his Italian Visa, he needs to present himself at the Italian consulate in the country of his residence at the the time of the application – Canada! If he could prove his German citizenship, missionary travel thought it might speed things up. Regulations have changed since we left Germany and now he is allowed and automatically has dual citizenship.
I'm glad I am not the only one who is really busy. This week has blended together; nothing spectacular has happened this week. We did the usual go to class learn the language and teach “investigators” in the language.
We have three investigators, Giosue just had the Restoration lesson again to repair the damage of the first lesson. It went really well. I think that he is gaining a testimony in the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Next week we are teaching the Plan of Salvation and will ask him to be baptized when he knows these things are true.
Our second investigator is Susana, She has also had the Restoration lesson and it went well and we will be inviting her to be baptized next lesson after Plan of Salvation as well.
Our last investigator is Angela. She is my favorite investigator so far. She is such a golden investigator, however our last lesson did not go great in my eyes. We planned to teach her about the Atonement and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and when we asked her if she had read 2 Nephi 31, she told us she had. So I asked her if she had any questions and she told us something we weren't expecting. She told us that she has had 3 children and one of them has passed away. After she told us that I knew that she needed to hear about the Plan of Salvation. She proceeded to ask if we do infant baptism and Anziano Berg had her read in the Book of Mormon: Moroni 8, about infant baptism. 10. Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach – repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as little children, and that they shall all be saved with their little children. 11. And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins. 12. But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter of persons; for how many little children have died without baptism. 13. Wherefore, if little children could not be saved without baptism, then these must have gone to an endless hell. 19. Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are alive in him because of his mercy. 20. And he that saith little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption. But after she had read the verses, he continued with the lesson. I cut him off mid-sentence because we were not addressing her need. So, I did the only thing I could think of doing, which was to tell her that the next time we return we will teach her how she can be with her child again. She said that would be great and we proceeded with the lesson on baptism. It was a great lesson but it was a “fail” at addressing the needs of our investigators. It felt to me, kind of like a Kinder Egg Surprise only the egg was empty. There was no 'Surprise!' or gift of knowledge that helped her come closer to Christ; it was just a lesson. We will be teaching her about the Plan of Salvation next week and I am really looking forward to it. She has agreed to get baptized when she knows these things are true. Just to clarify, our investigators are our teachers; they act as investigators that they had taught while on their missions.
I talked with Sorella Urban, our teacher who is Angela, about the lesson and I told her how I thought it went and what I thought we did wrong and how I thought it should have gone and she agreed with me. I told her that I felt like we didn't teach her, but we just taught a standard lesson to a person. That does not work- each person is unique and, so too, are the lessons. You can have the same principles taught in a lesson, but expressed a different way to meet the needs of the investigators. I told her that I felt it was a great lesson but we didn't address Angela's concern enough. Sorella Urban thanked me for telling her that we would teach her the Plan of Salvation next time during the lesson. She said it was good because it showed I cared. I was really concerned during the lesson, because if I had have been the investigator I would have felt hurt. I had just told two people who I don't know really well that I lost a child and they act like 'Oh thats too bad; so this is Baptism'. But I did as much as I could to connect baptism to her child. I told her it is through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end, that we can live with God and that she can live with her child again.
Even though that experience wasn't fun, I am thankful because it made me realize that it's not just some person, this person has concerns and needs and it is our job to find them and administer like the Savior would. I like teaching Angela for some reason I just connect with her a lot and can't wait to teach her again - to show her the love that Jesus has to offer.
Io so che il vangelo di Gesù Cristo è speranza eterna. Io so che Joesph Smith era un profetà di Dio e che Joseph Smith ha avuto la potere di Dio. Anche, grazie l'Espiazione di Gesù Cristo possiamo tornare a Dio e possiamo avere famiglia eterna. Io so che le persone in Italia dove il vangelo di Dio e voule famiglia eterna. Io so che Gesù Cristo vive e Dio ci ama. Io so che Dio si ama il persone in Italia.
I saw Sister Orth 10 days ago but haven't seen her since. Also I saw Sister Felhauer last Wednesday. I made the Canadian flag out of gummy fish on an Elders bed because we have a friendly feud about Canada. So I left him a gift on his bed, ha-ha. We did Matrix pictures last P-Day and they turned out well. That’s about all that really happened this week.
Oh and John 8:12 (Then spake Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world:he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.) is what I would like on the plaque also if he can (Tutti persone possono ascotare il vangelo di Gesù Cristo!) I look forward to finding out more about what has been going on next week.
Sincerely Anziano Luening
Ciao, Sto bene. La MTC is loco. Io so che non parla Italiano. Pero io parlo Italiano, Anziano Russel M Nelson viene la MTC, it was cool. I will be kind and speak in English now.
I didn't have to have my ear operated on, but I have another appointment. Now my middle finger on my left hand feels like the tendon or nerve is stretching when I go to pick something up or put pressure on it. I had it checked out, and was just told me to take Ibuprofine. I was like, wow! Now my left leg above the ankle is really sore; when I touch it feels like the bone is bruised. I also became really sick on Sunday. I had a fever, cold, congested nose, sore throat, cough, headache and I was super tired because I couldn't fall asleep. I received a blessing, and now I just have a cold.
I had a really terrible lesson with an investigator yesterday. It made me super depressed, but we joined the choir and sang and it cheered me up a lot. We sang “Come Thou Fount of Many Blessings”, It was "sick", and like I said before Elder Nelson came and gave a talk. It was good, but I connected with his wife's talk more. Anyway, I will send more to Mom.
Dear Mom and Dad,
It has been going well. the past two weeks have been up and down like crazy. Sorella B. went home because of health issues, but she is planning on coming back out, so we are really hopeful that she will. I believe she will. Our district was pretty crushed when we found out about it, but we have recovered a bit.
Italian was going pretty well, but then I had a terrible lesson in Italian yesterday and it destroyed my happiness. I was really depressed and the Sorelle asked the Anziani to join the choir so we did and boy it lifted my spirit so much. It was so much fun.
Elder Russel M. Nelson came and he gave a good talk, but his wife’s stuck out to me a lot. She talked about how there are people on the other side of the veil praying for us to find their posterity so that they can do the temple work for them, and that all we need to do is pray for guidance. It was strong! The Spirit hit me so hard and testified to me that it was true that not only deceased members but also the spirits in the pre-mortal existence are praying for our success so that they will be able to enjoy the blessings of the Church.
Other than that, the week hasn't been that exciting, except I am killing it at four Square. I am becoming very good! The ball hit my square and I had to run to reach the ball before it bounced again and I did spin where I hit the ball and got someone else out! It was sick! It is basically, Italians, Romanians and a few other missionaries that play four Square. Our sisters are starting become good at four square too. Sorella W. said she is kind of afraid of how into the game I am. I was banned from four square one day because I accidentally dove for the ball twice. No diving is allowed, so a gym worker told me that I couldn't play for the rest of the day. I saw it coming. But I am learning not to dive.
Sorella J. received a blessing today. She has been sick on and off for two weeks now and she might have to have blood work done.
I became really sick on Sunday and need to be restocked on some of the mrdications and a few other items. I need sore throat/cough drops; those really good Equate cold medicine night and day; some sinus/congestion medicine would be good, and I need some razor blades, I have one left they are Schick 5 hydro blades. I think that is about it. And my notebook that you need to find is white with a bunch of letters on it and the word notebook in different colour letters.
I was sharing my medicine with another Elder who has been suffering with an aggressive cold for a week. Then he got me sick! I ended u[p with it worse than he did, but mine became much better after I receiced a blessing. I had a headache, cold, congested nose, sore throat, cough, and I had a massive fever/chills so I was walking in 24 degree weather with the outer lining of my winter jacket on. It sucked but luckily I became sick on Sunday, so I napped for 3 hours because I only had 2 hours of sleep that night. I am doing much better now.
We have 3 new 'investigators' Fratello C. is Gesues, Sorella F. was Patrizia but Patrizia is being baptised so she is now Susana. Sorella U. is now Angela. It is crazy.
It is crazy busy and I don't get much sleep. I am 157 pounds with my suit on and I have no clue how that happened! I run like crazy and I don't eat too much. So I need to start working out more so it just turns to muscle. The dress socks you got me indent my leg it looks so weird.
Anyway, I am thinking of you all. The district keeps me from being homesick, since they are pretty much family now. We talk about everything with each other. It has been pretty awesome. Oh, before I forget, if you can also send like 2 pairs of P-Day socks that would be awesome - preferably non-ankle socks, and also I need like 3-4 more of those shoe refreshener’s. I’m all out!
Anyway thanks for the emails and I love you .
Love Anziano Luening
1:50 PMHey Dad,
Man, it has been crazy busy! This week has been sick! The flight wasn't too bad, but the airport busted one of the zippers off of the front pouch of my big luggage. The main compartment is still intact.
The Spirit is so strong here, it is awesome.
We watched “Characters of Christ” by Elder Bednar! You should watch it - just search in Google “BYU Speakers” and look for it.
The MTC is crazy busy. We have like no free time. 11.5 hours are for lessons/study; 2 hours is for eating and 1 hour for exercise; .5 hours planning for tomorrow; 1 hour for companion study, so for the 16 hours a day we are always busy. Wednesdays are P-days. I LOVE my district they are so awesome. We gave a Sorella in our district a blessing of Comfort on Saturday.
Love, Anziano Luening
So, my first week has been crazy. I need an SOS package. I think I forgot my notebook with addresses in it in the car. I forgot my camera cord that plugs in my wall. I don't have service pants, the work jeans.
My schedule has been a mess so far. I had a gym period at 6:00AM when it was supposed to be personal gym time (meaning no gym was open). We had a service project on a P-Day which goes against the white handbook. I keep on waking up around 4:30 or 5:00 AM, then falling back to sleep at 6:00 AM for a half hour. It sucks!
The MTC is awesome - my Branch President and his wife are another mom and dad, pretty much. They are so awesome! My companion is Anziano Berg, He is awesome. We are so similar. He is from Red Deer, Alberta. What are the chances my companion would be Canadian! We have quite a bit in common. He is a sick juggler.
Italian is Crazy!!! They just throw you into the language and you learn to swim on your own. The teacher, Fratello Cena (Fretello is Brother) speaks Italian 99% of the time and it was very difficult to understand him. He is from Italy. Anziano Roe is District Leader and Anziano Stewart is his companion. We have, like, no free time, so it was weird when P-Day came because then we felt like slothful servants of the Lord. I haven't got homesick yet. We gave a Sorella a blessing of Comfort because she got a serious case of homesickness.
I LOVE my district - they are awesome! Sorella Walch, Jarvis, Bott, Killpack and Carter are awesome. There are 5 branches of Italian missionaries in our district (including ours) and 2 Romanian Branches.
I will be sending home some gifts I would like you to engrave for people. And I sent you a card today. The mail gets checked every day here so don't forget you can use “Dear Elder” anytime you want – hint, hint, nudge, nudge. Ha-ha, anyways, my ITA-MIL code got changed to 0611. We leave a day early; how awesome is that!
My leg has an indent in it from the socks - it looks so weird. I had to buy some antibiotics because I have a cyst in my earlobe, so on Monday they are putting freezing in my ear and removing the cyst. I will have a stitch or two in my ear for a day or two. Anyways, I am trying to keep up here in the MTC and I am trying to write in my journal.
So on the second day we got an 'investigator' (She is a teacher in the MTC) She only communicates in Italian to us and she doesn't 'understand' English. It has been difficult to teach her but I had some cool spiritual experiences. Our first lesson we taught her about what the Spirit feels like (Galatians 5:9?) and that it testifies of truth, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Our second lesson was on something I can't remember. For our third lesson we had planned to teach about prophets because we were gearing up for the Book of Mormon. But, then she asked what the Plan of Salvation that is mentioned in the Introduction of the Book Of Mormon was, so we scrapped our notes and I free-styled it in broken Italian. I just told her "il piano di selvezza was riguardo eterno Famiglia e Gesu Cristo soffrenza per mia peccatti, Anziano Berg's peccati and lei peccati. Perche Gesu Cristo ame il tutte persone di terra.” I apologized because I was having A "Dificile tiempo" haha and that we would teach her more tomorrow. So we taught a great lesson about the atonement and we are getting her more involved in the lessons. Yesterday we taught the whole restoration in 20 minutes and it was awesome. Tomorrow is the last day to teach her, so we are teaching her about Baptism and Priesthood Authority and inviting her to be baptized (She is posing as a Catholic from Ecuador.) If I don't know the Italian word, I say it in Spanish and she looks at me blankly. Then I say after the lesson that when we are gone she should understand Spanish, ha-ha!
Try to find the talk titled, “Character of Christ” by Elder Bednar. It will be on the BYU Devotional Speaker website, find it watch it and tag it to my blog if you want. It has changed my life and perspective about everything, especially my mission!
Anyways, “peace out” - I am almost out of time. Miss you guys. Keep on having fun.
Love, Anziano Luening
Doing laundry right now! I am on a computer with no time limit, but I will be quick. I get an hour every Wednesday to e-mail.
Anyways, I miss you guys and love you! Ha-ha, sorry for the terrible good-bye, Mom, but I was ready to go.
You guys should send me a letter every day on “Dear Elder” just so when the Sorelle get mail I do too! J Anyways, hope you guys are doing well, and weren't freaking out about not getting e-mails on Monday.
Love, Anziano Luening