Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 30- Transfer to Hamburg as the new Zone Leader

Hello Loving Family who forgot that their son was serving a mission in Germany,
How is everyone doing?  I am still alive and here in Germany.  This week has been seemlingly crazy as well.  We recieved transfer calls and I have been now transferred to Hamburg to be a zone leader there.  So that is still a shock.  I was only in Berlin for one transfer but now I am going west.  I am really excited to go to Hamburg (oh yeah, and my next companion is from San Diego, California Elder Williams, but no it is not my trainer, but he is now in my new district in Hamburg) but I am still really kind of shocked that President Kosak wants me to be a zone leader so early.   I am not doubting it.  I know that he recieves revelation and inspiriation from Heavenly Father.  I mean, even this week he came and checked our apartment twice, and he was really inspired to know to come and see it at its dirtiest.  So that I have a strong testimony of. 
 I guess the best way to think about it is that it hasnt really set in yet that it is happening.  But I am excited.  Marzahn was a hard transfer for me.  I had two elders in my apartment that are going home and it was really hard to have the thought of home almost every day, in every conversation, and what not.  It was really tough to struggle through it.  And it was tough because my companion did not help with any of the situations because next transfer he goes home too.  Just ask Jeff or Kevin or Chad and they could tell you about missionaries who are about to go home.
We were not the closest of companions, but I learned alot about unity between each other.  I learned really because there really was not unity.  And I could see the difference there was between the love and the excitement with the work when I was with Elder Larsen, and from the expierences that I learned in this transfer.  It makes a huge difference when you both are open with each other.  And you can be friends with each other, and listen to each other and learn, or you just roll through with the attitude that I am stuck with this person so lets get it over.  And that is something that I learned and will take with me to my next companionship.
And at the same time, I am grateful for all the things that I learned this transfer because I feel that it will help me to have more unity within my companionships to come.  I think something else that I learned this transfer is how involved I need to be with the missionaries when I get home.  I noticed that there are two lives I can live back at home. The life that just invites the missionaries to eat food, maybe give a spiritual thought, and then to just have them leave.  But I just know that I need to be involved with them.  Help them and have them help me as I do my missionary work when I get home.  So that has really been my week.  The work was really tough, but I feel proud of myself and I know that Heavenly Father sees all that I do and that He loves me and I want to do the best for Him.
I love you all with the bottom of my heart and cannot wait to hear from you next week!

Elder Bretzing

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Impact of Missionaries 2-15-2105

President and Sister Kosak received this letter and posted on the missionary blog spot. I'm reposting it on Drew's site since it happen in the city he is currently serving in.


I've decided to reach out just because I experienced something incredible Saturday evening while sitting on regional train adjacent from two missionaries (in Berlin). I'm from California, grew up in a Mormon community and just thought it'd be worth sharing this story, as it left a smile on my face.
The two missionaries were sitting adjacent from me next when an old couple sat down next to them. The two missionaries started talking about Potsdam, what it's like there and eventually the conversation turned into how the old couple met. At that moment a group of gangster-looking guys tuned in and said that they'd like to hear also how the old couple met also. Soon enough the whole section of the train is listening to this old couple's love story- a question that was sparked by one of the missionaries.
The missionaries got off the train at HBH, but the conversation didn't end. The two groups spent the whole trip to Potsdam talking about courtship today and back in the 50's. Both groups had each other shaking with laughter.
In my time in Berlin, I've never seen anyone randomly talk to anyone else on the train and I've never seen such an interesting group enjoy each other's company so much . Normally, a story that starts with two missionaries, gangsters and two old people ends with a punchline, but this one just left me stunned, smiling and optimistic about humanity. (Plus, I think I'll be more open to talk to Germans on the train!!)
Everyone got of the train saying goodbyes (including myself) and smiling ear to ear. Keep on talking to people! You're leaving a positive impact on people, even when it's not immediately apparent.  

If you could please pass this story along to your missionaries, I'd be incredible grateful! 

Cheers from Potsdam,
2-15-15 Zone Conference  Berlin North

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Week 29- Family History

Hello Loving Family,

This week has been very interesting.  We were able to have a zone training meeting with our beloved President Kosak.  I absolutely love seeing him and getting the chance to be with him.  We had interviews with him, and for the majority of our time, we were looking up family history stuff, like the picture that I sent showing the location of Zetau in Poland.  But, we also got to talk alot with each other, and it was the best for my week. And during our Zone Training Meeting, I noticed that one of the sisters in my district was crying and I did not understand why. Later, Sister Kosak told me that she had just recieved the news that her dad has serious cancer and they are not sure how more time he has longer on earth.  I was just astounded at the situation.  My sympathy goes out for her and her family, and it was just an amazing moment to understand a little more of why I am here in Marzahn.  It is such a testimony builder for me to know that the Lord is trully watching over His children.  It has been amazing to know that I am truly here for a reason.  So I love you all and I hope all is going well!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!  I found something pretty cool in Berlin, that I think you will like, so keep an eye out for it in the mail.  Oh, and I have not  recieved any package yet but I can check the office next week.

Elder Bretzing

President Kosak found this for me! For one of our interviews we had, we were just looking for Zetau, the whole time.  Settau, is actually once Zetau, near the border to Russia in Poland.  That is where some of the family comes from and President Kosak told me that in Rogen is where we would find all the archives of our family.  Cool, right?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week -28 - learning about small miracles

Hello Loving Family,                                                                                2/9/2015
It is great to hear that you are taking some swim aerobic classes.  It is hard to imagine you with the little scrunchie thing on your head while doing it, but I am happy that you are starting to take care more of your body.  If it makes you feel any better, I have to play soccer and if you have never played or do not like playing, then do not play with Germans.  They are very serious and they kick hard.  And you feel like you have no idea what you are doing.  But that has been my excercise and workout time.  And I am jealous that you are going to Hawaii, but happy as well.  Enjoy the sun, I saw the sun yesterday for about an hour and I felt like I was home, I havent seen it for a long time and I cant wait for it to come back in the summer.  I look too white.  I better get some pictures when you go though. 
This week has been definately better though.  I have seen some of the changes I needed to make and it was great to see that.  I feel proud and happy with myself with my work.  But, just how life wants to treat us, there is things that you do not expect for.  My companion was sick this week for about 4 days straight.  So with the other Elders in the apartment, we kind of had shifts to watch him and we tried to do the best we could.  We have still been having a hard time finding new investigators this week.  Which you would think, you are in the biggest city in all of Germany, how is it hard to find new investigators, right?  I have no idea why it has been the hardest, but we are still trying our best.  Something that I have been dealing with lately is just trying to keep focus in the work.  Our apartment has four Elders in it.  And two of the Elders are going home in two weeks, and then my companion is going home in May,  So keeping us focused has been a main struggle.  But I still try to love them and do all that I can. 
This week was especially great, because one of the Sisters in our district was able to see one of their investigators be baptized.  That was just great and I am so happy for him and the sisters as well.  And there was a tiny miracle that I was able to see.  So, in our ward building, we have a baptismal font.  And we asked the bishopric if they could start filling it up and they told us that before Sacrament meeting they would start to fill it up, because it takes a while to get it filled up.  And in Germany, at least all that I have seen, the hours are switched around and so sacrament is the last hour of church.

And as I was sitting during sacrament meeting and about 20 mins have gone by, I just had the craziest feeling to check the font.  And I am starting to understand more about how the Spirit speaks to me.  Lets be real, Heavenly Father knows that I am a worry wart.  And so I think all the Spirit needs to do is plant a thought into my head and I will act upon.  I just had the thought, THE FONT go through my mind, and that just freaked me out, so I had to go and check it and lo and behold, they forgot to turn it on.  Fortunately, we were able to start it then and it was about half way full, but they decided to go through with the baptism for when it was scheduled (because Germans are very punctual and nothing will delay ANYTHING.  and I have noticed that they are alot more punctual here than in Sachsen. )  So it brings warm feelings to my heart to know that no matter what the situation, the Spirit is always with me.  And sometimes when you get discouraged or depressed, you forget to look for these small miracles, and it brought peace to my mind to know that there are still miracles happening in our lives.

Overall, this week has been good.  Not the best that I want, but it was great to see the progress being made and the happiness that I feel from that.
I love you all and I am happy that I still have a year and a half before I come home.  Gives me time to be here and to do what I got to do.

Love,Elder Bretzing

P-day in Marzahn

Check point Charlie

This is the Berliner Dom, the biggest cathedral in all of Berlin.

       My district.  Went from a four man district to a 10 man district with elders and sisters

so this is what germans think mexican food is.  They put carrots in my quesadillas!!! who does that!?!

Pictures of the museum inside and out

This is a museum that we visited dedicated to all the things that the Germans took from other countries and brought it back and restored them here. So that is a gate from Egypt and a palace piece from somewhere in Greece

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 27- learning to Trust myself

Guten Morgen Liebe Familie!                                                                   2/2/2015

I do not think you have to worry about a whole letter in German anymore.  It is really fun, but it takes too much time and I do not have the patience for it.  This week has been hard.  Our District has really been struggling with finding new investigators.  I have thought about it over and over again, and I cannot put my finger on the reason why we are struggling there.  I know for me personally, it has been tough.  Sometimes, I get caught up in myself and when that person passes on the street, I just beat myself up and it is a vicious cycle and I find myself talking to nobody that day.  And that happened alot this week.  And it just goes back to having trust in myself and to really learn and grow and not to beat up and be disappointed.  Disappointment is the last place where we want to be. 

It has been a very humbling week, and a week where I have been reminded of how much Heavenly Father trusts us and knows that with His help, all is possible.  And my trust that I have found myself putting more into His hands, is knowing that He needs me to be the District Leader here.  Sometimes, I feel like I am not the right one for the job.  And I know that I should not be thinking this way, and I have beaten these dangerous thought traps before, and I just came to the realization that my trust should always be in the Lord.  For He knows why all happens, and that I have a testimony of. 
So this next week, I have made some great plans to really improve my week and to stay positive.  And I think that can really help my district as well too.  So I am so sorry that my email is short this week, but I have alot of work to do and  I am looking forward to seeing the progress and change in this next week.  We have still been having some good appointments with our investigators, and it has been such a great spiritual uplifter to see their desire to come closer to God and that through their efforts to come closer to Him, their lives have been blessed. 

 Love you,
Elder Bretzing