Monday, January 25, 2016

WEEK 1-25-2016

Howdy Everyone,

Well, it is already the last week of january.  Crazy.  Next thing I know, it will be Mom's birthday. Oh P.S... HAPPY BIRTHDAY HANNA! Man, she is getting old.  What 26 now?  Time flies... I hope she has a fun birthday, especially because she will probably get baby stuff.  Or does that come later? I have no idea.  But yeah, it seems like pretty soon Moms birthday will be around the corner and that means I should try to finally send my present from last year what I have held onto this whole time.  I know... I am horrible with packages and what not.

This last week has been sort of crazy.  It is really funny to see that there is a heater and everything back at home because it has been -4 C this entire last week.  It has been snowing too, and now it just started to melt.  I think I am in for a shock how warm it is back at home.  Or how dry it is.  The humidity is what gets ya here. 

As for the questions about transfers.  Well, I knew that I would be here in Flensburg for at least 2 transfers.  This week is week 2 of the 2 transfer.  I do not think that I will stay here long though.  But who knows.  For all that happens, I could end my mission here.  But its a different pace to work in a branch and an area where it takes you about 1 1/2 hours of travel to get to your district meeting.  We keep ourselves busy, at least we try.  We have been having some success with finding people, but they dont really stay too long.  I hope that we will end up finding some people who really want to learn.  

I guess what was noteworthy of this last weekend is that we had a worldwide broadcast to all missionaries.  It was good, but our service in our church building was bad so we will need to watch some of it again.  I think my favorite part to be reminded about was from Elder Bednar who said that teaching is not talking, but listening and observing.  So I want to improve my teaching skills.

Well, I love you all and I hope all is going great back at home.  

Until next week!

Elder Bretzing

Training meeting in Berlin 1-2016
(find my smiley Elder)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Hey Family!

Well another crazy week with stories to tell.  It started off actually really well!

Where to start... I think a noteworthy day for our history here in Flensburg was on Tuesday.  So on Tuesday, we had most of our appointments because we had a meeting on Thursday in Berlin and so that meant that we would be traveling most of the week.  So we planned most of our appointments for last Tuesday. We had 3 appointments with all single women.  And if you know anything about missionary work, we are not allowed to visit single women.  So we called and called and begged to get some members to come with us, but they were all either working or studying because they had exams this last week.  So we went into planning this day kind of just assuming that they would all fall out because we had no one to come with us. 

So we planned some really good back up plans.  So, as the day came, things just started to fall into place.  Our first appointment was with a college student who moved from Kenya.  She wanted to invite a friend over but her friend couldn't come, so she asked us if we could meet at a little cafe because she would not feel comfortable to have just us in her apartment.  We happily agreed and we were able to teach her more at this little cafe. 

The second lady, a old widow, as we came to her house for our appointment, we rang the bell to see if she would answer and some random guy answered the bell and let us in.  Turns out, he was a friend of hers and she just invited him over during the time we were supposed to come by. That was cool, so we were able to stay and teach her and him.  The third lesson is with a high school student who moved from Spain. And as we were going to her appointment, a member called us back and said that he found the time to come with us.  So that was really cool. The first day where no appointments fell through! Woohoo. But the thanks goes all to God.  I feel that we were truly blessed to see miracles like that because we were prepared.  It was retaught to me the principle of being prepared.  

Then the traveling began. We left Wednesday afternoon to travel to Hamburg in order to catch a ICE train to get us to Berlin.  We had about a 1 hour delay in Hamburg and so you know me and my relationship to hamburg.  We went out to see the town hall and a little bit of the city.  And then grabbed quick food and got onto the train for Berlin.  We stayed the night in Berlin and then on Thursday we had a trainer trainee meeting in the mission home.  Pictures should come soon, but that was a nice little meeting. It was more centered on the new missionaries.  It was funny to see all the trainers raising their hands to answer questions, but they really weren't called on. and I think President Fingerle even said one time in the meeting that it was primarily focused on the new missionaries. 

I was able to do a little bit of family history and I have been finding a huge success with a part of our family tree from a little town in Northern Germany called Schwerin. The Baumann family.  the line of the wife of Karl August Gottleib Bretzing.  So that has been fun and I found a whole bunch of ancestors, but I need a my heritage account to see more.  Do you have a my heritage account mom?  I have a free one so I can go into it a little bit. Then we hit the road again for Flensburg, but sadly we would not of been able to make it back, so we stayed the night in Kiel.  And that is when I realized that my voice was really shaky and I couldn't really speak very well and then on Friday morning, when I woke up, my voice was completely gone.  I had no idea what happened. and to put the cherry on the top, we had district meeting on Friday.  So as we had district meeting, it was probably the quietest one I have ever had because i could barely whisper.  And then when I got home, I had barely no energy and had headaches for some reason.  So I was in bed from Saturday to Sunday evening.  Everything feels a little better and my voice is a little raspy, but i think its going ok.  We are still taking it a little slow, but I have most of my strength back.

It was weird not to go to church in almost 19 months.  That was really weird for me. but that was our week.  This week is pretty empty because I have been out of commission for the past few days, but we are going to work on filling it up.  

Ok, so trip ideas. I am happy that President Fingerle approved you to come pick me up.  So the plan ideas.  If we were to do it for a couple of weeks, I would be ok with that, but like maximum 3.  I would love to visit both temples in Germany and if we would want to visit any other ones in Europe.  Like I would be down to go and see London.  I would love to also see Munchen in Bayern and Salzburg in Austria. And even Switzerland. but then I cannot speak that German, I will just have to ask everyone to speak either English or High German.  I would love to maybe see Italy.  But we can do it if you want to see Paris. I would also like to spend a few days in Hamburg and Berlin and Dresden and maybe visit with members there.  But that is my thoughts about it, otherwise be creative and have fun with the planning of it.  Just keep me in the loop of things, but not to often.    

Well ok, now I am going to go and try to talk to people again, or at least have my companion do all the talking Ill just write stuff down and use hand signals!  I love you all and have fun and until next week!

Elder Bretzing 


Hey Everyone,

I was trying to think of a subject for this letter but I could not think of anything.  The days mesh together.  But this week we had a lot of new experiences that is for sure!

We had a Zone Training Meeting on Tuesday of this week.  That just means we go down to Kiel and we do not get back until really late.  It was good.  Our mission focus for the next two months is family history.  So I am very happy that you sent me all that family history stuff!  I have it saved on my I pad and I show the pictures to people that we come across.  I have also noticed some new things on the familysearch profile.  Is that you as well? I think its super cool!  So thanks to whoever is doing that! (sorry my thoughts got sidetracked)  But so we are going to have to do a lot of things this next two months.  For example, every area is supposed to do a street display by the end of the month I think.  So we have been organizing that with our ward so that we can do one here in Flensburg.  I hope it will all turn out smoothly. 

Elder Ausobsky and I also had a very unique opportunity to help someone in their garden.  In the winter.... lets just say it was something I will never forget.  I am grateful that I can feel my fingers and toes again because it was really cold.  But there is a lady that needs help and she has this land and she wants to turn it into a very nice garden.  It reminded me of our project back at home.  By the way, it could probably help us if you send pictures of before and after of the garden.  Then, I could show them to her.  But so the ground was already frozen and we just ended up moving rocks for 2 hours.  And because the ground was frozen, we had to take a shovel and pry them out of the ground.  So that was interesting.  It was also a nice opportunity to talk to her a little bit about the gospel.  Her interest in anything church related is very minimal but we are seeing if maybe she would like to learn more.  

We have been starting a lot of new activities in our area as well.  We played basketball with an exchange student from a small country next to Russia and also a few of the kids from the branch. We are also teaching a English class and also maybe a German class for some of the refugees here that are staying in Flensburg. and we also want to start doing some more community service, so we are going to a place called a Tafel (I think its a soup kitchen in English) and just see how we can help.  It is interesting to think that here in Flensburg, we have met a lot of people that are either homeless or just wanders.

The work is also starting to pick up here.  We had a great day yesterday.  Our Ward mission leader and a new convert went on splits with us and for the whole day, we just went by on people who investigated the church either earlier and we went by also on some less active members.  We found a lot of new people that we can work with and it was just a great experience to have and to see that it was so much fun to be with the members and I hope that when I get home, that I can do stuff like that.  

We had a really funny experience with a member this last week as well.  Well, he is a member because about 10 years ago he got baptized but then never came back to church.  We went by on him because we want to get to know everyone in the ward and so he let us in and we started talking with each other.  And the entire time, he was asking us questions like, "So tell me more about your missionary service.  Like what is that about? Does your church make you do that? "  and just asking really simple questions that any member would know.  Well, our next lesson we have planned that we are going to go in there and just remind him that he was at one point a member of our church and if he remembers that.  So that was a really funny experience.  I remember walking out of that appointment just confused and I double checked our list to make sure his name was right and that was indeed the right person we were supposed to visit.

Kevin and Hana are having a Disney theme announcement?  Since when have there been themes with baby announcements?  Ok, whatever.  I would like a picture though when it is done.

Well, I love you all and you are all in my prayers. 

Elder Bretzing  

Monday, January 4, 2016


Hey Family,

This week went by really fast, but lots to do at the same time.  We were everywhere, both in our area and in Kiel because of the new years.  But i will explain all of that a little bit later.  I thought I could start off by sharing a really cool expierence.  It happened actually yesterday.

 Elder Ausobsky and I were on our way to an appointment with a woman that the sisters before us used to teach.  We had a little bit of time and so we decided that we could go by on some contacts. So we have of people who met with the missionaries about 10 years ago.  But as we were on our way, it was cold.  Like really cold and the winds were just blowing like crazy.  So Elder Ausobsky went for cover as he was looking for the address of someone in the area.  And I remember we just turned around and I was looking at this house, and I just had that feeling, "Ring the bell."  Elder Ausobsky thought I was crazy.  I thought I might of been to.  It didn't seem sketchy or what not, it was just we have been walking for a while and it was really random.  And so I thought, ring the top bell.  And that's what we did.  Seconds later, we were let right in and got to have a really nice conversation with a man who recently became a father.  We started talking about what we do and we were able to make out an appointment with him for this coming Thursday.  I remember walking away, being grateful for the still small influence of the Holy Ghost.  I do not know what will become of this man.  If he will have any more interest or will want to continue to meet with us in the future.  But its nice for me to know that the Spirit is with us and that He guides us to those who are looking for something, and that sometimes means before even the people themselves know it.  

But most of the week we have been traveling.  I found out this week also that our District Leader just got, we call it blitzed, but it is when they are needed somewhere else and so he became a Zone Leader down in the south of our mission.  And the night before he left, he calls me and starts laughing.  And he told me that I am now district leader.  That is just so weird for me.  First of all, it was fun to be just training up here in Flensburg and not having to do any of the meetings or what not.  But I guess if that is what I need to do right now.  And it really is nothing big.  But i thought it was funny. So we had district meeting and then on the 1st the whole zone met together to do an activity or something.  It was originally planned that we were all going to go do a 5k or something, but this part of Germany does not support anything like that, so we just got together to do a small run and played frisbee.  It was fun.

We have really been struggling for a while in our area with having lessons with people.  I do not know if it is because of the holidays (I really hope so) or if the people really do not have interest.  But we are still working on that that we can find someone who is really interested in the gospel.  It has been such a strange feeling for me, to have people being so friendly on the street, and they are willing to exchange information with us, but whenever we show up to their house for the visit, they are never there.  It is strange and we are trying to figure out how we can work around that.  

The portugese is coming along slowly.  I still cant keep that much in my brain, but fortunately there is a member here from Africa, where they speak portuguese and so we are going to start meeting with him weekly and he is going to help me with portuguese and I amd going to help him with english. Fair trade we thought.  But I asked my mission president and so far there is no official program that is portuguese speaking, but we will see how that works out right now because there is only one other Elder who speaks portuguese in our mission.  But if i ever find anything out, I will let you know.  Probably wont happen until I am done training Elder Ausobsky and that is not for another 7 weeks.

Well, thats my update in a nutshell.  Pictures are coming soon and I will make sure to send them your way.  Love you everyone.  P.s. so any news with Chad and the new baby?  Name? Picture? 


Elder Bretzing

Sunrise from the Flensburg Train Station

WEEK 12/28/15

Hey Family!

            Well this one will be a really short one because we just spoke with each other on the phone like 2 days ago.  It was good to see everyone!  Thanks for your support and it was just good getting to see everyone.

Man a lot will be different when I get home, having 3 new faces wandering around.  But I am excited to get to see that when I get home.  

            Well nothing really new has happened in the last few days.  The only thing is that this next week will be pretty busy for us.  And not really busy with appointments but with travel.  For example.... last Monday, we received a referral from Church Headquarters (that usually means that someone got in contact with material from the church or visited the website) and this lady lives all the way on the other side of our area.  On a little island to the west of Flensburg.  We already checked and it will take us about 2 1/2 to 3 hours to get there and back.  And for the return trip, we have to leave our area because of the train ride.  And then on thursday, we have to travel to Kiel for district meeting and that normally takes about a little over an hour.

But we always have to wait for trains.  And then we are going back again on Friday because we are coming together as a zone to celebrate New Years by starting it off with a lot of exercise. (from what I heard).  And then the day after on Saturday, we are again traveling back to a small city called Niebuell to visit a new convert.  It also takes about 1 1/2 hours BY BUS to get there.  So it will be a fun packed week of traveling.  We will see how it will go.  Its ok with me because then it just gives us more time to talk to someone in the bus or in the train.  See, they cant run away from us there.  And I feel like I can connect better with them there than on the street.

But yup, that is our week looking towards.  It will be really weird to usher in 2016.  I thought this year would never come.  But, thats life.

Well, love you all!


Elder Bretzing

Week 12-21-15

Hey family,

Ok: I will answer this question. I think I will be skyping around 6:00 p.m. Here in Flensburg.  If I did my math right, that will be 9:00 a.m. In California. But let's do this German style and be ready 10 minutes early.  So 8:50 a.m.

Ok love you! Until then!
Elder Bretzing

Thanks Ward Members and Friends :My paper tree is the BEST!