"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:19-20)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Have the days of miracles ceased?

Guten Tag!!
Well, I am officially over the hump of my stay at the MTC! Next week we get 19 new Deutschers in, the week after that we get our travel plans, and then two weeks after that, Guten Tag Deutschlad! Life is so great- the Lord's hand has truly been "unplugged" so to speak in regard to Him blessing my life.
First off, I should have expected it, but I didn't really realize that a language would be LEARNED here... not just obtaining the basics and then figuring it all out once I got to Germany. The last few days have been amazing with the Spirit of the Lord so greatly blessing me with the Gift of Tongues- it is a real thing. An actual power. A gift from God. I would speak of teach in lessons, and I had to think back and ask, "Wait, did I say that in English or German?" It came so naturaly I didn't have to think of it in English first, translate, and then speak- it is all simultaneous. I am beginning to udnerstand what the Lord was talking about when he said to treasure up in our minds all that we can, and it will be given to us in the very moment that we need it; and the idea of opening my mouth and it will be filled. To help our German, we have 2 hours a day (zwei Stunden t├Ąglich) of only German (nur Deutsch). [[By the way... I have this problem of mixing up the word "Stunden" and the word "sterben".... one means "hours" one means "to die"........ oh mercy! [oh Barmherzigkeit!]] That is always a lot of fun and we play games in our district to learn conversational German vocab. We also have nur Deutsch Tag.. only German Days.. this week is on Saturday- so hopefully I won't speak any English on that day!
Second, all the senior companions were switched, so Elder Johnson is now senior companion. It is great to see him rise to the occasion and help our companionship even more. President Dunn called me in to an interview and extended the call for me to serve as District Leader. What a great honor and privlidge to serve in this capacity on top of being a missionary! It's actually very similar to Elders Quorum President, but with only 9 brethren, and we talk about missionary stuff all day long! I have really enjoyed it and am greatful for this opportunity from the Lord. I will serve in this capacity until I get to Germany.
Third, I have been singing with some other Elders in my district in the MTC Choir- what a great experience! We have found the perfect seats so when General Authorities come on Tuesday nights, we are sitting with at eye level... Dad, it reminds me of what you did on your mission when President Monson called you up! So far, we have had 5 members of the Sevenety come, and they have given wonderful devotionals... but we are all anxiously awaiting a visit from a member of the Quorum of the Twelve or First Presidency! One day at choir, right before it started, I heard a voice behind me, and I turned and I knew I knew this Elder, but couldn't quite figure it out. He turned a little bit- Brett Gau! One of my great friends from my elementary years in American Fork! I couldn't believe it, and neither could he. It was great to catch up and I have seen him several times since. Then last night, we knew that we had some new elders move in to our floor at the residence halls. I was talking to Elder Johson as we were walking up the stairs to our room about who he thought moved in (which mission). Some of the new elders were walking out, and one stopped and said, "Nate Garlick!" I turned and instantly recognized him- Dave Browning! Also from my elementary years in American Fork! It was so great to see him and be reminded of all the great times we had in cub scouts and everything. And even more, he is in the residence hall room right next to me; so I will be around him for the next 4ish weeks. Brett is going to Japan, and Dave is going to Ivory Coast. What a miracle, for us three to be reunited over the course of our stay in the MTC, and all happen to live in the SAME residence hall. The Lord is so great!
Fourth, the Lord's hand has been so prevelant in my life as I receive notes and letters and packages and prayers from all my family and friends. There truly is somthing tangeable to the receiving of uplifting and inspiring notes; not just a piece of paper, but a feeling of the Spirit that helps me go forward, have strength, and further the work of the Lord. So thank you, for being an answer to my prayers, everyone: from my family in College Station and the Ward family there; my great friends from College Station and the family you have all become; my ward family at BYU and my best friends who the Lord truly has blessed me with having; my extended family and grandparents; and my great friends and loved ones all over the country- I think I am the luckiest guy in the world! You have all blessed my life greater than I could ever express thanks for.
So I ask: Have the days of miracles ceased? NO! There are more miracles happening today than ever before in the history of the world; all we have to do is recognize them, and more will come. Not only will the windows of heaven open and pour out blessings and miracles, but in the German bible the interpretation is that "the floodgates of Heaven will open and pour out blessings." The floodgates of heaven have truly opened up in my life, for which I am so grateful.
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He truly came to this earth to atone for our sins, becoming the Savoir and Redeemer of all mankind. He did in actuality appear to the people on the American continent, of which The Book of Mormon is a record of, and He and the Father did appear to the Prophet Joseph, and because of that we have this great work and cause to spread to the four corners of the earth.
Have the days of miracles ceased? No, the days of miracles are only beginning!
All my best and with much love,
Elder Garlick

Thursday, February 17, 2011

This is the Christ!

Guten Morgen!
What a wonderful week! Each week just gets better and better! Time is really going by fast, as this weekend marks the half-way point of my MTC stay. The amount of things I have learned and am now able to do is simple miraculous- not because of any of my abilities, but because of the great Spirit that is here and permiates everything... even meal time! Yesterday, the new group of missionaries came, and I accompanied an elder who sang "This is the Christ" solo. It truly is one of my favorite songs, because of the extremely powerfull message of Jesus the Christ. He sang beautifully and I felt a wonderful spirit. I looked out over the new missionaries sitting in this orientation meeting and remembered back to my first day here and I thought I knew what it was going to be like. I thought I knew what it felt like to have a testimony that Jesus is the Christ, the Holy Son of God; I thought I knew what it was like to receive revelation from a member of the Godhead, guiding and directing each step of my life; I thought I knew what it was like to study the scriptures; I thought I knew what it was like to follow the Savior's invitation to "Come, Follow Me." Oh, how my understanding of these things has amplified to nearly impossible comprehension! There is an actual power here, and is constantly building me up and strengthening my testimony. Which relates to something I studied from the Prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon this week: He talked about how beeing filled with the Holy Ghost led to having great power. I got to thinking about the difference between "feeling the Holy Ghost" and being "filled with the Holy Ghost". Are they the same? Feeling the Holy Ghost is something that everybody can experience- it is the power of testimony; for a person who feels the Holy Ghost bear witness of spiritual truths gains a testimony and eventually a knowledge of the same. The feelings of the Holy Ghost is key to any conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ; but it's not conversion. Conversion happens when one is filled with the Holy Ghost. That can only happen after baptism by proper authority and then receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost; then can the Holy Ghost fill every part of our beings and guide us on the path from testimony to conversion. But this is a long process, and one that must be diligently worked for to the end. How grateful I am to the Spirit for beginning to fill my soul and helping me to truly be converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Some of the Elders in the district were wondering what my favorite scripture was, and that was tough! Every scripture I would turn to, I would love just as much as the other one! It was fun, but they were serious, and wanted to know if every scripture was taken away except one, and that was the only scripture in all the Gospel, which one I would pick. I thought, and this scripture truly tops all the others for me; not necessarily better than the rest, but so important, that it would be impossible to live without:
"Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified would come into the world." (3 Nephi 11:10, Book of Mormon) Why do you think I picked this scripture? I have a lot of favorite scriptures, but this one is especially poignant to me, becuase of the message it gives: 1- Jesus Christ is speaking to the people in the Americas. He truly did appear to His "other sheep" that He told his disciples in Jerusalem about. His speaking shows that He lives after His death. He truly was resurrected. Because he was alive three days after his death to the people in Jerusalem, He was still alive to appear to the people in ancient America, He is still alive today, just as much so as in the scriptural accounts. Why would Christ be alive and have resurrected body that could be touched and felt three days, a week, a month after His resurrection, and then all of a sudden stop existing in that same form? He didn't. He is as much a live today as he was in ancient Jerusalem and ancient America. 2- Christ testifies that He used prophets to prepare the people of the world for His coming. He put His "stamp of approval" on their messages by this scripture, and showed that He still values the prophets when he called and set apart the disciples in America, as the Book of Mormon recounts. Similar to His actuality, if calling and ordaining apostles and prophets three days, a week, a month after He had been resurrected in a perfect form, why would He stop to value prophets to testify of His actuality and His Second Coming (which prophets have testified of)? He didn't. He called a prophet in 1820 to bring forth the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to us to prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Savior and Redeemer of the world. 3- Christ spoke and testified to the people in ancient America before His actual apperarance (3 Nephi 11:3) and left the comforter to be with them after His return to God's presence. Same stance as my before testimony, that because he spoke and revealed to the people of the world after His resurrection, why would he stop all of a sudden? He didn't. He speaks as much, and even more, than He did to the people of ancient times. Through personal revelation, we know what we must do, fix, and be, to better our personal lives. Parents receive the revelation for a better family, President Monson receives the revelation for how the Lord wants His church run today. Jesus Christ is, not was. He reveals, not revealed. He loves, not loved. He knows us, not knew only them of ancient times. I too can testfiy: This is the Christ. The Holy Son of God. My Savior, my Lord, my Redeemer. The Redeemer of all mankind. He is the Healer of our souls, who ransoms us with love divine.
What a truly glorious honor it is to serve as His representative to bring the people of Germany to this knowledge that Jesus is the Christ. I love Him. I love this work. I love His Gospel. I love all those who have helped me come to this knowledge.
Shall we not go on in so great a cause?
Thank you for your prayers and support; there is an actualy power in this. Thank you.
All my best,
Elder Garlick

Thursday, February 10, 2011

He Knows us by Name....and much, much more.

Guten Morgen!

What a fantastic week! I guess it really is possible for each week to be better than the last! The Spirit has been so strong; the language has been spoken, butchered, and then re-spoken; and heaven has surely been close at hand. [My funny phrase this week was asking an investigator if we could give him a bike to church....]

One of the neat things we do every week is an hour of service. our district is assinged the bathrooms in a building. So Elder Johnson and I clean 5 bathrooms everyweek, and have a grand time doing so! Thanks for teaching us how to clean bathrooms while growing up- so I wasn't scared to clean the toilets or floor! This last week, I was mopping the floor and was reminded of what Elder Hales talked about in Conference about painting yourself into a corner. I hadn't mopped myself into a corner, but when I squoze out the water from the mop, all of it didn't come out, so a trail of water was left by my feet. I didn't realize it, and after mopping, saw a bunch of muddy footprints on my clean floor! It made me think that we need to clean up as we go, and not ignore muddy footprints left in our lives. For if left behind, we will have to re-mop the entire floor, not just take a couple extra sweeps to clean up as we see the need to.

I accompanied for two Sisters and an Elder this morning in their auditions for musical numbers in auditions- and all three were accepted to perform! I am very excited and look forward to performing in front of 2,000+ missionaires and feel of their tremendous spirit!

Our district has started a tradition that we are all so excited about- every evening after our daily planning, we go around the room and share how we saw the hand of the Lord in our life that day. The spirit is always tremendous!! We have grown so close over the last few weeks, and this event every night is truly strengthening us even more, and allowing the Lord to make us into the missionaries He needs us to be.

And a crazy and quite humnourous experience gives the title to my email this week. We were coming in from gym one day and somebody said "Elder Garlick!" So I turned and said "jawohl!" I had no clue who this Elder was, and he obviously didn't know who I was... He asked with suprise if my name was Garlick. I said yes and he started laughing and hooting and hollering (they were the Tongan missionaries! :-) They took my up to their part of the residence hall and said that one of their roommates was Elder Garlick. So I met him, and he is going to Tonga...with a roomfull of big Polynesians! I asked about any common relatives, but we couldn't come up with any on the spot. Then I thought to ask his first name. To my great suprise, it is Nathan; and he goes by Nate! So this got all the Tongans rolling on the floor. Good thing we have different middle names, otherwise some great confusion could happen. So that was all fun, but the spiritual experience happened the next day. We picked up mail, and I got one from dad (Thank you for your scriptures and insights!) and at the bottom, was the beginning of another letter, and continuted on the next page (DearElder formats some interesting ways). I had no Idea who this second letter was from! I definitely don't know a Julie Garlick from Cedar City, Utah... then I though about this other Elder Nate Garlick and knew it must be his letter. So I went over to his room and told him of the mix up with mail. [Meanwhile, the Tongan Elders went downstairs and brought the other Elder Matthew Garlick up to us... he is somthing like my second cousin removed a couple of times, and I knew this Elder Garlick was here... we got a fun triple-Garlick picture! And the other Elders rolled about our Garlick reunion!] He confirmed that this letter was from his mother, and we laughed about the mix up, and said if we got each other's mail we would correct it! I got to thinking about this, and realized that two people with the same name had been completely mistaken for the other.. and we even look a bit alike too! The mail services and DearElder website couldn't distinguish between us. Then I thought about our missions and our mission calls. Me Elder Nate Garlick was called to Germany, and him Elder Nate Garlick was called to Tonga. He has his companion and district, and I have mine. So why didn't the Lord mix up our mail, our mission calls, when they were given? Because the Lord knows us by so much more than just our names. He knows us by our faith and works, by our hopes and desires, by our strengths and weaknesses, our needs and yearnings, our successes and failures, our follies and griefs, and our happiness and joy. He know what I need in my life to help me the most, and what the other Elder Garlick needs to help him. Lord knows me Elder Nate Garlick and him Elder Nate Garlick as two completely different people, and has two completely different plans for us for our missions and in life. And these plans won't get mixed up just because we have the same name; for the Lord makes no mistakes with delivering mail.

Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He knows each of us as individuals, and has a perfect plan for each of us. This is shown in the first words spoken to begin this great and marvelous work: "Joseph, this is my Beloved Son. Hear Him." How greatful I am that the Lord knew Joseph Smith and prepared him for the work I am now involved in: bringing souls unto Christ. This work is true. This work is His whose name it bears.

All my best and much Love,

Elder Garlick

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Shall we not go on in so great a cause!?

Guten Tag!
The third week has started! It is crazy how fast time goes here... it really is true that the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days... not quite sure how that works, but that's the way it goes!
So this last week and a half have been real intesne German speaking days.. Elder Johnson and I have 2 investigators, Jonathan and Erwin, and in two weeks, we have taught them three times each. Of course, it is all a role play, but the Spirit doesn't know that... we have been able to speak better than we have learned and have that same Spirit testify of truths to us and to our investigators.
Our district discovered this week that speaking a foreign language is.. foreign! With rules and changes that we don't have in English... we have been keeping track of all the funny things we say in German, didn't realize what it reall meant, and then laughed afterwards after we figured it out the English translation. These were said in class and during lessons with investigators:
- Christ lives and in stuck to the side of the earth
- (Investigator) "I feel real bad whenever I drink beer" (Missionary) "That is Satan- He will tell you right from wrong."
- (In prayer) Father, please be obedient
- Jesus Christ sins for us
- Christ kills for all of us
- German people enjoy eating their families
HA! So we have good laughs at ourselves with the things we say, but realize the great need for improvement that will be required before leaving to Germany on March 21. I have never been very good at memorizing, but have made a goal to memorize 30 words a day. So far, I have the 90 word flashcard stack, and nearly all memorized and have been able to use them in conversation- the Spirit was absolutely essential for this miracle- and it really was a miracle, because it is something that would not have happened without the hand of the Lord.
Our Brach Presidency was changed on Sunday. President Dunn in the new President, with Brother Hicken and Brother Peterson as counselors. I guess the Lord really wants me to have a lot of family around, becase Brother Hicken, with Andrew and Amy, make three family members I get to see several times a week! Brother Hicken is a decendant from Addison (my 2nd Great Grandfather) Hicken's brother. So we are cousins of sorts! And Brother Bob Moss, I beleive you will remember Brother Peterson, who, after conversation with him, found out he served with you in Frankfurt on your mission!
I have been able to play piano in sacrament meeting the last two Sundays, and with 30 members of our Zone leaving on Monday, some of them play the piano, I will probably be playing every week- which is a great blessing to keep the music going! Also, several members of the Zone have asked me to accompany them for musical numbers that they will be doing in devotionals and sacrament meetings, so I am excited for that and for the great opportunities to share my testimony through music.
Initially, my mission theme scripture was D&C 84:88. But over the weeks, I have felt another one become the basis for all I do, with focus and excitement, spirit and power: D&C 128:22, "Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backwards! Courage, Brethren, and on, on to victory! Let your hearts rejoice and be exceedingly glad." What power in that scripture! This, accopmanied with D&C 84:88 gives my great joy and excitement about the work I am involved in! Revelation 3:20 has also been one I have memorized in German (with the previous two) and has given great direction to me and focus for what this is all about: "I stand at the door and knock. Whosoever hears my vocie and opens the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, me with him, and he with me. (That may not be the exact English translation, but is from the Greman basis).
What a great work this is! Bringing others to Christ by helping them receive the resotred Gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentence, Baptism, Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. This truly is Christ's work. This has been reaffirmed to me many times over the past weeks, with great amounts of help, direction, and comfort from His Holy Spirit. This if His work, brough again to light by Joseph Smith, and carried forth by me. What a truly magnificent honor this is- to play a role in the great and marvelous work! I know Jesus Christ lives. His atonement is more far-reaching and wide-spread than to give forgiveness for our sins; but comforts, counsels, uplifts, gives excitement, and makes our yoke easy and our burden light. I know the Book of Mormon is true. With this Bible and modern prophets, we have the true gospel of Jesus Christ restored on the Earth- what a marvelous blessing from God- and how excited I am to "not bless my family alone, be [am] anxious to bless the whole human race." (Joseph Smith) Familes can be together forever- through all eternity- through the temple ordinances- death is not the end. What joy and peace this sweet message gives!
Thank you for all your support through letters and prayers. There is power in prayer, there is power in hope. Your prayers increase my hope and faith, bringing me closer to Christ, and preparing to give that faith and hope to the people of Germany.
Shall we not go on in so great a cause?!
All my best and with love,
Elder Garlick