"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)

Monday, March 28, 2011


Meine Familie!

What an amazing place Deutschland is! I think I will do a day-by-day review, just because so much has happened!

Monday, 3.21: We left the MTC at 5am, and drove on a charter bus up to the airport. There was a lot of excitement, and also a bit of anxiety from everybody. At the MTC, there were scales for our bags, and I was pushing 50 pounds in each... but the airport scales read them at 46 and 47, so all was well! We went up to our gate and just waited around. We were walking up to the boarding area right before we loaded, and Brother Park was walking this way! He was coming home on the same plane! It was great to see him. (The plane was really crowded and several of us including me had to wait until the plane was boarded then receive a seat assignment. He went to the desk and changed his ticket to first class to make sure there would be a seat.. and I was one of the last on the plane, so it was a great blessing!) To be honest, I don't even really remember that flight to Dallas... I'm pretty sure I slept, though! How great it was to touch down in Dallas! We walked off the plane, and the other missinaries complained a little at the humidity... I secretly loved it! We got to our international gate and waited for a few hours. It was there that I was able to call and talk and we ate some McDonalds... no Blue Bell or barbeque to be found.. Then we loaded our plane- a HUGE plane! 9 seats across and 4 separate sections. I sat by Elder Decker and a young woman going to Frankfurt for deployment in the army. I slept a lot of this flight... there were TV screens in front of every seat with flight information and maps and cool stuff like that. I remember seeing us over Missouri, Canada, and England... So Iäm not quite sure what happened to the Atlantic ocean, but I know we flew over it! There were really nice flight attendants and they said they make this flight every week, and look forward to seeing us in two years when we return home!

Tuesday, 3.22: So with crazy time chanes and Germany not yet being on Daylight savings and such, we arrived in Frankfurt at 7:00am, but our bodies felt like is was 11 or 12 at night. We met President and Sister Ninow outside the customs place with several missionaries- assistants and others- and split up 5 and 5 to do the day's activities. I went with some of the assistants on a train through Frankfurt to the Mission Office to fill our paperwork and get registered. They challenged us to talk to people on the train, so I got up enough courage to talk with this woman going to work- it was the first time it really hit me that I am in Germany! We got to the mission office and spent a while doing passports and visas and drivers licences und so weiter und so weiter... Then we were taken to Innenstadt Frankfurt for the street preach; a group of missionaries sang hymns and others went out and contacted. It was so great and Elder White and I actually were able to talk to this man for a while about prophets and got his contact information for the Frankfurt Missionaries. After a while of that fun, my group went to the mission home and had interviews with President Ninow. What a great man! He is so genuine and full of love. He gave me some very wise and personal counsel, for which I am greateful. Now it is about this time of the day when the tiredness kicked in... for everybody! It was funny to see all the missionaries slowly start to gaye off in the distance with glossy eyes and their heads kind of bobbing around. The picking up your leg trick can only be used so much! Thank goodness it was dinner time! But it was only 4pm! Sister Ninow made ham with potatoes and salad and Deutsche Brot! sehr sehr lecker! They gave us Milka chocolate and we were taken to a Holiday Inn... 6:30pm we went to sleep, and woke up at 6:00am the next morning... That is officially a new record of sleeping for me! But it was much needed and I haven't felt the jet lag since.

Wednesday, 3.23: We were taken to the Frankfurt Stake Center, also the headquarters of the European Area offices. We had a meeting with President and Sister Ninow and the Assistants. I played the piano for about an hour before as everyone sang, waiting for them to finish discussing companions and areas. (I saw a paper from one of the original lists, and I was in a different companionship and area, so I know I am in the right place, sent here by the Lord) I was assigned to be companions with Elder Forsyth from the Boston area and to serve in Mönchengladbach, out by Düsseldorf. I am in the Duisburg District, Düsseldorf area. The ward boundaries are mission areas, and stake boundries and the zones, making 6 Zones in our mission. I saw Elder Bangerter at the Stake Center right before he went home (one of the Bangerter cousins). Then we were off to Gladbach! We took buses to the Frankfurt hauptBahnhof, where all the transferring missionaries met to get trains to their new areas. I love the Bahnhofs! They are so cool looking, and remind me a lot of the train stations in Harry Potter :-) A group of us got on a train heading through Essen and then on to Düsseldorf and then to Gladbach. What an absolutely amazing train ride!! I will send pictures later, but we were traveling alongside a river, and the most picturesque little German citites were all over the place- castles, churches, Snow White-style houses.. the whole nine yards! It was so amazing! We transfered a couple trains and reached Mönchengladbach! It is a pretty industrialiyed town, and parts remind me of Houston, just not with the skyscrapers. But then there is a great charm to this city- and if you look for it, you will find it! We live very close to the Innenstadt, so it is pretty industrial and commercialized. But we go all around this city- which is really a collection of a whole bunch of other small cities- and find the most amazing looking places, especially the churchs. We have upwards of 10 huge amazing looking churches here- my favorite is St. Josef's Kirche- it really reminds me of Hogwarts! I will get a picture soon.

-Now, the other days kind of blend, so here is just a clump of information about the rest of the week-

But even more impressive than the Churches or quaint parts of town are the people. My first evening in Gladbach we had a lesson with a ma, Gu, who is preparing for baptism, and we got several contacts on the street, including Maik and Herr Schendilar. I don't understand why people say that Germany is such a hard place to do missionary work, and how nobody will listen... because it is just not true! Along with the new investigators found that first day, we have contacted and made appointments with Herr. Raisat, the Ngabonga Family, Herr Johnßen, Ismael and Anitia. The work is moving along just splendidly here! And with every new contact/investigator we found, there were countless others that would stop and talk and we would give out pass-along cards or DVD's or etwas.

Herr Raisat is a fun man- he is about 55 years old, 'Muslim' and a drunkard... but he loves us coming over, and every time we come, he says he never drinks and is not normally like this- but his fridge is full of beer, and apparently he has been in this sauced state for about 9 years- But we feel like he is ready and we can really help him out. We have met with him 3 times and each time he seems to be getting better. He speaks 7 languages, but normally German. Randomly, he will say 'Now I speak English' and so we will talk in English... and then 'Now I speak German' and so we follow. It's a lot of fun to go over and work with him! He just really needs Christ in His life. So one night we were planning and decided to bring him 'Finding Faith in Christ' DVD and we were joking how if he watched it all night long, perhaps he wouldn't drink so much... so the appointment the next day we brought it over and introduced it. On the way out, I said 'And you can just sit here and watch it over, and over, and over, and over, ok?' Elder Forsyth almost busted up laughing! But the cool thing, and kind of funny too, is that the next day we came back and he said 'So I watched your video all night long' ! haha it was a great. He is a wonderful man and has so much potential and I know the Lord led us to him. Please keep him in your prayers, as well as the other inverstigators and contacts.

Church was great yesterday. It wasn't fast Sunday, but I was able to introduce myself and bear testimony in sacrament meeting. It was wonderful! Rainer, an awesome man who is so close to baptism, came and it was really good for him to be there. It was the last Sunday of the month, so the ward had GemeindeEssen, ward meal. It was scrumptious!! And it was a lot of fun to talk with the people there. The youth really love the missionaries, especially Björn and some others. But it is really interesting that Sundays, and really starting Saturday afternoon, the city is just dead! No buses, very few people out and about, and all those we stopped by to visit were either sleeping or not home. But I love Sundays here! And we have had the most beautiful weather this whole week! Crisp mornings, warm afternoons, blue skies, birds always singing- I love Germany! I love Mönchengladbach! I love the people here! I love Missionary Work!

What a great pleasure it is to serve here and help the wonderful people of Gladbach come closer to Christ!

My address is:

Alleestraße 1 (Allestrasse 1)
41067 Mönchengladbach

Thank you for your support, your love and your prayers!

And I hear the fields, birds, and blue skies singing, Carry On, Carry On, Carry On!

Much Love and As Always,
Elder Garlick

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Auf wiedersehen Amerika!

Guten Tag!!
So here goes my last letter from America for a while... and the last time to use a keyboard with the 'y' and 'z' in the normal place! It has been an interesting last few days, with all of us knowing that we will be in Germany sooner than we think. That has made some days fly by, others not so much! It has been great to reflect back and think about these last 9 weeks and all that I have learned and grown.
On Wednesday, the new missionaries came in, and our district were hosts. It was great fun last week, and we were really looking forward to it. They said that two of the traffic missionaries did show up so they asked for a district leader and companion to volunteer to be traffic missionaries- I have never seen a hand go up as fast as Elder Johnson put his up! So we wore the large neon-yellow jackets and got our arm workout for the day directing cars along the road to drop off their missionaries. It was great fun, and the coats were so bright, it seemed like they were emitting light... when I went up to talk to people, I could see the yellow reflecting in their face! Maybe they should make that the new standard missionary jacket... ha just kidding. But that would get a lot more people to notice us!
Spring is coming, and Thursday-Sunday last week were the most beautiful days that have ever been! It was perfect temperature, fluffy white clouds, and birds beginning to sing. We were outside for most of the study time and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I take it as a blessing from the Lord, a gift really, because a majority of the days in Germany are cloudy and rainy, at least from what we have been told. So I am so grateful that the Lord gave me those days last week to see further evidence that everything denotes there is a God; for He created it all; it is all the work of His hands.
We have started packing and dry cleaning and getting rid of all the junk we have accumulated. It's amazing how fast the time has gone- I'm not quite sure what happened to the month of February, because all I know it that I entered the MTC in January, and now I'm leaving, and it's March! There is a lot of excitement, and a little bit of natural anxiety with everybody. We are one of the largest groups to leave to German in a while; 10 on Monday to Frankfurt, and 18 on Tuesday to Berlin. When we get to the Dallas airport, I will be able to call home. That will be some time between 1-2pm. Let me know if I should call the home phone or a cell phone. I bought a calling card, so all is good. And I will call the girls and leave a message on their phones while they are at school :-) It will be fun to talk to you for a little bit, especially since I will be in Dallas!
So, the MTC in 6 words: Mentally tough, physically exhausting, spiritually miraculous. That sums up everything that I have experienced here, of which I am most grateful! One of the greatest things I have learned here is how to work with people, not just around or for people. And I think everybody learns different things at the MTC that is much needed for them individually. That is what the Lord needed me to learn, to best prepare for the field; some is to gain a testimony of this work, some is to learn how to be away from their family, and some is to learn how to study. I am so grateful for the past experiences of my life that have been preparing me for this time in my life, when the Lord can fine tune and further prepare me to work with the people in Germany. And a great focus of that preparation has been in German. The Gift of Tongues in real. I have experienced it here, and know that it will be shown even more in the future. I feel so blessed that the Lord has blessed me so greatly to learn German and apply it to lessons, study, and normal conversation. I don't say any of this to say how good I am or show all I have accomplished, for I am nothing; and the moment I forget that, the Lord will instantly remind me of that, and it won't be pretty! But now, I can read through the Deutsch Book of Mormon and know what is going on; I can understand all that the teachers and investigators say; I study in German now; I have made people laugh through jokes in German; I can share stories and spiritual experiences in German; and I can now speak and not really think about translating in my head or anything. It truly is a miracle, and all the praise, honor, and glory be to the Lord for all of this. Without Him and the Holy Ghost, there would be no way even a fraction of this would have been possible. With all that said, my pronunciation is not perfect, my understanding is not perfect, my grammar and sentance structures and not perfect. However, I feel ready to serve. My understanding of the Gospel is not perfect; my knowledge of the scriptures is not perfect; my people skills are not perfect; my knowledge is not perfect. However, I feel ready to serve the Lord. I am reminded on Elder Anderson's talk "You know Enough" and that has really given me strength to know that even though nothing is perfect, the Lord has taught me enough, so I know enough, to be a servant of His in bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of His precious children in Germany, starting in 4 days.
Through the MTC I have come to a deeper understanding that Jesus is the Christ. He is the Savior and Redeemer of the World. He is my Friend, my Brother. The Chruch is ture, and all that is in it. President Monson is God's mouthpiece on this Earth. Jesus Christ lives. All Glory to His Name!
All my best,
Elder Garlick

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Day, All is Well!

Meine Familie und Freunde:
Was ein sehr wunderbarer Woche hat passiert!! Yesterday was the day of days here in the MTC, and connected with this morning, I can give a firm answer to the question: Have we not great cause to rejoice?? Yes. Yes I do!!
We got our flight plans to Deutschland! We leave from SLC at 8:25am on March 21, and go to DALLAS, TEXAS!!! and then leave Dallas at 3:30pm and arrive in Frankfurt, DE at 7:05am the next morning. How exciting is that?! I get to return to the homeland for a few hours! I am definitely going to find some Blue Bell ice crem in the airport to eat! We also got a letter from our mission President with this schedule: -Arrive at Frnkfurt airport, go through customs and meet President and Sister Ninnow. Take a train with the assistants to the Mission Office for a short training. - Street Contacting in Downtown Frankfurt - Dinner/interviews back at the mission home. Street Contacting on the first day!! Ich bin sehr sehr sehr begeistert!! We will sleep in a hotel that night and the next morning meet our trainer-companion and go to our first area of assignment. There was so much excitement in our district yesterday, some even made up a song "Wir gehen nach Deutchland... wir haben unser Fleugzeug Plan.. Haben Sie Ihren Fleugzeug Plan? Ja! Ich habe meine Fleugzeug Plan! Auchso! Dann Sie gehen nach Deutschland!" viel viel SpaB! And then I bought a new scripture case- one that is big enough for both Deutsch scriptures and has a shoulder strap for a side back. Ich bin sehr begeistert! I can't wait to use all I have and have learned on that first day in Deustland!
Still on yesterday, I got the letter from Jessica saying that she will be submitting her mission papers this month!! I felt the Spirit so strong when I read that, confirming that it was the right choice! Jess, with your Spanish background, it is very likely that you could go Spanish speaking- and we are on the same meal-meeting-gym schedule as a large group of Spanish-speaking missionaries, so I have become good friends with many. I told some of the sisters there that you are submitting your papers, and they want you to go to the Washington D.C. South Spanish mission- maybe! Come what may and love it! Thank you for your example to me of following the Spirit and aligning your will to the will of the Father's.
Then today, we went to the temple and did some work, but got talking to one of the workers who spoke great Deutsch- how fun! We spent more time than we were planning to be in the temple, but I now know it was the hand of the Lord, for when we left the temple, Mark Harris was walking up the path! What a great tender mercy from the Lord to run into him... almost literally, and spend some time talking with him. Mark, you probably thought I couldn't talk properly or make much sense, I was just so excited to see you- and the English is leaving me! Mark leaves on his Mission to Russia this summer, so it was truly a tender mercy to see him before he leaves. I am beginning to understand and experience what it means for the windows of Heaven to be opened and blessings poured out, where there is not room enough to receive them- How truly grateful I am for that has happened these last two days, reminding me that the Lord is in charge of this work. For I know that if it wasn't the Lord's work, all these wodnerful things wouldn't have happened at this particular time to me individually.
This morning, I was getting ready and the line of a powerful hymn of Zion came into my mind, that I realized is the theme song for last week and the first of this week:
"Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? 'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell- All is well! All is Well!" (Come, Come, Ye Saints)
With the flight plans given to us yesterday, the plan of the first day in the mission field, Jessica's decision to serve, and having time with Mark, I truly have taken "fresh courage" and girded up my loins to get to work! The Work of Salvation is the most important work anyone can be involved with; we cannot "now shun the fight!!" God truly will never forsake us. Happy Day, All is Well!!
Jesus Christ Lives; He is the Son of the Living God. My testimony of Him and the way His hand is in every aspect of this work and doubled, tripled, and eternally increased just from these last two days. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. With the Bible, we learn of the Doctrine of Salvation; eternal life with our families. The greatest and most important blessing or "side-effect" of this wok is JOY! Everything we do in this work is for the joy. Happiness, a temporary feeling based on circumstance, comes and goes like the waves of the sea; but joy, an eternal and internal state of being, overcomes and shines through any discouragement and harships that are put in our way. Like the Savior testified to the Nephites in the Book of Mormon, I too can testify that, indeed, my joy is full! "The dawning of a brighter day" is truly "rising on the world!" (The Morning Breaks, hymn #1); "Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backwards. Courage... and on, on to the victory. Let your hearts rejoice and be exceedingly glad." (D&C 128:22)
All the Praise, Honor and Glory go to the Lord for all that is right and good in my life!
All my best and all my love,
Elder Garlick

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Beginning of the End of the Beginning


So first, here are the two lines I said in lessons this week, that got the entire district laughing.... "Himmlisher Vater hat seinen Sohn Jesus Christ auf der Erde geshinkten" which says "Heavenly Father hammed His Son Jesus Christ to the Earth" and "Gott hat Jesus Christus zu der Erde geregnet" which means "God rained Jesus Christ to the Earth." Apparently I need to re-study what the verb for "send" is... senden. HA! But I am glad I am getting my mistakes out now before Germany, and having some good laughs while we're at it!
Which gets me to the subject line of my email... time doesn't exist here! Yesterday we got 18 new German missionaries in, 6 Frankfurters and 12 Berliners. So I am grateful to be going to Frankfurt, where fewer missionaries seem to be going. Next week, we get our travel plans, and we are gone the week and a half after. So the end has begun, but it really is just the end of the beginning.
I had a great experience in a lesson this week with bearing testimony of Christ. I was explaining how and why Christ was so important, and bore testimony of Him and what He has done for me (remember, all auf Deutsch). And I had the greatest spiritual feeling and thoughts and remembrances of all that Christ has done for me. I have felt the spirit in many different situations but this one was extremely powerful. It's good to know that Jesus still is the Christ in German, that He loves me in German, that the Atonement still works in German, and I am honored that He is beginning to speak back to me in German. Truly, this work is His, and the universal language of the Spirit is the greatest component.
A sister and I auditioned for a musical number several weeks ago, and said that we would be able to perform "O Divine Redeemer" sometime. Nothing happened for quite a while. Then she came to me and said that the Mission Presidency wanted us to perform "The Lord's Prayer" for mission conference this Sunday. I found out on Tuesday... So I remembered back to when I was asked to play for AMCHS's "Charlie Brown" musical with about the same amount of preparation time... the Lord truly has given me great experiences to prepare me for the next! I am very excited and look forward to accompaning her this Sunday for all 2000+ missionaries.
I have been memorizing several verses from Joseph Smith History, especially to do with the First Vision. There is great power to knowing the experience Brother Joseph had in his own words. I am grateful for the Spiritual Gift of memorization... for the Lord truly has blessed me with that here.
Keep your eyes open for a report in the New York Times about missionaries and specifically the MTC- at the last few meetings, there have been reporters and camera people and photographers for their report. So look for the General Conference special and the NYTimes report, and you might just see me!
If you go to the main LDS page, or it may be on the youth page now, and see a video about a young man from Canada with the last name of Haslam, I have been able to get to know him pretty well here at the MTC. He is going Spanish speaking and is on our same meal and gym schedule.
Bishop Edgley of the Presiding Bishopric came to devotional this week, and said some great things. He talked about testimony among other things. In our district review after the devotional with President Dunn (Branch President), he asked us to share our thoughts from the devotional as well as a little on how we gained our testimony. I was near the last to go so I had quite some time to think. I thought of when I was 12 and had the greatest spiritual experience of my life with knowing Brother Joseph to be a prophet of God. I remembered to when I was 13 and gained a stronger witness of the Book of Mormon and I saw the eternal truths and teachings. I remembered several times through my high school years when my testimony of the Atonement and Service and Families was strengthened. Then I thought to this time at the MTC when my testimony of Jesus Christ has sky-rocketted, and the of Joseph Smith has been set in stone. Then this last weekend and yesterday, my testimony of Jesus Christ has gotten to a point of which it never has been before. So when it was my turn to speak, this is the thought that came and I shared, that really put everything into perspective for me: "I have not gained a testimony; I am gaining one." I cannot say that I have arrived at a knowledge of all that Jesus Christ is, does, and can do- for I am strengthened every day and my testimony grows each time I pray and trust Him. I cannot say that I know everything I can about Joseph Smith and have "arrived" at my life's testimony of him- for I have not. Each time I read through the First Vision or his revelations and history, my testimony is strengthened of him and his prophetic call. And my testimony of the Book of Mormon is absolutely not stagnant, but grows ans matures each day and strengthens my testimony of all the others. The MTC is a training center. Not just for my mission, but for life. The beginning of my life is coming to an end, the seeds of tesimony have been planted; but it is just the beginning! I haven't gained a testimony; I am gaining one.
Go forward and not backwards. Courage, and on, on to the Victory!
All my love and best,
Elder Garlick