"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, 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

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