"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 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

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