Liebe Familie und Freunde:
First, I have to tell you about my food experience for the week: We went to our favorite bakery to get a loaf of bread. They have a case full of Puddingbretzels and Berliners and other great things in front... but I looked on the top shelf... "TEXAS-Stange"!! So we just had to buy two of them! "Stange" means 'rod' or 'stick', and bakeries use it a lot. So this Texas-stange was a Bratwurst cooked in bread and smothered in cheese with peppers. It was basically a German kolache! It was fantastic! And it even tasted a little bit like Texas :-)
The Lord is truly blessing this work! I am amazed ever day at the miracles and successes that the Lord gives us. Martin is one of those miracles. He is about 25 years old from Romania and speaks Romanian and English. We met him on the street, and he liked "the idea" of the Book of Mormon, and says he has been looking for some direction in life. Through some talking, he said that he doesn't have any friends or family here and thinks that God sent us to him- I think so too! We brought him a Romanian Book of Mormon a few days later, and he just lit up! We gave a little background on it, and he said "I guess I know what I will be doing this weekend!" And that is exaclt what he did: on Sunday, he was waiting outside the church for us, and he had read, in two days, from the introduction through 1 Nephi 13! His English is very simple, and fun to listen to! He said he loves the Book and feels that is is true, and that Joseph Smith really did and experienced all he said he did. What a great power in his simple testimony! We translated a little bit for him through the meetings, and from some more comversation, we found out that he was raised pretty religious, but said that 'He had been going all over the path' and felt similar to Joseph Smith at not knowing what church or belief was true. I smiled and said, "Well, here is your answer", pointing at the Book of Mormon, and he smiled. Through sacrament meeting, I would turn to a scripture in my German Book of Mormon, and he knew how to do the book-chapter-verse system and would look it up in his Romanian copy- it was actually a lot of fun! We went through some of 2 Nephi, Alma, Helaman, 3 Nephi, Moroni, not saying anything, just him turning and reading the scripture I turned to and pointed at. viel Spaß! That is, until I was called upon by Bishop to give a 10 minute talk on missionary work! That was a great oppotrunity to bear my testimony that "the field IS white already to harvest" and that we should rejoice at the many opportunities to share the gospel and help others in their lives. And I thought of Martin the whole time. People really are ready, and have been preapared to listen to and accept the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ- even if they don't know it. But when they hear it, it will be a familiar sound to them- it may be something they haven't heard before or been taught in this life, but it will definitely have a familiar ring to it. That is what I feel with Martin. His Spirit is recognizing that he is a son of God, that there is a set pattern of living to be followed given by the Savior, and that there is one way back to our Father in Heaven, and he wants to embark on that journey!
This experience with Martin got me thinking of the international view of missionary work. There was one lesson where we, two Elders from America, were teaching with Guo, a chinese member, to a woman from Italy... and all speaking in German! This gospel truly is going forth to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people... and sometimes, all those four groups in one lesson! And then I got to thinking about my Garlick cousins, and how I am so blessed to be experiencing a little bit of what each of them experienced: Martin is Romanian, and Adam served the people in Romania faithfully, and Kaleb is getting ready to. We have several Italian investigators, who we have come to love just as Spencer did the people in Milan. I have been able to bear my testimony twice in Spanish, feeling the goodness of those that Matthew and Quinn served. We have an investigator who lived in Pennsylvania for a couple years, connecting to Anne. One of our members that loves to teach with us went to Norway on his mission, but was there a few years before Amy was. And then I get the privilege of loving the Germans- an experience Andrew and Lauren have had, and for which Seth gets to do very soon! What a great blessing to have such a broad scope of people that have been blessed by the gospel, and it is fun to get a little taste of all those people that have been blessed by my cousins. Don't worry, Jessica... I will keep my eyes out for some people from Canada!
I am so grateful for the sunrises here. The light shines right in through our windows, and it is a glorious sight ever morning to wake up to! I am grateful for the wonderful food here and the fun we have with making and eating it. I am grateful for the members here in the Ward, who are willing to help and serve, and even though there aren't very many, they are hopeful and optimistic about the future. I am grateful for the busses and trains we take aorund the city and area, and the bikes we have to get to more people faster. I am grateful that I get to study the Gospel and German for three hours every morning before starting the day. I am grateful that I can email and write letters every Monday, to share my experiences and feel of your love. I am grateful for Elder Forsyth, who teaches me by example and has allowed for some great habits to develop in me. I am grateful for the people we are teaching, who are trying to live right and to follow Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the power of prayer and the ability and opportunity we have to speak and communicate with our Heavenly Father. I am grateful for music, especially the hymns of Zion. There is a real power and influence of righteous music, and people recognize it. I am thankful for my nametag- the visual message of Who has sent me and authorizes me to speak and act for Him. I am grateful that Joseph Smith read the Bible and prayed to find out an answer to a question. I am grateful for my ancestors who kept their faith and built a legacy that I hope to continue. I am so grateful for my family and the hope and joy that comes from knowing that we can realy be together forever. I am grateful for Jesus Christ- The Son of God. I am grateful for who He is and for what He did, so that I can become more than I am and do what He wants me to do. I am grateful for His words in the scriptures, many witnesses that He lives and that His gospel is the only way to return. I am grateful for seeing His hand in my life every day- leading, guiding, and walking right beside me.
This Gospel is true: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. It is beautifully simple; and simply beautiful. The Gospel's purpose to to allow us all the ability to accept and apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ is our lives. Without it, we would be helplessly lost in a world that really doesn't know which side is up. The Gospel gives clarity, direction, and support. Peace, joy, and hope are the results of those that follow and live the Gospel. It is His Gospel- therefore, it is the way. Therefore, it is the truth. Therefore, it is the life. Therefore, it is the only way that we can come unto the Father. The gospel really does give us direction on our way, clarifies truth, and gives life, all so that we can copme to know Christ. His second coming is near- and it's about time this world get some direction on what to do, get the truth straight and pure, and give the people a new life, a life of peace, joy, and hope. Shall we not go on in so great a cause?!
Let us all do a little more to help this work progress and prepare the world for His return: Let us smile a little more, or say a couple more 'hello's. Let us forget ourselves and help those whose heads and hands hang hopelessly down. Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power. Let us make somebody's day. Let us so a small act of service. Let us Live the Faith!
All my love and best,
I am so blessed! I got letters from all my sisters and my mom this week! Thanks so much :-)