Liebe Familie und Freunde,
This last week will forever be remembered my me as "The Miracle Week", for that is what it was! Not only did the Lord help us to reach our goals, but to exceed them. Not only did the Lord allow us to get in contact with some who we haven't beein in contact with for a while, He led us to 8 new people who are ready and prepared to learn of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not only did the Lord send out His spirit in great abundance at Church on Sunday, He gave us a Sunday Spirit every day- one of hope and love, peace and joy. Not only did the Lord help us to work with our Ward Mission Leader in a way that has never been done before to make plans for the next months, but the Lord allowed us to form a relationship with the ward and some specific families that is boosting the excitement and attitutes in the members. Not only did the Lord bless us, He opened the flood gates of Heaven and let the miracles flow!
One of these very special miracles happened in the NATO base... yes, we decided to brave going out to the NATO base again! We had a great plan for Wednesday afternoon, and a solid alternate-backup plan... but then in the course of about 15 minutes, both these plans fell out, and the thunderstorms came in... quite literally! So we looked at out map on the wall, and both felt to go out to the NATO base again and check one last time on Holly Crompton, to see if she was at home and had interest in the Gospel. With the amount of time it takes to get there and our...exciting... and adventurous history with the NATO base, we decided that this would be the last time we went out to check on her. So we got on the bus, with our passports and went through the proper entrance, not sneaking in, and got to her house. She was there! She looked at us and started getting teary eyed- from what she told us, she had met the church in the United Kingdom and went to church for about a year with her friend. Her parents (she is 18) are extremely opposed to the Church and refuse to allow her any connection to it...if they know about it. She said that she wants to be baptized, and will wait until she moves out and goes back to England. The miracles were that she was at school and felt sick, so they sent her home, and she got home and felt completely better. Her mother had just left to go shopping, and we had English materials to give her. She has strong faith and conviction to follow our Savior. The Lord is in charge of this work... there are too many miracles every day and things work out too good to have this be the work or opperation of a person or a group of people or even a church. This is the work of the Lord, and He is quite literally holding Mönchengladbach in His hands.
One aspect of Germany that has a little hinderance on missionary work is the fact that there are so many holidays! They have holiday all the time, especially the last few months with Easter and Pentacost and other Catholic/Evangelisch holidays. And on these holidays, everything is closed... everything! And nobody is on the streets, walking or driving. And then the strange phenomenon happens... nobody is at home either. It is amazing! I can't quite figure it out, but it is what happens! But I love how the Germans celebrate their past- the culture and tradition is still alive and they recognize that with these holidays. One time we were making out a return appointment with Michael, who likes speaking English with us to practice. He said "I cannot meet this Wednesday becasue of the celebration day." I loved that! A celebration day- a day to celebrate! It got me to thinking about what we celebrate and why. Then the thoughts came that every Sunday, we celebrate too. Every Sunday is a Celebration Day as we remember the atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ and His triumph over pain and death so that we can live, and have life more abundantly. Of course, we do not have parties and festivals like at other celebrations, but I have come to celebrate Sundays in my heart and in my thoughts. I am more excited to go to church and sing together, pray together, learn and grow, to feel the actual power and effect of the Sacrament and the Priesthood. I have found myself sometimes getting into the "Sunday Routine" and just doing all that we do at church just because that is what we do. But to celebrate the atonement, it is so much more the attitude, the focus, the appreciation, and the service that come, stay, and continue as we remember Christ's sacrifice for us, and the opportunity we have to repent and become better. I celebrate and rejoice that I can repent, that I can be chastised from the Lord, that I can become purified, that I can become what He wants me to be. And this can happen every day of our lives. Have we not great cause to rejoice? Should there not be a happier people on the whole face of the earth than the faithful followers of Christ? Can every day of our lives not be filled with rejoicing, celebrating, and praising of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessings and miracles He sends to us, even when we don't really deserve them? We do have cause to rejoice and celebrate, we do have reason to be happy, and we do have every reason in the world to count our blessings and return the thanks to Him who gives them. I love Celebration Days!
This week President Ninow returns home, and we get President Schwartz. He comes from the Nurmburg area, which is actually in the Frankfurt mission! He was a former Stake Patriarch and was serving with his wife in the Berlin mission when he received the call to serve as president in Frankfurt. Our Zone gets to meet him this Thursday and then have interviews next week. I look forward to working with him and learning how to better receive revelation- for he is truly one that knows how to receive and act on revelation.
What a blessing to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. I am more humbled every day at His greatness and glory, His interest and intervention, and His love and mercy. He lives- He does. I know it. If He didn't live, there wouldn't be any hope of a better world or a future to look forward to. But that hope is in me- it is in you. Sometimes we are too busy- stuck in the thick of thin things- to feel and recognize that hope. But it is there. It comes from Him, in whom we hope. His course is the straight and narrow way to a better now, a better tomorrow, an eternity. His love is so great, we can't truly understand or comprehend it. But we feel it as we come to know Him, we recognize it as a child is born or we go through the temple or see the wonders of this world, and we show it as we do as He did, going about doing good.
Have a wonderful week! I love you all. Remember: If you go a day without making someone's day, it's been a day wasted.
Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22