Monday, July 25, 2011
Liebe Familie und Freunde:
"Hello, zis is Lehi K. Schwartz. Do you remember me?!" This was how President Schwartz started the phone conversation when he called us Saturday night- I love this man so much! We had been anxiously waiting for the transfer call, and when we saw it was President, we were shocked- he only calls to extend leadership positions. After talking to him for a little, he told Elder Hogan that he would be going to Michelstadt, and I would be staying here in Mönchengladbach... but that we would both be receiving new Missionaries from the MTC- TRAINING! After he said that, I will always remember the look on Elder Hogan's face when we looked up at each other, and I am sure he will remember the look on mine! Schock, amazement, total humility. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much Saturday night! Sunday morning came around and my feelings evolved from anxiety and a little fear into excitement, and a "Yeah, let's do this!" feeling, for which I am so grateful. I am just barely beginning to understand the deep power of the Atonement- the enabling, empowering power.
I am so truly humbled for the Lord to call me through President Schwartz to be a Trainer... It's only been 4 months, and I am still in my first city. It is all such a great blessing, especially as I look back on how the Lord has been preparing me a little bit here and there, right from my very first day in Germany. I look forward to trusting in the Lord more, relying on His magnificent power to help, support, and probably quite literally carry me through the next 6 week transfer cycle. The greatest blessing that I recognize from the Lord in preparing me for training is with the language. The gift of tongues is REAL. The gift of interpretation of tongues is REAL. And the Lord has blessed me so grately! I will be in Frankfurt on Tuesday for training with President and then Wednesday we meet with the new missionaries, the "Goldens", and then back home, to Mönchengladbach!
The last two weeks, we have been in the Primary helping out while the presidency gets figured out... I love primary! From singing time to teaching time to play time... I can't say I love it more than Preisthood or Sunday School... but it's definitely a lot of fun!! Yesterday, we walked in the chapel after primary to so Rainer sitting there... RAINER CAME TO CHURCH!! Oh what a joyful feeling! We were so excited, we actually started talking in English to him! He enjoyed his time, and we can see this as an opportunity for him to progress even more.
With my mind reflecting on the last 18 weeks in Mönchengladbach, and sorting everything to use and teach to a new missionary, I thought I would share some of the more practical/life things I have learned from the amazing city of Mönchengladbach:
1. If you don't know a word in German, just say the English word with a German accent... usually it works!
2. It is not wise to eat more than one Puddingbretzel in a day...
3. ICE trains will leave at their planned and scheduled time... whether you are half-way in the door and the ground moves out beneath you, or you get trapped in one and end up adventuring to exciting cities...
4. A sunny bright morning means bring the rain jacket... the clouds and rain in the morning mean short sleeves and getting a tan day...
5. Not all Döners are created equally...
6. 'Zugehörenkeitsgefühl' is really a word that is used... I said it on Saturday!
7. Pants and socks take a lot longer to dry when we don't have a dryer... a lot longer!
8. Schnitzel with Noodles is a staple in every day life... well, at least it should be!
But most of all, the city of Mönchengladbach has been where I have learned about missionary work, felt the eternal and temporal significance of the message we have and the lives we lead. I have come to love the German language, food, and people. Here is where I have experienced so much joy and excitement, and also tasted of the opoposites. Here is where I learned to have courage and be bold, where humility is a daily lesson and submissiveness is required. It is here in Mönchengladbach and where I have come to better know my Savior and experience His love, His power, His grace, and His role in this work- He is this work.
Who the Lord calls, He qualifies. I look forward to sharing the beauties, joys, excitements and experiences of Mönchengladbach with my new companion. Using my past experiences to go forward with this new assignment is exciting- the future truly is as bright as our faith!!
The Lord is my Shepherd. He leads me, guides me, walks beside me, and helps me find the way. He calls out, and as I have come to recognize His voice, I have truly been lead and guided in every step. He is. He lives. He knows. He loves. Oh sweet the joy this sentance gives: I know that my Redeemer lives!
Thank you for your love, prayers, and support. I benefit every day from them- as do the wonderful people here in Mönchengladbach. There will come a day when we will all be together again, like we were before- then you will be able to meet these people and they will thank you for your love and prayers- For I have truly seen it bring miracles, joy and hope into their lives. Thank you!
Let us all press on in the Work of the Lord! His angels are always around us.
All my love and best,
Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22
Monday, July 18, 2011
Liebe Familie und Freunde:
Weather is a very interesting thing, especially here in Mönchengladbach... especially in the mornings! During study time, I look out my widow at a gorgeous bright blue sky with white puffy clouds. Then I study something and look out the window 10 minutes later, and it is dark and cloudy and stormy... then a few minutes later, it is back to the bright sunny morning. It makes for a very difficult decision as to whether or not to wear rain jackets or not! But whether the weather is cold, or whether the weather is hot, rainy or sunny, the work of the Lord goes forward! I enjoy walking home from Bahnhof in storms of rain and hail- or biking home a few kilometers. The drastic and sudden changes in the weather are similar to the changes we see in working with our investigators and the state of the work in Mönchengladbach. For the last 18 weeks, I have seen quite a bit of variety with the people, the feel, the direction, and the progress of the work. Brother Gashi, for instance, called us this week and said he doesn't want any more contact with the church, because of his false-impression that the ward would get him a job, which didn't work out. That was a big rain cloud out of nowhere, but we know it was the Lord's will. The family we are teaching hadn't been reading or praying, then one day we went over and they had all read and all prayed together! That was a big ray of sunshine out of nowhere, and we know it was the Lord's will. Like with weather, working with people is a bit unpredictable... but the sky is always blue, no matter how dark or thick the layer of clouds. The Lord controls the weather, for He is the Creator, Organizer, and Master of the Universe. He also controls the work of salvation, for He is the Creator, Organiyer, and Master of our salvation. I have come to see the benefits of rain clouds coming into the lives of investigators and of my own- the times to become humble, willing, and submissive. For He who controls all the elements of life will lead us by the hand. In the German version of the hymn " Now Let Us Rejoice", my favorite line, translated, says: "Let the thunder roll and the waves crash; God leads us in love to a sure port. Therefore, come everyone, come joyfully! Trust in the Savior's given word." I love that! "All things have been done in the wisdom of Him who knoweth all things" (2 Nephi 2:24). It has been on my mind a lot lately- not just recognizing the thunder and waves in our lives, for those are recognizeable without even really trying- but LETTING them roll and crash in our lives- for He is doing it in love. Letting the Lord do with us as He will is a skill I am really trying to develop. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: "How can we be an instrument in the hands of the Lord if the instrument seeks to do the instructing?" I like that. The Lord has promised that we will be given the words we need in the very moment that we need them. For me as a missionary, that is such a great promise! I need to let the Lord use me- let Him do with me as He will. The Lord has promised it- the Lord will fulfill it. How soon it is fulfilled in my life is dependant on how soon I let Him do with me as He will.
Speaking of the Lord's promises, here is on of my favorite ones... actually, my favorite! : "And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left. My spirit shall be in your hearts and mine angels round about you to bear you up" (D&C 84:88). He has been fulfilling this promise every day that I have been here in Germany.
Elder Hogan and I have had some good experiences the last few weeks with working with the Ward more to get everyone on board with the work of salvation. There is a neat feeling in the Ward now- not from anything we did, rather the Spirit doing His job- of unity and support. The Spirit is so critical in this work. Yesterday at church was a real neat experience with feeling the Spirit- the comforting, uplifting feelings from on high. The feeling of being filled, patched up, and renewed. That is why we try so hard to get our investigators to come to church- especially Rainer. We know that he, especially, needs the blessings and feelings of church, and he knows it too. Explaining many parts of the Gospel are like trying to explain what salt tastes like... try it! It's really tough to explain to others what salt tastes like, even if the other person has already tasted it. So is it with the Gospel. We know what it feels like, the blessings we reaceive, but it is so personal and heavenly, that the only thing we can really do, as in all things, is to follow that Savior's example and invite others to "Come and See". For it is in the coming and the seeing, the expereincing and the feeling, that knowledge is gained of what "salt tastes like". That is really, I have found, the purpose of missionary work: to invite others to come and experience the Gospel for themselves, to taste it, and allow that to effect their lives for the eternities, if they choose to. To experience the feelings of being freed from guilt and shame caused by sin, if they choose to. To have a hope for a better world, even an eternal salvation in the world to come, if they choose to. Choice is so important, and something we have been focusing on teaching Rainer. He knows it is true, he just needs to choose to do it. We choose to believe, yes. But it is in the doing, living, and being, not just the believing, that lives are blessed and miracles are done. I need to develop that more myself.
The Gospel is the same yesterday, today, and forever, because it is His, the Unchangeable One. But for all the people that love and live it, we experience it a little bit differently, and that is the greatness of the Gospel- it is so universal and all-encompassing, yet has the ability to be so personal and individual. Jehovah, Messiah, Emmanuel, Jesus: He lives! His power is real. He appeared with the Father to the boy Joseph, and from then on, to this very day, a Prophet of God has been on the earth. Christ will return, and this work is to prepare for that day. This work is just beginning- we really have just scratched the surface! Miracles are happening, lives are changing, "the purposes of God are going forth boldly, nobly, and independent!"
Let us be true to the faith, and true to Him in whom we have faith.
ich liebe euch, und bin sehr dankbar für euer Liebe und Gebete. Es gibt mir wirklich eine Macht und Energie forwärts zu gehen!
Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22
Monday, July 11, 2011
Liebe Familie und Freunde,
I am so grateful for Präsident Schwartz- he is a man of God, a hero in my eyes, and full of so much love and interest in us missionaries. We had interviews with his on Thursday in Düsseldorf- what a truly spiritual and uplifting experience- and it was all in German. The German language is going to have a very speical place in my heart, as I am experiencing some very spiritual highlights in my life in this beautiful language. Präsident Schwartz has been a Stake Patriarch since he was 40 years old, so he knows how to receive revelation- he knows how to respond to it, and how to use it to bless others. I am so grateful for him and his example. There is a connection made, a bond forged between us, that I know will never be broken- and I have only known him for a few weeks! What a blessed opportunity to serve with him and follow his counsel. While we were waiting for the interviews, I was able to speak with Sister Schwartz- she is just the sweetest and most personable person! Coming from Nürmberg, she is right at home and enjoys so much sharing her experiences with us. She also told me about the experience of the Missionary President Training Seminar at the MTC, where they heard from all the Prophets and Apostles in 4 days- I know that Präsident und Sister Schwartz were called by God to be here in this mission- and I am coming to see how my call was not random or happenstance to serve here with them either.
This week was a wodnerful building week for Mönchengladbach- we have been seeing the miracles of the Lord, His hand in guiding His sheep back to the fold. We had the choice experience of meeting with some members who haven't been to church in a long while, and saw miracles as they came and were loved by the members in the ward. This new direction of missionary work from Präsident Schwartz is truly from God- it is the way missionary work needs to be done. As Elder Bednar said, the members are full-time finders, and the missionaries are full-time teachers. This has been a great faith-growing experience for me. As I remember the great examples of faith in the scriptures, Moses and Nephi stick out as models. They received commandments or instructions, and being led by the spirit, sometimes not knowing beforehand what to do, they fulfilled the will of the Lord, seeing His promise fulfilled. So it is with the missionary work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The faith required is the critical ingredient of the recipie of the Father to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. This faith is both gained and shown by trusting the Lord enough to follow what He expects of us. By seeing the blessings we received from our obedience and faith, recognizing His hand, our faith is strengthened, giving us a firmer trust in Him to do His will agian. It's not an issue of seeing, for seeing does not lead to believing, rather the other way around: I will see it when I believe it.
Brother Gashi was at church yesterday, and he had a great light in him! His eyes were shining and his joy could be felt. He is still in the search for a job, and his time for that is getting shorter and shorter. He had a lot of stress this week with his wife being in the hospital, so the first time we saw him this week was at church. He is such a great example to me of patience and trust in the Lord. He needs a job- he needs it. The Lord knows that, and Brother Gashi knows the Lord knows that. With Brother Gashi's faith and trust, I know he will see the blessings of the Lord and His hand through this whole experience. I know it.
I am so blessed to be working with the wonderful missionaries in my district: Elders Petersen and Holzer in Wesel, Elders Mayle and Baker in Krefeld, Elders Stephens and Peterson in Duisburg, and of course, my companion Elder Hogan. Each of these elders teach me so much, and are all such great examples from me. Patience and humility, power and knowledge, faith and diligence are shown be these amazing Elders and I am so honored to work with and learn from them.
For a little bit of my morning study time, I have "Jesus Christ study"- and I have just finished going through the Gospel of John. I love the Gospel of John! There is a real personable feeling of Christ in John's account. I am so grateful for the counsel of my dad and President Prier and others to study and learn the Gospel of John. I love the opening story of Christ, with Philip and Nathanael: "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?"..."Come and See." That is the invitation that Christ gives all throughout the New Testament, but especially shown in the Gospel of John- Come Follow me, come and see, and so on. As members of His church, that is also our assignment: to invite others to come and see. And as the Savior did to the Nephites in 3 Nephi 11, we too can invite others to come forth and thrust their hands in His side and feel the prints of the nails in His hands and feet, that they might know that He is the God of Israel. "And this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feels with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come" (3 Nephi 11:15). First we come and see, then we feel and know. Then we go forth and share. Inviting others to come unto Christ, to feel, see, and know, is part of the call of "Every memebr a missionary"- for what is missionary work but simply inviting others to come unto Christ?
This work is an individual work- inviting others to come and see one by one. The field is white already to harvest, it truly is. But to Him who knows the fall of the sparrow, the Creator of heaven and earth, the harvest comes one by one, as He showed and lived when He was on the earth. Jesus Christ is my personal Savior and Lord. He is that of you too, and of the whole world. I can't comprehend that all now, how His Atonement can cover each of us so individually and personally and apply to every individual who ever has, is, or will be living... but I know He loves me. I know He has a plan for me, a personal plan of molding, shaping and refining, prepared and carried out to bring me home.
The work is moving forward, even as the stone cut out of the mountain without hands that Daniel saw; it is truly growing to fill the whole earth!
How grateful I am to be here in Deutschland: to work, to live, to love. And we laugh and enjoy as well! The joy of the Gospel is deep, lasting, and pure, and I am just bearly beginning to start to feel and experience it- and what a great and blessed experience it is!
Keep your head up high- you are a child of God.
All my love and best,
Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22
Monday, July 4, 2011
The Pumpkin Parable:
There were two college guys who wanted to make a little extra money before school started again. There was a farmer down the road who grew pumpkins, and they thought it would be a great idea to buy and re-sell the pumpkins. So they brought their wooden wagon to the farmer and bought 100 pumpkins for $1 a piece. They drove into down and set up a little shop, where they sold the pumpkins for $1 a piece. In two hours, all the pumpkins had been sold! They were so excited as they counted their money and had $100! Since everything went so well the first time, they decided to try the pumpkin-selling the next day. So they went to the pumpkin farmer and bought 100 pumpkins for $1 a piece, loaded up their wagon, and drove into town and set up their little shop, where they sold the pumpkins for $1 a piece. This time, only 1 hour passed before all the pumpkins were sold. They were over-joyed! But after counting the money, they were a little dissappointed that they hadn't gotten a bigger amount... actually, it was the same amount as the day before. They were a bit confused, but decided to try their pumpkin selling business again the next day to see if they could make more money. So the next morning, they arose early and selected the 100 most beautiful, round, orange pumpkins the farmer had, and bought them for $1 a piece and load them into their wagon. They went into town and set up their little shop, and in 30 minutes, all the pumpkins, for $1 a piece, were sold. They were certain that this time, their efforts had brought a large profit, escpecially since the pumpkins sold were the most beautiful and orange that the farmer had. To their utter shock, the total amount of money earned was, still, $100. They thought "What are we doing wrong? We selected the most beautiful pumpkins the farmer had, and even woke up earlier than normal to do so. Surely we should have made more money What can we change to earn more money?" They thought for a moment... then one of the men said "I know! If we buy a bigger wagon, then we will be able to sell more pumpkins!"
This was the parable that President Schwarz used to introduce his new vision/direction for the mission. One of the greatest factors in missionary work is finding people to teach who are ready and willing to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. He said that the past ways of finding time on the streets and door to door were good for the past, and brought lots of success. But the times are different now, and it is time that Germany see the success that has been prophecied for years and years- ever since the Prophet Joseph. So we have a new direction for finding people, and it is the way that it should be done: through the members of the ward. President Schwartz explained that the way to do missionary work now in the Frankfurt mission is through the members of the ward. Of course, there will be times when we contact on the street, or go klingel doors, but that the most effective way is to work with members of the ward, active and inactive, to receive new investigators and people to teach, not by taking out huge chunks of the day to klingel out apartments or long walking routes. The problem recently has been finding new people to teach, and the way we have been finding new people is through doors and streets. Like the pumpkins, if we want to find more people to teach than ever before, we are not going to buy a bigger wagon- we are not going to spend more time klingeling doors or spening more time on the streets. We need to change something that really effects the desired results: buy the pumpkins for $1 and sell them for $2 each, or spend the time to find people by working with members of the ward, not spending the time doing something that hasn't been as effective as we need. So we have re-vamped our efforts, and made plans to focus efforts the next couple of weeks of meeting with every member in the ward, active or not, and explain this new direction from President Schwartz. By working with them, we will help the members of the ward become strengthened individually, bringing many lost sheep back to the fold, and bring along new people with them. We are really excited about this new direction! There is a feeling of excitemet in the Ward Council too, as we explained this new direction to them last week. Bishop got teary eyed and filled with the Spirit, as he said this is a sign of the times, a sign that the work is ready to take off to new heights than ever before. And The Pumpkin Parable applies to much more aspects of our missionary work than just finding and also to life... If we always do what we always did, we'll always get what we've always got. Change a factor that changes results.
I love President Schwartz! He is such an amazing and powerful man! He is German, and can speak English, but we will be doing a whole lot more in German now, which is very exciting! We met him on Thursday in Dortmund, and felt an instant connection and love with him and his wife. They are like grandparents to us- a real special connection formed just in the few hours that we were with them.
We have been working with some investigators lately, especially Brother Gashi, on praying to our Father, with the specific purpose of receiving a blessing. He needs a job, he really needs a job! And his prayers have reflected his request, praying for a job. We were reading in 1 Nephi 17 the other day, and shared with him the experience of Nephi being instructed to build a ship. Nephi had no idea how to build a ship, but he needed one to cross the ocean to the Promised Land. What did Nephi do? He didn't pray to be given a ship. He prayed to know where to go to find the ore to make the tools to build the ship. We explained to him that the Lord works through small and simple means, including the way He answers our prayers. It was a good learning experience for me as well, as I evaluate my prayers and desires, and what I pray for and desire. Am I praying for the Lord to give me a ship? Or am I praying to know simply where to go to find the ore to make the tools to build the ship? For during the process of finding, making, and building, character is forged, faith is strengthened, and connections with heaven are fine-tuned.
Today is a wonderful day! A day to reflect on Liberty and Freedom! I have been touched recently in reading through the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon, and the motivations for fighting wars and getting into brutal conflict: In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children. This statement of motivation was written my Moroni, named the Title of Liberty, and hoisted in every tower throughout the land, so the people would be unified in purpose and goal. And the hand of the Lord greatly blessed them in their rightous desires. Later, chatpter 61, a connection really struck me this morning as I read it: "the Spirit of God, which is also the spirit of freedom which is in them" (Alma 61:15). The people of the Book of Mormon were filled with the spirit of God- the spirit of freedom- and therefore had the righteous cause and desire to spread that freedom- the spirit of God- throughout all the land. It is that same spirit of freedom- the Spirit of God- that inspired men of old to sail to a new land and establish a country where we could worship our God and feel of His Spirit- the spirit of freedom- as we wish. The spirit of freedom- the Spirit of God- touches me every time I read accounts of people giving their lives for this cause: the cause of spreading the spirit of freedom- the Spirit of God. How grateful I am for the spirit of freedom I have as I amfilled with the spirit of God- freedom from doubt or dispair, freedom from the chains and grasp of Satan, freedom for guilt or shame, freedom from addiction, and freedom to choose my attitute, my actions, my eternal salvation. The spirit of freedom is in every aspect of the Gospel of Jesus Christ- our ability and right to choose. In His merciful love, our Father has allowed us to act for ourselves, giving the spirit of freedom to those who live in a way to always have His Spirit to be with them.
May we do those things in our lives that allow His Spirit to always be with us, so we can experience this freedom, even the freedom that He has promised us in the eternal glory of our choosing.
Jesus Christ is the Author of Freedom, for it is only through Him that we can truly be free. He lives! He will return to rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, a government of perfect and heavenly order.
Have a wonderful week! Be grateful for the chance we have to do something to help somebody today.
All my best and as always,
Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22