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 11, 2011
I Will See it When I Believe It
Liebe Familie und Freunde,