"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)

Monday, July 18, 2011

In the Wisdom of Him

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!

Alles Gute,

Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22

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