"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 25, 2011

Looking Back and Moving Forward

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

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