"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 4, 2011

Pumpkins, Ships, and the Spirit of Freedom

Liebe Familie und Freunde:

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

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