"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, August 22, 2011

Niagra Falls, Families, and New Shoes!

Liebe Familie und Freunde:

We have been so blessed the last few weeks, especially this last one, to be finding new people to teach. We went through our Area Book of all the people that we meet with and teach and spend time with. We evaluated each one and decided whether or not to keep meeting with them for the time being. We know that time is too valuable, and we are to find the elect, those people who are ready, willing, and excited about learning, living, and loving the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. So, needless to say, we had a lot more open time than we have had in a long time... actually, ever since I have been here! It was really good- tough, but good. I love all these people, but it's time that we find the people that are ready, and not just doing what we have always done... for we were always getting what we always got. Then in Church yesterday, I remembered what Präsident Schwartz told us of his conversation with Präsident Uchtdorf and other general authorities- something big is coming. Something South America big is coming- and it is neat to see the Lord getting us ready for that, very quite literally. Time is more open, abilities are strengthened, and hopes are higher than ever before. He has been preparing us with teaching and finding and planning so we can use those skills when the groups come to the church- individuals and families too, but huge groups, the same as in the beginning of the church. We can feel it- it is a real interesting feeling, one of not being able to see any storm clouds, but feeling in the air that it is coming... and it always surely comes!

Nothing in missionary work happens until we find people to teach- and, wow, did the Lord help us find people this last week! We added a new key indicator to our daily number goals: Contacts for Potential Investigators. We define a contact as someboy we talk to who has interest in the Gospel and gives us their number or address and wants to meet with us. Each night is an amazing experience: We get to this last goal, and sit and think and feel what the Lord wants us to get, how many and who He wants us to find. I look at Elder VanCamp, he says a number, and it is always, without fail, the exact same number that I had been thinking and feeling. But the wonderful doesn't stop there- then throughout the day, we keep that goal in mind, working with all we are to reach it, and when we come in at the end of the day, we have always, always reached that goal or exceeded it. It is such a humbling expereince, 1. because we have the spirit as the third member of our companionship, letting him influence us, showing that 2. the Lord is in charge of this, His work. The Lord knows exactly what we should be doing each day, He has specific plans and objectives for us to do, errands to run. My testimony has been so strengthened of setting specific goals by the Spirit- for the Spirit, who speaks the words of Christ, will tell us all things what we should do. A Polish family, two German families, a Serbian family and other individuals... Grandpa Garlick was right- a family a day IS possible to find, and it is amazing to see how many good, solid families are ready and willing to accept the gospel of Christ! We havn't met with these families yet, but will begin tonight! Please keep these families in your prayers- that they will be able to recognize the truth of this gospel, remembering what they have already learned and accepted in our premortal realm.

I love the Brother and Sister Lenknerite! They are the sweetest cutest older couple ever! And they have the neatest dog! It would take too long to explain all I love about them, but one of the greatest is how loving and generous and giving they are- they have given me a German Bible- a kid version with pictures, maps, and charts!- a watch, and a pair of new classy shoes- the kind of long, square-toed European shoes I would always see on TV and never imagine of ever getting or wearing... but I love them! She also made us a Stracciatella Bread/Cake last night covered in chocolate, and it has taken over first place on My Favorite Things list... yes, it beat out all the PuddingBretzels and Schnitzel with Noodles...and even Quark... It was just that good!

So we had a dinner appointment with the Luchs familie on Thursday evening, and they said there would be a possibilty of rain that night, and we were on bikes, but didn't think much of it. We finished a great dinner- she made "American" hamburgers :-) and we got on our way... it started sprinkling...then a little more...then Niagra Falls started pouring down! We had a 15 minute bike ride back, and by the time we got to our apartment, it was like we had jumped into a swimming pool with all our clothes on- it was great! Elder VanCamp took a video on his camera of us pouring the water out of our shoes... there was tons and it was black and gross, but at least the inside of my shoes are now clean! It was a really fun night, we were completely soaked! I love missionary work!

I am so grateful to be here in Mönchengladbach- every day is a new day, one filled with success, adventure, and fulfillment of prophesy: the work of God IS going forth, the stone cut out of the mountain without hands IS filling the whole earth, the world IS being flooded with the Book of Mormon, and lives ARE being blessed and enriched by the truth that was restored through a Prophet of God, my friend Brother Joseph. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so much more than just a church. It is a way of life- how to live and who to be that gives us direction and hope, peace and joy. Jesus Christ is the center of this work. Without Christ, we have nothing... not even any good ideas, for all good things come of Him. He is the essence of good- and not just the good in a religious sense. Anything that uplifts, that inspires, that gives hope, that gives a smile, that helps, that strengthens, that can be enjoyed is of Him, because it is good. How grateful I am for His goodness and mercy, His grace and truth.

2 Nephi 2:6-9:
Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.

I know that is true. That is what this is all about. He is what it is all about.

Have a fantasic week! I love you all- thank you so much for your support, prayers, and love- I know that I am never alone, having your love and thoughts with me always and angels round about me, bearing me up.

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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