"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, September 12, 2011

Learning, Teaching, Serbia, and Netherlands

LIebe Familie und Freunde:
So ich dachte dass ich ein bisschon mehr auf Deutsch schrieben kann- nur für Spaß! Diese vergangene Woche war wirklich wunderbar! Und es fängt mit Elder Bednar an!

Tuesday was such a neat experience, to meet with all the missionaries in Frankfurt and then listen to Elder and Sister Bednar. What stuck out to me was not what he talked about, but HOW he did what he did and the interaction we all had. Let me explain-- A few weeks ago, Präsident Sschwartz emailed us two talks given by Elder Bednar: Ask in Faith and Learning my the Spirit. We were to read through and study these talks in preparation for Elder Bednar's visit. At the conference with Elder Bednar, he didn't give a talk or a speach or lecture or anything... he said "Alright, are you ready to get to work?" In the way of starting a workshop or hands-on course. It was really neat- he asked us to share our thoughts and impressions, what stood out to us, from these two talks. Many missionaries were able to stand and share what stuck out to them. Then, Elder BEdnar would have a little discussion with that missionary, teaching simple principles and allowing the missionary to think a little bit further than before. He called on me, and I was able to share my thoughts from the talk, that learning by the Spirit really does help us to put off the natural man and become a Saint through the blood of Christ. I can't really remember what he taught after ward, but it was neat to have such an interation. The purpose of this exercise what explained in his teaching us through example: the best teaching is not coming in with a note pad full of notes and then makng sure to say all you, the teacher, wants to. That is treating the learners as objects. Everbody, because of the Atonement of Christ, is an agent unto themselves, and as and AGENT not and object, should be allowed to use their moral agency. It goes further to incorperate the ideas that having people regurgitate information or play "guess what the teacher is thinking" is not teaching. Teaching, rather, is allowing the Spirit to guide a discussion, guided by the teacher, and allowing ALL to be edified and use their God-given identity as Agents to lear by the Spirit. I have really come to understand and see that I, as a missionary, am definitely NOT the teacher- If I think that my German and knowledge of the gospel- then trying to combine those two things together- has any power to teach well enough to convince somebody of the truthfulness of the gospel... well, Elder Bednar called that priestcraft and unrighteous dominion of the Priesthood authority I have been given. SO I have really made an increased effort to let the Spirit be the teacher- but not just that... to use every teaching opportunity to allow the investigator to use their agency, to act as an agent, to learn by the spirit. Sorry that these thoughts are all over... I just wish everybody could have been there to see and feel and experience this. It truly has changed my thoughts of teaching and actually every interaction with people, in every case. We didn't get to meet with him after the conference, but that doesn't matter- I don't need to meet him to know that he is an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. He left us with a very speical witness of the reality of Jesus Christ and our Father, and also bestowed a powerful Apostolic blessing upon us, that I am working to achieve and realize in my life, espeically at this time on my mission. What a truly blessed experience!!

The meeting with Elder Bednar was a great boost for the week. We saw some really neat miracles and expereinces with the hand of the Lord working overtime to prepare people for us and to further His work. Two examples won't suffice, but will have to do today!

1. We went back out to the dwelling boxes in Serbia-ville, as we named it, to meet with family Emin. They were becomming more and more uniterested in learning more about the gospel, because of difficulties with work and housing. We tried to explain to them how important faith AND works are, otherwise nothing will happen for them. We felt we needed to go, sad that we wouldn't be able to teach them much more anymore. As we were leaving, a woman stood at the other housing place, calling to us and waving us to come in. We did, and there were two men there, one already set up as a translator and they both wanted to learn of what we had. Before we had gone very far, they asked about church and really want to come! Over the course of the 20 minutes, eight other people came in, introduced themselves, and listnened to us teach, then the translator translate. It was such a neat experience! I don't know if all of them will stay on and keep meeting with us, but they felt something- the Lord brought them to that room, and the Spirit kept them there.

2. We went down to HEinsberg on Saturday. The Luchs family lives there, so we have lunch with them and talked with them about Alma 13:24, how angles are here preparing people to receive the gospel. We had a map of the area and prayed with them to know where to go. Their 17 year old daughter almost immediately pointed to an area, so off we went! With sincereity and great humility, I say that the time spent in this area on these streets in the greatest amount of consentrated success I have experienced since being here in Germany. House after house, person after person, we talked to SO many people, bearing testimony of the reality of Jesus Christ and the restoration of His gospel and His church. It was truly a blessed time! We were exhausted at the end, but felt the love of Christ and the power of this work. The neatest experience of this time in Heinsberg was meeting Herr Peeters. He is an older man from the Netherlands, and has the coolest accent you have ever heard! We came to his door and introduced ourselves and what we were doing- he said "Oh, sind sie die Mormonen?" We smiled and said we sure are! He had met with missionaries before a few years, and moved and lost contact. He invited us in and we had the neatest time with him, learning of him and his past, and being a part of the miracle that is the Lor preparing him and leading him to this time in his life to when he can accep the Gospel. We worked it out with a member in Heinsberg to bring Brother Peeters to church the next day, and it all worked out perfectly- he came and loved it. He has so many questions, but he is finding and receiving answers. It was truly a humbling experience to live this and be a part of finding and helping Brother Peeters learn the gospel. The neat thing is that we have not even taught him a real "lesson" yet- but he feels it, he knows it. It goes back to my thoughts from Elder Bednar- the Spirit is the real teacher, and as we do as we schould, and live worthily of the spirit, great miracles will happen-- nt many words required!

I am truly so humbled to be in the middle of so many miralces and witnesses that prove that God is, that Jesus Christ lives, and that They love me. Faith is the evidence of things which are not seen but which are true- The evidence around me every day strengthens my faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God; that I am a child of God, of a Father who loves and knows me; and that is is only through the plan of God, with Jesus Christ at the center, that I can fulfill my eternal and divine destiny: an eternal life in the Celestial Kingdom with God and with my family. That is truth. That is reality.

Have a wonderful and blessed week! I sure appreciate your prayers, love, and support. It's all about prayer- strengthening our relationship with our Father, and receiving His help and blessings. It's all about love- Christ gave us the higher law, one of love for God, ourselves, and for othes. It's all about support- we cannot do this alone. A huge tent with stakes and poles and tarps is not very well or easily put up by one person- and neither is Zion. Her stakes are expanding, her beauty is rising, and we are all playing and individual and important part of the cause of establishing the kingdom of God again on the earth. Shall we not go on?!

mit viele Liebe,
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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