"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 5, 2011

Water, Wonders, Ward- What a Wonderful Week!

Liebe Familie und Freunde:

What a week! Istill haven't figured out mission time yet... I woke up this morning thinking it couldn't be Monday again so soon, but also that it seems like last week Monday was so far away! This was a week of great Summer fun and finding new people and Ward relationships and miracles. Here are a few highlights:

Monday: WATER FIGHT! The young men invited us for their water fight, and I thought it was going to be like a Burton reunion water fight or something fun and classic like that... then I saw the shields and the water pistol holsters and the bazookas and the barricades and the hats and the paper-devices to show if you are "out"...it took longer to set up than to actually play our round of capture the flag! This was THE most intense and serious water fight ever! It was a blast! I thought of all the fun times at past family reunions that could have all been meshed into this one grand game: Burton water fights at Forth of July, Blake capture the flag with Alan, and Garlick capture the flag at Bangerters... it was so much fun to remember all these good times, and take on all the young men. Needless to say, we were very wet. And it was the middle part of our P-day, so we had to so shopping after that... we got some fun looks!

Tuesday: Brother Fowler took us out to a pizza cafe... there were potatoes and Hollandaise Sause on the pizza... but it was mighty grand! It was good to talk with him about his 10-year conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ- it gave me comfort to know that some of the work we do know will have fruitition in the future.

But Wednesday and Thursday showed that we will have fruitition now! We had a lot of finding time, and were able to continue to use our new Key-Indicator of Kontakts to find some really neat new people- especially families! Familie Aziz with five young adopted girls of many nationalities from Iraq and Familie Long from China who were so excited that we called back to set up an appointment, and more of the Serbian families at these city-refugee-housing. It is real interesting to meet with the Serbian people at this place. We did so on Thursday, and after the lesson with familie Emin and them explaining all their issues with us with health and need for a new house, we felt it may be best to use our time elsewhere. This happened similarly on Tuesday and Thursday. On both days, we had the same thoughts of possible focusing elsewhere, but every time we were walking out of the complex, a person would come up to us and ask when we would be coming back and if we could come meet with him. It is truly amazing, and we can see and feel that the Lord wants us to continue going back there. There are people that are ready and just waiting for the Gospel, but haven't had it because they just don't know where to find it. We have it, we share it. What a beautiful work!

Friday: I love the Elders in the Duisburg District! Me, Elder Peterson, and Elder Stephens are in our second half of training the new missionaries, and Edler Birth just started this cycle training Elder Hall, (who knew Caitlin Rowden from UNT!)- so our district is half goldens and half missionaries under the year mark- I love it! Elder Peterson asked me to give a spiritual thought on obedience, and it was a real neat expereince to prepare and share with the Elders in the district.To start, I found that "obed-" means "servant". So obedience is really the act of being a servant. That was neat, because from Preach My Gospel and study in the scriptures, we learn that obedience is so much more than just doing as we're told: it is using our agency to choose to conform our will to that of the Father, as directed by the spirit- in order to become a servant of the Father. We are told commandments to live and things to DO, and will be blessed for checking the boxes in the check list. But we are really obedient as we develop the habit and pattern or BEING and LIVING as the Lord wants us to be and live. Willingly, Exactly, Faithfully, Sacrifice- these are all words that describe the type of obedience that Jesus Christ showed to the will of the Father, the sacrifice He gave. As in everything, He showed the type of obedient living I am working to develop. It is true that in almost every case of obedience, we must sacrifice something to conform our will to the will of the Father, as guided by the Spirit. But, I have found that when all is said and done, the blessings received so greatly outweigh the sacrifice given, that I will gladly sacrifice in the same way agian to receive the greater blessings. As President Packer said, "As we give what we have, there is a replacement, with increase." He was speaking of testimony here. But it applies also to our using our agency to conform to the Father's will, for that is really the only thing we have that we can give Him, and then will He make us into His servants to further His work here. I love the gospel!

Saturday: Gemeinde Sommer Fest!! We received permission to go with the Ward to Eyleer See for their annual barbeque and sommer party- it was so much fun! Like Monday, it reminded me of all the great 4th of July barbeques and sommer reunions and trips with the greatest familie and friends who the Lord has blessed me with. To mine und Elder VanCamp's great suprise, Michael showed up with his daughter! First off, we had no clue he had a daughter, but he said that he wanted her to be around "ganz tolle Leute!" It was a real neat day, full of strengthening relationships, eating, and sports... On the topic of sports, I knew that Fußball was really big here in Germany, but I didn't thing it anything when the youth asked us to come play soccer... how hard could it be? I played soccer when I was little, and have watched it during the world cup... mercy. They were amazing! I had no clue that human beings could actually run and kick and do all these trick moves so well... So after the burtal beating on the soccer field, we decided to do sand volleyball- there Elder VanCamp and I gained some of our athletic dignity back. I love this ward! It was so neat to be there with everyone and enjoy the beautiful weather and the creations of God. It was super hot and there was a little lake, but missionaries are not to go swimming, so they filled up water guns and sprayed us down! But the greatest part was that Michael and his daughter so thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and the ward seemed to accept them right in and include them! The Church is so much more that just a church- it is people of all sorts of backgrounds being bound together in ties of love through the teachings and doctines of Jesus Christ- Strengthening, helping, and supporting one another to keep the sacred covenants of which the gospel is made. We can't do it alone. It is impossible.

Sunday: What a blessed and holy Sabbath Day. We had some miracles with finding people in the afternoon, who loved the idea of Prophets and Apostles on the earth today- they loved it because it is true. What's not to love about the truth? Also, I was able to play the organ agian in the Sacrament service and felt the spirit so strong while playing the hymns of Zion. Music truly is a power that connects Heaven and earth, a language that everyone can understand, a source of peace and pure joy. No wonder there were angels singing at the birth of Christ, at the dedication of the Kirtland temple, and will be at the second coming of our Lord. I am so grateful for the talents the Lord has given me, learned and taught by my mother, used and expanded through sweet tender mercies of experiences and opportunities.

Tomorrow we are going down to Frankfurt to listen to Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who is coming just to meet with us of the Frankfurt Mission. What a blessing to be led by prophets and Apostles today! It is such a witness to me of God's love that He has called leaders for us to tell us exactly what we need to do in the year 2011 to live the gospel of Jesus Christ to return to live with our Father in Heaven. I know they are spokesmen for God. The scriptures of old also tell us of God's word. The Spirit tells us personally God's word for us. These three great keys or revelation- the scriptures, modern prophets, and personal revelation- are three of the greatest blessings and gifts from God. I am so grateful for all of them, all bringing me closer to Him of whom they testify. I know that Jesus Christ lives. Through these three great keys of revelation, I am coming to know Him better: not just knowing things about Him, but coming to know Him. His obedient sacrifice was the greatest act of love when it happened, and is the greatest act of love today, as I use the Atonement of Jesus Christ to repent and become more like Him, He allowing me to get another chance. This plan is full of grace and mercy, love and patience. How grateful I am for my Savior Jesus Christ. He truly is "Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." (and yes, I am so excited for Christmas!)

How can you tell what your life is worth or where your value lies? You can never see with your eyes on earth: look through heaven's eyes!

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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