"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, October 31, 2011

Gummy Bears, Girls, and Cabbage...

Liebe Familie und Freunde:

What a week! This was a week full of laughs and the Spirit and the love of the Lord. Here are some stories that highlight the week:

1. So I called Brother Peeters to see how he was doing and see if we could meet this weekend. We talked for a little bit and then he told me that he went to the store and bought 400 pounds of coal that he is keeping in his attic... He says he is prepared in case a disaster comes and his electricity goes out and he has to use his coal stove for heat and everything. I thought that was neat, and we hung up. This conversation was in English, and then I told Elder Friedrichs what we talked about in German. So I told him that Br. Peeters bought 400 pounds of coal. I wasn't totally sure for the word "coal" in German, so said the German word "Kohl", thinking it was close enough. Well, Elder Friedrichs had a slight funny look on his face and said "OK, what for?" And I said "in case his heating fails, he can burn the coal (but 'Kohl') for heat." Now Elder Friedrich's face was completely confused! He asked why Brother Peeters would be burning KOHL if his heater failed. By this time, I knew it was a German problem on my side, so I looked it up in the dictionary... and then laughed out loud! KOHLE with an e on the end is coal in Englisch. Without an e, KOHL, like I was using in the story, is cabbage. Oh mercy, and we laughed! We started thinking of the terrible smell and the low effectiveness of the heater and the house with Brother Peeters trying to burn 400 pounds of cabbage for his heating system. One letter makes ALL the difference! :-)

2. We helped a family in the ward move to a new house in the ward boundries. It was an all day event, but definitely worth our time. They had so many of these small light brown wooden cabnets from IKEA. They were so fragile that some of them fell apart as we were loading then in the truck. Everything was alright, they just have to do some repair work. Then we took that huge load of furniture to their new house and unloaded it all. Then we came back to their old house for the last few bits of furniture. There was a fairly large cabinet that he said was more fragile than the other cabinets, but much heavier. So Elder Friedrichs had a geniuss Idea to use the straps that are used to hold everything still in the truck, to put them under the cabinet and then wrap it in our hands and then lift straight up. It worked miraculously! No akward turning of the furniture, no killing the back, just lift straight up with the straps. Brother Luchs was so amazed and excited that we didn't break the cabinet that he gave us a box of Gummy Bears.. hundreds of them. About 8 Gummy Bears in an individual plastic wrapper.. hundreds of them! So we put them under our Christmas tree. We ate too many of them, but we had to get rid of them somehow, and the garbage can was not an option. Then I had a split and worked in Duisburg. When I came back, all the gummy bears were gone except two packs. Miracles do still happen today! ;-)

3. Yesterday after church and lunch, Elder Friedrichs and I walked to Martin's house to meet with him. We walked through Bahnhof and then through the bus Bahnhof. This 16ish year old girl comes up to us and asks where Bahnhof is. We were kind of confused and told her we were here at Bahnhof. Then she asked about the airport and if that was also in Bahnhof, and then we just got super confused. Another teenage girl walked up behind her, and then they said that they were just joking and just wanted to meet us and get our cell phone number to go out. I kind of chuckled and said we weren't allowed to... which was true- they wanted to meet with us, but not to learn of the Gospel! Then I explained that we were from the Church and were missionaries. The girl from the first bursted out "Von der Kirche?!" And lunged at me while belting "OH, come here!" and half jumped up into me and threw her arms around me in the restraining, hug, embrace. My arms were trapped down by my side so while almost being knocked over used my elbows and shoulders to push her off. I had no idea what to think! By this time a group of 6 or 7 teenage girls had gathered with the other two and were giggling and almost encouraging the initial hugger. She asked where I was from, and I said America. I don't know why I wasn't expecting it, but she did the exact same thing again! This time yelling "America!" The girls behind her were all a squealing, and Elder Friedrichs laughing... and I did the same thing to, but faster! Then she asked where in America. This time, I was smarter: I had my arms a little bit out in a defense position of missionary style. Then I said "Texas", and oh mercy... I thought Jessica and Makell could squeal loud... this was like a fire alarm! And the same thing happened on her side, the embrace, the squeals from the other girls. Then we said we had an appointment to get to and needed to go. All this happened in about 20 seconds, and we walked away, still not completely sure what happened. Then I looked at Elder Friedrichs and he pointed out that my face was super red! And we laughed. Oh, we laughed! It was possibly the most randomly unexpected thing that has ever happened to me in my life! Then we went to Martin's house, but he wasn't there, so we had to come back through Bahnhof. But we were very stealthy and ninja-like... The Navy Seals would have been proud. We even saw them on the other side of Bahnhof and avoided this gaggle of teenagers without even looking too suspicous! That night I did call-ins with the Zone leaders and they laughed. Oh mercy, they laughed :-)

So there was the week with laughs and smiles. That's what life is about, isn't it? Enjoying every moment, the expected and the unexpected. The little things make all the difference. I feel that is what Alma was teaching us when he taught about small and simple things bringing great things to pass. A wonderful life, a blissful existence, a peaceful and happy state aren't just given and aren't realized in the blink of an eye or a snap of the fingers. Rather, the joy that is the purpose for our being is developed one happy or fun experience at a time, one smile or laugh at a time. Maybe that's also a part of the Savior's teaching of giving us line upon line, here a little there a little. By the consistent accumulation of happy memories and joyful experiences, He can work to give us a perspective of the eternities, an ability to overcome anything and everything life can throw at us, and a beam of light contageous to all.

He is the Light of the world. His joy is full when we are happy and joyful. The purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the greatest of all blessings we can attain in this life, is that very joy. That's the purpose of life. That's the purpose of this work. What a purpose, what a cause! Shall we not go on?

Keep smiling!
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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