Liebe Familie und Freunde:
Let me introduce you to Rabekka. She is about 25 years old and lives in Mainz, studies in Mannheim, and works in Frankfurt. She loves English and prefers to speak it. This all came into play as we were on our train to Zone Conference on Wednesday. We met the sisters in Mainz and then traveled to Frankfurt. We had a 4-seater, and Siser Nieman stood, and there was an open seat to my right. Rabekka came and sat down and was reading a book. We missionaries were talking in English, and Elder Sheppard pulled out a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich (Yes, we have peanut butter!!). We began talking about peanut butter, and jam, and how they don't have it in England, and so forth. I looked over at Rabekka, and she was reading an English book, so I knew she knew what we were talking about and understood us. So we continutes talking, and I can't remember exactly what happened, but we asked a question to each other, and then she became involved in the conversation. We introduced ourselves, and she did as well, and we continued to talk together on our 40 minute ride to Frankfurt. Over the course of our conversation, we found out that she has a lot of interest in discussing Gospel topics and theology. She hadn't heard much about the Church, but was really interested to learn more! We got to Frankfurt, and invited her to the baptism on Saturday- two girls were being baptized in the ward. She said she would love to come, especially since it would be in English. We went to Zone Conference and had a wonderful time! The week went by, and then Saturday came, and we went to the church for the baptism. We went early to fill up the font, and then walked into the chapel just before it started, only to find Rabekka sitting on the back row!! We were so excited and invited her to sit with us near the front. The service began, we explained a little about what was going on, and how the father and older brother of the two girls, respectively, were baptizing them. We saw the ordinance of baptism by immerision following the simple and powerful words, and then went back into the chapel. Rabekka was just smiling the whole time! During the waiting time, the bishopric asked Elder Sheppard and I to talk about the restoration! We did just that, and the Spirit was strong. Testimony was given. Rabekka kept smiling. We learned from a talk about the gift of the holy ghost and then witnessed the simple and beautiful confirmation and bestowing of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The spirit was even stronger, and the smile still there. After the closing prayer, we asked Rabekka what she thought and she really struggled for the words. We said she could say it in German if it was easier. She said almost laughing "It's not a language problem!" She said she hasn't ever felt this way before and couldn't describe what she was feeling. She was still smiling. I think Elder Sheppard and I were smiling even bigger! She met all the ward members there and had a fantastic time! We invited her to come to church on Sunday to learn more and for us to answer her questions. We encouraged her to write down her questions and come to church and promised that she would receive answers. She did just that! The talks in church were about prayer and finding answers to our questions. We met the second hour and she couldn't stop talking about how great and simple everything was, and especially how it felt like one big family here at church and how everyone wanted to meet her and love her and help her and focus on her and answer her questions and teach her specifically. The Book of Mormon was introduced, testimony from a young single adult (YSA) convert of how she came to know the truth of the gospel, and the smile stayed. The third hour, she went with her member friends to Relief Society and learned about the Book of Mormon from Elder Callister's conference talk and joined with the great women of the church in unity and love. It was a perfect Sunday, all three hours the Spirit bearing confirming witness to my heart that this work, this gospel, is true! And Rabekka felt it too! The YSA leader for the area is in our ward, and invited Rabekka to Institute and the YSA ice skating activity today. She will come to the weekly YSA activities and classes. She wants to read in the Book of Mormon. She wants to meet with us more. She said she ist going to come back. And, mot importantly, she is still smiling! This gospel brings the joy and happiness that everbody in life is searching for. Every day, I have the great honor and privlege to see this gospel change lives. My live is changed more and more every day as I see people like Rabekka smile the smile of joy and hope and love that this Gospel is all about. All it takes is an invitation for them to come and see. And giving that invitation and sharing the Gospel is really quite simple: just talk about peanut butter!
I love you all so much! Thank you for your love and prayers. This time of year is truly the season of miracles! I believe it is so because of the added focus and faith on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His humble birth was one of the greatest events in the history of time. He lived then, and He lives now. He is the source of the smiles and joy and hope that is the Gospel found in His restored church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Of this I know!
Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22