"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)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Beginnings

Liebe Familie,

It was SO GREAT to talk to you all on Christmas! I am so greatful for technology! Christmas was absolutely fantastic and I felt your love and the love of the Savior so strong. It definitely was a Christmas to remember! I know better now than I did a month ago, that Jesus Christ lives, that He is my Savior and Redeemer. The ward was so nice to us and really blessed us with TONS of food and treats... we don't need to buy any food at the store today! In German, they celebrate Christmas on the 25th and 26th of December, so yesterday was another holiday, that's why I am writing today.

We received transfer calls on Saturday, and we are switching with the Sisters, so we will be in the German ward, and they in the American Military Ward. Well, that's what we thought when we came to our planning meeting yesterday to switch records and talk about investigators and such. In the opening prayers, the thoughts and feelings came about us four missionaries working fully in both wards. I brought it up right after the prayer, and the spirit so strongly confirmed it to all of us! 4 Missionaries, 2 Wards, 1 Purpose. We are meeting again tomorrow to get all this down on paper and write out this plan, to work with both wards and be more effective that we have ever been! It was so neat to see the conversation and plans develop into what we have now, as a plan and initiative to have us four missionaries work fully in both wards. Of course, that means twice the work, but this is the kind of thing that the wards here in Wiesbaden need! It will be so worth it! When we put up borders and boundries, even put us in boxes, then the effectiveness and efficiency of the work declines significantly. Of course, we need balance and focus, and that is what we will be planning tomorrow. The work is going to roll forward with greater speed and greater power than this area has ever seen, than Germany has ever seen! I know it! It can happen, and it will happen! And it all started with a recognition of the whisperings of the Spirit, and then the collective revelation of all involved. That's how the Lord gets His work done, one revelation at a time. I am so excited! This is going to be a miraculous new year!

Sorry I can't write much, I wrote three large letters to President explaining this new plan, and they were lost and eaten in cyberspace... technology :-)

I sure love you all!
Alles Gute, und schönes neues Jahr!

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Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22

Monday, December 19, 2011


Liebe Familie und Freunde:

Guess what today is? Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve!! I love this time of year! Yesterday we were driving home from Wetzlar, and it started to snow!! But it didn't stick... I guess there is still time. And it's Christmas week... anything is possible!

And the miracles of the season just keep happening! Amo and his mother came to church yesterday! They are living in real humble conditions, as refugees from Syria. They enjoyed church, and even though he seems to focus on the negatives in his life and hopes for the biggest and grandest, as any 18 year old can do, when we talk about coming to church, he gets real serious, even somber, and figures out how to come to church. After he came last week, we asked him how he felt when he left church. He said "terrible." We were a little confused... that's not the normal feeling after attending church! Then he explained, "I felt terrible because I wasn't in church." He recognized the power or the love and peace that come from the Church of Jesus Christ, and he wanted it all the time. Well, that's just we teach people as missionaries: how to keep the joy and peace and happiness at all times. It starts with faith, continues with repentance, it makes a milestone with baptism, and it getes capped by receiveing the gift of the Holy Ghost... and then the faith is increased! It is a beautiful cylce of enduring and enjoying!

But what about Bob? Well, we have been meeting with Bob since we got here to Wiesbaden- he met missionaries in June. We didn't really have much of a record of what has been taught, and he came to church several times, and the members really like him. We just weren't sure where he was. His uncle passed away a few weeks ago, and with some financial problems, it is a tough time for him, but he is so positive and one of the greatest people I know. We called him a few days ago, and asked how everything was going. He responded. "Small. Everything is small." ..... I love Bob! We weren't quite sure what that meant, probably a lanuage thing, and actually had to call him back a little later... Sometimes you don't mean to laugh, and you try so hard to keep it in, but that just makes things worse... oh mercy, we were crying! But we were able to make out an appointment for Saturday afternoon. We printed out the Baptismal Interview questions in French- he is from the Camaroon- and started going through them. Bob proceeded to bear his testimony about these questions: "Yes, of course I know that God is my Father. Yes, Jesus is my Savior. Thomas Monson is a Prophet. I haven't read the whole Book of Mormon yet, but I feel it is true. Joseph Smith has to be a prophet." He wasn't quite sure about some of the commandement, but that gave us a place to work with, knowing now what we need to teach. It was such a beautiful time with him! we had a member there who spoke French and was able to bear testimony of the gospel and of baptism. We set a baptism date for January 7! Please pray for him!

Last Tuesday we went to the temple in Friedrichsdorf! It was powerful and amazing! I went to the temple last in Provo in the MTC, so it was really neat to remember the covenants and blessings of the temple. It was all in German, which was a great experience. The Church is still true in German! Sie wirklich ist!

It was just a fantastic week! This week is going to be even better! Christmas is coming, and the world is turning to Him. I love that scene of a manger and oxen, sheep and shepherds, a Baby and His mother, a star shinig. That is Christmas to me! The stress and the anxiety of Christmas comes from trying to do it all perfectly. Christmas isn't about doing it perfect- it's about doing it right. And the right way, even the More Excellent way, is Jesus Christ. If your haven't seen these videos of Christ's early life, please watch them! They are brilliant! Full of the Spirit, they capture the Reason for the season, even in His most humble beginnings. <http://lds.org/bible-videos?lang=eng>

Have a wonderful Christmas! I will see you on Sunday :-) I love Skype!
Alles Gute, und Frohe Weihnachten!
Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beautiful Countryside

Amazing Churches


Elder Garlick and Sister Garlick: Cousins in the same Mission!

Christmas Market

Christmas is Coming!

Liebe Familie und Freunde:

Life is so good! I love being here in Wiesbaden! Except that my camera still won't hook up to the computer... it is thinking about it right now- maybe by the time I am done writing, I will be able to send some! One of the greatest things this week has been our preparation for the temple- we get to go to the Frankfurt temple tomorrow! It is a Zone temple trip, and I am so excited! I last went to the temple in the MTC in Provo- it's been almost a year! I love the temple. It truly is the most important place on earth. It has been really neat to read and study a little bit more about the temple and prepare to go to the House of the Lord tomorrow. The temple is where heaven and earth meet, where the grays and fog of life go away, and where we are filled with the Light of Life. I love that scripture in John 8:12- Christ truly is the Light of Life, and I have felt that light, that hope, that love, more in the temple and with our family than enywhere else. What better combination for love and happiness than our family at the temple?! 2020- keep it in focus, keep it in sight!

It is definitely winter here, but no snow yet! I don't know if I should be sad or grateful for this... But we have Stella, our car, which is a great blessing for the coming winter. I am glad that Elder Sheppard is the driver, because I have only driven once or twice in snow!

We also picked up a Christmas tree this week! Our apartment is definitely festive and smells like Christmas! I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of year because of the sights, the smells, the feelings, and joy. "Alelujiah, Gloria!" So many things are Christmas to me: The decorating the house and the tree, the Christmas lights, the little ceramic villages and nutcrackers, the reading of Christmas stories, the fireplace at our house that never had a fire in it!, the writing and reading of letters as a family to each other, the music and carols, the caroling and the service and helping, the Nativity scenes and the focus on Christ's birth. Especially the increased faith and focus on Christ. That's why it's the season of miracles: the whole world takes a pause to focus on the Babe of Bethlehem. I have never liked the stress and schedule and running around of Christmas. That's not what Christmas is about, but I have seen more and more the last few weeks that that is what "Christmas" has come to be: the next place to go, the next thing to buy, the next thing to give stress, the next thing to schedule or plan. Christmas is a time of Joy, a time of Peace, a time of Service and Smiling! Christmas is the happy word or the uplifting card, it is the testimony given through service and love. Christmas to me has always been the family sitting in the family room, with the lights low and the Christmas tree lights on, reading the Christmas story or our Christmas Eve letters, or figuring out how to secretly deliver some Christmas treats or notes, and just talking and laughing! The food is great, the music is better, but the quiet time together is what it is all about, where we realize that nothing else in the world really matters, and our understanding deepens that the family is one of the greatest gifts of God. I think that's why we are taught in D&C 14 that eternal life is the greatest of all the gifts of God- with the family it truly is! It would be an awful lonely and sad place in heaven for me without my family. I wished that those times at Christmas time could last forever. And I guess they can, as we live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and experience the holiness of the temple in our home and prepare for our heavenly home after this life. What a special time of year!

We got word from Salt Lake that we can Skype! I am so excited to see you all on Christmas Day!

...the picture downloading is 44% complete... they're coming!

Amo is a young man the sisters in Mainz and we were able to meet. He is a refugee from Syria, and his story is something fantastic! I don't have time today to write it all, but just know, that today is a day of miracles, dreams, and faith. And so it has always been when the Church of Jesus Christ has been on the earth. Amo came to church yesterday, and introduced himself in Priesthood by saying: "I am Amo, I come from Syria, and I love being here in this Church!" The Lord's hand is in this work every day, for it is His! I can't even begin to explain all the miracles we see and expereince, the tender mercies and blessings of the Designer of this work, and the joy and happiness that comes to us missionaries and those we love and serve and teach as we talk about and live the Plan of Salvation. The Lord's work is the work of joy and salvation. Those two have and always will go together. I am beginning to understand more now when we read in 3 Nephi and in the New Testament, that if all the things that Christ did were to be written down, the world itself could not hold all the books that would be written- we don't even have a hundreth part of what was experienced and lived! I wish I could write about my experiences for days and days without stop, not just because it would be totally posible, but because every day is full of miracles that Christ does! Every day, we experience another of His miracles, another of His mercies that is a continuation of the record we have in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and modern scripture. If everything that the Lord has done for me here in the mission, for me in my life, and for you in your life and that of every person that has live, now lives, and ever will live on this earth was written down, then truly, the world could not contain all the books that would be written! What a blessing- His word and power and influence never ceases!

And in short, that's the message of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ: It hasn't stopped. Come and see is the invitation; MORE joy, MORE peace, MORE love, MORE comfort, MORE hope, MORE understanding, MORE freedom, MORE light, MORE unity, MORE faith, and MORE happiness is the pormised blessing. And they aren't just empty, hallow promises. I have experienced the blessings of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Come and see- who doesn't want more?

I know this gospel is true. It makes sense to my mind and feels good to my heart. I don't know everything about everything of the gospel, but I know enough to trust it enough to live it and to receive the blessings that He has promised us: I truly and more happy thatn I have ever been in my life! I know He lives, whose Gospel this is, and whose name I am humbled and honored to bear!

Merry Christmas! Frohe Weihnachten! It truly is the season of miracles :-)

All my best, and as always:

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Early Christmas!

Liebe Familie und Freunde!

Wow, noch ein sehr wunderbare Woche! Ich freue mich hier zu sein, besonders in dieser Weihnachtzeit! Es gibt ein sehr besondere und schöne Gefühle in Dezember. Es ist der Geist, der Zeugnis gibt, dass Jesus wirklich geboren ist, dass er wirklich lebte, und dass er heute noch lebt! Es ist sehr wunderbar hier zu sein!

The big news of this week is that we got a car! It is bright red and it's just like an early Christmas...just without the big bow on top! Elder Sheppard is the driver, and I am the Navigator. It was a new experience for Elder Sheppard, since he is from England, and drove on the opposite side of the car and road! But he is very safe and it has been really good. We are both certified to drive, but I enjoy navigating- we have a GPS named Lisa and our car is named Stella! It has been a lot of fun, and has made our work more effective and versitile. We got it on Thursday, and thought that it would great and convienient to park outside our apartment. Well, neither of us having any real experience in big cities, not to mention downtown the state capital city, ended up driving around and around trying to find a parking spot... Who knew that all the parking would be taken before 9pm?! We are learning much here on our misisons, including how to live in big city! So we drove to the church, parked there and took a bus home! It was definitely an adventure! But the adventures just began, for we needed to drive out to Trier to pick up some Summer tires from the last elders. Trier is an old Roman city with huge colossiums and ampetheaters from over 2000 years ago- they were definitely an impressive sight to see! The country land out in this part of Germany is so beautiful! The river flowing, the hills rolling, it was so neat to see and enjoy! ... especially when we got lost and ended up on this tiny farm road in the middle of nowhere... Lisa, our GPS, didn't even know what to say! So we smiled and kept driving, eventually getting back to the Autobahn.

What makes everything even better is that it is officially Christmas time! We visited the Weihnachts Markt in Wiesbaden (Christmas Market) last Preparation Day and it was absolutely amazing! The Germans sure know how to do Christmas! Think of a huge open square or plaza full of hundreds of small shops full of the greatest food and Christmas things ever- we were there for two hours and still didn't see everything. There is definitely and special spirit when the whole world takes a moment to think about the Savior of the world, whose humble stable birth was the beginning of a life of power and glory. I was so happy to see a huge lifesize wood nativity scene as the center point of the Christmas Market, showing the reason for the season, the birth of Jesus Christ. Of course, His life didn't really begin in Bethlehem, for He was the First Born of the Father, the Chosen One in that Grand Council in Heaven. I often think of that First Christmas, and of all the stories that we hear. Stories of sheep and stars, angels and mangers. It must have been the most glorious experience to be a shepherd and see the heavenly hosts singing glories and praises to God. I admire their example of going with haste to see that thing which was made known, even the Savior of the World lying in a manger. I love the idea of singing and praising the Lord with music, for music truly is a connection between heaven and earth. The Light of the World was born! Those people in the Book of Mormon times bore witness of this, as the sun set, and it was a bright as noon day. What an experience! I would have loved to have been there! But we don't need to be there to see and to feel and to know. I didn't see the guiding start that brought the wise men from the east, nor the tender care of Mary. I didn't see the sun set without darkness nor see the Child wrapped in swaddling clothes laying in a manger. But I have felt it, and therefore I know. People can change what we think, but they can't change what we feel. Only He can do that. He has touched my heart with His spirit, and I do know that Christ was born of Mary, in the most humble of circumstances. I do know that He came into the world to save us all, to offer us life and light and hope. For that is who He is.

How grateful I am to be here in Germany at this time in the world's history. People are searching, they are truly seeking for the hope and joy that life should be full of. They are coming with haste, they are seeing the things that we make known, and they rejoice and praise God because of it. I think of Rabekka and Bob and Chigozle. What fine examples of trusting in the Lord with all their hearts, and taking steps of faith to follow the example of our Savior. This is the greatest time to be alive! We have the gospel, we have the priesthood and prophets and temples, we have the comfort of the knowledge of eternal families, and we have the greatest of messages to share at this Christmas time: that He lives!

Frohe Weihnachten und Alles Gute!
Danke schön für euer Liebe, Gebete und Stütz. Sie bedeuten mir so viel! Tschüß

Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22

p.s. I got a letter today from the Garlick cousins who ate Thanksgiving together. It was really nice of them and great to hear from them all! I figured out that I can hook my camera up to the computer, install the KODAK software, and then it should work to send pictures... but the camera batteries also need to be charged :-) Next week... we shall try again! I sent a letter to you last week with some pictures of the last little bit, until I can figure out the camera/card thing.