"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, 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.

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