Liebe Familie und Freunde:
In my scripture study the last few weeks, I have been studying the war chapters in Alma- what an adventure! In companionship study each morning, Elder Sheppard and I spend some time sharing with each other what we learned and how we can use it in our day. I love giving him "the daily update of the Kingdom!" Moroni and Lehi, Teancum and Ammoron, Amalickiah and Morianton- stratagem, armies, the Title of Liberty- this is the greatest adventure of all time! Each day, the evil fight against the good, cities are fortified and protected, taken over and won back, prisoners transported and given the chance for peace. I love it! It has been so neat to read the Book of Mormon with an "application" eye- every chapter, every verse was written for us in our day, meaning I am in it- you are in it, standing along side Captain Moroni in the land Bountiful or along the strippling warriors on the way to battle. Satan is a real force, and he isn't backing down any time soon. One of my favorite parts of this section of the Book of Mormon is when Moroni fortifies all the cities, and strengthens those cities that had previously been destroyed by the Lamanites. When the Lamanites come to take over the city Ammonihah, "how great was their disappointment" (Alma 49:4), for it was no longer the whimpy, vulnerable, take-over-able city it used to be. The Lamanites were unsuccessful in taking over the city a second time. I love that! We learn in Ether 12 that when we come to the Lord, He helps us make our weaknesses become strong- and He doesn't put a limit to how many, how weak, or how varried. From the example of the city of Ammonihah, we can become so strong in a place previously so terribly weak, that when Satan comes with that tempation again or a similar tactic, or a similar difficulty or struggle in life comes, oh! how disappointed he will be! How frustrated the Deceiver gets that something once lost and weak is now strong and fortified. I know that to be true. This truly is the Church and Gospel of second chances... and third and fourth chances to strengthen, to fortify ourselves, to build the Kingdom; even to thwart the strategy of Satan, keeping him miserably disappointed :-)
In other news in Wiesbaden, it has been raining and raining and raining! Last year at this time, all this rain was snow... the Lord is so good! He knows my lack of snow appreciation- I guess cold rain is a good alternative!
Yesterday was such a great day at Church- I have really come to understand fasting, and how it can be so effective, and how the Lord grants the desires of our hearts.
The absolute highlight of the weeks was when the Sisters and us went to visit SueEllen Valdez and her son in Nierstein- she met with missionaries before, and we got back in contact with her, and she needed some help done in her house. She made us fantastic German pancakes and potatoe salad! We were able to help her get some things in order in her house, and clear things up from when her basement flooded 3 times in a week... It is always feels so good to serve and help people do things that the couldn't have done on their own- we could see in in her eyes, how much it meant that we were simply there. But the greatest was the time I had with Andre', the young man. During the service time, we got to talking, and he asked many questions about God and about my view of... everything! He opened up to me and told me about some concerns he has with life and friends, of fitting in, and feelings of wanting to find more knowledge and direction concerning spiritual things- very similar things to some of what I felt in my life at his age. He asked some big questions, and I paused. I felt his trust, a feeling that he would believe anything I said, and take it as truth. I haven't experienced that before, knowing that whatever I said, this person would absolutely believe- complete trust. So I didn't say anything- I went to my bag, and pulled out a blue, hard-back copy of the Book of Mormon and asked him if he liked to read. I explained that this was my favorite book, and I wanted him to have it. He first was apprehensive to take my favorite book, but after explaining that there are many more copies, he took it in his hands, and read "The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ", then said "I have never heard of this book before." I explained very briefly what the Book of Mormon is, and how it came to be. I looked him square in the eyes, and promised him that this Book will answer his questions. He got quiet, started flipping the pages, and asked some questions about the Book of Mormon. I was honored to explain how the teachings found in it are true and pure, not changed by councils of men, and what is written is exactly as it happened. He was overjoyed! This mature 16 year old boy felt it, the power of the Book of Mormon, just by holding it in his hands. He asked more about the additional light and understanding that comes from the Book of Mormon and if we had any other books that give us even more. I smiled and simply said "How about you read this one first!" With a restatement of my promise that all of his questions would be answered by reading in the Book of Mormon, I shook his hand and smiled, raising my eyebrows over to the empy chair in the room- I returned back to the others where we were filing papers, and he sat on the chair and began reading :-)
This is what I am here for. This is what the work of the Master is about. The building of the kingdom is done one by one, one heart at a time, one soul filled with the light of the restored gospel at a time. And I wouldn't want it any other way! How honored and humbled I am to be here at this time. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world, doing anything else.
My testimony has been so greatly strengthened this last week of the power of the Book of Mormon, the truthfulness of it, and the miraculous means by which we have it. I know it is true. I know it is the word of God, just as the Bible. I know it, becuase I feel the comforting, confirming power of the Holy Ghost every time I read it, and I just can't deny it. Oh, how disappointed Satan must be!
I sure love you all! Thank you for your love and prayers- I can feel it!
Alles Gute, und bis nächste Woche!
dein Bruder, ElderGarlick
Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22