Tuesday, February 28, 2012
What a fantastic week! And this coming week is going to be even better! MEGAN AND ALICIA ARE GETTING BAPTIZED! I love this work! It is so exciting, and the joy I get from doing it every day truly is the greatest blessing!
This last week was Zone Conference in Heidelberg! Sister Nieman served there a few months ago, and wanted to show us all the Heidelberg Castle! So we went a little bit early and climbed up to this gorgeous castle on the side of a mountain! I will send pictures as soon as I can figure out my camera card... Zone Conference was great! The greatest thing that I felt was the confirmation that missionary work is a spiritual work. Yes, we teach and study, and we talk with people and we ride many trains, but it is ALL a spiritual work- all those physical elements are just ways that we act on the promptings of the spirit. Also, one of the greatest things about Zonw conference was that I got to see my cousin! No, not Sister Garlick, but Elder Jardine!! He is a Hicken!! His mom talked with Aunt Marne and figured out that we are second cousins! His Grandpa is Uncle Jay! I love being a Hicken and a Garlick and a Blake and a Burton! It was so neat to be with him and really feel that family connection!
It is great to work with Elder Crosby- he is very relaxed and calm. I admire his humility and desire to become better and learn. He has such a great focus on other people, and definitely one of the most slef-less people I know! I am so grateful to be learning so much from working with Elder Crosby!
Yesterday was a special Stake Conference broadcast for all of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It was so aweseome! Elder Nelson and President Eyring spoke to us. The two greatest points I got from the conference was 1. Prayer of Faith, and 2. Connect with spiritual power by doing the small and simple things. President Eyring spoke a lot about his ancestors from Germany, and their path in life that led them to the church and to marriage, ect., and it was all governed by their prayers of faith. I am so grateful for prayer- it works! Sue Ellen is just discovering the power of prayer. She is middle aged single mother, and came to church yesterday. She has been feeling the spirit recently, and really gained strength from prayer. As we have met with her, we can see the gospel and the church starting to "click". Yesterday, with tears coming down her cheeks, she said that it finally "clicked"! She has some great friends in the ward now, and her testimony of this gospel was started and perpetuated by her prayer of faith. She will be baptized very soon.
Spiritual power is the reason we are able to do all we do as missionaries and members of the church. Prayer, Scriptures, church, covenants, are those little things that, when we do them, connect us to the powers of heaven, and allow us to do the work of the Master on the earth. We have all heard that every answer to any question in the church is "pray, read your scriptures, come to church..." but it is SO true! Those are the means that Heavenly Father has given us to tap in to His spiritual power, to call down angels and revelation, and to do miracles on the earth. The Priesthood is also a means for that, the permission and authority to act in God's name, but it only functions and the powers only useable upon the principles of righteousness- and righteousness begins with "pray, read your scriptures, come to church"... And temple covenants is what everything is aimed at! I love it all so much- I know it's true.
I was able to play the organ for the Stake Conference as we waited for the broadcast to start- I love the organ! I love the piano, too, but there is a special feeling on the organ! It's like the difference between hearing the Tabernacle Choir sing on a TV or CD, versus hearing them live... ooooh yeah!
The Lord's hand is here in Germany. Miracles are happening, and people are flocking to the church. The office sent us information today about a college age young woman who has a real good friend in Colorado and wants to learn more and be baptized. Last week, a couple from Africa just walked into church and stayed for all three hours. When we are obedient, work as hard as we can, and rely on the spirit by becoming rooted in scriptures and live with a prayer of Faith, miracles just happen. We can't stop them from happening! I am so grateful for a God of miracles, a God who speaks, and a Father who loves me. I know He lives. That is why I am here. If God spoke, loved, and did miracles, then that would be all nice and good, and I would probably be at home in College Station, maybe reading about those events in the Bible every once in a while and going on with life. But He speaks, He loves, He listens, He lives and does miracles every single day- and that's why I'm here! And the miracles aren't about to stop any time soon! Hundreds of stakes, thousands of wards, temples dotting the Rhine River- prophets have prophesied it, I believe it, we are experiencing it here, now, today! This work is the greatest of all works to do! Shall we not go on?!
Monday, February 20, 2012
Liebe Familie und Freunde:
Fasching is definitely a one-of-a-kind expereince! I am here in Mainz, at the institute center by Bahnhof, and there are so many people, all dressed up in the greatest constumes! It is like Halloween, but without all the guts and blood and scary stuff. So many constumes- and they are all so fun and bright! Animals and dragons, cowboys, and even George Washingtons :-) There is a HUGE parade going on out the window in downtown- SO much candy and confetti! We came earlier here this morning so we could get back to Wiesbaden before it gets too crazy. Here are some pictures- you can't really see it too well, but here's enough to wet your whistle. I can't really describe this Fasching... but we have been able to stay clear of the big groups of people and all that fun :-)
This last week was such a great week! We met with Guang the last time before he goes to China, and it was such a neat time with him! We reviewed the Plan of Salvation as well as talked about the Gospel of Christ. He loves everything we teach so much! He is so interested and asks the perfet questions. One was "So I know we need to be baptized in this life to return to live with God, but what about all those people who die without being baptized with the right authority?" Then we were able to explain to him the mercy of the Plan of Salvation, in how we all have the chance here in life to learn and accept the gospel, but if we don't have that opportunity, then we can have another chance in the spirit world to learn and accept the ordinances of the gospel there. He loved that! He felt the truthfulness of it, as well as the love and mercy of our Father, who wants all His children to return to Him. That's why He gives us second chances to do what is right; today, tomorrow, and in the next life. God didn't just send us here to earth saying, "Good luck, hope you do it right the first time, hope you make it." NO! He gave us help every single step of the way, giving us the answers before we have to take the test. He didn't just leave us here alone to fend for ourselves and to be cut off if we fall or make mistakes. He is truly a God of second chances... and third chances, even fourth! He knows this life is hard, but that's why we are here! Guang felt the spirit as we discussed this earth life and why we are here. He expressed concern about wanting to be baptized, but still having many concerns and even some doubts- but an overriding desire to be baptized. We went to Mosiah 18 in the Book of Mormon, where Alma teaches that the qualification for baptism IS that desire and willingness to serve God and others. That made me think back to my baptism- that was 12 years ago, and I sure didn't know everything about the Gospel! I still don't, but I keep holding on to what I do know and what I do understand. We also have met with some young men who are struggling with their testimonies of this gospel, and we discussed a bit about how questions are good, even necessary! It is good to feel that way- we are here to feel. Now, what matters, is what we do because of what we feel. These young men and Guang have come to find that it is in the questioning and the concerning that understanding comes, that a peace comes that all is well, and it is perfectly okay to not understand all the ways of God in this mortal life! But that desire is that overriding motivation and motor for doing what we do. "If you have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work" is what we learn in D&C 4, and Alma taught that desire and willingness qualifies us for baptism, and so forth. Guang has come to see that God doesn't expect us to be perfect now, nor have a perfect knowledge or understanding of His ways- we're not here to HAVE a perfect knowledge and understading, we are here to GAIN knowledge and understanding- and that comes through questions and asking! I love what King Benjamin taught: "Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend." (Mosiah 4:9) I believe that. I live by that. And by the power of the Holy Ghost, we can know the truth of all things- it doesn't say we will completely know them, or even completely understand them- but we will know they are true. Over time, I have found that my understanding and knowledge have grown greater and bigger, into a knowledge of things I never knew before, and I expect that to continue to happen. And all the while, I believe in God, and know that He knows what He is doing, and me living with a desire to do my best and follow Him. I know that I don't know everything, nor completely understand what it all means. But I know it is true. Elder Crosby asked me last night: "Why are you out here on a mission?" The first thought that came, and has stayed with me since, and my answer from when I submited my mission papers in Summer 2010, was: "Because I know it's true". I do know this Gospel and work is true, and I look forward to learning more and understanding more about it throughout the rest of my life.
Thanks for your love and prayers- prayer is one of the most important and essential things in our lives. Thanks for making me a part of yours.
Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Liebe Familie und Freunde!
It snowed this morning... that is all...
Elder Crosby is my new companion! He is so awesome! He is from Pasadena, California, and can speak Chinese! His mother is from Taiwan, and it was so cool to meet with Guang on Thursday and Saturday this last week. I have come to see that there is something real speacial about hearing the Gospel in your own language. Even though I couldn't understand a word, it was so neat to see the light in Guang's eyes as he talked with Elder Crosby in Chinese. So Elder Friedrichs was German, Elder Sheppard was British, Elder Crosby now teaching me Chinese... I am going to come home with an awesome accent!
It was so great to go to Frankfurt this week and get some leadership training from President Schwartz about being a trainer. He emphasized three main points, that I have really tried to emphasize and live: 1. Obedience 2. Hard Work 3. Anchored in the Scriptures. I love these three points! I have felt the spirit even more in my life this last week as I have made a concious effort be be more exactly obedient, to work harder than before, and to focus more deeply on the scriptures. It hasn't been huge or drastic changes, just more obedient today than I was yesterday, a little harder working now than earlier today, and using the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, more centrally in study and in teaching. I can already feel a subtle, quite change in my life, and I like it! I look forward to being more obedient to what I know, to working harder than before, and focusing more on using the scriptures.
So Fasching starts up this week... imagine Mardi Gras and Carnival mixed with German Bratwursts and Halloween Costumes... that's Fasching! Köln and Mainz are two of the biggest locations in Germany for this 5 day party, so we will be doing most of our work in Wiesbaden this week! One of the traditions they do on Thursday, is that women wear red clown noses and go around and will cut off mens' ties, and then kiss them... President told us to wear an old ugly tie that day :-) We will be doing some tactful strategic avoidance of the tie-cutter-red-nose-kissers on Thursday!
I just got a call from a man that has been here in Wiesbaden for several months and hasn't been to church for a time much longer. I'm not sure how he got our number, but he wants to come back to church and "follow the right path again!" How neat is that- when we do what is right, miracles just happen- we can't stop them from happening!!
I am grateful that I believe in a God of miracles, a God who is my Father and loves me like any righteous parents loves their children. I am grateful I believe in a God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, continually speaking to us and helping us on our wary back to Him, especially through prophets and continued scripture.
One of the neatest miracles was with Guang this week- we were able to meet with him on Thursday, like I said. We talked a lot about church and how he will find what he is searching for when he feels the spirit of church. He is in the middle of finals time right now, and is so stressed that he doesn't feel like he can make it to church and such. A few weeks ago, he was interested in the Gospel, and wanted to learn more when he comes back from China. Now, he wants to meet as much as he can before going to China! He really wants to come to church and meet the members. At the end of the lesson, we had the thought to go to the LDS website and look at the maps to see if there were meetinghouses in Beijing. We were at the institute, so we pulled it up, and there are 3 branches that meet in Beijing, right next to a school that he knows and where his friend lives! He was so excited! We were too! He wrote doen all the information and he will be going to church in China! He was extremely shocked, because of the governament regulations of religion of China, and we were suprised as well that there was that much information online about it, but we are so gratedul we found it all! It is a miracle that China has allowed the church to have buildings and meet together. It is a miracle that we were able to meet with Guang and find this information so he can continue his gospel study and spiritual growing when he is gone. It is a miracle to see the excitement of someone say they want to be baptized because they feel that this is right- not becuase it makes sense or everything is explained perfectly. It's a miracle!
Thanks for your love and prayers. They are helping this work to go forward! I love being here! It is going by way too fast!
Alles Gute, bis nächste Woche!
Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22
Monday, February 6, 2012
Liebe Familie und Freunde:
Change is good! And it is so timely and perfect. The last few weeks, I have been praying for some real specific attributes and qualities to develop, really trying to focus on those things that matter most, and give more than I have to this work. I wasn't quite sure how that would come about, but then transfer calls came, and I will be training again for the next few months! I am really excited about this, and know that the Lord knows me, and this experience will help me to learn what I need to learn and be who i need to be, in order to help this work the most. Elder Kuttler won't get here until next cycle, so I won't get to train him, but look forward to seeing him in a few months! I loved training Elder VanCamp last Summer, and learned so much. I know I will learn even more now, and look forward to continuing to serve as district leader here as well. The Lord has qualified me more and more for this work. I am so grateful that He knows me- that He knows exaclty what I need to learn and grow. I look forward to learning from this Golden Missionary- they don't call them "greenies" over here any more :-) I know I will learn a lot from him, being able to see things in a new persepective to help the work go forward even stronger.
Speaking of the work going forward even stronger, here is a run down of the marvelous work coming forth in Wiesbaden:
1. Megan is a 9 year old girl. Her parents are members of the church, but haven't come since moving here to Germany, in the Military Ward. We went over to meet with them a few weeks ago, and Megan asked her parents why she wasn't baptized yet, and all her cousins in America were. She pushed to meet with us, to come to church, and brought her parents with her. She bore her testimony in church yesterday. She will be getting baptized at the beginning of March by her father, who is back to church and ready to use his priesthood to bless his family.
2. Br. Guerlet is the husband of a less active sister in the German ward. He has met with missionaries for quite a while, and would come to church often with his wife- he was the driving force behind them coming! Sis. Guerlet is from Brazil and her parents are very strong in the church. She is there on visit, and Br. Guerlet has still been strong in coming to church. He came to the baptism of the 8 year olds last week, and was so excited! He talked about when he gets baptized, all the great things it will do for his marriage and family. He is going to Brazil to be with his wife. He wants to get baptized when he gets back in March.
3. Louise is in college and has met with missionaries for a long time, and has come to church for just as long! She loves the German ward and fits right in. Yesterday, she let us know that she set a baptism date for herself in the beginning of May. The sisters have been able to really help her out, and will continue in preparing her for baptism.
4. Bob has been taught by the sisters for the last few weeks- Sister Kapllani can speak French. They went through the basics of a testimony, and Bob was able to bear testimony of all the principles of the gospel, and was a great teacher in our lesson we had with Rabekka, testifying of God and Christ and their being two Beings. He committed to be baptized on March 10.
5. Amo has been off the maps for a while, but has been consistenty coming to Instutute and Family Home Evening. He talked with several young single adults about the Gospel, and came to the German ward yesterday. The first thing he said to me was "We need to talk about baptism". So we did! He will be getting baptized this spring.
6. Br. Maus is another "eternal investigator", but we met last Wednesday and explained the baptism covenants and the sacrament prayers, and the significance of church. He was really touched, and decided to give up the harmful substances against the Word of Wisdom. He speaks of his baptism and membership in the church as not far off.
7. Guang's phone broke last week, so we had no contact with him at all. We planned to go by and check up on him, but the plans kept getting pushed back. We went to see him on Saturday. He was home, and excited to see us. He let us in and told us how much he enjoyed reading all the way through 1st and 2nd Nephi in the Book of Mormon the last few days. He wrote questions in the margins and we talked and listened and discussed. He has been able to experience the great association at institute with others his age, and he loves it. He wants to meet and learn as much as he can before he leaves for China in a few weeks. He will be back in April.
And this is just the beginning! "A marvelous work is about to come forth"- it has and is. We really have just scratched the surface. Think of all the great work we can do together. The funny thing is... we haven't knocked on one door for several months. Missionary work is not door to door work. Of course, that can be a part of what we do, but as President Hinckley said and the Apostles say today, the Church will truly grow as the members and missionaries combine efforts to find those ready for the Gospel, and then allow them to expereince the Atonment of Jesus Christ. That is when conversion happens. Success and conversion won't happen just through teaching lessons or making sure all the preparations are checked off. Deep conversion and real lasting growth will happen as we show everyone we meet who we really are, just be ourselves. Nothing grand or eloquent is necessary, just being you is enough. The light of the gospel will shine through your eyes, the power of the Spirit will be felt, and they will ask. Our friends and neighbors are searching for so much, even if they don't know it. Invite them to dinner, go on a weekend trip together, serve the community together, invite them to a ward party. The opportunities are endless to how we can allow them to experience the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I haven't found much success is asking people to learn about the gospel and be taught by us. Nobody really wants that. However, everyone wants to feel a part of something, whether it be a family or social group or discussion. We all need that sense of belonging. So invite them to belong! Maybe you are thinking of someone right now who has been on your mind recently, as one who needs the gospel blessings in their lives- I am. I am going to go and call him after I finish typing this, invite him to come and be a part of our big ward family, tonight at the institute for FHE and show my love that way, interesting myself if what he likes and needs in life. Hopefully, if he is open to the spirit, he will ask what it is about us that make us so different. Then we will discuss. Then the invitations increase. He comes to feel and understand. Then he will know. Then he will be able to change his family, through the priesthood and the temple forever. That is how conversion works, by experiencing the Gospel and feeling the great truths confirmed in our hearts. So let's go and do! Becasue we know. (1 Nephi 3:7).
I love this work! I am so grateful to be here at this time. Many people have said that Europe is a tough place for missionary work, no success, nobody wanting to be baptized, and that we will be planting a lot of seeds for the next several decades. I appreciate their concern, but I'm not qbut let me be the one to say, that this work has never been stronger nor ever before gone forward with so much speed and depth than it is now. Sure, the work is hard, and the days are cold, but the daily miracles confirm to me, that the Lord is in control. This is His work! He knows what He is doing, and what He is doing is absolutely miraculous!
Elder Holland spoke at BYU when I was there, and I try to live by what he said and promised:
"I issue a call for the conviction we all must have burning in our hearts that this is the work of God and that it requires the best we can give to the effort. ...We must have faith in this work -- faith in what all believers are called to do, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in our Father in Heaven. We need to conform our will to Theirs and then make that will rock-ribbed and pioneer strong indeed. If we do that, I know we will be safe and secure in the inexorable onward movement of the Church and Kingdom of God on the earth." (July 2011 Ensign)
I am so humbled to be able to train a new missionary again. I am so honored to be a part of this work. I know it is true. Christ lives and is the head of this Church. I go and do because I know. That's why I'm here. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world!
Mach's gut! Alles Gute,
Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22