"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, February 20, 2012

Bumblebees, and Horses, and Cookie Monster, oh my!

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.

Alles Gute!

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

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