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