Liebe Familie und Freunde!!
I am so excited.. spring is coming! The trees are starting to have their leafs pop out and there are bunches of flowers popping out all over... not quite like the Texas wild flowers, but close! Last week, we went two days in 20 degree Celcius! Those were the first days of not wearing my big winter jacket since October! I love this time of year- everything is new and refreshed. And the work of the Lord seems to be taking on a new fresh look, too! Transfer calls were last week, and Elder Crosby and I will be staying together for another 5 weeks, at least- this cycle is shorter because of the change in the MTC- the German missionaries will only be there for 6 weeks starting soon. This is our cycle of unity, we decided- unity between us as a companionship, with the wards, with the area. We really don't like the view of "we are the missionaries, you are the ward, we do our missionary work, you do yours." That never gets anywhere. One of the big things we have felt and will be improving is weekly service projects. We have some ideas, but if anyone has some thoughts of what you did on your mission or with a ward sometime I would love to hear! Talking about the Gospel isn't near as effective as living the gospel and teaching while doing it. One of my favorite lines in the new Joseph Smith movie is: Old Woman, who Joseph and the members are serving: "Mr. Smith, I don't agree with you and your religion, but I do appreciate your kindness" Joseph Smith: "Well, ma'am, you might say that is our religion!" I like that! This work is a "Labor of Love", as stated in the call letter I received from the Prophet; we were called to serve, so serve we will!
Louisa decided to be baptized on March 30! She originally wanted to do it in May, but, not quite sure how, now feels to do it as soon as we can. Reza really wanted his aunt and cousin to be at his baptism on April 7, but they are going out of town. So we will hold his baptism on April 5! And on Saturday, we met with him and his father. We brought a Persian Book of Mormon for his father- we gave it to him, and he sat down and read the entire time we met with Reza! As we were leaving, we talked a little with him- Reza said his father will probably finish it in a few days. His father said he felt it was true! We met with Amo on Saturday and he has really changed- for the last few months, he has been not so interested in the gospel and hopeless, because of his refugee situation. He wasn't focused at all when we taught him, not taking anything seriously, and we didn't know what to do with him. So we just loved him as best we could. Then on Saturday, we were meeting and talked about why he likes coming to church. He said that he likes the people- they are just so happy and nice and great. We talked about why- that's because of the covenants we make, and the blessings we receive. We talked about the covenants we make at baptism and what we promise to do and how to live- and then the blessings that we receive, that others notice and want to have. Amo wants to have that too, he said that he is ready to make the changes in his life to live these covenants for the rest of his life. He will be getting baptized on April 14!
Nothing that we could do could make these miracles happen. All we can do, really, is have faith and try as best we can to live like the Savior. Then the Spirit comes, and then everything is possible. And most of the time, it really feels like we don't do much, if anything, and miracles just happen! Like at church yesterday: Hasan, Massoud, and Stella and her two daughters just happened to come and walk into the church building right at the meeting times. We were able to talk with them all, and they all felt something greater than just a building with people in it. Five new faces, five people searching for truth and direction in life, five people led by the Spirit to come and see what this is all about. We will be meeting with them all this coming week.
And this is just the beginning- I can feel it! President Kopischke, the are president, has the vision that by 2020, the church population will double in Europe. The Prophets have spoken for many years that there will be hundreds of stakes and thousands of wards here, with dozens of Temples. President Schwartz has talked with us and showed us the vision and plans for getting 1 Million members in Germany, in order to have the Priesthood Leadership for this prophecy. Most recently, President Uchtdorf said that the church will blossom as a rose here in Germany. It's happening. It's not "some day" or "that will happen eventually"... One of the miracles of the Restoration and the blessings of the time in which we live, is that this is the time of prophecies being fulfilled- those of the Bible, Book of Mormon, and early Church history. NOW and TODAY is the day of fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah and Joseph and our leaders today. What a great Spirit! What a great work!
Yesterday, the choir director in the American ward's daughter got sick in sacrament meeting, so she asked me to direct the wad choir practice after church... it was awesome! So much fun! It reminded me of the great privlege I had to serve as choir director in the College Station ward for 14 months. There is such a great spirit in the music of the church- especially the hymns about Christ and His resurrection we sing at this Easter time. And on Wednesday, the new missionaries come to Frankfurt and we will be doing the street preach/singing that we did what I first came to Germany- and Elder Kuttler will be there! I am so excited to see him!
Well, this work is true. What more can I say?
Love you all!
Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22