"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, May 21, 2012

I Love it Here!

Liebe Familie und Freunde:

What a whirlwind of a week.. I can't believe it is Monday again! I am so grateful to be here in the Dortmund Zone! Elder Walker and I visited all the district meetings in the Zone thís week- there really are great missionaries here, all trying to do their best to serve the Lord by serving others. I was in Müsnter on a split, too. It is a beautiful old city, and full of people ready for the Gospel. I was with Elder Lewis, and our appointment fell out for that evening, so we thought we would go to the city center and talk with people. It is neat to notice how every city has a different feel to it, people-wise. Münster felt really educated, but real open. We had some great discussions with people on the street. Then we talked with Nick. He is from Iowa and in Germany for a few months for school. He was really interested to learn about our beliefs, and what we think about the time after Christ's death and the reformers- he is Lutheran, so he thought it was interesting how we feel Martin Luther played a huge role in preparing the world for the Restoration of the Gospel. We were standing in the middle of the Fußgangerzone, so we walked off to the side in the shade. We talked a little more, and asked what kind of time he had that evening. He said that the only reason he was outside was because he was writing a huge paper and couldn't think any more and was walking around taking a break. We mentioned that we had a church building real close to where we were- he said he had never been in an LDS church building and would love to go there! We walked and chatted all along the way- he is a real cool guy! We got to the church and showed him around the rooms and the chapel, and he was completely and totally fascinated! It was like a little kid going to the aquarium or the zoo for the first time! He was so intrigued! We mentioned that there were some specific and special things that separated us from the rest of Christianity and religion as a whole. He knew that the Church is worldwide and spreading and growing. Then he asked that beautiful question: "What is it about your church that makes so many people want to join and it spread accross the whole earth?" I smiled and asked if he had 15 minutes that we could explain it. He said absolutely! We sat in a room and began with God, with His Plan, with Pophets, with Priesthood authority, with the year 1820, with "a pillar of light", with a prophet again on the earth today. I haven't seen someone so touched by the message of the Restoration, especially the First Vision as was Nick. I could see it in his eyes that he felt something different. OUr 15 minutes were up.. and he said "well, I think we can go another 15 minutes!" Then we introduced the Book of Mormon. Right before we left the apartment, it wasn't a huge impression or spiritual prompting, but I just had the thought "eh, I'll bring an English Book of Mormon just for fun." We pulled out the Book of Mormon and gave it to him. It was a copy that a missionary over a year ago had written his testimony in, and worked so hard to get Münser progressing again. Nick felt uncomfortable taking the Book of Mormon for free, and especially since it was "so personal". We said that we have hundreds of copies of the Book of Mormon in every language at the apartment... but this one was for him. He was really touched. He just absorebed everything we said. He loved it! And, most importantly, I think he found out the answer to his question... not from what we said, but what he felt. People join the churcha nd the church spreads to all the world because of the Spirit of truth that people feel. It is a deeper feeling of understanding.. one of "I already know this" and "It just feels right". No matter how great the programs and organizations of the church are, they will never produce a conversion to the truth. The Book of Mormon will. The reality of open communication between heaven and earth will. The testimony of a living prophet on the earth today will. The Doctrine of the Gospel is what opens us up to the Spirit, which is the converting power. So Nick left that appointment with his Book of Mormon clutched tightly in his hands, a card with our number and website on it, a huge smile and a change in his eyes, and the way to contact the missionaries in Iowa when he returns next week. I left the appointment with a stronger conviction that there is no such things as coincidences, that people, events, and situations are arranged so that the Lord can reach out and find the one: the one who is searching, the one who is hurting, the one who needs a smile, and the one who might be taking a break from writing a big paper and needed that boost of the Spirit that only the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring. I love this work!

We have also been working with the Petzold family. He is not a member, and she was baptized 12 years ago, but completely cut contact with the church after some dissapointing experiences. We have been going slowly through the gospel with them, answering questions. ...and they just appeared at church yesterday! Morty and Sister Glückner also brought friends to church, and there was a baptism of an 8 year old where many friends came and participated. I love what this gospel does to people.. and to me... it is all about change! It is all about someone coming to church with low expectations and questions, and going away with a smile and the spirit in their heart... regardless of the loud kids in the sacrament meeting... there is somthing more that everyone feels, or can feel if they want it.

SO, in short...life is great! Germany is beautiful this time of year, and there is a great excited feeling in the air! We are doing a tri-mission fast day and finding day this week. All of the missionaries in the Berlin, Frankfurt, and Alpine missions will be joining forces to really reach out and find those people who are searching for the Gospel.

I sure love you all! This mission has taught me so much.. but mostly about love.

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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