"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)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summertime in Germany!, Es ist schön!

Liebe Familie und Freunde:

What would you do with 2,000 Gummy Bears? .....well, we put them into two huge bowls, and had each missionary companionship take out 168 of them- one gummy bear for each hour in the week! Mini Zone Konferenz ist immer eine tolle ERlebniss, und immer voller Spaß! We took out 56 Gummy Bears from the big bowl, the amount of time we spend sleeping a week, 7 Gummy Bears out for personal study each day, and so on, until we were left with the time we have each week to find those prepared for the gospel, to teach with members and friends of the church, and to serve. It was shocking to see how little time there is in our week to do what is most important- some missionary companionships were down to 40 hours a week... and we thought two years was all the time in the world! It was a great reality check to us all, that we have to use our time effectiver. We have to do the first things first, and focus on our purpose. If what I am doing isn't helping me fulfil my goals or reach my purpose, then it will need to be done later. That is something we have been learning a lot recently- and it is really cool to experience the change that comes as we put the Lord first, and do His work.

Summer was here this week! Three full days of sun and heat! Today was back to rain. Bizzare. But we found a huge patch of Black berries while wating for a bus, so we filled a container with tons of berries- it reminded me of our raspberry patch growing up, and the dew berries in Texas. We went to an antique Book store today- I held a Bible that was printed in 1589!!!! It was neat to hold this book and feel the pages. There are so many wonderful people who kept the word of God alive, and being taught and spread. Thanks be to them, for keeping the basic values and truths of Christian living alive during the time of spiritual darkness, without Priesthood on the earth. WIthout that, there wouldn't have been any foundation or backdrop for the Restoration. It all works together perfectly. And this Bible from 1589 was a neat reminder of that.

We have had some neat expereinces this last week- I am more convinced than ever, that being called to serve a mission quite literally means just that.- Called to Serve, with the emphasis on "Serve"! We went over to the Strüning's house to help him paint some wood for his garage. His wife is from the Ukraine and not a member. She hasn't been to welcoming, but would always give us some bread or cake. This time we came in and she made us some great butter bread and cake, and then sat down with us for the spiritual thought. We talked about faith, and how we must work to see the fruits of our faith. She was really touched. She has always believed that we must do things, not just say we believe them. We invited them to the Ward Lunch after church on Sunday- it was more directed at him, but she said "Oh, Do I need to make something for that?!" We smiled and said if she would like. The funny thing is, she came to Sacrament meeting, but didn't stay for the Gemeinde Essen afterwards- I guess that's a fair trade-up!

I have really felt the influence of the Lord recently- not so much in big huge ways or parting of seas kind of things... just the little experiences to let me know He is still there, always by me. I was asked to play the organ on Sunday, and selected come songs that I thought would be good to sing, that everyone would know. There really wasn't a pattern or theme to the songs, I just liked them :-) Then, during the meeting, every song was matched up to a talk that was given, or a topic discussed. That wasn't because of my great fortune-teller abiliteis to guess the topics and select the songs- I didn't even feel guided by the Spirit when picking them out! But it was enough for me to recognise that the Lord is in control- He can let His spirit flow, and will provide an environment for everyone to feel of His love. I am grateful for that experience. My influence may not by to free the Israelites from Egypt or leading the saints accross the plains or opening the countries of the world for missionary work- But I feel confident, that the Lord can use me for His purposes and in His ways. And if His ways are for me to pick a  few songs for a sacrament meeting and use the talents He has given me that will help bring the spirit and touch someone's heart and bring them closer to Christ, than I am honored to do so! I am so grateful for every experience on my mission. My mission isn't a flash or blur of a movie screen-memory. Rather, it is a bunch of moments, gathered together to touch my heart and remind me that I am a son of God, that He knows exactly who I am and who I should be. And these moments are those that help me become that. I know that He lives. I know that His power is enough for us to change and to put off the natural man, no matter how long and hard, no matter how small and slow our progress may seem. It is true, this Gospel is true and simple, and I love it. And that's why I love you all- because this Gospel is a gospel of Love, the way to live and serve and help and bring others closer to Christ, and back to our Father. We're all in this together, as they say- it is so true. There is power in unity, strength in working together. Let's do it! There isn't anything holding us back from doing anything we want to achieve or feel to do- there really isn't anything stopping us, but us not taking that first step. I really have learned that recently too. We truly are agents, and can act for ourselves. I could keep going on on all I have learned about that, but we'll save that for next time! This work is His, the work is true!

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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