"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, August 13, 2012

Unity is Strength

Liebe Familie und Freunde:

Meine Gute, es tut mir sehr Leid, dass ich nicht viel die letzte paar Wochen geschrieben habe... wir waren sehr beschäftigt! Hopefully I can fill you in enough of the great miracles and experiences the last few weeks....

First, we went down to Frankfurt this last week for the Mission Leadership Council. We went to the Tempel on Wednesday, and then the meetings on Thursday. I love the Tempel. This time through the session, I really felt that this was the Lord's house, and holiness to Him. It was really powerful to be there will 30 other missionaries and feel the power of unity- unity is strength! We were there as the servants of the Lord, to get re-fueled with power from His house, then go forth and serve HIs children. I came away with a greater desire to be actively righteous- not just obedient or choosing the right, but really using my agency to be actively righteous and choose to do many good things of my own free will and choice. And that is really what happened- we had a powerful testimony meeting afterward, and then shared all the successes of the different zones for the last month. Elder Walker and I put together a slide show with all the things that have been going well: FHE, Institute, Sport Day, Finding Days, Focus Member weeks, new reports for the stake and wards, etc. After we finished the powerpoint, we printed it out and looked at each other in pure amazement- we have no clue how all that was able to get done in the last month... and it was definitely nothing of our doing. We just sat down after the last Training Meeting and decided what needed to be done, then did it. It was a great learning experience in planning, organizing, prioritizing, this last month. 

There have been some huge miracles recently here in the zone and in Dortmund- there were 4 baptism dates set and Saturday was a baptism, and another this coming Sunday. Big changes are happening- but it is really all through our small daily efforts that they happen. It is really neat to see areas that used to be real slow pick up and set baptism dates! We started a sport day the other week, Friday night! We wanted to have a way to invite people to be with us and get to know others, but not first at church. The first sports day, the sisters had an investigator who came and brought a friend, a returned missionary came, and we invited two young guys to come play with as well. It was real neat! The next week, the two young guys brought three other friends, three other investigators came, a new convert brought her husband and son, who also brought a friend. It is so cool to see how just inviting people and having a time to get together really helps strengthen relationships! Soccer, Basketball and Frisbee at a nearby park- Missionary work is so much more than just door to door! But we will be scaling down on our side... last week Elder Walker dove to grab a Frisbee.. it was a sweet dive, but he really pulled his shoulder! But all is well.

A few weeks ago, we met Freedom on the street- a cool guy from Nigeria. He is here learning German, and just here for a better life. He came to institute, then rode his bike an hour and a half to FHE, then came again to Institute. He says that his schedule is School 8-12:30, then he goes home and reads the Book of Mormon :-) He is such a cool guy- quiet and reserved, but really genuine. We talked about church, and he said he really wanted to come. I way playing the organ yesterday, and I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket. After the prayer I checked it, and it was Freedom! I hoped that he had come up and was calling to see where we were. I tried to get Elder Walker's attention in the congregation... the members probably thought I was going crazy, trying to explain to Elder Walker to go out and get Freedom.. but he didn't even see me -) Then the door opened, and Freedom came in, followed by a friend! After the meetings, we went and met Kingsly. This guy is the coolest guy ever! He is so polite and real smart and a great people person. He is Freedom's roommate, and also from Nigeria. We were talking a bit after church and at McPherson's house for lunch about his family- His father and twin brother died about 10 years ago, and his mother is alone in Nigeria. Relationships with people are the most important thing to him, and he says that his mother always told him, that if he makes a friend, make him a brother- with the love, support, and unity that families bring. He just praised his friend Freedom, and for good reason. After lunch with Freedom and Kingsly- ...and what an aweseome name!- we played a round of chickenfoot. As he was leaving he was so kind to the McPhersons and us, saying that he was so grateful for their kindness, and really felt the love of family with them. It was real touching, having talked with him for nearly an hour before lunch about that. After the sacrament meeting, I introduced myself, and asked how he liked the meeting. HE said 'I really liked it- I feel it is the word of God here." And I hope that after being with the members and seeing and feeling their Love, that he can understand that it is the word of God here- not just spoken or sung, but in action and love. That is the Gospel of Jesus Christ- love in action.

We had interviews with Präsident Schwartz on Saturday- I love that man! He is so supportive and loving and wants to help us all so much. One thing we talked about were spiritual treet- I havn't the time today to explain it all, but the roots, branches, and fruits of our spiritual lives and are so important. I started studying more about the roots yesterday- Roots deep in Jesus Christ really do provide the foundation and life for us through any situation.

I finished the Book of Mormon in German last week. Guess what... it is still just as true in German as it is in Englisch! Well, of course it is :-) I followed Moroni's suggestion at the end, and really prayed to Heavenly Father to strengthen my testiomony of the Book of Mormon. I realised that my testimony of the Book of Mormon hasn'T really come by just reading and praying and feeling good. My testimony of the Book of Mormon has come as I have applied the teachings and seen the fruits of it in my life- planting a seed of faith, avoiding the appearance of evil, doing unto one of the least of these, asking to be filled with this love, go and do- and so many other truths found in the Book of Mormon, when applied, have witnessed to me that this book truly comes from God. I know it is true, and it continues to help me every day. I started again today, with the goal to finish the German Book of Mormon by the time I come home, this time focusing on "Faith in Jesus Christ". 

I know this work is true. I have experienced the reality of the Atonement, and the purpose of it- to really change and become what He wants us to become. Jesus Christ lives, just as much today as two thousand years ago. 

ich hab' euch alle viel Lieb!
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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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