Liebe Familie und Freunde:
Like Jacob in the Book of Mormon said, life is passing by like a dream! I can't believe that it is already Monday again... Mission life is a crazy fast-paced roller coaster of Spirit and work and it goes by so fast! The whole face of the mission is changing- I don't know most of the Missionaries anymore, most are new and all those my "age" or time in the field, are returning home... Elder Walker goes back to Australia in 4 weeks... crazy! But then comes the opportunity to apply all that has been learned and have a lifetime of progress and joy and spiritual experiences continuing to be a tool in the Lord's hand to build His kingdom. The mission really is the best two years for my life!
I have been thinking a lot recently about the Essence of Missionary Work. There is a lot of "stuff" that missionaries do and members of the church think of when "Missionary Work" is done or talked about. The mission really has been a time for me to live the Gospel as well as I could- to have a time of consecration, and to feel what it is like to give all to Him. And the essence of missionary work really can and must be applied throughout life- for the Essence of Missionary work is what we promised when we were baptized members of the Lord's Church: To bear one another's burdens, to comfort those that stand in need of comfort, to stand as a witness of God at all times, in all things, and in all places, wherever we may be in. In short, going about doing good. Lending a helping hand. Living the Gospel. That is missionary work. Anything else involved is really just a parameter or a measure or a means to keep us on the right track. But as Christ did, I have resolved to spend my days "going about doing good"- and we have seen miracle after miracle.
One was with Tim. We have been trying to get in contact with him for weeks now. He is a YSA, studied in Texas for a few years, and is now studying piano at the university.. So yes, we HAD to get in contact with him! Some things didn't work out that day, so we went by at a different time than planned, and he was leaving his house right when we got there! He said we were lucky we caught him, he was leaving for another city for a few weeks. We hit it off real well, and were able to walk with him to the trains and traveled in the same direction for a while. Then he had to run off to get another train. But there was such a neat spirit about being at the right place at the right time to meet Tim and gain his trust. This experience will never be reported in a Key Indicator, will never be graphed or analysed in a chart or report as a number or statistic- but it will always stay with me as a sign that God is in charge of His work, and as we go about trying to do good, He will lead us to bless His children. This was a week full of those kind of things- one after another of meeting people in the street that we haven't seen for a while, calling someone who really needed a boost, usw. It is such an amazing and humbling feeling to be on the Lord's errand- to look back and see how the Lord guided us to bless one of His children, and then another one, and another one. I am so grateful for this opportunity in my life.
Kathir began to really read in the Book of Mormon this week. He loves it! He called us up and said "Elders, I have a doubt.", "Ok...", "Who was Mormon?" We were glad that his doubt was really just a question for clarification! He is such a helpful service-oriented guy. He will be an amazing leader in the church some day.
I wish you could get a real feel and idea for all that is going on here in Dortmund- It is hard to explain it all in an email, but I know the Lord is here. People are coming to and finding us, the Lord is leading them here. Big changes are happening here in Germany- huge miracles! But it really is through the small things every day that great things are brought to pass. The Lord is here, His work is really going forth. Maybe when I get home I can give a better explanation! And maybe those who have served missions can understand a little better about what I am trying to explain... But for now, I know this work is the work of the Lord! He works through small means to bring about great miracles. Patience, Humility, Service, Love, Smile, Help, Light, Lift- that is what this is all about.
Have a great week!
Elder Nathan D. Garlick