"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, September 25, 2012

Sunday Came!

Liebe Familie und Freudne:

This week has been one of the greatest highlights of my mission so far. Honest! Where to even start... And it all was packed into one weekend!

Sunday was the day! We had Stake Conference in Herne at this big conference center. It was real similar to the theater in Houston where we saw the shows. The Stake Music leader is in the Dortmund ward and asked me to practice with the choir, accompanying on the piano. Last week, the real accompanist fell out, so she asked me to play. It was real great to be accompanying a choir again.. and they had a real nice Steinway Piano there! At Stake Conference, Kathir, Kingsly, Christian, and Vikki came and really enjoyed it. Christian sang in the choir, and we are looking forward to his baptism on Saturday! He asked me to baptize him, and I feel really honored and blessed to be able to do that. Elder Walker will confirm him on Sunday. He will be such a strong member of the church- he already is! He really has the ability to bless many people and strengthen them in the gospel.

At the conference, Br. Petzold was approved (is that the right term?!) to receive the Melchezideck Priesthood, and ordained to the office of Elder. After the meeting, he came to me and asked me to confer the Priesthood and ordain him. This was my first time to do that, and it was powerful! There was such a sweet and strong Spirit during the blessing, and I really felt the Spirit guiding me to bless him with what Heavenly Father wanted. But the real power came and stayed while saying the words of the ordinance, that through the authority of the holy Melchezideck Priesthood, I conferred that Pristhood upon him and ordained him to the office of Elder. That was a spiritual power I have felt only a few times, and is so precious to me. The embrace we had after the blessing was also something never to forget- and to see his wife visibly touched by the Spirit and power of the priesthood. I remember back to the first time I met the Petzold family... She didn't want anything to do with the church anymore, and he was not too excited about religion or changing to fit what we believe. Now, the Petzold family is protected and guided by a father who holds the holy  Priesthood, authorized from God to now bless his family through the blessings of healing, comfort, and counsel; nurtured by a mother who is so ready to serve and help and advise, with a bedrock strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ; and the children are being raised up recognizing the Spirit, the hand of the Lord, and how to follow Jesus Christ. This is the purpose of missionary work, this is the purpose of the Church, this is God's work and glory. As President Packer said: "The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is to see a husband and his wife and their children happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood." (Conference April 2012). What a great work! It is all about the family.

We met two teenage brothers on the street, who looked like all they had left in life was each other, Sven and Nikolas. They hold on to their belief in God, and were so excited to learn that there are prophets on the earth today and receive a copy of the Book of Mormon. In a so genuine way, they said they would read and get back in contact with us. I hope and pray it is so!

...and speaking of the prophet... President Monson will be coming to Germany in October! He is visiting Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and München. President Schwartz doesn't know if all the missionaries will be able to come to Frankfurt for that day, but that would sure be amazing. Either way, just to know that there will be a prophet in the land will be such a wonderful feeling! I know he is a prophet of God, just as Moses or Abraham were. What a blessing, to live in a time when prophets lead and guide us. I am so excited for General Conference next weekend! It's my favorite holiday... again!

...but back to the Sunday story... so after Stake Conference, we met with Kathir and the Krienke Family. The very first day we met Kathir, we went to that concert in Essen with the Krienkes. She cooked lamb! It was way good! But what was better, was that we read through Mosiah 18 together, and discussed what it means to bear one another's burdens, to comfort, and to stand as a witness of God. We read the part that says that the people clapped their hands together and shouted that it was the desire of their hearts to be baptized and enter into a convenant to serve God. Kathir sat quiet, and in such a humble way, he said "That is the desire of my heart." He wants to be reborn spiritually, become clean, and become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! We decided together that the General Conference weekend would be the perfect time for him to be baptized. He is so excited, and so are we! Elder Walker goes home that next week, so it is just perfect timing. It is amazing to think back 6 months ago, when we first met Kathir. He didn't know God, had never really prayed or learned about Jesus Christ and His Gospel. Now, Kathir will be such a strong member of the Church his whole life- not because of anything we did, but because of the Spirit that touched his heart, and caused a mighty change in him, where his greatest desire now is to serve God, and serve His children, and keep His commandments. What a great blessing, to have expereinced this every step of the way.

I know this work is directed by the Lord, through His Spirit. Any other way, and it wouldn't work the way it works. This is not hard or complicated work- the scriptures have been given us, the prophets live today and guide us, the Spirit of the Lord is given in response to every sincere prayer, and that is how the Lord guides His work. The times I have followed these, are the times that the work has been easy, simple, and successful. Whenever I have worked from my own abilities or ideas or strength, nothing happens, and I got frustrated and confused and prideful. The work of the Lord goes forward- not because the brightest minds are running the show, or because the smartest people are figuring out the most up-to-date techniques for being efficient, or because the most eloquent of speakers are sent out to preach the word. The work of the Lord goes forward because He is the One that directs it. He is the One who speaks through His servants to lift a heavy heart, the One who works through the hands of His servants to search and seek and find the one who need a helping hand, and He is the One who sends His Spirit to confirm the testimony given, that He lives, that this is His Gospel and Church. His love is the motivating factor for anyone to do anything in this cause.

I know that is true.

I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I was really touched this week in studying Mosiah 14-16. Abinadi's testimony of the life and mission of Christ is so strong and impactful. At least, it was for Alma, that one person that listened and felt and changed. And from that, thousands were blessed. That is the impact of living a testimony of Jesus Christ. That impact can be ours, as we put our trust in Him and let His Holy Spirit guide.

This is just a sampler taste of all that is going on right now! This is the sprint to the finish, and it has never felt so great!

Ich habe euch alle viel Lieb! Danke für eure Gebete und Liebe.
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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