"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, October 2, 2012

This is my Favorite Time of Year!

Liebe Familie und Freunde:

What a great time of year! The leaves are changing color, the weather is cooler, and the skies are super blue! ...and then they rain all of a sudden... in broad daylight... then back to warm and sunny. AND General Conference is this weekend! I am so excited, and want everyone to come listen to a prophet's voice and hear the word of God! I am just beginning to understand more and more what it really means that there is a prophet on the earth today. A Prophet! 

This week was another week of miracles... but how could it be any other way? It's the work of the Lord!

As a Zone, we really saw how unity is strength. We set a goal as a Zone to teach as much as we could this week. We all tried to reach the mission standard, and amazing things happened! It was a huge faith and testimony builder for me to realize the blessings and miracles that come when missionaries teach. That was the call from Christ Himself: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost." Teaching the gospel brings the spirit, the spirit moves people to repent and change, and one of the biggest and first changes people experience is baptism. Christian's baptism was so great on Saturday! Many people were there, from all over the stake and ward. It is always so exciting to feel the Spirit of baptism, and have reconfirmed each time that it really is real. Before the actual baptism, I prayed silently, asking Heavenly Father to bless me with the necessary power to do this ordinance properly. I know I was ordained to the Priesthood, and therefore have the necessary permission to do the ordinance, but I really wanted the spiritual power to back it up. I felt the spirit come so directly to my heart, in a way that I felt and knew that the baptism would be valid on earth and in heaven. They were definitely some interesting thoughts I hadn't had much before, but I am grateful for them. The Priesthood is only as powerful and as effective as how we use it. I know the Priesthood is God's, and through it, His work goes forth. Christian asked that the missionaries sing "One by One" during the program. It was so powerful- not because the song is great or the music will win a Grammy Award, but it was simply a group of missionaries singing their testimonies, declaring with their hearts that "we serve with all our heart, might and mind." But it is not just missionaries involved in this work. We met with a member family this week. We talked about Faith. We drew pictures. We drank apple juice. A very simple lesson with the kids and parents, and we asked them to pray as a family when we left to know of what they could do as a family to strengthen and exercise their faith together. A few days later, the dad called up and said "Elders, I don't know how you did it, but your spiritual thought at our house made us do missionary work, and you didn't even talk about missionary work! How did you do it?!" I thought about that for a bit. What was it? 

Well, Hyrum Smith taught us to "teach the first principles of the gospel, teach them over and over again." That brings the spirit, and that spirit will always lead and bring us to do good!The spirit is the one that furthers the Lord's work, so long as we follow the promptings we receive. This family prayed and felt to invite a friend to the ward party next week. They met her unexpectedly in the city the next day, and she is now playing a part in the program! That is how the Lord works, always through small and simple things, and always through His spirit. As members of His church, we have the special and sacred opportunity to help others feel that spirit. When they trust in those impressions, so much good can be done! 

Kathir is also getting ready for his baptism next week! It was so neat to meet with him this week and talk about some commandments: tithing, chastity, fasting. With these commandments, Kathir would simply say, "Yes, I was raised doing all this" or "Yes, that is taught in my home town to live that way." It was so neat to see how these basic truths are still held on by peoples and cultures. He has been prepared all his life to make the covenant of baptism. And so are all the other people who are preparing for baptism right now in the Zone. 

I have learned so much recently, especially about the workings of the spirit in my life. The last 6 months have been such a learning experience, a personal tutorial from the Spirit on how to recognize, trust, and follow the Spirit. That is when miracles happen. I know that is true. I can't even really explain all that is good and wonderful and happy about all that is going on right now. I know this cause is led by the Lord. It is His Church and His opportunity for happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. "God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son." 

Ich hab euch alle Lieb! 

Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22

P.S. Also, with the elections coming up, the First Presidency encouraged us to vote... is that possible over here? An Absentee or paper ballot or something? If I can't, no worries, but it was a fun thought to vote with Mitt Romney running.

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