Liebe Familie und Freunde:
This was the fastest week of my mission! Tons of travel, extreme efforts, and many miracles. Here is a rundown of the week:
Operation Paderborn! We felt we needed to do something to help the missionaries and the area- it has been a real tough place for missionary work the last while. So us and the missionaries from Münster and Unna met up in Unna Monday night, woke up and traveled to Paderborn, to be there at 6:30am, to ring the door bell, and suprise the missionaries, and make breakfast for them and work all together all day in Paderborn! The Sisters from Hamm also came over and stayed for the day. There was a great feeling of unity and excitement, as 10 missionaries walked the street, met the members, found many searching for the gospel, and hopefully left a good impression on the city, the missionaries, and the branch there. Then we traveled to Hagen for District Meeting- the topics were all in preparation for this week.. which I will explain in a little...
Happy Halloween! Germany doesn't quite celebrate Halloween... we did see two kids dressed up throughout the course of the evening, though :-) Br. and Sis. Pelc invited us over to their garden house to pick apples with them! They have been coming to church for quite a while, and really enjoy the people and the Gospel. And when I say we went to their garden house, I mean it! They quite literally live in the middle of a garden with huge apple trees, kiwi trees.. who knew kiwis grew on trees?!... pumpkin and potatoe fields, chickens, and grape vines everywhere! It completely slipped our minds to bring work clothes, but nonetheless, the ladders were brought, the apples were picked, and it was a ball! They have given us many apples and grapes and kiwis and potatoes in the past, but this time, they loaded us up with a huge trolly full of apples, grapes, and a huge pumpkin.... So what does one do with so many grapes with seeds in them? Make grape juice, of course! I felt a little like "I Love Lucy" when she made the grape juice by smashing them with her feet... we did it with our hands, however! It was great! And at the end, we had a liter and a half of the most delicious grape juice I have ever had! Today we are going to make more grape juice, apple juice, and apple sauce with the McPhersons and the Sisters at the church for PDay. Just squish or blend it, put it in a dish towel, and squeeze! It made me think a lot about the small and simpleness of a grape... one grape is not big at all, and at the beginning, I was a bit skeptical, thinking that we may get two or three cups... but each grape gave its juice, and at the end, we had much more than we bargained for! Small things truly do bring great things to pass!
We traveled to Essen for their District Meeting, an Elder Penfold stayed there and Elder Hall came back to Dortmund with me for a split. We ate Rocklette at Dilia's house, and had a great meeting with the Grockowiak family that evening.
We met with Fikrat, Abe, Bapoo, and the Mimini Family! Such wonderful people, all trying to experience and live the gospel better. Abe is from Morocco, and we met in the library where we taught about the Restoration of the Gospel. We would teach one point, and he would ask a question that would lead right on to the next point to teach! "But without apostles on the earth, how did God run His church?" "But how do I know if Joseph Smith really was a prophet?" "What do I need to do to find out if the Book of Mormon is true?" "Where can I get a Book of Mormon?" It was great! He has been prepared throughout his life for this time to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Then we traveled to far far away Siegen, where we stayed for Saturday and worked with the Elders there. Elder Mildon and I found a man on the street who comes from the exact same city in India that Kathir is from! His name is Steve, and it will be great when he comes to Institute and can meet up with Kathir.
Then Sunday happened.... I love Sundays! Gristi and Mitu are the two Romanian members who have been coming off and on for the last few weeks, they are really trying hard, and I love them so much! They have brought friends now and again. In sacrament meeting, I turned around to see these two and three friends walk in the back- 5 large Romanian men go sit on the back row! I went back and sat next to Gristi. The friends could speak Romanian and Spanish... no English and German enough to say "Hallo, Danke, Bitte"... so I went to the library to see what I could find.. there was a Spanish Book of Mormon! cool! I walked out, but still felt to go check in the YSA library... I walked to the institute part of the building, and there, right on the middle table, among Liahonas and other papers, was a Restoration pamphlet in Spanish! I smiled, and said a silent prayer of gratitude on my way back to the chapel. We had brought a Romanian pamphlet as well, but now with all these materials, we passed them silently over the shoulder to these men, who then spent the entire Sacrament meeting reading through the pamphlets! It was a fun sight to see! After, Gristi wanted to go to the computers and use Google translate to better communicate. So all seven of us go to the computers, and this is when it got real exciting... Gristi was writing in Romanian on his computer, translated into English, about his life story and conversion to the gospel. Mitici was an older man on the other computer, and was explaining to me his current situation and how he just moved here. On the table, Mitu was with another friend and the pamphlets and Book of Mormon teaching him all about the Restoration, using the pictures, and Elder Penfold there guiding the conversation! It was so cool! Mitici said he loved the church and all that he read about, and we are all meeting again on Friday to learn more... and use Google Translate :-) THEN he explained that his family of children and grandchildren will all be coming to Dortmund in the next few weeks, and he wants to bring them all to church, to meet us and learn about the gospel... all 31 of them! We have been learning some simple phrases in Romanian to talk with them without the computer, but it is such a blessing to see the power of the Gospel touch the hearts of others, regardless of what language they speak, and bring about a positive change in their lives. Who knows... maybe there will be a Romanian branch here in Dortmund soon :-) And it was so much fun to use my extremely limited Spanish to talk with them... bien! grande! see! familie! momento! Jess, you would be proud!
This is the work of the Lord. This week, all the missionaries in the Zone will be working to reach the goal of finding 10 new investigators. There have been so many miracles in the last week, preparing us for this coming week. This coming week is crazy- every member of the Zone will be in Frankfurt for at least one day this week! With all these meetings, some may have changed the week focus to a week that would have been "easier" to find 120 new investigators in the Zone.. but we can't go back on the feelings of confirmation we received from the Spirit. This is the Lord's time to shine. It always is, but this week especially, because there is no way we can do this alone. There is no way that this will work this week... but it will! The Lord is here, His hand is guiding us. I love this work! May I always do my part, whether I wear a name tag or not.
Ich liebe euch wirklich!
Elder Nathan D. Garlick
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22
German Frankfurt Mission
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" D&C 128:22