"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, November 13, 2012

Days Never to Be Forgotten

Liebe Familie und Freunde:

I think Elder David A. Bednar said it best:

"We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us.... When words cannot...express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding...truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord." (April 2005 Conference).

Such has been the case here in Dortmund this last week. I'll explain the best I can...

This was a special focus week in the Zone with finding those people who are ready to learn about the Gospel. All the 24 missionaries in the Stake were unified in prayer, each morning to find those who the Lord had prepared. We told our Stake President about our focus that week, and he immediately sent an email out to all the stake, asking them to join with us in prayer and faith. I know the power of  unified prayer and faith is real. D&C 29:6 is true! We felt the power of heaven with us this week, as we all worked as hard as we could to find those who were searching for the gospel... and among the meetings, the splits, the fact of nearly every missionary bring in Frankfurt for a day last week, many thought it was impossible, and not worth our time to focus on such a goal. But for the 104 people found this week, it was worth it. For them and their families, who knows the eternal and lasting effects of the Gospel being introduced to them. This truly was a week never to be forgotten!!

Marcus was at home, and we were able to have a wonderful discussion about the Book of Mormon and the meaning of it. I will never forget what he responded with to my question of what it would mean to him if the Book of Mormon was true. He paused for a little bit, then looked up, and said "It would mean everything to me. I would change my life in order to live accordingly." That is the power of the Book of Mormon. That is the power of God. ...and he looks like a Bishop :-)

The Assistants came on a split on Thursday, and we got to work! We met Carlos, Telha, Vivian, Milly, all of whom were so ready to learn about the gospel, and are excited to learn more. We discussed the temple with Christian, and I really felt the Holy Ghost bear witness that what we were talking about was true. He is so strong in the Gospel. The Temple has a power about it, for it truly is the house of God.

Carlos came to Institute and we showed him the church building, teaching him about the Restoration of the Gospel, and inviting him to learn more. I will never forget his response to my question of "If you were to find out that all this was true, would you be baptized into this church?" His answer: "Ja, naturlich!" Yes, naturally! That is the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If it really is true, if it really is the Plan of God for our eternal Salvation and happiness here and now and in the future, the natural thing to do is to live it, for it is true. But the opportunity is given for each of us to find out for ourselves if it is true. It is such a blessing to be with these people as they begin their search of finding out.

Then we met Stefan. The missionaries in Hagen found him a few weeks ago on the street, and we finally got a hold of him. He came to the church, also for a church tour and to learn about the Restoration. I asked the same question to him that I did to Carlos the night before... and his answer: "ja, naturlich." The Spirit hit me so strong then, realizing that these two completely different people, who had never met each other or heard of the church before, with completely different life situations and backgrounds, both felt the power of the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and felt moved to commit to find out if it is true. I know they will get their answers. After the meeting with Stefan, we were waiting for the Romanians to come meet with us... and Stefan wanted to stay! So we watched the restoration with him. Then he played pool with some other missionaries until we were finished with meeting with the Romanians, then he came with us to Bahnhof, then went home. Then on Saturday, he came with us to the baptisms in Hamm. We all felt the spirit, and all he said in response to my question of how he thought of the baptism was, "kraftvoll", powerful. Then we came back to Dortmund, and he said he had some extra time before the Football game started. He walked with us to our next appointment, with an older man in the ward and his wife who is learning about the Gospel. We got to the house, and Stefan said, "Ok, well, I can wait out here until you are done." We said, "no way!" And Stefan came with us and taguht about the purpose of life with us! Then he bought us KFC :-) A member family picked him up for church on Sunday, and he came for all three hours, really enjoyed getting to know all the members, and then ate lunch with us at the McPhersons. This man has been prepared to accept the gospel in his life- he feels the truthfulnes of it, I know it! What a great blessing! It was a weekend never to be forgotten.

Then comes the highlight of the week... Romania! Everything was a highlight, but this experience was especially rememberable. Friday evening, I got a call on my phone from Mitica, and I walked out the doors of the church to see these 6 large Romanian men walking up the path! What an expereince! There was a table in the JAE center, and all six of them sat along one side. I was on a split then, and the missionary I was with was so suprised by the whole situation, he stood in the back corner of the room... I sat on the other side of the table from all these Romanians, passing out Romanian pamphlets and Book of Mormons, playing charades and pointing at words and pictures to introduce the Restoration! My six words in Spanish and two words in Romanian came in handy! Just kidding, Gristi is a member, and these are all his friends from work. He was a great translator and missionary! Without him, I don't know how this whole thing would have gone down! We watched the Restoration movie in Romanian, and all of these men, (a father and his four sons) were rivited to the screen, with wet eyes at the end. They were all touched by the spirit, and were excited to read the 2 Nephi 2 and prepare for chruch on Sunday. Their wives and children are coming to Dortmund in a few weeks, and they are excited to bring them all to the chruch. Some crazy work schedules happened to them on Sunday, and only three came to church, but we were able to watch "Finding Happiness" and to talk about the Plan of Salvation. We are all meeting again this coming Saturday.

I wish I had the ability to share all that was experienced this week. At the end, I know this to be true: God lives and hears and answers prayers. The Power of unity and unified prayer, especially, is a major factor in increasing faith and bringing many miralces. There are so many people that are ready to accept the gospel, and will be excited to learn more. The great days of finding groups and families and full congregations to join the church are not ended with the begining days of the Restoration; they are happening today. The words that Ammon shared in Alma 26 are true and real, and I understand a little better now what he was trying to explain about his mission, and the joy that filled his heart to overflowing.

I know this is the work of the Lord. He hastens and accelerates His work. I am so grateful to be here at this time. These are days never to be forgotten.

I love you all!

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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