"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)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Liebe Familie und Freunde:

Another Christmas is here! I can't believe it! I am excited to see you all on the computer tomorrow, and then in real life next week! I think Jacob explained it best: "the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream." (Jacob 7:26, Book of Mormon). It has been a wonderful two years, here in Germany serving a mission; and there is still a week and a half left to enjoy and serve and help and teach! The best is yet to come!

This week was real great- Stefan was baptized! It was a great experience. He was so natural with everything- no fears, and no real huge excitement, just understanding that he knows the gospel is true, and baptism is the next step. We were going to start at 5pm, but the Hamm missionaries were bringing somebody, and got to the train station late, so Sis. McPherson went to pick them up. We waited, but didn't feel stressed or rushed or anxious. In the meantime, a car pulled up, and 8 of the Romanian Family pulled up, the grandparents, 4 sons, and two daughters! They loved the baptism! That room was full, too! The others arrived and we had a great baptism service. In the font with Stefan, I felt a great Spirit of the reality of the Priesthood and of baptism. I looked out to the people watching, and the two Romanian girls, about 18 years old, were there with huge eyes and bigger smiles! Yesterday at church, they said they all want to be baptized in the beginning of next year! The friend that the Hamm missionaries brought was also very touched by the Spirit. I talked with him afterwards, and he said that he wants to be the next person to be baptized! That was the first baptism he saw. When we found out that they would be late, we considered starting anyways, and hoping they got there to see the baptism. How grateful I am that we waited, so these great people could experience the power and Spirit of baptism. How could we have not waited?

Christmas is here, and so are the members who all want to feed us and show us a real German Christmas! Tonight, we are going to the Petzold's. Christmas Eve is Germany's main Christmas celebration. I love how everyone takes the time to celebrate Christmas and remember Christ, even in a world that is becoming more "politically correct", and not wanting to talk about religious things, for fear to offend. We got on the bus this morning, and the bus driver was looking real intently at our name tags. She then said out loud, and slowly, "Jesu Christi...Ok, then I can wish you a merry Christmas!" We said thanks, and I thought about how many people today are finding the name "Christ" taboo, and worry to say it. I was so grateful that this woman felt comfortable enough to wish two strangers a merry Christmas. During the whole year, not just at Christmas time, we have the responsibility to be witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places, to always invite others to come unto Christ, to spread His name, His Gospel, His truth to the world. I thought about my gift to the Savior, that which I can give to Him this Christmas: So long as I have a heart to love, the hands to serve, the voice to testify, I will! The life of a missionary is much longer than just 2 years... it is an eternity of progression, of learning, of teaching, of testifying, of serving, of loving, of helping. It's the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ.

On this Christmas Eve, I testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God. He was born to Mary, lived a perfect life, showed us the way, and sacrificed His life so we can all repent and return to live with our Heavenly Father. He was resurrected and lives today, just as real as 2,000 years ago! His Priesthood authority and His Church are again restored upon the earth, in preparation for His second coming. His Gospel is a message of peace and joy; joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Ich wünsche euch alle eine wunderbare, fröhliche Weihnachtszeit!
bis morgen; bis nächste Woche!

Ich liebe euch!
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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