"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, December 11, 2012

Winter Wunderland!

Saturday night, it snowed and snowed, and we went to church in the greatest winter wonderland! It was great! But now it is all grea slush.. I guess that's the opposition in all things! Everything is going great! I love German Christmases! There is such great tradition and spirit here. We were at the Krienke's house last night, and they told us about their family Christmas Tradition, the advent calendars, the music, there was such a great Spirit there, for that is the Spirit of Christmas. It's the Spirit of Christ.

The biggest thing this week was just that... BIG! We visited the Romanian family on Friday. That was so great. The grandfather and his 4 sons went back to Romania and brought back their wives, their kids, and are now 34 in total! They are looking for a larger apartment and waiting for all their things to get here. Sis. Böning speaks Spanish, and all these Romanian friends speak Spanish, too, so she came with us. We are so grateful she came with us! It was such a neat experience. They are so humble, so ready to learn. We brought the Restoration DVD, and said we wanted to show them a short film. They all got really excited, and then, like they had been planning and practicing,all took their places in chair in a circle around us and the TV. The little girl holding the Book of Mormon in the picture was super excited to help, even though we couldn't speak the same language, and helped me put the DVD in the player.... but remember that one time we had a family trip without the remote, and had to watch all the films with commentary? Well, here, there wasn't a remote either, so we wouldn't change the langauge to Romanian! I prayed so hard in my mind and heart, and kept pressing the Forward/Back/PLay buttons, hoping that somehow it would work. I felt a little shy of asking because of their situation, but asked if they had a computer or laptop. One son, Hersilias sprung up and came back with the laptop, speakers, mouse, and cord. There was excitedment and they were all so ready to watch! It really was a miracle, and we watched through the restoration in Romanian. We bore testimony that we know Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, and was the prophet through whom they restored Their Church. Sis. Böning translated. She is so sweet and funny. I literally said "I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God", then three minutes later, Sister Böning ended her translation of what I said. Now, I am no expert in languages, let alone Espanol, but I don't think she was translating word for word :-) She wasn't, but this older woman was using this opportunity to bear her testimony and to teach this wonderful family. I am so glad she took the opportunity to expand and explain herself and our testifying. We brought a whole box of Romanian Book of Mormons, and passed them out, and read together from the introduction. They all were saying "amen" and nodding at the end! We asked them to read together right from the beginning with Nephi. I didn't realize until the moment I said and thought it, but the experience of Lehi and his family leaving their homeland, traveling far away, then returning to bring back the plates, and continuing in the new land, is just what this Romanian family has gone through. Leaving home, the men working, then returning home to get their families, then came back and are trying their best in the situtation they are in. The Book of Mormon is the best guide for life, in whichever situation we are in.

We were also in Frankfurt this week for the Mission Leadership Council. My favorite part was Wednesday evening's testimony meeting. President asked those who were leaving at the end of the cycle to bear their testimonies first. I felt the Spirit as I bore my testimony of the things I know to be true. At the end of the hour and testimonies from all, President expressed his love and apprectiaiton for the leavers, sharing personal "thanks" and compliments. Then he went around through every person in the circle- 20 of us, and shared with each´personally why he loves and appreciates them. It was the greatest experience of feeling the love of a leader, of really feeling that Präsident Schwartz cares for me and wants my best. Elder Penfold and I actually stayed the night at Präsident's house that night with two other zone leaders. They have a nice piano, and when the others left, Präsident came to us all and asked us to help him with some things, then said "And Elder Garlick, you go play the piano!" It was the greatest evening, with the testimony meeting spirit, and then the power of the hymns. I am so grateful for Präsident Schwartz, I don't know how else to say it. I know he loves me and cares for me, and would do anything for me. I trust him, I respect him, and will do anything he asks. The next morning we all ate breakfast together, and it started snowing, and more piano was played, and there just the greatest happiest joyful feeling ever! Us four missionaries talked about it later, how it was the best morning ever. It's because of the spirit of the Lord that is in the Schwartz's home. Both of them are so focused on others, especially us missionaries. I want to be like them.

I was supposed to have my exit interview with President during this training, but the time didn't work out, so he is coming up to Dortmund this Thursday for that. I look forward to it, but have mixed feelings. I pray to be open to what he says and counsels, and especeially open to the Holy Ghost.

I know this work is true. From the Romanians to Stefan to the members to the other people we meet with and serve, I can see the workings of the Spirit in their lives. And that makes all this worth it!

Ich habe euch schrecklich lieb!
bis bald

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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