Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Last letter of the year...2010!

Dear Family and Friends,

Things here are progressing slowly. We have sacrificed lunches to contact. Hopefully the sacrifices will pan out. So far it has. This area is a transportation nightmare it used to have a car but it was given to the Elders in Canne because their car was burned... by people who don't like missionaries... anyway were hoping to someday get a car back in this area.

I hope the work is progressing in South America, Sister Garlock!! Funny enough, I ate Ecuador dark chocolate the other day it was very good. I thank your people for it :). Also, I hope that you never get discouraged.

I'm not going to lie I have called thousands of people and contacted hundreds more and last night I just about had it! Super discouraged! We found out that in the last 2 years this ward has not had a baptism and total in the last 5 years it's had 7 baptisms and all but one are inactive!

Today, I woke up and thrusted in my sickle-- literally talked to everything. EVERYTHING that moved and so far at 5 o clock in the afternoon we have 18 road contacts in 1 day! Miracle!!! Seriously, the last time that happened in our mission... I don't know... but a long time. Whenever it gets hard I think of Elder Masters, my dear cousin. Love the people.
Things here are harder than ever but there is still hope.

Thank you for the cards!!! It lifts my spirit.

I just keep contacting people of nations that my friends are serving in!!! Yesterday we set up a redez vous with and Albanian family and today I contacted 4 Romanians. I need phrases in these other languages!

Elder Garlock

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!! Yes, you can be a bit silly even with the President around!
Christmas Zone Conference with the Missionaries in our District and Mission President
Before the transfers occurred!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Where to begin...

Where to begin...

Elder Graham and I were white washed out of PAU! We were replaced by Soeurs! I couldn't help but think of Sistar Garlock walking into her first ville with a dirty apartment. So Elder Graham and I CLeaned and CLeaned and CLEANED again!

The Pau ward gave us tons and tons of gifts! It was super difficult saying goodbye but it felt like it was the right time. I am currently in arguably one of the, if not the one ville, with the highest percent of Muslims. Drum roll.... the ville is..... VITROLLES, just next to Marseilles. It is winter not Christmas here...

My new companion is Elder Herring from Ypsilanti, Michigan. He is young in his mission --just a few transfers older than me. But he speaks amazingly and he's 100 percent obedient. He is a great example of a hard worker. Elder Graham headed off to probably his last ville in NICE with Elder Tudor, who was in my MTC district. Elder Graham was very, very happy to be going to NICE.

My first day in Vitrolles, Elder Herring and I worked our tales off. It was pouring down rain but we still contacted and had some great success! What do you know -- I contacted some Romanians again!!

This ville is going to be a challenge. There has not been one baptism here for over a year... I have finally been able to communicate better I am horrible absolutely horrible at french when I'm not contacting or in a lesson. When I'm in a lesson and contacting my french is way better. The gift of tongues is real.

On this past Sunday, we had the confirmation of Soeur Martin and Soeur Sa Oliveira it was very special. Right after the blessing of Soeur Sa Oliveira, she just bore here testimony, out of the blue she thanked Elder Graham and I.

Our Heavenly Father knows us and sends us places to stretch ourselves and to not only bear the cross of Jesus Christ but also to walk with the cross placing all the weight on one leg while taking that step of faith and having Jesus Christ help us-- because his yoke is easy.

May I be so bold as to invite everyone who reads this to write down the significance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in their life and how that Atonement connects with a living prophet, The Book of Mormon and Bible.

I love all of you!
Elder Garlock

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Baptism of Soeur Sa Oliveira on Left and Soeur Martin on the Right

This week I have been humbled. We had 2 baptisms on Sunday, Soeur Sa Oliveira and Soeur Martin. It was great to be a part of them. Soeur Sa Oliveira thanked Elder Graham and I with tears in her eyes. She wanted to kiss us! But we had to resist. It was a sweet moment. Soeur Sa Oliveira has ALL of her family against her in being a member of the Lord's church. So this week we did more lessons than usual. She is such a sweet lady who writes down EVERYTHING we teach her. She told us that when she is mad or frustrated she dictates passages from the Book of Mormon or reads ALL of Gospel Principles AGAIN. This daughter of God truly is a Latter-Day SAINT.

Christmas here is very interesting. They have insanely beautiful street lights!

Yesterday we were in Bordeaux for Zone conference and the zone talent show. I played the piano while Elder Graham sang. The zone also sang at l'arch de triomphe. It was a great experience to see people stand around us and just be amazed that someone was caroling. Caroling here is not as big of a deal. Half way through caroling, I was tired of seeing people watching us but no elders contacting them. So I broke mid way through the song and started contacting people. I met a total of 10 Muslims all practicing and all wanting to have a political discussion on America. They told me that I was a horrible person. This has been not the first time so I said, "Salem malley kooom" and "voila quoi", instantly we were friends. Learning that one phrase has helped me realize that people love their culture.

This week was also very touching because Elder Graham and I sat down with 8 Romanians! We had Iuan translate for us the 1st lesson. The spirit was very strong. It is hard because half of the group wants money from us the other half is adamant Catholic and Iuan is bashing them all and was correcting blasphemy left and right. It was awesome to be a part of. It's sad however because Iuan left France yesterday on an emergency. His father fell very ill and he had to leave. He won't be back till he is better or has died. Iuan has such strong faith.
It is amazing! I loved the nativity you made me. I gave it to a Romanian girl who is 7 years old.

Also, I have been wanting to know for sometime what in the world happened with the November primary elections? Did Democrats or Republicans or tea parties win? What happened?

Roach update: only came across 5 roaches this week ---so things have been getting way, way better! How is Elder Wahlquist and Elder Garlock doing ? How is Elder Merrill and Wahlquist doing--as a companionship? I met Elder Merrill once and I've only heard good things about him!

I hope that you study preach my gospel too! It's a great inspired book for everyone. I especially love the Christ like attributes. I have been working on patience and my faith which are directly linked.

I love you and ciao jusqu'a la semaine prochaine!
Elder Garlock

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Diligence and Miracles

Back Row: Elder Graham, Me, and Elder Ritter, (Assistant to the President)
Front Row: Frere and Soeur Abadie with Soeur Sa Oliveira
Pyreenes Mountains. They are closer than they appear! Beautiful!

This week has been a week about miracles.

Elder Graham and I over the past 3 weeks have had a grand total of 3 yes, only 3 people who we met on the road give us their contact information to set up another time to meet. Then this week we had 17! Yes, 17! and on top of that ---20 lessons and on top of that 5 investigators in progress and on top of that Juan committed to baptism the 26th of December. He is on page 200 of the Book of Mormon . Miracle after miracle after miracle!

If someone has lost their testimony, let me write them, because this week is proof that miracles still happen. We also gave three blessings for the sick this week. Miracles on top of miracles.

Elder Graham and I had a challenge from the mission president to make 14 road contacts. We went to town. We talked to Every single person on the bus, walking, and running. We met countless amounts of people-- literally hundreds. We had a district meeting on Monday. I gave the discourse on our missionary purpose. The discourse, helped me realize the true calling that I received, to invite others to come unto Christ. I learned that the Lord blesses us for our best efforts--not for our best successes. Successes are blessings for our efforts. I learned that diligence in all things and self discipline--- to bite the bullet when things aren't going the best--- that we have the power to change a situation---- to not be acted upon---- we then in essence have true freedom to be who we say we are ---sons and daughters -----disciples of Christ.

Elder Graham is nearing the end of his mission. He is a master of a teacher. We are the perfect combination of the one two punch! I'm the opener and he is the closer. He is the genius! We have truly hit our stride as a companionship being unified and diligent together. The assistants to the Président were here in Pau on Saturday. I realized I never want to be a leader in the mission! Soooo much more work! I thought not understanding people and this language was hard! I had a shock of reality when the assistants were describing what they do.

I was grateful for the nativity set how cool! I placed it under our fake Christmas true and it looks amazing. While cleaning out our apt the other day, we found three Christmas trees --each of different sizes. We also found Christmas lights which gives us a perfect night light. The window stickers, monkey game and presents really set the tone for Christmas and of course, Josh in the background singing that good ol noel CD!

The financial clerk for the mission in Toulouse has placed more euros in our account. Thankfully, I guess it wasn't just me starving!! haha! Know that all is good and I am well as far has my temporal needs go with food!

Also health update: I threw up, hard core on Saturday night, the night the Assistants were here. That was an experience! I also literally burned my thumbs really, really, really bad. My flesh, when it touched the oven, singed --ohhhh the sound and then the smell of my thumbs--- flesh burning---oh, was bad-- but life goes on. I'm sure you will see the scare when I get home!

It also snowed here this week in Pau. The Pyrenees mountains have been amazing. They remind me of the Olympic mountains. But we are way closer here in Pau than to the mountains back at home!

O yes, a funny story: In one of our rendezvous, the lady's kids were named the same first names as my companion and me!! And then get this, they are the same amount of time a part in years! haha! We looked at each other and tried holding in our laugh but it was in vain! Really funny.

I am sincerely grateful for your generous out pouring of love and true charity that has been shown for the last 22 weeks of my mission! I love all of you. Christ is our mediator. He is a separate, glorified person from our Heavenly Father.

Elder Garlock

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Beautiful Landscape in France
Our 6'10 Basketball Player Friend

Castle of Lordes

Missed the train, Missed the bus, Missed Thanksgiving but I love France!

Bonjour tout le monde garcon cette semaine a été fou!!

Elder Graham and I have tons going on! For starters this week, we missed our train headed to Bordeaux! Talk about a mistake! The train left at 6:17 and we arrived in the Gare as it pulled away! Ugh! The disappointment! We had to answer to Président Carter! Thank goodness for mercy!

Moving on to heavier things. Elder Graham and I love the area book. We have successfully cleaned our apartment. We found all of the old papers from messy missionaries who did not keep the area book or our apt clean! We came across two people-- one man from Romania-- super humble (as all the Romanians are so far that I have met) but this Romanian was way different. He spoke pretty good french and had a decent apt. and a job!! His name is Juan. We stopped by and gave him a Book of Mormon and the 1st leçon. He LOVED it!! Probably the most receptive first leçon in my mission thus far. The spirit was so strong and I spoke french! I didn't even know I had in me. Elder Graham was stunned! So I committed him to stop smoking and to stop drinking and he said yes!! It was a miracle!

Juan loved me a ton, thanks to My Best Friend, Elder Betteridge!! Bryce had sent me a post card and a belt from Romania that I showed to Juan. He freaked out he was soo happy!!! It was awesome. I then asked Juan who the picture was on the wall and he said it was his family. I asked for a way to contact his family who live in Jud . Alba Iulia Romania. I'm not sure if Elder Betteridge knows where that is but we will be sending the contact today!

I am super excited for Juan. He was contacted 2 years ago but the missionaries had a hard time understanding him and he had a hard time understanding the missionaries but we are about on the same french level so we connect really well.

The other crazy awesome moment we had was yesterday. We had Stake conference all the way in Bordeaux. We took a train Saturday night, spent the night in Lormont, and went to the conference. I understood most of it. We came back just in time for our rendez vous with Miriam De Costa. Miriam De Costa is from Spain. She met the missionaries for the first time 20 years ago! Before I was born-- wooooo that's old ;) and she told us she had a dream Saturday night. She told us the dream. She described the temple!!!!!!! !!!!! !!!!! !!!! !!!! !! We showed her a picture of the SLC temple she kept saying ooo la la o la la. It was awesome! She was super excited! We were too! We then set up another rendez vous!

We found out some crazy information which I thought you might find awesome... The first lady Elder Graham and I baptized, Berth, was the wife to the president of Congo Zaire, first counselor. We asked her if she had met some pretty important people. She just laughed and said she had met many of the top world leaders for peace talks and things because Congo is so war torn right now. She lost her husband and was exiled to France.

Anyway, we have been teaching Berth's son in law and daughter with 6 kids. Leçons get hectic!! haha But they are fun!

Another miracle: we were in Lescar, which is far from Pau. In fact, back in the day, Pau had four companionships and now it's just us! So we have our work cut out! Anyway, we were out in Lescar and missed the bus! We had a rendez vous-- so we prayed for a miracle. The Lord delivered a 6' 10'' basketball player from the University of Utah who now plays in France for the Pau team. He picked us up! He said his brothers went on missions, but he didn't. He hasn't been active for years in the church. He said he felt bad driving past because he could just see his brothers serving in Brazil in us. It was a cool experience. We had a sweet talk about basketball and coming back to church. All in all a good experience!

My language is almost there. It's funny, I'm confident speaking french to french people but speaking it to other missionaries or President and Soeur Carter it just doesn't happen. My comprehension is there when I focus really hard.

I love all of you and I was so grateful for the cards from the ward and the other packages of love!! Elder Graham and I are super excited to have matching PJs! We even wore them in Lormont and made the other companionships jealous!!!

I am grateful for all of you and missed thanksgiving but the pasta was super good here!

We moved Frere Bonét today for preparation day.

Love, Elder Nathan
P. S. I love France!!!