Salut a tout le monde!!!!!!!
Once I feel as though I have conquered the challenges of Vitrolles, receiving a car, knowing the ville and really seeing changes as far as the ward and our investigators... I LEAVE! Yes, I have been transferred to a little branch and little ville named Bézier with Elder Smedley from UTAH!
Its bittersweet to leave Vitrolles because there were days that absolutely changed my life. It's the ville that I really learned the language and learned what success really is. It taught me so many countless lessons about patience, gratitude, charity, faith and hope. I learned to not only live but to apply deeply the gospel.
It is sometimes bizarre to look into the mirror and not fully recognize the person looking back. Yes, everyone I have gained weight but not only that I think a great change has occurred since I left. A change which is personal, a change which comes only through following our Savoir, Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the love of our Heavenly Father for him sending his Son.
As it is written so greatly in Romans 8: 38 and 39 Christ is a manifestation of the love that our Father in Heaven has for us. Scriptures, Prophets both old and modern, testify of Jesus to be the Son of God to be The Savoir to be The Christ and the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Messiah of the New.
I too testify that we have a Father in Heaven who loves each of us and through The Book of Mormon and Bible. We learn about our Redeemer and He becomes not a distant pagan holiday but rather a friend. We are his friends ONLY if we keep his commandments.
As Easter has come and gone, we reflect and many of us realize the many witnesses and testifying proof that Christ lives and he directs and leads his only true church which so fittingly bears his holy name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Through the prophet Joseph Smith the church was restored and The Book of Mormon another sacred testimony of Jesus Christ also came as the fruit of a prophet today. http://lds.org/generalconference/2009/10/safety-for-the-soul?lang=eng&media=video one of my favorite talks about The Book of Mormon was given by Elder Jeffrey R Holland who is a living Apostle of Jesus Christ. I wish to all of you a happy Easter!
Monday, April 18, 2011
Pigeons, Jonah Lomu, and a Car! WoW tHe UpS aNd DoWnS oF a MiSsIoN! Pigeons!!!
I believe I told you a few months ago while walking with Elder Herring to the Chapel, we contacted a man working in his yard. When he stood up to start talking to us, a pigeon was resting on his shoulder. Impossible to keep the conversation away from birds. I informed the fellow that there was a pigeon on his shoulder. It did not phase him. He just kept right on working and shrugged us off. :) In any case, moving on to Elder Birk, (my current companion) 2nd day in Vitrolles we were on the same side walk contacting a man and that same pigeon came and landed on Elder Birk's head! A priceless moment once he realized it was not my hand! He frantically swiped for the bird.
I tell you all of this to bring you to last Monday... We were walking to the church same street same spot, I spotted a bird and said, "Elder Birk, c'est votre oiseau préférez!" He responded and said, "there is no way no way!" But yes, it was that bird!! and yes, it Bee lined it or plutot pegion lined it for the head of Elder Birk--- not for me, but for him again! As we ran off in fear towards the chapel crossing lanes of traffic-- how stupid we were risking our lives, when a bird can fly over cars! Anyway, that's beside the point! Elder Birk and I thought we lost him. Our historical laughter quickly turned into fear ! It was right above us, swooping at Elder Birk and tried to fight it off while sprinting now for the church. We finally made it there safe. Needless to say we were relieved.
The story only gets better. Two days after the Bird incident we were walking in the same place and there were now 10 birds!! Yes 10!!! May be more, but we were paranoid. So we ran to the bus hoping not to invoke a war!! The day after that, we were walking down the same road again, I know at this point many of you are saying that I am insane because yes, this experience fills the requirements of the definition of insanity which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (Groundhog Day). However, while walking to the church again we saw a poor bird laying dead on the side of the road. We are not 100 percent sure if that's the killer bird, but we will soon find out. For some reason this story reminds me Matlock not sure if anyone remembers that show, but my mom, a mystery for sure!
Aka The most famous rugby player in the world! He is a stud we called him up after losing contact with him for a couple months. He will be baptized in June, if not earlier!!!! He will be married this May in New Zealand and than be baptized as soon after as possible. He has such a strong testimony and is loaded. He said that he wants to be baptized in France because that's when the missionaries first made contact with him. So right after his baptism he will go and live in New Zealand and than move probably to Spain. Everyone tells me that he is the Michael Jordan of Rugby. I believe them! People taking pictures and asking for autographs and staring when we are around. It's funny when people are trying to decide if that's really Jonah Lomu first and then two, if that really is Jonah Lomu with missionaries? In any case, he is a stud! I probably won't be here for his baptism because transfer calls are next week and I have a feeling that I will be transferred.
Finally! we should receive a car TODAY!!!!!!!!! Exciting!!!! ooo YYAAAA!
I got my birthday package! Thank you!!! Something exciting is that Elder Graham, my training will be going home next week!! He has finished his mission! Ethan Graham from Spanish Fork, Utah! He is awesome! Sorta sad but tight!
Well, things are moving along, we were a little sick this week but who cares we are getting a car!!!!
Love, Elder Garlock
Monday, April 11, 2011
Well, this week high, high, high hopes... and... I'm still hoping! This past weeks things have really heated up which is a constant reminder that the baptismal drought is still there, looming over our heads. However, while I was on an exchange this week, we really found some people who are ready. One person we found named, Benoit said. "I am a baby Christian. This morning I prayed to find the church of the Seigneur". We have seen Benoit twice since and he is engaged for the baptism for the 30th April. I have a feeling I will be transferred the 24th right before my birthday--right before a few baptisms and--- right before they receive a car here. I hope I'm wrong! However, it would not surprise me at all. In any case this week, Elder Birk and I decided to really just go for it with Mdm Lavie. She has a testimony of the gospel but is scared to keep all of the commandments and be baptized. My very first lesson here in Vitrolles when I arrived was with Mdm Lavie and so we have a very large trust. I have a been more than bold with her on several occasions and she is ubber close to being baptized. Furthermore, the moment she chooses to stop seeing her boyfriend is the moment she will be baptized. It's a very complicated situation and there are many factors. However, yesterday we had a very solid lesson on placing God first and letting the rest work itself out. If nothing else an important lesson I have learned since being in Vitrolles is when I give my best I can feel satisfied. Well, something out of the ordinary this week... You know when I said the church building in Vitrolles is not in the nicest/best/religiously open neighborhood? Well, as Elder Birk and I were walking in the neighborhood, across the street we encountered quite a few groups of people-- old and young Arab french-- just the usual people and a kid of about 17 years old walks up to us and just stops us no big deal right? Wrong-- he rips the bag off of Elder Birk and sprints off. Elder Birk decides that he wants his bag back so what does he do???? He turns and sprints off after the kid... speed it up.... one thing led to another...... Elder Birk victor! Yes, he got his bag back! Elder Garlock side kick, o ya! Many more things occurred however, to keep this email G rated we shall leave it at that. The work is progression to all those who have written me recently I have not forgotten you, letters will be sent out within the next couple weeks. Love you all, Elder Garlock
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Bummer I missed a lot of conference. I got a chance to see Priesthood session in Marseille which was sweet. Elder Utchdorf and Elder Eyring gave talks which were sharper than a two edged sword. They were really inspired and shed light on many topics which I needed both as a missionary and as a Priesthood holder. I got to see a little bit of the conference with the BYU Idaho combine choir sing-- that was incredible! It made me wish I was back at BYU-I singing. There were so many people I recognized it's amazing how quickly I have forgotten so many names. When I return from my mission, it will be embarrassing if I don't remember family names or names of our ward members. I'll just trust in the Lord and ask for a ward list a month before I come home. That way, I will be ready for any new members. Well, it was very disappointing that our satellite did not work at our ward building, because we invited all of our friends and all of the practicing Muslims from across the street to watch conference. When we arrived, the bishop told us it didn't work but not only that but it also didn't work in Avignon and Aix en Provence so the next closest would be Marseilles. It was needless to say a bummer. I have learned some valuable lessons from this experience. The importance of sacrifice, a living Prophet and ancient scriptures which we have so freely to use and apply daily. Also, - I look forward to going to the temple. There are so many times on my mission I have thirsted after the peace, joy and inspiration that we receive in the Holy house of the Lord. In any case, I started reading Doctrine and Covenants last week and I am currently in section 60. I have been writing down the sections that I would like to go back and study because obviously in a few days I have not had the time to study the sections intensely. Furthermore, I have been studying the house of Israel and finding much joy and learning about the different tribes there is such a rich history. I love when you send me the letters from Dear Elder. I love hearing about Emily on Temple Square, Rachael in Missouri, Michael in Africa, Adam the Spaniard in Provo, Ashley soon to be in Argentina, Bryce in Romania, Paul in Albania and William in Chili. In any case, I hope no one back home is taking General Conference for granted!! I now realize how much of a blessing that it is to have a Prophet who is a seer and revelator which leads and directs us to always follow Christ. We are defiantly In the last days and as I have read many times in Doctrine and Covenants we must be ready to meet the Bridegroom by reading scriptures ancient and modern, praying always, renewing our covenants weekly, keeping all of the commandments and following Jesus Christ who is living. Jesus Christ showed us the example and the way to be perfect even as God, the father is perfect. For there will come a day when no man can live on borrowed testimony light. Be prepared by relying on Jesus Christ so that when he comes he will have no problem recognizing you as his disciple and that you will have no problem recognizing him as your Savior the Son of God even Jesus Christ. I know that The Book of Mormon is truly a testimony of Jesus Christ. With this 3rd testimony of Jesus Christ we see the fulfillment of prophecies both found in the Old Testament and the New. Jesus is the great Jehovah in the Old testament and the great Redeemer in the New Testament. Jesus on the sermon on the mount stated that you will know my Prophets by their fruit. We see with Moses his fruit was the 10 commandments. We see with the other great prophets of old like Abraham with his fruit being his posterity being blessed for all time and all eternity and that Jesus the Christ would be born in his lineage. And Now we see the fruit of a Prophet in our day with The Book of Mormon. Any one who takes the promise given by the ancient Prophet Moroni and reads, meditates and studies The Book of Mormon with an open sincere heart, acting in faith and asking in the name of Jesus Christ to our Heavenly Father if the Fruit of a modern day Prophet is true, I so testify that they will have a response given to them by the Holy Ghost. The only way to enter into the kingdom of God is to be baptized by water and by the spirit by someone holding the priesthood power to act in God's name. The only Church on the earth today with that profound power and authority is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with a prophet living with the living Christ directing and The Book of Mormon proving that the heavens are open. These things I know by the personal witness I have from the power of prayer and witness of the Holy Ghost in the name of Jesus Christ Amen-- Elder Garlock