Monday, June 27, 2011

Ubber Excited: Baptism

We were ubber excited at the beginning of this week because we had planned 2 baptisms for the Saturday however, we finished the week just being excited!

Mdm Tomescu was baptized! It was an amazing service with the spirit very strong. Giocchino we are hoping that if his heart can keep pumping will be baptized this coming Saturday. He has been on some crazy heavy medication because of his heart attack and so he didn't make it to his baptism Saturday with mdm Tomescu nor church yesterday. However, it will be great to spread the baptismal services out that way we can have more people see what it means to follow Jesus Christ and his example.

A true baptism, meaning a baptism which is valid in the eyes of God, consists of 3 things:
1 Someone must use their agency to choose to be baptized.
2 One must follow Jesus Christ's baptism of being fully submerged in water as a symbol of a new birth.

3 One must be baptized by someone who has received the power and authority of God meaning the priesthood.

President and Soeur Carter gave their farewell talks to us last week. Tomorrow we meet our new mission president, President Murdock. It was a very emotion time for everyone it made me scared to go home. Just thinking about going home scares me!
MARRIAGE o golly.
Love you all!

Elder Garlock

P.S. I am ever so grateful for packages and letters! Words do not do justice, honestly those are the highlights of the week!!!!

Happy Birthday and Father's Day!

Happy Birthday MOM! Happy Fathers Day DAD!

The more I meet people the more I am grateful for the gospel and for 2 loving parents who are so strong in this restored gospel. Elder Smedley and I are preparing for 2 baptisms this Saturday! If all goes well, we all should be in white. It has been an exciting process to help Mdm Tomescu and M Airde prepare to make a covenant with our Heavenly Father. Both have had an undeniable change in their lives since they have applied the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Atonement of Jesus Christ daily into their lives.

Calito, who I have been working hard to teach the piano played the first hymn, "I am a Child of God," yesterday it was seriously a miracle and an amazing experience! Now, if I could only get him to practice. I think I can now relate with you, Mom, who had to force me to practice the piano. I am pretty sure I'll need a break from, "I am a Child of God". We practiced for hours that one song until he felt confident enough to play it in front of the branch.

Calito has also shown interest in going to the states next summer for a month or so. I said I would ask you if he could come live with us. He speaks Spanish and French so he would fit in really well in our family. He plays tons of video games and he needs to find other hobbies and interests. His mom is from Peru and dad from Spain. His dad is the quote on quote go to member for the missionary's because he is always available. And his mom from Peru has this rather heavy, cute Peruvian accent and always cooks us meals because they want the missionaries around Calito as much as possible. He just turned 15 and will be 16 next summer.

I think mom and dad you would be the best for him: no video games, always active, family home evenings, and family prayer. He needs to find new hobbies: running, swimming, biking, canoeing, working and try new things and stop playing video games. He needs to come to the Puget Sound.

Elder Garlock

Friday, June 17, 2011

Teaching and Playing the Piano

This week has been SO HOT.

Béziers is starting to have a huge influx of tourists so street contacting has been in a variety of languages portages English Italian Chinese polish Romanian Yugoslavian German Russian etc its amazing how many languages are out there and I only know two. It really motivates me to start learning other languages when I get home I was thinking Arab would be pretty wicked. I have been learning some since half of Béziers habitats are Arab.

On Monday there was an old returned missionary visiting with his wife and friend. His friend was in the Paris mission and knew of Nathan Oaks. The returned missionary knew Andrew Gessel. His name was Josh Lapray or leprey or something like that it was fun to eat dinner with them.

Giouchino, our sweet investigator has been having some health issues. This past week he texted us and said I am going to the hospital. So we go over to the hospital as fast as we could and he was laying on his bed, in very broken french Italian he said they are going to give me a shock like a BOOM. His heart has been beating faster than normal so I'm not really sure what happened but he was going to be BOOMED and hopefully have his heart Boomed back into rhythm. He had brought his Book of Mormon and said he had been finding strength from reading it. So we gave him a blessing and the Spirit was very strong. He was released Sunday and came to church which was 3 days earlier than expected the doctors were very pleased by his progress it was an all in all Ensign worthy story.

Speaking of Sunday, I was playing prelude during the sacrament and found out it was one of the young men's birthday. Calito. He turned 15 and is a giant seriously looks like he is 20. He may be stronger than Elder Smedley and I combined. Calito does nothing but play video games ALL day and ALL night seriously ALL the time. so I received some inspiration that I should try and teach him the piano. That way when I leave the branch they will still have a pianist.

So I received this inspiration and right before the President de Branch stood up to start the meeting he looks over at me and says can you give a talk? I shook my head yes and realized not just one person but 2 people forgot to prepare talks so I had 20 minutes to fill. I stood up and it was a powerful experience I did not even cry but the spirit brought our three investigators to tears that were there it was awesome. I spoke on gratitude, sacrifices; repentance and recognizing the spirit.

One part I really liked was before my mission I always thought missions were a sacrifices but now that I am here, it has been a great blessing. I know that our Heavenly Father asks us to make sacrifices for us to test our faith. He not only blesses us when we do our part but he blesses us to do our part and it is no longer a sacrifice but a blessing. I invited the branch to make a goal to help Calito go on a mission in 4 years time. The spirit was very strong and I feel our Branch is becoming stronger and stronger.

Today during our preparation day, Elder Smedley and I have spent it at the church teaching Petito Calito how to play the simplified hymns he is a very quick learner and has been enjoying the piano. I have been looking for an electric piano so he can practice at home.

In any case, this is a great and marvelous work!

Elder Garlock

Monday, June 6, 2011

No Transfer for me!

Elder Smedley and I got the call that we will be staying together for another 6 weeks.

This past week there were many people here on vacation from England and the states. At church, our little branch was tripled with 3 large visiting families. They were all here for the Medieval festival which happened this past weekend with jousting and dancing and all manner of festival activities. It reminded me of the UP festival on steroids. It was the second medieval festival that I have been to this summer. There were tons of little gadgets and cool random things I'm glad as missionaries we are broke because I probably would have bought some pretty useless things.

However, one thing which is not useless that I did buy was a Jalaba. It is the traditional Arab style of clothing that hopefully I'll be able to send some pictures because I could defiantly see them catching on as a fad when I get back and start wearing them around town ;)

Any who as I told you last week we have these English friends from Manchester and Scotland whom we bike with... side note when biking with them again today its was gorgeous with all of the HUGE fields of grapes and the biking along side the canal du midi and going through these little villes so romantic and cute!!!! I better stop there before I start being to descriptive with my adjectives... cute... gorgeous. I should not be using that language it was very ruggedly and manly and rugged :)

ok back to the story our 4 English friends quick run through:
Keith: tall, big nosed, long haired, hippy doesn't bike with us
Lucy: sweet, Scottish accent, and the girlfriend of Keith and is a biking super star
David:... david
Roger: retired, long haired intellectual who worked with Elton John and Bono's charity RED. Loves biking with us as well.

So last week Roger had just received a new bike as a gift from his friend and was excited to ride it with us. We did the ride and ended at Lucy and Keith's house leaving all of the bikes including Roger's new one at their house. The next day we passed by and said hello and went to our other appointments we than saw Roger in Centerville and he told us his bike had been stolen from Keith's.

What ended up happening was when we had passed and said hello the first time, a gypsy man and his son who knew Keith stopped by as well. We said hello to them and left shortly after they arrived because we had an appointment to go to. After our appointments, and seeing Roger, we came back to Keith's house to see what had happened with the bike. We found out that the bike had been stolen by the gypsies. Keith was up in arms, Roger was up arms, and Lucy was up in arms! We quickly left their house because it was a bit hot as we say in french and went on with the day.

As we were contacting in Centerville, we saw this bike zoom past us. I quickly ended the contact and spotted the gypsy kid. We confronted him and said, "whose bike is that ?" He said it was his and that he bought it in Centerville. At this point, I took the phone and started calling Keith and Lucy. Of course they didn't respond.

During this time, Elder Smedley was asking how much did they had pay for the bike he said 10 his mother who showed up said 100. At this point they were getting nervous because I was playing MR. Missionary Cop and they thought I was calling the police. Elder Smedley was just being a stud and ended up taking the bike from them, it was sweet. He got the bike back and we rode over to Keith's house.

Lucy and Keith we just amazed and asked, "where did you get they bike? How did you get it back?" It was already close to 9 so we just said we will see you tomorrow and walked off into the sunset. With Keith yelling at us "I'm going to become a Mormon!" ;) So epic, so sweet. I felt like a hero. I now know how Superman feels ALL the time.

I love all of you. Thank you for the letters. The work of the Lord goes on Nobly here in the South of France!

Elder Garlock

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bowen, Basketball, Bikes and a Baptism

Where to begin, where to begin?

Elder Bowen, one of my old missionary companions has been serving in Carcassonne (which is a neighboring city). His companion called me on Thursday frantic telling me that Elder Bowen had been bite by Match, (who is the ward mission leader's dog in Carcassonne) meaning that he could not come to do the interview for the baptism as planned that day because he was in the hospital. To make a very long story short it all started as Elder Bowen was feeding the dog slices of ham. The dog, I guess got a little too hungry and bit a Mike Tyson chunk out of the ear of Elder Bowen. As Elder Bowen then realized that the dog had not licked him but rather BIT him, he started yelling for his companion to help him. Understand that Elder Bowen is a joker and he is ALWAYS messing with missionaries with jokes and acting like he got hurt or something. So Elder Bowen's companion non shalontly walked over and was like quit messing around... as he stopped in his tracks looking at the blood now coming from his ear he went to pick up the piece of ear from the ground which had been bitten off. He then freaked out dropped the piece of ear and the dog came over and ate it up. The owner at this point of the dog lost it and punted the dog in the face in hopes that he would spit out the part of his ear with no success. They rushed Elder Bowen off to the hospital and waited for hours until the free public health care could help him. Now days after, he has stitches and once he goes home they will re graft his ear back to normal. For the mean time (less than 1 year) he is the only missionary in the world probably with the permission to grow out his hair. Cool crazy story! Side note I'll be seeing him tomorrow and take some pictures. He says that there are pictures on his facebook: Mattew Bowen from Utah. Check it out.

Well I met an American who works in Footlocker this week. He invited me to play basketball with him last Wednesday so I got permission and played with him for a couple hours. He was not half bad actually. However, I made him a deal that if I beat him 1 on 1 to a game to 21 that he had to come to church. He took it and I beat him 21 to 0. We played make it take it and he did not touch the ball. Granted I made 5 three pointers in a row and drove in 3 times to win it. Seriously it was incredible. Still got it o ya!

We went on a bike ride with our English friends this morning down the canal du midi. So B E A Utiful! Its a famous canal that spans from Toulouse to the sea. It's lined with trees, small cities, vineyards and incredible views. check it out online its super sweet.

A Baptism occurred in VITROLLES!!! Way to go Elder Birk for finally breaking the drought. It was a lady that we had contacted together at the end of the transfer! Speaking of Baptisms Sister Flerimont was baptized Saturday! It was a great service. I played the piano and gave a testimony during the baptismal program. It was amazing! I contacted a man 2 days earlier and invited him to come to the baptism he accepted and came. Miracle after the baptism he said he had spoken with the missionaries in the past and wanted to be baptized but could not because he was homeless, smoking and drinking. He then told me it has been over 4 years since then and has now cleaned up his life. He has a house, a job and doesn't smoke or drink anymore. We engaged him to be baptized in June! MIRACLE!

Also something I thought you might all like to hear is in our homemade make shift baptismal font there was a lizard that we extracted out of it. Moreover, that was at 7 in the morning because the service started at 10:30. So we woke up ran over to the church started the frigged cold water and started boiling pots of water in the kitchen for 2 hours. At about 9 o clock we decided we'd better go home shower and get in our missionary cloths the only problem the font was not close to being full so we left it running and ran home. While frantically changing, showering, etc at home we received a call from Sister Flerimont's mother who asked if we could stop by her house and grab the food that she had prepared and take it to the church. We said we could in 30 minutes she said, "No that's to late because the food needs to cook in the oven." I then realized she had just volunteered us to cook the food. We sprinted over to her house then sprinted to the church. (The showers we had just taken really served no good)

We got to the church just in time to see the font begin to over flow! It was literally a James Bond (Elder Garlock /Elder Smedley) esk in the neck of time moment! After emptying out the font, we started cooking upstairs in the kitchen. She gave us no direction other than, throw this in the oven-- no time, no temp, no directions. It felt like a camping meal... just cook till it looks good. The only problem was we didn't have the time... it was then 10:30 and time for the baptism to start. We went down stairs called the president of the branch, who was late and started the meeting. It all ended, well a bit hectic but it was fine.

Yesterday (Sunday) was nuts! Every morning before church we pass everyone we can and walk with them to church we did not have time to pass yesterday so we ended up just going directly to church. During the 2nd hour I went on an exchange and left Elder Smedley took Frere Gonzalez and passed everyone we could we ended up have 8 investigators at church and 2 less actives we did 3 car trips driving people to the church and going back for more that went on for an hour. I then went and played interlude to start sacrament meeting. The meeting started. After the first hymn, I went and sat with our investigators and less actives after that I gave Camille the gift of the Holy Ghost. Afterwards, played the sacrament hymn after that a lady gave her talk so I went and sat with our investigators after that I sang a solo to a hymn during the meeting in french :) then I went and sat down next to our investigators and listened to the next talk. Then I played the closing hymn O yes I forgot to tell you that the president of the branch changed the songs we were singing for sacrament and ended up telling me moments before the meeting started. Talk about a little overwhelming because I usually practice so then I can simplify the hymns but he threw me a curve ball and I had to do it-- a strike out was not an option so I played unpracticed hymns and it actually went better than expected.Once the meeting closed I still had to get everyone back home. The Lord magnified Elder Smedley and I to get everything done!

I love you all. Transfer calls are coming!

Elder Garlock