I'm back! I know you've all been waiting on the edge of your seats, iPhones (is that what they call those magical black rectangles that speak to you..? Voodoo if you ask me.) in hand. I leave from the Salt Lake Airport on Delta Air Lines flight 106 at 11:25 a.m. (everyone hates us, that's unheard of that we leave so late in the day) and that's it. ONE. STRAIGHT. SIXTEEN. HOUR. FLIGHT. TO. FRANKFURT. Where we land at 10:05 a.m. their time, 2:05 a.m. yours. :) that's Guatanamo Bay worthy torture. I cannot fall asleep in moving vehicles to save my life, and we're taking a straight flight from the here in the west to Germany. They might land with one less missionary than they left with.
You cannot even fathom how excited I am right now! It's finally here, NOW my mission is about to begin. I've done my part here in the MTC, and now I can't revert back to English when I don't know the words, it's rely on the Spirit and swim or drown. If someone ever truly wants to understand the concept of faith, I suggest they serve a mission. You don't have the comforts of home, or anyone who knows or maybe not even likes you. How true is the message you carry? Is this going to be possible, a group of kids who has had a mere six weeks learning an entire culture and language, and able to touch people’s hearts? You will never know until you try
I can't even express how thankful I am that everyone speaks the language of the Spirit. Not everyone realizes they can speak it, but they understand it when they feel it. Speaking of, I had one of the most powerful spiritual experiences of my life this past week. Last Tuesday at the end of our devotional, before Pres. Nally closed he asked the ASL missionaries to come up and bear their testimonies. Those of you who know what devotionals are like, it's a room filled with 3000+ missionaries, and is quite large. But every single one of us sat in complete silence watching these missionaries bear their testimonies, and I have never been touched so much. Language and hearing is a privilege, we don't realize that. I have to learn a difficult language? So what. Some people can't even hear any language. But is that going to stop the Lord from spreading his message and his Gospel? Absolutely not. He promised that every person will have the opportunity to RECEIVE the gospel, not hear it. The Lord has no limitations, and that's why Alma 26:12 is my favorite scripture, especially auf Deutsch. Through him I can do all things.
Back to your email, I apologize for that segway/segue/seggwhey/who knows, I did see Uncle Kevin! I totally recognized him and stared at him trying to figure out if it really was, and he gave me a weird look and looked back down. Five minutes later I was convinced that was him and it was! He didn't see me I guess but we talked for a sec and I sat back down. I love seeing so many people here! It never fails to make my day. Maybe that's why I'm being sent across the world, so I stop seeing people and my companions like me. Haha!
Of course I miss some things, but there's nowhere else I would rather be in the world, except Germany, and I'll be there soon!
Alright, so here's the plan. With my flight schedule, I think I'm going to call you all at 2 a.m. because none of you will be doing anything. Deal? Haha no way, Because I have just one flight, I will for sure be calling from SLC after I've gotten through security and everything. We have a group of 35 Frankfurters in our travel group, so calling time may be super short! I still can't wait to hear all of your voices anyway. And after that will be a straight shot to die Mutterland! So definitely no email next week, enjoy this last MTC one. :)
It has been so awesome here...especially on Sunday. Since I'm in a dritt and it makes a lot of things awkward, at the devotional we took all but one seat on the end right next to me. So the ushers split up another dritt to take the last three seats remaining around there (including the one next to me) and guess who it is. Elder Joel Gassman. He set his books down, looks over to introduce himself, and we almost screamed like little girls. I got one solid hour with one of my best homies, and it was a dream come true. He loves it, a little overwhelmed, but the two lines he knows in Mandarin sounds cooler than my entire testimony in German. Obviously we took a picture, and you'll be seeing that soon! He's going to be incredible.
But as good as the MTC is I can't wait to get out. I don't know what's real anymore outside, the mountains are a sticker on the outside of our snow globe. And as much as I like eating cardboard for three meals a day, I wonder what real food tastes like. I apologize if anyone reading this works at the MTC cafeteria, but we are all convinced that every meal is made from the same globular substance in the back and simply formed and colored to make "different" meals. Haha I'm just ready for a change, we all are. I'm definitely gonna miss my district. Me and Elder Penrod (he'll be the tallest, brown haired one in the pictures) are the only Elders going to Frankfurt. The other 5 are headed to Alpine and have a completely different flight schedule than us. I'm sorry they weren't righteous enough to come to Frankfurt, but they'll love it. :)
I gotta go, so I best start wrapping up my last MTC email, but just know that I absolutely love what I'm doing. It only makes it better than very soon all of my homies will be doing the same thing, giving it everything we've got. I already loved the Church, but German has only made it better. German words are not as elaborate as English in the sense of what they mean, they are a lot more literal, and it has made the gospel so much more real and personal. I love the word "Sühnopfer", which of course means the Atonement, but "Suhn" and "opfer" literally means "a willingly paid for sacrifice." What would you die for? Not just die for, but suffer the most excruciating physical, emotional, and mental pain for, especially when you have no blame whatsoever. And would you do it over and over and over, for literally every single person that ever lived, lives, or will live? Think about that. Our minds cannot even grasp that suffering, and we tend to put it aside as just a part of the Gospel. Christ loves us so much. So much. He did that so He would know exactly how we felt. Never suffer something alone, let Him help you. He already did it once, why would you not accept his gift? Bruce R. McConkie said "The Atonement is the most important and critical event in the history of all things created." and it really was. I love my Eretter so much.
Sorry for the English testimony, but soon I'll be German 24/7, so I had to take advantage while I could. :) I love you all! And I'll be hearing from you, literally, soon.
-- Elder McGinn the IV. (fourth, not that cursed medical instrument.)