Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Email - May 28, 2013

How does it feel to get your first email from a 19 year old Cam? Pretty komisch, huh? Tell me about it. Now I'm back to that lame, overrated age, where everyone served a mish. No longer special. Oh well, manch mal so ist das Lebens.

 Haha hey everybody! How was the happiest day of the year? I assume you all partied pretty hard for me in my absence? Well since you're all wondering, my birthday was amazing. Hands down the best day of my mish so far, and every day has been just a riot, so that's saying a lot. The second I opened my eyes, Elder Divver was already staring at me and said "Happy Birthday Homie!" and started singing some German drinking song for me. It only got better from there, including my newly acquired Princess Tiana who watches me study from the window sill, and the Captain Crunch that was gone within two bowls. You don't understand how lucky you all are with your sugary cereals and tasty foods. But Sister Schwartz made up for it when she called me and gave me and Elder Divver permission to go get some birthday dinner, but we've been so busy that we had to take a rain check on that and will probably do so sometime this week.

 We had to take a rain check because this week was crazy. Our district averages about 5 lessons a week per companionship, and even though we had a few fall out, Divver and I taught 15 this week, the zone high. We showed the Lord that we were willing to do all we could to teach people, and he blessed us along the way, finding three new investigators. Sadly, these investigators live in other companionship's areas and not ours, but who really cares who teaches who, right? As long as somebody teaches them!

 Griff, the appointment with the Ecuadorians was a little rough. Good thing I'm a legend at charades, and we began to communicate through interpretive dance, (thank you Dark Lord of Symmetry), more than we did in verbal language. But really… luckily their oldest daughter speaks decent German and we were able to communicate okay, but we are on the search to find a joint teach who can speak Spanish so we can really help this family with what they need. BUT. They fed us, and it was traditional Ecuadorian food, baby. For thirty minutes I got teleported to Ecuador as I feasted on...DANG IT! I forgot my note book, I had her write down what I ate in Spanish, but basically it was the flattened, cooked banana things, rice, two fried eggs on top, and potatoes. You lived in paradise, Griff, that's all I gotta say.

Every day we get one step closer to June 8th, where Martin gets the chance to become a member of this Church. He is more excited than I have ever seen anyone be about anything. At an appointment with Brother Beck, the American, the other day, he pulled up Martin's Facebook page because he just wanted to show us how crazy it is. Martin's cover picture is of the First Presidency and the Salt Lake Temple, and every status he has posted in the last 7 weeks has been Book of Mormon quotes. And as of three days ago, his latest post is that of a poster he printed out that says "June 8th, the most beautiful day." He is a miracle. He knows this Church is true, and he just needed us to guide him to it. He is absolutely prepared in every way, and me and Elder Divver deserve absolutely no credit. The Lord prepared Martin through so many experiences, and we just have the opportunity to be his guides.

 I know there are people out there just like him every day that we walk by on the street, and we have no idea. Pres. Schwartz talks about it all the time, how too often we see everyone else as a part of our lives. But we never really stop and look at these people and think, "where are they going? Where do they work? What makes them happy? Do they have kids? Siblings? A Spouse? What do they like to do? What are they looking forward to?" Everyone you pass is a completely and entirely separate person, not just a piece in our lives. And so many of them need help. How often do we take the time to talk to someone we sit on the bus next to, or someone sitting alone in some cafe? Nothing makes a person feel better than recognition, and that's all it takes sometimes to find someone like Martin, who will bless so many lives down the road. We always leave this commitment with the members, but I also want to leave it with you all. Don't always be so plugged in. Turn of your phone. Put away your ipod. Step out of your world and into someone else’s. EVERYONE you meet knows something you don't, so go learn what that is. We don't have to convert people to show them we care. I'm now supposed to commit you to a yes or no, and I'm assuming you'll all say yes, so will you all do this, unplug a little bit and plug into someone else's life a few times this week? It will work miracles, I promise you that.

 I'm sorry I'm so bad with getting back to so many emails lately, but these weeks have been crazy! Transfers are coming up, but right after when time actually has a chance to slow up, I promise I'll get to you all. I got a pretty good hint that I may be staying when President said "Elder McGinn, are you ready to take over in Euskirchen, and maybe train as well?" Oh yikes. we'll see what happens I guess.

 Just know that I love you all, and that you all can't have too much fun without me. I apologize. Have the best week ever, and slam those OCJH doors behind you, Squid. :)


 -- Elder McGinn

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Email - May 22, 2013

How are you all enjoying the best day of the year? :) I am quite a lot, if I do say so myself. No, I have not ripped open my package yet, I am teaching myself patience and that will be tonight. I hope nothing in there will be expired, like the runny, mushy blood sausage I ate this week and the "meat gelatin." Not even you could put that down, Mase. I may not live to see 19 and a half.

 I'm glad you all got the pictures and now have proof that I am, in fact, where I said I was and just having the time of my life! And thank you for all the pictures back about the changes in the home...oh wait, I didn't get any. Haha it sounds like you're all having a blast rearranging everything, and I'm gonna have no idea where I am when I get back! On the topic of graduation, I cannot believe the next group is already graduating. What the heck! Where did that time go? That was me like three weeks ago, I swear. I bet bear paw is just busier than ever with the mission calls and graduation and everything. My advice: rub some dirt in it. Just kidding! Take a good long nap with your hands over your chest and your feet crossed, with one eye open. I know that napping position very well from you, dad. Hahah!

 This week, as you can obviously tell, has been wild. Once again, surprise, surprise, the Germans are having another holiday, and everything shuts down, and it happened to be on Monday. So the whole mission decided to move it to another day, but this just happened to be the week where we have 22 lessons planned and have NO down time anywhere, including interviews with President yesterday, and we are barely squeezing this in. I have no idea what a P-Day really is yet. But this week is just crazy and we have super high goals set to make us really stretch to hit them and hit the standards of excellence out here in Europe! We're determined to be as busy as we can and trust that since we have absolutely no time to find and go dooring that the Lord will placed prepared people in our path on our way to all of our appointments! I will definitely let you know how that goes.

 But that's not even the good news, are you ready for what's next? Everything’s going pretty good with Martin, we just...SET A BAPTISMAL DATE with him last week!! It was the best day ever. He is so prepared it is unreal. We gave him pamphlets for the next lessons, and then met with him to talk about any questions or concerns he had, and he has absolutely none. "It all makes perfect sense, what's next?" (but obviously auf Deutsch). He is just cruising through and is so excited for his baptismal date on June 8th. We took him to a baptismal service this last weekend in Aachen and he just loved every second of it. We have really bonded with this guy, and he will be the strongest member ever, I just know it. I'm so blessed to be seeing a baptism so early in my mission. A lot of missionaries out here go their whole time without seeing one. People really are prepared, and the work is OBVIOUSLY speeding up. The Lord is watching over that and making sure. And it also goes to show how important all members are in missionary work. If it wasn't for Pascal and other members taking the time to find and talk to him, and eventually invite him to church, we would have never gotten this opportunity to find this prepared soul. So don't let those opportunities pass you by! We missionaries rely on you all a lot more than you think. And if you ever have an extra spare 5 minutes at the end of the day, maybe remember Martin in your prayers. He's seemingly perfect, but you never know sometimes when people need some help.

 As to the upcoming week, Griff, we need you. There's an Ecuadorian family in our ward that speaks NO English, and NO German, but they invited us over on Friday. We have no idea what we're going to do…it took 45 minutes just to communicate where their house is, three blocks away. If we Skype you randomly, be prepped to use that Espanol! But luckily I'm a legendary pictionary player, and my picture-communication abilities will get us through the day. Soo..that will be interesting, but I'm stoked nonetheless.

 Well, like I said, it's not really a P-Day, and we gotta catch a train to Köln for our next appointment, and then back to Bonn for another, so I gotta run! But ich einfach möchte euch mein Zeugniss lassen, dass ich dieses Kirche liebe. Es bringt mir so viele freude und friede jeden tag, es ist ungläublich. Ich bin so beschäftig, aber so glücklich, weil ich weiß dass es alles für den Herrn ist. Er leitet und führt die Kirche Jesu Christ der Heiligen der Letzten Tage heute, durch unser Prophet Thomas S. Monson und seiner Aposteln. Durch die Lehre des Evangeliums, können wir alle unser Schwerigkeiten uberwinden. Ich verspreche es dir. Immer sei treu zu euer Zeugnis, manchmal es ist die einiger dinge dass wir gegen die Teufel haben. Ich liebe euch alles so sehr, und ich müss schnell gehen, aber fröhe geburtstag für mich, und habt einfach ein wunderschönes tag, und wir sehen uns bald. Ich liebe dich! Tschüs!!!!

 -- Elder McGinn the IV

Monday, May 13, 2013

Email - May 13, 2013

Long time no speak! I hope you all had a marvelous Muttistag like I did! It was a little frustrating with technical difficulty after technical difficulty, but at least I got to hear all of your voices! Makes me glad I'm not blind though. As painful as it may be to look at some of you, I realized I do kinda look forward to it! :) Ah, I am so glad you all schaffed Cade's farewell, what I would have done to be there. I know exactly how he feels right now, and it is not extremely pleasant. Pregame jitters right before the whistle blows. But as soon as it starts, you blink once and you've already been out here over 3 months. He is going to kill it out there.

 Thanks for the emails, ironically enough, I had an email from Benny the Jet today and he sent it all to all of us! So now I have them all, and we have a huge email going around. I love that I'm not the only one getting doors slammed in my face and splashed on by cars, it feels good. :) and now that all of my homies are finished, now starts the round of high schoolers! That just blows my mind. By the time they are all finished, I'll be at my year mark! I don't like to think about that.

 And yes, I know about the Utah weather, and I hate you all. Our investigator, Martin, has an iPhone and on the weather app he has Salt Lake City and Bonn, and he always rubs in my face how hot it is in Utah while it is pouring on us out here. You all best be soaking it up! I've decided that Utah has the best all around weather in the world. Well, since you all already know what's up with me, I figured I should catch up on my pictures. So here we go, here comes the big kahuna.

Now you can't complain that I haven't sent you anything! And next week I'll get back to writing interesting emails! I promise. I love you all, I hope you all had the best Mother’s Day, and I will hear from you all soon!

 -- Elder McGinn

Pictures from Germany!

Day 2 in Germany!  Everyone getting split up into zones in the Frankfurt Bahnhoff.
All day every day.  We take the Zug everywhere.
This proves that I am, in fact, in Germany.  Typical little hause!
Münster Basilika in Bonn!  I thought this was big before I went to Köln.
In front of the Basilika
Beethoven watching over his domain.  The Basilika in the daytime.
Here is cute little E-town!  Don't let its looks deceive you.
Every day.
Heel clicking!
Me and Elder Divver in front of the Basilika.
You know exactly what those are...Kinder eggs!
The most colorless cereal award goes to Germany.
I found Timmy boy!  (Elder Tim Meyer)
In front of the Köln  Dome on a P-Day!
The usual E-town shenanigans.
Inside the Köln Dome
Inside the Köln Dome
Still inside the Köln Dome
50th floor of the apartment building!
The view from the Köln apartment, 30th floor.
In Köln Dome...it was a squeeze!
Aachen streets
Aachen Dome
I wasn't kidding when I said this store makes anything and everything.
Sometimes we don't make it to bed before we crash.
One of Elder McGinn's better days.
The one and only Hamid, from the back.  Our Iranian body guard.
This is why emails are frustrating to write.
Guess which apartment is ours?
Me today on P-Day...just kidding.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Email - May 7, 2013

HAHA! Faked you out, you thought I wouldn't be emailing this week either, now didn't ya?? Don't even get me started… me and Elder Divver have both been so uptight with our lack of P Days and it's time for a change, we're getting back on normal schedule from now on, I can promise you that! And yes, that probably answered your question. I am still in E-Town with Elder Divver and just lovin every second of it. (besides the fact that we bought the wrong Bahn Cards with our money that was actually meant for food, and now we have useless Bahn Cards and little food, but what's new? Don't fret. I live off of Frooties now. I finally got the package, and it saved my life. THANK YOU)

 Alright, now listen up. I got Griffin's wedding invitation, and in big black letters it said "Your Presence is Requested..." sooo I'm assuming you all still have the wedding on hold until I can make it? It sounded pretty sincere to me. Wow, I can't believe that that now really happened. In fact, I probably never will believe it until I get home! All day Thursday I couldn't get over the fact that I've seen my last days with Griff in that room at the bottom of the stairs, playing Mario on the Wii with a stack of Otterpop wrappers on the floor.

 I'm also glad to see that my head makes up for about 1/2 of the cardboard figure! Haha at least I know I won't be hard to find in each picture. :) I hope that I was treated nicely, free of desecration or defiling, and that I still have many adventures to endure in the next year and a half! I say we set a rule right now… no one leaves the McGinn household without saying goodbye to me.

 There is no way Cade is already leaving. That was FOREVER away when I left! The last homies are strapping up, getting ready to verkundet das Evangelium! And I love it. Speaking of, I have been meaning to ask ever since the MTC, can you get me the emails of all the homies? I want to talk to them so bad and cannot wait, because I cannot even express how much I love life right now and I know that they are all probably feeling the same way more or less! Haha! It definitely changes sometimes hourly.

 Anyway! Let’s get to the real business, because I know you're all thinking "cut the quatch, Cam", MUTTIS TAG! This year they have told us that there will be no skyping or calling, and they recommend that we don't email the week after either so that our Mothers can actually enjoy their day. Psych! You know I'm kidding. :) Here's the real deal! We will be at the Beck family's house between 5 and 8-ish our time, which means anywhere between 9 and 12 your time which is a horrible piece of information because that conveniently crosses your church block, but manchmal so ist das lebens, oder? Haha I am so sorry, but so you can choose.. me or church. Choose the right. :) That is really all we know.

Life is just the same as always out here, days and weeks fly by every time I blink, and too many amazing things happen to share them all, but I want to share two quick ones:

 1. This last Wednesday it was the 30 year anniversary of our ward meeting house in Bonn-Duisdorf, and it was dedicated by Thomas S. Monson. So we had a little party for it, and our bishop had written the First Presidency about it asking if maybe he could write a little paragraph or something to the people about his experience, but if he couldn't it was really no problem. This last Sunday, for fast and testimony meeting, Bishop stood up for the last testimony and pulled out a TV. He told us about how he had written the prophet, and instead of sending back a letter or something, Bishop turned on the TV. President Monson filmed and sent the Gemeinde Bonn a personal video about his experiences dedicating that building and all of the amazing members that were there. It was amazing to watch, the prophet not speaking to 15 million people at conference, but to 120 members in a small meetinghouse in Bonn. He cares about every single one of us, just like Christ and our Father in Heaven do. He truly is called of God, to guide this Church and its members, and we should have 100% trust in the words he says, because they are figuratively and literally God's words Himself. He knows what we don't, and nothing bad will ever come from following what he says. That experience really touched me and strengthened my testimony about our living prophet today.

 Story number ZWEI! This is a shout out to you Pascal, if you're reading this! So who is this Pascal? A couple weeks ago I got an email from Pascal Friedmann, a guy who is from this ward area, but was living in and studying at Weber State. We talked a little, but not until just this last week did I figure out how he really came across and found my blog. I told you guys about that one day that Elder Divver and I doored for 5 hours and felt that it was just a waste of time. The Euskircheners did too, and one of the people whose door we knocked on posted a status on Facebook that said something like "The Mormons have even found Euskirchen!", and this status got 50 or 60 likes. A mutual friend of Pascal liked this status, so it showed up on his newsfeed. He thought, no way! and googled "Mormons, Euskirchen" and what popped up? My blog. He found us, gave his friend's info to our stake president, and now we are teaching a man named Martin who we really think is heading fast towards baptism, all because of that one day we thought that we had wasted, and because you, Mom and Dad, work so diligently to put my rambles out there. :) The Lord works miracles, if that isn't proof, I don't know what is.

 I gotta go, but I love you all! I am happy, I make my bed every day, I love everything about Germany, minus the humidity, and I can't wait to see you all on Sunday. I hope you guys are stoked and have the best week ever!

 -- Elder McGinn

Email - May 2, 2013

I'm alive, don't worry!! This internet cafe is ridiculously expensive, we had no P-Day, and they close in five minutes. AWESOME. Luckily Monday is just a few days away and I'll tell you EVERYTHING. #missionary problems, right Syd? Griff, have the most amazing day ever, I've been thinking about you all day!

I love you all!

 -- Elder McGinn