Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Email & Pictures - June 25, 2013

Alright, let's get down to the nitty gritty here. Haha this week has just been quite the adventure!

 So my week...where to begin. Let's just say I'm so grateful I'm with this stud by the name of Elder Anderson otherwise this may have been one of the longest, most boring weeks ever. To start it off, this is what went down. I was getting in the shower, and I tossed the phone onto the couch in our living room. It fell to the floor and the battery popped out, so while I was in the shower Anderson put it back together, but it asked for a PIN. He put in what he thought was the pin, but it was wrong, so our whole phone went disabled,and we couldn't make or receive any calls. That was okay though, because we had the other Elders five minutes away who had a phone and we would just call from theirs. So we walked over to their apartment and whaddya know... they lost theirs on a bus and couldn't find it. So not only has Erlangen been completely out of touch most of this week, but also all of our investigators and members numbers were on those phones, and we had no way to make any appointments out. So this week has been a lot of finding, but we can't even give people our number when we find, we just have to write down theirs until we can get a new one. So that has been super frustrating, but I love the Elders I'm with and the ward just laughed at us when we told them what happened, and the office elders are sending us new phones soon, so all will be well!

 Oh, I almost forgot. I was on a split this week with the other Erlangen Elders, and we were out finding in a park. When we came back to the apartment, he realized he stuck his keys in my backpack, but never told me, and I didn't bring my backpack. So we were locked out. Luckily, once again, the other Elders were five minutes away, so we walked to them to get the spare key. BUT, the Elders in Nürnberg have our spare key (don't ask me why) and so we had to sleep on the floor that night until the next morning so we could go to Nürnberg to get the key without calling them because we had no phone.

The Lord is funny sometimes, real funny, but he definitely taught us a lot this week about organization, communication, and just taking whatever life throws at you, cause sometimes when it rains, it pours, and you just gotta laugh regardless of what happens. Two years is a long time to be angry or unhappy, and I can't imagine hating every single day and so I love and live everyday the best and happiest I can, before it's all gone.

 Other than that, since we didn't have a chance to do much, we've been meeting with an investigator who is actually an excommunicated member. He really wants to come back, but is super embarrassed what people will think of him and doesn't want to come back in case he makes another mistake. We shared Ether 12:6 with him and promised him that sometimes it's quiet and you aren't feeling any answers to prayers because either you're already headed in the right direction, or the Lord is waiting for you to make a decision, because the teacher is always quiet during the tests. He also has an eight year old son who really wants to come too, and would love to be baptized.  He just needs his dad to set the example on what it means to be a member. I love them both so much and he was feeding us so much meat and noodles I thought Elder Anderson was gonna explode, but I really pray and think about him every day to find what he really needs to get the courage back up to come back to church. He's an amazing guy, and the church could use his influence and testimony again.

 That's the beauty of the Savior's atonement, as dark as his garments once were, he is clean once again, ready to come back. This gospel changes lives, the Savior really carries us when we can no longer walk, and this man has really seen both sides of that. I know the Savior lives and I know He knows every single one of us and loves us all more than we can imagine. He walks next to us and celebrates with us when we succeed, and weeps with us when we fall. He wants us to come to him when we do fall, because like our visiting general authority said in this last Zone Conference,"What father punishes a toddler for falling when they are trying to walk?" Don't be ashamed of your weaknesses and don't let others be ashamed of theirs. Those who are strong in the spirit have the responsibility of accompanying those who aren't until they themselves are.

 I love this gospel and this work. The more you give, the more you have. I have seen it and I promise that it is true. I am so lucky to be here, finding more that I can give everyday so that others can realize just how much this church and you all mean to me. I love you all and I apologize that I don't have time, but we have no idea if we're supposed to be in Frankfurt today and we're super stressed, but I'll hear from you all next week and we'll be better... I promise! Don't worry about us, we love it, and life gets better and more fun every day.

 I hope you all have a good week, and don't have too much fun without me!

 -- Elder McGinnyGin

These pictures are from P-days from the last two weeks! Some are from Nürnberg from the Nazi museum and marching grounds, where Anderson and I are Titanicing from Hitler's podium, and others are from


Monday, June 17, 2013

Email - June 17, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!! Fröhlich Geburtstag zum glück! Fröhlich Geburtstag zum Glück! Fröhlich Geburtstag alles gute! Fröhlich Geburtstag zum Glück! That was from me and President Schwartz, who I told it was your birthday on the day I was in Frankfurt to pick up the new goldens! Just because I didn't say it in the email last week doesn't mean I wasn't thinking about you and celebrating by eating delicious baked goods in the bakeries! It sounds like a good one, I must say!

 And now… Happy Father's Day too! Wow, isn't it just Dad week? Geez, I must admit, I did forget about that one because Father's Day is later here in Germany. But I hope it was a really good one!

My turn? I guess it is! And here is the news you have all been waiting for: My Golden. His name is Elder Nikora Anderson, from South Jordan, Utah. He went to Bingham High the same year as me, so I hate him. Haha no, just kidding. He's way cool! I lucked out big time, not gonna lie. He reminds me all too well of what it was like to be there 3 months ago. Jet lagged out of his mind, struggling to stay awake, confused at what is going on, and shadowing my every footstep. And now I'm on the other side of that relationship, and I'm kind of jealous of him.

 Now we are in Erlangen, and life is crazy. We have the nicest, biggest missionary apartment I have ever seen, (even Pres. said so), except the members who helped set it up for some reason gave us separate bedrooms…strange. So we spent our whole first night playing musical bedrooms and rearranging everything into the same room! Only one tiny paint chip on the door frame, you should be proud, Mama. :)

 We also had an appointment with the other Elders that same first night with one of their investigators, where they challenged and committed her to baptism! Already. One day here and there's a baptismal date. I'm just waiting for the success to take off. The next afternoon the four of us went "sport contacting" with a football to the park. To make a long story short, we ended up playing a pick-up game with 15 kids who are actually out doing service for their church, and they invited us to a big dinner party thing of theirs, and we got all their numbers and they are interested in taking English lessons from us and also curious about our church and why the heck four Americans are in Germany playing football with kids. There's just so much potential in this group, we can't even wait.

 We then had church, which was a blast, I already love this ward. Afterwards we had a big barbeque for an American family that is leaving this week...dang it. I love the Americans. And now here we are, trying to find our way around, still a wee bit stressed out, but loving life! I 'm sorry if this email feels a little rushed and rambling, cause it is. We're trying to catch an appointment pretty soon, and so we gotta haul! But I promise we will give you a more detailed down low next time!

 I love you all and keep enjoying your summers without me! Go to a lot of snow shacks for me, and I'll go to Italian ice cream shops for you. Just know it's hot, I love it, and I'll hear from you all soon. And the church is still true here in the south, where people speak crazy fast and weird German! I'm so grateful for every day I have here, and the opportunities it gives me to get better. The Lord has blessed me so much thus far into my mission, and I have the faith that he will continue to as we work as hard and as diligently as we can.

 Bis nächstes mal, mein geliebter menschen! Tschauii!! (Until next time, my beloved people! Tschauii!)

 -- Elder McGinn (might lose his mind)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Email - June 10, 2013

Hahahahahaha I just laughed for ten minutes and had to email other people back first because I couldn't stop laughing at Dad's opening line. I think I have myself under control now though, and the German man next to me doesn't look as frightened.

 Are you all ready for the craziest news of the century? It's time. Transfer calls came Saturday morning and.....drum roll please....I AM GOING TO BE A FATHER. My son is boarding his plane tomorrow morning in Salt Lake City, and I'll pick him up on Thursday! And you wanna know what makes it even crazier. I'M NOT EVEN TRAINING IN EUSKIRCHEN! Elder Divver is! Again! I, bless my soul, am going to Erlangen, in the Nürnberg Zone baby! Hands down the prettiest area in the mission. I am still freaking out. There are three of us "goldens" who are finished being trained this week, who will be training as of Thursday, in our 3rd cycles. Poor kid in Provo right now, he has no idea what he's getting himself into. President must be running out of people to train, that's the only reason I can think of that I'm training after I just got trained, in an area I have never even seen. This is definitely going to be an adventure, to say the least. Elder Divver hates me though, because he was down where I am going before he came to Bonn, and he is in love with it. AND, me and my golden are opening up as the two new elders in Erlangen, so there will now be four elders there, and I believe we are all in the same apartment. This is like getting drafted by the Miami Heat, and everyone hates me because they love it there. I am so excited, and unbelievably terrified. I just got comfortable with how everything is running in E-town #1, and the success was really starting to take off, and then President Schwartz pulled a fast one and kicked me to Narnia. Isn't that how these mission things work though? The second you think you have it down, you don't. So next week, this email will be coming from an internet laden in Erlangen… if I am still alive.

 Well now that that is out of the way, let's get to the other news of this week: the baptism! This week was one I will definitely never forget, for so many reasons. On Thursday Martin was interviewed by our Zone Leaders and passed, and we got everything ready for Saturday. He asked Elder Divver if he would baptize him and if I would confirm him and confer him the Holy Ghost. I accepted before I realized it needed to be in German. OH CRAP. All Elder Divver did was laugh and say "I've never done that before! Usually it's the bishop or someone, I don't think I could even do it!" So I spent a lot of time on lds.org in German to find out how to say those things.

 On Saturday Divver and I got to the church early to fill up the font, and it was FILTHY. Spiders and cobwebs and dirt like you wouldn't believe. So by the time we cleaned it and got the water running, the service started in 15 minutes, and everyone knows those things take like an hour and a half to fill up. So the service started a little late and we stopped the water a little low, but it was still doable and Martin was baptized. I have never seen someone shine in my life before then, but he literally did. When he came up out of the water, he hugged Divver and just started bawling saying "I feel so clean." over and over. It's a scene I will never forget, I can promise you that.

 BUT, after the service when we were headed home, we got a call from President, after we realized that we had missed 6. That is NEVER a good sign. We answered and President told us that we need to drop any appointments we have and get on the next train to Köln to help out. So with just the clothes we had on, we went to Köln to spend the night, with church the next morning in E-town for the first time ever, AND Bonn where I was supposed to confirm Martin. So the next morning we caught the very first train to Euskirchen, and we showed up to the sacrament meeting about 15 minutes late, but it was packed and such a good service. But we couldn’t stay because the second it ended, we left with the bishop and he rushed us 40 minutes down to Bonn, so that I could sing in a musical number (surprise, surprise Elder McGinn! Welcome to my life) and then confirm Martin right after. To make a long story short, everything went well, and he is a legitimate member of the Church, I promise.

ANYWAY... That is my week. I'm still alive, and it's only going to get crazier, but I love the madness. It is hotter and more humid than I could ever imagine, but that means it's super pretty too, and will only get prettier in Bavaria and Erlangen. Win the Family Feud for me at the reunion, get some Icees, and keep enjoying the best time of the year! It all starts with my birthday. :) Thank you for the quote dad, I love that one. It's in PMG and it's the biggest comfort to me whenever I get frustrated with the language. Sincerity is everything. I love you all so much, and I can't wait to hear from you again and about any crazy things that went down in your lives.

 Die Kirche ist wahr, und dass Buch Mormon ist ein Beweis dafür. Wenn ihr irgendwelcher fragen habt, lies darin, und ihr werdet ein bestätigen bekommen, ich verspreche es dir. Vergiss mich nicht, und hab zuviel spaß ohne mich nicht! Ich habe euch lieb! (The church is true, and the Book of Mormon is a proof of that. If you have any questions, read it, and you will get a confirmation, I promise you. Do not forget me, and have too much fun without me! I love you!)

 -- Dein Lieblings

 --- Eldah McGinn

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Email & Pictures - June 3, 2013

HAH! Surprised? Look who is emailing first thing Monday morning. That would be me. I bet you all won't even check your emails until Wednesday or something either. P Days are getting back on track, and right after this we're checking out the Haribo Factory, and a castle in Königswinter. Not to rub it in or anything.
Hahaha.  I probably should start watching my cholesterol with Cheerios, now that I'm over the hill with that 19th birthday. Have the wheelchair ready when I get back. But yes, Tiana is keeping me happy and motivated. She rewards me with a PEZ every time we study hard. I am now determined to collect the entire Disney Princess collection, hint hint, so judge me all you want. We haven't been out to eat yet, but that will come soon! 

Martin is indeed still on for this weekend, and he is more stoked than we are, which is very hard to do! We meet with him every Wednesday and Saturday at Mickey D's in Köln (no, that doesn't mean we eat there every time too, I'm not massive) when he has his breaks from work, and we'll meet with him this Wednesday to cover the last few commandments and figure out the program! He has been the most simple, easy going person to teach in the world, and I think I've really been spoiled these last two cycles and am kinda scared for the future, not gonna lie! Haha so I will let you all know how it goes, and it should just be amazing.

 Martin's baptism does just add to the crazy shejule, as Dad would say. This weekend is Martin's interview, his baptism, then on Sunday is the first ever sacrament meeting IN Euskirchen for just one hour in a member's home, but also Martin's confirmation in the Bonn ward an hour away! So it's a little hectic, and we obviously don't want to miss either one, but these are very good problems to have, if I do say so myself.  Euskirchen is getting ready for the split into a branch, and that would just make the success here skyrocket. We could not be possibly more pumped, and are hoping we stick one more cycle together here before one or both of us get transferred, but we'll find out Saturday morning!

On Friday we had a "power split" in Euskirchen with the two elders from Köln, and we just had some blank, white time in our planners, which means one thing: finding. Yikes. Everyone's favorite, But when you get four Elders together like the four we had, we take President's challenge seriously and get our thinking caps on. After a little brainstorming, we came up with the "Putz-Polizei" (the cleaning police) and strapped up. On a huge whiteboard we wrote "Putz Polizei" with all of our offered services, free of charge of course, and carried brooms, mops, dustpans, and a vacuum with us as we doored our neighborhood. Two ladies almost died of laughter when they came to the door, and told us they had already cleaned this week, but we could definitely come back next week, and one lady thought we were really affiliated with the police and only peeked out a crack in her door until she realized who we were. But the best of all was our next door neighbor across the hall in our apartment building was laughing so hard that she invited us over for coffee this week whenever we want. We'll pass on the coffee, but you KNOW we'll definitely be going over. Successful split in Euskirchen: check. I was also in Duisberg (just wait til you see the picture), Aachen, Düsseldorf, and Solingen this cycle. Splits may be the death of me, but I'm definitely getting my money's worth out of Germany! 

I would also just like to tell you that we just received the news that this summer in Germany has been and will be the coldest summer in Germany since 1816. Oh joy. Isn't that when woolly mammoths walked the earth? So enjoy your sunshine you little jerks, cause there's none here… only in our hearts. :) Yuck. 

We gotta run meet our district at Bonn Hauptbahnhof, but I just want to let you all know how grateful I am for everything you have ever done for me. All of you have had such an influence on me that has shown me how happy families are supposed to be, and what they can be, and because of that example and knowledge, I can help people find that same happiness out here in Euskirchen, Germany. I always mean to bear my testimony in German, but sometimes I can't describe how grateful I am well enough in another language.

 Ich liebe mein Erlöser, Jesus Christus, und alles das er für mich getan hat. Er lebt heute, und leibt uns immer noch, und möchtet dass wir zu ihm kommen. Es gibt nur glück wann wir näher zu ihm kommen, also warum warten wir jetzt? Wir bekommen ein neues tag, jeden tag, näher zu ihm zu kommen, und wir sollen es nutzen während wir es noch haben. Ich habe euch lieb, und eine schöne woche noch bis nächstes mal! Bleib glück und lacheln!  (I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and all that he has done for me. He lives today, and still leibt us and want us to come to him. There is only happiness when we come closer to him, so what are we waiting for now? We get a new day, every day, to get closer to him, and we should take advantage of it while we still have it. I love you, and have a nice week until next time! Stay happy and smile!)

- Euer lieblings, Elder McGinn

Syd, that Grandma disguise of yours isn't fooling me.

The birthday boy doing is thang.  Yes, the sisters here in Bonn baked me this cake and rode a whole hour to bring it to me and sing me "Happy Birthday"!

Check it out...the boys and their wahrheit, all three languages in my apartment!  (Don't worry Pa, this email is in your language so don't feel bad)