Monday, July 29, 2013

Email - July 29, 2013

 Hey everyone! I am disappointed in the Pioneer Day haul that you all got at the cabin, so I decided I'm gonna make this week's short! Haha no, I'm sure you all did your best...or at least tried, but we're actually way busy this P-Day and we only have about half as much time to email today, so I'm trying to haul!

 Bahama Mama, all of our appointments did indeed go well last week! Except for haircut. It's a good thing my camera is being fixed right now, because none of the pictures I would have taken would be sent home. This is what happened at my hair cut. "how short would you like it?" "just like my companion's, longer on top, and shorter on the sides." "okay." BBFFZZZZZ. Do you know what that sound means. B-U-Z-Z. I got buzzed. I look like I'm getting ready for summer football camp, not a mish, but oh well. He felt me cringe when he took it all off and said "the good thing about hair is that it always grows back!"  Haha it was an adventure, and Anderson and I have taken significantly less photos, but it's all good! It's already gotten longer since, so it won't be long. :)

 I got your package this week, and it saved my life! We were getting so sick of the same music over and over and over, and Walt Disney pulled through just in clutch timing, like that man always does. Plus, the color choice? Let's just say that every elder who has seen my USB stick is extremely jealous. So good work, fam. :) But there was just one problem. Mambas. One of my favorite American candies, right? Oops, let me switch that, one of my favorite GERMAN candies. I was telling a member about Mambas, one of my favorite candies from home, and he was like those aren't American! And I said doch! And we argued until he said fine, just read me the package when you get it and we'll see. So now, I owe him half a bag of Mamba's, my favorite German candy.

 Well, transfers were this week, and Elder Peterson left and the new Erlangen elder is Elder Haskell! He's from my MTC group and I already knew him, so it's been way fun! I like him a lot, he's from St. George, and the four of us are ready to see miracles here this cycle. Me and Anderson are snug as bugs in a muggy rug together, and we're happy to be staying together another six weeks! Time is just flying, and we're only 27 days away from the next transfer call. Yikes.

 Anyway! This week should be crazy. We already are way busy. President Schwartz comes to town this week for interviews on Friday and we are all stoked. I love that man so much, I cannot even express it. He is so inspired, so incredibly loving, and he leads out of that love, not out of fear and an iron grip. Any missionary in this mission would do anything for him. So I'm really looking forward to Friday.

 Other than that, we have actually a new investigator who not only came to church yesterday, but who wants to meet with us regularly and is interested in learning more! Her name is Lisa. She's a 23 year old student here in Erlangen, and actually lives in our same apartment complex! Very convenient for traveling to appointments. We really are stoked to teach her and feel like she has a lot of potential. We also are meeting with a kid named Tom! He's 16 and we found him through basketball! He loves playing with us, and we make sure every time we play ball, we play on the court in the church, and now that he is comfortable and familiar with it, he has really gotten curious and we have had the opportunity to start teaching him about our beliefs!

 The Lord is really beginning to bless us early this cycle, and we continue to pray that it will only increase. We love being busy. Never thought you'd hear me say that, huh mom?:) I LOVE IT, and I am ready to do anything out here. It is hotter than Hades out here, but nothing feels better than coming home at the end of the day absolutely wasted. I have never slept better than here on the mish. I apologize that we are so busy and that I am always on the run, but it makes me happy how busy we are, so don't worry.

 I love this. I love this gospel. I love seeing the light in people's eyes when they understand the gospel and can feel the peace and comfort that comes from it. I love being an instrument in the Lord's hands, ready to act on any prompting he gives me. I just wanna leave you guys with what it says in PMG where it (paraphrased) says that the Lord will not send prepared people to unprepared [members]. There are people who want to change and want to accept this gospel, but the Lord won't send these to people who can't adequately get the message across and bear testimony about the blessing they've seen. I hope you all feel prepared so that if someone was to be pointed your way and began asking questions, you would have absolutely no fear in telling them what you know, and why you love it.

 I love you all, and I can't wait to hear back from you after this crazy busy week! I love you all, and I'll hear from you and get back to all of you personally soon!


 -- Elder McGinn

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Email - July 22, 2013

I decided to email you all last, because I was hurt by the fact that you didn't need the rest of us to have fun.  But I guess that's where we all got our party animal side from (and drinking side, from mom.)

That seriously sounds like so much fun, and the Thrill Coaster? Oh my gosh, that seriously drops straight down. Dad will ride that, but not the Teacups?  Next time we are in Disneyland, I want you in one of those tea cups, because I know you can schaff it! (sorry for the danglish, it just makes more sense to me than trying to remember the English words)

I love that you guys visited a few church sites too, and I know exactly what you're talking about, Mom.  I remember seeing such historic sites, but feeling upset by the absence of the Spirit there. You could distinctly feel that it once was there, but no longer is, and that made it almost more unsettling than never having had the Spirit at all. That is exactly how I feel every time I walk into one of these ominous Cathedrals here in Germany built in the 12th and 13th centuries. They are massive, very intricate buildings, but they make you feel so empty, almost cold. They have so much truth, but so much confusion too. It's not a place where I imagine coming closer to my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.

Well, here's the news you have all been waiting for! 1. I have a haircut scheduled for Tuesday! There is a member who has some clippers, and I wasn't going to say no to dinner, so the haircut was just an added bonus. I hope you are all happy and can accept me as your son again. Plus I cannot stand the humidity and heat with this mop either, so I'm pretty stoked. :)

2. Me and Anderson are staying together! Conference call was this last Saturday, and I cannot even believe it has already been another cycle! Time is going waaaay to fast, it freaks me out. They say it only goes faster, and I want it to slow down so I actually feel like I have time to do something! It just shows me how important it is that the missionaries entering the field are worthy, prepared, and willing to work hard and FAST. The Lord is speeding up his work, oh my goodness, I can testify to that, and we need to be able to keep up. We are also getting a new zone leader down here in Nürnberg who was up in Dortmund before, and from what I've heard he's really good at getting some YSA (JAE auf Deutsch) activities going, which we are in desperate need of, and I'm excited to see the work here really pick up.

Other than that, it has been a good, typical, unpredictable week out here! Elder Anderson and I found a new potential investigator named Lisa the other day! I was cleaning dishes (be proud, mother :) ) and he was sitting on the windowsill, and started talking with a girl who was locking up her bike, 4 stories below us. She was way cool, and ended up giving us her number, and we invited her to a ward activity on Saturday which she came too, and then when we invited her to church the next day.  She said she would, but she's so busy with school, but it ends this week and she'd  love to come the next week! She is so cool, so open, and we are so excited to be working with her. She is a 23 year old student here in Erlangen, and lives in our same huge apartment complex! She is a miracle, because Elder Anderson and I have really committed ourselves lately to being exactly obedient. There wasn't much to change, but we just wanted to make the edges even sharper, to show the Lord our commitment and faith in the success that is waiting to be found in this area. I believe the Lord gave us Lisa to show us that our faith and commitment will not go to waste.

We have a way packed week this week, we have four appointments today (elders get brownie points for putting appointments on P Days), 4 appointments on Tuesday, and another 4 on Wednesday that are already planned out! We are way busy, and nothing feels better than coming home just totally exhausted from being all over the place all day, and we're stoked for this week. But sadly, since we're so busy, we gotta run, but I hope you all know how much I love you!

 I love you, I love this church, I love Germany, and I love being a missionary. This is the craziest, funnest, most unpredictable time of my life, and I wouldn't trade it for anything!  I would say don't have too much fun without me this week, but you already did!  I'll hear from you all next week!


-- Eldre (whoa, now I'm in Ecuador) McGinn

Monday, July 15, 2013

Email - July 15, 2013

Okay. Look everyone. Listen up. Let's bring up the elephant in the room: the hair. I KNOW. I am seriously trying, but life is a little crazy right now. Elder Anderson and I have been on the hunt for a hair salon that sells a haircut for less than 27 Euro ($35), because that's ridiculous, and we kinda need food to live. One of the other Erlangen elders had some clippers, but now it is conveniently broken, and doesn't run more than one minute without dying and having to charge it for another 8 hours. Not to mention we are busier with appointments and meetings than we have ever been, so life is a little hectic right now. Trust me… it is a top priority at the moment. 

 I learned just the other week at Zone Training that in two more transfers, our mission is expected to break 300 missionaries in the field, with quite a lot being sister missionaries. Districts are getting packed, and areas keep getting broken up smaller and smaller to make room for everyone, and it is just more crazy and exciting than ever!

 I'll let you know what has been going down this last week!  Elder Anderson and I are a little peeved, because our bus/train ticket expired today, and we were told to call the office when we needed the money for the new ticket, and they would put it on our accounts. But when we called, we were told to just buy it with personal funds, and they would slowly reimburse us. Oh well. So if there's a big withdrawal from my personal card, everything’s okay… we're either just buying train tickets for the month or expensive haircuts.

This week has been a crazy one! We had a service project on Tuesday that ended up being Tuesday afternoon AND Wednesday afternoon, because it was so crazy. Who knew pulling out old, dead, rose bush roots would be the death of us? Those things went deep, but we finally survived and got that beast out, after lots of digging and singing songs from "Holes" to each other. 

We also had a really cool experience this week that I relate all to the Spirit. Elder Anderson and I were just coming back from an appointment, and our next one fell out suddenly, and we had a blank spot in our planners. That usually means "finding time!", and we were about to start finding, when I had the feeling to go by on a former investigator from the area book who we hadn't been by since the very first week when he wasn't home. It was a long walk, and no busses went out there all the way, but we really felt like we should drop by on this man. We made the walk, and when we finally got there and rang his doorbell, he opened up and was just startled to see us. He invited us in right away and before we could really say anything, he told us how he was with friends just a half hour before that, and had the feeling he needed to go home. He didn't know why, but he followed that thought and told his friends he needed to go. He had been really struggling as of late with finding a job, and with school, (he's from Egypt, and his whole family is still back there) and just being lonely without any friends or family. He said just as he was really getting down in the dumps, his doorbell rang, and the elders who he hadn't seen in months, showed up randomly on his doorstep, without any warning. He isn't a very religious man, but he told us that he knows that if there is a God, he gave him the feeling to go home, and us coming by was no coincidence. We couldn't stay long before we had to head back to the apartment for the night, but he didn't stop thanking us for being true friends and angels for stopping by. He now is looking forward to meeting with us later this week and getting contact started back up with the missionaries.

 The Lord has a plan for us. He won't let you see it all, but he'll tell you what path to take if you just listen. Our testimonies were strengthened on following the Spirit and even better, so was Mina's. We really cannot wait to start meeting with Mina, and so if you could keep him in your prayers, I know he would really appreciate it.

That's about all the time I have to tell you about this last week, but just know that I love you all, and don't have too much fun without me this week! Have fun, and if you can, try to be a little more sensitive to the Spirit. As any missionary would, that's my challenge to you all for the week! I gotta go and hopefully get a stupid haircut, but I'll hear from you all soon!


-- Elder McGinn

Monday, July 8, 2013

Email & Pictures - July 8, 2013

Meine Gute, this has just been the best week ever, and apparently it was for you all too!

We had a way good 4th out here with the Pobanz family from Ogden! They have three kids, all seven years apart, and their oldest son, Adam, who is 16 is actually gonna hang out with us this P-Day! It was the funnest and funniest appointment of my life, and sometimes I realize how much I miss ridiculous Americans. I even bought special socks for the occasion, which you will see shortly. Elder Anderson and I celebrated the best we know how!

 Dad, that is crazy! We broke 100 missionaries from our stake?! That is so amazing, I love it. Probably on every continent, too, huh? I am so excited, the Heatheridge stake breeds some good missionaries, and they're gonna change lives out there. Sadly though, I'm the only one who got the golden ticket to Germany.

 I'll catch you guys up to date with what is going on out here in Erlangen: WE GOT PHONES BACK. Oh my goodness, now we can prove to people that we are, in fact, not Amish. It has been so hard without one, and now I can truly testify to what the prophets have said about how the world is changing, and we need to keep up to date. It really does help and all of the technology and luxuries we have these days are such huge blessings from Heavenly Father and provide so many ways and opportunities to bring His children to the gospel.

We had a crazy busy week this last week after we got our phones back and this next week is already planned out to be even crazier! Appointments, excitement, and success is picking up all over the mission, and I am so stoked it is unbelievable. I actually think I freaked Elder Anderson out a little bit this last week when I was just shouting I was so pumped. We have continued meeting with Bruder Steinbrecher and his son, but this week when we went by no one answered. So we hope they're okay and we'll continue to go by this next week. Also, we found a new investigator this week, who is looking so promising. His name is Sarmad. He is from Iraq and he came to Germany to start a new life after all of the horrible things that happened to his friends and family there. He is ashamed of his past life, and he wants to be "reborn again", and he has been looking for a way to apply Jesus more in his life. He was Muslim, and he says it's a great religion with great people, but it just doesn't have what Jesus does. He speaks no German and broken English, but he wants us to teach him both the gospel and English until he understands perfectly and until then he brings his friend with him to translate into Arabic. He is so ready and willing, and the changes in his life are already so obvious, I can't wait to see what more will happen with him.

 Other than that, we were tchüssed by a really progressing investigator this week. Frau Bayerschmidt was making so much progress, but this week when we met with her, she wanted to make is short because she decided that she wants to stay Catholic. She loves our church, and still wants to learn more, but she is scared of how we baptize and is determined that her Catholic baptism counts. She says she just needs a break to see if this is really the direction she wants to go. Heavenly Father blessed us with the amazing gift of agency, and sadly we have to always respect that in other people. It is her decision, but we are always here and ready to help her. So we are praying for her, and we hope she will recognize the difference it had made in her life and will come back.

That sums up what is going on right now, and you honestly never know what will happen in the next upcoming week on the mish (Dad, Griff, Mase, Jeff, you all understand that) but I will let you guys all know next week! I'm so sorry that I won't get back to everyone this week, but there's a ZoKo in Nürnberg that we need to prepare to give a presentation at, but I'll get to you all next week, I promise.

 I love you all, especially you Mother.  I love you all! (everything sounds perfect and I am as excited as ever for this packy package :) )

 -- Elder McGinn
Someone finally gave those blasted pigeons what they deserve!
Happy 4th of July!

Rockin' the patriotic socks!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Email - July 1, 2013

Hahaha I just have one question to start off with: Mother, is "launder" a real word? I swear I have never heard that before, but then again, Elder Anderson is my English dictionary and helps me out all the time remembering words in English that are so much easier in German.

 Well HOOOWWDYY HO! (I know you all know exactly from which youtube video that voice comes around Christmas time, but I will not mention its name here) Haha you guys just had a blast this week, I must say! Let's get rid of tweedle dee and tweedle dum (that'd be you and me, Griff) and all have a party! I definitely will not protest the rodeo becoming an annual tradition though, as long as I can wear lederhosen. And what the heck! Where is my brace faced snarky little sister disappearing to?! First off, new glasses, neh? (Germans end sentences with that all the time. Canadians are the German Americans, if that makes any sense) and now no braces??

 Our visiting authority was Elder Richards, not sure of his first name, but he's got white hair and....I just realized that describes 80 percent of all general authorities. He's a powerful guy, I'll leave it at that. It was a great conference, and I took millions of notes. Speaking of taking a million notes, the World Training Leadership Broadcast or whatever it's called in English? Amazing. We watched that last night in our ward building on a projector screen. Lucky enough too, they had it in English so I got to hear the apostles' voices themselves. How crazy was that, but directly spot on, especially with Elder Perry when he said "The world has changed." I can testify to you that it absolutely has. The old ways of tracting absolutely do not work anymore, no one will let us in. They have to be contacted in a way that they are comfortable with and are willing to open up, which the internet is infamous for. The mission is being prepped right now, and I hope you guys add me as soon as I get my mission facebook, and be willing to google translate if I send a potential investigator your way! :) I can never leave a meeting where the prophet or apostles have spoken, and not want to talk to every single person I see about what I know. I love it.

 This week was awesome. Can I just say? I love my mission. I love this ward, this country, these people, these elders, and especially this gospel. I never thought something could make me so happy so easily, but this gospel does. If you aren't happy right now, where is the gospel in your line of priorities? On the bottom? I encourage you all to figure that out. I have the privilege to help so many people change their lives and it's incredible. I am finally at a stage in my mission where I feel comfortable with my ability in the language and in the doctrine, and it makes things so much more fun and enjoyable. I am gonna do all that I can to get Elder Anderson to that point too, cause I love that kid and he has no idea how much more fun it gets when you actually feel confident and effective out here.

 This week was surprisingly average. We had quite a few member appointments (so we could use their phones to set up more because we STILL don't have ours), we made a billion snickerdoodles, yes only the best American cookie in the world, and took them around to people (if I had your recipe Mom, people would be lining up to take the lessons), played football and soccer in the park and got some more numbers and emails of potentials, and have been trying to meet with every family in the ward this month. We are still extremely handicapped without a phone, that's why this week sounds quite lame, but hopefully we will get one this week. The Zone Leaders told us to call the office (hmm...good one. How do we do that?) and it should be coming soon. Gosh I hope so. But until then, we're going to keep doing things the old school way (sorry Dad, you're kinda old school now) and keep trusting in the Lord, who has been so unbelievably generous to us despite his dumb elders breaking both their phones.

 I am so grateful for all of your testimonies and love and support, and just know that I will definitely be celebrating the 4th of July in style with the only American family in our ward. He works for Puma and may I be getting some hookups? We will see. :)

 I love you all, I love it here, and just be happy, okay? 2 Nephi 2:25. Adam fiel damit Menschen sein können, und Menschen sind, damit sie Freude finden können. We're here to be happy, so let's be that way.

 --Elder McGinn