Monday, August 26, 2013

Email - August 26, 2013

Hey Familie McGinn! How are you all? I love that I ask these questions that you can't even answer for a week, so I'll just take it as an "amazing." :)

 K, quick problem, we are at an internet laden that only takes 1 Euro and 2 Euro pieces to pay for internet by the minute, and Anderson and I only have 20's and 10's, so time is a little rushed, but I'll see what I can do!

 First off, we do have regular activities with the youth! Every Friday is "Sport Tag", and we play basketball, ping pong, soccer, anything that I destroy at, and it's for member kids and all of the investigators that we meet on the street, and it is VERY successful. I am so glad to hear the elders back home are doing it too, because it's brilliant, and gets a lot of interest. So if you can, help the elders out! Cause I know we REALLY appreciate it over here when people show up, even though they always lose! Sadly, we still don't have permission to openly use Facebook, so we can't get as much attention as we'd like, but President Schwartz has a meeting next month to discuss when all of that will be open to us out here! (including ipads und so weiter!)

 It sounds like you all are busier than ever, in a good way! It's such a good feeling to be running from place to place! There's nothing I dislike more than "white days" out here where there isn't an appointment on your planner the whole day and you have to find something to do to use your time effectively!

 Dad, I know exactly what Gordon is talking about, cause we've already been there! Haha! It's called Herzogenaurach, or Herzo for short, and the Puma, Nike, AND Adidas outlets are all out there! They've got some killer deals, so if you're thinking about rocking a new fresh pair of kicks, let me know and I'll hook you up! And I actually had heard about the Pumas and Adidas brothers too! Cause one of our members works for Puma and told us the whole story! I think it's so funny how a tiny little argument has evolved into two huge European companies! I'd love to get a job in a company like one of those one day. Free swag for everyone!

 I'm not sure how many missionaries there are from our stake, I'll have to ask! I would assume it is around 10..? including senior couples. That is incredible, the work is taking off! Keep em flowing, we need all the help we can get all around the world! And also, I'm way excited for Kirt, Marcia and Necia and Lyle! It's when are you two headed out, Mom and Dad? :) I really am so grateful for Ehepaars (as we call them), and the time they give to help us younger missionaries out. We couldn’t do it without them!

 To answer your question about investigators on the street, Dad, I don't know exactly! President just told us to really use our talents, and me and Anderson love sports and just talking and hanging out with people, so we find it easy to walk up to anyone and contact them somehow with sports. Whether off of what they're wearing, what they're saying, or just bluntly asking them if they're into sports! A lot of the time we carry around an American football too, and they're all amazed by the "brown egg" and want to be taught how to play! And through just starting the initial contact, we're able to just establish a solid friendship and invite them to sport day, where they meet the members inside the actual church building, and it easily leads to gospel discussion from their curiosity about the building and all of our members. We are being very blessed out here, and the Lord has blessed us with talents in working with the young kids, and Anderson and I are trying to take advantage of it the best we can!

 Syd, to answer your question about my favorite scripture, it honestly changes almost every other day because I use and study them so much out here! But right now, I'd have to say 3 Nephi 14:9-11. It talks about how parents have such a desire to give their kids everything they can, and since God is our Heavenly Father, we can barely even imagine how much he wants to give us and how much he CAN give us. We just need to ask.

 Well, time is running low, (stupid coins), but I just want to share this week’s miracle. This week things have been starting to take off with Katia. She has been so busy with work, and we have been praying that she would be able to have time to meet with us, and this week her uncle who is a member in our ward called us up and said he wanted us to come over in three hours if we had the time, because Katia would be there! So we left the other elders to take care of sport day and practically ran over there. It's kinda wierd with Katia, because she is from Kazakstan and only speaks Russian and English. No German. So we teach her in Russian so that she can understand. Hahahah just kidding, English. She is the first person I have taught in my mother tongue, and it was kinda hard at first! I was mixing up languages, but we watched the Restoration video and gave her the first lesson, and she was in tears. She said she has never heard anything like this in Kazakstan. The next day we were invited over AGAIN and got to teach her der Plan der Erlösung, and the progress is just flying. At the rate she is going, we could have taught her all lessons by the end of this week, and we're hoping to extend the baptismal commitment next lesson! We have seen miracles with her, and the Lord has placed our schedule and planners together so perfectly that she is always available right when we have an empty slot. We are so excited to keep working with her, and the promising progress that she is making!

 I'm sorry that was so jumbled, but I'm just watching this timer in the corner of the screen and trying to get out everything I want to say before it runs out!

 Well, I gotta finish up, but I'll hear from you all soon! Transfer calls are this Saturday, so next time I'll let you all know what's up! Make your guesses, and I'll buy the winner a dönner and eat it in their honor! Keep having fun with school, tennis, work, making lunches, and taking G and J out, and I can't wait to hear about it next week! I still have so much to tell you all, so expect a big one next week! I love you all! The church is true!!!!


 -- Elder McGinn

Monday, August 19, 2013

Email - August 19, 2013

Hahahahaha! Sorry Syd, but school is for fools. :) Just kidding. I am indeed grateful that I can read and write and that I know never to eat plastic cafeteria pizza. I seriously can`t believe that you are already in high school. It feels like I was there just a few days ago, when in reality, in 8 eight days and one year ago, I started my first semester of college! Time HAULS. Live it up every second you have, cause you`ll miss it when it`s gone, I promise!

Mamacita, yes, transfer calls are in a week from Saturday, and auf jeden fall (no matter what), Elder Anderson and I should be parting ways. I`m way bummed, cause I love that kid, but the mish is all about change in so many different aspects, and he`s stoked to hopefully see another part of the mission, because Erlangen is all he knows! I definitely think I`ll be bleiben here in Erlangen. In my interview with President, he told me that he had a vision of me with all of the young people in the ward and in the city having a great time together and really progressing, which I have already seen coming true! I love all the kids in this ward (including Jerome Molnar, who just got his mission call to serve in Rome, Italy! I told him he`s gonna be trained by Bryson) and the success we`ve had getting to know young people on the streets has been overwhelming. So I could happily stay another cycle or two here in Bavaria. Besides, Oktoberfest and Christmas are coming, and Bavaria is world famous for both. :)

 Ahh, J Gass! I miss that kid. It`s so good to hear he`s doing work out there. We all used to send emails in a huge group one, but we`ve all gotten so busy that only one or two people write something every week, so we`re all kinda out of contact! Whenever I get frustrated with the Deutsch, I just put on the Restoration DVD in Chinese and laugh because J Gass has to learn that.

 Hahaha! David Bruce, oh my goodness, this region I am in right now is WAY prettier than the Sound of Music, I can promise you that! I would show you if my camera didn`t break! (by the way, I just got the news. A lot of the gears that move the camera taking part out when you turn it on are broken, and the repairs would cost up to like 150 Euro, which is more than just buying a new one. So I have the broken one back, which is still in way good condition, but it won`t work. So I`ll probably send it back to you guys this week, and then what should we do?) I am honestly so lucky to be in such a gorgeous place. I`m gonna go right ahead and assume that Elder Bednar did indeed serve in Erlangen, and slept in our apartment too, just to feel a wee bit more special. I`m glad the cabin trip was a success, and you and Syd didn`t die.

 I love what you said about Alma`s response to Korihor when he says that All things denote there is a God, because it is so true. The more you really look into the night sky, or stand on top of an ancient hill in Germany and look at the valleys and mountains, or the animals everywhere, or even just the weather, you cannot argue that there is not a higher power that created all of these things. It is so obvious, yet Satan is trying to destroy our realization of all these things by sucking people in with their phones or shows or games or other gadgets.

 And that actually brings me to one of the highlights of this week: Me, Elder Anderson, Elder Proffitt, and Elder Haskell were all headed to a park to play some soccer with a group of German kids. To get there, you walk by a sectioned off Garden where all kinds of plants are growing and it`s sort of a little getaway. We couldn`t see anyone in there, but Elder Anderson said we should just go check it out. So we went in and were looking at all of the different plants when a man with the thickest Bavarian accent I have ever heard came up to us and started talking a million miles an hour. I acted like I could understand by saying "ja" and "echt?" and just keeping him going, but I couldn’t catch a word. In my heart I thought "Heavenly Father, if you want me to help this man, please help me to understand what he is saying, or change the subject, or anything so that I can communicate with him." After I said that prayer, he stopped talking and looked at my name badge, and in perfectly clear German he asked "what does that say?" We proceeded to introduced ourselves and carry on a conversation about what we believed in, and especially the Book of Mormon. We pulled one out and gave it to him, and told him about Moroni`s Challenge. He was confused about how we can talk with God, and I explained to him the concept of prayer. He then said that he wanted me to show him how I could. So in the middle of this garden I said a prayer. When we opened our eyes, Boris (this man) was crying and said that was so easy and so beautiful. He told us he has had a problem with alcohol for years. He used to drink 15 to 16 beers a day, and now he was only drinking 1 or 2, but it was so hard to stop. He said he always comes to this garden to be with nature and to really think and ponder, especially when he has the urge to drink. He said that day he had an almost overpowering urge to drink, but he came to the garden to fight it, and there he met us. He then told us he wanted to learn everything, and that he was going to go sit in the corner of the garden on a bench and read this book, that gives us so much power and happiness, because he wanted it too. It was arguably one of the most spiritual experiences I have had so far on my mission. I learned as much from Boris as he did from us that day. He knew there was a power in getting away from all the worldly distractions and actually spending time alone to think, but he didn`t know why until he met us.

 This world is so sucked up in its immediate everything. Everyone and everything is always in such a rush to this and that, and although all things denote that there is a God, no one really takes the time to notice that. The Spirit speaks with a still small voice, and it won`t run to catch up to you if you just blow right by it. Don`t be so sucked up in the things we have, even though they are amazing and help with so much. I take the "there must needs be an opposition in all things" also to mean that there must be a balance in all things as well. Don`t run too fast, but don`t walk to slow. I love this Gospel so much, and the peace, happiness, strength, comfort, hope, endurance, knowledge, and so much more that it brings to us. I treasure it every day, but also give it out at every opportunity I get.

 I love you all, and I hope you have another killer week, and I can`t wait to hear about life going back to the new usual! Don`t worry about us, we love it and are being blessed with much success! I`ll hear from you all soon!


 -- Elder McGinn

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Email - August 13, 2013

Hey! Another crazy week, whaddya know! Yesterday we went for our P-Day in Regensburg, the southern-most area in our mission, and it was unbelievable. I have never been to a prettier city in my entire life. The city is built into a valley surrounded by cliffs and forests, and if it couldn’t get any better, it's home to the oldest sausage house in Germany! So we spent the day touring the cobblestone streets eating sausages from a 13th century sausage house, hanging out with American members down there! (Most are American because of the base down there!) It was a way good P-Day, and I know my next choice of where I want to serve when calls come in two more weeks!

 Well, not a ton has happened since last Wednesday when I emailed you all, other than Saturday. That was a party. The four of us Elders of course offered to help with a member family that was moving, but little did we know what we were signing up for. Everything is bigger in America, especially the moving trucks. In Germany, they're barely bigger than a minivan. So bishop picked the four of us up at 9 am from our apartments and took us to the Hufnagels who were moving. We then started moving things out, taking apart cabinets and dressers, and throwing out unneeded furniture and supplies for the new house. It didn't take long to fill up the van, and then it took a 30 minute drive to get to the new house, where we would unload, then drive 30 minutes back, and start the next round. This process continued until the bishop dropped us back off at our apartments at 9:30 PM. I swear to all of you, if you need help moving and it's gonna be longer than 4 hours, count me out! Haha it was a really good chance actually to really get to know the family and see the area, but we were definitely all as tired as we have ever been when we got home, and 6:30 came waaaay too fast the next morning.

 Ah, Dad, that's a good thing that there is no one there to bug you. You can finally do it your way, no hmmmph!'s from anyone but Willie on the Radio. You`ll have to let me know how it went, and if you happened to get any pictures too! I definitely miss the crystal clear sky at the cabin at night, where you can really see all of the crazy amazing things that exist outside of our little snow globe called earth!  Mom, I always knew you loved me the most. Sometimes it came down to you and the shower, but I think you win. :) hahahah I definitely now have that verse marked in my scriptures, with "mom" written to the side! (Jacob 2:15) The scriptures teach only truth, and that is one of them.

 And the big shout out: Hi Grandma and Grandpa! I hope you both are doing well! I pray for both of you every day, and keep you in my thoughts a lot. I miss you both, and if you ever need anything, just let your favorite grandson know and I'll do it! I love you both!

 It's always a zipadeedooda day out here, Mom! Don't you worry. When it isn't, I play the song and it instantly is.  I can't believe you're already going back to school, Syd! Where the hoopla did summer go? It's starting to cool down again out here, and I can't believe I'm going into my third season! Dominate on the varsity squad, alright? You're a McGinn, and we shred. So keep the reputation alive. And remember what I said about a shirt. I'll rep it hard for you out here, don't you worry. You'll be world famous, all you gotta do is send me a shirt. :)

 Well, this last week was crazy busy because we were so crazy busy, but hopefully this week is a little more calm and we can hit some of our goals because we'll actually be in Erlangen all week. Thank you guys for your success stories, they really not only get me pumped up, but give me new insight on things to do and ways to respond to different situations. The success is real, and the Lord's hand is really in this work. You don't even need faith as strong as the brother of Jared to see the hand of the Lord these days. Keep Sermad, Katja, Lisa, and Monica in your prayers, and we are ready to make some huge progress with them this week! I'll let you know how it goes, but for now, we gotta run and catch an appointment! We're ready to use another one of my killer object lessons (ich bin der König damit) and really get things rolling.

 I love you all so much, and I'll hear from you soon! Let me know how your weeks went!

 -- Your Favorite Elder in the World… that ain’t no lie.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Email & Pictures - August 7, 2013

Well, sorry that I double let you all down this week! But I will explain later the chaotic last 48 hours I have been through to get to this point, but first!

 Dad! That's way cool about the NASA thing! I never realized until last night because we were extremely late coming home, how much I miss seeing the stars in the sky! The sun always sets out here about 9:30-ish, when we're already home, and it stays always kinda light the whole night anyway, so we never get a chance to see the stars! You can't help but think about the universe and how everything got there when you look at the stars at night, and it always reminds me of when Alma says that everything in the universe gives proof that God exists. It is so true.

 And to answer your question/comment, air conditioning doesn't exist in Germany, so I actually have never been in an appointment where we haven't sat together and bonded in sweaty, sticky clothes. Really brings you closer to people, let me tell ya! Air conditioning is a luxury that only the states seem to possess. I'm glad you're back to the garden and regular life though, Dad! Germans definitely LOVE their gardens. Most people live in apartment complexes where they have no yards to work in, so they actually buy their own personal gated off lots of land where they put sheds and garden plots in some other city, and they go there to get away and work and garden! The definitely take pride in them, and I feel like you'd fit in quite nicely with them out here!

My hair has indeed begun to regrow from my buzzed-convict looking status, and I have never been so glad that my camera has been broken during this time period, so that there is no recorded evidence, only on Anderson's camera. (no, I haven't gotten my camera back yet, but I'll call the members who said they could fix it later this week and I'll get back to you on Monday with what's up! I think it will be just fine though).

Do you guys realize what yesterday was? I have now been on my mission for officially 6 months as of yesterday, and it feels like it's been a mere 6 weeks. Where is this time going?! I am slowly every day becoming one of the "older" "more experienced" missionaries out here, and I definitely am not. But time definitely flies when you're having fun, and I can testify to that. EXCEPT FOR YESTERDAY. Fun is the last word I would ever use to describe yesterday, and let me tell you why...

 Story time: So yesterday was the Golden/Trainer meeting in Frankfurt, and I was the travel leader with everyone's tickets and in charge of getting Anderson and I and also 10 other elders and sisters there. Besides waking up at 5 am so that we could catch a train to Nürnberg to catch the main train to Frankfurt, all went smoothly and we got to the meeting perfectly on time. It was such an awesome meeting, and it made my month to see Elder Divver again and spend a few hours with that kid. And then came the "fun". It was time to go and we had to get back to the Subway station in the pouring rain and lightning storm, which we did, with five minutes to spare til our train came! And then ten minutes later, nothing came and then 30 minutes later, it still hadn't come. And then 30 minutes later, our main train left from where we were supposed to be in Hanau, and our train in Frankfurt still hadn't come to even get us to Hanau. We missed our train. At this point it was already 7 o'clock, and we were still in Offenbach. So we talked to a travel guy, and he told us to ride 30 minutes back to Frankfurt and see if there was a train there, so we did. And it was CRAZY!  EVERY train in the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof was delayed because of this thunderstorm, and there were seriously millions of people there, trying to switch trains and this and that and it was absolute chaos. We finally found a train that could take us to Nürnberg, but it didn't leave for 2 hours. So we rallied up our group and looked around to find a place to eat that didn't have a million people in line. When we were waiting to get food, a voice came on the intercom and said that our train was leaving in five minutes. So we ditched the line and sprinted back to our train and made it just in time. By now it's 9 o'clock. So we were finally headed home, when another voice came on the train intercom and said due to complications, we'd be taking a different route to Nürnberg that would take an additional 2 hours to get home. make a VERY long, VERY frustrating story short, we arrived in the Nürnberg Hauptbahnhoff at 12:04 after midnight, and then Anderson and I had to catch our 40 minute train back to Erlangen. We are very tired, but very glad that that day is over, as is President Schwartz, because we had to call him a million times to let him know our status update.

 So that is my week so far, and that is why I have been off the map and running around like crazy. BUT, all is well. We are seeing the blessings despite the craziness of this week. This last week we had 4 investigators in church!! We had Sermad, a woman named Monika and her boyfriend Klaus, and a member referral named Katja from Kazakstan! The work is increasing, and it is obvious. The Lord needs elders who can keep up, and Elder Anderson and I are stoked to see how crazy this week will be!

 Also, there's something I'd like to ask of you, Dad. I already asked Griff, Mase, and Jeff, but I would also like to ask you. One thing I've noticed that really is contagious and gets everyone excited about missionary work out here is success stories. Whenever anyone has some success (a contact, a really good lesson, a baptismal date set, anything!), there are always calls going around, sharing the story and getting everyone fired up! We are seeing so much success in this zone, and it made me wonder how much success is going on in the world, and I realized that my family is a testimony of that. Mase and I have served on opposite ends of Europe, Griff and Jeff served in Central and South America, and you served in North America! We all have our success stories, and I wanted to ask you all if you could share a success story with me as often as you'd like to, from your respective missions! I know we all have seen success and blessings, as little or giant as they were, and it really gets other elders fired up to hear about it, so if you all could share with me individual success stories that you had, as often as you want to, I would really love that.

 Well, the work is advancing. I love what you said about the Spirit, Dad. A lot of us are way too casual with how we refer and respect Him, and few of us realize how critical He is in our daily lives. He speeds up this work through us, the Lord's Servants, and it gets faster and faster everyday, and I love what I am doing more and more every single day.

 I miss you all, I can't believe it has already been 6 months, but I love that I still have time out here. There is so much more to do, and I appreciate all your love and support. I pray for you all multiple times a day, and I know you are all doing so good! I will hear from you all soon, and have a great week!

 I love you all! Die Kirche ist Wahr, findet es für eure selbst heraus! Ich liebe euch!


 --Elder McGinn

 P.S. I had an amazing interview with President, Mom! He really is an inspired man of God, called to lead this mission. The advice he gave me was exactly what I needed to hear, I wish I could counsel with him daily. I would do anything for that man.
With Pres. Schwartz and Elder Anderson - June 13, 2013

Elder Myers, Sister Peterson and Elder McGinn - June 2013

Two hungry missionaries

Erlangen Elders and Sisters