Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Email - September 23, 2013

 I can't believe tennis season is already over! I swear it is the shortest sport season of them all. Two games and everyone decides that no one likes tennis and they all go home. Just kidding Syd, some people like tennis...haha! And hey, at least it was a totally defeated season! Remember my freshman year of football, Mutti? Talk about rough. Syd will just be rocking it the next two years, I already know it!

 Speaking of sports, I've decided I'm not returning to BYU to go to school when I get home. I can't handle them anymore. They have officially earned the nation's biggest choker award. How can they go from destroying a team with so much experience and history like Texas, with Hill almost breaking the national record, and then be held to 13 points and a loss to Utah?? Good heavens. A kid in our ward used to show me the score from the BYU games every week, but now he knows that that isn't a good idea anymore.

 That's such an awesome lesson you guys had, Mom! I love the articles of faith! In the last week I decided that I wanted to memorize them auf Deutsch, and now I have all 13 in German! I don't know why, but it is SO much easier to memorize things in German. I still don’t have them all memorized in English....shhh!

 Elder Hobson and I were actually going to go shopping today to look for official winter gear, since it's starting to get colder, but we had practically no pday today because we helped a member clean all of the ancient junk (including canned bread from 1987...what the heck?) out of her cellar and take it to the dump! So next week we'll get all the stuff we need! There's still time. :) I haven't seen my camera just yet, but we do have district meeting on Wednesday, so we'll see then! How long ago did you send it? I'm so excited to have a camera back! My 3rd and 4th cycles are the lost cycles, and I can't wait to show you guys where I actually am and what is really going on, instead of reading my lame emails! I'll update you next week!

 Well, I have the most amazing news in the world to tell you all this week. So last week I told you the story about Katia, and how she said she'll be baptized in Kazakhstan after she goes back. Well this week, Hobson and I were walking back to the train station from an appointment when we got a call from her uncle. He said, "Elder McGinn, I need your advice. I was thinking about it, and Katia is ready to be baptized, she knows that. And I am scared that if she goes back to Kazakhstan, there's a possibility that she could lose her testimony with the sparsity of the church and members there, and lose this maybe one and only chance she had to be baptized, so if I had it my way, I would want her to be baptized here. Even though I understand the comfortability of it happening back in Kazakhstan, I just can't shake the feeling that it should happen here." So we talked, and said we agree, but it is ultimately her choice. So we both said that we would pray, and we would see what happened the next day (Sunday) when they were at church. So at church we taught her another lesson, and then the Buchmillers invited us over again after church to teach another lesson! Hobson and I both wanted to teach about the Holy Ghost, so we did a little object lesson, bore testimony, and then asked Bruder Buchmiller a question. As he was answering, he turned to Katia, with tears in his eyes, and then explained to Katia his feelings about her baptism, and said that as her uncle, he loves her so much, and would love to be able to be at her baptism, and even baptize her if he had the chance. I have never felt such a literal change take place in the spirit in the room. She paused for a second, then looked at us and said "I want to be baptized here, before I leave next Sunday." We didn't know what to say, we were so blown away! So we said "alright, does Saturday work?" and she said "what about Friday?"

 So to make a long story short, Katia has made the decision to be baptized in Germany before she leaves, because she doesn’t want to lose the chance. This girl is amazing. Literally a spiritual sponge, and I know that she is going to be such a pioneer in Kazakhstan. I just had the feeling as I was writing my testimony in her book of Mormon like she asked me to, that she will be such a miracle worker back home. I am so proud of her, and amazed how the Lord works. We felt like we did everything, and finally just let Katia go to her own feelings and stepped out of the way, and then the Lord touched her heart through the testimony of her uncle, and she recognized the important decision she was about to make.

 I love this gospel. I love this work. I love that I have absolutely nothing to do with it, and that I am simply a tool in the hands of the Lord. He does it all. It doesn't work when YOU try to do it, you have to let him do it, just through you. It's something that takes time and practice to learn, and I am still far from perfect, but the Lord has given us this time on the earth to better ourselves day after day.

 I love you all, and I am so grateful for the testimonies you have. I know you are all such a strong light to so many people, so many more people than you realize. Never forget who you are. Through baptism you take upon you the name of Christ. We all have the ability to make him proud, and I know you all do .

 I love you so much, I love this so much, I love everything so much, and I am so happy! And to make it even better, it's Mom's birthday this week!! Happy Birthday Mutter!! Ich liebe dich!! I hope you all have the best weeks ever, and I can't wait to hear about them next week. Sorry I have to run! Short day. Ahh! I love you!

 -- Elder McGinn

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