Monday, October 28, 2013

Email - October 28, 2013

Hey all! We're really pressed on time right now, so it's gonna be pretty rushed!

This week has been killer. I have loved every second of it, and I'm so excited for this next one because of it! I hope the miracles and success continues!

So a while back I told you all about Max and Daisy. Well we lost contact for a while. They had our number, but we didn't have theirs, so we had no way to find them. Hobson and I prayed every day for some way to come back into contact with them, so that we could progress with them even further. Finally this week on Thursday we were having a District activity here in Erlangen with all eight elders. Elder Hobson, Goodrich, Proffitt, and I were together, and as we were walking down the street, Goodrich said, I think we should go down this street to talk to people! We didn’t feel anything against it, so we thought, what the heck, why not.

We weren't seeing much success until we got to the very end of the street, and right around the corner, Max was helping Daisy fix her bike tire. Hobson and I almost screamed their names in excitement and they looked happy but kind of startled to see us because we were so happy to see them! We had a good talk, and we ended up making a deal. They have a church they attend that they really like here in Erlangen, and don't really want to separate from, so they said that if we came to their church, they would come to ours the next week.

So yesterday, Hobson and I met Max and Daisy at their Baptist church and attended their one hour service. It was very interesting, a lot of interesting insights, and the people were very friendly to us. So friendly, in fact, that we found EIGHT other people, four married couples from 23-26 years old who are friends of Max and Daisy. They invited us to come to lunch with them after the service, but we had appointments we had to get to, but we invited the rest of them also to church next week and to our sport day this week!! We may or may not have 11 investigators in church next’s totally possible.

I have never been so thankful for the Lord and his hand and blessings in our lives! We have put so much effort into Daisy and Max, and if things work out, they could be the means of bringing literally dozens of others to the gospel. We can only hope and pray, and the Lord will do the rest, right?

I'm seriously so sorry that this is so short, but we gotta run! I just wanted to let you all know that things are going better than ever, I'm happier than ever, and that it's prettier than ever over here! I brought my camera, but forgot my cord, so I'll send more pictures next week! I've taken over 150 in the last week....I'm making up for those lost cycles, hardcore.

Tell everyone hi for me, and I'll hear from you all next week, where I promise we'll bring more money so we can write longer! Haha everything is better than ever!!

 I love you all! -- Elder McGinn

Monday, October 21, 2013

Email & Pictures - October 21, 2013


 Yes, Mom, it is true. And look, I practiced patience like you always taught me and it finally came. The long lost cycles are wieder gefunden. And you guys have no idea how many pictures are coming your way. This email may be a little short word-wise, but I have quite a few pictures to send that will make up for it!

 Haha I'm still so jealous of New York, that sounded so fun and I'm looking forward to my second trip when I get back... :) and you guys owe me because of Wicked! I still remember that being sold out for months when we went! Ah, I totally remember shooting hoops in the Manhattan Chapel, that was one of my favorite memories from the whole trip! And good thinking about the note to Liza! I miss that girl, and I hope she's just living her dreams out there in the big apple!

 I'm sad to hear about the garden at Gma's and Gpa's. That was something I always loved, especially their corn! Oh well, you don't realize how much you had and loved until it's gone, right? It will just make me appreciate them even more than I do! By the way, random thought, I totally ate pumpkin shell this week.......yep. That's all I have to say about that.

 Mensch, it sounds like a lot of change is going on back home! Why'd ya all wait til I left?! I need to see some pics! Is home looking as pretty in the Fall weather as Erlangen is?? I love it here. I'm excited to hear how everyone is doing out on their missions in a little while! Those missionaries are getting some awesome help with the Mangum clan on their way out there. I wish someone would come out here to Germany, but noooo.

 This week was good and busy, it was transfer week and we also had Zone Training Meeting and it was just busy all the week long! We haven't had lots of time to be on the University this last week, but we're looking forward to it this week! This last week there was also a stake dance in our Gemeinde house, and it was a huge success! The missionaries were only invited if they brought investigators with them, and we brought 7! One of which is a 16 year old boy named Tom, who I may have talked about before, who always turns down the invitation to come to church. But at the dance, he got asked to dance by four different "cute Mormonen girls" and then came to church the next day! Haha girls, (Sydney), you may be the key for getting some people in the ward buildings and accepting the gospel, I hope you realize that! Wiley temptresses.

 It was a really good week. Sorry that this is so short, but it takes forever to upload pictures, and I want to send you all a bunch, so I hope it makes up for it! Glad you are all in good strenth and lenth, and I'll hear from you all soon! I love you all (especially you mother :) )!

 -- Elder McGinn
Cameron finally has a working camera! These first pictures are from summer with Elder Anderson.

These next two pictures are more recent. Playing some chess with Elder Heston Goodrich.

Cameron's District.  He's in the back holding the candle.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Email - October 14, 2013

Well, well, well, if it isn`t the spoiled ones of the household...

 It sounds like the Big Apple was a blast! Looking at the pictures, I totally feel like I was there just a few days ago! I love that big city life and rush and feel. The picture of Syd in the Subway station looks just like the U-Bahn stations we ride all the time! It looks a little like home to me :) and what`s up with the Ghost Busters?!? No one told me what`s going down in that picture! And Wicked! Geez, I have so many fragen, entschuldigung! Was it good? Had you guys seen it before? Everyone I know of that has seen it just loves it! I`m jelly, to say the least.

 That`s so cool about the Elders you met! Ah, it just looks so familiar to me to see them, I love it. What`s funnier, is that this Elder Richards they know, that was Elder Hobson's last District Leader! Small world, right? We`ve only run into people once who were Mormons from across the world that recognized us, but just that second of appreciation felt better than ever, so trust me, you don`t realize how much you probably boosted those guys’ spirits!

 Mother, that actually gives me hope...despite the fact that we have a song from Pocahontas (savages) that we have dedicated to the office…that means it should be here on Friday for Zone Training! I don't wanna waste more money if it's somewhere here in this country....besides, I gotta make sure I have enough for Lederhosen. :)

 Well, life is going good out here. Transfer calls were on Saturday, (yep, another cycle down) and Hobson and I and Proffitt and Haskell are all staying again! No changes and we love it. Our district is really getting tight. I don't know if I already told you guys, but the other elders in our district include Elders Collins, Ellsworth, Wright, and GOODRICH! From the Heatheridge Stake, baby. I just love that kid, there might not be an elder closer to me in this mish than that kid is, and I have a lot of good friends out here. He is the happiest elder I have ever met, and if I could be half the kid he is, I'd be a happy camper.

 Aside from staying the same, Elder Hobson and I are now the university elders, and this week the new semester starts, so it's go time. We have a ton of plans, and we just can't wait to get them running! We actually found a way legit family this week who is interested in the church! I was sitting on a bench, writing my testimony in a Book of Mormon so that I could put it in the book drops that we have here, and while I was writing a young guy contacted Elder Hobson! I finished writing and jumped in the conversation, and he was asking Hobson about if every member of the church has to do this, or if we were just doing something special. We talked to him about missions, and then he recognized the Book of Mormon in my hand and said that his wife found one of those in that Book Drop a few days ago, and they were planning on reading it that night!

 Ends up he's 24, moved to Erlangen about a year ago, and he and his wife have been exploring and searching all the churches here in Erlangen, looking for the one that feels right. He has taken a lot of gospel classes, and he feels like there is truth that was lost from the bible and that it`s out there somewhere else. He says he gets made fun of sometimes that he's married so young and has clean Christian morals, but he knows that happiness and peace that comes from it. We basically taught him two lessons on the street and he kept asking us for passages from the Book of Mormon that he and his wife, Daisy, could read later that night together as they continued studying different scriptural texts looking for the truth. He and his wife are 24, both attend the University, and are PERFECT for this ward here, we can already see them as members here in Erlangen. They need the church so much, and the ward needs them so much, I can already see it, and we can't wait to teach them again and see where it goes.

 Sorry, that was way rambled, but there's a lot going on right now in this room, haha, but I gotta sign off so the next elder can log on! But I love you all, and I'll see you soon! I was also studying in Alma and read those scriptures, Dad, and I too have never seen such joy, but I think I have come close, and each experience has been out here in the mission field.

 I am so happy, I love this place, this work, you all, and the Lord. I could not be safer, happier, and more excited. I'll hear from you guys soon!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Email - October 7, 2013

Grüss euch! Another week dead and gone, it just feels like one day since last time!

 Indeed, the situation with Katia was rough, but every time I pray for her, something tells me that it's all okay. In interviews this week, President also told me that I may not hear anything about it until twenty years from now, and discover the story it evolved into. I sure hope he's right!

 Conference, right?! Amazing. Yes, I will admit it, I fell asleep a few times back at home when I would watch it, especially the Saturday Morning session, but now I just can't get enough! I seriously have the feeling you get on December 26th, after all the Christmas excitement is over, and you know it won't come back for awhile. I loved it. So here, we watch the morning sessions live, from 6-8 pm our time, but the afternoon sessions are too late for us, so we have to watch those recorded the next day or just some other time. So we watched Saturday Morning on Saturday night for us, and then yesterday we watched Priesthood at 11-1, then Saturday Afternoon from 2-4, and then Sunday Morning from 6-8. That's a lot of conference in one day, let me tell ya. But it was so good, and I had so many new insights and ideas come to me and to missionary work that I was searching for.

 I hope you all paid REAL GOOD ATTENTION to all the talks and emphasis on Member Missionary Work. WE NEED IT. I hope you guys are helping your elders out, because in some areas of Germany, there is no such thing as Member Missionary work, and it makes it hard for everyone. Love your elders, love your friends, love this gospel, and love the Lord enough to share this message and help the work move forward. I promise you, you have no idea the amount of blessings that are in store. Prophecies are being fulfilled, and the Lord wants us to help. Sorry, that's kinda a touchy subject out here. I know you're all doing great. :)

 This week was pretty uneventful, because it was!...if that makes any sense? On Wednesday we had Zo-Ko with the Nürnberg and Erfurt zones, and it was great! I love seeing President and Sister Schwartz every chance I get, the love they have literally radiates out of them. He's a guy you just want to hug, kinda like Cade. Hahaha but really, it was great! We then had interviews with President on Friday for the Erlangen Elders, and we got a new calling! We being Elder Hobson and I. President has called us as Erlangen University Elders. We are to only proselyte among young people on the campus' of the two or three universities we have here. He wants us eating in their cafeteria's every day because they're cheap (uh oh) and talking with every one we can. Last transfer he called the first pair of Frankfurt Uni Elders, and they already have three baptismal dates! So he's WAY stoked for us, and so are we! After that we had service for 8 hours for a city wide service day, and me and Hobson were confined to a small park to pick up trash and it had none, so it was a pretty long eight hours to say the least. A lot of hands up stands up contests and the like. And then the rest of our weekend was taken up by appointments and conference!

 I am so thankful for conference. We had an appointment between the showings of the Saturday Afternoon session and the Sunday Morning session with a new investigator we found, and he ended up just railing on the church and kinda making fun of us and our "prophets" when we invited him to come, and it just was an all around rough appointment, but we came right back to conference and immediately my anger and frustration was changed into love for this man who rejected us, and sadness that he has no idea what he is missing out on. But that's all we can do, extend the invitation and welcome, and they decide what to do for themselves.

 Well sorry for the scrambled email and random thoughts, but we gotta run! I lobe you all (not love, lobe you) and I'll hear from you soon! Have a good week, tear it up in NYC, (buy me something? :)) and don't eat any more sugar cinnamon tortilla chips, cause that's just disgusting. And save my room!! Did it ruin anything?! Not my shoes…please not any of those...Bis nächstes mal, tschüssss!!

 -- Elder McGinn

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Email - October 1, 2013

Oktoberfest is here! Well...kinda. It is indeed the season for Oktoberfest, but the HUGE parties are celebrated in Munich, and that's still kinda far from us! Other towns don't really celebrate it, everyone, and seriously everyone, just goes down to Munich to celebrate! So I am still safe and sober. :)

 I'm glad the Geburtstag was a success, Mom! You have one more present coming your way from Germany! It's just a small one, but it's a little piece of Germany nonetheless! (don't worry, I'll get all the rest of you at Christmas! I've already got it planned out)

 I don't believe any of you. We do NOT have Direct TV, now that I am gone. Who are you and where are meine eltern, die ich so gern liebe? I really don't know what to say to that. Now poor Elder Hobson has to take my rage because of your decisions. I hope you feel good about yourselves. And I also hope you record all of the best football games and march madness games for me to watch when I finally get to see it with my own eyes! And whoa, hey, hold on now! Since when are you painting the family room, and what color??? What the heck is going on here, have you guys moved to Nebraska as well?? Mensch, families these days.

Well, here's the scoop, fam dam. This was a pretty rough week, I'm not gonna lie. We're not sure why, but the frustration and disappointment just pounded down this week, starting with Katia. The Wednesday night before Katia's baptism, Elder Hobson and I were coming back from an activity at the church, where we had also begun to plan out the baptismal service. On the walk home, we got a call that just crushed us. Katia had talked with her parents and told them all about what was about to happen and how excited she was, and they...weren't. Apparently they were quite anti-church, chewed her out, and forbade her to do anything else before she came home and they talked about it and what was going on. So the baptism didn't happen, and now she's back in Kazakhstan. All we can do now is pray and hope that things will go well. Who knows, maybe this is a huge blessing in disguise in some way, but it still hit us pretty hard.

 To top that all off, the other two elders in this area, Elders Proffitt and Haskell, lost their phone. And how does that affect Elder McGinn, and Elder Hobson, you might ask. It doesn't. BUT. When a phone is lost, it is reported to the tech elders so that they can lock the phone to prevent it from being used and whatever else someone might do. So when the tech elders went in to lock the lost phone, they locked the wrong one and locked OURS. And they can't "unlock" phones. So now Erlangen, once again, has no phones for the next little while, and we're a little bit peeved. I know there has to be something that the Lord is trying to teach us from all of this, and we just haven't figured it out yet.

 I would tell you all about the bike tires popping and buying new ones and those popping again, but I don't like to be a Debbie Downer, so I won't. :)   Life is good, and lessons are being learned, right?

 One thing that did stand out to me this week though was in my personal study one morning. I was reading about the story of Lot, and when Lot is commanded to leave with his family and possessions and flee, he is counseled in Genesis 19:17, "look not behind thee." I thought a lot about that, how we shouldn't look back and focus on the past. Of course we need to learn from the past, but the past is past, don't dwell there. What lies in the future is even more bright and brilliant than the past ever was, whether the past was good or bad. That doesn't mean forget the past or let it go, it just means keep moving forward, and look forward now to what is coming up. Learn from what you did wrong, or learn from what you did right, and keep going. I love how counsel that a man received 6000 years ago still applies to us today.

 Well, aside from the rough week last week, this week should be a blast! Tomorrow is Zone Konferenz, Friday we have interviews AGAIN with President, and then Saturday and Sunday are General Conference! I cannot wait. I seriously feel like it's the week before Christmas, it's kinda weird. But we are so lucky for this weekend. I hope you all have questions or concerns in mind that you would like to find answers to. The Lord will do his part as long as we do ours, so if you need help, do what you need to do to be able to get these answers. I'm sad I won't be taking up my place in the Rio Grande for the second time in a row now, but I know you all will do me proud!

 Dad, I agree with what you said, and it brings to mind one of my favorite scriptures to share, Alma 26:35. Read it for yourself and you'll see why!

 Well I hope you all have a wunderbar week! Keep doing work at tennis, watching your direct TV, and getting prepped for NYC! I'm so jealous. But then again, I'm in Europe, hah! :) I love you all, and I hope you have the best conference weekend ever! Smile, make your beds, and be safe! Oh wait, mom is supposed to say that. I pray for you all! Til next time! Tschicka-tschau!!!!

 -- Älteste McGinn