Monday, November 25, 2013

Email & Pictures - November 25, 2013


 Hey all, we'll be back on later, we're actually on our way right now to do something with the district for our last p day here, and we're gonna email after, but we figured we'd drop in and send off some pictures real quick to get those out of the way, and email after! These are all pictures I took yesterday with people in the ward because......I've been transferred! Where, you may ask? I guess you'll just have to wait a few hours to find out. :) See ya soon!

 Well well well, I'm back! Did ya miss me? Who am I kidding, you all probably haven't even woken up yet, sloths. But I hope you're all dreaming of where on earth I could be headed next...but before we get to that...

Talk about a crazy week! Mom, you continue to surprise me every day with your burglary skills, and I haven't decided yet if those are good skills to have, or if they concern me. But keep it up, there would be a lot of homeless people around if it wasn't for you breaking in. Thanks for keeping me in the loop though with your "snapchen" of the St. George Temple!  One of the prettiest and oldest there are.  Temples make any city a hundred times prettier!
BYU, Utah Jazz, Utah Utes...does anything from Utah have a better than .500 record this season in any sport?? This is a joke! Oh well, looks like the number 1 spot in the draft next year will be ours! That's something to look forward to. How far along is the college football season?

 I'm kinda jealous of your guys' Thanksgiving set up this year, too! Luckily enough, transfer day, where we are all riding trains to our areas happens to be on Thursday, Thanksgiving. So anyone being transferred doesn't have a shot at having a legit Thankgiving dinner, but maybe the day after! Who knows. All I know is while I'm travelling on a train, Elder Hobson will be with the elders in Grafenwöhr on the American base, having a true Thanksgiving feast without me. That loser. I hope he knows I hated my two transfers with him. Haha just kidding, I actually love that kid. I have been so blessed to have had the opportunity to serve with such a dilligent, committed elder. Too many elders out here are convinced that Germany is too hard, and there is no success, but he is one of the few with the mindset that since Germany is 60 or 70% without religion, (how would you say that in English?) that gives us a huge area to work with! He is going to be a stud back here in Erlangen. Of the 4 elders here, three of us got transferred out and only Hobson is staying! He's pretty stressed with the responsibility on his shoulders now, but I know it will just transform him into a champ.

 So. Where am I headed? If any of you somehow in someway. that would kind of creep me out if you got it right, guessed Aachen as my new're wrong! Haha I'm going to Karlsruhe! In the Heidelberg zone and the Heidelberg Stake. And I'm not just being transferred, Präsident Schwartz called me on Friday as a District Leader there! I am SO excited. I have only heard amazing things about Karlsruhe and the people and ward there. There are four elders in Karlsruhe, (me and my comp will be the University elders there), and the other companionship includes an elder named Elder Boyd from Canada, who has been here in the Nürnberg Zone with me and we've gotten way tight! So we're both stoked to be working so close to each other in such a pretty area, not to mention that next cycle includes WEIHNACHTEN, and Heidelberg is famous for one of the prettiest Christmas Markets ever!

So the work is amazing, the people, the area, and the timing, and I am so excited. A little nervous for the responsibility I now have, but I trust in Präsident's decision, and I know the Lord will help me through whatever challenges and changes it may require.

 I am very sad to leave Erlangen, this is literally my home in Germany. When I came here, I had just been trained, and was barely three months out in the field. In two weeks I will be close to ten. My entire mission has been here, and me and the members and investigators have come so close. Brother Buchmiller, the uncle of Katia, made sure that I knew if I was ever in Erlangen again after the mission, I could stay in their home with anyone I wanted for as long as I want. Haha I love them all so much, and I know that together with Elder Hobson they will be able to see miracles with Verena, Zhang, and Bernd that I had only seen the beginning of. They are definitely in good hands.

Thank you for the quote Dad, it is something that I am going to print out when I have the chance, because it really is true.
"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed.  The fact is that most putts don't drop.  Most beef is tough.  Most children grow up to be just ordinary people.  Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration.  Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise.

Life is like an old-time rail journey - delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.  The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

The world is focused on showing people what they could have, how amazing life COULD be, all the places they COULD go, and all the things they COULD do, and that their life isn't good enough yet, and they could always have more. And through that half-truth, Satan blinds people of realizing everything they already have and how far they have already come, instead of focusing on how much farther they still have to go.

One of the biggest secrets of life and happiness in my eyes is Gratitude. Not enough people actually count their blessings, like the hymn encourages us to do. I am so grateful that Thanksgiving is this week, because it gives us a chance to really realize what we do have. A family, a home and shelter, food, and friends. Some people don't have most, if not all of those four things, and sometimes we aren't even grateful for them. I really encourage you all to "count your blessings" this week. Realize what you have. Not what you want to have, or what you could have, but what you have right now. And don't just realize, give thanks. There is no quicker way to find happiness. When it's freezing cold, we're getting rejected by everyone, and we are hungry out here, I have learned that the quickest way to find an open heart and a prepared person, warmth, and to forget about our growling stomachs, is simply by thanking the Lord for the chance we have to be his servants and to help others find what we have and enjoy every day. It works, everytime. I promise you that. :)

 I hope you all have the best weeks ever, and I'll email you somewhere from Karlsruhe, Germany next week, hopefully with some pictures! I love you!

Tschau tschau for now!

 -- Elder McGinn
Fish on a stick for 5 euro (Elder Goodrich)
Too much dunk ball on our investigators!
Transfer call morning, making "raklette" including 14 eggs! 

Allyson Pobanz, the nine year old who wouldn't let me go until she got a picture with me.
Me and Adam Pobanz
From left to right:  Leon Buchmiller, Me, Joshi and Jasmin Molnar, Jannick Dettmer
I don't have a tie because I promised Allyson Pobanz she could have my red one.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Email & Pictures - November 19, 2013

I'm back!! Sorry about that, you can never rely on public transportation, especially here. You could be an 80 year old lady in a walker and try running down a bus, but they won't stop for you because you were 15 seconds late.

 After all these "things are just the same" emails, this week sounds like it's insane! Everybody is playing musical houses, BYU is doing work on everyone they play, and Dad is still putting Michelangelo to shame with his insta shots. (don't let any haters get to you dad, I liked it!)

 Mother, Christmas here is almost old news! The "fuß" (the main outdoor shopping area where everyone walks) has had enormous Christmas lights up and a giant, yet undecorated, Christmas tree in the main square since the first week of Oktober! They don't really have Halloween, and of course Thanksgiving doesn't exist, so it's Christmas time as soon as they get Oktoberfest outta the way! It is getting crazier and crazier, and I can't wait until festivities actually officially start to begin on the 29th.

 And it is colder than Mason's head in a blizzard out here. Haha but we are keeping very toasty, don't you fret! I bought some Nike spandex leg thermals yesterday, and now I'm totally covered! Plus we have some killer marzipan tea back at home, for the coldest of nights. :)

 Thanksgiving sounds like a blast for you guys this year! Big parties are always a blast, but I bet it's nice to keep it a little smaller and orderly. I wish I could eat some of your food Mom, I miss your rolls and pretty much everything else you make, but we'll make do! Speaking of Thanksgiving...I honestly have no idea when it is. Is it this Thursday, or next?

 Well, so you know how I told you we set a baptismal date last week...? Since then, we have set two more! Erlangen now has three baptismal dates set for the 14th of December! Zhang, 24, (Dad, he speaks very little English, and his German makes me laugh, but it's good and the only method we have really to communicate, aside from basketball) Verena, 18, and Bernd, 61. Things have been taking off lately, and we are so excited. It's almost too much to handle! We're way busy, and we love it. I just hope and pray every day that they will all be able to stay strong and go through with it. So many people flake out just before. So we just wanna thank you guys for all the prayers in our and their behalf, the Lord is answering them with miracles, and we're amazed every day. We're hoping we can set even one more this week, so we'll see how that goes, and we'll let you all know next week!

 This week is very busy and booked. It's week 6 of the transfer, so transfer calls are on Saturday and we'll find out what's up! I'm pretty convinced that I'm out. Six months is a long time in one place out here in a mission of 300 missionaries. I am very grateful though for the time I have had here, and hope that I can stay one more. I love this area, the members, the investigators, and the companions I've had! Elder Hobson is a stud. He works hard no matter the challenges, and always has a positive attitude, and has had such an impact on me. I hope we stay one more, but I guess only Präsident Schwartz knows!

 Other than that, we have district meeting tomorrow in a city called Grafenwöhr, an American army base, and that should be a party! I'm kinda nervous to be around an overwhelming amount of Americans's been a while! We also have a lot of appointments set up, and this last week, 17 new names popped up in the computer of members who have recently moved into our ward boundaries, so me and Hobson are plenty busy traveling all over trying to find these people!

 Gotta keep it kinda short this week since it's not Monday today, but have fun this week! Give Michael Buble a hug for me, and keep DVR'ing all the good shows! But no matter what kind of shenanigans you guys are up to, just know that I'm happy, I'm safe, I'm warm, and I know that the Church is true, and that the fullness of the gospel is restored on the earth once more. I love you all, and I'll hear from you soon!

 -- Elder McGinn

Monday, November 18, 2013

Email & Picture - November 18, 2013

Grüss euch, Familie!

 Hey, real quick, we had a rough day with the public transport connections today, and don't have a chance to write emails, so we got permission to write a little update tomorrow, but for now we gotta run! So I'll see you all in just a little bit, but to give you all a weekly present, I present you with the picture of the transfer....

 It was FREEZING outside after District Meeting, and I forgot to bring my coat along, so I borrowed a coat from the Nürnberg Ward House that proudly says "Hooligan Fighters" on the front. You know it, baby. I've been keepin' Hooligans off the Streets since 1994. Elder Haskell from St. George on the left, and Goodrich on my right!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Email & Pictures - November 11, 2013

Grüss Euch Wieder!

 What's up! Welcome back to this week’s episode of Elder McGinn is in a rush! Haha just kidding, I'm always in a rush, so it's nothing new!

It sounds like you all had some pretty solid, typical weeks! I'm way excited for Necia and Lyle and Kirt and Marcia! It's crazy how fast that time vanishes from the time you get the call and the time you realize you're walking out the front door to the MTC! I know they'll love it, and the people and missionaries in their areas will love them even more!

 I hope Grandpa is doing okay! Tell him I love him. I miss Grandma and Grandpa Mangum and Grandma McGinn very much. I hope they know how much I think about them and their examples to me!

Well, as you probably all suspected, the temple trip was better than I could have imagined. Every temple is gorgeous, but there's something about going to "your" temple that belongs to where you served that makes it even more special. I'll send pictures next week, I didn't bring my cord, but it's beautiful. We went through a whole session in German, and then did confirmations by the baptismal font! I forgot just how much I love the temple. It was so unbelievably good to be back. I felt some burden and weariness just vanish when we walked through the doors. I truly know that the temple is das Haus des Herrn, and nothing less. There is nowhere else on earth where we can be closer to our Father in Heaven, and we should never take it for granted.

 Also in news this week…Hobson and I set a baptismal date yesterday! Two weeks ago we met a Chinese guy names Zhang Xu on the Uni campus. We started talking to him and invited him to our sport night to play some basketball or soccer or ping pong or something. He agreed, and showed up! While there, he asked us questions about our church building and religion, and we had a chance to teach him the first and second lesson in the church gym! We got him a Book of Mormon, one in German and one in Chinese, and invited him to church! So he came yesterday, and while we were teaching him again, we both had the feeling to invite him to baptism. The mission is having a "white Christmas" day on the 14th of December, and they said that if possible, invite them to be baptized on that day so that there can be as many baptisms as possible on that day throughout the whole mission! So we asked Zhang if he would be willing to be baptized on the 14th of December. He paused, pulled out his phone, looked at his calendar, and said "I don't have any class that day. That works perfectly." Indeed it does, Zhang. We are so excited. We finally feel like all the work and time and effort we have been putting into the Uni is paying off, and the 14th can't come fast enough. I sure hope I'm not transferred in two weeks, because I want to see this to the end, but if I am, the new elder is coming to one of the coolest investigators ever.

 I love this gospel. I know I say that every time, but hey, that's what I'm called for two years to do. To tell people how much it means to me, how much it blesses me, and how happy it makes me, and it really does. I hope you can see it through me. The light of the gospel is something you can literally almost see through the light on someone's face or in someone's eyes. I know people you pass by every day see it and notice it, and I encourage you all to keep it as bright as ever.

 I'm short on time, so I won't have the opportunity to write everyone back, but just know that I love you all! The work is accelerating, and we're just trying to keep up! I'll write you all back next week, they come so fast at this point! Have the best weeks ever! No more being sick! It's bloody cold here!


-- Elder McGinn

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Email - November 4, 2013

Mamacita, Papacita and Famacita. That's the extent of my Spanish, and it's ALL WRONG. Sorry Griff and Jeff, I'm still working on the Adamic language out here.

 Sounds like you guys had a pretty solid Halloween! Dad, don't let anyone try to tell you who you are, be your own spirit and fly. (I apologize to all of you in advance for the beast I may have just unleashed.) I loved the pumpkin! We actually got to carve pumpkins this year too with an investigator who bought them for us before we came over and wanted us to show him how "a real Halloween pumpkin is carved". Halloween is still kinda new over here. Apparently Germans started integrating it a few years back because of the number of American Army bases they have over here, and it just caught on! It's still not huge and not considered a national holiday, but more people every year are carving pumpkins or decorating their houses and trick or treating! We had a lot of people sincerely tell us they liked our Jehovah's Witness costumes... ouch.

 Dad, the university, (the big one at least) out here that we spend all of our time on is called FAU, I believe! I don't have any idea what it stands for, but it's pretty nice and has a lot of majors!

That's awesome that you had the elders over! How's the language coming for them?...oh wait. Haha sometimes I'm jealous they can preach the gospel in their own language so easily, but it's not the words we say that brings someone to the gospel, it's the Spirit, and I'm thankful every single day for his help. :) Besides, at nine months out, it's been a while since I haven't felt totally comfortable with the language. The Lord has blessed me EXTREMELY with the language, and it has never been really a hindrance. (is that a word..? or is it just German?)

 Things with Max and Daisy: we'll have to see what happens this next week! Yesterday was Pfahl Konferenz (Stake Conference), and we were in Fürth which is like a thirty minute drive, so we didn't/couldn't bring any investigators with us! It was really cool though! Elder Proffit and I were informed the morning of that we were both part of a quartet of elders who were singing hymns as people walked into the building…yikes! It went well though! Mr. Durtschi, wherever you are, you deserve the credit for that one.

 We then had the conference, and at first I thought it was going to be a presidential debate. Two podiums were set up on the stage, and two people got up at once! For a second I thought things were about to get weird and partially apostate, but I forgot that we have three American bases in our stake, so whoever would speak, whether they were German or American, someone would stand at the other podium and translate their talk into the other language! It was really cool to watch how the gospel was being preached side by side, in two languages, both telling the truth and bearing testimony of Jesus Christ and his Atonement. And no matter who was standing and in what language they were speaking, you could most importantly feel the spirit. It was a great meeting! Then the choir (all 38 of us missionaries in this zone) sang the closing hymn wearing Mormon Helping Hands vests over our suits and ties… kinda weird, but we do what we're told. I love big meetings like that where you get to see so many elders and sisters you know that you haven't seen in months, and in that little amount of time, it's obvious the changes and progress they've made. The gospel is all about progress; about becoming more like Christ every day. Every one goes at different paces, but that's not what matters. It's not about who you were or are, it's about who you can become, which the scriptures tell us is perfect, even like unto our Father in Heaven, who is perfect.

 We're stoked out of our minds for this next week, and this is why: WE GET TO GO TO THE TEMPLE ON SATURDAY!!! I am so excited, I can barely stand it. I have not had the opportunity to go to the temple since I was back in Provo, and I can feel the difference too. For those of you who have the opportunity to go the temple even just once a month, please go. Coming from someone who had temples so close to me my entire life, and now not having the opportunity really at all, I can feel such a difference. The temple is literally the house of the Lord. His Spirits resides there, stronger and in more abundance than anywhere else on earth. The purpose of this gospel is happiness, and therefore what could bring you more peace and happiness than being closer to the Lord and His spirit than anywhere else? I love it so much, people ask us probably about as much as they ask us how many wives we have "what are those beautiful white buildings called temples, and what do they do?" People all over the world are amazed just by looking and standing near them, and they haven't even been inside yet. If you have the opportunity this week, I challenge you to go to the temple. It will bless you in ways you need and may not even realize.

 Well, it was a pretty slow week success-wise this last week, and hopefully this next one will be a little better! I love the hard times just as much as the easy times, if not more, and I am so grateful every day for this opportunity I have. I haven't spoken to you all in German for a while, so I feel like I'll take the opportunity. :)

 Wörter können einfach kein gefühle ausdrucken, die meine Gefühle vergleichbar sind wenn ich über Dankbarkeit rede. Unser Herr ist uns so barmherzig, jeden tag. Er ist vollkommen, ohne fehler, aber er ist jeden tag gedüldig als wir versuchen, ihm näher zu kommen. Dass ist mir wirklich ein Zeugnis dass er buchstäblich unserem Vater in Himmel ist. Kein Vater gibt seine Kinder eine Straffe wenn sie einen fehler machen, sondern er gibt uns rat und unterstützt uns als wir lernen und probieren, was uns glücklich macht. Das Leben ist wie einen Prüfung. Bei jedes Prüfung bleibt der Lehrer leise und still, als die Schülern durch die Fragen gehen. Wir haben studiert, unseren Hausaufgabe schon gemacht, und er vertraut uns, richtig zu antworten. Aber es gibt etwas besonderes bei deisem Prüfung den wir jetzt machen. Wir können der Lehrer fragen stellen als wir das Prüfung machen, und er wird uns helfen. Es ist seltsam dass jemand einen Prüfung ohne fehler schafft, aber dass ist egal. Er weißt dass manchmal werden unseren Bleistiften kaput gehen, und wir werden das falsche antwort markieren. Aber wenn wir unseres bestes geben und wirklich, AUFRICHTIG, das Prüfung machen, wird er uns einen "A" geben. Dass weiß ich. Ich weiß dass das Evangelium Jesu Christi alle die Antworten hat, und dass nur durch das Sühnopfer Jesu Christi, können wir diesem Prüfung schaffen um alle die segnungen zu emfangen dass der Herr uns verheißen hat. Ich habe euch lieb, und ich bin so dankbar dass ich bei euch für die Ewigkeit bleiben kann. Und dass sage ich euch im Namen Jesu Christi, Amen.

 **Google Translate: Words can simply not feeling print that my feelings are similar to when I talk about gratitude. Our Lord is so merciful to us , every day . He is completely without fault , but he is every day gedüldig as we try to get closer to him . That to me is really a testimony that he is literally our Father in Heaven. No father gives his children a taut when they make a mistake, but he gives us advice and support us as we try and learn what makes us happy. Life is like a test. In each test , the teacher remains silent and still, as the students go through the questions. We have studied already done our homework , and he trusted us to respond properly . But there is something special that we make at deise testing now . We can ask the teachers make when we make the examination , and he will help us. It is strange that someone creates a test without errors , but that does not matter. He will know that sometimes go kaput our pencils, and we will mark the wrong answer . But if we give our best and really , TRULY , make the test , he will give us an "A " . That I know. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ has all the answers , and that only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ , we can test this by creating emfangen all the blessings that the Lord has promised to us . I have loved you, and I am so grateful that I can stay with you for eternity. And I tell you in the name of Jesus Christ , Amen.

 -- Elder McGinn