This may have arguably been one of the best news-filled emails that you all have ever sent! Menschenskinder! I knew you guys had entertaining lives, not just the boring ones you all profess to have every week! :)
That is so good to hear about my Germans in the Olympics. Dad, we have about 100-110 active a week in sacrament meeting. It's not huge, but it is quite large for a ward in Germany. It's probably the biggest I've been in so far, and elders who serve in the East in branches of 6-15 members would kill for it. So I consider myself very blessed. :)
Transfer calls were on Saturday, and the news is in! Elder Colson, who came last transfer, is being transferred back out to the East to Gotha! He's not super excited, but he'll do well there. I'm getting an elder named Elder Jensen, who I've met before at Zone Conferences, and I'm stoked to work with him! I'll fill you in more on him later, but he's the best beat boxer I've ever seen in my life! We'll find some way to turn that into a finding technique!
Sadly we don't have a ton of time today, because today is the big Zone P-Day before everyone gets transferred, and they want to go on a way pretty hike in Heidelberg up around some castles! So we're racing the clock. Just FYI. I still love you all though.
This week was pretty solid. A little slow, and not so many appointments as in weeks past, but the appointments that we had were killer! We've been working with Döschner still, getting him ready for the next temple trip the first week of May! Step by step he's getting through everything. After that, it's Melchezidek Priesthood in 2015! We've also been meeting a lot with teilmitgliedfamilien (part member families) and analyzing the different situations, because we have quite a few part member families in our ward, and the non member spouses are always at church, and even singing in the ward choir! So we're on the investigation of what's up with these "trocken mitglieder"s (dry members).
Other than that, we had an eye-opening experience this week at Marianna Kocsis's house, our Hungarian investigator. When we came over, she had just gotten back from shopping, and she told us that she was so stressed out and tired because she has so much to do and clean, and all before her husband and very strict mother-in-law came that evening. We asked her if it would be alright if we helped, and she laughed. So we said, no we're serious, can we clean your house for you, to help it go faster? And she looked at us really confused. She said "no, you guys shouldn't do that, it's my problem! Plus, guys don't clean." So we told her we helped clean at our homes and we're here as missionaries to fix problems, so we'll take that as our invitation. :) Elder Colson started to dust and I started to vacuum. We had been cleaning for about 15 minutes when I started vacuuming in her living room, and she was crying. That definitely wasn't what we were going for! So I asked what was up, and she told me she couldn't believe it. She had been married for 20 years, she has two kids, one 18, one 16, and no one had EVER helped her clean. Ever. Not her kids, her husband, anyone. That was always her problem that she took care of alone. And now that two men, especially young men, were helping her clean without her asking just overwhelmed her and she started to cry because she was so thankful. I realized sometimes that is all someone needs, just some help. She was amazed by such a little amount of service that someone showed her, and I couldn't believe how much service she hadn't been shown in her life!
Sometimes, especially as missionaries, we look for and try to make life changing differences by doing something amazing and spectacular. Something that took planning and time and effort just to amaze someone. But by thinking like that, we miss all the tiny, so simple opportunities around us to build someone up and comfort them, the things that probably mean just as much if not more to them as some huge, extravagant thing. Christ lived like that. He lived for the small moments where he could serve. Yes, he performed miracles, but he also washed feet. If you haven't read or sung it in a while, I encourage you guys to go listen to or read the lyrics of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief". That's the trick of life, in my 19-year-old opinion, to not be distracted by the big things in life, and being sensitive enough to notice the little things that almost everyone needs.
Go help someone this week! Don't throw them a birthday party, but go make their bed or something, to show them that you love them, and that you love Christ. He really was and still is the perfect example, and in his footsteps is where we find lasting happiness. I know that, because I've lived it.
I love you guys! Have the best week! I'll hear from you soon and get back to all of you ASAP! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SNARK!! You've got a letter comin your way. :)
Bis nächstes mal!
-- Elder McGinn
P.S. Oh Mother, I do look forward quite intently to opening this next package. It's always a highlight of my weeks out here. You're the best mother ever. :) and I'm serious!
P.P.S. Go Hawkeyes! Are my Miami Hurricanes or UNC Tarheels in it this year?