Monday, May 26, 2014

Email - May 26, 2014

With how this week has been, I think I'm gonnna like the 20's. :)

 Aside from the awesome gift from home, on Thursday I was on a split with the office elders, and we had to deliver some things to missionaries in Kaiserslautern, the military base area! Because one of the elders there is ex-army, he asked us if we were hungry for some lunch. Heck yeah. So he took us onto base where for the first time in forever we had Taco Bell and Dr. Pepper for lunch! Oh my goodness. DELICIOUS. After that, he took us to the Commissary, the American grocery store, and we went to town. Fruit Roll Ups, Mountain Dew, Pop Tarts, Swedish Fish, Chips Ahoy, Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, and tons of other stuff. You name it, we bought it! And had the best drive back to Frankfurt ever, and felt really sick and really happy that night. :)

 On Wednesday we had our first big Mini Mission Skype Conference call with the Düsseldorf stake! Next up is Heidelberg and Dortmund! It went really well, everyone liked it, and now the Mini Mission is officially in motion in the Düsseldorf stake! Out of our hands and into theirs. It's getting closer and closer, and we're getting more and more excited

. Also, tonight we're having a big activity for the YSA Family Home Evening! "American Yard Sports Night." Three legged races, bobbing for apples, water balloon volleyball, all that good stuff. It's gonna be great. The YSA's and we are pumped. Being a Uni/YSA Elder is the bomb dot com, let me tell ya. :)

 We just realized we forgot to buy something for tonight, so we gotta run soon, but there's something I wanna share first!!

 Miracle of the Week: yesterday we were frustrated. We had been at church all day, and when we finally had time to go out and talk to people on the streets, no one wanted to listen to us. Like, harder than usual rejections. We used up every minute we had until we had to go in and found no one. We got upstairs, all bummed and just wanted to get out of our missionary clothes, when my phone went off. It was a member out on the street. She said she was with two people who randomly came up to her, and really wanted to know about the church. She told us to hurry and get down there, so we threw our clothes back on as fast as possible, still tying our ties as we walked out of the door, and met Frank and his wife. They moved into the neighborhood only weeks before, came by the church a few times, but it was always closed and no one was there, and they didn't know who to talk to about it. So when they saw this member walking out, they ran over to her. They are solid investigators, and we really think they're already close to baptism.

 That just proves to me that God is aware of what we do. We worked so hard for so long, and thought that all our efforts were a waste. We could have just stayed inside and wasted our time, but we knew it was more important to be obedient and try to talk to people on the street. Frank talking to this member was totally unrelated to our efforts on the streets, but yet it was. I believe had we not been on the streets, trying to share the Gospel, the experience with Frank never would have happened, because Heavenly Father wouldn't want to give his prepared people to missionaries who aren't prepared or aren't obedient enough to teach them. Heavenly Father watches carefully what we do, and it's so important to do what you know you should, despite the results, because in His way and in His time, He will reward you for it. :)

 I love it here! Germany is great! You are great! Your tradition at Gpa McGinn's grave is great! I can't wait to join in on that one day. I hope he was happy I drank an American Dr. Pepper this last week, in honor of him! I love you all, and I'll hear from you guys soon! Keep it classy, keep the scriptures open, keep their teachings in your hearts, and you'll be soooo happy. I can promise you that. :)

 Ich hab euch lieb, immer wieder! Ins besonderes für dich, Mutter. :)

 eure Lieblings,

 -- Elder McGinn

Monday, May 19, 2014

Email & Pictures - May 19, 2014

Dad, you are as fluent as ever. I see you've been diligent in your Pun 101 studies.  By the way, instead of saying "Hallo" for "hello" in German, you should say "Servus" (sar(as in Sarah)-vooos), it's better. :)

 Wow, Dad, what a week! Sometimes I think I'm busy, and then I remember what your schedule is like! It's a ton of work, I can imagine, but these stakes wouldn't run nearly as smoothly without everything you stake presidents give! So keep it up. :)

 Mamacita! How did I know you would open up with a Primary song verse?? I just knew it. :) Thank you! You don't understand the incredible will power it's taking to have that bag sitting next to my desk and me doing nothing about it...relief is just around the corner.

 Well, since you've all asked, despite the long 250 kilometer drive, Düsseldorf was a huge success. The Zone Leaders in Düsseldorf had planned out a huge activity about the war chapters in Alma, and what we can learn from them, and there were three stations. In the first they tied ties around their heads and went with Teancum, one Zone Leader, into the gym and built a huge barricade around the stage out of chairs and tables and everything else you can think of, and talked about the importance of building our barricade and being prepared against attacks of the adversary. They then came to us, Gideon and Lehi, and were informed of the Mini Mission/their opportunity to join the ranks in the battle for a week and got them super pumped, and then they went with all of us and Moroni, the other Zone Leader, and got inside the barricade. The lights were low and there was Lord of the Rings music playing in the background, totally adding to the mood, and Moroni gave a speach, in which he tore his suit coat in half and made a title of Liberty. The youth all had been told to bring their own button up shirts with them, and all got to tear them and make their own Titles of Liberty, with their goals and dreams and motivations written on them. Kids wrote things like "Temple Marriage", "Big Family", "Temple Recommend", "Full Time Mission", and even "Mini Mission". That was followed by a small testimony sharing time in the barricade, and up until that point I didn't realize that almost all of them were crying. There was no break at all between kids getting up and telling us how much they want to reach these goals, or how they're going to build their barricade walls higher, and things like that. It was one of the most spiritual moments I can remember.

 The youth are incredible and are going to be such a powerful generation in the Church, we just have to keep them motivated and on the right path as best we can. It's such a blessing to have such an assignment where we get to work with the youth across the mission. Aside from the 500 kilometers of driving and accidentally driving to the Düsseldorf airport because we got on the wrong side of the highway, I can't wait to do it again. :)

 We had another priceless assignment from President Schwartz this week as well. President is so loving and grateful for all of the senior couples, and does all he can for them. One couple, Elder and Sister Jackson, are going home this next week, and President of course wanted to do something special. This couple is staying in a home right next to a grape vineyard, and Elder Jackson loves to sing. His dream was always to go to the top of the vineyard and sing over the hills at the top of his lungs. So President assembled a team of six missionaries, including us, to surprise them on Wednesday with hymn books, and we drove up to the top and for thirty minutes just sang whatever songs he wanted to out of the hymn books. Arguably one of the best things I've done in my life. SO pretty, it was unreal, and everybody loved it. Needless to say, it's been a pretty solid week. :) I'll be sending some pictures soon when I get the chance!

 This upcoming week we'll be giving some presentations at the Trainer/Golden meeting in Offenbach, right next to Frankfurt, and there's a Ward Activity on Saturday at a castle where we'll be grilling, checking out the castle, playing games, and there will be water balloons! We've got a bunch of less actives and contacts who want to come, and it's gonna be big. We're stoked!

 Well, now that I've talked your faces off, we gotta run! A gaggle of missionaries are coming here today to have a volleyball tournament in the gym, so wish us luck! Have a fantastic week, especially Thursday, and we will too! :)

 The Church is true. Christ lives and leads this church today. We have a prophet, called of God, who guides this church through inspiration. I love being one of 80,000 missionaries who get the opportunity to let the world know. No unhallowed hand can stop this work from moving forward. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and the only way to find that out is to read it yourself.  The longer I've been on a mission, the simpler my testimony has become, because I simply and undeniably know that this is all true.

 -- Elder McGinn
Title of Liberty...self ripped, self written

Vineyard where we sang hymns 

Frankfurt shenanigans!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Email - May 12, 2014

Family! Long time no see!

 I am so happy I got to see and talk to you guys yesterday! Skyping totally snuck up on me, and I have no idea where that time went since Christmas! Dad, I know what you mean. The Pioneers would probably shoot it with their muskets, thinking it was some kinda black magic. We're so constantly and increasingly blessed, sometimes we don't even realize it! Mom, I loved the new shirt. New to me, at least. You're the first person I saw when the screen popped up, and just the person I was looking for! I hope you had an amazing Mother's Day. :) Dad, you're still the tech wiz, and without you, none of this would be possible. So I guess it all kinda does revolve around you, like you always say. :) Mase and Ash, I'm super jealous you're touring Europe right now, and I better be seeing pictures soon! Allie, Jeff, Cohen, and Knox, I finally met you all in person (kinda) all at once! You all are looking good, and I'm honored to have been chillin on your bed with y'all. (and it's so freakin weird that Cohen can talk now! I can actually communicate with him...let the brainwashing begin) :) Griff and Julie, even though it sounded like you were whispering, you guys looked right at home, and it's ridiculous you've been married for a year. Cut it out! Snark, I mean, Syd, I'm glad you like the glow stick-smelling blanket, and enjoyed fifty minutes of chillin on the couch listening to us quatch!

It really was so good to talk! There's just 2 things I hate about skyping: 1. it's nearly impossible to fill you all in on what has been happening in the last year or so of my life in just 50 minutes, so I apologize if you all feel unfulfilled! 2. 50 skype minutes = 5 real life minutes. By the time you feel like you said hi, it's time to say bye! But seeing all your charming faces is just what I needed. Right after that we headed off to a member appointment to share a Mother's Day message, and then we came back to the apartment and started planning out our presentation for this weekend in Düsseldorf! We are so excited, especially Elder Chicky since he's never really left the Frankfurt Zone. This is gonna be an awesome opportunity to get the youth pumped for missionary work and mini missions, and hopefully the excitement will trickle into other zones and stakes around the mission! We're excited, so wish us luck!

 I kinda already filled you in on what has been happening as of late, mostly including tedious small tasks getting ready for the big transition, but this week should be good! We have a number of appointments set up, and we're excited to be working in both the International and German wards here! We'll do our best to give a good lesson at the Jensen's as well, don't worry. Other than that, we're looking forward to having a ton of finding time and hopefully increasing our teaching pool this week, we'll be planning more for the mini mission and helping out in the office, and then we'll be up in Düsseldorf, and then back next Monday before you know it! This week will fly.

 We don't have a ton of time, and Elder Chicky is getting frustrated with trying to sign up for classes at Clemson, so we gotta roll! But I love you all! I'm so grateful I have such an amazing family here on earth! What makes it even better is we'll have Mothers Days to celebrate for eternities together, so strap in. :) I hope you all had an amazing Mutter Tag and and even better week! Everything is going great here, and even more importantly, the Church is true! So tell your friends, or else we missionaries will! :)

 Love you all, and talk to you soon!

 -- Elder McGinn

Monday, May 5, 2014

Email - May 5, 2014

Dang it, faja! You beat me to it. I honestly couldn't wait last night to get you with a "May the 4th be with you", knowing it would tickle your fancy, but you beat me. But I do hope it was with you anyway!

 Liebe Familie, seiet gegrüßt!

 I hope you all have had a crazy sunny, crazy fun and busy week like I have! It sounds like you guys have a great Stake Conference coming up! I don't doubt it will be awesome. I do miss hearing you speak, Dad! (even if the others don't). You always have such a powerful spirit with you when you speak, and I am one of many who have always been so influenced by your testimony and example to be a better me. The Heatheridge Stake is so blessed to have the Stake Presidency they have! Let me know how it goes.

 Alright chaps, Mother's Day is coming up, and I decided I don't wanna skype! so that's that! Have a good one!

 K, I lied. I'm actually super excited to see you all on Sunday! It feels like we just skyped a few weeks ago, but I guess here we are again! Gosh, time is flying. We'll be punctual, I promise! So get ready, cause it's gonna be big. And I'm super excited to hear Cohen and Knox this time! We'll have one more participant than usual, thanks to you, Knox! Anyway, those are the details, and we'll be seeing us soon. :)

Aside from that, this week was good! Busy and a little tedious, but good. Saturday was transfer calls AGAIN, and Elder Chicky and I will be staying together for a second! His last transfer. He goes home on the 20th of June, so it's going to be a crazy transfer. I'm excited to get another cycle with him. He's as old and as experienced as you can get out in the field, and I'm gonna drain every ounce of knowledge from him I possibly can. Going home with him (but not actually to South Carolina with him) is President Schwartz! I can't tell you all how sad I am that President is finishing up his mission. He is an amazing man, and I have never met anyone like him. I have come to love him so much, and am a little torn inside that he'll be finishing up. But it is okay, because he lives in Feucht, a city which is in our mission, so we'll be seeing him around.

 So being here in Frankfurt with a mission president transition, we're super busy! We have to get Pres. Schwartz out, and prepare and get Pres. Stoddard in! We've spent a lot of time in the office, but it is worth it. Also, plans have been approved, and the Mini Mission is about to begin! And as the Mini Mission Coordinators, Elder Chicky and I will be going around the mission to get it started! So starting on May 17th, our first trip will be up to Düsseldorf! We're excited and stressed, and it's going to be good to finally get things going. I'm a little stressed because we were at President's house on Saturday, and he said to me "Sad that Elder Chicky and I will be going home, huh? A large portion of the mini mission will be carried by you. Are you ready, Elder McGinn?" Oh boy. But it's exciting.

 Other than that, things were kinda the same old same old! We talked with a lot of young students, and found one who seems very interested and promising! Her name is Camille, and she said she would be at an activity this week, and we have been staying in contact, so we'll see if she turns out to be an investigator! We also had some church building tours this week, which weren't the best. Haha to make a long story short, we invited all of the former investigators we could find numbers for (which is hundreds) to the church tours on Saturday! When the time came for the tours, we were all there and waiting, and no one came. None of the people we called, even those who said they would come, came. So after 30 minutes of nothing, another elder and I made a quick sign that said "Gemeindehaus Führungen!" on it and held it outside as we asked people off of the street if they had any time and interest for church tours. Surprisingly, we got 2 people right away! We had the chance to show them our amazing stake center here in Frankfurt, explain to them the pictures of Joseph Smith and other pictures on the walls, and introduce and give to them a Book of Mormon! Our original plan didn't work, but maybe it was because we never would have met these two people on the street had we been busy with other people and other church tours! Who knows. All I know is that the Lord knows, and His ways and meanings are mysterious yet perfect, and there was a reason we didn't see as much success at our activity as we wanted to.

 We are constantly learning, growing, and improving, and as long as we don't let go of the iron rod that leads us through, we will never go astray. I'm so grateful I'm here in Germany right here and right now. It's where I'm supposed to be. I saw a quote this week that I liked that said "we never know what today will bring. But we traded a whole day of our life for it, so don't let the opportunities pass you by, because when tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever." and I agree. The opportunities to grow and learn and whatever else that you will have today were worth trading one day of your life for them! So don't let that day go to waste by not using what you bought for it. Try a little harder to be a little better.

 I love my Savior and I love you all, and I look forward to hearing from you next week! Have the best weeks ever, and I'll see you in six days!

Your favorite missionary son,

 -- Elder McGinn