Monday, July 28, 2014

Email - July 28, 2014

Meine ewige Familie, oh wie ich euch Lieb habe. Look at me go, now I'm rhyming in German.

 I can't even express how proud of you guys I am! Blue beads. Heck yes. We can add it to my extensive collection over the years. And about the shirt, kein Problem! Beads are a must. Shirts are just an added bonus. I woulda been super proud. So no worries, Al, I know you fought like a champ! Besides, that squid hat is sick! Hahaha Fairview. I don't even know how to describe Fairview's ongoings. Was the hat stand next to the deep fried pickles and everything else you can imagine stand?

 Mother, the package exchange was successfully made last night. The Jensen's shot me a text in the middle of the day, and we organized an exchange for that night after we had planned for the day. Aren't they just the greatest people in the world? I can't believe that they take up space in their luggage to do that. Saints. And shoot, talk about best package ever! Sick Nike shirt, food and drinks galore, and OTTER POPS! Shoot, you guys still love me. I was starting to question it. :) so as soon as we're back in the apartment today, those bad boys should be frozen and ready to break out.

 Which brings me to the next point, yes, transfers! Präsident Stoddard's first official transfer call, and it was great! A lot of my really good friends out here are starting to go home, and it's kinda sad! For example, Elder Tim Meyer, who I took German with all through junior high, goes home on Thursday! All finished up. He was an incredible missionary, and it would make Frau Lindsay proud. Unfortunately, I'm leaving the Trifekta here in Frankfurt. They split us up, probably because it was too easy to get work done, and way too efficient. We're on our missions to learn, not just breeze through, so I had to leave. :( haha but I'll get over it, because I'm headed back to probably the prettiest place in the mission! Heidelberg.

 Before, I was in Karlsruhe, and Heidelberg was in that district, so I was there a few times, and I loved it. When I left to Frankfurt, I thought I probably wouldn't see it again. But now I'm back, and it's my city now. :) I'm super pumped. I'm serving with an elder named Elder Henderson, who I know really well, and we're excited to work together. Also, Elder Jensen, my last companion is still in Karlsruhe, and so now he's back in my district! Crazy. I'm really excited, but really, really sad to leave Frankfurt. It's been such a great learning time for me. I've been around some incredible missionaries, and was here to help move Präs. Schwartz out and Präs. Stoddard in! A lot has happened. The Mini Mission is moving like crazy, and I'm handing over the steering wheel to Elder Lovelace to finish it out. He's just gotta make sure that everything keeps running smoothly like it has been, and then it's in the bag. :) But as for me, Heidelberg bound, starting Thursday!

 I found a really great scripture this last week. Helaman 12:1-3. Those three verses pretty much sum up the course of our lives, humanity as a whole. I've been studying "happiness" lately, because that is all that anyone wants in life, is to be happy. And a bunch of different times in the scriptures it talks about how they lived after the manner of happiness, or that they were the happiest people that had ever been created by the hand of the Lord, and I wanted to know what kind of happiness it was talking about, and how you find it. I now have three pages in my study journal all about happiness. Times in the Book of Mormon where people were happy, and why. It has been the best study ever. Aside from Helaman 12, another scripture I want you guys to look up is Alma 44:5. Moroni mentions what they owe all their happiness to, literally everything. I'll let ya find it yourselves. :)

 Guys, die Kirche ist wahr. Das kann ich nicht verleugnen. Ich habe viel zu viele Erfahrungen erlebt, worin ich wirklich erkannt habe dass Gott lebt und uns führt und leitet, wenn wir uns auf ihn verlassen. Ich habe es so gern, ein Missionar des Herrn Jesus Christus zu sein. Ich kann euch bezeugen, wie auch den Menschen auf der Strasse, dass er lebt, und euch liebt. Er will dass ihr glücklich werdet. Das ist sein hohes Ziel. Wenn ihr noch mehr Glück und Freude und Frieden finden möchtet, ich empfehle es euch in den Schriften zu forschen, und selbst herauszufinden, wie ihr das alle finden könnt. Ich bin glücklich. Ich vermisse euch, klar, aber ich weiß dass ich ein noch wichtigeres Werk zu tun habe. Das Buch Mormon ist wahr. Habt ihr gestern darin gelesen? Falls nicht, HEUTE. Schlagt das Buch Mormon auf, und fangt an zu lesen. Ich kann euch versprechen dass der Tag besser laufen wird. Und es ist weil dies alles wahr ist. :)

 ** Guys, the Church is true. I can not deny. I have seen far too many experiences where I really realized that God lives and leads and guides us when we trust in him. I have it so much, a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ. I can testify to you, as well as the people on the street that he lives, and loves you. He wants you to be happy. This is his lofty goal. If you want to find more happiness and joy and peace, I recommend it to you, search the scriptures, and even find out how you can find all the. I am happy. I miss you, sure, but I know that I have to do an even more important work. The Book of Mormon is true. Have you read it yesterday? If not, TODAY. Open the book of Mormon, and begin to read. I can promise you that the day will be better. And it is because this is all true. :)

 Bis das nächste mal!

 -- Elder McGinn

Monday, July 21, 2014

Email & Pictures - July 21, 2014

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MOM AND DAD!!! Without you, I wouldn't even be here! So props to you guys! :) I hope you guys do something great for it this year!

 Ah, I'm jealous you guys all get to see the derby again without me! I'm not the biggest fan of country music or living on a farm, but something about the Demo Derby gets my redneck blood flowin', and it feels great. You gotta catch a necklace. No excuses. If someone has to get stitches for it, so be it. Make me proud! And if there's a car number 27, it's totally gonna win.

Hahahaha, vuvuzelas are wretched instruments, Dad, I agree. I wanna stick a giant sausage in every one that someone blows. Fortunately the horn blowing and shouting is over, but what ISN'T is the crazy deals on fan gear! So I may be kaufen mir einige Sachen nächste Woche! :) I'll see what there is on the shelves! And you're right, I never will forget being in the world's most dominant soccer country, and them celebrating like crazy at 1 in the morning as we missionaries were trying to sleep in order to preach repentance to all of them the next day. I love them all though. :)

Thanks for the scriptural thought, Dad. I have actually been thinking about that question a lot in the last little while, because I get that response all the time on the streets, and for the longest time I didn't have a super solid response back to it, because I didn't want to make people feel that their right to personal revelation wasn't good, but they can have so much MORE, if they just realized that. It's like 2 Nephi 28:30. If they would just follow their promptings and not be satisfied with the little that they have, they could have SO much more. They just don't realize it yet! I hope we all realize how much more we can have if we just follow the little thoughts and promptings we have every day. How do we know if it's from the Spirit, though? I know one of you at least is thinking that! Does the prompting lead you to do something good that is in accordance with what the prophets teach, and would build someone up? All good comes from God. So if it would be something good, you can almost always bet it's from the Spirit. That's how I've learned to recognize the Spirit daily here on my mission. It works, I promise! :)

 We had a really good week! Elder Kitchen and I were on a split for 5 days, because Elder Lovelace dislocated his knee playing volleyball, and Elder Emery has SUPER bad ingrown toenails, and had to get surgery on them! So we stuck the wounded together and made them stay home, while we went with Elder Baker, Elder Emery's companion, and took care of 2 areas for the week! It was a little stressful, but a little fun! As Uni Elders, we don't get the chance to meet with regular families, just YSA's, so it was fun to get the chance again!

 Also, on Sunday we got the chance to teach the Primary kids about becoming a missionary! We got the 4 year olds, and it was great. They were all so shy and timid to answer our questions (probably because both of my companions are over 6'3''), except for one boy. But he burped in the middle of the lesson really loud, and started crying because it hurt him! Hahaha the Primary is a blast, and it makes me miss teaching it with Cade! Those were the days.

 Well, I'm sorry, but we gotta go. ALL of the computers in the church building are now broken, so we had to go find another internet cafe that didn't cost as much as the last one, and we had about half as much time to email this week! But hopefully they'll be back up next week! I'll try to send some pics though. :)

 I can't get back to you all, but I love each of you much more than you realize, and I can feel every prayer and every thought that you guys offer in my and our behalf. The Church is true, and the work here in Germany is amazing. I can't get enough of the scriptures, and hope you all study them as much as you should! There is some amazing stuff in there, and my scriptures look like a rainbow because I mark them so much.

 We love it here. The humidity is rough, but oh well, at least every one else is just as sweaty as we are! We try to avoid the trains though, those are just sweaty, public saunas. I seriously love my mission so much. There is so much good in this country, I love being the one who is called to go and find it! Trust in the Lord. What we see term as "coincidence" is just that fact that we don't understand God's perfect plan, but I know that everything happens for a reason. I pray for you all daily, and miss you all very much! I hope you all have a great week, an AWESOME anniversary, and I'll hear from you all and write you all back next week! I promise! I love this, and wouldn't be ANYWHERE else.

 Bis nächstes mal!

 -- Elder McGinn
Enough said

Thomas the Tank Engine for Cohen! (Cam's 3 yr old nephew)

Contacting people on the Main River

Somebody's got the right idea

Yeah, tell me about it.

Me and Elder Kitchen after cleaning out the mold behind our fridge.  Didn't want to inhale any of that!

Soaking up the killer view from Oma Elfi's balcony with the Trifekta!

Oma Elfi!  She lives in the same building and cooks us food all the time, and we can visit her since we have three elders.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Email - July 14, 2014

 No, I did not watch the game, but I definitely did not miss a second of it last night! Frankfurt was off the hook! Anytime a German player tied his shoe, the city would erupt! Fireworks, shouting, cheering, honking, vuvuzela blowing, the whole shebang all night long! So granted, I'm a little tired right now. But so happy. :) That's my country!! So put that in your pipe and smoke it, Zeke!

Haha I love hearing the weekly down low from all you guys! It gives me some laughs that only you guys can conjure up outta me! I hope you all are getting enough pictures from me! I try to keep it interesting, I know the pics are more entertaining than the emails! I have a ton of videos too that I wish I could send, but myldsmail only sends things under 15 MB, and that isn't a lot! You'll get them eventually. :) 102 degrees in Salt Lake?! Holy Aunt Jemima. If there was any humidity in Utah, I would just lay in a tub of ice all day that day. Let me know how it went!

 President Stoddard is doing great. I had an interview with him this last week, and he is definitely the man called to lead this mission. And every time I see him, he gives me a big hug and tells me to make sure I tell the fam hi!

 It was a good week as well. One of those weeks where a lot happened, but nothing that exciting or out of the ordinary to report on, that you all don't know already! It was a little bit of a frustrating week, because we spend so much time finding lately, without much success to show for it. We tried to have three different street displays this week, and they all either got cancelled last minute, or it started pouring rain 15 minutes into it, so we had to pack up and ride back to the mission office with the bikes before the supplies got too wet! That happened more than once this week, so I think I could go another little while without a swim. It's been a lot cooler lately, too! I'm definitely not complaining. It's been seriously so cool being in Germany as Germany stomped the rest of the world in the World Cup, but also really bothersome because no one has had much time to meet because of some kind of tailgating party or something else related to the world cup! They don't have any excuse for eternal salvation this week, though! So time out is over, and the game is back on. :)

 We met with a couple of YSA's this week, one of which is preparing for a mission. Her best friend just left for the St. George mission, and now she's working on getting out! So we've introduced Preach My Gospel to her and how to use it, and have been helping her with her mission papers! I love seeing people get ready to go on missions! And I know she'll be great.

 On Sunday, one of the YSA's we've been working with brought a friend with him to church! His name is Daniel. It was such a blessing and relief after this last week, especially for Elder Kitchen. He was getting a little frustrated from Frankfurt not showing us any love with finding new investigators, and said he had never prayed harder for someone to show up to church at the end of that week, to show us that the Lord was happy with our efforts through the week. And he was there! It strengthened all of our testimonies for sure. Kevin and his friend Daniel left during the middle of Sacrament Meeting, so we're in touch with Kevin so we can set something up with them later, and hopefully add Daniel to the teaching pool!

 So a little bit ago, I told you all about how important it is to be thankful. When I started and decided I was going to go a week with just expressing thanks to Heavenly Father, it got harder and more frustrating than usual, and I was a little bugged by that! I was trying to say thank you, but it was getting harder when I did! But now I know that Heavenly Father was really seeing how thankful I was, even when a lot wasn't going our way. I kept telling him thank you, no matter how the day went, for every little tender mercy I could think of, and even if there aren't huge numbers to account for what we got in return, I feel happy and satisfied. Those are two feelings that 90% of the world is looking for and is trying to find through religion, hobbies, and anything else. It only comes through doing the right things, and knowing that God is happy and aware of you and your efforts. I know that now, more than I ever did before. Trials are the biggest blessings, and you learn the most when it's hard. So don't wish them away too fast, because you never know what you might have learned!

 I love it here, I'm happy, healthy, and over time, so I gotta go! Sorry that I won't be able to get back to all of you this week, but you're all great! I love you all! Especially you, Mom!

 -- Elder McGinn

Monday, July 7, 2014

Email & Pictures - July 7, 2014

Hey y’all! How was America the Beautiful this last week? (We sang that for our comp study song!) I hope as purple and spacious as ever.

 You really don´t realize how awesome America is until you aren´t there. Seriously, I love Germany so much and everything that goes with it, but I definitely bleed red white and blue when it comes down to it, and not for France or Russia. This 4th of July we spent making Mexican food with a young British couple named the Southalls! They´re great. We´ve been working with them a lot lately because they´re extremely missionary minded and seriously invite everyone and everything they meet to learn about the gospel or come to activities or visit church or whatever! They´re just great and full of energy, so we had a blast with them!

 The Mini Mission is indeed still up and running! We made some switches around with K-town, and they´ll be having another week in August! They want another, because they have been spreading the news and success stories and so more and more youth want to join in! It´s a great problem for me to have! Also, every stake in the mission now has a date for the mini mission except one. So things are really getting rolling, and this is about to get crazy up in here! One of the stakes set their date for the end of October through the beginning of November! And right now, I am literally the only person in the mission who knows how this runs anymore, so that might be guaranteeing me staying here in Frankfurt up until then and the mini mission is all finished! We´ll see what happens.

 I apologize for the lack of time, but there have been a lot of computers breaking down in the Frankfurt Ward House, so we´re emailing in an Internet Cafe where we need to pay, and we don´t have much time left! But I wanted to share something with you guys that I learned in church yesterday that I found really interesting. We were talking about gratitude and thankfulness, and someone shared the thought about saying a prayer in which you ONLY express thanks. Don´t ask for things, just tell Heavenly Father how thankful you are. And then the teacher brought up an interesting point. He said "imagine that tomorrow morning when you wake up, everything you DIDN´T express thanks for in your prayer the night before, was taken away and you didn´t have it any more. Your house, your school, your teachers, bus drivers, trees, birds, trash cans, anything. It makes you realize how lucky and dependent we are to our Father in Heaven, huh?" And it really does.

 Gratitude has changed my mission. Gratitude has made the hardest moments the richest learning experiences, and the best of times the most rewarding. Gratitude changes attitude, and attitude changes altitude. Everyone loves being thanked. And when you do something nice for someone else and they thank you for it, it makes you feel like doing more for them, because that feeling feels good. I believe sometimes Heavenly Father feels the same way. He already knows everything, but he appreciates us thanking him for what he really does every day. And when we thank him, he feels good, and is even more willing than he already was to bless us more. I could go on and on, but I challenge you guys to find that out for yourselves, how powerful Gratitude is. Sometime this week, say a prayer of just thanks to Heavenly Father, and even imagine the situation I told you guys about before if you want, to try to think of how much you really are appreciative of. Show Heavenly Father you appreciate him, because just the fact that our heart beats and our lungs breathe is because he lets us do that. Try to be a little more grateful, and see where that takes you in just a week’s time. I know something will change, because I tried it and I know for myself. :)

 I love you guys! The Church is true, as is the Book of Mormon that supports it. Thomas S. Monson leads this church today. Families are forever, and temples are definitely worth visiting more often than we do. Don't take what you have for granted! I´ll hear from you all in a week. :)

 -- Elder McGinn

 P.S. GO DEUTSCHLAND! 2014 World Cup semi-finals on Tuesday!
Elder Kitchen and Elder Lovelace and the painting in a restaurant where they showed off their impressive spelling abilities!

Doing service at a zoo!  

Crazy critters

The biggest pig I've ever seen in my life!

On the Goethe University in Frankfurt they have a bunch of little creepy men statues EVERYWHERE.  It's kinda sketchy to walk by at night.

Alte Oper!  "Old Opera".  A massive, old historic opera house in Frankfurt right by the Zeil! 

Looks super cool at night.  Typical Europe!

Elder Lovelace entertaining the crowd after a street display on the Zeil!

Frankfurt Uni Elders is also known as Delivery Boy Elders.  We had to deliver a mattress to the Frankfurt Sisters because some sisters were overnighting with them from Coburg and this was the only vehicle available.  Priceless!