Monday, September 29, 2014

Email - September 29, 2014

 Ich bin neidig dass ihr den Film angeschaut habt, und ich nicht. (I am envious that you have watched the movie and I have not.)

 But really though, it sounds and looks so good! There's a new senior couple in our mission, the Gublers, and Elder Gubler has worked in the MTC for the last five years as the executive secretary, and he told us that now in the MTC the missionaries will be able to see Meet the Mormons on Sunday nights when they get to go watch different church films! Lucky punks. Since Elder Gubler has good ties with the MTC, we're hoping he gets something set up for us over here. :) Are a lot of people going to see it??? Also, you all are looking like movie stars in that picture! Honestly though. Lookin like a million bucks, fam!

 Alright, I see how it is, just throwing in that "iPhone 6" kidney jab in there, all nonchalantly. I'm pretty sure President Stoddard is getting one of those as well, and it's coming over from the States right now! So we'll see if it's all it's talked up to be!

 Well fam, we're short on time, and Elder Lindsey is baking zucchini bread as I type so that we can finish up and head straight to an appointment, so I apologize if this email isn't as long as you would like, but I'll do my best! We've got hearts to soften and lessons to teach!

 Overall a solid week. On Monday we had the opportunity to have an appointment at the Leimer's home, the Area General Authority! They live in our ward, and are such a cool family. I told their 18 year old son that I doubted his burrito making abilities, and before you know it, we were over there that night eating burritos. We had a great lesson, and also a super productive time being able to sit with Elder Leimer at the dinner table and discuss what is going on in the Area and what needs to improve and just being able to brainstorm together! Definitely not an appointment you get every day out here.

 I also had the chance to go this week on a split with Elder Anderson, the elder I trained over a year ago in Erlangen! It was awesome to be with him again. Speaking of how missions can make an elder He is a whole different person… Such an awesome elder. We had a good time, and were able to teach some solid appointments out in Wiesbaden. It was overall just a great time.

 Elder Lindsey and I also went this week to visit some hospitals and do visits there to patients who had a desire to hear a hopeful and uplifting message. It was going pretty well, but not the best when we thought about leaving and going to do something else. We were on the brink of leaving when we decided to try just one more room. When we walked in, the woman on the hospital bed was tatooed as far as the eye could see, literally just covered, and I thought "awesome… great note to end on.", but boy was I wrong and completely judged the book by its cover. This woman, Frau Hänzel, is probably in her young 40's, and has had 4 weeks at home this whole year, and she's really tired of hospitals. She was really downbeat, and when we said we had a message of hope and encouragement, she said "well nothing could hurt at this point, why not." So we began to teach her about the Plan of Salvation and about the Book of Mormon, and after about 30 minutes, she asked if she could buy the Book of Mormon from us. She didn't know what to say when we told her it was free, and she didn't set it down for the rest of the time we were there up until we left her room. It was a great little lesson in which we and she learned a lot about and from each other, and we're so excited to go back this week and hopefully find her again. Who knows where it will go, but we definitely know never to judge her or anyone else again, and to always try just "one more door". That last door is almost always where the miracle is waiting. So I'll let you know how things go with her this next week!

 We also had MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) this week, which went well as well. All of the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders were in Frankfurt for the day, and it was a good meeting where we learned a lot from Pres. Stoddard. The missionary work is honestly taking off in this country and in this mission, we could all barely believe it! We're excited for things to come in the near future!

 We got to meet with the Fabres again as well, right after they had just gotten back from their son's swim meet, in which he won 3 gold medals! Sister Fabre was so happy and so tired from yelling all day. It reminded me of hearing mom scream from the bleachers at my track meets. :) They are doing great, and we have another appointment set out for this week.

 We had another appointment this week at which Elder Lindsey ate so much food that he threw up, but that's a story for another time! Haha

Well we've really gotta run, but I love you all! Sorry for the lame email, but thank you for all of your awesome ones! I'll get back to you all next week, and I hope you all have an awesome week! I can't wait to hear about it next week! If I've got to keep smiling, laughing, behaving ,and just going, you all do too! Haha never give up, and never stop smiling! It's never worth it.

 You all are great! Ich hab euch alle lieb!

 -- Elder McGinn

Monday, September 22, 2014

Email - September 22, 2014

It's that time again!

 This week was a lot of fun. We started off the week balling with a bunch of Germans and Mongolians at the University on Monday night, and had a great time, plus sparked a lot of interest in them, and one of the Germans actually happens to live right across the street from the church! So we invited him to come check it out, and we'll also be going back to play soon, and we'll try to set something up with him. His name is Andre, and he's a way cool, down-to-earth, 25 year old college student. So we'll see what comes from that!

 We also did service this week at the place that I told you guys about a while back when I was with Elder Chicky, called Main Äppel Haus, the Apple Orchard! It was awesome. Six of us went, and while four of us picked hundreds of apples of every kind you could ever imagine, the other two were in full aprons and gloves, mashing the apples and putting them in this machine that compresses them and turns it into this suuuupppperr good, super fresh apple juice that they then sell there. I decided I've gotta get one of those things. I'd make every kinda juice you could think of! I know Mase and Griff would go in on it with me, and we could sell fresh squeezed "Ho Ho" juice while Ho Ho and the Giddy Ups perform on stage. Not bad, eh?

 We then had a split in a small, really pretty city named Jena, out in the east of Germany. It's the first time I've been out east in our mission, behind where the Berlin Wall used to stand. So cool. We even passed the sign on the way that showed where the wall used to cross. Made me think of that song by David Lanz that Lori helped us learn at piano lessons! It's a four hour drive out there, so kinda long, but it was worth it. It's mostly a college student town, and we had a lot of fun contacting people, and talking about the gospel! We saw some solid success, and had a good time with the elders there in the meantime. Then we made the way long drive back, but had a can of rootbeer to make it through all right.

 We had a bunch of time in the office again last week, because we've been working away on some of these big reports that President needed for the local CCM report, so that took up a bunch of time, but it's good to have it done now! Now we can spend a little more time building up the area and focusing on splits, instead of numbers and big sheets and excel spread sheets!

 We also had the chance to go to a baptism in Friedrichsdorf (where the temple is) of the son of a man that Elder Lindsey taught and baptized, who was just ordained to the Melchezidek Priesthood. It was amazing, and there were so many non members there who were having their first experience with the church! It was a super spiritual baptism, and the rain and wind were roaring outside while it was calm and peaceful and warm inside the ward house. Symbolic, eh? :)  The ward house in Friedrichsdorf is literally thirty seconds away from the temple, so right afterwards the Sisters there took over 20 people on temple tours, and saw a ton of success through it! It was a lot of fun, and the ward did a great job as well. That is how it should work right there!

 That night we also had Family Home Evening on a Saturday night with a formerly less active family, the Silupus, who we're working with right now! It was a ton of fun. She is from Spain, her husband from Peru, and their kids want to grow up to be Mario and Luigi. We made pancakes with nutella, played some games, and shared a spiritual thought, and Brother Silupu was at church yesterday and blessed his child in sacrament, and Sister Silupu made out an appointment to get her patriarchal blessing! AWESOME. I love it! :)

 Aside from that, we had an appointment last night with an awesome part member family that we've been working with a lot. The wife isn't a member, but comes to church, and has recently committed herself to reading the whole Book of Mormon, something she's never done before. She was super open and honest with us during the lesson, like she has never been before, and admitted that she hasn't been progressing because the Book of Mormon has been so confusing for her! So we got a childrens book of the Book of Mormon, and now we come and explain and read together, and she loves it and has tons of questions! We were blown away at how open and interested she was, because usually she is kinda just there, listening only because we're talking. But now she is understanding what she is reading, and she wants to find more. So keep them in your prayers! Their names are the Familie Fabre. Love them.

 Well, like always, we gotta run! Big things to do tonight. We're meeting with the Leimer family tonight, who is the Area Seventy, and we're making burritos. It's gonna be a blast.

 I hope you all have a great week, and are happy, healthy, safe and smart! I miss you all, but you're all still my favorite family ever. :) I love you all!

 -- Elder McGinn

Monday, September 15, 2014

Email - September 15, 2014

I LOVE PICTURES. I just wanted to say that up front. I'm so proud of you guys for the constant photo hook up! I love being able to see what you all are up to, and I love showing y'alls pretty faces to investigators/members/you name it! I'll catch up as soon as I get my backpack back. It was found!! Phewph. I was honestly starting to get scared that I would never see it again, and every picture I had ever taken would be gone. Like when Griff lost his SD card after being in the Peru MTC. I almost cried. But I didn't though, so it's okay. Some elders are picking it up for me today down in a city called Speyer, by Heidelberg, and I'll have it back soon. :) so don't stress, Ma! I've got pictures to show you when I'm back.

 It sounds like Stake Conference went well! What an experience. We also had Stake Conference yesterday with two different stakes, and Elder Ballard spoke to us again. He is so classic. So funny, confident, and cool up front, and yet so spiritual, encouraging, and powerful. Especially at 85 years old, travelling all over the world. That has got to take a toll on him, mentally and physically! But yet he keeps going. If that isn't a testimony of the truthfulness and importance of this work, I don't know what is! Frankfurt has been nuts. Wow. I love every single second of it, and I would enjoy a little more sleep as well, but you win some, you lose some, right??

 Haha I'll give you all the shortened break down: Monday: lost my dang backpack. Freaked out a wee bit, but had fun that night at Family Home Evening next to the Rhein River. Tuesday: A boat load of appointments with investigators and members, some saying tschuss, some saying nice to meet you for the first time. A lot of fun and really really busy. Then I packed to be ready to leave the next morning. Wednesday: leave that morning for Frankfurt Airport to meet the new goldens. On the way over, I get a call saying that the office staff messed the time up, and the goldens were already there, just wandering cluelessly through the airport, and people were on their way to pick them up right now, and we should meet them at the Stake Center. Got there, did all the fun stuff and orientation, just laughing seeing how exhausted they are and remembering my first day. Got them off to the hotel to sleep. Picked up their trainers at the station and also dropped them off at the hotel. Thursday: met President early at the hotel. Had a meeting with the trainers. Brought the goldens in and met with them, and then had the pairing meeting! Always a blast. Afterwards we hauled to the train station to pick up the leaving missionaries and their luggage. Then we took them to the temple and went through with them, and then went to dinner right after. After that, we drove back to the Stake Center and had the leavers testimony meeting. Then took a million pictures for them, and drove them to the hotel to leave the next morning. Friday: every single missionary in the mission came to Frankfurt, and we penned them in the church so that Elder Ballard wouldn't get stampeded. Waited for Elder Ballard, and then had an AWESOME meeting with him. Way powerful. President Stoddard was pretty nervous because Elder Ballard was coming up with the agenda off the top of his head, and Elder Ballard turns to him and says "President, just reLAX!" He's a character. He had an open Q&A session with the missionaries, which was a lot of fun and informative. Afterwards, after they left off to their next big meeting, we got all of the missionaries to the train station and off to their areas. Had a couple of awesome appointments. Saturday: dropped off Elder Stimpson, who I'm replacing, at the airport that morning. Then had a 5 hour excel spread sheet session, getting things ready for the transfer. Whoof. Always a party. Then I had a chance to unpack, plan for the transfer, and have a few more appointments. Sunday: Stake Conference with Elder Ballard! Then two appointments, and then did numbers that night. Running kinda low on sleep at this point. And now here I am, we met with President a few hours ago to talk about the transfer, and yeah!

 That's the condensed version, but still long enough! It has honestly been a blast. I love it. I already knew I loved this city and this ward and President Stoddard, but my companion, Elder Taylor Lindsey, from AF, is great as well. He'll be going home at the end of this transfer, so it's a big hand off! But things are looking great.

 Well, now that I've chatted all your eyes off, I just want you to know that after having two meetings with an apostle this week, I know he is a man of God, and that this Church is true. When he walked in the room, there was a literal change that you could feel. And when he bears his testimony, you know that it has been tried and tested and confirmed so many times, that it is a diamond. The Church really is true. And Christ leads it with the same organization that He did when He established it Himself. My testimony of that is unshakeable. I love you all, and hope you have a great week. Let me know how the FHE Geneology thing goes at Grandmas! That's an awesome idea! I'll talk to you all soon!

 I love you, Mom!

 -- Elder McGinn

Monday, September 8, 2014

Email - September 8, 2014

Alright, I'm a little upset, and I gotta get it out instead of keeping it bottled up the whole time. I just barely left my backpack on a train, with my wallet, keys, and camera inside. Don't worry, Mom, I can get it back very easily, it's just the inconvenience that annoys me. And what makes it more inconvenient is that I leave Heidelberg....TOMORROW. Yep, I got transferred. We call that getting "ghosted", when you go to an area and spend only one transfer there, and then get transferred again. And normally it would be fine, but I got ghosted out of HEIDELBERG! The prettiest area in the mission. I'm a little upset, and plus me and Elder Henderson got along great. Awesome ward, beautiful area, solid investigators, hard working ward, all around effective missionary work. The funniest part: where am I getting transferred to...? Back to Frankfurt. Haha where I just came from. So that makes it sting a little less, because I absolutely love Frankfurt, and I'm thrilled to go back and have the opportunity to work with Pres. Stoddard. So it's bitter sweet, but this is bye bye Heidelberg. :(

 But at least we got to see the fruits of our labors in these super short six weeks! On Sunday, Charles was baptized, and he'll be confirmed a member of die Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tagen this coming Sunday. The baptism was amazing. It was after Sacrament meeting, which is the last hour here in Germany. We were getting a little stressed out, because the first hour had gone by, and we were halfway through the second by the time Charles showed up, we thought he was gonna sluff it! Ends up he was just coming with like half of his family, and they all had been preparing super delicious food for after the baptism! So it all worked out. But he looked great and felt great. Thanks to you Mom, and your years of lovingly nagging me, I jumped in to play the piano because no one else could. :) As we walked from the chapel to the font, Charles was crying because he was so happy. And after he was baptized, his family was crying because for the longest time, they thought Charles was a lost soul. They saw the bad influence that professional sports had on his lifestyle, and thought that he had forever turned his back on God. But the fact that he came back and was actually baptized and loves the Church makes them all now want to start investigating, because they have no idea how something could have changed Charles' mind and life from the road to fame to the road to faith. They said they'd all be there next week at church, and I hope they are. :)

 We spent a lot of time focusing on Charles this week, and to make a long story short, it all paid off. The rest of the week, we were doing exactly what you think we were! Meetings, lessons, and 5 different moves that we helped out at! By the end of the week, I decided I'm never going to move in my life, because it's a pain in the keester. But we were happy to help out. :) It was a solid last week here in Heidelberg.

 Random Topic: I heard from members in the ward that BYU DEMOLISHED Texas, and that Hill hurdled one of their players into the end zone!! He's gotta be in the Heisman talk now. Okay, sorry, back to my real world.

 This next week is going to be super busy as well. Because Elder Ballard is coming, the usual transfer day has been changed from Thursday, to Friday, when he will be speaking to us. And every single missionary in the mission will be meeting in Frankfurt to hear him speak. That's over 270 missionaries. That's gonna be one HOT chapel. I'm so excited though. And I might even have the opportunity to pick him up from the airport! But anyway, Elder Henderson and I leave for Frankfurt tomorrow night, so that we can be there to pick up the new goldens from the airport on Wednesday morning, and then we have to get things ready and prepared for the missionaries going home on Thursday, and then Elder Ballard is there and transfers happen on Friday, and then who knows about Saturday and Sunday. It's gonna be a super busy week! I'm pumped. And I'm back to having a car...yeah baby!

We gotta run, but it always makes me so happy to hear from you guys and exchange stories and highlights and lowlights from the week! I'm glad that everything is going good, and I'm pretty sure things won't change by next week (at least I hope they don't), but that doesn't give you any excuse not to write! I love you all, and I'll send you pictures next week once I retrieve my backpack.

 Die Kirche ist wahr, sowie das Buch Mormon und die entsprechende Lehre der Kirche. Gebt niemals auf, und bleibt dem Herrn und euren Kentnissen immer treu. Wie Elder Holland mal gesagt hat, wenn ihr schon eine geistige Bestätigung bekommen habt, es gilt noch. Ich habe es gern, euch alle und auch den Herrn als Missionar in Deutschland zu vertreten :)

 Macht's gut, euch! Tschau tschau for now.

 -- Elder McGinn

Monday, September 1, 2014

Email & Pictures - September 1, 2014

I'm glad the package made it in one piece! I had a tiny bit more in there, but it was 300 grams too heavy, and would have been 35 Euro, so I removed a pack or so of candy. But I hope you all enjoyed it and realized how much better I'm treating myself out here than you all are in the States! Haha the Oreo and Erdbeer Joghurt are my favorites for sure. But I knew Mom always loves the different nuts. Luckily you would always get cremes just to make me happy whenever you'd buy chocolate, Mom. :) You guys will have to let me know what your favorite flavors were! I didn't even send you guys all of the different kinds! Not to mention that was just one brand of chocolate. :)

 I've also had a lot of people contact us because of the Book of Mormon play. They always ask what we think of it, expecting us to retaliate defensively or be offended, but are always pleasantly caught off guard when we laugh and say we've never seen it, but we're the real deal right here! It almost always opens up a friendly, funny conversation, and makes it also relatively easy to give them a Book of Mormon and an invitation to find out about the book that so many people are talking about! Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Satan! The way you react to people is a very big indicator of your character, and can either leave a strong, positive impression, or a negative, cold impression. Be ye an example of the believers at all times and in all places! Haha it's really hard for people to get a missionary upset, we're used to that kinda stuff all day. Just planting seeds. :)

 Sounds like another solid week in the McGinn home! I'm happy. Keep it up and keep enjoying the little things, and don't snarf all the chocolate too quick! Our week was also solid. This week I was in Frankfurt on a split, and it was so good to be back in my city. I still am in love with that place, and so it's always good to go back now and again. But I also love it here. It's like not being able to decide what cloud you want to take a nap on in Heaven. It doesn't matter either way, you're still in Heaven, but it still affects you. Haha it was great, though.

 We also had Zone Training Meeting this last Wednesday, and instead of just meeting in the church building like always, we took President's advice to heart and changed up the scenery a bit, so that it didn't feel routine and missionaries could get more out of it! So, seeing that we're in the land of unlimited beautiful landscape opportunities, we took the Zone up to a place called Königstuhl, on top of a mountain above the Heidelberg Castle, where you could see all of Heidelberg and surrounding cities for miles, and we had our meeting outside. It was a hit. People loved it, we had awesome presentations and talks, and I took some SICK pictures. No worries, they'll be attached.

 After that, I was on a split in Karlsruhe, and got to go home teaching with the Ward Mission Leader, a good friend of mine, to two different member homes that I love so much! It was strange, and I felt like I had never left to Frankfurt or Heidelberg, and was still in Karlsruhe! We had a great time, and were able to give a blessing to a sick mother. (Throughout all of these splits, Elder Henderson was hard at work meeting with investigators and preparing Charles for baptism this upcoming Saturday!) We then had a Ward Activity where we hiked up to some old monastery ruins on a mountain called Heiligen Berg (Mountain of the Saints), and Elder Henderson and I got to give a lesson in the ruins! We had three investigators there with us, and it was soooo good to have them bond with the members outside of the church building! They loved it, we loved it, and the members love it. Not bad. :) That night there was a baptism for the sisters' investigator, and a nonmember family showed up who had been invited, and wanted to come and were totally curious! They enjoyed it, but they live in Wiesbaden, which is pretty far away, next to Frankfurt. So we sent the contact information up there and hope that will turn out well. :) And church yesterday was, and is, awesome, like always! Charles was there, his baptism was announced, the members love him, and we had lunch right after with Charles and some members! And we taught in the Primary, and I thought about you, Mom! :) Haha it's been an all around solid week! The only downside is that Jerry left today for China, and will be gone for the next three weeks, so his baptism had to be postponed, but he's doing well, and we exchanged Skype info so that we can skype some lessons while he is gone! Thank you, technology!

 I hope all of that made sense, I kinda just spit it all out there! But that was our week, solid, and everything is just getting better and better! We're looking forward to an awesome week, topped off by Charles' baptism on Sunday! Keep him in your prayers!

 We've gotta run, but I'm thinking about you all and praying for you all the time! I'm so grateful for your prayers and emails every week, that's what keeps a missionary going! Have the best week, and I'll hear from you next week!! Love you all!!


 -- Elder McGinn

 P.S. Elder Ballard is coming to speak to our mission on the 12th! Sick!!

 P.P.S. We found out this week that Charles played for Nigeria in the world cup in 2010........whoa.
Zone Training Meeting at Konigstuhl!  Heidelberg in the background.


We have no idea who made that sticker and put it all over the city, but those are totally Mormon words.

The Ward hike!


Pictures from the Ward hike!

Charles locked me in a dungeon.  Great Investigator.

Monastery Ruins from 1090 A.D.