Yeah, talk about the weirdest text ever! I'm sitting in church in Frankfurt, listening to the YSA teacher talk about a story from the Bible when I get a text that says "Hey, Uncle Tom Macdonald says hi! ha" and I was like, what the heck??? I love Tom! I hope Elder Bruneel and Elder Nelson took good care of him up there! Elder Emery and I were on a split with those two literally two days ago! It was so strange, but feels so good to have family here in the land of beer, pretzels, sausage, and dreams.
I'm glad Ken gave you a call as well! I started talking to him at Stake Conference in Darmstadt, and then he took down all of our home numbers so that he could give our parents a call to pass along a message and let them know that we are doing well. It was super nice of him, and I'm glad he came through! Just in case you forget sometimes that I actually am a living person, and not just some computer program that sends you a weekly email. :)
Haha yes, Mom, splits were awesome this week! There was just one little mishap. So after our dinner appointment on Monday, I didn't feel right when I went to bed that night. At about midnight, I got up and went into the bathroom and threw up. Then again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. 8 times. Every time I tried to get back in bed I was just freezing cold, and got back up 30 minutes later to do the same thing over again. So I finally just filled up the tub with hot water and got in at like 3 a.m. I woke up around 5:30 in the tub, prunier than a 90 year old! I got back in bed, and then spent some hours trying to sleep it off, but we had some meetings and things to go to, so I got ready and we went. But then I had a pounding headache all day, including when we went to a sealing of a couple that Elder Emery worked with in Darmstadt, and we showed up 6 minutes late because of traffic, and had to wait in the waiting area until they came out.
The next morning I was feeling pretty okay, and we were planning on leaving to Wiesbaden that night. We were about five minutes on the road when I offered Elder Emery a Pop tart, and he said no thanks. 30 seconds later he opened up the door and threw up all over the road like three times. Disgusting. If he would have thrown up my Pop tart, I would have been ticked. But we couldn't push the split back later, so we just had to go to Wiesbaden with a sick Elder Emery. The next day we had Düsseldorf coming to Frankfurt that night for a split, so Elder Emery took it easy until they got there. We had a TON of things to do in the office, so as Elder Nelson (from Maple Mountain!) and I went around to appointments, Elder Emery and Elder Bruneel took care of a bunch of reports and things in the office. Then we took off that night to drive Düsseldorf back home, and then went from there to Dortmund for our next split with the Zone Leaders there!
It was a great split. There was a baptism, we played soccer with a bunch of really good, really hard-kicking Germans and investigators, and we helped out at a soup kitchen for a few hours, which was a super super humbling experience for me. To see so many people, some with only the best intentions and others who have and continue to make poor choices, who are desperate for food, just to keep going. I can't imagine life like that. I have been so blessed my entire life, and sometimes I didn't even realize it. And now with Thanksgiving coming up, I can't help but think about all of the people who don't have as much as we do. It makes me really want to do better, not take my blessings for granted, and to give what I can to help others. It was a really eye opening split, and we had a great time as well! Then we drove back to Frankfurt on Saturday night and spent a couple of hours finishing CCM reports for President Stoddard the next morning.
So this week has been all over the place! A lot of hustle and bustle, and I'm glad it's all done now! Church was great, and relaxing to be able to take things at a more chill pace for a few hours. The member girl and her boyfriend were there AGAIN, and they are doing awesome. We're really getting such a good relationship as well, and it was actually the non-member boyfriend who came up to us after church on his was out and was like "so we'll see you this week when you come over, right, boys?" The fact that they’re expecting and looking forward to it gives us a lot of hope and faith in the upcoming lessons with these two. :)
This next week should be good! We're super busy once again. Tuesday to Wednesday is a split with Heidelberg, Wednesday to Thursday is with Kaiserslautern, and Friday to Saturday is with Nürnberg. Friday we also have MLC, Missionary Leadership Council, and a slew of appointments scattered in the mix to keep things busy and entertaining! It should be fun. And, Mom, I hope that we'll be having Thanksgiving dinner! If not, I know there's a member who has threatened to kidnap me and Elder Henderson to have Thanksgiving at their house down there. So I best pray that I don't go missing, Saratov Approach style.
It's getting kinda cold, but not bad yet! Still haven't seen the sun yet though, and that sucks. But Germany is gearing up for Christmas, and by the start of next week, most of the Christmas markets should be up and running here in Germany! I'm pumped. Anybody want anything? :)
I like your thoughts this week! I was thinking about Job as well this week as we gave blessings to two sisters last night here in Frankfurt who just opened up a new area, and are having a really hard time. It's a trainer and a golden, and the trainer was seeing a lot of success in her last area, and now she got transferred to Frankfurt, to the English ward, for the last 2 months of her mission, and she feels cheated. She's angry, upset, and doubtful. But it was a good opportunity to be able to bear testimony not to a non-member, but rather to a fellow missionary who is struggling. Paul told us that we are to strengthen our brethren. Being a member of the church isn't easy, let alone serving a mission. But as Elder Holland said, it's because "Salvation is not a cheap experience!" If we believe this to be the true church, and that Christ is its living head, then we, as his disciples, should be ready and willing to understand some of the pain and discouragement he felt. Not forever. Absolutely not. But for a moment or two, it is necessary that we come to understand his trials, and we are promised so many times in the scriptures that if we endure well, we will be exalted on high. I know that's true. If life is hard right now, hold on. Keep smiling. First we obey, then we understand.
I love you all! Have a great week, and I'll hear from you soon!
-- Elder McGinn