Sunday, July 1, 2012

Final Email & Pictures - June 30, 2012

 Here are a few photos: one is what I'll be doing upon being home! Haha President came to learn that I love 'Betos' and he has no clue what it is, but he surprised us with the following lettering in the sand, he is a funny man. The other is Elder Hancock and I enjoying his birthday package (Zingers!) and a cool baptism we got to go to the other Saturday, our mission leader's daughter finally got baptized! Elder Hancey and I found her, taught her a few times and we got assigned to do interchanges with Elder Hancock and the zone leaders took our sector over, they invited us to the baptism.

 I couldn't have finished any better, I have been blessed very much. And, you are right, it isn't the easiest thing to do to finish the mission that has changed you so much. So let's not talk about that. 

 This last week we finished the last of interviews with President, so we got to see the area books, the daily planners, a few exchanges with Zone Leaders, the usual 'no routine' style of life! It is fun driving with President, we learn so much from him, I have been so blessed. We went out to the beach in Bahía again, that was a blast. It has been fun with Elder Hancock also, he will be a great friend of mine, it was a short change with very little time together (3 lessons in 6 weeks) yet a great one.

 I would like to share something we learned today, I love this Gospel and I get shivers when I learn more about it. It comes from both D&C 86:11, D&C 103:8-10 and Helaman 3:35, so study the references on your own time, but it was precious learning this today, it is how my mission has been for me. Study the scriptures, they talk about being a LIGHT, being a SAVIOR, being PURE and being HOLY. The two groups go hand in hand and there is a motivating difference. As we repent and do our best to be obedient, we live pure lives, we feel the Holy Ghost in our lives and we are happy, we are a LIGHT for others, the PURITY shines. Yet as we come out of Sacrament Meeting, as we renew our covenants and come out a different person, ready to act, do things differently and reach out to others, we become a SAVIOR here on the earth for others, we become HOLY. The difference in being a LIGHT and a SAVIOR or PURE and HOLY comes in two scriptures. Philippians 4:7 and D&C 84:46-47. As we repent, are obedient, renew our covenants in the sacrament AND have the resolution to come out of the meeting different than when we entered, we will feel the Spirit, we will feel good. As we ACT upon that Spirit IN BENEFIT TOWARDS OTHERS we become little saviors and sanctify our lives for His great work. Being a light isn't enough, lights don't do anything but shine. Being pure isn't enough, it is like going to basketball practice without ever showing up to the game. Let us strive to take that light to others, Why hold it back? Let us act upon the whisperings of the Holy Ghost in benefit of others, Why keep it to myself? This Gospel is to share, that's how Christ did it; down to His very thoughts, words, actions, body and blood voluntarily spilt. THAT is what will save us (Mosíah 4:1-7).

 I love my Savior with all my heart, He has been so patient with me. His Father loves us, trusts us, wants us to be like His Son and left us the Holy Ghost to get there. This work is perfect. It is not for me and it could progress very well without me, but I couldn't have the miraculous progress I desired, yet never expected without participating in the work. This Church is true. Joseph Smith was a prophet and did see God the Father and Christ the Lord. The Book of Mormon contains all the answers to life's situations. Maintaining the Holy Ghost constantly with us will clean us from sin and lead us aright, I have felt its presence and yearn for it daily. I love you all and will see you (some) soon. 

Elder McGinn

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Email & Pictures - June 23, 2012

Hope you all enjoy the picture I sent, may be the last! Haha, we were eating in the chapel on an exchange cause the member who gave us food had to leave and gave it to us in Tupperware. Right as I went to suck on the chicken neck in my soup, the bowl decided to dump on my pants. Dang chicken necks.

 This week was the same old same old, interviews, we look at Area Books and Missionary Daily Planners, we speak with the Zone Leaders about their goals for this week (and we are pressuring them a lot, we could get a pretty big number of ordinances this month to finish it off). I am having fun with Elder Hancock, he is a really great missionary.  He is a great leader and has taught me much.

 This last weekend, yesterday actually, we had a great experience. And by saying we, I mean me and the other 2 missionaries I was with since me and my companion are NEVER together to teach haha. We were in 26 de Febrero (partly to enjoy my favorite mountain one last time) and the last visit of the night was to ask baptismal permission from a mother whose kids have gone to church for a month or so with their member grandma. The missionaries had tried all week and the mother wouldn't budge, they were happy to have me there, but we did all we could to have the spirit and teach the missionaries how to get to people's hearts. As we got speaking with her, we let her simply speak about her kids, God, her own life, etc, it was a great conversation. Our lesson then was guided towards baptism, a few scriptures were read, a few testimonies born, to be honest, it wasn't anything all that abnormal or special. But I have the strongest testimony of God's love and the role of the Holy Ghost. We listened and the Spirit guided each and every one of us as the scriptures, the experiences and the inspired questions got to this mother's heart. She accepted that her children be baptized and accepted to listen to the missionaries. We invited her to kneel with us and finish with a prayer and her 9 year old boy came running in, kneeled down beside her and helped the mother say a prayer. We were all filled with the spirit, we were all emotionally moved, heaven and earth came a little closer that night in the house of Mildred. I asked the missionaries after what they had learned during the day, what called their attention and they both said 'The importance of lovingly listening to the people and faithfully following the spirit.'

 It was a small experience really, not any outstanding miracle, but my testimony of the Savior, His work and the Holy Ghost were strengthened as a mother took the most important decision in the life of the family. There are too many people in need to be thinking, worrying, or doing for ourselves. Let us serve others. Let us listen with our eyes fixed in theirs. Let us respond faithfully and firmly, our eyes in theirs. The Gospel is always the best solution and it is never about us. The Gospel means nothing without those around us. Let us love, let us listen and we shall see our lives glisten. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

 I love you all, this work is inspired and I shall not stop.

 Elder Griffin McGinn

Email & Pictures - June 16, 2012

I haven't sent pictures in awhile, here is one with two of the mission's zone leaders, they are great elders.

 As for me... the traveling. What else is new. I could finish there haha. You don't have to ask if I've been traveling, simply to where. This week we had a few trips, not as many, but have still been great. Our mission is flying. We are one of the highest baptizing, retaining, and church-activity missions in the area. It has been such a blessing to work here and help boost the work in what we can. I have realized that truly... I haven't done anything! The Lord could do all of this on his own, it is just a matter of us jumping in or not.

 I had a sweet experience the other day as I was pondering a famous scripture... Mosíah 2:41. The most important thing that King Benjamin has to tell during that discourse comes in that verse. He would like us all to contemplate the never-ending happiness that comes to those who endure to the end faithfully. Many things called my attention, but most of all what I would like to share to whom it may concern. ;). Those who keep the commandments are promised a blessed and happy state of life, how great! Filled with temporal (what we see and enjoy) and spiritual blessings (what we feel that motivates us to keep enduring), wonderful! Yet those who hang on to the end shall reach a state of never-ending happiness, received in the kingdom with the Father (meaning that we passed Christ`s judgment with flying colors). Now I hope you all understand the connection that I am going to make right here. The never-ending happiness comes at the end of the road, there will be times where we aren't as happy as we would like during this life. There will be trials, sadness, loss of hope BUT those who base their testimony in the temporal blessings that come and go will surely fall, while those who base their testimony in the spiritual blessings shall have the motivation necessary to hang on to the end when we may truly bask in happiness that doesn't fade with the lights or the crowd. This life is great, God blesses us so much. Let us be grateful for the temporal blessings we receive, but we mustn't base our testimony in that source. Let us seek that which is spiritual, that which motivates, inspires, uplifts and does so eternally. As taught in 3 Nephi 13:19-21.

 Now... to finish, HOW DO WE DO IT? Just as King Benjamin finishes 'for the Lord God hath declared it' (something like that in English). The Lord has His declarations in the Holy Scriptures. Am I in them enough daily to give myself spiritual nutrition necessary? They will never lead us astray.

 I love you all, I love my Savior, this is His work and I want to do it His way. I have never felt true and lasting joy as I have here.

 Elder McGinn

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Email - June 9, 2012

 It has been... and will be another long, adventurous week with exchanges! That is our assignment for my last weeks, give it all and leave the mission better. Oh buddy have we been traveling. It has been a blast though. I couldn't ask for a better way to end. I get to be with many missionaries, still teach lessons and feel the spirit in investigators, still contact people, see growth in many aspects in the mission and know that I have been somewhat of a help, and of course... see old sectors!

 I love this aspect of Sacrifice and I have been learning by experience. The other day I had a moving experience. We ran to a city 2 hours away to help some missionaries pack, leave a house behind and secure things over in that zone. One of the missionaries has had a really hard mission. On the bus ride there, I was really tired and planned on simply sleeping, yet received the subtle impression that put me in the shoes of the missionary right next to me. How is he feeling right now? What is in his head? How can I help him out? Thoughts of him filled my mind, so I finally began a conversation that turned out very edifying. The missionary broke to tears with me, had a few doubts about the success of his mission and the hope of his future, things that blew me away. I was able to listen as he vented, share a few scriptures from the Book of Mormon that came to my mind and lighten the load of another in struggles. He thanked me after for the help I had given him and he was going to try to put it into practice, yet I knew if I hadn't followed the spiritual impressions of been worthy to receive them, that bus ride would've simply been filled with catching up on sleep and another missionary still stuck in doubt and loss of hope.

 I love what Pres. Uchtdorf said in his talk on pride. With such emphasis in his voice he exclaims 'There are so many people in NEED whom WE could be thinking about instead of ourselves.' and it is oh so true. Many times we judge others for who they are and every time we do, we go wrong. Many times we lose time thinking of ourselves, and it doesn't come back. There is no such thing as bad people, simply people who don't know they need to change, they don't know how to change, or they need a helping hand. That is where we step in. Christ is He who will judge, we are here to lift others to see and obtain their potential. I love this work with all my heart. Christ is my Savior. The road is long and it is the best. The Book of Mormon saves lives, let us read it, let us apply it, let us share it.

 Elder McGinn

 I guess I should add in that I love you all too... ;)