Monday, December 27, 2010

Email - December 27, 2010

A big hello to all back in Utah! We survived Christmas and what fun it was! I sure loved hearing from you all and sorry if I talked too long and just spurred off randomly! Let me just tell you that you cannot have a better Christmas than in the mission field. It sure is an adventure and such a blessing as you forget the gifts, you forget the lights and the dazzle, but you meet in the humble brick home with mud floors, share a Christmas Message and play some games to lighten the kids' faces!

We spent Christmas Eve... eating haha. We ate 3 or 4 times and it was fun to see an Ecuadorian Christmas. For Christmas Eve, Buena Noche, they have dinner at midnight and then crash to bed. The next day they simply spend the morning with the family, there are a few fiestas in the streets, but for the most part it really isn't that big of a deal. It was sad to see. We got SO many questions this week, people bothered on WHY we celebrate Christmas in December when Christ wasn't born then, and then why we even celebrate it at all. I really have never had a better Christmas than here in the field as we testified that it really doesn't matter WHAT date we celebrate, shouldn't we simply rejoice and be grateful for a Savior who was born to save us all from sin and we DO have a day to focus even more on Him? Many families don't have money to give gifts, or if they do it is one or two small items. People really lose hope in the Christmas Season for the worldly pressure to buy to enjoy, but it sure lit me up to simply listen and see the joy in a 3 year old running around with his Christmas toy motorcycle!

We spent the end of the evening with a recent convert family and did a gift exchange. It really was a humbling joy as I received shorts and colored pencils when I simply gave a stocking filled with candy. We shared a message, shared candy, and played games. The best moment of Christmas came in kneeling to pray as a family, in a circle on the mud and wood floor and such a sweet spirit entered the tiny home surrounded by the worldly drinking and partying as a family kneeled to thank the Lord for the wonderful gift of His Son.

Christmas is family, Christmas is Christ, Christmas is hope. I wish I could've given more this Christmas, a Christmas I hope to never forget.

Here comes New Years and that one sure is a riot. They have a really cool tradition here too! They do Paper Mache people, big ones too, and as the clock ticks to the New Year, all the paper mache people are out in the street, hundreds and thousands, and they set them on fire! As the clock strikes Happy New Year, the Ecuadorian Streets are filled with burning paper people. They create themselves, more or less, and burn what they want to leave behind (kind of like our New Year Resolutions) and they create 'El Testamento' which is a will that 'rises from the ashes of their old self of all the new and good they want to accomplish in the coming year.' It really is pretty cool and I'm excited to see the Ecuadorian Streets light up!

My Holiday Season really strengthened my testimony, we live in a world filled with sin, dirt, wickedness, turmoil, but I have a strong testimony of the true hope and peace STILL found in focusing your life in the Savior. It was sad to hear that Christmas really isn't that important to many down here. What I have learned more than anything is found in 2 Nephi 28. The littlest things mean the world, for good or for bad. The world we live in sure is changing and quickly! We need to be doing the little things, we need to be reading our scriptures daily, we need to be praying fervently, we need to listen to the Prophet's voice, we need to Sanctify the Sabbath Day, we need to be on our guard always because we face a sad state of Apostasy in the world. Individual Apostasy is real, and real scary. It is a process, and a small one with HUGE results. Let us learn from 2 Nephi 28, The Christmas Season, and the New Year. Let us really do the littlest things to base our lives in Christ, repent and put your errors behind and make this New Year the best one ever!

Remember, we're in a River. We're either progressing or falling back slowly. Christ is at the head of the River beckoning to us while Satan is doing all he can to let you drift slowly, easily to destruction. Press forward, life is great, it sure is worth living! I sure love you all and am learning so much daily! I am SO excited and want to keep learning, want to get home and just put in in practice, but want to share it here in Ecuador too! I'm all twisted up haha, but I KNOW Christ lives. I KNOW the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I KNOW we have living Prophets today in Thomas S. Monson. I KNOW Christ will come and am so excited. Let us 'prepare every needful thing,' and why don't we enjoy it on the way!

With all my love, with all my desires, and with a huge grin on my face for the work we're involved in.

Elder McGinn

Monday, December 20, 2010

More Pictures - December 20, 2010

Why not send a few more? I've got time! You'll know what I'm talking about, but we lost water the other day and showered with... water pitchers from the sink haha. Pictures of the temple, the shovel used on the grounds, the daughter of Hna Maria Azúa, the lady that was baptized Dec 4th, and Hno Livington Tubay, he's an awesome member with a real sad life story, but sure love him! Oh and Elder Añorga ran out of shirts one day... here's my shirt on him ;)

With love and a grangly Tree Cat

Elder McGinn

Email & Pictures - December 20, 2010

As for this week, Xavier is still progressing! He's the man, this issue is with his parents. They are separated AND he lives with Grandpa who is less active. We were hoping (and still are) for the baptism of he and his little cousins this Christmas, but they weren't at sacrament meeting this week. We'll pass by today to see what's up and if they can still pull through for this Christmas.

Here are a few pictures from the temple, a cool sunset, and baptisms from the 4th of Dec and 18th! We baptized Brayan Navia, the 11 yr old son of the couple we baptized around Mom's birthday and what a riot that was. He called us the day of the baptism to say he's not ready and wants to hold it off a week. Great haha. We ran to his house and zipped through the interview questions again. We had a few doubts and questions but in the end felt confident for the baptism. His parents are still a struggle, they have a lot to learn and are progressing little by little, but we visit them about every other day to keep up the progress and have converts for life in them. What a true joy it was to see this smile on his face.

This week we ran into our Internet Cafe to print off a few things for the day and got talking to the man in charge. We always have our 'hello' but that's it. Turns out Alex is a pastor for an Evangelical Church and was full of questions! It was pretty funny, he came in for the kill (we could feel it and see it on is face) with 'so do you have prophets in your church?' Well yes actually we do! 'Hmm... but really, living prophets on the earth right now?' Why most certainly and it's great that you ask cause here's a picture of him! And he just gave a Christmas Talk that we'd like to share with you and the whole family! We really got him in a bind AND interested with that one. He accepted and we're going to pass by this week to share with him the true meaning of Christmas, I'm so excited!

To finish, he went in for one more kill... 'so you have prophets, but do you have pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth?' Well I'm so glad you asked Mr. Alex, here's an Article of Faith card for ya, why don't you read number 6 and tell us what you think? I can't wait to share this message with him, the Lord truly prepared us with a man full of questions and missionaries ready to answer with a bold testimony and smile. He told us something that I will never forget. He said 'you know, the difference between you guys and other religions that I really like, you guys truly listen. You listen, you respect, you share. Thanks for listening.' Whether you are a missionary, a member, a friend (I think that covers you all ;)) Learn to listen. It doesn't have to be religion and you don't have to give feedback, but the gift of having ears to listen really brings trust and friendship.

The gift to simply listen and love changed our companionship this week. It was a rough one, a week of patience. But this morning I asked Elder Añorga what was up, in a nice way haha, and he just vented it all to me. Things I had done (whether I knew or not), things on his mind in his life, with investigators, whatever the case! Our companionship turned back into the friendship we used to have by simply listening. Learn to listen, show you care, smile while you're doing it too cause why do we live if we can't smile in the process?

I sure love you tons. Know I'm so happy here and wouldn't change this calling, responsibility, and privilege for the world! I'm so stoked to spend Christmas in the service of He who was born, pushed through, and conquered humble circumstances. There is no better life than that in the mission field. Yeah it's tough, but what an adventure. More than anything you learn to rely on the Lord in the littlest of things and He really comes through if you just look! Love you tons! Estoy lleno de ánimos para hablarles este viernes, el 24 de Diciembre a las 8 en la noche!

And this is more for Cam and Syd... but I am perfecting my tree cat skills. We jumped on a bus to head down into the center of this city for groceries. Elder Añorga got in fine and the bus zipped away! Haha I ran a few steps and leaped for a step of salvation and caught hold to the outer handles of the bus. I literally had my toe nails on the outer rim of a step, my arms flexed and hands gripped tight as can be as we flew 15 minutes to the center of town! What an adventure and I simply had a blast smiling and waving down the common towns people with odd looks on their faces! Haha anyway... the tree cat lives on, he conquers mango trees, taxis, busses, and streets turned to oceans with the rain we're getting down here!

Feliz Navidad!

Elder Griffin McGinn

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Email- December 13, 2010

This week was really busy but just awesome! We went to the temple Saturday, I've tried sending pictures, but things just aren't working out, but I really have never seen a more beautiful temple, in and out. It was an experience of a life time, even in the taxi bus with 16 elders for a 4 hour one-way ride haha.

This week we've been blessed in mysterious ways. The mission has a goal, from President Gamboa, to have 325 baptisms for THE MONTH OF DECEMBER. Nuts. Elder Añorga and I were doing great, some fell, we're still a bit panicked, but the Lord really just puts miracles in your way if you keep your eyes open, be obedient, and act on the Holy Spirit. We could have 8 more baptisms including January 1st!

With the short on time I'll tell you about one kid, Xavier Zambrano of 16 years who is just the man. We met him just in visiting his less active Grandpa and got sharing a message. He's a rough kid with necklaces and bracelets galore with a piercing in his lip. He told us how he used to read the bible all the time, then his parents separated, he moved in with his Grandparents, and there went the bible. We got him the Book of Mormon our first visit and he just dived in! The second visit we got him a baptismal date for Christmas, he wants so bad to change his life around and 'show his parents he's not the kid the people say he is.' The third visit we taught la ley de Castidad y la palabra de sabiduría (the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom) and it was just awesome! Right then and there he took out his lip piercing and gave it to us, I've got it in my journal! Haha. It was tough for him, he wanted to hold off till his birthday in January, we brought up his baptism and he took it right out. He is so open, so ready and willing to keep the commandments, to listen to us, to pray, to APPLY the scriptures and not just read them! He even went alone to an activity Saturday at 8am at the church without really knowing anyone! He is really progressing, we had some issues with parents this week and need their permission, but things are going well. The tough one is his Aunt... we were praying to begin a lesson and she walked in and muttered loud enough for all to hear 'el espíritu de maldición.'(the spirit of curse). It's interesting haha.

We are working, the Lord really just threw miracles our way this week. A REAL less active man who left every time we taught his investigator wife and kids to go drink caught us this week. He told us to meet him at his house that night. We went and with tears of gratitude he told us of the miracle in a car wreck, prayer, and the Book of Mormon. He is changing his life, he is coming with us to visits, he is out to baptize and be sealed to his family.

I don't know why, but the Lord is really showing himself to us this week! I am so blessed, the Spanish is progressing, my family and friends are just great, I can't count the blessings of this week and my mission. EVERY YOUNG MAN SERVE A MISSION. DO NOT LOSE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE THE LORD. HE HAS COMMANDED YOU; HE WILL GUIDE YOU, YOU WILL BE EVERYTHING HE NEEDS YOU TO BE IF YOU JUST TRUST AND ACT. I will NEVER look down on the decision to serve a mission and I can't look down at my lack of preparation, just thank the Lord for calling me, for trusting me, and keep working each day WITH A SMILE.

The work is great, I'm excited for Christmas to share the message of a loving Savior who came and went for all and still provides for us daily. Do all you can to prepare, He is coming, I can't work hard enough, I lack so much and yet I'm so happy. I try so hard to do my best AND THAT is all the Lord asks of each of you. Just do your best, don't do perfect, that was the Savior. Just do your best.

I sure love you all and can't wait to open more presents, call you, figure out the solution to why I'm slowly losing weight everywhere BUT a growing stomach, and fighting the bus system each day as a limbering tree cat!

Christ lives, He loves you. He is your Savior and He is mine. All He asks is to follow and to receive the blessings! Please do it.

Con todo mi corazón, deseos, y sonrisa... (With all my heart, desires and smile…)

Elder McGinn

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Email - December 6, 2010

So as for this week...

We had a baptism! Hna Maria Azúa was baptized this week and what an absolute blessing from the Lord. She came into our arms ready and really had an impact on my testimony. As we taught her the commandments, she always responded 'yes I will keep them because the Lord has commanded us!' Wow! Tons of her family is members in our ward. The Lord really put a miracle in our hands with her and it sure feels good to have another baptism after so long.

We've changed our efforts, really buckled down to make our investigators feel the NEED for baptism and not simply say 'okay sir,' cause the people are really open down here. It was a different week, trying to change our efforts and I'm really striving to put a certain quote to life 'My life is like my shoes, to be worn out in service,' I want to end EACH DAY of my life worn out, pooped, but with a big ole grin cause it was all done to the max.

The Lord really has blessed me with the Gift of Tongues! Of course I can't understand all and of course I'm still a bit lost, but I have matured so much with the help of Elder Añorga, he really pushes me to be my very best and to truly forget everything but the work. At times it's tough, with the language gap most of all, but I sure am maturing and we have such a friendship. ALL THINGS have downs, but the ups sure are awesome and we are out to have converts for life, not simply a baptism. What could be real cool, is in one year we'll be going to the temple again as missionaries and guess who could be too... our two baptisms recently! Hna Maria and her husband and the couple we baptized around Mom's birthday can be sealed in a year! How awesome that would be!

Our progressing investigators are dropping, we're doing more contacting, which I've never really done out here. People don't want to change or aren't ever home, but the work will progress! We can contact, we can go to investigators, we can go to members, less actives, there is always something to do! This week was slower and back to fishing and hunting those that want to listen. STAY ACTIVE family, friends, whoever is within the reach of my voice. It was hard to tell the husband he couldn't baptize his wife cause he's been inactive for so long and I got to think of the 10 virgins. How would the Savior feel and how would you feel being told 'sorry... you weren't active when the moment came.' Get active, stay active, be anxiously at a good cause and KNOW that the Lord is coming to save us! I love the words of Jacob in 2 Nephi 9, that the work will be great and everlasting... on one hand or the other... joy or pain, salvation of suffering. Look at the blessings the Lord has offered, we simply have to follow!

Know something... I am the happiest man in the world! I would NEVER change this chance to serve the Lord for these two years, just wish I could be the servant he needs! No one is perfect, just try perfectly and it is good enough! (2 Nephi 25:23). I love the work with all my heart, I KNOW my Savior lives and loves me and guess what? He's your Savior too! I sure love you all and want to tell you how great your worth is to the Lord. Act when he calls cause he wants to see you shine and wants you to recognize you can too!

I hid and kept my backpack on when a Member Lady asked for a blessing this week, I felt
inadequate and would give my spot to Elder Añorga and her RM son. She caught me though! She had me give the blessing, not the anointing and I truly was filled with the individual love the Lord has for me and all his children as the spirit poured the words to her heart. I felt such a love as we finished and she had tears of gratitude just pouring down her face and she NEVER cries! Never put yourself to the side. Know your worth to the Lord, Act when he calls cause he wants to see you shine. I shone in that moment, thanks to a loving Father in Heaven who wanted to tell me he loves and trusts me through that blessing.

La iglesia es la verdad, yo sé todo es posible por medio de la fe, la diligencia y la paciencia. Mantengan su mira puesta unicamente en la gloria de Dios y permítele brillar en sus almas! Soy Elder McGinn, estoy dando todo, cada día, con la certeza que Jesucristo vive. (The church is the truth, I know everything is possible through faith, diligence and patience. Keep your eye single to the glory of God and let it shine on their souls! I'm Elder McGinn, I'm giving everything, every day, knowing that Jesus Christ lives.)

Love you all!

Elder McGinn

Monday, November 29, 2010

Email & Photos - November 29, 2010

Well to answer Cameron's question and all your wonders about a Jack Frost in Ecuador with all your snow... there IS a relative. James Frost, or in español, Santiago ;). He's a bummer and it's really starting to heat up down here. The other day we simply walked to our first appointment after study in the morning and my back was completely drenched and THEN the members said that this isn't anything compared to how bad it will get. I'm hoping I get transferred after Christmas, they say that when it rains here, it pours and when it pours, it really stinks cause the roads literally turn to a river. We'll see what happens here soon.

This week was good! All the weeks are good, I really love this mission and couldn't be more blessed! I just try so hard each day to fill the shoes the Lord has given me. I did miss having Thanksgiving, but did have a great time explaining the Holiday to all the Ecuadorians. We even had a little Family Night and read in the Book of Mormon about Columbus the Pilgrims, the Indians, and the Revolutionary War in 1 Nephi 13 to show the Lord's hands in making a way for the Book of Mormon and the Restored Gospel which we enjoy!

Yesterday was El Censo. We had the Census of Ecuador yesterday and they do it weird haha. We were commanded (and watched by the police daily) to stay indoors until 5pm. Kids from the High Schools when door to door to fill out the Census, it was interesting, but a great day of rest haha. It was cool to tell the kid censing, that I speak 2 languages though! The Lord really has blessed me with the Gift of Tongues, I still lack a lot, but I am so blessed with what I can do with the Spirit. The Gift of Tongues is real, the Lord blesses those who try. We don't have to succeed in life as long as we can finish each day with a tired smile of giving our all, the Lord makes miracles from our efforts and our faith. 2 Nephi 25:23.

I was touched so strongly yesterday and grew greatly in my appreciation for La Santa Cena. 25 members gathered in the home of the Obispo yesterday to participar de la Santa Cena. We were standing, kneeling, sitting on laps (not us missionaries...come on now), as the Bishopric blessed the Sacrament, one deacon passed to all, and listened to two talks. One from me on the importance of our Savior and one from the Bishop's Second Counselor. I have never felt such a love for the Sacrament and the Life of our Savior. I can't tell you of my love for Him, for my desires to tell the world there is hope ALWAYS if they'll just come. We all grew in a love for our Savior that night, huddled in humble circumstances in a Christmas tree-lit room to hear the good news of Christ the Lord.

Remember a few things, there is no greater work on the earth than missionary work and ALL OF YOU ARE MISSIONARIES. Yeah I'm a full time missionary, but we all know the blessings that come from the knowledge we have. It was sad to hear an investigator ask us 'shouldn't the members of your church act up to their standards?' You all are the key to the success of Missionary Work! Go with the Elders to visits, Give them References, Seek to those who are Less Active or don't know of the joys we enjoy, but most of all LIVE LIKE THE SAVIOR WOULD. Would he hold back? Yeah right, he died for each and everyone of you. He didn't hold back one drop of blood, he gave it all for you. Remember that and make this Christmas the best one yet. See the blessings of the Lord, see his sacrifice, and try to give more like him this Christmas Season.

I love you all and stand FIRMLY in my testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. Èl es nuestro Redentor, nuestro Salvador, y a nadie viene la redenciòn sino por los mèritos de èl. Èl vive, bendice, expiò, y amarà para siempre jamàs. Cristo pagò su camino, ¿està dispuesto a seguirlo fielmente, hasta el fin? Soy misionero con un testimonio fuerte de mi responsibilidad. Tenga presente su responsabilidad como miembro de la iglesia, porque al ser miembro significa mas, lo significa que tenemos el derecho de la vida eterna SI obedecemos los mandamientos, SI perseveramos hasta el fin. Hagalo y SEPA que Elder McGinn no puede sentir una felicidad mayor que ahorrita. Les amo a todos y Happy Birthday this week to Grandma McGinn and Allie!

(He is our Redeemer, our Savior, and nobody comes for redemption but thanks to him. He lives, blessing, cleansing it, and love forever. Christ paid your way, are you willing to follow him faithfully, to the end? I am a missionary with a strong testimony of my responsibility. Remember your responsibility as a member of the church, because being a member means more, it means we have the right to eternal life if we obey the commandments, if we persevere to the end. Do it and know that Elder McGinn can not feel a greater joy than this. I love you all and Happy Birthday this week to Grandma McGinn and Allie!)

Elder McGinn

Monday, November 22, 2010

Email & Pictures - November 22, 2010

Transfers! I'm still here in Portoviejo with Elder Añorga, one more transfer for now with him and I'm grateful for the oportunity to improve! We're really growing in a friendship and it's a blast. Times can be tough, patience can be thin, but we're really growing and I've learned a lot from him and about me. Time sure flies fast! Here comes transfer 3 and by the end of this one I'll be a 4th finished. How sad! I truly have the greatest calling in the world. I get to tell people EVERY DAY that they have a Savior who loves them enough that he gave his life to pay their ticket to Eternal Life. All they have to do is accept the ticket and make the journey. I can't be more happy with the great calling, the adventures, and the blessings that come by persevering!

So this week I made a big slip with my Spanish. We were with a man that has met with the missionaries a bunch, his wife and daughter are members. He's real funny, a jokester, and easy to get along with, but he does have a shifty eye gaze that I really don't like. Anyway, he had a hat on that said 'clowns' and I thought it was funny and asked if he knew what his hat said cause it fits his personality. He said, 'no, what does it mean?' I told him Payaso, the word for clown in spanish. He went dead cold in the face, dead angry, and his shifty eye gaze turned into a death stare at Elder McGinn. As the words came off my lips I felt my heart sink, my soul shiver, and all hope go out the window. Turns out I called him a big idiot haha, calling someone a payaso is a HUGE insult down here. Now I'm trying to gain back his trust haha.

This week was down with numbers. No help from the ward, a lot of people not home or not wanting to listen, but those that do sure are great! I want to share a spiritual experience to end my letter this week. Monday night we were with Maria Asua, all her relatives are members and she is just awesome. We were teaching her and I felt such a bang to invite her to be baptized. As I threw out the invitation, with a spirit so strong, she simply said 'yes.' I was so taken a back haha. My first time inviting someone to be baptized and they simply say yes! I really did make the Robin Hood noise (ooof!) and kinda stared from her to my companion with a smile of 'what happens next...' It was funny and just wonderful.

The Lord is working in me, the work sometimes drags, or so it seems, but it NEVER falters. Stay in the game and the Lord will surprise you. Act when you're called and oh the lives you will change! I am so filled with joy over this Maria Asua and the tender mercies of the Lord. Give thanks and eat a big turkey for me! And you're all a bunch of Payasos!

Elder McGinn

Monday, November 15, 2010

Email - November 15, 2010

So you get snow and things here are just getting to heat up! Man this heat sure can kick you in the tail! I wash my face at night, RIGHT before bed, and by the time I get to my bed (2.4 seconds later) my face is dry! And the worst is yet to come...

This week I learned a few things about the culture and the language that tickled my fancy and might just tickle yours too... first we were eating with our Mamita, I finished and my spoon was sitting face up on the plate. The 11 yr old daughter told me to turn my spoon over, if it is up, it means I want more food. First I thought 'uh oh!' and changed it quickly to be polite... then the little devil in my head said 'act innocent Griff... act innocent. You 'don't know much' and could get another helping for being oblivious...' Haha so I quickly and quietly turned it back but to no avail.

Second off, sometimes it sucks being able to understand bits and pieces and letting your imagination fill the gaps! E. Añorga asked one of the Less Actives we were with how her baby was doing, she's pregnant. He then asked a question and I heard the word sangre... blood. The following scene was horrific as I tried so hard to ignore the body signals, sound effects,and my own imagination as they described an operation. My mind is killing me haha! THEN in another appointment they got talking about shots... I'm telling you, I just about dropped haha. I'm being beaten by my own brain out here!

Anyway, let's get to work. The work goes on. This week was a bit different and tough when you have divisions planned each night and just about each night, the members fall out on us. It is a test of patience, of love, and of diligently getting back on track.

This week we've been so busy running here, running there, I wrote in my journal once this whole week cause of time, so I don't remember anything huge to tell you all haha. But I learned the importance of being more convinced in my own testimony. Teach them that this is the only way to gain salvation. It is not an invitation to be baptized, we are telling you the way to gain eternal life! At times I still feel inadequate and like the arm of my companion (more like the tree he drags around cause I'm much bigger than his arm haha) than a missionary who supports his companion in bringing the Restored Gospel to souls.

I am working so hard to gain my confidence and to really get a grip on this language, but it comes through love, through patience, through study, through faith. I really have been so blessed with the Spanish I can understand. It really is amazing, and with that I feel like I'm stuck in limbo. I still fear reaching out and boldly following impressions for fear of the language. I know that the Lord called me here, I know I am capable, I just need to do it! I sure love this work, it was slow this week and a test of love and patience, but I couldn't be happier here.

I'm a bit nervous, we have 'cambios' this Sunday, we wait for the phone call to see who goes, who stays, or neither of the latter haha. Part of me wants to go and explore, part of me wants to stay and start being the missionary the Lord called me to be. I'm nervous to be left here and E. Añorga go, but come what may and love it right?

The work moves on, the Lord will provide, we just have to jump on his ship. I am learning daily the miracle of LOVE, the miracle of a SMILE, and I can really feel when a genuine smile or laugh brightens a stranger's day. If we look at the blessings of the gospel, all the people in the world have families, all have work opportunities, all have health, what is the difference between the world and the gospel? Ether 12:6 WE HAVE THE HOPE THAT CARRIES US THROUGH EACH DAY, we have the knowledge of a Savior who loves us and lived the way. Let us live in our hope, let us follow him, and let us share with the world WHY we have every reason to hope, smile, and live.

I sure love you all! I don't know how next week will go with changes, but I'll keep you updated!

Elder McGinn

Monday, November 8, 2010

Email & Pictures - November 8, 2010

This week was great! Like all of them, I sure love the work. The work will always be going, it will always be tough, I am just learning to adapt my actions to the needs of the Lord!

We had a lot of help from the Members this week to have divisions and a real testimony to me and a surprise to you all of the trust in the Lord and the miracle of the Faith... this Saturday we had divisions THE WHOLE DAY! I only had one appt. with Elder Añorga to finish the night. Imagine me running around solo haha, but it was so awesome.

This is where I became the Tree Cat in the photos. This story is pretty funny, haha. We were passing by an inactive lady who we visit every now and again. I asked if she needed help and she looked at me with a sarcastic smile and said 'yeah, climb this tree and get me some mangos.' I surprised her AND the member I was with by throwing off my backpack and climbing the tree. After the surprise fell from her face, 10 or so mangos came down for the family to enjoy. That was so much fun and I got her signature (haha I really did) to promise to come to church this next week. What a love in service! This week was full of divisions, we got so much work done and really did change our views to what the Lord needed this week.

The baptismal candidates aren't really progressing, but we sure lifted the less actives! We got so much done when we recognized ANY work with diligence is successful. Another thought I'd like you all to consider, it helped me a lot this week. The difference (Jeff) between llegarse y mantenerse (reaching and maintaining) in this life. It is easy to llegarnos, pero podemos mantenernos en la obra? (arrive, but can we stay in the work?) It is easy to arrive, but can we maintain, can we persevere?

Oh, I had cow hoove soup the other day, along with that picture of the fish. It was... fine haha, different. I don't have much time and Elder Añorga is waiting, but I sure love you all. Know that this work is the best thing that could ever happen to a person, you put all your time in the Lord and he shows you with blessings that all his work is in you. The cool thing about the gospel, is when it is lived to perfection, it truly benefits everyone. We all serve, love, lift, and the Lord does the same. I have grown in the faith, grown in my love for the people, and this week was a good one with divisions!

I am the happiest man in the world. DON'T llegarse, but mantenerse in your lives! This gospel is true, it blesses families, it changes lives. Realize that and do all you can to be involved!

Elder McGringo

Monday, November 1, 2010

Email - November 1, 2010

I have to apologize, I thank you for your emails and do love hearing from you, but we went to Manta (1 hour away) for a training with Pres. Gamboa and got back with no time. We've been rushing everywhere to finish everything and I'm sorry that I have to make this quick again.

Well, soccer was worth it last week. I had 3 goals, including the opening one! What a player I'm starting to become... haha not. It was great though, a lot of fun to get out and run again. But boy were we all hurting that next morning!

This week was another dead one. No help from the ward, no one at home for our visits, a lot of walking, a lot of knocking, but life goes on! I'm learning to love the people and at times it is difficult, but the work is progressing!

Oh, I had a little slip this week haha. We were teaching a girl that was just baptized (and thank goodness) and talking about Young Womens and stuff like that to help her grow in confidence, in the church, talents, activities, things like that. I used a word I learned in the MTC 'mañas' which I thought was skills. Turns out it is skills, but I told her that in YM's we learn to develop our 'evil skills' like pick pocketing, knifing people, and let your imagination do the rest haha. That was a bad slip, no wonder she looked confused!

The work is going on, training was great with P. Gamboa, it just stinks that I have no time today! It was so fun to get together. My language is coming along, bit by bit, but coming. The work is slow, but my efforts aren't! That is a key for life, it may not be moving, but YOU keep
moving and keep a smile on!

Please keep praying for me, pray for the people, and keep the commandments. I love you all so much and know it is short, but I PROMISE a better, bigger email next week! I love you all!

Elder McGinn

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Email - October 25, 2010

So we have a big activity in the Zone, it doesn't sound THAT big, but remember I'm in South America haha. I've gotta be quick because we have a huge soccer game going on here in a few minutes. Sad, I know, but it is a big deal!

I sure love you all, the story of this week has been change. Appointments being cancelled, Family Home Evenings planned with 5-10 families where no one shows, commitments to come or to go and to do neither of the two. BUT the Lord is showing me something. He has been showing Elder Añorga and I to change, to open our eyes even more to the people that want to hear the gospel, to those who show interest, to those that try. Don't try to save a lost ship when you have passengers desperately swimming towards the land!

The Lord has blessed us with 6 baptisms for the 13 of November, now we just have to work has so they don't fall! They were so sure though, a family where the mother pretty well told us 'duh elders, I DO want to be baptized, I just told you I've been assisting because I feel something different in your church.' Haha oh crap, you idiot Elder McGinn! Haha but really ,the Lord is blessing us immensely, in ways that we don't imagine or notice at times. The thing is to learn to change, to learn to notice, to learn to appreciate. That has been our week, a lot of drops, a lot of no's, a lot of changes or no shows, BUT a few valiant believers who went out of THEIR way to contact us, who surprised us with a DUH I WANT TO BE BAPTISED. This week has been a week of learning, a week of changing, and I just love this work! The Lord ALWAYS blesses us, it is just fantastic to know. I am so happy here in Ecuador and KNOW I'm doing the right thing!

Well... this week I ate a chicken brain. How's that for an odd comment to ruin a spiritual thought? Haha, but really, we were having a type of soup with chicken in it. I had the spine again as my bone, with the meat around it. I finished the chicken, and saw a stringy thing with a dark purplish goo at the end. I looked closer and it looked just like a brain, just a lot smaller! Then the temptation... 'give it a shot Griff, you're here in Ecuador and when are you ever going to get this chance again?!' So I took it down, it was the size of a marble, and weird haha. But that is the story of the week!

Yo amo la obra, estoy recibiendo bendiciones grandes por el Señor y a veces yo no sé porque. Pero yo sé con todo mi corazón que es la obra del Señor. Mi español esta mejorando, pero aún mas importante... mi fe, esperanza, y caridad esta mejorando tambien. El Español es poco a poco, yo lo sé, y es a cause de mi fe, paciencia, y diligencia. Sé sin duda, la obra es del Señor. Les amo a todos! (I love the work, I'm getting great blessings of the Lord and sometimes I do not know why. But I know with all my heart that is the Lord's work. My Spanish is improving, but even more important ... my faith, hope, and charity is improving too. Spanish is little by little, I know, and it is because of my faith, patience, and diligence. I know without a doubt is the Lord’s work. I love you all!)

I sure love you all and pray for you daily! Keep your heads up, be more receptive to the Spirit, for the Lord WILL touch you with it, and don't eat chicken brains!

Elder McGringo

Monday, October 18, 2010

Email & Pictures! - October 18, 2010

Hello to all! To start, oh how I just love this mission. The blessings of the Lord come in so many ways, all WE have to do is open our eyes optimistically to every opportunity in our path.

We had 4 baptisms this week and 10-12 in a cool activity this Saturday! It was 'Dìa como misionero' filled with classes, practices, a few hours of proselyting, and ended with a Noche Blanca with all the baptisms from our Zone.

What a fun day! My first baptism that I performed was such a blast, for this little boy of 11 yrs, Luis Miguel Alban Choez. I about laughed my head off as his legs kicked out from under him in the baptism and I literally lifted his frame up out of the water as he was clinging for his life to my arms! I about cried in his testimony of the love he has for Elders Añorga y 'Miguel' (haha he thinks my last name is the same as his name). THAT is missionary work, that even though you can't see through the dust and the drizzle, the Lord will surprise you with bounteous blessings if you simply keep pushing!

That is 7 baptisms for me in my first month and a half-ish in the field. That is not me, the people are ready, I just need to prepare myself to receive them. The tough thing here in Ecuador is staying active. Many people are receptive to 'las palabras de Dios,' receive baptism, but then get carried away by the little temptations. We are working real hard to make sure every one of our converts is a member for life, founded in the testimony of Christ.

Also, what an absolute joy in one teaching appointment we had. This family (Digna, Victor, and their 2 girls) are not progressing and we were about to drop them. We got to their house and Digna and the girls were there, so we sent the girls away to draw haha, serious time. We got talking and I asked her why she thought I was here. She responded 'to receive blessings.' In that moment, I was able to boldly and lovingly tell her, 'No Hna Digna. No estoy aquì para recibir bendiciones. Estoy aquì para traerlas a las familias.' We then caught her in a trap haha. We asked her if she thought God wanted the best for her, then if she thought He would answer her prayers. GOTCHA! We promised that God does want the best for her, it is in this Book, and He will answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams if you come to him! The spirit was overbearing and we had here pray in THAT moment if the Book of Mormon was true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet. She did and the spirit was absolutely amazing! They are now progressing, hopefully with a baptismal date here soon, but what a miracle of the Spirit and BEING READY TO SAY WHAT YOU ARE PROMPTED TO SAY OR DO WHAT YOU ARE PROMPTED TO DO BOLDY and WITH LOVE!

Also, to finish my amazing week. Dad, you are right. There are frustrations with commitments, with companions, many things, but feeling the Spirit testify through you is the best thing in the world. We met with a grandma, real strong Catholic, whose grandson we baptized a while back. She laid on us all her problems with health, with concerns, with worries of no hope in this life. She wants a change, either to end her life or to end this sickness she has. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and we got talking about the temple and life eternal. She wants to enter the temple, she even said the Book of Mormon was true! But still we flirted around and were scared to do anything. THe spirit finally gave me a kick to the face and I popped the question of baptism. I promised her that the change in her life would come through baptism, by making covenants with the Lord, and then keeping them until we all receive life eternal. She accepted! What a change in this hard catholic, what a change by simply listening to the Spirit, acting in the Spirit, and letting the Spirit work wonders.

I love the work, everyday I get to smile at someone and tell them how great their life can be. Every day I get to be a light, be an example, lift a hand, tell someone of God's love and prepared blessings. This work is a work of miracles, it is marvelous, it is a wonder.

I love you all with all my heart, I am working so hard wishing I could be even more than I am now! The Lord is making changes in me and he will make every change in you if you will only keep his commandments, pray for the help, listen for the spirit, and ACT. It is easy, it is a promise from Elder McGinn - a representative of Jesus Christ. I sure love you, keep working, keep living, and keep recognizing the Lord's hand in every aspect! Till next week!

Elder McGringo

Monday, October 11, 2010

Email - October 11, 2010

Yes, I am the Gringo, I say something about that each week, but wow it's crazy here! I am as happy as can be and take the 'Goofy Gringo' title to strut my stuff. Be weird, stand out, and with that be an example and bring all I can in to the Gospel!

I was telling Dad that when I introduce myself, I say I`m from Bolivia and EVERYTIME the person just looks at me, 'Ah... sì...' haha with a nod. I laugh and explain I´m from Los Estados Unidos and things clear up real quick.

Something I love doing is a big wave with my White-man-wingspan and actually respond when people say ¿còmo està? because here it is culture to run off a million greetings back and forth at each other but never respond. It is fun, funny, but a good ice breaker too, to actually respond and take them off guard! I sure stand out and I´m doing my best to keep it that way for the Lord!

Oh, one thing real quick - LIVE UP TO THE IMAGE THE PEOPLE DOWN HERE SEE OF YOU. It is amazing the number of times I've been asked a question or simply to back up proof on how the saints are in Utah and in the US. They all say how great it is, how every Sunday we keep the Sabbath to a T. Never watch TV, always read our scriptures, always on time, always serving and visiting, friends with all in the ward, and assisting every activity. They really think we're angels and E. Añorga was just traumatized at the thought of the clubs and horrible world so close to Salt Lake and in Orem. They see us as angels, perfect, living the Gospel to a T and then some. They always compare to us and always ask me how they are doing to live like the members where I'm from. LIVE LIKE THAT, or at least try! Cause that image is an image sure worth living. That image is miraculous. Just a thought of how you are seen from down under!

As for this week, it was tough. People dropping, us asking investigators to tell us honestly about their baptismal date and they do haha... with a resounding 'no quiero ser bautisado.' But the people that are ready are ready, and oh what a joy it is! We have a girl of 14yrs, Lesly, who always comes to church, but we hadn’t taught her anything. She is progressing really quickly and what a joy it is as we prepare her for this Saturday!

We had our first Divisions with members of the ward this week and where does my companion send me? TO THE MAN WHO IS REALLY STUBBORN AND SCARY but all his family are members. He is preparing for baptism, but the one who told us he just doesn't want to anymore. Where does E. Añorga go? To a house with all active members for a FHE haha. But it was great, I had trust and desire, and a testimony to me that the Lord works with those who love enough to trust, do, and say yes. We read 2 Nephi 4:16-35 as a fam, and the Spirit was just amazing. We wanted to be soft on baptism with his NO respònse from a few days ago, but had a little testimony meeting and he was fretting in his seat the whole time. The spirit was over bearing. We will meet with him tonight, see how he feels, and prep him for an interview this week! I don't know if that story makes sense, but a testimony to me that the Lord really does work through those who simply say I will go and I will do.

WOW! I love the work, it is absolutely amazing seeing how someone can be so touched by the Gospel. I can't describe how much I love it here. The Spanish really is coming along, I can understand MOST of what's going on MOST of the time, it's just hard not knowing sarcasm or the culture. But the Lord really is blessing me because I am learning to trust in the promise to open my mouth and it will be filled! I am opening my mouth, it is being filled, and I know that the Lord will work ALL his mysteries through those who will do the same. Serve people, love people, follow impressions you get because that is missionary work. We are guided daily by the Spirit, it is awesome to get a taste of the Spirit but to drink the true joy that comes through sharing that prompting with the world.

Les amo con todo mi corazòn y lo muestro por medio de mis obras y esfuerzos. El Señor me guia diariamente, y sè que les guia cada momento de sus vidas. Gracias por todos, ùsen la ayuda de Jeff para traducir estas palabras, (si el puede... yo no sè como esta mi español ahorita jaja, yo solito abro mi boca con la esperanza que el Señor lo llenarà) Love you!

Elder McGringo!

Monday, October 4, 2010

What Happens When the Police Decide To Go on Strike?

Hello to all! I'm sad to admit that the few videos of documentary during our 2 days stuck in the house will not send. But all is well!

I'll hit that issue right on the head. It was like Batman, with all the nuts people running the streets for a few days here in Ecuador. The police went on strike, they took Prez captive, we were inside for 2 days, robbings and killings at will, but all of this was much worse in Guayaquil and in Centro of our city, we were pretty far out, but still were to stay in for safety. All is well, I hope haha, I'm not in on the whole world news, just news of the Gospel is what I'm spreading! During this time we studied a lot, made that box man for a video that didn't happen, but I have a few videos of documentary haha. Anyway, all is well, so please don't worry. I just figured that I should fill you in on all I could since you already knew some.

This week was great! Conference was wonderful, as usual, and I could actually understand almost everything! That is because the spirit was present and the Lord had something for me to hear. It is different hearing from a translation, but it was cool because they announce if an Authority translated their own. There were 7! That is motivation to me, to work my tail off in the work of the Lord, obtain this gift He has waiting for me if I prove worthy, and then to cherish it to the end of my life!

All I can say with conference to you all is 'pongalo en practica.' Put it in practice. We all get our own personal revelation, our own tips from the Lord to come closer to Him. Just live it! Don't justify, you are just looking for excuses to shy from the Lord's presence! I loved a quote where someone said it's easier to keep the commandments 100% than 98%. I know you all are just fine, but just don't stop!

It was a bummer, the families we had planned didn't come for various reasons, but we had 2 investigators that came who also attend church every week! We haven't even taught them yet! So we met with them after, they both desire to be baptized, and we have two dates set in 2 minutes haha. I just need to know that though other families didn't come, many families did, and each person there was meant to be there.

I KNOW that the Lord is working up something in me because the entire conference I could understand AND feel a burning desire like I've never felt before. This desire was for the welfare of the people. This desire was to teach, to work, to love, to know the people of Ecuador. I was just scratching (haha) with a desire that I couldn't and didn't want to get rid of! The Lord is changing me into a person who hears the word and doesn't see to himself, but sees to touch the world with it! It was so amazing to feel.

Also, PLEASE, for priesthood session was difficult to be away from the memories and activities, but I learned something very important. DON'T LOOK TO THE THINGS THAT HOLD US APART, LOOK AND CHERISH THE THINGS THAT KEEP US TOGETHER! The Gospel, The Priesthood, A Father in Heaven, Desires to Serve, Jesus Christ, and so many more! Oh and a shout out to you Dad in Conference with fly fishing! haha. The work will go on.

I had a cool exp. I'd like to share in closing. Earlier in the week we were visiting a man whose whole family are members BUT him. Missionaries, ex missionaries, the whole bang. He reads the Book of Mormon, he prays with the fam, they have family night. So we met with him and he always says 'some day I'll get baptized, some day.' I was sick of that answer haha and the Spirit kicked me in the but to get that message to him. I asked him, 'You have the desires. That is all the Lord asks. Why don't we make that 'someday' the 16 of October?' That hit him. He stopped talking. He bumbled around the question, but finally took it as a goal. I can take goals, for that is one step closer than we were seconds ago!

This church is true! I love you all so much and KNOW that the Lord is working miracles through me here. He will work his miracles through anyone who is ready, all you need is a desire. I don't know Spanish, I begin with that phrase frequently here, but I DO know something of great importance... Yo sè que tenemos un Redentor en Cristo. Jesucristo vive. Podemos vivir para siempre jamàs y tener cada esperanza durante nuestro viaje a vida eterna. This Church is true, I love you with all my heart and I work each day like I can't tomorrow. For time is going quickly. Till next week!

Elder Griffin McGinn

Monday, September 27, 2010


Baptisms and Chicken Foot Soup

Hello to one, Hello to all!

As for this week... we had 8 baptisms planned. We ended up with 2 which was still great, but a bummer too. 4 kids from the same fam just weren´t ready yet, but we´re working with them. 2 brothers from another fam are ready, but daddy said no. That hurt too. But, as you´ll see in the pictures, we got a family married AND the parents baptized! That was just awesome to have happen. I love the feeling of touching a life, of showing the family that Christ simply is waiting, allowing them to open the door and reap the blessings!

This family though... what a mess this week was. So first off, we go to have a visit early in the week, turns out a lady living in their home went nuts and started attacking the family, hitting them with rocks. She ran and is in hiding. A few days later, we go to get them for their interview and they pass barely. We had a few scares there. Then the next day we wait, we wait, we wait, and they don´t show! The bishop ran out to their place and turns out she had a seizure! That was Friday night. So the bishop tells us not to worry, to plan the baptism for Sunday after church, Mission President doesn’t like that idea and says it HAS to be before so they can be confirmed in Sacrament Meeting, but the family doesn´t know this, we don´t have money to call them, and it´s 10pm Saturday night! So we had a fun SURPRISE, Wake up and come be baptized! But all went well. They are having some issues in the home and with finding work, but we are working with them bit by bit and I´m really excited for them because SHE asked about how to begin paying tithing! The devil REALLY is working hard, especially with those preparing for baptism!

Ah, and as for my week of famine... the members were AWESOME and we ate all the time! Haha. One day we had lunch, and the following 2 appointments, the families fed us! I am content as can be! One house though, I started laughing and was taken for a loop. A big one too. I look in my soup and think 'yum! Chicken' Yes, it was chicken, but it looked like fingers, like a baby's hand, and I thought that chicken's didn't have fingers. Now I´m just confused. I had one of their treats, chicken foot soup!

Mom, I hope these pictures come through, we had an awesome celebration for your birthday with cakes, candles, and a sign! It was a fun day.

General Conference is coming up and I´m so excited! I can´t wait to hear our prophets and let them work wonders in the lives of some investigators. If you remember an email a few weeks ago, we had a man who was really hitting hard on prophets, polygamy, and Joseph Smith. We invited him to come see for himself at Conference and he is bringing his family! Also another family that really is just awesome, just NEVER come to church! I have the highest hopes for them, and they are coming to a session with us too. I am so excited for this.

Oh and to wrap up, a cool experience in a DM this week. I got called to do a practice run to invite a fam to church with us. Our victims were the Zone and District Leader! Yikes! And... I don´t know Spanish, the only North American. But all went well, we were talking about Sacrament and the man said he had to go buys his groceries that day, no other day, and I felt the strongest impression to open my mouth and say the following (in Spanish): You can buy clothes, you can buy food, but Brother, you can´t buy the blessings of God. The whole room gasped, literally! Haha it was funny, but that comment and testifying afterwards, that was the coolest experience! The Zone Leader got up and with a few jokes about how Elder McGinn is Mr. Baptize or Die, he said what a powerful spirit that just shook the room. That this practice was taken to a whole new level. That was just awesome and a builder to my excitement. I love this work, it is booming and so is time!

Changes are coming up soon, so I may not get an email in next week. I´m not sure, just a heads up. I love you all so much and pray for you daily! I love my Savior, recognize his Hand in your lives, each day, and you will be lifted higher, you will feel his presence! If you have a challenge, face it, but don´t do it alone, none of us were asked to go alone. That is the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Elder Griffin McGinn

Monday, September 20, 2010

More Pictures with Elder McGinn

Email - September 20, 2010

So this week was very good, I am coming to learn to love. Love is universal, Spanish and English are not, but I can love and that will show. It won´t only show, it will be felt! I had some great ups, and some heartbreaks this week.

With one family Bermello Arriaga, there is a husband of 17yrs the wife of 26 with 2 kids of 9 and 8 years old with a baby 2 months on the way. They are always nice, always let us in and we can just laugh and love and teach the gospel. We have been working on getting them married and baptized and things were going well, but they lack confidence in each other and are at a big, big pit stop. I had an awesome experience in simply opening my mouth and letting the Lord fill it as I asked them 2 questions. 1- have you talked this over with each other? and 2- have you talked this over together WITH THE LORD IN PRAYER? I bore solemn testimony of the power of prayer and the love he has for us, for all of us are his children. That was just awesome and the spirit was vibrant! But the next day to pick them up for church, nobody. They are a family of ups, great ones too, but real hard falls and I long for their success. I long for their salvation and don´t want to lose them. I am worried for them. That is quick on them, but I don’t have much time.

Next is the family Navia, a mom and dad with 3 kids. They have been with missionaries off and on, but are really doíng well right now! We have been working through issues with them, and little by little they are progressing! We hit a huge jump this week, this Wednesday they are getting married and this Saturday have a baptismal date! That was really great to hear and get working on! They are fragile and we are working on building their faith in the Lord and testimony of what they are getting into.

Also we have a family that has big issues with a divorce and THEN a marriage in order to follow desires of baptism. Their kids can be baptized and we are working real hard on them. With this family we could have 4 baptisms, but REALLY need to stress a testimony and importance of this step for half of them just bumble around during our lessons and do what the others do. They are 9, 10, 13, and 14.

Finally with baptisms, we have a set of brothers, Bryan and Daniel (14 and 10 ) who we got to church yesterday and they are just awesome! Hopefully they continue to grow in their testimony and faith, they live right by our mamita, so we get to see them a lot.

I know this was really quick with all of them, but I don’t have much time today. I am coming to learn that Love is crucial. It is tough for the work moves when you learn to love, but that is when you want it to slow down!

I´m preparing for 7 days of famine after these 7 days of prosperity this week. ´This week almost every appointment we´ve had and every house we´ve been to, the people feed us and they feed us tons! I have been in heaven with the food, (I haven´t found a dish I don’t like, except for the squeaky cheese haha) but this week was filled with food! BUT last night we got a call from the Zone Leaders saying we won´t be receiving any money on our cards this week... we have almost nothing to buy food this week, so after the 7 days of prosperity, here comes the 7 days of famine! Haha wish me luck! All should be fine, no worries.

Something I´ve learned this week that I absolutely love that we can all apply. As missionaries, we promise miracles, literally. We are not in people´s lives, but we tell them all will be okay, they can get married, they can get a divorce, they can quit smoking this or that. We promise absolute miracles, AND miracles happen! God is a God of Miracles, right from the scriptures, and these miracles we promise come on something simple - faith. Read Hebrews 11 and ALL the miracles that happened with great people, why? Faith. Pray to our Lord, have faith, and act in the faith!

As a representative of Jesus Christ, I promise each and every one of you that read this, that all your desires will be obtained, all your hurdles will be blown away, all your struggles will diminish, if you ACT in the FAITH in the LORD JESUS CHRIST who overcame everything for you and simply said 'Come Follow Me'.

I love you all so much and pray for you daily! Hasta Luego!

Elder Griffin McGinn

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pictures...From Manta, Ecuador (or somewhere near there)

Note the smiley face drawn in the dust on his shoe.

This hippo apron has been to Iowa, Bulgaria and now Ecuador.

His first baptism.


Griffin Arrives at the Mission Home

Here is a picture of Griffin with President and Sister Gamboa as he and the other new missionaries arrived in Ecuador.

Email - September 13, 2010

So... you wonder why they teach us that Water and Electricity are bad mixes, that 'No johnny, you DON'T stick that fork in that plug or you'll get your face zapped off!' Haha well, here I´ve got an electric heated shower, it was plugged in to heat my shower, I got Zapped big time! and it doesn´t even heat my water! Haha trust science, not that whoever put that in your shower knew what he was doing...

So all, I am in Estaca Portoviejo, Barrio Los Olivos and I love it! A few things of my week, I´ll just go down the list...

A man has a wife that wants to get baptized, but this man has an issue cause HIS church is exactly like ours and why does he need to get baptized into ours if they are the same? Good question, we testified of the first vision, the importance of modern day prophets, and revelation, then he plays this card... Polygamy and the prophets not setting a good example for us. We had scriptures, we had quotes, we had the goods, but no go, this man was just angry. The moral to this story is you can have all the knowledge in the world, but a testimony is really what matters. Me and my comp both realized to stop. Stop. Just testify, we know, he doesn´t. We've shown him and testified, and promised the blessings of prayer, and that he will know the truth of all things if he just prays!

You can be faced with all the questions in the world and whether you have the knowledge or not (actual factual knowledge haha) if you don´t have a TESTIMONY FIRM IN CHRIST you will go nowhere. It is JUST like my favorite scripture in Helaman 5:12. That was a rough night, but we testified through the spirit, therefore we were successful.

This week we gave 5 different blessings of healing! 5! Well I don´t speak in Spanish, let alone give blessings! Haha all I can say is thank goodness people are healed off faith, not off words cause... yeah. My companion likes to say to the person 'you are sick, so you get the privilege to pick who annoints and who seals' They pick him to go first, CRAP! Haha, but faith heals, not the words from my mouth.

Oh and we were teaching a lady and she started asking about my family, I talked about you all and how awful you were and things like that, and she was just blown away, literally blown away at the fact that we are ALL members of the church! We are so blessed, realize that. Most of my days I am teaching investigators without the gospel, less actives who have moved away, or active PEOPLE that stand alone in their family. Realize the blessing it is, I have, but it took me until my mission here in Ecuador, in a house the size of our kitchen, to know just how lucky I am.

Also, we were teaching a lady for the first time, answering some simple questions about the church, and got to know more about her! She has one boy, don´t know about the husband but not with them, and her father was brutally murdered just weeks before. As we were testifying, she was very receptive and I´m hopeful for our next visit, but at one moment, in reading the scriptures and testifying to answer the question as to 'why such awful things occur in this world?' she just broke to tears, completely lost it. She muttered out how she needed this today, she truly needed us and thanked us from the bottom of her heart. She was completely happy (or so it seemed) to begin the lesson!

NEVER underestimate your power of simply gaining trust in a person, simply being a friend, simply saying hello, how are you and offering a smile! With THAT ALONE I am the most successful missionary in the world, as from D&C 18, how great shall be my joy! Oh that lifted my spirits!

Ah, to put a damper there... haha sorry, but here in Ecuador we´ve got some fun. Cock fights... there was a group of men up yelling and screaming and my companion turned to me and said the word 'roosters' in Spanish, I forget the word, and I just assumed he was calling them a bunch of roosters excited over some soccer match. We get closer, and turns out there are two roosters going at it! They have scales doing the weigh-ins, beer all around, I thought of the Seinfeld with cock fights for a moment haha.

They have here Mafia Verde (the green mafia) but I hear that the mafia like us, they respect us for our value of the family! Haha good. At least 5 or 19 times a day I hear 'Gringo, venga!' Haha, no no no bad idea Elder McGinn, Do NOT go over to the group of drunk men that beckon you to them. I´m quite the site here. The only north american for hours probably, no joke, I´m 6'2" tall haha and they either want me to speak Spanish so they can laugh, or want me to speak English and be astounded! Like I wrote weeks ago, I am sasquatch!

I thought I´d save the best for last, kind of like a surprise of WHAT? There's More?! But I´ve got my first baptism in the bags! I shouldn´t say it like that though, we´ve added another member to the Lord's kingdom! My comp had been teaching an boy named Jonathan, 17yrs old, a few weeks before I arrived and since I arrived wé've been prepping him for baptism and doing that last pushes. What a lift, what a true joy to see someone enter and come from the waters of baptism like our Lord Jesus Christ! I got to be a witness and truly did witness something amazing - the power in the priesthood, the reality of this work.

I love the work! It´s hard, but it´s rewarding. I´m trying to be patient with my Spanish, with my companion, and with myself. But what a joy I get out of the simple things, like a testimony. Realize what we have and STRENGTHEN YOUR TESTIMONIES! Nothing can stop a testimony founded in Christ, Nothing! That is why I´m here!

I testified of that to a boy we are challenging for baptism in saying pretty much 'why would I ever come to Ecuador for 2 years. I don't know Spanish, I´m a gringo, I am just lost. It is because I know this is true and I know it will bless your life in ways you cannot even imagine!' What a joy this work is, it has ups, it has many downs, and everyday is a battle. But so was hurdling, and each day I can look back and say 'I´m doing it.'

I love you all! I pray for you daily and thank the Lord for your impact in my life! Keep up the good work and remember, if I weren´t Limber as a Tree Cat or Nimble as a Lynx... these busses would´ve killed me ages ago! I´ve had many a close call, but never a crash and a boom!

Establezcan sus testimonios en Su Salvador, Jesucristo y nunca caeran! Cristo vive, yo sè que estas cosas son verdad y no tengo mucho tiempo, entonces... adios! Hasta semana!

Elder Griffin McGinn