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

Monday, September 6, 2010

Elder McGinn Cooking and Cleaning

Griffin's in Ecuador

Well, turns out I’m here in Ecuador! Ha ha, this country is nuts. I made it safely with a 2 hour flight from Peru, there were about 10 of us that all flew together. We arrived and I was already sweating. The humidity here is crazy, but I´m about used to it! But wow am I in for a treat come the hot season, it´s already fairly warm, probably 80's all the time!

We were shipped to President Gamboa's house and had a little lunch and testimony meeting with just us. I love them! He and his wife are so nice and friendly, they said I remind them of an Ex elder they had because I am very tall, very smiley, and am more than happy to eat! Haha, we then went to the mission home and met our companions! Mine is Elder Añorga from Peru and he is great. He is really nice and loves to work. I get a little impatient cause he´s a little too nice and explains things a few times too many for me, but it´s a blessing! They all were amazed at the Spanish I can understand. What a blessing the CCM of Peru was for me! I still have issues understanding and speaking, but what a jumpstart that CCM was for me.

We slept that first night in the mission home cause me and my comp had a 4 hour drive to our area! We are way out there and I´m the ONLY North American in our zone! Haha, it´s great. We have our own apartment, the other 2 elders there moved out Saturday for elsewhere. And as for a good welcome... we get on our big bus and as we´re heading I look out the window. I see a taxi going really fast, a man going really slow, and put those two things together makes a nasty hit and run! The very first thing I saw, welcome to Ecuador Elder McGinn, was a hit and run! The taxi windshield got rocked! The man was okay, not good at all, but okay. Wow.

So here´s a summary of my experience so far. Roads - it´s a battlefield and lanes don´t mean a thing. Bus - very large, lots of people, don´t let you get situated before they zoom, I crouch in nearly all of them, if I sit, the seat in front of me is not at my knees but at my chin! Haha. As for the animals, just in teaching lessons I´ve had a frog, a group of chickens, a few cats, and many dogs go mosey-ing around me! Dinner - my companion doesn´t believe in it haha. We haven’t had dinner much, maybe once or twice, and the only meal yesterday for fast Sunday was lunch. I asked him why and he said we only eat if we have time... rats haha. He is always full and I am always hungry, but I sure love it here! I am North American, lots of people come to me. They talk fast, they talk loud, they ALL want MY attention and I am just lost!

Haha, it is so great here and I know that Peru was the biggest blessing, cause many elders (N.A.) have said that they weren´t that way till a few weeks or months in and My latin companion said the same about North Americans. Here are a few pictures too, I´m mad cause I had a bunch (of the MTC's too) but I was working with the Memory card last night to fix a problem and WHAM there went all my pictures, what I´m sending is what I have haha. Oh well.

This first Sunday was testimony meeting and it was amazing. I will never complain ever again back home, cause here the kids and the noise don´t stop. It was nuts and really frustrating! ha, but that´s okay. I felt like I needed to bear my testimony, so I did, and it was amazing. The WHOLE chapel went quiet, all eyes on the North American babbling in some odd Spanish as he´s hunched over the mic, but what a spirit. I simply broke down. Tears and the whole show, but the spirit was uncontrollable. I KNOW I touched at least one life, mine. Always bear testimony of the Savior, of Joseph Smith, of the Book of Mormon, of Prophets. Always follow the spirit. I know Christ lives, I know he´s my savior, and I will support these afflictions like a faithful soldier of Christ, for he suffered and he sweat, and he bent, but he also conquered. I will conquer, 'The Lord is my light, then why should I fear?' I love the work and the gift of tongues is real. It is a gift, you need love, you need faith, and you need to trust the spirit.

In one lesson I was able to understand everything, bear testimony to a family of the truth of this gospel, that Joseph Smith did indeed see God the Father and the Son! The man asked what the difference was between our church and his church, the two are so similar and he can´t find the difference. Boldly, but with love, I testified of prayer. God answers prayers and we have prophets here to guide us. That is the difference. We have prophets, we have the priesthood, we are the restored gospel of Christ! I don’t know if this makes sense, all I know is that the Lord is on my side, I can do miracles. I love this mission, it is hard, real hard, but it is great, real great.

Love the Lord, Love your testimony, and ACT in that love by lifting, serving, smiling, doing. Christ lives. Joseph Smith was a prophet. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. We have prophets here today, and I wouldn´t change that for the world! I love you all so much and pray for you daily. Please pray for me, but don’t worry, cause if you´re praying and you believe God hears them, He will take care of the rest!

As for next week!!! Oh and we have a Mamita, the first night she made chicken, rice, and those plantains! YUM!!!

Elder Griffin McGinn