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