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