Monday, May 30, 2011

Email - May 30, 2011

So... I'm in the chapel for a baptism interview and two white people walk in. The lady had a shirt on from the boat we worked on, one of the members of the Church, they simply wanted to know at what time the meetings were Sunday. I asked them where they were from... They said Utah (big surprise haha), they then said they were from Orem also (a little cooler, not really) but THEN the man said 'wait... your name is McGinn... is your Dad our Stake President?!' Sure enough I, Elder McGinn, ran into Brother and Sister Kartchner from the 6th Ward and 8th Branch who are on the ship with the members! I quickly got a picture and WAS going to send it to you haha. Anyway, how crazy!

Mase, I'm jealous of the steaks you are eating BUT I am really happy with all the fish I've got down here. My favorite dish has to be 'Ceviche Mixto con Chifles' it's got fish, shrimp, squid, a bunch of veggies, it's hard to explain haha. I love Ceviche, Viche, Corviche, Encebollado y Carne Asada con Menestra.

I know it's a bit quicker this week too, we're off to Guayaquil 'ya mismo' (right now). We have been traveling SO much this Change, it's ridiculous. We are hardly ever in our sector, but at least we're not with the boat! That was so fun AND I bet I got you jealous with the Gun in my hand, huh Cam? We have been running from Interviews to Interchanges to Boats to Guayaquil, it's been crazy, but I love it!

It's sad to see when goals aren't met, but we still have 65 baptismal dates as a Zone for this month that is coming. As for our sector, it's tough to tell you, haha. We had 10 at church, but most of them need to get married before anything changes. We hear about fights in the home, drunks, abuse, it's sad, but they've all shown progress in coming to church yesterday. The Lord has blessed us with a few new people that are so excited and told us 'thank you for listening to us, we feel like we can trust in you and it simply feels good to have someone listen.'

That's a bit on the investigators... we have so many that listen, but not many that are acting right now. The members help us, we split up yesterday to divide and conquer our sector and 3 young men that LOVE coming with us! That helps a lot.

We have so much potential out here, I am learning so much from Elder Escalante, we laugh our heads off the whole day and I'm nervous and sad he's about out of here cause I lack so much as a Zone Leader.

Anyway, I am just having a blast! I love the mission and the key is being humble and obedient. My companion is ALWAYS correcting me in the tiniest things (Spanish or mission stuff, haha. I guess I shouldn't have told him to go for it...) but I really am learning so much. The little things really make the difference and I'm trying so hard to become the missionary the Lord didn't simply call, but who He Chose!

I want to tell you a cool story that happened this past month cause most of OUR investigators are simply hanging out haha (and that all 8 of the investigators I had in Eloy Alfaro have been baptized!) . So I taught classes of English in my last ward here in Manta. A guy came to church after everything to meet up with a friend from college who's a member. I simply got to know his name and invited him to English classes. Nothing more. The next Saturday he showed up, we taught and learned English, nothing more. The next Sunday he came to church with a Liahona and lots of questions! I pulled him aside AND HE ACCEPTED A BAPTISMAL DATE! But he lives in another ward and I simply sent him off with a baptismal date. I hadn't heard anything from him in 2 or 3 weeks until the missionaries in that ward told me that Johan Díaz was going to be baptized May 28th AND wanted me to do it!

That was such a sweet experience and made my entire mission. I have simply seen miracles here in the mission, he is one of them. I felt excited the day I put the baptismal date in my old ward, but lost it not hearing from him. But what a joy to hear that the date I put stayed AND that he wanted me to finish it off. I hope you all understood that story, I am a bit spacy right now haha. But I KNOW the Lord guides this great work and I know that He needs good, worthy, diligent servants that will obey at all times. I know that by keeping the Holy Ghost with you AND obeying it, you will be the hands of the Lord here on the earth. He needs you, He needs me, He needed Johan and Johan needed Him. Together we create the Lord's Kingdom here, He is coming, He is happy and we should be too.

Les quiero mucho, busquen la guía del Santo Espíritu, esperen las respuestas del Señor en silencio durante sus oraciones. El les guiará, les consolará, les dirá todo lo que tienen que hacer en esta vida de pruebas. Lo siento por los que no hablan español, ¡disfrútelo Jeff y los demás que los pueden hacer! No hay ninguna felicidad MAS GRANDE que sentir la aprueba del Señor personalmente.

(I love you, seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Lord answers wait in silence for prayer. Then guide them, comfort them, tell them what to do in life test. Sorry for those who do not speak Spanish, enjoy it Jeff and others that can do it! There is no greater happiness than to feel personally approved of the Lord.)

Elder McGinn

Monday, May 23, 2011

Email & Pictures - May 23, 2011

FIRST off... I forgot to thank you Syd for the scripture you sent me the other week in Romans 1:16 and I would like to share with you (and all that are dropping eaves on the conversation) my favorite scripture. I simply love the scriptures, but Helaman 5:12 shall forever be my favorite because of the impact it had on my life when I was 15 years old. No matter WHAT happens in life, who you're around, the challenges, exercise your faith in Christ and you shall always stand tall.

It sure sounds like a wet month in May, it sure is dry here! But wow what a nice breeze on the beach! It's beautiful out here.

I'm sorry it's been real short these past few weeks, but you know... I was only in my sector working 2 days the whole week! Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we were translating for the doctors, dentists, etc. and what a blast! And yes, Dad, we had such a huge impact for the church. ALL the medical staff was sad that there were only 2 missionaries cause one: we translated the best, two: we were hard workers, and three: we were normal and fun to get along with.

The first day I worked with kids, the next with a dentist (and got a cleaning myself, haha...) and the last day with parents. I sure had to ask some awkward questions but the doctors, cause we were so busy with them, got asking so much about the church and thanking us for our efforts. I was amazed at ALL the people that wanted our help or simply started conversations like, 'Hey you're the Mormons right? Where are your buddies, you've helped us so much!' Tomorrow they are taking us on a tour of the HUGE hospital boat that I have a picture of! What fun. The other days of the week we had Interchanges with our District Leaders, so really I haven't been here at all.

I know it's short, but have to fly! I just want to testify to you all of the work of the Savior. The work is not done in finding someone, sitting down, sharing a scripture. The work is what we did for the Army, what you do in the street or at work. The work is doing the things that keep the Spirit personally cause like the Lord's promise in 3 Nephi 12, YOUR LIGHT WILL SHINE THROUGH THE DAILY WORKS YOU DO. Just live life, serve people, be examples of the believers and THEY will envy what you have. They will ask you, they will come to the Lord and experience the change that we continue to have. Christ lives, He is my Redeemer. The Book of Mormon IS the Rod that leads us to Life Eternal. Please read it, you shall never fall.

Love you!
Elder Griffin McGinn
And no broken mirrors this week!

Email - May 16, 2011

Here is how my week went...

I am learning SO much as a Zone Leader. It is a BLAST being with Mase's twin, it's freaky. I learn daily, I'm humbled daily, and yet the Lord still extends His tender mercies towards me. Today we were helping (just me and Elder Escalante) translate for the US Army Medical Team. We went out to different sites to translate for patients, we helped 477 people today! It was such a blast being with the US Army, those are some big dudes... and gals haha. I ate an awesome dehydrated lunch, it reminded me of all my camp outs, that was cool. But wow my mind is just fried. I've been out since 7 am, we got back at 6 pm. Woof. We'll be with them all day Wednesday and Friday too.

As for my week, the work is flying! I absolutely love it here. This week was full of Baptismal Interviews and I got to see 4 of my investigators from my last ward get baptized.

I simply, with the time I have, wanted to share an experience that touched my heart. We have a convert here, she has a cousin. She told us that her cousin would not want the Gospel in her life. She's 14 years old. Her name is Adrianna and we went to give her a visit anyway. We simply listened, we didn’t say a word about the Gospel. She quickly opened up to us as friends and shared how tough it was having lost her mother and her father being a drunk. We invited her to church as we finished. It was a simple first visit, but what happened after was so amazing! She showed up to church WITH her cousin and liked it alright, but (heads up to you all on the difference you can make) right after all of the youth came to say hello and get to know her. 3 girls grabbed her by the arm and took her to the next class. We didn't see any more of her till church was over and she greeted us with the biggest smile AND with the 3 girls at her arm. It doesn't end there either haha. We stopped by that night to see how she was. She just blew up with happiness about the church and wants to come back, she was blown away that day. She accepted a baptismal date for the end of the month AND when her grandmother refused to offer the closing prayer, she offered to do it herself, if we'd show her how. Elder Escalante and I were simply blown away with laughter and joy. This is a 14 year old girl who has a broken home. She goes out at night to have fun in clubs to simply 'forget.' By having people who listen, people interested, and people who invite, she is now a girl with hope and a baptismal date, working on Personal Progress and as happy as can be.

I love this mission. I love the help of the Lord. The Lord guides us in the most simple of ways, a tiny thought. I have learned, just as you did in Stake Conference, of the importance of the Spirit in our lives and how simple, yet strong, that guidance really is. Do all you can to have the Spirit and simply reach out to ALL! Everyone has trials, everyone's life is hard, the burdens are ever present, and so much easier to bear with a friend.

I love you all and I love being a missionary. This church is true and there is no doubt in my mind.

Love you all and hear from you soon!

Elder McGinn

Oh and getting off a bus the other day, I got off the other way for a change,,, the left side. I felt a bump, I heard a crash. I busted the right side mirror off... crap.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Email - May 9, 2011

Hey I can't talk AT ALL today, really. For the rest of you who read about me that didn't get to talk to me on Mother's Day... sorry. We are still trying to figure out transfers. I'm a Zone Leader and going to have a blast! We are working so dang hard and I absolutely love it. I couldn't be happier than I am here in the field. My eyes are already opening so much wider in my week as a Zone Leader and what a blast! I love the trust the Lord has in me and I hope it grows! That is my message today, keep the trust of the Lord. Do ALL you can to get the Spirit, but don't stop there. FOLLOW IT! As you follow it you will perform the miracles the Lord needs.

I love you all so much and am really so sorry I can't write long! Ah... these next few weeks with emails will be shaky. The next two weeks I am assigned a few days of the week to help translate for Church doctors that are coming in. I will be translating the next few weeks a few days a week and may have little to no time to write. BUT you can all know that I'm as happy as can be in the service of the Lord!

Elder Griffin McGinn

Monday, May 2, 2011

Email - May 2, 2011

Well Hello! Anyway, this will be a bit shorter cause we had an awesome day of helping the Sister Missionaries and the Zone Leaders move houses. We did it with 4 elders... I will never again move a fridge 6 floors OR have an old man tell me how to use a screw driver (it was a eatherman anyway...) haha. So today is a little rushed.
Here's my week...

There is no better work than being a missionary. Sorry, something else came to mind, haha, there is a little boy that always steals our name tags and I couldn't help but laugh when I used Dad's famous quote to action... 'my arms will always be longer than your brain.' The little boy ran away frustrated after my hand on his forehead kept him from my name tag.

Ecuador is the BEST! The other day I fulfilled a goal of mine that should never be accomplished again. I had rice for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner! My exercises in the morning now simply consist of abs abs abs and jump rope, haha.

There is such truth to the phrase 'The field is white, already to harvest.' está YA para la siega! It is so true; this week as a Zone of 18 missionaries we had 90 people with baptismal dates. The next two weeks, if all goes well, we should have 7 baptisms here in our ward Eloy Alfaro. What a joy this work of a missionary is. It's two years, why not work? Why not enjoy it? Why not live it to the max?

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is seen in families. A baptism for this weekend is a mother named Amarilis. Why is she getting married to be baptized? She saw the example and light in her two children. The next weekend is a family of 3 who are following the example of their Grandma; an elderly couple who have been married for years and simply want the truth; and a girl who has always gone to church with her grandparents. You know what a mother told me this week? She told me she LOVES what the Gospel has done in her life and wants baptism, Why? She has seen love grow between her kids, patience flourish in times of trial, and comfort along the way. Apply that to our lives! Let us live the Gospel, it truly changes lives. And how? By simple, cherished virtues often overlooked such as patience, hope, love.

I told you two weeks agoish that an elder man told us 'I don't care if my wife doesn't follow me, I'm going to be baptized!' Well we accepted that and Elder Barcia and I went to visit them the other day. The wife cut us off as we were talking about the function of the Holy Ghost. She told us, 'you know... I like this. I'm going to follow my husband.' I just about cried! I literally told her with the biggest, sincerest smile, 'How do you feel right now? Cause I sure feel awesome!' The Gospel of Jesus Christ, when lived, is Happy and Eternal Families. Families that read together, pray together, family home evening together... but not simply that. Families that have fun together, families that talk, families that share. As a missionary you can really tell the homes where the Spirit resides and where it doesn't.

I am SO happy out here in the field, am so happy with my companion. We passed for an embarrassing moment the other day (and in saying we I mean ME... we're just always together haha). A dog gave me the stink eye and the gnarly teeth look. You all know how fond I am of big, angry dogs. It came like mad and AFTER the fact my companion said 'you know… I was waiting to see how you'd react. You were closer anyway.' Haha thanks companion. But in a moment of true danger my true instincts kicked in, my tree cat instincts! I kicked, jumped, did a 180 and dodged that mutt as it ran for cover! How embarrassing haha, that was the pits. But together we turned a moment like that into a joke. Humility reigned over pride, a pebble of pride was instead a rock of redemption and becoming more who my parents are, more who my Savior is.

I love the mission. Your attitude is your altitude, your optimism is your outcome. A few happy families, a kid who will think twice before snagging my name tag, and a rotten dog make up my week! No hay ninguna obra tan hermosa que la obra misional. Las personas se acercan al Salvador y realmente disfrutan de las bendiciones que se logran al sacrificar. Las bendiciones que se disfrutan mas que todo son los que vienen por sacrificio. Las familias pueden y DEBEN ser eternas, los perros DEBEN quedar en la sombra sin enojarse conmigo o yo voy a saltar y dar la vuelta de nuevo! La Iglesia de Jesucristo se restauró y sigue hoy como la Roca de nuestra salvación, felicidad, paz y progreso. Apégense al Salvador y Sus enseñanzas. Busquen las bendiciones como familia y las verán sin duda! Les amo mucho. I LOVE THE WORK!

Elder Griffin McGinn