Monday, June 27, 2011

Email - June 27, 2011

Here is how my week went!

The picture is of Carlos Delgado, 19 years old, who got baptized this Saturday! That was fun to have a baptism again. We should have a few more here in the next month.

Yes, I have hit the one year mark... Thursday! It gets me excited and sad. Sad cause there went one year, but excited cause I'm finally learning how to lose myself in the work and this year shall fly! Thank you for the comments and questions on Elder Franco and I. We are getting along fine, a bit rough at first, but things are smoothing out. It's always a bit odd getting to know your new companion, but it is an opportunity to love more, show more patience, and truly humble yourself before the Lord. The Zone is doing great, we have an almost entirely new Zone! Half of the elders are brand new or have less than 3 months in the mission. Only 4 of us 18 have more than a year!

I have to tell you to watch your Member of the Church Vocab with a funny story. So an investigator came to church, and it was awesome cause his buddy (Carlos Delgado) was confirmed that same day and got his buddy more excited to listen to us. Anyway, after Sacrament Meeting, a member came up to welcome him to church and present herself. She said 'Hey, we're from the Young Single Adults, welcome to Church!' Something like that, correct right? Well HE took us for a detour by responding 'You're single? Let's hook up babe.' Well that kind of put a damper on the Spirit haha. I busted up laughing, I'm not going to lie, and they both went really red in the face.

Anyway... I could tell you another funny story about a drunk man who spoke to me in English for 5 minutes before we escaped, yet he ran upstairs and to the window; as we conversed with an investigator outside and across the street, the drunk man yelled for 30 minutes to get my attention. 'Everybody, I'm drunk! THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA.' How awkward, so we visited him the next day (yesterday). Turns out his mom is an inactive member and he would really like some spiritual help in his life right now. But let's end on a good note today.

The best thing you can ever do for anyone is listen. To put it into perspective, we listened to a man for 45 minutes. He only accepts us because we know we'll listen. In listening to Patricio Cajas with all my heart, every single word, came to mind 'Oh if I were an Angel...' Alma 29:1-4. In simply listening to Patricio Cajas, he was able to vent and feel our love. In listening ever so slightly to the Spirit, scripture came to mind which was perfectly applicable to the needs of Patricio Cajas, permitting him to feel of God's love in that very moment. He is progressing, little by little. 4 kids, single father, wife ran out on him for another man, in rehab for alcohol, and works from 6am to 8pm every day.

Change lives, listen, take the burdens of others upon yourself. God loves his children and they need to feel it, show His children interest and you shall be the entrusted instrument. I love the mission, I love you all, I love the Lord and I know that Christ is my Savior!

Elder Griffin McGinn

Monday, June 20, 2011

Email & Pictures - June 20, 2011

I know you love seeing me, I like to see myself too (I spend my personal study time in front of the mirror) so I'll send some more pictures! One is of our Zone in Manta...18 Missionaries, the biggest in the mission. One is with Elder Bushnell (for Bart and Renae and Orem Pride). The other is a picture of the primary, we had a last minute baptism of a little 8 year old who always comes to church with her aunt and uncle and wanted to be baptized! Kind of like a present from the Lord for working everywhere but our sector this change, haha.

I just got back from Guayaquil! I love the 4 hour trips, haha, I've got a new companion, he is from Bolivia, he has 20 months in the mission, he is not like Mason, but I still enjoy him. I knew him in Portoviejo cause he was my old Zone Leader! He is Elder Franco! I'm excited for the new change, almost half the zone has been changed AND we have 5 new missionaries. There are 18 missionaries in our Zone, the biggest in the mission.

I am so happy out here, we simply need to keep working cause we have built a zone that has become immortal! In 2 changes we have baptized weekly as a Zone, or 12 baptisms in 12 weeks at least. We baptize, as a zone, about 20 monthly. BUT, learn this lesson good you future missionaries, the numbers don't mean a thing. Yes, we have baptisms, but we could have more. Yes baptisms mean converts, but you don't want to baptize inactives. The retention is hard, but the work is simply flying out here. At times I get down, thinking 'What more can I do?' and though I lack the world, we are hanging in there just fine. But who wants to simply 'hang in there' in life when you can take the extra effort to sit in first class comfortably? Haha, but it's true!

Elder Escalante took off, it was tough to see him go, but in seeing him go and feeling the sadness, it made me realize the reality of the mission and boy am I going to give all I can this next year I have! Can you believe a year has passed by almost?

All of our investigators have come to church more than twice, they keep their commitments, they simply lack baptism haha... yet they all resist it for personal and individual reasons. Nevertheless, we don't lose patience with them. Yes, they do need to act, but we shall always extend the hand of help, just as the Lord did, does and always will do for us. That helps me a lot in the mission, think of ALL the Lord has done for me, my many great blessings, and to show that type of love towards my investigators.

The Lord has blessed us with 2 families that know the missionaries already, they were taught a few years ago. I think I already told you about them last week, the family Cedeño Cajas. We have so many people to teach, yet so many more to be taught! The Lord is blessing us with families, the work is much more effective with families, and that isn't simply irony... EVERYTHING IS BETTER AS A FAMILY. The missionary work, the baptisms, the temple sealings, and everything else as we endure to the end. If it's key for the investigators, of course it's key for us. Live the gospel, live it as family, read the scriptures, say your prayers, go to the temple, even to walk around outside, give service, you bless the lives of others while SECURING THE ETERNITY OF YOUR OWN.

I love the mission. We have people to teach, we have a good zone, we are so blessed out here. All we need to do is work! I love the work, it flies and it is perfect. I could never complain about the mission, during or after, why? Because I strive to keep the Spirit with me! Yes it is hard and at times I lack confidence, but if you strive for the Spirit... the Lord does His work! I have learned to quit trying to play the masterpiece, better yet I must let the Master play it through me. I am His instrument. I don't need to play, He will play me and we will succeed. It is the same in your daily lives. I love you all and I love the work. I'm here with Elder Franco and we're going to get up and at'm.

Elder Griffin McGinn

La Mera Mera, Toz con Flema (that means it's the real deal, the good stuff)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Email & Pictures - June 13, 2011

Well, I'll get to your questions first... My companion has just started his last week! We could have changes any second this week, but he goes home on Monday. How crazy that has been! A few of my favorite things are a drink called Pony Malta, it's the Mormon Beer down here haha, 'ManDingo' which is Ecuador's J Dawgs and it's AWESOME (3 stops during the week haha) and Polaca. It's a sweets drink made of Oatmeal, Cereal and Milk.

Well, last week I didn't work with my companion cause he was in bed. This week I didn't work with Elder Escalante cause we divided up the whole week almost! To catch up what we had lost, we divided up with two future missionaries. One is from our ward, off to Mexico City and the other is Elder Escalante's convert from when he started the mission 2 years ago! He came back to the neighbor sector of where he began, haha. We split up and worked like crazy AND THE LORD BLESSED US IN EVERY MOMENT. I can promise you that for sure. We had just about 50 lessons between us two this week.

I am so happy, a bit antsy for changes, but I'm excited for the push into the dark that the Lord's about to hand me, cause now it's my turn to really depend on the shine of the Holy Ghost. It is there, but at times we depend on others and we don't really recognize our own potential. I have been so happy here, Elder Escalante is one of the best missionaries I've met and I lack so much. Comp Study is more of an Elder McGinn Punching Bag Experience, haha. I practice and he stops them. I try again, he stops them, that happens the whole hour, but I am truly learning who I can become.

Two stories to finish up to promise to all you future missionaries, current missionaries, members, or those who may not be members of the church. The Spirit guides those who work. In an interchange we went at 8 to meet up with a family. They already told us they'd be there. They weren't (surprise haha). But their neighbor upstairs was leaving to do groceries and started talking to us. I don't know how the conversation started, but I'd never forget how it ended. A man who simply came downstairs as we were leaving a 'no show' turned into a man who is accepting our visits with joy.

Patricio has 4 kids, his wife left him for another man, he is an addict to alcohol, he knew AND read the Book of Mormon while missionaries visited him in a clinic. He tearfully told us 'I know you two are sent from God to change my life, I felt it when I saw you.' We gave him a Book of Mormon and he thanked us because 'I gave mine away to a good friend in the clinic when I took off, I have been searching for it ever since.' I am so excited to see what happens!

Well I lied, I said I had 2 stories, and I do, but my time is up haha. I LOVE THE MISSION! The Lord truly guides those that seek His aid. The spirit shall guide you in all, don't doubt! Learn to trust, then go and do! I cannot believe the changes I have made in this time in the mission. The Lord shall mold you into His servant with the faith we put forth. Keep the Commandments. Be humble. Listen to the Spirit. Listen in the home. Tell all that you love them, show it in action. The Church is true!

Elder Griffin McGinn

(enjoy the pictures of our sea food lunch the other day, I've never eaten so good! Also, that lady with me in the picture is 92 years old, to be baptized. Yes, that is a man and yes he does have a shark on his shoulders. We woke up early this morning, ran on the beach, and took cool pictures of the huge fish and shark from the fishermen here.)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Email - June 6, 2011

First and Foremost, I really want Jeff Watkins and Jake Watson to know que ánimo que tengo en cuanto a sus llamamientos! Wow me sorprendieron pero por completo! España y Brasil, que misiones! Estoy seguro que van a Rock the House!

All you young men out there, GET ON MISSIONS. Turn your life around or keep it progressing, build a personal relationship with God and really come to know that repentance (even the small things) is the beauty of life. What a blessing WE have in the Gospel and what a peace WE FEEL in letting someone else in on the secret.

I am GREAT! This week has been... let's say rough, haha. Monday we went to Guayaquil (4 hours), Tuesday we had Zone Leader Counsel, Wednesday we got to work, but Thursday my companion got way sick AND the Assistants came with President and his wife for Zone Conference. This whole week we've been in the house... I went out with the Assistants at night to visit, but my companion very strangely jacked up his Meniscus, has an Intestinal Infection, and a Fever. Alright! Haha we're going to see how teaching goes today, cause he still is okay, not too great. He is sick of being in bed, but that really was our week... haha. Exciting right? I was at home in the day, teaching at night with one of the Assistants.

Changes are soon and I'm nervous to be a zone leader out here cause in the past 12 weeks... we haven't worked here in 7 of them between sicknesses, travels, etc. Let's just say our sector (not the Zone thank goodness) is dead! A lot of fishing up in these parts... no pun intended being on the ocean shore. It never rains our here, we're in paradise. It's hot, but there is a sweet breeze from the ocean, I really am in such a sweet place. It just kills the elders with sickness. 3 of the last 4 zone leaders have been just killed with sickness! Let's see what happens to me haha, no all shall be well. That really was my week, being at home and trying to save our sector, but I'd like to finish with a cool story.

We were a bit bummed in the house on Sunday, but started to sing a few hymns as loud as we could. Weird right? The little neighbor girl kept scootering by with ice cream listening to us. But as we sang “How Firm a Foundation” and the few hymns of Joseph Smith and the Restoration, such a powerful spirit filled the room! I really can't explain it but it was SO powerful! We got excited, happy, ready to work, filled with the spirit, laughing. I don't know where I'm getting with the story haha, but want to tell you all of the power of hymns in my life, the power of the scriptures, in other words... the power of the Spirit. Do ALL you can to have the Spirit in your life, IT WILL GUIDE YOU. God loves you, He wants to guide you, He will do it by His Spirit. The Spirit animates, excites, illuminates, comforts, does it all.

I love the work and there is no better happiness than KNOWING that though there are rough times ahead, times of doubt, the Lord is guiding me and shall do so through the Spirit and daily repentance. Repent! Love! Life is worth living, but so much sweeter in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Love you all!!

Elder McGinn