Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Email - July 25, 2011

Thanks for the Joke Mase, speaking of Rats... we have one in our HOUSE! In companionship study... all turned bad as I saw a little (rather large) black thing scitter in my peripheral vision. All sights set on killing the beast now, we ran out, got a big pole, cornered it, and yet somehow it disappeared! We found its home and put a 25lb dumbbell over it, sucker. I won't lie, there are some nasty rats down here, the size of the beasts in Princess Bride!

Bueno... ¿con qué empiezo? Tal vez ingles... Sorry I don't have much time, but I thank you all for your prayers for Ronald and Genesis, Lenín, and Carlos and Mariuxi, miracles happen in the mission! Ronald and Genesis are still listening, progressing, but not as much as hoped, they will be baptized once they get married, but we'd like them to realize the importance and the need NOW. Lenín is such a trooper, he is fighting so hard to drop drinking. He didn't come to church this week. We'll see him tonight, but we've had two conversations with him drunk by telephone.

I about lost hope with Carlos and Mariuxi this week, they needed to come to church to be baptized this coming Saturday and nothing... AND their mother, who is member, was already there without them. BUT as sacrament finished, they came walking in, they arrived just a bit late and waited for the Sacrament to finish! What a miracle! And many more, yet I don't have time. They are passing for a trial right now, and please keep them in your prayers. They have had so many witnesses that it's true, yet don't recognize them. Please pray for them, they have a baptism goal for this Saturday. They are still 'looking for the sign'. In your prayers please include them and Andres Lopez. I haven't ever talked about him and it is a witness to me of the miracles the Lord works! We have been working so hard to get these baptisms in July and there have been so many issues in the way! We had a baptism yesterday, a 9 year old whose father is inactive, his mother is not member but in the comings, and has been great to see the changes made in his family.

But back to Andres! One Sunday, Elder Franco called all the investigators in the morning to invite them to church. He didn't know who Andres Lopez was, and Andres told him that he had a meeting in the morning, but would see what happens. He came to church twice about 2 months ago, we've never taught him with his busy schedule, I had almost forgotten him! After the phone call, to our surprise he came to church in shirt and tie! Elder Franco didn't even recognize him! Haha, we had to run after, but we got a visit scheduled. As we passed by on Wednesday, he told us that he wants to be baptized and accepted a date for the 30th so excitedly, thinking he'd have to wait longer. He is 19, he dropped drinking to win the trust of his mom. He is accepting the commandments so easily because he really wants to show with his example, a change of life towards his dad.

I bet you are all confused reading this haha, but the point is, the Lord placed the miracles in our path with the diligence we put forth this week. We could have 5 baptisms, but a family took off on emergency stuff, but we should still have 3 baptisms. That'll be 4 in July and 5 in the past transfer! We are panicked trying to get these baptisms in, but I know all will turn out. We have had absolute miracles this week! I hardly worked in our sector, doing interchanges with the District Leaders sent me far and away, but that was a sweet experience. I was able to see, in both occasions, two leaders who were stuck and without hope turn for guidance, receive it, and bless the rest in their way.

I have grown so much in my love for the Savior; that is the call he makes to all of us! That when we are without hope, sad, in panic, TURN TO HIM, BE COMFORTED (like Ammon and his buddies) and then share that comfort with those in your reach. That is the mission; that is life. I am learning to simply lose myself in the great work, even lose my sector to help those in my Zone and ALWAYS, ALWAYS The Lord has come through to help me, my companion, and the miracles in our sector. I hope you got something from this letter that helps you personally.

That's how every day in the mission is for me. Pray for miracles, keep the Spirit with you, and simply go when prompted. There is nothing better, sweeter, or happier than pure obedience to the One who simply beckons us to Come, to Repent, to Live, to Rejoice, to Be Comforted.

I love this mission, I love my Savior, I am grateful for His part in the Plan of Salvation. We are all in it for the same purpose, Eternal Life, and the guidance shall come perfectly packaged for each and every one of us as Important Children of God.

Elder McGinn

Monday, July 18, 2011

Email - July 18, 2011

I thank you SO much for the offer to pray for investigators! We are in need of a miracle in these last two weeks. As a companionship we put a goal of 7 people to be baptized in July. Right now... we have zero. BUT we have 15 that fit the requirements and have a date fixed! I will fill you in on a few experiences soon, but PLEASE pray for Ronald and Genesis. They want baptism, they will get married... in August. They have come to church 4 times and know it's true, but we can't seem to find what really holds them back. ALL they lack is marriage AND THEY WANT IT! Haha... in August. Carlos and Mariuxi please, they are perfect. They took our challenge to listen to God in their prayer, ask if He is there and listen. They did, they told us their experience with joy and tears. They know it's true, they have accepted everything we have taught, they are AWESOME! We taught them during vacations, Carlos is going to work again and will never be home. He has to drop coffee. They have told us of miracles that are passing in their lives, yet are still 'waiting for the answer.' It makes me laugh, yet now I'm impatient haha, cause they have their answer, just don't recognize it! And finally Lenín. This man comes with a story that I shall never forget, a testimony to ME that we are God's instruments and every man in the street is there for a reason....

Do you remember the man that I talked about a monthish ago that spoke to me in pure English, but drunk? Then he went upstairs and was yelling at us in English as we taught our investigator in the street? Well...we returned the next day and he thanked us, he was surprised and started to listen to us. The next visit he said WHY he listens to us, 'because not everyone runs in to a drunk man and returns the next day to see how he is.' He feels we are sent from God (which is true haha). We left him with the Book of ¨Mormon and a folleto of the Restoration. That was about a month ago. He has come to church twice. He accepted a baptismal date for the 6 of August, but it gets better! You know what he told me yesterday in church? Hey... Elder McGinn, I was reading your folleto and when I got to Joseph Smith, I was fixed. I reread and reread and reread, I underlined, marked, I was blown away! I want to tell you more, but you have to come by the house! Please come! I don't even feel the desire to drink Alcohol anymore! That was his biggest problem, alcohol. He is so busy and it is hard to see him, but he could get baptized THIS SATURDAY, two weeks in advance, his goal is for the 6th. He is a miracle, The Lord put him in our path and I will not let him out of my sight!

This gospel changes lives, it performs miracles. For all you members of the church, LIVE THE GOSPEL! Are you reading the Book of Mormon daily? Praying morning and night? Doing so as a family? Paying tithing and fast offerings? Going to church... the 3 hours? Having Family Night? Going to the Temple weekly? IT MAKES LIFE SO EASY AND SO BEAUTIFUL! Those who aren't members, just give it a try! Your problems, whatever and wherever they are, will be resolved, you will be guided, you will have direction in life, you will be happy again. God loves you so much and simply asks that you keep his commandments and He will bless you immediately! Mosiah 2:22.

I don't know... haha I'm so happy! I hate thinking of time. Please pray for these people, we are trying to fix up our goal as a companionship and as a Zone. We can do it, we'll be busy with many interchanges this week, but we are learning to consecrate ourselves in this great cause, the only cause that takes us back to our Heavenly Home. We have the people, the Lord has blessed us with so many at church, in the street, everywhere, we simply need to put them in the baptismal waters! We don't know what else to do, but we are going to go at it like crazy. We are so happy, a bit rushed, not going to lie, haha, but there is no better happiness than fighting for the salvation of those around you. Never tell me it's not possible, never tell me it's hopeless. It is too fun and too worth it to quit keeping the commandments, quit working, and waste one minute as a full time instrument of the Man with the Plan... Plan of Salvation that is.

I have so many experiences to tell you, I love the work! I want to write forever! I don't want to talk to you or see you just yet, I lack too much time here, but if I could write all day, I would! We turned the corner and just happened to say hi to a lady who JUST was separated from her husband, he ran out on her. What if we simply passed by? What if we talked to her? We talked to her, she accepted a baptismal date, she loves the Book of Mormon.

What more can I ask for? I am the happiest man in the world here in Ecuador.

Elder Griffin McGinn

Monday, July 11, 2011

Email - July 11, 2011

I can tell you, I AM still limber as a tree cat, nimble as a lynx. I surprised myself yesterday! So we are walking down the street, talking about the next visit. The drunks always say hello, shake our hands, offer us to drink, and yesterday a drunk man without a shirt came up to me waving and shook my hand. The next thing I knew my hand caught his hand halfway down my pocket. The dirty rat had tried to rob me in daylight and at the speed of a cow! Haha, as I caught his wrist real tight he about fell over from surprise and being drunk, he threw up his fists to punch me and as we sat there staring at him, he walked away yelling. What an odd experience, anyway.

I am still here and I love it! This week we hardly got to work because Thursday and Friday we were in Guayaquil (Pres. Amaya is awesome! Different, but full of the spirit and hits hard on Pure Obedience. We have Zone Conference with him tomorrow.) Saturday we helped represent Missionary Work in a huge YM activity for Manta. But the Lord still is blessing us in many ways! Without working the LAST half of the week, we still had 10 investigators at church!

We are a bit worried with our Baptismal goal this month, but with 3 weeks left in the month we have 13 people with dates! The Lord truly blesses us as we do ALL we can with what we are given. These next few weeks will be crazy, and hopefully with many baptisms. Just have to be obedient, diligent, and accept what happens. I'm so stoked, a bit panicked, but we'll see what happens with the baptisms in the next few weeks!

In the little time I have, I'd just like to share a tiny story about revelation... not in the lives of the missionaries. We've been visiting a couple (24 yrs and 17 yrs old) that want to be baptized, simply need to get married. That is ALL they lack too! The only issue is that they 'prayed and felt that God needs them to get married in August.' Yeah. Big lie haha. Ronald's birthday is in August and they want it to be special (nice try investigator). But anyway, we've been trying to get them to see the importance of having the spirit in their lives as soon as possible, but with no results. We went to visit them the other night and in reading 2 Nephi 32 with them Genesis shared with us, WITHOUT ASKING HER, that over the past few days they've felt an itching to get married much sooner... in July. We'll see tonight how their plans are coming, but she knocked us off our feet! It is wonderful to see how the Lord works, He works in so many ways and touched the heart and mind of this couple so softly, leading them to the best decision they'll ever make.

This week has been simple, a lot of traveling, but the Lord has blessed us with the people and we are now committed to go ever so carefully these next few weeks to have (best situation) 13 baptisms! Work hard, always be obedient, the blessings come!

Oh and as for the lady who has a terrible boyfriend that I talked about the other week... they are happy, they are reading the Book of Mormon together, they are praying together, little by little they are coming together!

I love the mission. Never have I been more satisfied in my life. I always knew God existed, but now I am coming to know of the active role He plays in our daily lives. It is amazing; it is in the simply things. God lives, He loves you, seek His guidance... then follow it. That's where we fall short most of the time. Love you all!

Elder McGinn

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Email - July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July! We're going to celebrate here cause it's my companion's BDay too haha. We're heading out to a (yes my idea) Hot Dog joint to celebrate his birthday American Style. It's the J Dawgs of Manabí.

I sure love you all and can't believe a year has gone by, it is zooming and I don't want it to! But wow, let me tell you about a week never to forget.

The Lord truly answers prayers, I don't want to lose one minute in the mission and was feeling like I had wasted my first year, yet the Lord made it clear that I haven't, though I do have much more to improve on. Let's start from the rear! Yesterday we had a few at church... a few 19 investigators! I've NEVER had that in the whole mission! A few families helps make the number bigger, but the Lord really showed us our potential, 19 baptisms this month, let's get to work baby!

I don't even know where to start telling you all of the miracles in the mission, my happiness, wow I love the work! Elder Franco and I are having a blast out here. The other day we had a meeting to run to, but we were debating whether or not to squeeze in another short visit to a progressing, yet fragile family. I couldn't get the man out of my head, but we'd be late to the meeting, spend more money, but we ran anyway. Turns out that Jimmy, who simply needs to get married so he and his wife can get baptized, had just gotten off the phone. He lost his job. Their marriage was already really fragile and had just started making progress, but that threw him a million worries and he simply broke down. He got on his knees to pray and as he asked 'What can I do?' We happened to knock on his door. We were not planning on visiting him that day, he wasn't expecting us. He was worried sick, tapping both legs like mad, talking a million miles an hour, popping off a million random comments. It finally went quiet, he looked at us and simply broke into tears. 'It's okay to cry right?' He asked us. We had a beautiful conversation, the reading we had left him was perfect for his needs, but better than any lesson was simply showing up, listening, and supporting him. God knows His children so well, He knows when they are in need and why, He tells us to see to their needs. We were instruments in the Lord's hands that day.

Yesterday was an experience very similar that I shall never forget. We have an investigator that comes to church, pays tithing, does everything and has done so for a year. Her boyfriend refuses marriage. I had the strongest prompting to go see her and as we knocked on the door we heard yelling, screaming and so we decided to take off. We visited her neighbor, a convert, and during the lesson, that boyfriend passed by, he had left the house. I had the strongest impression to run to the rescue. We finished the lesson and headed back to the house of Carmen Delgado and I shall never forget the scene and feelings that grabbed my stomach. She always greets us with a smile, calls us her angels, yet this time she opened the door, we greeted her with a huge smile and asked how she was. She simply broke into tears. The house looked like a tornado had passed through, her 4 children were screaming, she let us pass and ran to get chairs and I simply lost hope. I had no clue what to do, what to say. She began telling us of what had happened, the fight, how her boyfriend left and she told the kids she was going to run away. Just as she and her 4 children were cuddled in a group hug, scared to death... she heard a knock on the door, us. With tears of fear, desperation, she yelled at us 'TELL ME! WHAT DO I DO? TALK TO ME! YOU OBVIOUSLY CAME IN A TIME OF NEED! WHAT DO I DO NOW?' She was so torn apart and I was so scared. Scared sick, you cannot prepare for lessons like that, there is no lesson that fits her needs. I had never felt so hopeless in my entire life. I desperately asked God what His daughter needs, how can we help her, because we don't know what to do. I can promise you all, revelation came, we were the instruments and God played us perfectly. She was comforted, she has plans and goals to progress, to make a decision.

I had never felt so hopeless in my entire life, so lost, so scared and yet that is another testimony of mine that God knows each and every one of His Children. In times of need, they hear a knock at the door. We had no clue what was going on and they had no hopes of seeing us for a few more days. Their needs were seen, not by giving a lesson, not by reading a scripture, but by listening, by being there, by supporting, by smiling, by speaking the God Given Guidance that comes to any Obedient Servant. Those are two stories that filled my week with such joy, the week was full of experiences like that.

I don't know how God sees to all the needs of His Children, but I do know that He does. I know that He loves each and every one of us and needs us to help those that surround us. There is no better work than that of a missionary, why? Cause it gives you a model to follow the rest of your life so that you, your future family, and anyone else in your path finds their way back to God. As missionaries or as members of the Restored Church of Christ, let us be obedient, in all of God's commandments. Let us not fret, but let us follow in faith. I now know what it means to forget yourself and truly be happy in life. I am trying so hard to forget myself, lose my life, and my needs and joys are being seen in the families we help. I wish you could all be here at my side, WE ARE SEEING MIRACLES! I want to tell all of them too you! I shall never forget the mission, I still have a year, I wish it had just begun. We're off to work with the 19 souls the Lord put in the church yesterday, I am as happy as can be and ready to work. Let's go!

Christ lives, He is our Savior. Joseph Smith restored His church to lead us back to His Father, and Thomas S. Monson guides that same Church today.

I sure love you all and hope you have a great 4th of July, cause I sure will!

Elder Griffin McGinn