Sunday, July 1, 2012

Final Email & Pictures - June 30, 2012

 Here are a few photos: one is what I'll be doing upon being home! Haha President came to learn that I love 'Betos' and he has no clue what it is, but he surprised us with the following lettering in the sand, he is a funny man. The other is Elder Hancock and I enjoying his birthday package (Zingers!) and a cool baptism we got to go to the other Saturday, our mission leader's daughter finally got baptized! Elder Hancey and I found her, taught her a few times and we got assigned to do interchanges with Elder Hancock and the zone leaders took our sector over, they invited us to the baptism.

 I couldn't have finished any better, I have been blessed very much. And, you are right, it isn't the easiest thing to do to finish the mission that has changed you so much. So let's not talk about that. 

 This last week we finished the last of interviews with President, so we got to see the area books, the daily planners, a few exchanges with Zone Leaders, the usual 'no routine' style of life! It is fun driving with President, we learn so much from him, I have been so blessed. We went out to the beach in Bahía again, that was a blast. It has been fun with Elder Hancock also, he will be a great friend of mine, it was a short change with very little time together (3 lessons in 6 weeks) yet a great one.

 I would like to share something we learned today, I love this Gospel and I get shivers when I learn more about it. It comes from both D&C 86:11, D&C 103:8-10 and Helaman 3:35, so study the references on your own time, but it was precious learning this today, it is how my mission has been for me. Study the scriptures, they talk about being a LIGHT, being a SAVIOR, being PURE and being HOLY. The two groups go hand in hand and there is a motivating difference. As we repent and do our best to be obedient, we live pure lives, we feel the Holy Ghost in our lives and we are happy, we are a LIGHT for others, the PURITY shines. Yet as we come out of Sacrament Meeting, as we renew our covenants and come out a different person, ready to act, do things differently and reach out to others, we become a SAVIOR here on the earth for others, we become HOLY. The difference in being a LIGHT and a SAVIOR or PURE and HOLY comes in two scriptures. Philippians 4:7 and D&C 84:46-47. As we repent, are obedient, renew our covenants in the sacrament AND have the resolution to come out of the meeting different than when we entered, we will feel the Spirit, we will feel good. As we ACT upon that Spirit IN BENEFIT TOWARDS OTHERS we become little saviors and sanctify our lives for His great work. Being a light isn't enough, lights don't do anything but shine. Being pure isn't enough, it is like going to basketball practice without ever showing up to the game. Let us strive to take that light to others, Why hold it back? Let us act upon the whisperings of the Holy Ghost in benefit of others, Why keep it to myself? This Gospel is to share, that's how Christ did it; down to His very thoughts, words, actions, body and blood voluntarily spilt. THAT is what will save us (Mosíah 4:1-7).

 I love my Savior with all my heart, He has been so patient with me. His Father loves us, trusts us, wants us to be like His Son and left us the Holy Ghost to get there. This work is perfect. It is not for me and it could progress very well without me, but I couldn't have the miraculous progress I desired, yet never expected without participating in the work. This Church is true. Joseph Smith was a prophet and did see God the Father and Christ the Lord. The Book of Mormon contains all the answers to life's situations. Maintaining the Holy Ghost constantly with us will clean us from sin and lead us aright, I have felt its presence and yearn for it daily. I love you all and will see you (some) soon. 

Elder McGinn

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Email & Pictures - June 23, 2012

Hope you all enjoy the picture I sent, may be the last! Haha, we were eating in the chapel on an exchange cause the member who gave us food had to leave and gave it to us in Tupperware. Right as I went to suck on the chicken neck in my soup, the bowl decided to dump on my pants. Dang chicken necks.

 This week was the same old same old, interviews, we look at Area Books and Missionary Daily Planners, we speak with the Zone Leaders about their goals for this week (and we are pressuring them a lot, we could get a pretty big number of ordinances this month to finish it off). I am having fun with Elder Hancock, he is a really great missionary.  He is a great leader and has taught me much.

 This last weekend, yesterday actually, we had a great experience. And by saying we, I mean me and the other 2 missionaries I was with since me and my companion are NEVER together to teach haha. We were in 26 de Febrero (partly to enjoy my favorite mountain one last time) and the last visit of the night was to ask baptismal permission from a mother whose kids have gone to church for a month or so with their member grandma. The missionaries had tried all week and the mother wouldn't budge, they were happy to have me there, but we did all we could to have the spirit and teach the missionaries how to get to people's hearts. As we got speaking with her, we let her simply speak about her kids, God, her own life, etc, it was a great conversation. Our lesson then was guided towards baptism, a few scriptures were read, a few testimonies born, to be honest, it wasn't anything all that abnormal or special. But I have the strongest testimony of God's love and the role of the Holy Ghost. We listened and the Spirit guided each and every one of us as the scriptures, the experiences and the inspired questions got to this mother's heart. She accepted that her children be baptized and accepted to listen to the missionaries. We invited her to kneel with us and finish with a prayer and her 9 year old boy came running in, kneeled down beside her and helped the mother say a prayer. We were all filled with the spirit, we were all emotionally moved, heaven and earth came a little closer that night in the house of Mildred. I asked the missionaries after what they had learned during the day, what called their attention and they both said 'The importance of lovingly listening to the people and faithfully following the spirit.'

 It was a small experience really, not any outstanding miracle, but my testimony of the Savior, His work and the Holy Ghost were strengthened as a mother took the most important decision in the life of the family. There are too many people in need to be thinking, worrying, or doing for ourselves. Let us serve others. Let us listen with our eyes fixed in theirs. Let us respond faithfully and firmly, our eyes in theirs. The Gospel is always the best solution and it is never about us. The Gospel means nothing without those around us. Let us love, let us listen and we shall see our lives glisten. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

 I love you all, this work is inspired and I shall not stop.

 Elder Griffin McGinn

Email & Pictures - June 16, 2012

I haven't sent pictures in awhile, here is one with two of the mission's zone leaders, they are great elders.

 As for me... the traveling. What else is new. I could finish there haha. You don't have to ask if I've been traveling, simply to where. This week we had a few trips, not as many, but have still been great. Our mission is flying. We are one of the highest baptizing, retaining, and church-activity missions in the area. It has been such a blessing to work here and help boost the work in what we can. I have realized that truly... I haven't done anything! The Lord could do all of this on his own, it is just a matter of us jumping in or not.

 I had a sweet experience the other day as I was pondering a famous scripture... Mosíah 2:41. The most important thing that King Benjamin has to tell during that discourse comes in that verse. He would like us all to contemplate the never-ending happiness that comes to those who endure to the end faithfully. Many things called my attention, but most of all what I would like to share to whom it may concern. ;). Those who keep the commandments are promised a blessed and happy state of life, how great! Filled with temporal (what we see and enjoy) and spiritual blessings (what we feel that motivates us to keep enduring), wonderful! Yet those who hang on to the end shall reach a state of never-ending happiness, received in the kingdom with the Father (meaning that we passed Christ`s judgment with flying colors). Now I hope you all understand the connection that I am going to make right here. The never-ending happiness comes at the end of the road, there will be times where we aren't as happy as we would like during this life. There will be trials, sadness, loss of hope BUT those who base their testimony in the temporal blessings that come and go will surely fall, while those who base their testimony in the spiritual blessings shall have the motivation necessary to hang on to the end when we may truly bask in happiness that doesn't fade with the lights or the crowd. This life is great, God blesses us so much. Let us be grateful for the temporal blessings we receive, but we mustn't base our testimony in that source. Let us seek that which is spiritual, that which motivates, inspires, uplifts and does so eternally. As taught in 3 Nephi 13:19-21.

 Now... to finish, HOW DO WE DO IT? Just as King Benjamin finishes 'for the Lord God hath declared it' (something like that in English). The Lord has His declarations in the Holy Scriptures. Am I in them enough daily to give myself spiritual nutrition necessary? They will never lead us astray.

 I love you all, I love my Savior, this is His work and I want to do it His way. I have never felt true and lasting joy as I have here.

 Elder McGinn

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Email - June 9, 2012

 It has been... and will be another long, adventurous week with exchanges! That is our assignment for my last weeks, give it all and leave the mission better. Oh buddy have we been traveling. It has been a blast though. I couldn't ask for a better way to end. I get to be with many missionaries, still teach lessons and feel the spirit in investigators, still contact people, see growth in many aspects in the mission and know that I have been somewhat of a help, and of course... see old sectors!

 I love this aspect of Sacrifice and I have been learning by experience. The other day I had a moving experience. We ran to a city 2 hours away to help some missionaries pack, leave a house behind and secure things over in that zone. One of the missionaries has had a really hard mission. On the bus ride there, I was really tired and planned on simply sleeping, yet received the subtle impression that put me in the shoes of the missionary right next to me. How is he feeling right now? What is in his head? How can I help him out? Thoughts of him filled my mind, so I finally began a conversation that turned out very edifying. The missionary broke to tears with me, had a few doubts about the success of his mission and the hope of his future, things that blew me away. I was able to listen as he vented, share a few scriptures from the Book of Mormon that came to my mind and lighten the load of another in struggles. He thanked me after for the help I had given him and he was going to try to put it into practice, yet I knew if I hadn't followed the spiritual impressions of been worthy to receive them, that bus ride would've simply been filled with catching up on sleep and another missionary still stuck in doubt and loss of hope.

 I love what Pres. Uchtdorf said in his talk on pride. With such emphasis in his voice he exclaims 'There are so many people in NEED whom WE could be thinking about instead of ourselves.' and it is oh so true. Many times we judge others for who they are and every time we do, we go wrong. Many times we lose time thinking of ourselves, and it doesn't come back. There is no such thing as bad people, simply people who don't know they need to change, they don't know how to change, or they need a helping hand. That is where we step in. Christ is He who will judge, we are here to lift others to see and obtain their potential. I love this work with all my heart. Christ is my Savior. The road is long and it is the best. The Book of Mormon saves lives, let us read it, let us apply it, let us share it.

 Elder McGinn

 I guess I should add in that I love you all too... ;)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Email & Pictures - June 2, 2012

 Well let me tell you about my week... I haven't sent pictures in awhile, so hope you enjoy these ones.

 So Mase, like I said I'd share, I denied my first ever free item at the grocery store the other day. We did our shopping and as we were leaving we were lucky number X of shoppers and we won a prize. The lady went to hand us two bottles of Nestea, Black Tea. That was a funny, awkward, yet good moment to thank her, but explain our standards as members of the church.

 This week has been crazy. I am a Rambling Man. On Monday we got a call to go do a favor in a far away land for President, so we went. We took advantage and packed our bags for a few days of interchanges. Let's just say that in my 2 weeks with Elder Hancock, we have taught 2 lessons together. We have been doing a Hail Mary run through the mission lifting everyone, zone at a time and I am way tired, but it has been a lot of fun. Yesterday we had my last Leaders Council during my mission with the ZL AND DL present, it was a great meeting, not to mention the best baptismal number in a long time. We got 242 baptisms and confirmations in May with a goal of 264 for June. This coming week will be more interchanges. We are nomads, we have no home. I really don't have much more to inform you all than that.

 Shoot, we just got a phone call, we've got to jet. I just wanted to bear you all my testimony about Sacrifice. This last change has been pure sacrifice without a sector, without a ward, without investigators, without baptisms or hopes to baptize, and I am growing so much. I am coming to sanctify my mission, just how one should wrap up their time in the field. I am coming to better comprehend the life of the Savior, giving all of himself for the benefit of the Kingdom, not seeking praise or glory. I love my Savior and know He lives. I want to be like Him, I keep that present as I pray, study the scriptures and ponder them during the day. This is the best work, the most gratifying and I wouldn't change it for anything.

 Love you all!

 Elder McGinn

Email - May 26, 2012

These last weeks have been very spiritually edifying as I seek His hand in all I do. This week has been a bear! As you can tell, today is Saturday, therefore I will finish my mission here. Elder Hancey had changes, he was such a great companion and helped me progress more than I had ever thought possible. What a great friend. Now I am with another North American - Elder Hancock. He is from Ogden and finished the next transfer after me. I got to know him early on in the mission and we are already good buds. I am excited.

 This past week we had old missionaries go home, new ones arrive, a training for them and two exchanges with zone leaders! One day in Manta and another day here in Guayaquil. Next week we will have a few more planned. We are doing a 'leave it all on the field' scheme as we go to every zone and to exchanges 4-5 days of each week. Boy, will I be tired, but it is fun to simply sprint to the end and be with many missionaries.

 We had some funny experiences that turned out great - like a woman who pretended to be deaf and dumb as we knocked on the door, little did she know we were eavsdropping and heard her speak. We called her out on in lovingly, she let us in, and her family is now progressing.

 I am so happy and just wanted to share some last words with you. I was reading Mosíah 2:41 this morning about the blessed and happy state of those who keep the commandments when the question came across my head 'can people who obey be blessed yet not happy?' As I pondered, a few scriptures came to mind (Alma 53:20-21; Hel 12:1-3) and yes. God blesses all, yet those who are obedient to his commandments may receive more blessings, but even they may not be happy. True happiness comes through living cause you love, not going through the motions. Let us think in our lives if we obey cause 'nos toca' we have too, of cause we love doing so and need His guide. Then we will truly be happy 'and if they continue faithful to the end, they will be received into the heavens to dwell in a state of neverending happiness.' The key is hang on till the end, and it is much easier when you enjoy doing so. I love you all and know Christ is my Savior. There is no doubt, it brings me true joy. I love Him and my Father in Heaven and the Holy Ghost. This work is true, there is no other.

 Elder McGinn

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Email - May 19, 2012

Well hello! Long time no see (well that is true) but long time no talk isn't so true.  Sorry, I don't have much time, I want to let you all know how much I love you and tell you of the great week I had!

 We had Elder Waddell here and lucky us, we got to accompany him to each of the 3 zone conferences he held. What a blessing! I will never forget how we met him. We waited for President's car to welcome them into the 1st conference. They pulled up and I went to open his door. He jumped out with a huge smile and this 6´6 General Authority says with a big grin 'Hello! I'm Elder Waddell!' He is so full of love for the work and love towards others, I learned so much from him.

 My week was running around with them from conference to conference. I'd like to share all, but here is what I feel will help most. He is so in tune with the Spirit and shared the following tips to have an illuminated life. 1- Pray on your knees, and do it sincerely 2- Study the Book of Mormon Daily 3- Go to all meetings with a question in mind (Esdras 7:10 - we are to search, not to wait and receive) and we will always take something out of it 4- Divide our page of notes in half. One half that has stuff you HEAR or LEARN and the other for things you FEEL and PERCEIVE. He taught so many great truths and was an answer to many prayers of mine.

 I will finish with this. Me and my companion are starting something that I challenge you all to do. I lack 6 weeks and we will see how you and I do. It's called 99 miracles. Every night when we finish the day, we talk of the miracles we saw, if we saw any, and we write them down in a part of our Journals set apart for miracles. It is beginning to open our eyes to all that God does for us, and how He truly is on top of our personal lives. We are seeing how fast we can hit 99, the goal is long before I get home. I will share with you an example- - Last night we were going to go up to the Mud Mountain but had a feeling to visit our recent convert instead. As we headed over, he wasn't home and we were bummed. As we walked away, we ran into him and he said he'd be back at his house in a half hour. We returned in a half hour and he wasn't home, but his mother (who isn't member) was present. We last saw her 2 weeks ago and she didn't want anything. We taught her through the Book of Mormon of Christ and His Atonement, got her talking and it was an edifying lesson. She feels great as she reads and doesn't know why. At the end of the great lesson, she finished with a prayer and the Spirit filled the room as she sincerely thanked God for sending 'the two brothers' over to the house when she least expected, but most needed them. She is beginning to progress again and has plans to go to church tomorrow. That was a miracle in our lives last night and I am stoked to see how quickly I can get to 99. 2 Down!

 I love you all and know this work is of God. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and know that the Holy Ghost will guide us to be more like Him as we keep its presence near. Miracles happen all around us, we just need to pray for them, work for them, and look back on the day to notice just how many we experienced.

 Elder McGinn

Email & Pictures - May 12, 2012

This week was great! We traveled quite a bit, we weren't in our sector much, but we did get the 2 baptisms. That was such a blessing. There were a lot of friends, the room was PACKED. Almost more people than the sacrament meeting (65ish people in the service). The bummer is all of the friends that came to see the baptism took off early AND live out of our sector haha, but we are doing some followup. There are two pictures, one of Ayda and Sandra and the other one of Sandra after her baptism. What miracles those two baptisms were. As for the rest of the week, we traveled a lot, had a few conferences, it was fun.  This next coming week Elder Waddell of the Seventy is coming. He is doing a mission tour and so we should have quite a bit of time with him this week, I am really excited!

 I'm going to talk to you all tomorrow, and I have a really cool experience to share tomorrow, so I'll hold it in now. But for the eavesdroppers who read my emails but DON'T get to talk to me tomorrow, I'll share something I liked a lot from my personal study this week. There is a difference between faith and hope and I truly enjoy it. As we learn in Moroni, Faith is a principle of Power, Action, being able to do. Faith is not waiting or hoping that all turns out well. Faith is the constant, optimistic, diligent action to change our life circumstances. We must act, not be acted upon. The brother of Jared exercised such faith as he worked to find stones from which he could make light to help make his people's journey a bit easier. We must be constant, optimistic, and diligent in all righteousness to change our life circumstances. Hope on the other hand, is the surety of peace we find AFTER we have done all that we could. Hope is knowing we gave it all, and though our circumstances haven't changed, we did what we could and will receive a reward from On High. Hope is the assurity that Nephi testified about in 2 Nephi 25:23. We are here to act, not to be acted upon. We are here to have joy, not watch others have joy. They go hand in hand. Let us act after what is right, with perfect brightness of hope in our Savior Jesus Christ. Those who act, with Christ as our example, can taste sweet joy. There will be no regret, there will be no sadness, yet there will be progress and there will be confidence. I am convinced that that is what is spoken of in D&C 121:46 (?) then shall our confidence wax strong in the presence of God.

 Les amo a todos, Cristo es Mi Redentor y es el Suyo. El ha puesto Su ejemplo y amorosamente pide que le sigamos, nada más. La jornada tiene un fin, sabemos lo que es y cómo alcanzarlo. Hagámoslo. Testifio que Dios nos ama, Él es observante de todo lo que hacemos y nos elogia por Su Espíritu Santo cuando hacemos el bien. Sigamos adelante, no hay mejor causa. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amén.

 Elder McGinn

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Email - May 5, 2012

As for Yours Truly, Sandra and Ayda are getting baptized today! They are so excited and have invited many friends to the service. I love that about the Gospel, people who are truly converted seek to share in whatever way possible. Our other convert, Eliana, has a message in the baptism and has been teaching her siblings the gospel while we haven't been able to make it. The other missionaries in our Zone are bringing investigators, it should be big.  This week was full of trainings and interchanges. We met up with the zone leaders for a training on Wednesday and yesterday was with the missionaries that are being trained. It is great to see old faces and progress in their lives.  That is one of the sweetest fruits of the mission.

Yesterday we also had exchanges with a companionship in another part of the city that is struggling. I am a firm believer of the truth taught in D&C 84:106. God has given us so much and our personal progress depends on ourselves alone, but let us be humble enough to help another on their way, who may not be as fortunate as ourselves. Many times we are selfish, self-centered, self whatever-else-you-want-to-say. But as we reach out, listen instead of share, and give instead of wait to receive, many are blessed. I love a quote by Elder Nelson from Preach My Gospel (I don't remember it word for word) 'Let us, disciples who have been blessed with a greater hope, lift the hands that hang down, strengthen the feeble knees...' In studying John, I am amazed at the number of times Christ refers to 'His Will' or of 'He who sent me' or 'The Father.' He was so humble, He knew why He came, what He had to do, and what the Father wanted of Him. I am sure He still is that way. As we learn to treasure the scriptures daily, we too can be filled with such humility, such love, such diligence to the work.

 I love you all and hope you enjoy Cinco de Mayo! Which is NOT an Ecuadorian Holiday ;)

 Elder McGinn

Monday, April 30, 2012

Email & Pictures - April 30, 2012

Well... looks like I'm going to have to extend a few more weeks, Syd won't get her braces off for another 3ish months. I can't see her like that! Just kidding. I sent you pictures of sandwiches we made and me up in my sector in Tarqui, it is a lot like Mapasingue and is so fun.

 This week has been FULL of miracles. I have a strong testimony of 'the blessings always come, even if they take awhile.' This week was crazy, I got to do exchanges with the missionaries from my old sector Mapasingue and that was a blast! We did a quick trip with President for a few conferences and meetings and great news with the investigators. I thank you for your prayers towards Sandra. We lost all contact with her, like with María Agusta, and finally at the end of the week she said she had a baptismal date in mind! That was unexpected. We hadn't spoken with her for almost a week. She is living faithfully the Word of Wisdom and decided to have her interview after church. She passed her interview with flying colors and after a lot of doubts, personal persecution and family issues, she will be baptized this Saturday! She has been a rough one, simply cause we haven't seen or heard from her hardly, but I am convinced of the power of the Book of Mormon, she has been constant, therefore she has been protected.

 Let me tell you of another miracle. Church last week was awesome. A girl named Ayda showed up with her family, they are all members but her. She listened for years to the Jehovah Witnesses. She loved church, we gave her a Book of Mormon and got a visit set for the next day (last Monday). We talked about church, taught the Restoration and invited her to be baptized and she said YES! She said that the night before she had had a dream in which her father had baptized her in the Baptismal Font in our chapel. She is progressing very quickly. We will have two wonderful baptisms this weekend. Eliana, our recent convert, is doing awesome and helping us visit and motivate these other two girls. She will be a great missionary, she is teaching her sister on the side cause her sister hates it when we talk about baptism.

 These past two weeks have been rougher ones, yet these past two days have been full of blessings for simply enduring FAITHFULLY to the end. I simply would like to urge you to continue faithfully. We had a Regional Conference yesterday where Elder Scott, Elder Christofferson, Elder Nash and Sister Cook spoke to all of Ecuador. That was a common theme and has strengthened my testimony. We KNOW the blessings will come, and if they don't come in the way we would like, we should remember the promise of Life Eternal, there is no greater blessing D&C 76:4-5.

 I love this work with all my heart. I have so much to give still and it will be given, there are no doubts of that. Just like track and just like Christ lived - we are going through the finish line, we are busting the tape. I know why I have come and for how long, we're not finished yet. Christ is my Savior, I love Him with all my heart. God listens to us as we pray and sends His Holy Spirit to comfort us. Let us do all that is in our reach to stay worthy of such blessings.

 Elder McGinn

Monday, April 23, 2012

Email - April 21, 2012

Well to answer your question Dad, we don't really know just how lethal the iguana is until you surprise it and grab it by it's legs. Then you get cut up and realize it was a bad idea. I'm sure there is a way to know, but we don't and it seems that the Ecuadorians don't either.

 Sandra is not getting baptized this week. We are going to slow down and get her good and ready for May. It is really hard with our travels and her schedule, she gets home each day at 11pm and leaves early in the morning. Keep her in your prayers.

 As for my week... let me tell you that it was an adventure that no other missionary has embarked. I interviewed John Lennon and turns out he is getting baptized! Haha... but this 20 year old youth does have that name and I laughed pretty hard. I didn't believe him at first.

 We haven't been in our home since Monday! Tuesday in the morning Elder Hancey and I went to Quevedo to work with the zone leaders before a conference on Wednesday. It is a 4 hour bus ride out to a jungly part of Ecuador. I got to work with Elder Molina again (the missionary I trained) and it was a blast. Wednesday after the conference we got on a bus from Quevedo to Portoviejo, another 4 hour ride. There is only one route, only one bus and you go through some really high, deserted mountains in Ecuador. It was the craziest ride and I know for a fact that we were the first missionaries to ever do that ride. Thursday we split up with the zone leaders in Portoviejo and worked and did baptismal interview (that is where I met and interviewed John Lennon) and Friday in the morning we got up early to travel an hour to Manta for the last Zone Conference. We got home last night around 10, but that tour was so fun! The only issue is... our sector sure is suffering. We haven't worked there for 2 weeks almost, but things will better for May. I really don't have much more to say, our week was a lot of conference, bus, and crazy jungle routes.

 One thing that was reinforced this week that I enjoyed relearning was the importance of seeing progress through God's eyes and not to our own judgment. It was fun being with the missionary I trained 16 months ago and see how much he has progressed (maybe that's cause I speak and understand Spanish better, haha) but it was also fun to see missionaries in the zone conferences who have gone through trials, suffered, hung in there and are much more spiritually mature and excited about the work. Progress is interesting, trials are too. The sons of Mosíah were on their mission 14 years and I love Alma 17:5 'and these were the circumstances...' it wasn't pretty. The city of Enoch took more than 300 years to become perfect and taken into heaven. Alma suffered immensely for 3 days till he was converted fully to the gospel. That is just how we are too. Time is the key with hope in our Savior. I love this mission, it has been hard, and I'm glad it has. I hope I am becoming the instrument He needs me to be and I am forever grateful for the help of God to let me see His children as He would and not how they simply seem.

 I love you all and am glad you are well. I have no doubts of that.

 Elder McGinn

Email & Pictures - April 14, 2012

Well... (I did it again) we had a bad luck experience for Friday the 13th. First off, to let you know about our exotic week a little better. Last week for my birthday, the other elders snuck an iguana in our room and put it under our bed, we didn't see if at first, but when we did... that thing was HUGE! It was crazy trying to get that out. So yesterday, Friday the 13th, we woke up and heard scratching up on the roof and we thought it was a rat up in the ceiling tiles. We hit a few tiles to rile it up and scare it off and we got down to pray. We prayed, then I finished my personal prayer and went to iron our shirts as Elder Hancey finished up his prayer. As he was praying, the ceiling tile broke through, and the nastiest looking dove that had been up in the ceiling for who knows how long was sitting there just as bewildered as we were! A bird fell through our ceiling onto my study desk! Elder Hancey jumped up startled and the bird was too, it pooped on my desk. Here's a picture of the critter. Happy Friday the 13th.

 Eliana DID get baptized! It was a beautiful meeting and she truly has exercised faith in the conversion. She has been coming to YAS activities even when it is just her and the president... and she is helping us teach the rest of her family. She was a chosen of God and will be such a great help to the kingdom. Sandra on the other hand, passed the interview with a few goals to work on and is preparing to be baptized next week!

 I don’t have many cool things to share cause we have been in zone conferences all week and next week we are going outside of Guayaquil to do the same. Next week will be pure travels and interchanges with the zone leaders from outside zones.

Before I finish, I want to share a scripture that impacted me. Alma 7:13. Elder Enciso had transfers and is now in the office, I was with him in Mapasingue. It is SUCH a blessing having him back, I truly love that man. He asked me a question in regards to this scripture, 'If the Spirit knows all things, why is it that Christ came down to suffer for us? He already knew how to help us...' I pulled out a few scriptures to help answer his question and as I went back to study the verse I gained a stronger testimony and appreciation of the Atonement of Christ. Though the Spirit knows all things, He still came down, I like that THOUGH, NEVERTHELESS, IN SPITE OF. He truly loves us, He wants us to know that there IS someone who truly knows how they feel. I was also touched about Him taking upon himself our SINS to erase our TRANSGRESIONS. Christ came down from His place on high so we could trust more in Him and come to Him anytime. He took upon himself all of our sins, each and every one. He will erase our transgressions. What we simply can't get rid of, remember, or erase (2 Nephi 25:23) as long as we simply try (Hel. 5:11) He has a power in redemption, we simply need to repent. He loves us so much.

 I testify that Jesus is my Savior, He is yours. He is our Redeemer and wants us to trust completely in Him. As we read the scriptures, our testimony of Him will grow. As we Repent daily, we will become more humble and more like Him. Then, as Moroni promised, we will be able to see Him as He is, for we shall be like Him. I love my Savior, this work is perfect. My Savior needs me, but I need Him more. We can't do this work alone and He never will leave us alone.

 I love you all and hope Friday the 13th went better for you than for me!

 Elder McGinn

Monday, April 9, 2012

Email - April 7, 2012

Thank you all for your remarks. Today has been one of the Best Birthdays! Why? A few reasons, now it's okay to lose hair, I am officially an adult. We went to the Zoo with Pres. Amaya and his family, we got Subway and ice cream. I am about to cover the Twinkies in cake frosting and eat them with Elder Hancey, and tonight we should have 2 baptisms! But we'll talk about me in a bit.

Well, this week has been filled with miracles. I love this work with all my heart. The family asked how Eliana, Joseph and Sandra are doing and let me just tell you. We went to visit Eliana after General Conference on Sunday and we had the strongest impression to invite her parents up. She is 23 years old, but didn't get baptized a few months back just cause she doubted and fell away at the last moment. Her family is very Catholic and we wanted them all to support her. We called the family up to listen and the lesson quickly directed itself towards the father who took lots of interest in the Book of Mormon and our patience to answer his questions. We simply taught him and testified of the Restoration, he committed himself to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know the truth. We then did something that required a lot of faith, confidence and spirit with the strong character of the father... we didn't tell him that his daughter Eliana was considering baptism and asked for his approval, better yet we INVITED HIM to her baptism because SHE prayed and SHE knows it is true. He was taken aback, yet a light shone on the timid face of Eliana to see if her father would support her. He thought long and hard about it and then answered 'well, it is her decision and if she knows it is true, I will be there to support her.' We have been on top of her this whole week to secure the baptism and we should be seeing it this afternoon! We weren't expecting results that quickly ,but she is chosen and it is her time. I am so happy, she is reading the Book of Mormon, she has passed through so many temptations and cliff edges, yet has come out on top each time. We are so happy for her.

How is Joseph? We haven't seen him all week... we're not sure. We are worried, hopefully we run into him tomorrow night.

How is Sandra? Now this story is also a tender mercy of God. She has gone to church many times and to many baptisms. Her Aunt and Uncle are members and she is living with them as she studies. She went to Conference last week and said it helped her a lot, yet we lost contact with her till last night. She could easily get baptized today and that was the goal of our visit last night - not leave without a baptism. We got there and began to talk about the Book of Mormon, she is past 1 Nephi in 2 weeks. She loves it and Conference helped her out a lot. She has had some crazy questions, but nothing to take her away from the feelings of the Spirit. We didn't know how to treat the topic of Baptism without simply doing it, so we did! She wants to be baptized but feels like she needs to know all things before she makes the decision. We told her that what she has felt is the Spirit and that she knows it is true, though she hasn't recognized it specifically. We invited her to ask God to confirm what she already feels is right. We then invited her to be interviewed today at 5 pm for her baptism. She never said Yes to baptism, but she did say Yes to the interview and on passing she said she'd be baptized. It was a spiritual battle and many times we had distractions or questions that could've taken us off course of the goal. Going into the lesson, the goal was baptism. We didn't know how, but we knew and felt it was necessary. I am so grateful for the guide of the Holy Ghost, we were divinely helped last night and we are praying that all goes well today.

We are seeing miracles here in Ecuador. Jeff (yes, you husband of Allie) invited me months ago to simply talk with everyone in my way and see the blessings. I never did it religiously until this past companionship and we are seeing fruits! We have been blessed with chosen people. Tonight could very well be 3 baptisms in 3 weeks in our new ward, and if not 3 in 3, it'll be 3 in 4 weeks. We are having such a blast sharing the gospel with all we can and God is helping us. The Spirit will always be our guide... yet there are conditions. As we do what we should and are attentive to act upon what we feel, we will always have results. If we don't know what we should, it doesn't work. It doesn't cut it either to do what is right, but not have the faith to act upon the guidance. If we hadn't invited Eliana's family to listen too, the baptism wouldn't be the same. If we hadn't spoken boldly and confidently about baptism last night to Sandra, we would probably be preparing a baptism for weeks down the road - if that.

Let us deserve the Spirit. Let us have faith to follow. Let us be humble to repent when we don't act. God is our Father in Heaven, He sent Christ to be able to return to Him and the Holy Ghost to have a constant guide. I do love them with all of my heart.

I love you all too, thank you family for being the best support I have had in the ups and downs. I am grateful for my eternal family.

Elder McGinn

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Email & Pictures - March 31, 2012

I'm glad all is well. I think I always say that, but all is well always, those are the blessings from serving. It's funny, Mase was speaking of waking up feeling like a badger cause that is my companion's favorite word, haha. You smell like a BADGER, or Oh Badgers, etc. I hope you are all enjoying the conference, we are trying to write in between sessions, so here you go short, sweet and savory.

First off THANK YOU for the package. You know a mother loves you when you forget to mention your favorite candy (Cadbury eggs and jelly beans) and they end up in the package! Doing Transfers this morning I shared Cadbury eggs with the 'Gringos' and they were all very happy. I got to open it one week before, and thanks for the Note to Self Cam, haha.

Let me explain the pictures, well there isn't much to explain. Guillermo got baptized! It was a wonderful ordinance and we are teaching his mother and brother, his brother has baptism plans in this month. Hopefully we should have a few baptisms on my birthday… that depends on attendance tomorrow. The other pictures are from a trip we took with President up to Bahía to watch a beautiful sunset and then another in my home town Manta, beautiful right? And well... my bed head picture in flip flops with Houses of Caña in the back is from our morning stroll we decided to take in the cool little ocean city.

This week was full of travels, we hardly were in our own sector, but what a great week it has been. I have come so close to the Lord in this week as I truly find my weaknesses and try to sanctify my last 3 months out here in the country. I really hate that. This mission is the best thing that has happened to me, it has changed my perspective on life and therefore has changed my eternity. I have come to know the Lord and will give it till He says okay. I know this is a short letter, but as I conclude I want to share a great principle that has blessed me greatly this week.

Don't Regret, Simply Repent and Forget

We are progressing. We will find disappointment and things we wish we would have done or known, yet we cannot change the past. What we can change is the future. We didn't know any better or act any better but from there on out we can. We are progressing and progress is eternal. Thanks to Alma 42:4 we know how to fill our time on earth with things that will secure a heavenly home with many loved ones - Repent and Serve God. We serve God by being His instruments in helping His Children remember they are important, talented, and needed here in His Plan.

I love you so much.

Elder McGinn

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Email - March 24, 2012

This week was a blast! We traveled to do a few interviews, but this time we got to hang around with the zone leaders for a day and do an interchange with them. That was a blast, I simply love getting out and working. It is still hard for me at times when the people simply don't see the importance of our message or don't receive us, but all have their agency and I'm not here to destroy that. This next week will also have a trip or two, but I hope we get a lot of time here to work in our sector. It is unpredictable and we move on the call a lot.

We have seen a few miracles this week, one is a baptism that we are hoping on for tomorrow. We just need the permission of the father. We opened this new sector Tarqui and there was a 14 year old boy Guillermo who had been going to church for a week or two. We got to know him, invited him to be baptized and he is so excited. I'll share a bit of his story. He has a friend who is a member of the church who was down in the dumps and was going inactive. He then saw his buddy who isn't a member and was even worse off and decided to invite him to church so they could both feel better and maybe his buddy could get to know the church. Turns out his friend (Guillermo) loved it and went the next week alone, even with his friend out of town. He began praying, didn't know why he felt so good, but he liked it. He was living a life... let's say without commandments of God. But as we taught him, he was willing to take a 180 degree turn. He passed his interview with a rough past, but a bright future and should be baptized. That is a testimony strengthener to me about the importance of friends who invite, gospel principles that enliven, and changes that are worth the pain. This gospel is so beautiful and I am stoked
for Guillermo.

Something interesting happened the other night. We were running way late in the office and our sector is still suffering with few investigators. We were deciding between use the last hour to plan for the week or risk trying to find Guillermo who has no phone number and is probably with friends who lives far away. With an hour left we decided to jet, hoping God would put him in our way. Turns out a lot of things were put in our way. As we walked out the door, members drove by and offered us a ride, cutting 20 minutes out of time. We happened to meet a friend of theirs who we will visit this week and Guillermo was home! We were able to confirm his progress with the commandments and his baptism. We had another 20 minutes to spare and I had the impression to visit another baptismal prospect who lived way far away. It was a weird impression cause she normally gets home way late from studies and shouldn't have been home. As we started the really long walk, another member came by and gave us a lift. As we knocked on the door to simply drop a pamphlet off for her, not thinking she was home, she had come home from the University early. She was happy to see us, we shared the Restoration, gave her a Book of Mormon and are preparing her for baptism in April. We got thinking… what would have happened if we had stayed put? What would have happened if we thought all was well after finding Guillermo and not visiting Sandra? The Lord has a purpose, the Lord has a plan and it will be brought to pass by simply being worthy of and acting with faith upon Spiritual Promptings.

I am convinced that the mission is the Lord's University. I am convinced that the Spirit is the key in missionary work and in our daily lives. I am happy with the blessings I see for acting, the blessings I deserve for repenting, and the blessings we see in others as they decide to do the same. I love you all and thank you family for teaching me how to defend myself. Thank you for giving me deep roots to base a strong spiritual growth upon. I love you all.

Elder McGinn

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Email & Pictures - March 17, 2012

Sorry I don't have much time, we went and played Beisbol (baseball) with President Amaya and his kids with the office elders. It was a blast! I cranked a home run, a few triples, it was a flooded field from rain, but it was a blast for all. There's the group picture.

Ecuadorians do NOT recognize St. Patricks Day, haha. You made me remember a funny story. Last year I was with an Elder Salas, from Guayaquil, Ecuador. I put on my green tie, we studied and everything, and just as we left the street (thinking he knew too...) I pinched him so hard and laughed. He didn't think it was so funny as he yelled, kicked me in the shins and pinched me back haha. I then had to go explain the rules. We are playing tonight, no one has remembered, but we are going to get the missionaries that live with us real good.

María DID get baptized. She is truly converted. That baptism was such an amazing experience. She is flying in her reading of the Book of Mormon (anyone who reads will be converted and will be secure), we showed up and someone had hit the drain switch on the Font. All the water in there was running out and we stopped it too late. There wasn't water to refill either. That is why you see me with a bucket. It was raining like crazy and us 7 elders got buckets and a long hose to fill the font with 'Water from the Heavens' haha. It filled up faster than we thought and it was a wonderful baptism.

We just changed up wards, we were 4 in the same ward and that gets complicated, especially with us in and out randomly. There is another ward nearby that has been closed since December that we just opened last night! We've got a ward baptism tonight and a ward leadership motivated and ready to work with us. We went contacting last night, doing our best to stay in the unknown sector limits and it really is a miracle and blessing to be there. Almost everyone received us and it is a rich sector. That doesn't happen. We sang a hymn with the first family and he said sincerely after our visit 'you know... I get a lot of religion pamphlets and never read them, but I felt something different about you two and I am anxious to get reading.' We will visit them Sunday.

This last story was great. We felt prompted to walk down a last street before hitting the road home. At the end of the street we knocked on the door and an older man came rushing out looking a little stern. We told him we were Representatives of Christ and we had a message just for him. We asked to pass and he let us in. We sang 'Where Can I Turn for Peace?' and he thanked us, with tears in his eyes, for the hymn we had just sung. He wanted to know what he was feeling, we told him the Spirit. He told us that he wanted more in his life and opened up about issues in his family. Not even 10 minutes into his house yet, we promised him that peace through baptism in the church and he accepted a date to prepare for for my birthday! I have never had a first contact like that and I would love to have many more. We are opening this new ward called Tarqui (like my time in Manta) and we are so stoked.

I am a firm believer in the importance and the blessing of the Holy Ghost in our lives. There is no greater guide, there is no greater gift, there is no greater blessing than to feel God's pleasure in seeing us touch one of His children as we follow simply promptings. Think of the last prompting you had and the blessings you saw. Let us seek more. As we are obedient, seek guidance and solutions, and move forward with faith we will see just how much trust God will place in us to perform miracles in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our own families and with our friends. I sure love you all and have a great week!

Elder McGinn

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Email & Pictures - March 10, 2012

I should explain the pictures. One is of the crazy rains we are having, another is with Elder Trevor Schnepf as he became a trainer (he was in Uncle Tom's branch in the MTC), and the other two are of an awesome fruit called Guanabana (phenomenon 'doo doo do do do'... guanabana 'doo do do do') I absolutely love the fruit here. Thanks for your comments and your testimony, that helped me a lot. I am assured day after day that God answers prayers. One for what you said and two... María Agusta is FINALLY getting baptized!

Last Saturday was her baptism but she never answered her phone, neither did her friends which are members. She didn't show up to church either... we got way down and way worried. Then her buddies caught us after church saying she called them during the meeting saying she had a huge emergency and couldn't make it, but had 'made her decision' about baptism... NEXT SATURDAY AND NOTHING WAS GOING TO STOP HER. We got way excited! Then nervous again... we had a whole week without contact with her. Finally, last night, we got a strange phone call from her and I answered. Scared to death and with butterflies I listened as she simply wanted to confirm the time of the ordinance tonight. That was relieving! Tonight is her baptism and she is one of the most converted converts I've had, she is amazing. I'll send picture next week.

Speaking of converts, I don't know if I told you that the Ruiz Azúa family got sealed (María from Portoviejo) and that Jipson Mendoza (also Portoviejo) sent me a letter telling me he is heading out on a mission! He is off to Guatemala! I am so happy for him… that made my day. He is the convert that threw us out of his house and said 'I'll call you back when I want to get baptized...' Wow! Anyway...

This week was full of travels. We got hammered with vacations in Ecuador and traveling, so our schedule in our sector is close to nothing as we fix up everything. We are hustling to get a few families with baptismal date to finish up the month. Ah, so a funny story and then I'll finish with a spiritual one. So, we were in a training with the Zone Leaders last week and talking about finding new investigators and the doctrine behind that. It was going well! We have been talking with EVERYONE here and at times I feel like Thomas Edison, finding 1000 people who are NOT ready haha. So I went to share that with them... 'foco' means light and 'foca' means seal, the water animal. I screwed that one up and got a laugh out of all as I said that I feel like Thomas Edison who found 1000 ways to not make a seal. That made me feel like the time I screwed up one the FISH joke in front of Timp High School and hearing Mase's laughter in the background.

Last Sunday we had a cool experience that makes me so sure of the function of the spirit and the reality of the priesthood. There is a man, Wigberto, who is deaf and dumb, he is so active and makes us laugh. He is so loving and sometimes goes to teach with us. Anyway, he grabbed us the other day, he looked dead sick, yet was faithful in coming to church. He signed to us the actions of giving a priesthood blessing and so we went cheerfully. I looked at Elder Hancey and we thought the same thing 'He won't be able to hear a word of this blessing...oh well.' As my companion anointed him, the sweetest spirit filled our hearts and during the blessing I felt so guided spiritually, it was unbelievable. We finished the blessing, he was teary eyed, gave us a huge hug, and after the first hour he was completely fine. It was a miracle and strengthened my testimony that the Priesthood is real, that God knows His children perfectly, and it's not WHAT we say, but how worthy we are before acting, for we never know when we will be called.

I love this work. I love it with all my heart and am giving all I can to the end. In track we learn to run THROUGH the finish line, that is my goal. Christ is my Savior, he is yours. He loves you and me and wants us to come to Him humbly and be clean in action, mind and heart. This Gospel is restored and we can return to God through it.

Love you!

Elder McGinn

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Email - March 3, 2012

Glad you all got a laugh out of my pictures, it is raining blankets here! The rain doesn't stop, the other day we had rain that filled the street AND the 3 steps up to the church and was about entering under the doors. The worst is yet to come.

As for me... We had one lesson this week. This week was full of old missionaries heading out, new ones coming in, training them with their trainers, travels with President, training the Zone Leaders here in Guayaquil and today we'll have a baptism! I am mentally exhausted, but boy was it fun. That is a fun thing about being here with President, we learn a lot about him and we never fall into a routine. We are always coming, going, learning, training, he is a great guy. Next week will be the same with interviews and Zone Conferences!

Miraculously we'll have a baptism tonight, she is a truly converted investigator. In the 4 weeks we've known her she is around page 150 in the Book of Mormon, has gone to church in Guayaquil AND out on vacation in Salinas, we have little to no contact with her. She didn't get baptized last week cause of family issues, but we got a hold of her and she is excited to get baptized tonight or tomorrow after church. In getting to know her, my testimony of fasting and prayer has truly been strengthened. We've fasted for her, we always pray for her, we talk about her and study and practice for her. We can say that we truly have given all we can to see a miracle and we are seeing many! She had an interview and knows her stuff and wants to be baptized, yet wanted to be sure. She said the ordinance depended on her praying to God and getting an answer that very night. We tried calling her the next day, nothing... for almost a week. We were so worried, yet continued in prayer and faith and she is so excited. I haven't given more for any other baptism in my mission! Thank you for your prayers for her and for us, please keep praying.

No cool experiences from teaching this week... we had one lesson and no falls. The tree cat is limber again, limpy, but limber. Just wanted to share something that has changed my life and maybe I've already shared it with you. If so, I have a little study with it. It is about Doctrine, Principles and Application. When we correct people we attack application, sometimes it works and many times it creates frustration. Application might be 'pray more, don't get angry, take out the trash, don't put your towel under the bed, etc.' Application is how we use our agency. It is best to attack the Doctrine, the reason behind it. That comes in correcting and congratulating someone. I have been able to see successes and failures with this in my relation with other missionaries and know it helps. To put it into context I really like D&C 121:34-45 on the Priesthood but it applies to all disciples of Christ. It says in verse 36 that the Heavens are governed under the Principles of Righteousness... we would like our home to have that heavenly spirit abound. 37 then talks about the 'principles of righteousness' or so it seems.

Doctrine behind the Priesthood or being a Disciple - Verse 45... Charity and Virtue (how are my thoughts)
Principles, which can be applied - Verses 41-43... a bunch
Application, how it is or is not put into practice - Verses 37-40

The key to being a better missionary, son, father, mother, daughter, brother, sister, friend is loving others in action and maintaining virtuous thoughts which invite the spirit, as we learn to master the Doctrine through study and prayer, it will be much easier to kick pride, not force things upon others, love others, and the list goes on. I hope this makes sense, but let us look to the WHY, not just the WHAT. As we seek the WHY in our lives and try to understand the WHY or WHY NOT in others lives, we will be more able to love others for WHAT they do and help them change their lives.

I love this gospel, I love being a missionary. I'm grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who understands why, gave us His Son to know how to come back and allows us to receive guidance from the Holy Spirit to know what to do.

Sure love you all!

Elder McGinn

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Email & Pictures - February 25, 2012

Here are a few pictures of me and my comp with my new brown suit, a cool billboard in Quevedo, us with President in Monte Sinaí, our lunch of 'throw in what you have and I'll throw in what I have cause we have no other option,' and the ton of rain that fell the other night! It was crazy, I'll try to attach another funny picture, enjoy!

So it rained like CRAZY this week and preaching was fun. There was rain up to our knees in the streets. It looked like all had their boats out in the road. I was crossing the street and thought the curb was closer than it really was, or it jumped away when I stepped for it... but in my companion’s words... 'haha I just heard and ooof ooof oof! SPLASH! I turned around to see you laughing your head off in a puddle of water above your pockets!' He then came to pick me out and a car came by and splashed the heck out of us. Then we snagged funny pictures of us in the crazy 'Aguacero.' They say that it gets worse in March!

Near the end of the week we went out to Quevedo to do interviews with President. I love being with the missionaries, it is hard not being able to teach, find, etc. so we take advantage to get those that DO have that privilege really motivated to do so. All eyes are on us, they justify themselves in what we do, we must be perfect and I feel I am growing here more than I have in any part of my mission. I truly am becoming like Christ, or at least I am seeing the way to get there day by day. I am learning to love the sinner and not the sin, not getting on the backs of those who do wrong, but always keeping MY back upright and inspiring others to do the same. I love it!

We did NOT have baptisms, it is so hard traveling and not being in our sector. Tonight we are going to visit our investigators. They both want to be baptized but it is really hard for them to decide with their large personal problems. We had an AWESOME personal and comp study this morning preparing for them and we are stoked to confirm their baptism for tomorrow after church. They both had the assignments to pray about their baptismal date, clear up personal issues and keep reading the Book of Mormon. Tonight we are going to declare they are ready and get them in the water! We have prayed, we have fasted, I may just be bald... haha, but we have such confidence that we have done everything.

The mission is sacrifice, but we must obey first. That is for life too. As we strive to understand WHY we are obedient, we will come to love obeying. As we love to obey we may then strive to understand WHY we sacrifice, let us look to our Savior then. As we understand why, we may then come to sacrifice and give all we can for others and their salvation. When things do or don't go our way, let us skip how and what as we seek to understand why. We will begin to love more, comprehend more, enjoy more and progress more than we ever thought we could.

Sure love you all!

Elder McGinn

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Email - February 20, 2012

This week is the great holiday called Carnaval. This is where I got water and paint thrown on me last year in Vinces. The good thing is, the majority of the people head OUT of Guayaquil to have fun and make a mess, our sector is dead empty. Carnaval is normally Saturday to Tuesday, no work, just play. It's like Llama Fest in Utah but with more paint, more mud, more eggs, more water, more days and an entire country playing. I still don't understand why... haha.

Last week was full of interviews and this week will be too. It's different not working too much in our own sector, but I must tell you that we are seeing many miracles. We saw miracles this week. We set a goal to baptize 3 this month. A week ago we had no one. We are coming into the last week of the month. We decided to fast as a companionship for our goal and for the goal of the mission.

Here is just what happened... a recent convert is from Colombia, he LIVED here alone... until his 17 year old sister came on Saturday. She went to church, loved it, has 2 attendances and is preparing for this Saturday! Straight up miracle. Another is a lady who also just happened to show up with member friends, loved the church, but then fell off the face of the planet! She had a goal for the 18th, but we lost all contact with her. Finally, after church yesterday, we ran into her and got to teach her something small. To our great surprise, she went to church during work trips, is finishing 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, will have a baptismal interview on Wednesday with hopes to be baptized this Saturday also! Keep them in your prayers please! The trick in being AP is that sometimes we have a lot of time in our sector, but then we take off for a long time with conferences and interviews. We were worried as heck, put ourselves to work, went to the Lord in fast and prayer and saw immediate blessings.

It has been interesting working here, but I have learned two really important lessons. The first lesson is something Pres. Amaya always states. 'There is no reason to get stressed, angry or down. YES you can worry, but the work of the Lord is faith in His plan and putting your head down to the work.' I am learning to accept all that comes my way with understanding His plan with a great attitude. The other thing he always tells us is 'We simply don't perform miracles in the Lord's work because we simply get lazy.' Wherever we are at, interviews, conferences, the office or our own sector, we are firm believers in simply giving 100% to deserve the Lord's blessings. It has been fun, it has been a lot of stress and a lot of hair loss, haha, but I love this work and I am beginning to see the personal, yet huge impact we have on the mission as we inspire, elevate and encourage missionaries and companionships individually. I love being with missionaries, I love this work, I love the Lord!

Let's hope for 2 baptisms this week! Love you all

Elder McGinn