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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Email & Pictures - February 11, 2012

Well it's good to hear from you all, as always! I DID get my package and thank you so much for it! Elder Hancey asked me, 'so what does the family say?' I simply showed him the note you wrote mom, ENJOY! haha. I enjoyed 2 packages of fruit snacks while resting on my bed in between bathroom runs. Anyway… In the pictures I sent, one is me and my comp. The other is the ZL from my group (all from my group but one are ZL).

This week I felt like Thomas Edison. Why is that? We contacted ALL WEEK LONG and found (just like him) about 1,000 people who are NOT prepared to listen to us haha, just like he found 1,000 ways how NOT to make a light bulb. This week was a great one, but a long one. María is doing great, she is preparing to get baptized for the end of the month! Jorge is also doing much better. He will have an interview Monday and be baptized this week. Andrés and Ángela are struggling and hard to find, but all is well. It has been rough finding people.

One night we saw a 6 floor building with a buzzer system. We rang all 6 buttons to make the most of our time thinking that just a few would answer. Turns out I was talking to a boy through the speaker box AND an older man through the face window on the door while my companion tried yelling up to a lady on the 2nd floor. That was an interesting contact. Another went like this - 'Hello, what do you guys want?' Well, we want you to be baptized. 'Uh.... (we caught him way off guard with that one) goodbye!' And he shut the door. With Elder Hancey we are learning how to accept other's agency better, yet get our message off really clear and powerfully. It has been fun. We don't have many investigators, but we will! We may be traveling this week, but that's okay.

We have a really interesting investigator that I want to tell you about, I would also like for you to keep him in your prayers. His name is Nishro and is from India. He speaks a little Spanish, but speaks English. He can't read Spanish, but we are going to visit him today with an English Book of Mormon. He believes in many Gods but was impacted by our first contact as we talked about living after we die with our families. He felt the spirit and wants to listen. His family is in India (wife and kid) while he tries to earn money here. There is such a cool spirit as we teach him that there is one God in heaven who loves him and wants him to be happy forever. We're hoping he progresses!

Last night I got thinking of who I have become on the mission. I made a list in my bed of who I was before and who I am right now. The things I did well have been perfected and the things I should have changed are either gone or I see the way to get better. It was a very uplifting experience and I was so filled with gratitude that I got on my knees again, just before midnight, to thank the Lord for who I am becoming, hoping that He may use me forever to touch those I am around. I invite you to do the same. Take time and think of who you were spiritually 6 months ago, a year ago, etc. How has your patience grown? How has your relation with God grown? How has your relation with your fellow man grown?

Me encanta esta misión y sé que no hay mayor gozo que servirle al Señor con TODO nuestro corazón, alma, mente y fuerza para que él nos perfeccione en la obra de él. Se ve este cambio en Words of Mormon 1:7 y Helamán 3:35. Hay una diferencia entre purificarse y santificarse. Busquemos la manera de hacerle a Dios feliz, busquemos la manera de inspirar a nuestro prójimo que quiere mejorar pero tal vez no sepa cómo. Reconozcamos que la gloria de Dios y tener la mira puesta en ella es reconocer quiénes somos, quienes llegaremos a ser y a quienes debemos elevar aquí para que saquemos adelante la obra del Reino. Les amo mucho, no me quiero ir. Me quiero quedar. Ésta es la iglesia de Dios. Vivamos cómo debemos.

Elder McGinn

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Email & Pictures - February 4, 2012

Well my camera will not give you pictures... so here are a few from my USB. One is the Christmas Devotional, just our zone, and the other is of the huge leadership conference we had this week. We'll play '¿dónde está Waldo?' on that one haha, see if you can find me amongst the DL y ZL in the mission.

Glad to hear you are all well! And that is a crazy picture about the happenings with the Canal, that'll be fun to see. Also strange to really see how fast time flies... a year ago Allie was telling me about the birth of a creature Cohen, I was in Vinces, oh how time flies! I will have to send you a picture of me in my brown suit, it is sweet lovin'.

As for me... we didn't travel so much this week. We had a few conferences, one with all the leaders in the mission and it was a lot of fun and very edifying to participate in that training. It got to direct the meeting. We also got with the new group of trainers to follow up on their progress. It is fun to see their excitement, it is also very uplifting to feel God's support during these past few weeks. I am having a blast with Elder Hancey, we are making a difference out here in the mission. We are getting along well and learning how to cope with differences here, our work and personality styles. We have been learning, both in the companionship as in the rest of the mission, to see the good in others and help them progress personally. It's fun, we've got the whole mission house up early doing push ups and pull ups with us, this week we are going to run too and everyone is having a blast (in spite of the soreness). Even in the smallest things, it is fun to see personal progress and congratulate others on it, making them know you are observing.

In our sector we are working like crazy, though it is tough. We have a few people preparing to be baptized here in February, it'll be crazy with our time limit and their busy schedules, but we will see some miracles out here!

I want to share a cool experience, though small, that strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon and needing a Supreme Being in God. We contacted a guy the other night and he began to speak to us in English, we ended up contacting him in English. He didn't speak English or Spanish all that well, but he made a good effort and we understood him. As we got talking, we found out he is going to the US this week and he has been having family issues. He has been tough and supporting all the issues with a smile, but it hasn't been easy. He wanted all to work out between the family he was leaving behind and his personal life in the States. There was such a power as my companion and I pulled out a copy of the Book of Mormon and bore testimony of its vital importance in our daily lives. We gave it to him with our testimonies written inside, we read a scripture with him, and said goodbye. It was a small contact, yet it was amazing seeing how people open up to us WHEN they see us as Representatives of Christ. How do they see us that way? We are loving, we listen, and we apply the most important message man could ever come across to his daily struggles without doubts in our hearts. We left him with the Book of Mormon that has changed and still changes my life. We left him with the assurance of a God that knows him personally. We left him with desires to contact the missionaries as he arrives in the states. I pray he finds them and pray he is baptized. We planted a huge seed. We are here to harvest, but we won't harvest it all, we might as well plant GOOD seeds on our way.

An important principle has been reinforced the past few months in my mission as I finish my letter to you. Ether 3:4 I think... haha. Bro. of Jared KNEW God was all powerful and could do all things, so what does he do? Instead of depending on Him to save he and his people, he uses his God-given agency, finds a solution, and goes to God to approve his plans and bless them. Let us be like the Bro. of Jared. Let us trust in God completely, use our Agency to solve problems and always turn to God for guidance along the way. He is a being who hopes we become like Him. Becoming like Him does not come by depending on Him. Becoming like Him comes by trusting in Him always and falling to His guide when we truly cannot move any more.

I love my God, I love my Savior, I love this mission and know that there is no other way to reach my Heavenly Home save Jesus Christ.

Love you!

Elder McGinn