Im emailing today because the libraries will be closed for the holidays most of next week so this is my Christmas email. This last week, I went on exchanges with one of our zone leaders in Boone, Iowa. It was pretty sweet because right when we got there, this massive blizzard/storm thing hit and all the cars in the mission were grounded haha it was crazy wednesday night and then we woke up Thursday morning with a foot of snow on the ground covering everything!! Being proactive missionaries, Elder Nelson and I decided that we would just go out all day and walk around helping people shovel snow. We did that for 7 hours straight and what seemed like a good idea at first turned into a very painful one for my body haha but seriously, it was one of my favorite days so far because we just got to serve our fellow beings with the knowledge that we were helping others do something they couldnt do for themselves! I was reminded of the truth that true joy comes from helping others find happiness and peace. Remember that this Christmas season and in the new year!
Also, I want to thank all who have sent letters, cards, or packages to me for Christmas. I dont know if I can fully articulate how much it means and how much comfort it brings when you get mail from your loved ones, especially when you are away from them. I may not be able to say thank you to everyone or get a card out to you, but know that I really do appreciate it and love all of you and cherish the memories we've had together. And just yesterday I got all the little notes and letters from the Palmyra Ward!!!! I was so excited to get them and my companion and I had a lot of fun going through all of them, so thank you!
Finally, I just want to share my testimony of Jesus Christ with you. He is the reason I am here in Iowa. He is the reason a full day of shoveling snow for others can be one of the most productive of days of life. He is the light and life of the world. He is the way back to our Heavenly Father. He is how we can live with our families forever in endless joy. He is wonderful. He is our counselor. He truly is the prince of peace. He was born in a humble manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes. He would grow up the son of a lowly carpenter, free of sin and without mistake. He would begin an earthly ministry by calling poor fishermen and a hated publican to follow Him and walk with Him. He would give them His almighty power and authority to teach His gospel, to baptize those with a desire to follow him, and to work miracles in His name. He taught to love God and neighbor, to love you enemies, and to pray for them. He healed the sick, the dead He raised, yet He was despised and rejected of men. The very Son of God was mocked and spit upon. But He did not shrink to drink the bitter cup His Father gave Him. He did His Father's will in Garden of Gethsemaneand on the Cross of Calvary. Surely, He bore OUR griefs, carried OUR sorrows, was wounded for OUR transgressions, and was bruised for OUR iniquities. I am representative of Him and a witness that He has suffered OUR pains, sicknesses, and afflictions. Ultimately, I testify that He arose from the tomb as a resurrected being, full of light and glory. He ascended to His Father and sent down His Spirit, the Holy Ghost, to comfort His disciples. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Why would He not send down that Comforter to His latter-day disciples? I know that He does and that He has again called prophets and apostles to lead and guide His saints. He has given them the same power and authority as before and again revealed to them the plan of happiness and how families can be together forever. He loves us and He lives. How sweet the joy this sentence gives, I know that my Redeemer lives! Although I may be away from my loved ones this season, I know that I will be with them forever and my joy is full because I am helping other families become eternal families! I love you all and wish you a very Merry Christmas with your families and friends! Feliz Navidad :)
Love Elder Seth McGinn
Iowa Des Moines Mission