Monday, January 28, 2013

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going

Hey family and friends!
Im still alive out here in Iowa, even though we had a crazy/awesome/dangerous/sweet ice storm! It was definitely a first time experience for me haha I am staying warm though and still working hard each day. The other day, we were teaching a lesson about the Restoration with a less active member and we watched this little movie about the Restoration and the experience that Joseph Smith had while a young man. Afterwards, we asked her how she felt, she said that it was hard to explain. She said that her heart was pounding pretty good and that it was like a sort of rush when the movie portrayed God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appearing to Joseph Smith as he prayed to know which Church he should join. We explained to her that this feeling was the Holy Ghost or the Spirit of God- the Comforter that Christ explained He would send down to bear witness of the truth. I thought about the scripture in the Book of Mormon where the prophet Moroni writes "And by the power of the Holy Ghost, you may know the truth of all things." I then testified to her of how that feeling is the Holy Ghost communicating to her that what she was watching was true. God really did appear to a 14 year old boy and He introduced His Son, Jesus Christ to the boy Joseph and Christ explained that His true church was not upon the Earth becuase of the wickedness of the people but that He had plans for Joseph to restore His true Church in due time. I know that this really did happen. The evidence that God has given to us to know for ourselves if its true is the Book of Mormon! A testament of Jesus Christ written by inspired prophets. We can hold that book, feel its pages, read its words and ponder its message in our hearts, then we can kneel down in prayer and ask God if it is true. I promise that we will feel that power of the Holy Ghost come over us. We will feel peace and comfort in our heart and our minds. It is a very real experience when God tells you the Book is True. Then everything else falls in line. Joseph Smith was who he said he was, a prophet of God. This is God's Church on the earth and Jesus Christ is the head of the Church and leads it through calling prophets and apostles. I know this is all true because I have read the Book of Mormon, pondered it in my heart and sincerely asked God if its true. And I know with a surety that it is the word of the Lord. We are His children. He loves us with a perfect love. He is willing to forgive us for the mistakes we make if we turn to Him and He wants to bless us but we have to be loyal and obedient to Him so we qualify for those blessings. I love you all! I think about you often and am so grateful for the memories that we have together. I cherish those experiences and they give me fuel to keep pressing forward! Keep working and striving and pushing, especially if the times are hard! The Lord will pull you through as you show Him your effort. Love ya!
Elder Seth McGinn ;)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Like a Fire is Burning

Hey family and friends!
I love you all so much!!! It has been freezing here the last couple days haha yesterday the high was 4 and it was -3 all day with some wild windchill...but it was great because we were busy doing the work of the Lord and His Spirit is with us, keeping us warm ;)
Debby was baptized this last Saturday and confirmed on Sunday in sacrament meeting. It was great!
As we have been finding and teaching, it has been so evident to me that today's society is headed in such the wrong direction. What was generally looked down upon and unacceptable 10 years ago is now generally accepted. Such things as language, dress/appearance, and just the interaction between people in generally is disgusting and poisonous to society. We are going downhill fast and only gaining speed.
I know, now more than ever, that the only thing that will save or help society is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a gospel of faith, a message of hope, and a standard of righteousness and cleanliness. Its so terribly difficult sometimes, because it is mine and missionaries jobs around the world to make this change happen. Most often, people don't want to change or think that they can't change, that its just who they are. This is totally false!! We change everyday with every decision that we make! So we need to evaluate our choices and our desires, then ask ourselves something like "what would Jesus do" to truly know whether our choices are good or bad. Part of this is being educated as to what Jesus would do...meaning we need to study the scriptures! His life and deeds are right there for us to learn from and strive to emulate.
The Church is true. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. His true Church and gospel have been restored through Joseph Smith, a prophet.
Love you all!!
Elder McGinn

Elder Seth McGinn
8515 Douglas Ave. Ste. 19
Me, Brother Mike Pace (branch mission leader), Debby, and Elder Arellano

Monday, January 14, 2013

We Are All Imperfect!

Feliz Lunes!! (happy monday!)
haha we had an elder in my MTC district who was really struggling with Spanish but he was always super happy and positive. Everyday he would say "Feliz (whatever day it was)". We were all impressed that he had learned and memorized the days! Then we found out that he was writing it down on his hand every morning hahaha he was hilarious and now he is in Guatemala serving.
Well it was another good week here! We meet soo many different people each week. Some happy, some sad, others angry, and others just plain mean, but they all have something in common: they are Children of God! More than ever before in my life, this statement has really taken hold of me and changed how I act and what things I do. If we truly understand what being a child of God entails, it will change our thoughts, our actions, and even our very nature. Elder Arellano and I have had the opportunity to teach primary (Sunday school for 3-11 year olds) these last couple weeks at Church. Yesterday, we were teaching the 4-7 year olds and the lesson was about being a Child of God! We discussed and read a story about a Prince who was kidnapped by thieves. His dad, the King, had taught him to always do good, say good things, think good thoughts, and ultimately, was preparing the prince to become a king himself. The story goes that the thieves tried to get the prince to do bad things, to say bad words, to eat bad things and to hate other people, but the prince never gave in! The thieves asked him why and how it was that the prince wouldnt do these things. The young Prince answered and said that he couldnt do these things because he knew what his father had taught him and he was born to be a King!
If you haven't yet made the connection, we are like the prince in the story. We are children of a King, even God the Father. We were born and created by Him to become like Him. Our older brother, Jesus Christ has showed us the way and given us the example. He has been exalted and glorified by the Father because of His Atonement (suffering, death, & resurrection) for all mankind. In short, Christ showed us how a Prince can become a King! He was tempted, mocked, spit upon, and ridiculed. But He overcame his temptors and did the will of His Father, just like the young prince in the story. We are all children of God, sons and daughters of Diety, heirs of Celestial Royalty, even Princes and Princesses with the capacity to become Kings and Queens!
Yet we are all imperfect. We give in to thieves that tempt us, retaliate at those who mock us, and so on. We are not perfect like the bold, young prince in the story, but as we turn to the Only Perfect Prince of Peace who ever lived, He exalts us. His mercy is sufficient for us to become joint-heirs with Him as we strive to follow His example, keep His commandments, and love His other brothers and sisters, our spiritual brothers and sisters. I promise you that this is true and possible. Our Heavenly Father loved us so much that He gave His only perfect Son. This is His church. If He was to descend from Heaven to the Earth on a Sunday morning, He would walk into a chapel that belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is really His Church, not a man's. I know this is true with all my heart because He has whispered it to me through His Holy Spirit. I love all of you and hope you recognize your true potential. No matter where you are, what you have done, or what you are doing now, the invitation to follow Christ and be a disciple of His is still valid! Do good, be good, and just love. Look into their eyes until you find the potential they have. Then you will be capable to love them unconditionally because you know who they are and what they are destined to be.
I love you and pray for you! I know it is hard, but if God be with us, who'd be against us?
Love Elder McGinn

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When Life Gives You Lemons... LISTEN

Hola todos!!
I dont have a lot of time once again b/c we are going to Boone to play some basketball in their building! Finally some sports!!! Its been freezing outside and the snow covers everything so this will be my first time playing since November.
Anywho, things are going great out here in good ole Iowa! My companion (Elder Arellano) and I have been teaching a lady named Debby for about 2 months now. She is great friends with a family that was recently baptized and joined the Church and she wants to baptized and confirmed too. So we have taught her and she will be baptized this Saturday, the 12th! She is way excited and happy! We are too.
The subject is what it is b/c there has recently been a lot of difficulties and struggles here in the Perry Branch. People are going through hard financial times and other issues, but they still keep their head up, are happy and kind to others, and still strive to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and live the way He would live. This has helped me realize the power of prayer and of reading the scriptures. We all, everyone in the world, has problems and difficulties. They are all different, unique, but seem to come with the same persistence to each of us. So I was wondering why these people can be so happy and hopeful, while so many others become depressed, feel sorry for themselves, and let their circumstances overcome them. In other words, there are those who act and those who are acted upon. Those who turn to our Heavenly Father in prayer for guidance and others who isolate themselves and even blame God. Those who find comfort and direction by studying the scriptures and those who sit and sulk, waiting for another to pick them up.
When we were younger and all growing up, we had many questions and queries. We were curious about this and that, sometimes out of necessity and other times out of want to know. We turned to our parents and older siblings for answers, knowing they had the answers, were willing to help us, and that we would then apply those answers and use that newly gained knowledge. It is the same with the lemons of life. We are children of a loving Heavenly Father who knows all the answers. He has given us many through His chosen servants, prophets and apostles, who have written His word down in sacred books (scriptures). Some questions we have, we simply must ask Him, like we would our parents. This is done through sincere prayer, knowing that the answer we receive will help us and that we must ACT on that answer! God speaks to us today! He wants to listen to us and He will always hear us, but we must open our mouths and pray to Him. Then, He can answer our questions through the Holy Ghost, His Spirit. He will tell us what things we should do by the feelings in our hearts and the thoughts that come to our mind. He loves us.
I love you all and hope you are those who act and are not acted upon.
Call upon God for direction, LISTEN, then act with faith!
Love Elder McGinn
Elder Seth McGinn
8515 Douglas Ave. Ste. 19
Urbandale, IA 50322