Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Snowy Spring!

Hey family and friends!
Although spring has "started", it snowed all day yesterday haha enjoy the nice Las Vegasweather! I love you all and hope you are all doing well and are happy. Remember that we determine our own happiness, despite our circumstances. Seeing that this is Passover Week and next Sunday is Easter, I wanted to post a link to this Easter video that is one of my favorites! Here it is: An Easter Declaration
This has been a great week! We have found 5 new investigators and they are all from the members inviting their friends to learn more. As a missionary, I have been given the responsibility and authority to TEACH the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. As a member of the Church, we are responsible for making sure that everyone around us has the opportunity to be taught the gospel and therefore, the opportunity to experience the happiness and peace it brings to our lives. Members don't need and aren't expected to teach the gospel, but they have the chance to invite their friends and family to activities like dinner, BBQ's (my personal favorite :)), ward activities, etc. where missionaries can talk to your friends in a non-pushy way to ask them if they would be interested in learning more! Would you rather teach about the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity or invite a friend to a ward chili cook-off?? I hope we see that sharing the gospel with those around us is not a burden, but rather a blessing! If you have fear, then remember that everyone around you is also a child of God, your brother and sister. As you do, you will love them more and experience "perfect love casting out all fear" :)
I am happy to be here in Iowa, helping others find joy in the journey of our lives. This joy can be only felt in its truest form as we believe and trust in Jesus Christ and keep His commandments. I love you all, even if you don't share the same religious beliefs. Friendship is one of the greatest blessings in life and we must all do our part to help one another get along through the difficulties life throws at us. Don't be ignorant, but always learning, growing, and progressing--that is where we feel happiness and live with more peace! Con amor,
Elder McGinn :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Crazy St. Patty's Day Week!

Hey Hey Hey Family!!
Last Thursday was transfers and it was quite an exciting day so let me run you through it. I got all packed up and headed off to catch a van in Ames, IAat 5am. We arrived in Iowa Cityaround 8:30 and all the missionaries were visiting in the foyer as all the new trainers were being gathered in for a meeting with President Jergensen. This is when President Jergensen said "Elder McGinn, come here I need to talk with you." Initially I was scared b/c it isnt always the best thing to be called over like that haha but president told me that all the other Spanish missionaries would be training these VISA waiters who would then be going to Argentina. He told me that he trusts me and wants me to train but said that he didn't know why the Lord had made it so that logistically, I wouldnt make sense for me. Then he told me that he got his answer to that question the day before when Church headquarters in Salt Lake called and informed him that they have a missionary in the MTC that was scheduled to come out to Iowa in April but he is already a fluent Spanish speaker, so he is coming out on Monday, March 25th. So president was like "You ready to train in a week?" I was like a deer in the headlights haha but I told him I'm excited and I went into that trainers meeting with my mind racing haha
Its interesting though because it will have to be in a tri-panionship b/c there are simply not enough spanish areas and he said that I would love the other companion I would be with. Then during the actual transfer meeting, President Jergensen announced that I would go to the Muscatine, Iowaarea to serve with Elder Arellano again hahaha So we are back together again after being apart for a quick 5-week transfer! So I am back with my trainer (my dad in mission lingo) and I will be training (become a dad) in a week from today haha so crazy! In other words, until Elder Arellano goes home at the next April 25th transfer, it will be Grandpa (Elder Arellano), father (me), and son (Elder Kevin Miranda from St. George,UT) hah we are going to have a blast and we will work hard together!!
As for the work, things are going great! We set a baptismal date with Alex for April 20th before I left Perry and just yesterday, Elder Arellano and I set a date for baptism with a girl named Irene for April 13th. She is friends with a girl in the ward and she has simple been prepared to learn and accept the restored gospel! She is very smart and loves to read the scriptures. We taught here the Plan of Salvation yesterday and it was powerful. I think sometimes we forget how wonderful it is to KNOW, not just believe, where we came from, why we are here, and what happens after we die. She loved it and we loved teaching her! The Spirit was strong. We also had 3 other members bring friends to Church with them yesterday and we look forward to working with them. So fyi, 4 missionaries cover the Muscatine Ward, 2 English-speaking elders and 2 Spanish-speaking elders(us). We share a car and I love the English elders! They are Elder Kilpatrick from Snohomish, Washington (I wonder if my brother Tom served there b/c it was in his mission) and Elder Weiss from Logandale, NV, just 45 mins NorthEast of Vegas so we are already good friends b/c we have a lot in common. He went to Moapa Valley HS. They are both great and they had a baptism this past Saturday of a couple from Liberia which is a country in Africa. That country has seen some crazy war problems the last couple years and Muscatine is one of the war-refugee drop off points in theUSso there are a lot of Liberians and they love the restored gospel!
I love you all! We are all children of a loving Heavenly Father & like a perfect father, He loves each of us individually and wants us to be happy. He has given us some "house rules" or "curfews" that we know as commandments. These protect us, guide us, and help us to be happy and feel peace, no matter what we are facing, just like parents set rules and curfews for their children. It is an expression of love that He has shown us a way of life (by living His commandments) that will make us the most happy and give us the greatest peace of mind. Always talk to Him and listen to Him. He loves us :)
Love Elder McGinn
ps Its sweet that the Rebels got a 5 seed in the tourney!!! Go Rebs!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Longest Winter Ever

Hey Familia!!
We are still getting tons of snow here in Iowa:) haha I can't wait for some warmer weather! Sorry for not writing yesterday and Elder Cottam and I were down and out with some stomach flu and we are feeling better today!
Araceli and Alex's baptism went great on Saturday! Jaime performed the baptism and he did it in English which was huge for him. Also, the AP's (assistants to the president) came to our baptism and they told me that I am being transferred!!!! Im super excited and nervous. It will be sad to leave Perry cause I love the people here, but I am excited to meet a bunch of new people and work in a different town. Transfers are on Thursday in Iowa City so I will find out where I am going there and then jump in a bus from there and be off! Crazy stuff.
Also, we have a new investigator here named Alex who wants to change his life. He has always been caught up in drugs, alcohol, and smoking, but since he has been reading the Book of Mormon and talking to us and Hermano Jaime, he has stopped smoking and drinking! It has been 2 weeks so far and we are going to stick with it to make sure it is a lasting change. He came to Church on Sunday which was our fast & testimony Sunday where anyone in the congregation can go up and share their belief and conviction about Jesus Christ or any other aspect of the gospel. Well, lo and behold, Alex got up there and shared his testimony of how he has been trying to change and quit for a long time and how the only way he has been able to actually change is through his faith in Jesus Christ which is made stronger as he reads from the Bible and especially the Book of Mormon. I was a powerful experience and we are going to set a baptismal date with him today for sometime around April 20th! I echo his testimony and add that we are all about change. We change everyday! So many people are discouraged by the false notion that "its just the way I am". I promise that our natures can and do change as we change our thoughts and behavior! We are the sum total of what we say, think, hear, watch and do. As we change what we say, think, hear, watch, and do, we change who we are! It is also important to recognize that the power by which we change is the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He suffered and died for us so that through Him, we can BECOME something like He is--pure, full of love, unselfish, full of joy and peace. This is all true because I have seen it with my own eyes countless times in the short time that I have been a missionary here in Iowa. I love you all and hope that you all know that you can always change and become better, no matter what circumstances you find yourself in :)
Love, Elder Seth McGinn
ps the picture is Elder Cottam, Araceli, Nathan, Alex (had a cast on his arm so we wrapped saran wrap and a trash bag around it haha), Hermano Jaime, and me!

Elder Seth McGinn
IowaDes Moines Mission
8515 Douglas Ave. Ste. 19
Urbandale, IA 50322

Monday, March 4, 2013

March is Here!

Hey everybody! I dont have much time at all this week but I just thought I'd let you all know that we had an awesome regional conference yesterday as we heard a broadcast from Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City, UT. It was for the whole Midwest (Iowa, Illinois, North and South Dakota,Nebraska, Wisconsin, etc.) We got to hear from Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the quorum of the 12 apostles and he talked about missionary work! He spoke directly to the members about how the increasing number of missionaries will need people to teach and that the members have the power to FIND these people, because they are their friends, co-workers, family members, and others who have been placed in their lives to have the opportunity to listen to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the missionaries! We also heard from Elder Larry Echo Hawk, who is one of my favorite general authorities and from Elder Craig C. Christiansen from the Presidency of the Seventy. The main theme that I heard from the conference was the importance of standing in holy places. They spoke of how the world we live is increasingly corrupt, poisonous, and immoral in every way. So we, as followers of Christ, need to have the courage and strength to stand independent from the world and to stand in holy places, where we can feel comfort, love, and peace that the Spirit of God can bring to us as we listen and feel for it.
I love you all and hope you enjoy the warmer weather and longer days :)
Elder McGinn
ps the pic is of my district at our last district meeting (left to right: Elders Hansen&Beck (Boone), Elders McKeon&Moyle (Carroll), and Elder Cottam&me (Perry))
Elder Seth McGinn
IowaDes Moines Mission
8515 Douglas Ave. Ste. 19
Urbandale, IA 50322