Monday, September 30, 2013

Families are Forever

Hey there!
Well, I had a great 20th birthday! Thank you for all the letters and packages :) they are the best! I love the Ringer family and the awesome package I got from them with the picture of Meesh's wedding with Blake and Jordan's cutouts haha Also, Ian and Lindsay, thanks for the Spanish scripture case! It is awesome and has already been used a lot! For everyone that sent things, I am trying to write back so please be patient and thank you!
As birthdays go, this was the BEST birth day every. Literally, the best September 28th I've ever had. Awake at 3am we met up with members and recent converts to drive to Nauvoo. We were with our branch president the whole way which was so sweet b/c he is awesome. We really strengthened our relationship. At 8am, we did baptisms for the dead in the temple and Elder Andreasen and I were the dope! Afterwards, we ate carne asada. (Whats a temple trip without some grilling?) Then, we saw the Nauvoo visitors center for a second and decided, with our branch president, to do a 1pm temple session! It was great and right after the session (with the sweet new presentation!), Elder Andreasen ran into a couple that he used to teach in Iowa City that was getting sealed in like 5 absolute miracle/tender mercy. So we went to the sealing with a ton of members from that Iowa City ward and saw this great husband and wife be sealed together for time and all eternity with their 3 young kids. It was something else. I felt full of gratitude for my family and fully understood that as the purpose of this life: to have and experience true joy in our family relationships and to make those relationships ETERNAL!
I love my family! They are so awesome and I look forward to spending eternity with them...and seeing them again in a year too ;) but right now, I have the privilege to share the things I have learned from/with my family with other families that are looking for help and direction. As a missionary, that is what I do: help families stay together by teaching them what Jesus Christ taught :) simple enough right, but so profound. The temple is an amazing place and especially the feeling in Nauvoo is something that is hard to explain. I love each one of you and, like always, I want you to be truly happy! So I invite you to ask questions and seek answers to the questions you have. There are tons of wonderful Latter-day Saints ready and willing to help you! Ask, and you will receive :) Love you all!
Elder Seth McGinn

Here is a picture from the trip!
Great one for the Elders...not so much the sisters haha

Monday, September 23, 2013

Missionary-Minded Members

Hey family!
Well, its been another great week! Its good to hear that Blake was good and safe down in Tampico with that hurricane. I love that guy! Its great to read his, Jordan's and Dallas' letters each week. I got lucky with some great friends! Just to echo what they were saying in their letters, its all about the Work of Salvation! Saving people from their worldly troubles, addictions, sicknesses, stress, and giving them hope for peace in this life and eternal life afterwards!  I am learning more and more about how our mindset, or the way we view "missionary work" needs to change.  I always thought of it as we, as members, need to help the full time missionaries with their investigators. That was good and it worked, but Heavenly Father expects more of us! We as members of the Church are the ones who should be finding, befriending, and testifying to OUR friends and neighbors. Then, the" full-time missionaries" help us with OUR missionary work :) You see how that works! Its great because instead of 2 or 4 missionaries and 25-30 helpers in the ward, we get 25-30 missionaries (members of the Church) and 2 or 4 helpers in each ward (the full-time missionaries). I hope that makes sense! Anyways, that's my addition to Blake and Jordan's rant on the Work of Salvation haha
Last night, we met with Pres. Pence, the Des Moines Stake Pres, and with Pres Jensen (our mission pres.). These are the men with the priesthood keys in this work!!! It was a great meeting as we made some great plans to reach the stake goal of 214 converts this year. We are 100 short right now, but we know we can reach it as WE help the members, instead of them helping us. They know way more people than we do anyways ;)
The 5th branch is doing great! We had a bit of a crazy sacrament meeting yesterday b/c we had a recent convert almost faint right before we took the sacrament. We think it was hypo-glycemic problems but we ended up helping her out to the foyer and giving her a blessing right there! It was sweet and she is doing much better today! We are teaching Rosario and her family still, a nine year old named Angel, a husband of one of our best members, and a sweet young couple named Juan and Delila :) Teaching is the best and I'm trying to lose myself in these peoples lives so that we can help them understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and feel the joy of our message. I love being a representative of Christ! It is hard and I fail everyday in some way or another, but the important thing is that I am learning the importance of daily repentance and just continually trying to improve. "The only true failure is when we stop trying." I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's kingdom on the Earth. That is bold to say but I know it is true with all my being! I invite all of us to come closer to Christ through learning more about Him. I love you all and hope you have a great week this week!!! Enjoy the fall weather :)

Love Elder Seth McGinn

pic:My companion and I..Elder Andreasen aka Andre the Giant jaja

Monday, September 16, 2013

Elder Robert C. Gay

Hey family and friends!
Its was a life changing week. We had a Seventy (general authority of the Church who helps the Apostles) come and visit our mission, Elder Robert C. Gay. He is something else...absolutely an amazing man.  He has done tons of amazing things in his life, but is so humble, wise, and loving. He taught us all many things, but I felt very deeply impressed and impacted by the way he taught and the stories from his life that he shared.
I don't have much time, but simply put, how much do we believe the words, life, and love of Jesus Christ? It is a matter of faith, hope, and charity! I learned that with faith in Jesus Christ and His love, we can show Heavenly Father that we are willing to walk through the doors that He will open for us. Faith is an amazing thing and it has everything to do with consecration, or giving everything you've got and laying it all on the line!  This week was so life changing for me because it changed my mindset, or the way I see things and think about things! We can have so much more than we now have with the correct application of faith and hope and charity to our lives! I loved it and am super excited for general conference coming up, where we will here counsel from our modern day prophet, Thomas S. Monson, his 2 counselors, and the 12 apostles!

As for our area, the branch is really starting to catch the wave or vision of every member a missionary. Its not a change in the way they live, but rather, a change in the way they think about others they see as they live their life. We set a date with this awesome 9 year old kid named Angel as his less-active mom is coming back to Church! Rosario and her family are doing good, we are just praying and fasting that she can act on the spiritual witness that she has received that the Book of Mormon is true and so it this church! I love these people and its so hard to help them repent and change, but is so great when they do keep commitments and feel the Spirit! Patience is a virtue and it involves persistence in being bold to invite and loving to understand and uplift! I love you all and hope you have a great week! Enjoy the changing seasons too! All my love, Elder McGinn 

ps Picture of Elder Andreasen (my companion), me, and Elder Kilpatrick (a zone leader up in Ames who I served around in Muscatine). Also, you'll see the transfer van that I drove to Iowa City and back haha the elders and sisters said I should look into a professional career as a bus driver but I think I'll pass on that one :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

One Year Already

Hey errbody!
Time just keeps moving along and Thursday will be my official "hump day" haha the year has sped by and Heavenly Father is sending me a present...Elder Robert C. Gay of the Seventy (one of the general authorities in the Church) is coming to our mission on Wednesday, then we will have a Mission Leadership Council with him on Friday in Iowa City! I am really excited to receive counsel and direction from him because I know he is called of God, a servant in the Lord's hands to help us reach our full potential here in the Iowa Des Moines Mission! Quick fun fact: At a stake priesthood meeting the other night, the Stake President told us that the Des Moines, Iowa stake is the fastest growing stake right now in the North America Central Area! Super sweet to see that the Lord is blessing us with prepared souls who want to follow a living prophet and be member in the only true and living church of Jesus Christ :)
This week was great! We got permission to go to a little branch campout this weekend and boy, did I enjoy the great outdoors! We cooked carne asada over a fire and it was soo good! Then we had some smores, and I taught everyone how to make smores the Palmyra Ward way...Deluxe! (see picture and shoutout to Mikey Call, Raul Fernandez, Zack Taylor, Brother Fife, Brother Truman, Brother Taylor, Brother Call, Bro Ro (Brother Rodriguez, Brother Miller, President Nielson,the Ringers, and anybody else who was with us on that Young Men's trip to Brianhead when we mountain biked, paintballed, and etc.) That was the best trip ever and when the Deluxe Smore was born haha
The Spanish members here are the greatest! They were singing and laughing the whole time and it was a blast. The branch is growing so much with reactivations and baptisms, The Work of Salvation is pumping through every Branch Council and its so good to see everyone embracing the restored gospel. I know that I am about my Heavenly Father's business. My purpose is simple and brings me so much joy when it is fulfilled as I invite other to come, follow the Son of the living God. This is His work and His glory. Im grateful to be a participant in it! We are to save mankind from the calamity of its own self destruction, and that can only be accomplished through unity in living the gospel of Jesus Christ. His Atonement (suffering, death, and resurrection) is real and through it, we can become happy and peaceful with the circumstances we are in. God loves us. We are His children. I love you all and hope that you too are searching for God's love, b/c you will find it :) Love Elder McGinn

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

Monday, September 2, 2013


Hey family & friends! So real quick, I love you all and want to tell you about this miracle we saw this week. We were finding on Sunday night when we were led to an apt complex that we had not planned on going too. We have tracted that place inside and out a bunch, but we saw a young Hispanic family just about to go into their apt when we contacted them. They were not interested, but we asked what their names were and the man's name was Eduardo Moroni Olivo...haha so we jumped on his middle name being Moroni (a prophet in the Book of Mormon) and he told us that his grandmother gave him that name and that he was baptized into the Church when he was 8, but then stopped going to Church when he was 15 because of the death of his grandparents.  He was deeply wounded that Heavenly Father took away is grandparents when he was so young and that his father dad when he was only 2 months old in the first place (all of this was in Mexico City). Well we knew that the Spirit of God had led us to them so with a lot of love we were able to set up a time to teach them. So last night, we taught them the Plan of Salvation and the love of Heavenly Father was felt very strong!!! We helped answer their questions as we taught about the Atonement and why their is so much suffering in the world! It was one the most powerful teaching experiences I have ever experienced as the Spirit totally took control of the lesson. We "understood one another, both of us were edified and we rejoiced together" (DC 50:22)

 We ended by inviting them, as always, to pray and to ponder about the things that had heard and felt as we taught. They are hung up on praying to el angel del muerte or the angel of death...weird I know, but we left them with our testimonies and a sure knowledge that salvation can only come in and through Jesus Christ. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is so important to understand that our Heavenly Father has a plan for our success and happiness in this life. The plan is made possible due to Jesus Christ and His atonement. Our happiness depends on if we choose to follow Jesus Christ and use His atonement. I promise that is the only way to find "peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come." I love you all and invite you all to pray to your Father in Heaven, in Christ's name. It is something we can do anywhere, at anytime to feel His love for us :) -Elder McGinn