Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Party

Yes, we are stoked to have a Halloween Party. Not so we can dress up, not so we can party, not so we can trick or treat, but so we can meet the family and friends that the members have invited to come!!! haha its my idea of a great Halloween celebration :)
I hope you all have great plans for this week and that you are all happy! That is important. We had stake conference this last weekend and it was all focused on the Work of Salvation. It was awesome!!! President Condie, the Nauvoo temple president was there and gave one of the best, most enjoyable talks I have ever heard. The man is hilarious and a spiritual giant. After his wife's talk, he gave her a kiss then said, "Yup, shes mine....forever" haha He talked about how after living in England, France, Germany, and other places, the hardest time he had helping a neighbor come unto the Church and be baptized was his neighbor in Provo, Utah haha It was an awesome story. I want to share the ending as my email today b/c I dont have much time. He said that after this man and his wife were sealed in the temple, the man said "Why didnt I do this sooner?" Then, there was a fast and testimony meeting in which many of the members shared how sorry they were for not sharing the gospel with him sooner. Many had been his neighbors for more than 20 years and had not once tried to share the gospel with him. It really impressed me how all these people felt so sorry and asked for his forgiveness. I'm sure that how it will be with those we interact with if we dont invite them, then later they will find out about the gospel and we will feel sad and sorry that we didnt share it sooner. I know the challenges and fears we have. I face them everyday haha its hard, but that is where our faith in Christ kicks in. Miracles are result of faith and action! So we are praying for missionary experiences here and those are miracles!!! I love all of you and know that we are children of a Father in Heaven. We lived with Him before and now we are here! Jesus Christ is His Son, our brother and Redeemer! I love you and hope you feel His love for you! -Elder McGinn

Monday, October 21, 2013

Here Comes the Snow

Hey fam & friends!
Hope you all had a great week. It is getting really cold here again. Its supposed to snow tomorrow haha Im really happy that this is my last Iowa winter for now! Sounds like the Chili Cook Off was a success and a blast! We have a ward halloween party coming up so we have talked to all the members and they are planning on inviting their friends and neighbors!!!! Its gonna be sweet and we signed up to be judges of the dessert contest...its great to be a missionary! Also, Blake, Jordan, Dallas, Chase, Trevor, James, and Dallin are all doing great. I love reading their letters! We were definitely all in the same "work of salvation" classes in the pre-earth life ;) STUDS!
So this week, we ran into some apts with a bunch of Congolese people. We met like 6 families and started teaching them a little bit. It is hard b/c all the men work all the time and most the older women speak only Swahili or French. But the kids love us and we will see what comes of that tricky situation!  We had a sweet experience the weekend before last. We hadnt been able to meet with Milord (our investigator with a date for Nov 2) all week and it was Saturday so we really wanted him to come to Church. We called and texted all day, but no response. Then, as we are saying our goodnight prayer, he texted at 10:32 and said he was sorry that he had been working all day. Well, it was tempting, to say the least, to text him back and make sure he knew about Church the next morning at 9am, but we are not supposed to use the phones after 10:30 (Lights out). Because we were raised by goodly parents who taught us to trust in the Lord, we stayed obedient and prayed that he would come. The next morning he called at 8:30am, told us that he had gotten off work at 2am that morning but still wanted to come to Church! He came and it was a great fast & testimony meeting. 
It is my testimony or knowledge that obedience to the Lord's commandments means everything!!! Like Joseph Smith said,"I make it my rule that when the Lord commands--do it!" And there is nothing that our Savior Jesus Christ didnt teach us when he uttered with the weight of the agonizing atonement on His shoulders, "Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done."  If we really are Christian and believe in God and His love then we obey. We understand that we are imperfect and tend to mess things up, so we might as well follow the promptings of the Spirit and leave the rest to our Heavenly Father. A lot of times, we think that we are powerful and great, so we can do things on our own. Like with Milord, we think that WE are the ones who can get him to Church. That is when we forget that only the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost has the power to change hearts and natures, not us. We need to always be putting ourselves in situation where we have to rely on Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. That is the essence of humility, which leads to all other Christlike attributes, including faith and charity. Obedience is the first law of heaven so lets find ways to be more obedient. Nephi in the Book of Mormon is my favorite example! Read the scriptures and it will fuel your motivation to do more, believe more, and love more. Have a great week and I love you! Love, Elder Seth McGinn
ps Pic of the Tristan family from Des Moines! She is the one that was in Vegas and called dad :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Go Hawkeyes!

Hey there,
So Thursday I was transferred to Iowa City and so far it is sweet! It is where the Univ. of Iowa is and campus is the whole town haha. We have a lot of really smart Med. students in our ward (Iowa City 4th Ward) and lots of professors from the univ too. Its awesome.
Angel was baptized on Saturday in Des Moines!!! He is such an awesome kid and his mom is really regaining her faith as she is coming back to Church. Saturday, was a ward temple trip, so luckily we got to go to the Nauvoo temple again!!! (talk about counting your many blessings) It was amazing. My new companion is Elder Bates from Logan, UT and he was at BYU the same time I was there. We get along great and in the celestial room in the temple, we talked about plans for the next transfer with the 4th ward and with the Iowa City zone. Probably, the BEST place to do some transfer planning ;) We got a ride back with our bishop, Bishop Gelder, and he is so sweet!!! For the 2 hour car ride, we went through the ward directory name-by-name and talked about how us and the ward can work together to strengthen them. Work of Salvation status!
Mom and Dad, we just moved in with members on Friday when I got here (they were living in an apt before). So karma haha They are the Hunger Family and they have 4 boys, ages 15, 13, 11 and 9! So we are excited to set a good example for them and strengthen their desires to be great missionaries. We live in the basement and its a really nice set up for us. So mom, let me know what things I should do or not do as a missionary living with members!
Right now, we are teaching a man named Milord who is from the Republic of Congo. Yeah, he is great and we are working with his wife as well, but she only speaks French. But they have a baptismal date for Nov 2nd! Its exciting to be here and I feel really good about the potential we have here. Through faith, doors are opened. We tap into the power and miracles of God, our Heavenly Father! I know that He lives and loves us, along with His Son, Jesus Christ. They want us to be happy and that is what we offer, peace, purpose, and direction! This is His gathering of scattered Israel, His covenant people. I know this work is DIVINE! Have a great week, smile, and know that I love you!
Elder McGinn
This is Angel who got baptized! Right before I left!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Goodbye to Des Moines

Hey there!
We got transfer calls this morning and President Jensen informed me that I will be getting transferred...crazy stuff! Elder Andreasen is staying here and we were really hoping to stay together but we are not Heavenly Father, who knows and understands ALL things :) I will still be serving as a zone leader and so, with only two zones that have Spanish speaking zone leaders, that puts me in Iowa City!!! I am really sad to leave all the sweet people here in Des Moines and especially here in the 5th branch, but I look forward to serving the people in Iowa City. So that will be my new home on Thursday!
So Angel, the sweetest little 9 year old you'll ever meet, passed his baptismal interview this weekend so he will be baptized on Saturday!!! I wont be there for it, but I will make sure to get a picture with him before we leave. Also, we found this awesome family this week. Its the Ramirez family and they want to come closer together as a family and to God. We are helping them do just that! They are very ready to receive a testimony that God once again leads the families of the Earth through a prophet and apostles. I grew a deeper conviction of that this weekend watching general conference. WOWIE! I love our prophet, Thomas S. Monson. He is full of love and inspired direction for all of us. He and the 12 apostles can see just over the horizon at what is to come, so they give us counsel as to what we can DO to have consistent happiness in a world of shifting morals. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is constant and is as a rock, on which if we build, we cannot fall when the shifting and changing winds of the world beat against us :)
I find a lot of peace in trusting in God. Like the apostle Boyd K. Packer says, "We are not obedient because we are blind, but because we see."  Faith in Jesus Christ is NOT a perfect knowledge of Him, but rather a HOPE in Him because through Him, we will overcome our trials, weaknesses, sicknesses and eventually death! We will be happy now, in the future and forever. Faith is so sweet!!! I will end with one of my favorite things from General Conference this past weekend. Elder Vinson of the Seventy talked about being in "spiritual shape".  He said that just as we cannot get in physical shape to play basketball by simply watching basketball on TV, we cannot get into spiritual shape by just watching conference on TV...we must DO! I know that is true! My brother-in-law Tom said it best when he wrote in my journal these words, "You will find more joy wearing yourself out in the work of helping others than anything else you can do." This is true! You know it is because we have all had times when we completed a great, difficult task, only to find ourselves deeply satisfied and full of joy. That is what spiritual work does to you so JUST DO IT ;) you wont regret it! I love you all so much and I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior in ALL things!
Love Elder McGinn

 Spent a day biking on was a road bike haha so sweet
Elder Witham has been waiting for his VISA to Sao Paolo South Brazil for 6 months here in Iowa and he left today!! He knows Amelia Knuth, the Wittke's granddaughter, from BYUI. Great missionary and great friend too.
Elder Barson, one of our fearless District Leaders..he goes home on Thursday!