Monday, January 27, 2014

Act or Acted Upon

Hey everybody!
Que tal? Its still freezing here :) We had a great week this week. Last P-day we had a trizone P-day so missionaries from Cedar Rapids and Fairfield zones came to the Iowa City stakecenter and we had a lot of fun playing games. Elder Andreasen was there and he is probably one of my best friends I have made out here. We had a great time! This week, we had a couple exchanges and one was with the AP's. I went with Elder Anderson. Apparently, he came a played ultimate frisbee right by where I lived at BYU so we probably met and played together before but neither of us can remember it haha but we have lots of mutual friends. Well he is a stud missionary and we talked a lot as we worked that night about how to lead with love. I learned and realized that I need to praise and uplift the missionaries in our zone more and that as we simply love them and are examples for them, they will solve their little problems and the work will move forward :) I was grateful for that learning opportunity because it taught me more about Christ and His love. He doesnt solve our problems for us or force us to be happy and live the way He did, but He simply loves us and we can feel that as we pray, learn more about Him through the scriptures, and make covenants with Him like baptism. Also, as we serve Him by serving others, we become more intimate acquainted with Him and because we begin to understand His love for us, we choose to act by changing our lives so they align with His teachings.
This is what has happened with Scott this last week. He had a wake up call and ended up in the hopsital with some rapid breathing. They thought it might be a heart attack but it wasnt so he was released 24 hours later. This little scare gave him another push and strengthened his desire to change. So we taught about praying always, not just in the morning and at night, but saying little prayers throughout the day. He loved that and as he has done it, it has begun to really help him make the changes he wants to make, like exercising and such. Well, he was planning to come to Church for all 3 hours yesterday and had a horrible night on Saturday night with tons of negative thoughts and feelings. We went over about 45 minutes before Church started and prayed with him as he felt he couldnt come to Church because he felt mentally and physically exhausted. Well we read in 2nd Nephi chapter 2 in the Book of Mormon about how God created both things to act and things to be acted upon. We taught him how Satan desires him to be miserable like he is miserable and was acting on Scott all night with these negative thoughts pointed towards destroying Scott's self-esteem and resolve to get healthy and make changes in his lifestyle. It was so powerful as the Spirit filled the room and our minds were enlightened and it was so clear that Satan acts on us when we do not act for ourselves. We taught out of verse 27 where it says that we are free agents to choose for ourselves whether we want liberty and eternal life through Jesus Christ, our great mediator, or if we want captivity and death, according to the captivity and death that Satan, or the devil, wants us to be in. With this, Scott made the correct, but hard decision to act and he came to Church! He felt so much better and said that his negative feelings went away as he was in Sacrament meeting! I know for myself that we have control of our own happiness. Its natural to have feelings of unhappiness or self doubt, but those are times when we evaluate and decide the best course of ACTION! If we dont act now and take control of our fate and happiness, then outside influences and forces that arent focused on your happiness will take power in your life and lead you eventually to complete misery. So don't worry about the things you cant control, but take control of your own decisions, things you can control. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. That once blind, we can see and once lost, we can find ourselves. But it takes work and footsteps on our part :) So dont pray for your circumstances may change, but pray so you understand God's will for you and so He can give you the strength to change yourself. Then, you'll be happy in whatever circumstances you're in! Christ lives and His power to heal our hearts is real. I have experienced it and seen others experience it as well. Make it a great week and love you all!
-Elder McGinn
Elder Seth McGinn
Iowa Des Moines Mission
8515 Douglas Ave. Ste. 19
Urbandale, IA 50322

Monday, January 20, 2014

Great Week!

Hey everybody!
We had a great week out here in Iowa City. We were able to start teaching two hispanic couples and they loved the lessons we had with them. The Spirit was strong as we taught about God's love for us and how He has restored the true gospel of Jesus Christ in our times. The zone had a great week as well and everybody is happy and working hard :) Last week, I was pretty sick but I felt a lot better and am fully getting over my cough finally so its been nice to be out and about and feeling good! Scott came to church yesterday and he has really been praying more sincerely. He was very committed to come to Church and his reading in the Book of Mormon is going great. The week was capped off by him calling yesterday to tell me that the Broncos won and were going to the super bowl :) I told him that God must be a Bronco fan because sunsets are orange and blue hahah we got a good laugh out of that!
I have really come to appreciate the time I have each morning to study the scriptures! It is precious and I always feel so good during and after I read. I hope we are all finding or making the time to read the scriptures so we can feel and come to a more perfect knowledge of the love that God has for us. Sometimes I find myself thinking about home or what lies ahead and the gentle thought always comes that I just need to focus on what I can do today or right now to serve God and those around me. Then I have the Lord's promise that "all things will work together for my good". I love my Redeemer Jesus Christ. As I have served as a missionary, my purpose has been to do the things that He would do and say the things that He would say. Im been imperfect many times but I have come to love Him more because I find myself seeking to be like Him. So I think its the coolest thing that as we are Christlike, we become connected and bonded to Him, and I have become friends with someone I have never met face to face haha its crazy but its true because I feel it in my soul! I hope you make it a great week and that you find happiness in the simple things! 
Elder McGinn
PS a picture of Elder Bates and I with the Black family! They are one of my favorites and are awesome people.

Monday, January 13, 2014

True Story

So we have a lesson in like 30 minutes so we just dont have much time to write so sorry! To cover the important things, it was a good week :) We had our mission leadership council which was very fun and spiritually uplifting. We set our yearly goals as a mission and set our baptismal goals to match with the various ward and stake goals here in our mission...which is very smart and doctrinal-ly correct! The bishops and stake presidents are the ones who hold the keys for missionary work in their units. So that was awesome. I dont know if you all remember Elder Weiss whom I served around when I was in Muscatine. He is the one from Moapa Valley and we have become great friends, well now he is one of the assistants to President Jensen so I get to see him a lot more! He's a stud!
The work is really picking up as students are coming back into town and as people are returning to work and a normal schedule after the holiday break. Scott came to Church! He is doing better and is now working towards being baptized on Feb 14th! We are going to teach Wakweya (the Ethiopian guy) right now about the prophet Joseph Smith and the importance of the Book of Mormon and also try to set a baptismal date with him too! But life is good and time is moving fast haha Elder Dallas Teshima wrote me today and we are both starting to plan a bit for this coming fall which is crazy that its so close. But everyday counts in anything that we do and I really appreciate my mission because it has taught me that time is a precious resource and that we must use it wisely :) So, just like we do in sports, we do in the work of bringing souls to Christ- we "leave it all out on the field"! Make it a great week and love those around'll be happier, I promise! 
Elder McGinn
picture of Elder Richens, Hermana Rosema, and I at Chili's. It was Hermana Rosema's last night in Iowa as she goes back to the temple square mission so we all went out to eat!!! Good times!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hope for the New Year

So its freezing today with a high of -12 not to mention the windchill :) talk about bitter cold haha but I am warm and happy so dont you worry mom! Real quick, a birthday shout out to Leesee who is now in Laguna Beach from what I hear. Thats sweet and Happy Birthday!!! So Elder Bates got transferred to Des Moines and my new companion is Elder Richens from South Jordan, UT. He is awesome, really easy going, and we get along great! He is a new zone leader and has been out for 10 months so it kinda feels like I'm training a little bit again, which I love. I've realized at this point that I will probably be a zone leader for over half of my mission haha I love it because we get to serve and help missionaries just as much as we serve and help those we are teaching. Also, we have a full-time car which is great this time of year! I love serving here in the Iowa City 4th ward too. We have a great bishop and ward council...that makes a huge difference!
Well Scott is still not doing so hot because he is in terrible shape physically and thats really affecting his shape spiritually. He didnt make it to Church yesterday, but we are going to meet with him tonight to see how we can help him. On another note, an Ethiopian man named Wakweya came to Church yesterday and we started teaching him. He ran into some sisters over a different ward and they helped him get to Church and then handed him over to us. He is sweet! He works crazy hours though so the hard part will be meeting with him, but other than that he is solid! 
Im really excited for school to start up again out here so that all of our members come back haha Things have been a little slow but they are starting to pick up again! We are grateful for all the many people who we teach who listen, act, and then come closer to Christ by being baptized. In 2013, our goal was 550 and our ending number of people who were helped and strengthened by Christ and His atoning sacrifice was 545!!! A little short, but overall an amazing year! I look forward to 2014 with HOPE that it will be even better than 2013. I have learned so much about myself serving as a missionary and especially, I have learned that progress is what makes me happy. I love learning and even though it takes trial and opposition to grow, there is no greater feeling than when you can look back and see how much you have grown only to look forward in anticipation to how much more I still have to learn. Our potential is so great and our opportunities are endless! I know that it is with faith in Jesus Christ and love for those around us that we make the most of who we our and strive toward our true potential. I love you all and wish you a happy 2014! Love, Elder Seth McGinn
Picture of an Iowa sunrise :)
Elder Bates & I and the Hungers! This is the family I live with! They are great and Brother Hunger reminds me a lot of Dad...i wonder why
This is the Iowa City zone! Right before transfer meeting