Monday, October 28, 2013

Two Baptisms!

I apologize now because I can't send pictures, my bad. So we baptized Gracie and Neralyz this Saturday!!! We were really glad to get that done. They were both confirmed on Sunday too. Gracie's mother even came down for the baptism, which we were not expecting. So that was a really cool experience. I was able to baptize Neralyz, and Elder Bennett baptized Gracie. So that made the week so much better. I'm short on time so I'm going to summarize a lot.

Jake came to church again for the second time. Wohoo! The FLDS church is the one that practices polygamy and stuff. I forget what all I said last time about it, but Jake's father practiced polygamy and so Jake was baptized FLDS when he turned 8 but they stopped going to church when he was like 9 and at some point his father divorced all the wives except for one. So Jake didn't really practice the religion except for that time as a kid. Nor has he ever had more than one wife. So it shouldn't be a problem getting him baptized. Seth we haven't really been able to teach this week, he's been busy and there was a death in his family so he missed church for the funeral. That means his baptism will have to be pushed back another week :/ We picked up like four new investigators though! We were going to visit a woman who we thought possibly might not be baptized or might have kids that aren't or something but we went and found out they had all been baptized. Bummer, oh well. She lives in the basement of someone else's house so when we came back up there was a man smoking in the garage and we stopped to talk to him and turns out he's been going through hard times and stuff and was interested in what we had to say. His name is Denny and we've taught him a few times now and have tried to commit him to baptism but he wants to have the conviction that it is true before he goes and gets baptized because he's been baptized multiple times before. I have great hope for him though. We also were able to have a lesson with a sister who we had been trying to get in contact ever since I got here. Her name is Sis Schneider. Got to teach her and she seems really receptive, we also invited her to be baptized but she said she wants to know more first. We are going to try to resolve her concerns tonight and see if we cant put her on date. We also finally got a hold of Angelita and her daughter Chelsea who was a referral from the Bishop and we went and talked to them once but weren't able to teach much and we've had trouble getting any appointments with them. They always have to cancel. But they know a lot about the church and seem like there is a good chance there too. Willow is planning on being baptized this Saturday. So yeah it's been awesome. We've got a lot of people to teach and baptize!

The weather has been pretty nice this week but the storms are coming so we've heard. This week is supposed to be really cold. Oh joy. Temple on Thursday though! I am so excited for that! I wish we could go more often. But we've got stuff to do :) Oh yeah me and my comp went to the mission office on Wednesday for training. They do it for first and second transfer missionaries. So that was cool, President Chambers gave us some cool insight on the First Vision. After the training I started feeling sick. Thursday morning I spent mostly resting. I felt horrible. It sucks because all I could do was lie there. If I moved or tried to study or anything it made me feel worse but I couldn't sleep for more than 10 minutes so all I could do was sit there and think. I went out and worked after dinner that day though. I've been sick ever since but it's just the sniffles now. Nothing terrible. So yeah its still been a great week though. I hope you all have wonderful weeks! Don't be afraid to share the gospel :) -Elder McKinney

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dodgeball, Investigators, and the work...

This week started out really slow in terms of the work. We didn't really have any lessons until later in the week. Monday was good, it was our p-day and as a zone we got together and played dodgeball and stuff at the church. I was sore for days! I love being so close to all the other missionaries. I guess I didn't realize how much of a blessing that really was. We do zone workouts in the morning every couple of days. Something that not many missions can accomplish like we can. So last p-day was good but really tiring haha. Tuesday through Thursday basically we just tried to contact people and set up lessons. We did some service a couple times. After Thursday it was kind of a smorgasbord of lessons. Our goal for the week was 8 lessons with a member present and by Thursday we were afraid we weren't even going to come close, but by the end of the week we actually had 7. Along with a couple without members. So it turned out really well. We didn't have dinners planned for this week because of some difficulties so we ate out a lot. The only food place in our boundaries is a KFC/A&W so we had that like three times at least haha. We had one dinner with our zone leaders who were driving by and found out we didn't have dinner. They are in the Spanish assignment in the mission. So when me and my comp went to dinner we had no idea what they were talking about. Still good food though. Then another night we had dinner with the Solomons (the senior missionaries in our area) which was cool. So it wasn't too bad in terms of food.

Investigators. I cannot express in words my love for the Wimber family. They go through a lot, especially Gracie the little girl we are trying to get baptized. I want to do so much for them but as a missionary there is only so much I can do. She is scheduled to be baptized this Saturday but its possible her mother might keep her for the weekend for whatever reason. But our hope is that she is able to come to her dads and get baptized. Side note, Brother Wimber is an amazing painter. I love his paintings. When I get off my mission I am totally coming and offering to buy some of his paintings. Seth was scheduled to be baptized this Saturday as well but was unable to come to church this Sunday so it will have to be pushed back. Willow also had to push her baptism back another week because her mother couldn't get work off. But Gracie and Neralyz are still on for this weekend. Neralyz is solid and has her interview this Tuesday. I'm going to be the one baptizing her so that'll be interesting. I've never baptized anyone before. Sall good though.

So more background on Jake. Jake was raised in the FLDS church. His father practiced polygamy for a time but eventually divorced all of them but one. Jake was baptized when he was eight but stopped going to church when he was like nine or ten. He knows this is the true church and wants to get baptized. Still not sure who will technically have to interview him. Nor do we know how long until he can be baptized. Still some technicalities to work out there. He has a daughter that is of age to be baptized though and so she should be getting baptized too. So I might not see them get baptized but they should be getting baptized sometime in the future. Transfers are coming up in a couple weeks. Kearns is way different than the rest of the mission according to everyone else so I'm interested to see if I get transferred what the rest is like. I don't think I'll be transferred though. We'll see. Sunday was amazing! Six hours of church again. It's really awesome until the last two hours where I'm just physically drained haha. We cover three wards so we try to go to two hours of each while making sure we get to at least sacrament of each. The first two wards we went to this Sunday had their primary programs. Oh it was so amazing! Nothing brings the spirit more than little children singing and speaking about the gospel :) It was powerful. The other wards program is next week. I'm excited to see that one. We were able to get Gracie to church, it was a rough morning for them but we got them there. As said before Seth wasn't able to make it but Jake and his family finally made it! Neralyz was there and Willow went with her father to his ward. So it was a pretty good Sunday. Sad that Seth has to move his baptism back though :( So yeah the work is going good here. We've got a few potential investigators that we are trying to commit to baptism but we've got to start finding more people.

I'm doing well though, learning each day. I didn't have as hard of a time transitioning to being a missionary as others seemed to have. I'm grateful for that. I'm still waiting for the snow to hit here. The tiny bit on the tops of the mountain sits there each day like its mocking me knowing I'm going to die this winter. We get to go to the temple again on Halloween. They don't want us out doing stuff that night so they make us go to the temple instead. I'll gladly go :) I think it will be the Jordan River Temple this time too so I'm excited to see that one. The pictures I've seen are beautiful! I'm super excited to go. Other than that we don't go to the temple all too often. Like once a quarter I think. I think that's basically all there is to report this week. I hope all is going well for you all! Love you!

Monday, October 14, 2013

One Month Mark...and Oquirrh Temple

So this past week has been pretty great. I got to go to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple for the first time. Our district leader was the one to drive us but we also stopped by Chic-Fil-A for lunch and had to pick up another elder so we ended up being late and missed the session we were supposed to go to at 1. So the five of us did initiatories until the next session started at 2. It was some of the elders first time seeing the new video so it was cool to see what they thought about it. It's a beautiful temple! We were rushed all that day, especially since we were late. We weren't even able to go buy groceries either. So that's why we didn't get too many pictures. It was still awesome though! I learned a lot. We were able to teach Gracie Wimber the first lesson. She's a really smart kid and she understands a lot. I got to teach most of that lesson. Seth, Neralyz, and Willow are all progressing towards their baptism on the 26th. That's four baptisms on the 26th... Not sure how we will work all that out haha.

The other companionship that lives in the basement with us has like 10 or 11 people on date right now. They found a family that accepted. Way awesome! We have tried to meet with this one man named Jake. He always had to reschedule when we went to visit him but we finally got to teach him this last Saturday. He was actually baptized FLDS so one of the members of the Seventy has to interview him if he wants to get baptized, which he said he did. We didn't have too long to talk to him last time so hopefully in the next few days we get the chance to learn more about his situation. But hey, I might get to meet one of the Seventy :) haha. The days all seem to run together and I can't ever remember what happens on what days. For all I know I could be telling you stuff that happened two weeks ago. Oh yeah so Friday was the 1 month mark for me! Counting the MTC. Only 23 left! It's almost over!

The weather hasn't been too bad. There are some cold days but nothing I can't handle yet. I know it's coming though. I don't think I am going to survive. We had to walk all day in the rain the other day. It wasn't too bad because it wasn't raining hard, but it's annoying carrying an umbrella. Me and my comp went on an exchange with our district leader on Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon. So I was with Elder O'Dair in his area and his comp was with mine in our area. It was pretty cool. All we did really was tract and talk to people on the street. One person we came up to was drunk or on really bad drugs or something. He came and gave us both hugs. Then he wanted to bow to us and then grabbed our feet and kissed them... it was an interesting experience to say the least. I had no idea what to do haha. Kearns is kind of like the Ghetto in our mission. Everyone wants to be in this area because its produces the most. We also don't have any sisters in our district which is interesting. We do have a senior couple though. They are awesome! One of the nights we didn't have dinner (which is unusual) we went to a KFC (like the only food place in our area) and someone bought our dinner for us. Other areas apparently that happens all the time, especially in the richer areas. I didn't expect it to happen here in Kearns. But it did.

So yeah, I learn and grow each day. If I could say anything to anyone who isn't on a mission, I would say you're still a missionary! We need you more than ever! This last General Conference proved that. It is everyone's duty to preach the gospel. Don't let anyone slip by without knowing about it! I wish so much that I had done a better job of that before my mission. I only hope that I will do a better job from now on out. I will certainly try my best. The people are out there, we just have to open our mouths. Anyways I love you all! Hope you have a wonderful week!
Love Elder McKinney

The Draper Temple...

Mom: I don't know where the last picture in this group the mission home?  In their basement apartment?  I don't know for sure, but it is a favorite picture of mine...great pics from their day at the Draper temple!

MTC life in pictures part two...

These MTC pictures end with their trip on the Frontrunner and ending at the mission home...

MTC life in pictures part one...

We received a memory card from Joel with pictures from the MTC in no particular order and hopefully self-explanatory!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Brief Summary...

Okay so to briefly summarize things so far. I am in the field. I am serving in the Kearns East Stake. We cover three wards and walk/ride bikes. My trainer and companion is Elder Bennett from North Carolina. My Mission President is President Chambers. There has been one baptism so far and we have four others on date as of right now. Also sorry for not emailing yesterday. Our P-day got switched to today because we are going to the Temple. The Oquirrh Temple. No idea how to spell that. Anyways, things have been awesome. I learn and grow each day. All of our investigators are doing well. I can't remember if I talked about Jeff last time, but he was on probation and stuff but still wanted to learn and things. Well he dropped us this week. It was really sad. He just wanted to focus on other things that needed to be resolved and stuff even though we told him the Gospel could help him with all that. I think there will come a time though where he realizes he needs it. We got a new investigator named Seth. He started coming to scouts and stuff and so we got the referral from the young mens leader. He's pretty golden. He's about 13 years old. Neralyz, a Spanish speaking 14 year old we are teaching is set to be baptized on the 26th. We had her set for the 12th but her mom felt she wasn't ready so she pushed it off. We were lucky to get her to agree to the 26th, she wanted to wait a couple months at first. Neralyz is awesome though and she understands things well. She's got a little bit of a learning disability but she has an awesome spirit! We teach her in English and her mother translates for us. We have all four baptisms planned for the 26th... no idea how that'll work out haha. Two were originally for the 12th but got pushed back. Gracie, brother Wimber's daughter only comes on the weekends and she didn't come this weekend so we didn't get a chance to teach her but she is really mature for her age and understands a lot. Brother Wimber has such a love for his family. He's still working on coming back to church himself and stuff but the fact that he so strongly wants his kids to get baptized and live good lives is awesome!

It's snowed a little bit on the mountain tops here and there but haven't seen any snow here on ground floor yet. Well, we had a little sleet one day but that was about it. After these next few days it's supposed to be a lot colder and getting into winter weather. We'll see how long I last ha. By the way, people honk at us as they drive past us you'd think we were missionaries serving in Salt Lake City South or something!! Haha they love the missionaries here. You don't get a chance to put your hand down because you are waving back at so many people. Haven't been attacked by any dogs yet, that's good. I owe my thanks to whoever invented fences. Or leashes for that matter. There is a pizza place around here that has these huge pizzas! The box was like 3 feet wide at least. We had interviews with the Mission President as a district so we bought one afterwards and we finished it. There were 8 of us and we all had at least like 3 or 4 pieces. I wish I would have had my camera there. I haven't taken too many pictures. I get to go to the temple after this though so I'll take some there :)

Time is flying by. Anyway I hope you all have a wonderful week! Love you -Elder McKinney

PS: Conference was awesome! I sincerely hope all the members were paying attention. You have no idea how much we rely on them. Especially here in Utah. If only I realized before my mission how much I should have been involved. Like I kind of realized but I didn't understand. We should be sharing the gospel at every given opportunity. But yeah I loved conference! My companion got to go to the Saturday Afternoon session. Not me though. I hung out with another set of missionaries. We could have taken an investigator though. We tried to take one but we couldn't get tickets in time. They were already gone. We can take investigators to Temple Square though! I haven't been able to do that yet but I really want to! -Love Elder McKinney