Monday, November 25, 2013

Short letter this week...

This week has been... well interesting. No, to be honest it wasn't very good. My companion hasn't been completely obedient and because of that we haven't had the spirit with us and we weren't able to get basically anything done this week. We had about two lessons and that's it... So there's really nothing more to say. We gave talks on Sunday in one of the wards. We spoke about missionary work. It was good. They are having a choirside here in a couple weeks. We went and sat in on one of the rehearsals. It is being directed by Kelly DeHaan. He asked me during the middle to get up and share some experiences about people I've seen change in my mission (the song they were singing was about someone's soul changing) So that was fun. They sound amazing!!!! It was really cool. Makes me wish I could sing. This transfer is flying by! I don't know what is going on anymore haha. It's starting to get colder again. I might need to buy a better coat. It is very likely that I might not make it through winter. The coldest it ever got in Clovis was like mid 30s. On a good day that's the high here... It's going to be a long winter for me ha. I hope you all are having a wonderful time in your own lives! It's great to hear from all of you. Keep up the good work and share the gospel with everyone! It is the "Good News" so don't be selfish with it. -Elder McKinney

"Those faithful Elders who have testified of this work to thousands of people on the continents and islands of the seas will see the fruits of their labors, whether they have said five words or thousands. They may not see these fruits immediately, and perhaps, in many cases, not until the Millennium; but the savor of their testimony will pass down from father to son." - Brigham Young

Monday, November 18, 2013


I'm not sure what is happening to the time. One day we are doing our weekly planning and then it seems like we do it again the next day. I am so lost. I've been out just over two months now. I'm to the point where I can comfortably give a lesson by myself if I needed to. I still can't believe Thanksgiving is next week. Report for the week: Monday P-day as usual. Played some ball, stuff like that. Went to meet with the one guy who President Miller said not to go by for a year, and he wasn't there. So we aren't going back. Not yet at least. Tuesday was awesome. We had zone conference at the mission office and it was super cool! We watched a movie called Butterfly Circus. Wow what an amazing movie! It's only like half an hour long but it was really good! Learned a lot of stuff. Specifically about working with members. Because they basically want us to focus on that and only that for the most part. So that was an awesome conference, got to see my father again (Elder Bennett) that lasted most of the day and then later that night there was a musical fireside at temple square in the assembly hall that we as missionaries could take investigators to if they were on date. So we took Denny and his three little girls. It was an awesome experience! He had to leave half way through because his daughters needed to go to bed, but we were still glad he came. The fireside was put on by the sisters from the temple square mission, they did a really great job. The next few days we didn't get much done. Elder Cleveland got sick and so we stayed home all day for a few days. It gave me a chance to study so I learned a lot. We found a new investigator named Marvin. He was a referral from a recent convert. Marvin met with the missionaries before and was set to be baptized but then had to move and stuff so it never happened. Now we get to baptize him :) We don't have a set date yet but he said he would so it will be in December sometime. That's about the only update on our investigators right now. We really didn't do much since Elder Cleveland was sick. This week should be a lot more productive. We are going to speak in church next Sunday in one of the wards. We'll just be talking about missionary work and stuff. It'll be awesome. I hope you all have a fantastic week! Stay strong and share the gospel with everyone!
-Elder McKinney

Elder McKinney sent a memory card with some pictures...not sure what all of them are, but pretty sure these are some pics of the basement 4 elders are staying in.  I will just put a few pictures here and he may have to explain them later!  I do know the shoe picture is of all the thorns he picks up every day when he's walking!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Transfers! (and pictures!)

Transfers were this Wednesday. Everyone knew Elder Bennett was going to be made district leader. That made me excited because I would get a car and wouldn't have to walk in the snow. Transfer calls came, I was going to stay in the area and Elder Bennett was going to be a district leader in Herriman. So I was super disappointed that I didn't get a car. I was also hoping to spend all of my training with one companion, but oh well. My new companion is Elder Cleveland. He is from Maryland and has been out for just over 7 months. He and Elder Bennett just switched places. So this week has been good. Monday night we had a lesson with Denny and Rheanan. I honestly can't remember what I've told you about Rheanan but we set up to go to temple square with her on Thursday. We can take investigators and have the sisters there give them a tour and then we have a lesson at the end. We never went my whole first transfer so I was excited to finally be able to go. Thursday morning we got a text saying she got called into work and couldn't go -_- totally ruined everything ha. We hadn't made any backup plans for that time either so we had like three hours now with nothing planned. It all went well though. We worked and filled in the time. She said she still wants to go so we will see if we can't find another time to go.

Jake is still out of town working and his wife didn't want us to come by and meet with the rest of the family when he wasn't there so we haven't seen them recently. We put Denny on date for December 7th and he came to church this Sunday! It was super awesome! Stayed for all three hours. The only thing I think we have to worry about is his smoking now. We were tracting in the apartments the other day and we found a woman who had questions so we taught her for a few minutes and set up a return appointment. She has some serious potential so we are excited. We also ran into a man who had met with missionaries before but was on his way to work so we set up an appointment for tonight. We went and looked in the area book at his teaching record and apparently he is suicidal and the old mission president and his doctor said not to go back by for at least a year to kind of let him settle down.... it's only been five months. So we are going to be very careful tonight when we go. We aren't really going to try to teach anything, just assess the situation and stuff. We will try to talk to President Chambers as well to see what we should do. That's really all I have to report on the work here. Oh Seth, we put him back on date for the 23rd of this month but he missed church yet again! So he's off date once more. He was throwing up and stuff. Bummer. But yeah that's basically what's going on right now.

We went to a fireside last night where a man came and spoke who has worked with the building of temples and the conference center. He had some really awesome stories! After what he told us about the conference center, I'm afraid to go sit in there now because of what is over my head. After some of the things he told us, you know that the temple building work is inspired. For instance, for the Washington D.C. temple they had four different firms draw up what it should look like and he had three of the original pictures that looked practically identical. The firms were told not to talk to or correlate with one another. These are inspired buildings no doubt about it. So that was pretty awesome to go to. The weather this week has been really nice actually. Haven't had to use my coat or anything. Haven't had snow for a week either. So things are going well. I'll send a few more emails with pictures. I can only attach one at a time it seems. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

-Elder McKinney

p.s. in this picture it is our district and two zone leaders right before transfers. So the two in the middle in the back are our zone leaders (who are still here) My old companion Elder Bennett is in the back on the far left. The middle in the front is Elder O'Dair our district leader and the Solomons on the right side. The other elders include Elders Curtis, Young, Langbata, Mansfield, and Morenda. Elder Birch and Elder Johnston are our zone leaders.
 I wasn't lying when I said it finally snowed!  Someone even made a snowman...

 New companion Elder Cleveland...saying goodbye to Elder Bennett
 Gracie with Elder Bennett and I...
 Willow with Elder Bennett and I...

Monday, November 4, 2013

Snow! Oh yeah, and a baptism too!

It's been a long week. We've had so many lessons set up each day but as they all got closer they all had to cancel and reschedule. We only had a couple lessons. BUT, we did have a baptism, so all is well! Willow was finally baptized. This week should hopefully be better, no, it will be. We haven't been able to put anyone on date. They are all iffy about it. The only ones who are solid for being baptized is Jake and his daughter, but we have to wait until he is interviewed by someone in the mission presidency before we can put them on date officially. To add to that, Jake got a job finally in North Dakota driving trucks and stuff so he is gone for the next week or so. It's making it a lot harder to get in contact with the rest of his family to try to still teach his daughter while he is gone. We will continue trying though. So to be honest there isn't much to report this week. Just a lot of rescheduled appointments.

It finally snowed though! We woke up on Sunday to snow. We weren't expecting it at all the night before because it didn't feel too bad out. There was a good inch or two on the ground in the morning though. It was so weird walking to church while it was snowing. I've been in the snow before but not really while it was actually snowing. They were huge flakes too. New experiences for a California boy. So yeah that was the coldest its been so far. Needless to say I will be buying some warmer clothes later today haha. We did go to the temple on Thursday for Halloween. The Jordan River temple is pretty awesome! Every time we go to the temple we're always rushed and so I didn't really get any pictures of it :/ just some quick ones of Moroni and stuff. To make things even worse, I just found out that we can't use our cameras on these computers. We are in a library and they don't work. So I can't even send the pictures from the last two baptisms either... Next week I promise!

Transfers are this Wednesday, its most likely that I'll just stay in the same area with my trainer. But who knows, I'll be fine with whatever. Yeah.. to be honest I don't know what else to say now, so I'll just say a few more quick words and say bye. I know without a doubt that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. Everything in the gospel is centered around that. Because of His infinite sacrifice we are able to return to live with out Heavenly Father again some day and we are able to find peace and happiness in this life. It is up to us to accept and utilize the Atonement to its fullest however. We must do our part and accept and follow Christ. One of my favorite hymns is "There is a Green Hill Far Away" one of the lines in there is "He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in. I think that kind of has two meanings. 1. That He was the only one who could perform the Atonement and fulfill the Father's plan and 2. That He could only open the doors and it is up to us to make the decision to walk inside. It is not always easy, even Christ Himself asked for help, but we are not alone. Because of the His sufferings for us He knows exactly what we need. He wants to bless us and help us but He is not going to force those blessings upon us. We must go to Him and ask Him. I know that as we do He will listen and will answer us with those things that we need. I have seen that in my own life and I promise the same applies to you. Trust in Him. I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! -Elder McKinney