Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas, Baptism and New Years!

It has been a great week!! Received many packages and presents from friends and family. Thank you to all who sent something! Christmas was fun. Opened presents and then got to Skype home. Spent the rest of the day visiting members and dropping off goody plates to some families. We spoke in one of our wards on Sunday. Bet you can't guess what we talked about. That's right, we spoke about the Law of Moses!! Haha just kidding, we spoke on missionary work of course. It was cool. That was the second ward we have spoken in. Only one left :) We are also starting a mission prep class (that we are teaching) in January. That should be really cool too! Jessica got baptized on Monday night! She will be confirmed next Sunday. The baptism was really good. We also found a family at church that has a daughter who is turning nine in January and wants to be baptized. So we are going to baptize her on the 18th :) They are an African family. Her name is Georgette. There is also another kid in one of the wards that is getting baptized this Saturday but has turned nine since his interview with the Bishop. So he is now under our Mission Presidents authority and our district leader will have to interview him again. So we have three baptisms projected for January already (counting Jessica's because her confirmation is in January) it's wonderful :) Tonight we are supposed to be home by 8 o'clock because of new years and all the crazy people out there. So we are going to play games with our landlords all night haha. It's going to be fun. We should also be going to the temple sometime this transfer. I can't wait for that! I have wanted to go so bad. I have so many questions that I know I can find answers to there. I hope you all had a great Christmas! and I hope you all have a wonderful New Years day! Make this year a great one :) -Elder McKinney ps next week my p-day will be on Monday again

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Skype...

Our Christmas day Skype session...almost 2 hours...wonderful!
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Our P-day was today instead of yesterday. Merry Christmas everyone!! Both Elder Cleveland and I stayed in Kearns East for another transfer. There were only two changes at all in our whole zone actually. It was interesting. President Felts was talking to Elder Cleveland and I the other day and he said that they are trying to keep companions in an area for longer amounts of time to build more trust with members and things like that. So Elder Cleveland and I could be here for awhile longer too. President Felts was here to interview Jessica yesterday but she never showed up, but we talked to her and rescheduled for.. about half an hour from now actually. So I might just let you know how it goes haha :) She is scheduled for the 30th of December for baptism. Elder Cleveland will be baptizing her and I will be confirming her. At least that's the plan for now. We have gotten so many presents from members and leaders in our wards! As well as so many goodies that we can't eat them all. We are going to deliver them to other people who need a visit this holiday. I get to Skype home tomorrow. That'll be interesting. Jessica is still are main investigator right now. Micah is working on getting permission to come to church and might be able to come starting in the new year. So that'll be awesome! He wants to be baptized. He just can't progress right now. I can't think of too much else to tell from this last week. Oh Elder Langbata who lives with us got a new companion. His name is Elder Belliston. So the four of us all live together in a members basement. The only set of four missionaries that live together in the entire mission. Its really fun, but a little bit counterproductive sometimes haha. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!! May you all find peace and happiness in your lives! The Savior has come and has shown us the way, let us seek Him, let us follow Him. Love you all! -Elder McKinney

PS - I guess I forgot to talk about temple square in my email to everyone. We called temple square to set up the lesson for Jessica. Found out that they don't do tours past 5 during Christmas. But they said we could still come and teach her and stuff. So we decided to do that. We went there and they showed up 40 minutes late. We were about to leave when we saw them walk in. We had another lesson that night though so we taught very briefly, went and saw the Christus and then we had to go. They stayed though and looked at other stuff and the lights. I realized how much boots help this week too. I was walking and stepped on what I thought was a thin layer of ice on the ground only to find out it was a thin layer of ice on top of a giant mud puddle and my foot sunk about a foot down before I caught myself and stopped. So my boot was super muddy, I went home washed it off and then left it to dry. I put on my other shoes and was slipping the rest of the night. So that was fun.
This is the tree our ward sent with handwritten ornaments...

The four missionaries' Christmas tree and gifts...looks like they are well looked after!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Three months?

I guess it's been three months now, I don't know. Transfers are this Wednesday, we should get calls tomorrow sometime. I will no longer be a greenie. Not in title at least. This week was good. Went and saw Brother Wimber a few times. We stop by every couple days and visit with him. He doesn't get to talk to many people and it is hard for him to find peace in a home with so many kids and so much contention. He has a lot of health problems too, and I think it was last week actually but we gave him a blessing. Got to see Gracie again after a long time. I've probably only seen her like once since the baptism. She was there when we went by on Saturday. They were having a late birthday party for her. She is the sweetest purest young girl I have ever known. Talk about selfless and kind, she is the epitome of both. So it was nice to see her again. We finally got a hold of Jessica after some troubles with getting in contact with her. We had a lesson with her on Saturday and she said she would be at church, but she never showed up. So we will have to postpone her baptism. There was a man and his daughter at one of the wards though that said they were being taught by the missionaries until they moved and so we got their names and set up an appointment for Saturday. Some good potential there.

I got to go to the mission office on Wednesday for second transfer training. Got to see all the people I came out with. That was fun. Maybe I'll see some after this transfer, I hope so. I think Elder Cleveland will be transferred. I hope I stay. I don't want to leave, not yet. I have more to do here. Wherever the Lord wants me to go though. We went to the choirside last night. It was amazing. They gave us a cd too because we helped hand out programs and stuff. Oh we also have been working with a man named Micah, but he is on parole and stuff and has to fill out paper work to come to church and stuff so he has been working on that. We are taking the bishop with us to the next lesson to finalize some stuff before he can come. He wants to be baptized though. His wife is a member and they have a young baby girl. Looks like things might happen soon :) We are also planning on taking Jessica to Temple Square tomorrow. If it actually happens this will be my first time taking an investigator. I haven't taken anyone my first two transfers. That is really uncommon haha. Either way, I hope it works out. Anyways I hope all is going well for you! Don't forget the real reason for Christmas. Luke 2:14 Have a great week everyone! Love you all.
-Elder McKinney

There are shopping carts all over Kearns...there are 5 in this yard, not sure why!

Big Daddy's Pizza ~ missionaries get half price...(13 dollars) this is HUGE.  The 8 of us finish it off in about 7 minutes!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Snow! December! Time! What?

Where do I even start? First off, it's almost time for transfers again. I have no idea what happened to the last 5 weeks. It's only going to get faster. I'll be home in no time. Secondly, it snowed. Probably like close to 6 inches here. To be honest I have no idea how to estimate snow in inches. I'm going to go with 6 though, it sounds good enough to me. It makes walking everywhere a delight! Not really. I'm surprised I haven't slipped yet. I wasn't going to get boots at first... now I am. As long as I have my coat and my hat on and stuff its not super cold, but its still not the temperatures I'm used to back home that's for sure. We have shoveled a few driveways and sidewalks for some people. One of the other Elders that we live with that is from Marshal Islands tried to make a snowman, he didn't do to well. This is only his second time seeing snow. The first was last winter while he was a missionary. So we have really only one solid investigator. That is Jessica. She is still planning on being baptized on Christmas. We might change that just because no one else can come. We will see though. Its only a little over 2 weeks until Christmas. What is going on?!?!? We gave a couple blessings this week to a few people who are poor in health. I think they are already doing better. I swear I have so much to say, but then as soon as I sit down to type my email it all goes away. You get the idea though. Two missionaries walking down snow filled roads and trying to find people to teach. Its a jolly good time :) I hope y'all have a great holiday season! Just know that with the meager amounts of money we receive, you probably won't be getting anything for Christmas from me. But that's not what it's about anyways. The First Presidency Devotional last night was great! This really is a time to remember the Savior, and to remember that He is soon coming again. May you all find peace, joy, and love. -Elder McKinney
 Elder McKinney in front of his grandparents' house from 1956!  They were the original owners of this house in Kearns.  They would be so excited to know that Joel is serving in their old stomping grounds!  And I know they would absolutely get a kick out of this picture all these years later!  Their house is not in his "official" area, but the area of the two missionaries who share the basement with him and his companion.  Here is the picture from 1956...His picture made my day! Signed, Mom

Monday, December 2, 2013

December already?

How is it December already??? It just doesn't make sense to me. This week was a lot better. We got stuff done and found a new investigator. Her name is Jessica. We were on our way to buy groceries last Monday when one of the members in one of our wards called us and told us she had someone who wanted to be baptized and was wondering when we could meet with her. We were like "well... we can come tonight. does that work?" She said it did so we went by and met Jessica. She had met with the missionaries before but the missionaries never did anything and they kind of just stopped coming. We found out later that Jessica is on parole so that is probably why they stopped going. We still have a lot to figure out. We have her on date for Christmas (White Christmas! As in white for Baptism) but it is possible it might not happen because of said reasons. Like I said we have a lot to figure out still.

We also have a man named Marvin we have been teaching. He too is on date for Christmas. He's black :) Though our last lesson with him fell through, he didn't make it to church, and we still haven't been able to contact him, so we don't know what is going on. We talked with Seth again... Seth was supposed to be baptized in October, but hasn't been to church in over a month. We talked to him and put him on date for the 21st but once again he didn't come to church! The fellowshipper we have who picks him up for church said that Seth said that someone in his family died. That was also what had happened a couple weeks ago and he was at a funeral so he couldn't come to church. So he fell off date once again.. That kid needs to get baptized. Those are the main people we are working with.

Thanksgiving. Boy I have never been so tired as I was after Thanksgiving. The family who signed up to feed us that day had us over at 1 pm. We ate and played some card games. Later that night had some dinner with our landlords. Then, on Saturday the family who signed up to feed us that night was having their Thanksgiving dinner that night. So yet another Thanksgiving for us. We purposefully tried not to end up eating too much food. There were plenty of companionships that had three to five dinners on the same night. One had like three dinners and then another one with a Samoan family (Who never stop giving you food). So they were plenty filled by the end of the night. The Christmas lights are starting to come up now. It seems so weird. ITS ALMOST CHRISTMAS!!!! I can't believe it yet. Actually I can, but it is still crazy! The picture of the Christmas lights and stuff was from like a week before Thanksgiving. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We are truly blessed with so many things! It's important we remember to be grateful for them. Have a great week! Share the gospel with everyone! -Elder McKinney