Monday, February 24, 2014

Where did February go?

This week flew by so fast! The whole month has gone by fast! We finally got all of our investigators to church! Brian and Brandi both made it. They only stayed for Sacrament but they at least came and so they are still on date. We also got a new investigator this week. She was a referral from another set of missionaries. They had been teaching her but she lives in our area so they referred her to us. She is on date for baptism as well. All three of our investigators are on date for March 15th. The girl we picked up this week is 15 years old. Her name is Emma. She's a solid investigator and has good fellowship. Brian and Brandi we are still trying to get married. It is hard to have lessons with them because we only have one for about every 4 we schedule. They finally came to church though so we are heading in the right direction. A few of the wards in this stake are starting to catch the vision and so we should be seeing some more work coming up soon. That'll be good. We went on exchanges this week with the zone leaders. I was with Elder Maddy in my area and Elder Niupalau went with Elder Maestas in their area, which is the YSA assignment. Elder Maddy was in my zone back in Kearns so I already knew him a little bit. It was good to be with him and I learned a lot. He's been out for around 20 months and Elder Maestas has been out for 10 or 11 I believe. He was Elder Clevelands companion in the MTC. We are going on another exchange this Wednesday and I will be with Elder Hall in my area and Elder Niupalau will go with Elder Egley in his area. If Elder Niupalau wasn't leaving after this transfer I probably would have gone to another area for at least one of those exchanges but I've been staying here because I've got to learn the area. I got to go back to Kearns for Kasseys baptism on Saturday. It felt like I had never left. It was so good to see people again. It's only been four weeks or so but I miss them all a lot. I will be going back again this Saturday for some more baptisms. Kasseys brother Andrew will be getting baptized as well as a kid named Seth who was originally taught by Elder Bennett and I. Elder Cleveland taught him with me a little bit but we dropped him soon after because he never came to church. But apparently the sister missionaries have been working with him and he's been coming to church so that's great! Two baptisms this Saturday :) I can't wait! I'll also have some time in-between the baptisms to visit with people so that'll be nice as well. I have been loving the weather the past few days. The sun has been out and it has been like in the 50s at least for those few days. Its been so warm I haven't had anything more than a sweater on. Which is crazy because in California I know I would have been freezing. I'm at least somewhat used to the colder weather. I'm still not used to the dryness though. My hands are always so dry. A few coats of lotion and my hands are still super dry and crack. A family that Elder Niupalau has worked with is getting sealed this Saturday so when I go to Kearns for the baptisms he will get to go to the sealing in the Draper Temple. I can't wait to be able to do that with a family I've worked with! I've learned a lot this week. We had a great lesson yesterday in one of the elders quorums about Justification and Sanctification. It was a really cool lesson! I remember a quote from one of the Prophets or Apostles saying something along the lines of the Atonement being the most important doctrine of the gospel, yet it was the least understood. I continue to understand that quote more and more as I learn more about the Atonement. The Atonement is the center part of everything in our Heavenly Father's plan for us. Without the Atonement the plan would not work and we would have no way of returning to live with our Heavenly Father. I understand at least a little bit better how much our Heavenly Father loves us since being on my mission. The fact that we have our agency and He will never take that away from us no matter what is one of His biggest expressions of Love. It is up to us to use that agency for good however. I know that the way in which we use our agency will have an impact on our eternal progression and I encourage all of you to continue to use that agency to follow Jesus Christ. "...this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ..." (2 Nephi 31:21) Have a wonderful week everyone! Love you all!-Elder Mckinney

Monday, February 17, 2014

Slower here...

Three weeks now in the Midvalley Stake. Things are definitely a lot slower than Kearns. We only had one lesson this last week. We had a few cancel on us though. Of the two people we had on date neither of them came to church and they haven't kept our appointments the past few times. That is the boyfriend and girlfriend. Things are good though. We are working hard and we know that the Lord will bless us. We are trying to get the stake to start being a part of the missionary work. We are really just here to help them with their missionary work, not the other way around. So that is going to take some work. We had zone conference last Tuesday which was really awesome! I got to see both Elder Bennett and Elder Cleveland there. So that was nice. Elder Bennett is a Zone Leader now in South Jordan. I miss both of them, but Elder Niupalau is still a great companion. I am learning so much from him and I know I will be a better missionary because of that. He only has a couple weeks left until he goes home. He still works hard every day, which is nice, but I can tell he thinks a lot about some of the stuff about going home. If I didn't have to take over the area in only six weeks and if I didn't need to be as trained as I do he probably wouldn't be working as hard, so it's a good thing I'm here I guess. On Wednesday he had training with all the other District leaders and so I went with one of the other Elders in our district for a couple hours. His name is Elder Hall. It was pretty fun. We worked in his area, but no one answered the door really. It was in the morning. It has felt so good the past couple days in terms of weather! Its been nice and warm in the 50s all week basically. (Never thought I'd be saying that one I can tell you that) It felt really good. Its been raining here and there and there is no more snow on the ground thank goodness! I don't like the snow. There is a baptism back in Kearns this Saturday so I will be going back for that :) It is Kasseys baptism. I was texting the Solomons to find out when it was and stuff and Sister Solomon said that Kassey asked if we were coming to her baptism. I miss the Solomons, they were so awesome and they did such a great job! We just got an MLS couple in our stake, the Browns. They had previously been serving in Grenada but had to come home early for some stuff and now they are serving here with us as full time missionaries in the stake. They haven't served a proselyting mission before so they have a lot to learn. They will do a great job though I know it. Played basketball with the Samoan ward this morning. That was fun, I did terrible but it was fun. Anyways I'm excited to go back for the baptism on Saturday. It will be nice to see Kearns again. I hope you all have a wonderful week! Keep up the good missionary work :) Also I apologize for not sending any pictures. The reason being I haven't taken any for awhile cause I've been too busy to do so. Have a great week! -Elder McKinney

A nice sister took this pic of Elder McKinney and Elder Hall and sent it to our email!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 2 in Sandy

Sandy is a lot slower in terms of work than Kearns was, but that's alright because we are going to get this place started. Which means a lot of work with the members. I forget if I already told you last week but we found a man and his girlfriend who are living together and the man wants to be baptized and sealed to his family. They have to get married first and he has to quit some addictions first but he is committed to do so. We are going to work on the wife because she isn't as decided on getting baptized. Elder Niupalau is really trying to get me to learn the area as fast as possible. We went on exchanges on Wednesday (since he is the district leader) and Elder Egley (who was in my zone in the MTC) came with me to my area and Elder Niupalau went to their area with Elder Hall. It was a fun exchange even if we had to do a lot of tracting since I don't know the area as well haha. We went on a blitz in the 2nd ward which is the Samoan ward on Saturday. They came up with a list of less actives or non members who they wanted to go by and visit and invite them back to church and stuff and so Elder Niupalau and I split up and went with them. Then we went and ate lunch afterwards. It was really fun. Its been raining the past couple days. I like rain a lot more than snow actually. Not much has happened so there isn't much more to tell you all. Sorry for the short email this week. Just know that I love you all and I hope each one of you have a fantastic week! The gospel is true and our Heavenly Father loves us all so much! Never forget that!
 -Elder McKinney

ps: We also had Stake conference here. The Saturday session was focused on the hastening of the work and Elder Niupalau and I bore our testimonies. Then on Sunday the theme was Trusting in the Lord and President Bishop who is in our mission presidency was there and him and his wife spoke as well. It was really good!

Monday, February 3, 2014


Well, it was truly the end of Kearns, at least for now. Both Elder Cleveland and I were transfered. We were replaced by Sister missionaries. We are both in Sandy now, but different zones. My new companion is Elder Niupalau. He is from San Matao (no idea how to spell it) California. So the bay area. I'm killing him, which means I am his last companion before he goes home. We are serving in the Midvalley stake. We cover the whole stake. There's 7 wards. He has been in this stake for 10 months already. Sandy is so much different than Kearns. Houses are much bigger and people are not quite as humble you might say haha. My companion is the District Leader and we have a car. Him and his companion came to pick me up on Wednesday and to drop his companion off in a nearby area. I found out Elder Niupalau doesn't have a drivers license so I have to be the one to drive. Having not driven for over 4 months and barely having driven before the mission... I was terrified. I'm driving a gold corolla though so it was at least a car that I had driven before. After five days I'm still alive so I think it will all be good. I'm sure the only reason for that is because I'm a missionary. There isn't much happening in this stake, like we don't even have any investigators right now and we are only working with like two less actives. So I'm excited to get this place going :) it'll be a lot of tracting until we can get the members to start doing some work. That will be the hardest part. I have to learn the area fast though because Elder Niupalau is gone in the beginning of March. So other than that there isn't much to report. We have just been trying to find new investigators and we've gone around to the auxiliaries to introduce me and stuff. There is a member that has their own small gym basically and they let us use it for workout in the morning. Its got treadmills weights all that good stuff. There is even a rock climbing wall that rotates around so you can just keep climbing until you want to stop. Its really interesting. Haven't tried it yet though. Went to a few wards on Sunday to bear our testimony and show my face some. There was one ward that had four baby blessings that day. It was supposed to be five but one of them opted to do it another time. It was crazy. Cool, but crazy haha. We live in the basement of the high councilman over missionary work and I have to say, it is so much nicer living with only two elders in terms of being able to shower in the morning and get ready. It was fun having four elders, just really messy. The high councilman also teaches the mission prep class on Sunday and he is really awesome! He has caught the vision and so we just have to help the rest of the stake catch it too. I think that's all I have to tell you today, but I have come to appreciate the Atonement so much more in my life. I know that it is real and I know that it can help each and everyone of us it we allow it to. It can help us be freed from the burden of our sins and can help us to develop the faith and strength we need to face our trials. It is the reason the whole plan of salvation works. It is the reason we are able to return to live with our Heavenly Father again someday. It is such a blessing and I have seen it work in so many peoples lives. I hope you all have a great week!
 -Elder McKinney

A few things I forgot to mention. Elder Niupalau (new-pa-lau) is Tongan. There is also a Samoan ward in our stake. Which means they will eventually feed us and I will either die from eating too much or just die because I can't fit it all in. It's not till May though so maybe I will leave before then, who knows. Oh yeah and we got absolutely no work done during Super Bowl. Everyone was having a party. Heard the Broncos got smashed though. That's got to be embarrassing.

Clif posted this to my timeline...and it's all true!   Signed, Missionary Mom