Monday, November 24, 2014

Transfers, Snow and Selfies!

The verdict is........ Elder Koo and I are staying together! I thought most likely one of us would leave, I have never had a companion for longer than two transfers. Not anymore though! This transfer will be shorter though, four weeks long instead of six. I think because of the holidays. That means the next one will probably be 8 weeks long to make up for it. We are excited to still be together. We both love this stake and we work well together. The work was unusually slow this week however, so we are kind of bummed about that, but we know that we need to keep working hard and we will find more people. We moved into Pepperwood on Wednesday. We have one of the nicest apartments in the mission now. We have a full kitchen, a bathroom, and our own washer and dryer. I'm most excited for the kitchen, now I can buy the good food! We will miss the Martins though, who we were living with before. We are now with the McHenrys. They have been very kind to us and let us move in even though they have a lot going on right now. They also have supplied us with a lot of things they didn't need to. We also had some more snow this week. It stuck this time. I've never driven in snow before... we're alive though so I think we will be good. Other changes in our district this transfer is Elder Walker has a new companion. His name is Elder Alpin. I have been with Elder Alpin in a few zones before so I know him. He is coming from my old area, the Midvalley stake. Elder Austin, Elder Walker's last companion, is taking his spot in the Midvalley stake. He will do good there. We also have both zone leaders in our district now. We only had one the past few transfers. It will be a good transfer. I'm glad that I don't have anyone that I need to worry about. They are all good missionaries and will see a lot of success. Thanksgiving is this week. We have had more offers for us to come to people's homes than I think I can count. People have even started to offer for Christmas as well. It's crazy. Transfers will happen about the week before Christmas, so Elder Koo and I don't know if we will even be here. We are excited for Thanksgiving, it will be Elder Koo's first one. They obviously don't have that in China or Korea. We have already been getting a lot of food from members, but I feel we will have an overflowing fridge this next week after the holiday. Things are going well, we are just trying to find more work. Have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving!!!! Love you all!

 -Elder McKinney

 Elders Koo, Walker, Alpin and McKinney (with a beanie!)
Elders Koo, Austin, Walker, and McKinney

Monday, November 17, 2014


Got our first real snow this week. Most of it has melted though. Temperature dropped really quickly. It's been in the 20's the past couple days. Had to start bundling up. Got out the coat, gloves, scarf, beanie, and long sleeves. Other than that it has been a pretty normal week. We went out and tried to find people to teach. Tracting in the cold is not the most fun thing to do, but that is alright. We tracted into two families that seem like really good potentials so we are excited for that. One of them speaks Chinese so Elder Koo will be the one doing everything there. We are still waiting to hear from Hernalens father. We got a call too that we will be moving into Pepperwood on transfer day which is this Wednesday. Which then means that I am not sure if I will ever live there or not. Whether I'm being transferred or not I guess I need to still pack up... that is kind of depressing. I've got a lot of stuff to pack. Oh well. Things are going well though, having a good time and enjoying being on a mission. Hope you all have a great week!

-Elder McKinney

And in Mom's letter: I've been having my stake president's wife teach me how to play the piano a little bit. I haven't really had much time for practice, but I think I've learned enough that I could teach myself if I had time. I've got most of Nearer My God to Thee down. No idea what will happen with transfers, I'll have someone let you know though. Hope you have a great week! Love you!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Driving lessons...

This week was great! The weather has been nice so far. Supposed to start getting colder now though. I have realized this week how much I really love this stake. Elder Baclawski is back in his own stake now with another companion. He is with Elder Pugh. It is Elder Pugh's first transfer, he has been out for about 5 weeks now. So Elder Koo and I have been by ourselves since Tuesday. It has been kind of nice to only have to worry about one stake again, but it was still fun to have him with us. We might be moving soon into the Pepperwood area. There is a family that is willing to house us but it needs to be approved by the mission first so we will see if it works out. I just hope that if we do move we get a sticker for the gate. Normally when we go into pepperwood we stop for the guards. All of them are really cool with us and they stopped asking where we are going and just open the gate for us. But it would be nice to go through the residence side where it opens automatically for all the cars with stickers. Oh well, its cool to talk to them still so I won't mind either way. Elder Koo doesn't know how to drive because they need to be 19 in China to drive. Now that he is here though he can get his license. So I took him to a church parking lot and started to teach him how to drive. It was quite fun actually. He did very well for his first time driving. I'll let him practice a few more times and then he can go get his permit and start driving during they day as long as I'm in the car with him. Then eventually he can get his license so that will be good. The mission actually encourages the missionaries to get licenses if they don't already have one. Things have been going good though overall. Hernalen wants to get baptized, but in her culture (she is from the Philippines) they don't make any big choices like this without the consent of the parents. So she is waiting for her dad to give consent. The mother is already on board. It is hard though because they live back in the Philippines and he is gone a lot for work. Other than that though she is ready to be baptized. She is the only one we are teaching right now unfortunately but we will find some more this week :) We went to the baptism of an eight year old this last Saturday. It was the sister of Ryan B. who was baptized in July right before Elder Williams left. She turned eight last month and so she was baptized :) We also got to have a companion study with President and Sister Bishop on Saturday morning. He is the first counselor in the mission presidency and he lives in our area. They've been saying ever since I've been here that they've wanted to do one, but we finally had one haha. It was really cool and we learned some different ways to try to find service here in the area. Things are going well. Thank you for all that you do for me, I really appreciate it. Love you all and hope you have a great week!

-Elder McKinney

A picture sent to mom from a member

Monday, November 3, 2014

First Snow...

Unfortunately, it is true. This morning when we got up for workout there was snow on the car. Yesterday it had snowed on half of the mountain. It has begun, and I want it to end. Oh well, life goes on. This week was good though! Still in a threesome and still covering two stakes. Fun stuff. I'm glad though because the stake that we are covering that was not originally our own has not seen a lot of work for the past seven or so months and now we found someone to teach and they are on date to be baptized this month! We are excited for that. Her name is Mary C. Hernalen is doing well and is ready to be baptized, but she wants her father to approve it first. Her parents live in the Philippines. Those are the only investigators we have right now. Malia is doing well since her baptism. We had stake conference this weekend in our stake. The Saturday night session was all about the life of Christ and the Sunday session was about the hastening of the work of salvation. It was all really wonderful and lots of great talks! I went on an exchange with one of the sets of Elders in our district. I went with Elder Austin. He is really great and we are actually a lot alike so it was great to be with him for a full 24 hours. I love being in my stake though :) I've loved every stake I've served in. Our mission president came up with what we call our core beliefs. They are five beliefs that we are trying to make a part of ourselves. He also gave us another study guide that goes along with those core beliefs so I am really excited for that! I've already started studying it and it is wonderful! Here are our core beliefs:

1. I will learn, love, live, and teach the doctrine of Christ. I am called to the work of the harvest. Bringing souls to Christ and to the blessings of the Atonement will be my passion.

2. I will be a preach my gospel missionary(the manual that teaches us how to be missionaries) and be exactly obedient to the missionary handbook (our rules basically)

3. I will fear no man. As the Lord's representative and in doing His work I will boldly go forth and open my mouth to share the gospel with everyone.

4. I will strive daily through scripture study, prayer, and personal righteousness for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. I will courageously follow His direction.

5. I will let the Sacrament change me each week as I use it to access the Atonement and to renew my covenants with the Lord. Our belief is that we will be successful as we do that. Successful in fulfilling our purpose as missionaries as well as successful in changing ourselves along the way.

I hope you all have a great week! Love you all!

-Elder McKinney

Elder Baclawski and Elder McKinney in front, Elder Walker (from Clovis!), Elder Austin and Elder Koo in the back
Note from the editor: Prayers are answered and Elder McKinney found his camera!  It was in a box of supplies...  YAY!