Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas round two!

I can't believe Christmas has already come and gone. We got a white Christmas, and have had white days ever since. It hasn't stopped snowing since Christmas, it has only slowed down really here and there. Everything is white now. We've probably gotten 3-6 inches of snow. I have no idea how to properly measure, so that's just my guess. I have no idea what it actually is. All I do know is that coming from California this is a lot more than I'd like ha. Driving is a little sketchy, but I'm having my companion drive so we have a better chance of not getting in an accident. We had two dinners on Christmas Eve. One with one of our bishops and the other with a member of the stake presidency. Then on Christmas we had two breakfasts and a dinner. I got to skype with the family on Thursday. I got to talk with everyone except for Clark and the nephews so that was cool. I was only expecting my parents and possibly my sister so that was a surprise. I only have one more to go. It's crazy to think that I will be home for next Christmas. Only a little over 8 months left. Time is going way too fast. I forgot to mention last week that we taught one of the relief society classes. That's always super awkward, but whatever, the spirit was there. This area is also a very young area, so there are a lot of little kids all over. Sacrament is never quiet, but I love it :) Michael was baptized on Saturday. It was a really powerful baptism. The spirit was very strong and it was cool to see the support of the ward and friends. Elder Tyler came back to give a talk and Elder Koo came with him because they couldn't find a split so it was cool to see him again. The bishop baptized Michael and another man in the ward confirmed him in Sacrament the next day. Ellie hasn't come to church yet still so things are looking a little shaky with her right now. She was apparently sick, but she hasn't come for a few weeks now. We also went by a man whose wife is a member and is the daughter of one of our bishops. The whole family including the bishop was over for Sunday night dinner and we were able to share a message and ask him to pray about if God is real and we will be following up with him on Tuesday. We are excited for that. He's been taught before by missionaries, but eventually his time will come. We just hope it is now ha. The pictures are from Michael's baptism and the view from our stake center before the snow came. (the other two pictures were sent to my mom from people we met with and ate with on Christmas day). Hope you all had a merry Christmas!! I know I did. Have a great week and a Happy New Year!! :) Love you all!

Elder McKinney

Monday, December 22, 2014


This week was transfers, and I was finally transferred. I am now in the Herriman South Stake. I am almost as close to my parents now as I possibly can be while still being in the mission boundaries. My new companion is Elder Stanley. He is from Tennessee and has been out for about five and a half months. He is 18. His last companion and I just switched places. Elder Tyler is the one who took my place with Elder Koo. I am still a district leader. I now have four sisters and two elders in my district. I am really going to miss the Sandy Crescent Stake and all the wonderful people there. It is not easy to leave after being there for six months. I know I am here for a reason though. We have two investigators right now. One's name is Mike and he is getting baptized this next Sunday. He is probably in his late 30's and is married. He has made some serious progress the past couple months! He has had to overcome many addictions and is developing a belief in Jesus Christ and in Heavenly Father. He truly is a new man compared to where he was. The other investigator is a nine year old girl named Ellie. She will be getting baptized in January. She wasn't able to make it to church yesterday so it will most likely be on the 17th. We have a car, it's a Chevy Cruz this time which I am happy about. It's one of the better cars in the mission. A car is a car though so anything is better than nothing. We live in a members basement. They are almost always gone though so I haven't met them. It's a nice apartment. We have a pool table, an air hockey table, a pinball machine, and a ping pong table. I am content. Our area is up on the mountain side again so I still have a great view of the valley. I can see all the temples in the valley at once. I love it! It still hasn't snowed much so I am really happy about that. I'm glad I'm getting some of the milder winters on my mission when I have to be out in it all day every day. I am still trying to get used to west side addresses again. I have to remember that the numbers get bigger going to the West now instead of the East. We had a cool Christmas devotional with President Chambers on Friday. It's a longer drive from Herriman so we were gone most of the afternoon. I saw President and Sister Bishop there and it was hard to tell them that I had been transferred. They are in our mission presidency and lived in the Crescent Stake. I got to know them well. So that's kind of the news this week. I feel like I won't be here in Herriman very long, or at least in this area. I don't know why. This will also be an eight week transfer to make up for our four week transfer last time. Which means I will be here until the beginning of February. I get to call home this week. I am excited about that. It's crazy to think that I will be home for next Christmas though and that I will only have one more call after this. Anyways, things are going well! I am excited to be here yet sad to leave my old stake. I hope you all have a great week! Love you all!

Elder McKinney
One last picture from Sandy

Monday, December 15, 2014

Another great week!

This week was great! We found a new investigator. Last Sunday Elder Koo and I were fasting that we would find someone to teach. During Sunday School of the 9am block the mother of a family in that ward was there. She is in town to help the family while the wife's husband is going through some health issues. She lives in Arizona normally. Anyways she was at church and her daughter and her daughter's family all got up and bore their testimonies in Sacrament meeting and it was a super spiritual experience. It was also the dad's first time back at church since he had some of these problems. We went to a gospel principles class with her and the ward mission leader. The ward mission leader talked about the Book of Mormon and what it is and then invited her to meet with us. She accepted. She has met with missionaries in the past but it has been awhile. So while she is in town here we are teaching her. We have taught her twice so far and she initially said yes to baptism when we invited her, but she wants to learn more first and really know that this is the true church. She is doing good though and we were really grateful to that quick answer to our fasting and praying. We haven't been able to meet with Hernalen for a long time because she has been so busy with school and work. She should be finishing with finals this week though so we might meet with her later on this week or next week. Other than that we are still looking for people to teach. We had a few Christmas parties in some of the wards. Things have been going really well and I don't want to leave this stake. Transfers are this week and I don't know what is going to happen. Everyone here thinks I am leaving. In fact I even had one man come up and give me kind of a departing gift. I don't know why everyone thinks I'm leaving. Just because I have been here for six months doesn't mean I am automatically being transferred. I had one companion who was in his area for a year, you never know what will happen. I hope I stay though, at least one more transfer. I would love to be here for Christmas. I will go wherever I need to though. Things are going well. I hope you all have a great week! Love you all! -Elder McKinney

The picture is overlooking the area...and the valley. The last picture was sent to Mom's email from Linda Hunt with this note: We think Elder McKinney is such a great missionary. My husband is the Stake President. We feel so blessed to have had Elder McKinney and Elder Koo for three months. My husband says they are the best missionaries we've had in years. I've also had a couple of piano lessons with your son. I love the fact that he wants to learn. I gave him the simplified hymns book to work on his piano skills. I have a son who's been out five months in Austria. I understand how moms loved to get updates on their sons. Have a great day!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Another missionary week...

Well, as surprising as it may be, transfers are already coming around the corner. Four weeks does not last long. This week Elder Koo got to go to another area to teach a Chinese boy that another set of Elders were teaching. I stayed and worked in the area. I also got to go to the mission leadership council this week. Normally it is a meeting only for zone leaders and sister training leaders, but because of the short transfer and no time for district leader training they invited all the district leaders. That is the longest meeting I have ever been in. It went from 9-4. I was exhausted! It was good though. We are losing more missionaries going home than those we are getting coming in. We had a high of 265 missionaries, but we are down to 231 right now. We will continue to lose some over the next few transfers. In order to compensate for that we will be going from 12 zones to 10 and most of the missionaries will be covering an entire stake and maybe a few covering more than one. We will see what happens to Elder Koo and myself. Things are going well and I have been really blessed with nice weather the past couple weeks. It is December and there has hardly been any snow on the ground and it has been in the 50's for the most part. I love it! I can live with this. We were able to help a man who we have been working with in his yard a little bit. I was glad to be able to do some service. We also helped one of our Bishop's wife with her Christmas cards. Thank you for all you do for me! Love you all! Have a great week! -Elder McKinney Sorry for short emails yet again. We are still down one computer in the library and another Elder still needs to email. Thank you for everything! Love you!

Monday, December 1, 2014

A surprise email...

The elders visited primary today. Your son is loved very much in our ward.  He's such a great young man. Funny thing:  Elder McKinney entered the MTC the same day as our son. Your son is serving in our ward, and my son is serving in your ward in Clovis. He's been in that area several months. Every time I see Elder McKinney, I picture my son doing what he is doing. Crazy, huh? Sister Abbinanti
We received this email yesterday (Sunday, Nov 30th). What a wonderful treat! Both to hear how much Elder McKinney is loved and to see a picture of his smiling face! Very cool that this sister's son is serving in our Clovis ward! Love getting random emails from total strangers! Always makes our day!

Thanksgiving! December!?

I have been fasting ever since Thanksgiving dinner. Ha not really but I probably should have after all of that food! Thanksgiving was wonderful! We had been scheduled to eat dinner with a family in the stake named the Afflecks. A day or two before Thanksgiving however we were tracting or door contacting down this one street in one of our wards. We knocked on one door and a woman answered. She told us that she was a part of another church and wasn't interested in our message. We said a few more words and then moved on. A few houses later we turned around after no one answered and we saw this lady walking up to us. She said something along the lines of "it looks like you are from out of state and so we wanted to invite you to Thanksgiving dinner" We were excited, we got invited to dinner by someone who wasn't a member of the church, for Thanksgiving no less! So we went and had dinner with them. They are a nice Christian family with a son and his wife living at home. The son has two little boys. They also had the father of the wife over for dinner as well. So there were seven adults and two kids. It was really neat and we had a good time. We are going to go back and share a video that I will be talking about shortly. So after having that dinner we still went over to the Afflecks and had dinner with them. They were back to back. I have never been so full in my life. Both dinners had plenty of food and it was all delicious. We spent the rest of the day just visiting members and trying to get referrals. We were told not to tract so there wasn't much else we could do. So that was thanksgiving. Other things we got to do this week was we went and helped another woman who isn't a member of the church put up Christmas lights. It was fun, I haven't put up Christmas lights in a long time. We also got to help a family in one of our wards decorate their Christmas tree, so it has been a fun week. We were also able to teach Hernalen a few times which was wonderful. She is ready to be baptized. She knows basically everything she needs to at this point and she is willing. We are still waiting to hear from the father. The family she lives with sent a package of dvds about the church and a letter a few weeks ago. It should get there in the Philippines sometime soon. We look forward to good things. The transfer is already half over, I can't believe it. Four weeks goes by quick! I can't believe it is December either! We had amazing weather this week so it doesn't feel like it's time for December yet. No snow on the ground because it all melted since the last time. We will see what this week brings. Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving! I'm excited for this Christmas season. There is also a video for the Christmas season called "He is the Gift" it is a short 3 minute video about how Christ is the first gift of Christmas. I invite you all to watch it because it is a really great video that brings a great spirit. It can be found Have a great week everyone! Love, Elder McKinney
 Pday and Elder McKinney's district...