Monday, January 26, 2015

A slower week...

This week was a little slower than last, but we were still able to teach more than we have in the past. The Friedlines will be moving unfortunately. Their son is being deployed as a doctor to Afghanistan and so they want to be there to help his wife with the kids. They will be moving to Florida soon, their town home just sold. They are wonderful people though and I know the Lord will bless them. Ellie's lesson canceled yet again this week and she wasn't able to make it to church. We haven't met with her in a formal lesson in over a month, but she has come to church twice so that is a good step. Ellie has desire, but its the mother that keeps bailing. We will keep praying though. We haven't been able to meet with the Pattons since our first lesson, so we aren't sure where they are at. We will be meeting with Travis this Tuesday and we hope to be able to make some progress with him this time. Michael has been doing really well. He left his job the other day, it wasn't a good work environment and was just a negative influence. We also started teaching a man named Mike H. He is Baptist but is willing to learn about our church. He said he was pretty set where he is, but we will see about that. That's a basic update on the people we are teaching. The weather has continued to be amazing! I love not having to walk/drive in snow or ice. It's still a little chilly, but I can handle it. Not too much else happened this week. We just worked and tried to find people to teach. We taught the youth in one of the wards how to teach the first lesson and role played for them. Oh yeah, we might be moving soon. Well, we probably will be moving soon. The owners we are living with are going to buy a condo in California where they are both based out of for work, but they are going to have to rent out their basement to make it work. So we will be out in a couple weeks. We don't know where we are going to go yet. They announced that we needed a place in some of the classes and Sacrament meeting. Haven't heard anything yet. We shall see. So that has been our week. We look forward to the upcoming week. We have zone conference tomorrow so I'm super excited! I love zone conference. Well, I hope you all have a great week! Love you all! PS - if you look hard in the second picture you can see the steeple of the Mt. Timpanogos temple, which is in my parents' back yard!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Amazing week!

This week was... well, amazing! We went from last week where we hardly taught at all, to this week where we taught 12 lessons and picked up four new investigators. Tuesday we took Michael S. the recent convert with us to our lesson with Travis. Travis is one of our investigators whose wife is a member and doesn't really believe in God. We brought Michael with us because he came from basically the exact same background. Turns out that they know each other through work. Michael's company orders tires through Travis. So they got along great and Michael shared his conversion experience and it was great! Travis still hasn't accepted to be baptized but I feel he is making slow and steady progress.

Wednesday we went on an exchange with our zone leaders. I went with Elder Passey in my area, and Elder Stanley went with Elder Flinders in their area. We started the exchange at 1pm on Wednesday. As soon as Elder Passey and I started we wanted to tract a street that I knew basically nothing about. That was the most effective tracting I've ever had on my mission. Almost every door answered and almost none of them were active members. One of them however was a woman that Elder Passey had talked to on the street before in his area. So they knew each other and talked for a minute. We asked if we could share a message and she said her husband wasn't feeling well and she had to go somewhere soon. We asked about that night and she said we could try but she wasn't sure when she would be back. We had a busy night planned with three lessons so we weren't sure if we would even make it, but we decided we would try. It ended up that one of our lessons canceled so we went over there again. She answered the door and said that her husband was feeling worse so it probably wasn't a good time. We asked if he would like a blessing and they both said yes so we went in and gave him a blessing and the spirit was very strong. They are faithful Baptists from Virginia, so their belief in Christ is very strong. We taught briefly about the priesthood and eternal marriage and asked if we could come by again and they said yes. So we taught them again on Friday when it was Elder Stanley and I again. They said they would get baptized if they knew it was true and so we now are trying to help them receive that witness. They accepted a date of February 7th and said they would come to church too. They ended up not coming though so I think something came up. They usually aren't the type of people to bail out like that. We have another lesson tonight though so I look forward to that.

The other investigators we picked up this week is a mother and her son. Their names are Talitha and Christian. They are Cuban. There is also another son named Christopher but he wasn't able to make it to the lesson. Christian has come to church before and has met with missionaries. I think Talitha might have even done so as well in the past but not as recently as Christian. They are friends with their bishop and so the bishop set up to have them for dinner and then have us come over and share a lesson. We did so and it was one of the most powerful lessons I've ever been in. Elder Stanley doesn't want to accept this, but I think he's ready to be senior companion if not train or be district leader or something like that. We invited them to be baptized and Talitha said they had already been baptized. We then, with the assistance of the bishop talked about the Priesthood authority and why Christ went to John the Baptist instead of anyone else and I think they started to understand. We asked them to pray about it and ask if they needed to and they said if they felt it was true they would be baptized. We were going to have a follow up lesson on Saturday with them but it fell through because they were still asleep when we came and then ended up being busy the rest of the day. We set up for this week though.

So those were our four new investigators. The couple from Virginia their last name is Friedline. (freed-line) Ellie came to church this week again. We were especially glad because it was her weekend at her father's house and we weren't sure how easy it would be to get her to church. He dropped her off at a family's house though and had them take her to church (the mother was out of town). So she has come two weeks in a row now and things are starting to look better there. We still haven't had a lesson with her though for a long while. Our next appointment is this Thursday. We also started teaching a few other families who are not as active in the church. Things picked up a lot this week and we look forward to a lot more happening in the weeks to come. Thank you for all that you do! You are all great examples. Keep it up. Have a great week! Love you all!

-Elder McKinney

p.s. the picture is from our zone Christmas devotionals. I am in the top picture on the right side.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Weather Report and more...

I have been pleasantly content with the weather lately. No colder than about 40 degrees and a little bit of rain. There have been a few foggy nights, whether because of the inversion or not I don't know. Not quite as bad as Clovis fog, but still fog. The inversion has been disgusting. There have been times where I can't see the mountains on the other side of the valley. I hate it. Oh well, not much I can do about it. The rain helped a little bit I think. Ellie came to church yesterday! We had as many people as we could stop by and invite them to church on Friday and Saturday. Ellie is now sick though and so we had to cancel our lesson with her tonight. We haven't had a lesson in about two or three weeks now. Michael is doing good though. He was asked to bear his testimony in ward conference. It was great. Then Elder Stanley and I spoke in two different wards, one on missionary work and the other on the fourth article of faith. We are also speaking in another ward next week on a general conference talk. We had a meeting with our ward mission leaders and a couple bishops this last Thursday. We just talked about some of the things we can do to better keep up with the Lord's pace. It was a really good meeting and the wards are pumped to do missionary work. I also went to a meeting for district leaders on Wednesday. Sorry, I'm kind of giving you my week backwards haha. It was good, we talked about things we can do to better help our districts. I felt like a lot of it didn't apply to me though because for some of the things, like exchanges for instance I don't have to worry about right now because I only have sisters in my district. It was still a good meeting though and I learned a lot. I have now been out for 16 months. I wish I could say 11. Things are going well though and I look forward to a great week. I hope all of you are doing well. Love you!

-Elder McKinney
68 degrees below normal...

 Kennecot mine. Don't know how to spell it. We tried to see if we could get in anywhere last p-day, but couldn't find a road. We found out it's not possible anymore unless you work there. The visitors center was closed because of a landslide.

District Leader Traning...Sis. Chambers took this picture

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year!! 2015

2015!!!!! I don't quite believe it yet. I'm almost positive it is still 2014. Not really, but time is going too fast for me. It's starting to dawn on me that I will be coming home this year. I know I've still got a ways to go, but it felt a lot more real to me this week. Unfortunately, not too much to report this week. Michael is doing good, he still has a few struggles, but he is working towards the temple. We have not been able to meet with Ellie this week at all and she didn't come to church again which means her baptism will be pushed back again. We haven't found any new investigators yet, but we have some good potentials. The wards in this stake changed a couple months ago and so there are 8 wards instead of 5 now and everyone is still trying to get adjusted. I think it is starting to settle down a little bit now though and I think we will start to get some traction in the missionary department for the stake. New years eve we had a meeting with our zone from 6-9pm and then went home. Oh yes, last week we went sledding as a zone. It was pretty fun, most people were sore. Luckily I wasn't. No one got injured though so that was a plus. The CEO of Seagull Book lives in our area, and he actually isn't a member. His wife is and he's had missionaries over before, but he said we could stop back by and share a message with his family. His son goes to some church run school in Utah county and one of his assignments is to read the Book of Mormon and he wasn't doing it. So he reads it to his dad in the car on the way to school now. I think we may have broken the record for amount of cookies received from members. I stopped counting. I think we could supply the local bakery if we needed to haha. It came to the point where we started asking members if they wanted any cookies. The weather hasn't been too bad. Still cold, but not in the single digits anymore. The wind is the real culprit. It's going to take a lot of convincing to make me live in a cold climate area after the mission. We were talking with a family who has experienced 70-120 degrees below zero... I decided I can deal with 10 degrees. Things are well though. I can't believe I am almost at 16 months, and by the end of the transfer I will be at 17. Crazy. Well, have a great week everyone! Love you all!

-Elder McKinney