Monday, May 25, 2015


It is a great blessing to be here teaching many of Gods children. I know that obeying God's commandments brings blessings. As I help others to come unto Christ and keep the commandments by following the example of our lord and savior, I find great joy and happiness. I am in no way perfect, but I know that the gospel has helped me to find peace and strength. I hope to be able to help everyone else to have that as well.

There are but few things that can be greater than seeing someone, a brother or sister, begin to keep the commandments and receive many blessings in their life. We all face many challenges and concerns today. The gospel of Jesus Christ, His teachings, will provide us with the best way to get through those trials.  We see things from a very simple and small point of view. We sometimes feel that the gospel is restricting or not a true source of lasting happiness. If we could but see as God sees. If we could only know what He knows. We would then understand and recognize that the gospel is the safest route to traverse through these stormy seas of life.  Luckily, our Heavenly Father loves us. We are His children and He won't let us cross these oceans on our own. He has provided us with a way to see what He sees and know what He knows. That way is through the scriptures, through living prophets that speak his word. I know of no better way to find peace and happiness in this tumult of a world than to turn to the word of the Lord through His servants.  The scriptures give us our guide to life. It not only shows us the course we should take, but tells us how to handle the waves that come. How to steer and how to keep the ship from wrecking. If we will heed their words, we will never sink, we will never fear, and we will never lose our way.  I may be a young man, but I have also traveled through my many storms. They may not be the same waves as yours, and they may not come as frequently as others, but I know the path is possible.  I am serving now as a representative of Jesus Christ. I stand now in His place and invite others to come unto Him. In like manner I invite all of you who read this, to turn to God. Turn to Christ who knows these waters. He has traveled on them and knows the way. If we rely on them, rather than on ourselves, we will make it safely home. The waves and winds may come, but we can be assured that there is no danger if we follow the counsel of Him who knows all things.  May we all assist those who are struggling on their own journeys. We are sometimes overwhelmed by the storm and can't seem to keep the boat afloat. If we can help others to steady their boat, to keep the ship on its path towards home, we will find greater joy than we've ever known before.  May God bless each of you to know which route to take. May He bless you with strength to steer in the direction that is needed. The journey may be rough at times, but we are never alone. His strength never fails, His love will always guide us.

Quick update: Nathan is working for June 13 to be baptized. He didn't come to church this last week but is reading and praying still. He just slept in. Found a new investigator this week named Pam. She lives with a member and is working for June 20 to be baptized. Hasn't come to church yet, but has read and prayed.  We have a ton of lessons set up and this week is going to be great. I look forward to it!  Have a great week everyone! Love you all!

-Elder McKinney

Today he is a man...a spiritual giant to be sure!
Many thanks to Sister Magleby for helping make his birthday special!

Monday, May 18, 2015

West Jordan update...

Things are going pretty good here in West Jordan. We picked up the new investigator this week. He called wanting to be taught. So we went over and talk to him a couple times now. He is going to be baptized on June 6. He seems to be progressing fairly well. He's probably are most right now. We have a few others, but not as much has happened with them. So we are just trying to get to know everyone and find more people to teach. I was asked yesterday to speak in stake conference coming up at the beginning of June. There will be a visiting authority, one of the seventy I believe, and possibly someone from our mission presidency and someone from the temple presidency. I'm pretty stoked for that. I haven't had a stake conference with anyone like that yet. I think I had one with the first counselor in our mission presidency, but that's it. So it will be neat to speak with a seventy. I'm the flex speaker though. I have anywhere from 7 minutes to none. It just depends on the speakers ahead of me. I'm excited though :) That's about all I have to tell this week. My companion vacuumed up a bee out of the air today, that was pretty interesting. We were cleaning our car and there was one nearby and he just sucked it up. So that's my week for you haha. Hope you all have a great week! Love you all!

-Elder McKinney

Monday, May 11, 2015

Whitewashing...and last skype...

This week has been, well... not expected. Once again, when I thought that all would stay the same, it all changed. We got whitewashed again (last time was when I left the Prairie stake) and now the Elders who were covering the Spanish Ward in our stake now cover both English and Spanish. Because we are losing so many missionaries there are a lot of areas being combined, mostly English and Spanish areas like what happened with ours. We are having like 15-25 missionaries going home and only about 5 or 6 coming in. We went from 265 missionaries at our peak to just under 200 now. Apparently the goal is to have around 180 per mission or something like that. I don't know, we will see. Most likely our mission will change a little bit come this July. The central mission just north of us (which covers Midvale, Murray, and Taylorsville) will be consolidated into the surrounding missions, and the new Orem mission will be created. Not sure how our mission will be affected, but we will see. So my companion and I are now serving in the West Jordan Welby Stake. I once again only moved across the street.

My companion came from another area in West Jordan. He was in a different zone though so I didn't know him. Neither of us have served here so we are whitewashing as well. He is a brand new zone leader so I get to train him as well. Elder Covington is off to Herriman. Elder Aquino is my companion, guess I should tell his name haha. He grew up in San Diego, but lived in Oklahoma City the past few years. He's been out for about 11 months and he's a few years older than I am. He was originally called Spanish speaking. He came to be my companion so that he can go into our district leaders areas on exchanges and actually know what he's doing. All of our district leaders were assigned to Spanish, so it was kind of hard for Elder Covington and I to train them in their areas when we don't speak Spanish. We only have 8 companionships in the zone now. It used to be 12 when I first got here. Still three districts though. And still 6 MLS couples. Lots of great missionaries. Things are getting a lot better too. We are going to have more baptisms this month and there is a lot more work going on. Even though we are both new in the area, we have found a lot of really good potential and picked up a family of four new investigators last night. They have been taught before but missionaries ended up going home or not coming back for some reason, so I think they will get baptized this time. I think Elder Aquino and I will stay together for at least two transfers. President Chambers has moved me around a lot lately so I kind of hope I stay for awhile. At least in the area. I can see my mission ending in this stake. I only have three transfers left counting this one. It's going to go so fast. Got to skype with most of the family yesterday for Mother's Day, that was fun. I can't believe it's not butter, oh... I mean I can't believe that was my last call home. I'm excited though, this area is going to be on fire. We are going to see a lot happen here the next few transfers. I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day! I pray that all goes well for each of you. Have a wonderful week! Love you all!

-Elder McKinney

Some questions we had asked him, and another little note Elder McKinney wrote in mom's letter:

Favorite food, I can't pick, mostly just whatever I'm eating at the time is my favorite.
What makes me laugh, I can't pick out anything specific, sorry.
Favorite Pday activities, any type of sport.
Latest miracle, finding the family of four yesterday.
Testimony has grown a lot, so has my knowledge, though that's still pretty small. I've learned a lot about myself and who I am.

It was fun to see the family. My goodness David and Jacob have grown a lot! I couldn't believe it. I'm starting to fear how different everything is going to be when I get back. Not too worried though. I forgot to tell you that there's a small airport near our area and there's always a bunch of small planes and helicopters that fly around. I'm going to try to get someone who flys one of those Apache helicopters to take me home in one. That would be pretty awesome. Probably won't happen, but I can dream. 

Things are going well, I'm super excited to be in this area. It's got a lot of work!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Transfer week again...

Sorry for writing so late and so little. I took some time to write a few personal emails to some individuals. I still have more to catch up on. Things are going well. We are teaching and it looks like we are going to finally have some baptisms this month. We are struggling to get people to church though. That's our biggest problem right now. The work continues forward though. Had some cool experiences this week. Being a zone leader we have to make sure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to, so when there is major disobedience we normally take care of it and correct the missionaries behaviors. There were some missionaries struggling and we had to take care of it this week. Both my companion and I tried to do everything we could to help the situation but we didn't really get anywhere. Once we focused on the spirit though and gave hem blessings everything was basically solved immediately. Built my testimony that without the spirit we can never succeed regardless of our talents and abilities. Transfers are this week. Don't know what's going to happen. If I guessed though I would say Elder Covington and I will probably stay together for another transfer. Other than that things are about the same. Mother's Day call home this Sunday. It's my last call home. Crazy. Three more transfers left. Well I hope you all have a great week! Love you all! Sorry for the short letter again.

-Elder McKinney

Sis. Chambers sent this picture and apologized for it being blurry...