Thursday, February 28, 2013

28 Feb 13

Hey family! Sorry this email is coming later in the day, it's been kind of crazy. We've been runnin around all over the place. We just got back from the temple (which started at 1:20) and finished at 340. We had a hair cut scheduled for 345 but we were eight minutes late cause of the temple. I'm pretty bugged at how unhelpful some of the people who work here are, but whatever. The guy let us reschedule tomorrow at 720, right in the middle of breakfast. Shout out to him for helping us out.

Ok thanks for letting me rant a little bit. My first thought I think is really cool. We started doing a thing called TRC, where people who speak Italian come in and we talk to them for half an hour. This lady named RItta talked to us, and told us that the Italians aren't going to care about our priesthood authority or anything. She said they'll just want to be our friends and not talk about church. So she told us to show them Ezekiel 37:19, which talks about the stick of Juda and the stick of Joseph coming together. The Bible is the stick of Juda, and the BoM is the stick of Joseph (1 Nephi 5:14). So the "Catholic's book" as she called it, talks about us coming in with "our book" and that is what really opened her eyes and got her converted.

A guy in our branch presidency served in Italy, married an Italian girl, and lived in Italy for years. He told us a story that he says explains an Italian's personality perfectly. His new father in law offered him wine and a cigar, and he told him he didn't smoke. So his FIL took him out into his vineyard up on a hill under a tree. Then he says to our branch dudes "Here, have a cigar now. Jesus can't see you here." I thought that was funny. He said not to be worried about being mugged or anything, because Italians are gentle people. He said to be careful about pickpockets though. He also said that so many people have nice cars that they don't really have a speed limit on the freeway. He told a story of how him and his companion were driving, going around 100mph. They went to pass a guy, and the guy sped up with them. He said the next thing he knows, his companion pulls back into the right lane and a ferarri flies by them like they weren't even moving. So cool!

I decided I want to read the Book of Mormon before I leave the MTC. I started last Friday, and am in Alma 8. It's amazing how much you can study when you have no distractions. \

So we have two "investigators" right now, our two teachers. Fratello Garvin is being a man named Fabbeo, who is based off of someone he converted in his mission. Fabbeo's wife had a dream about getting a book with the name "Mormon" on the front, and the missionaries showed up a few days later. So cool! I guess Fratello Garvin moved into Dylan's ward, so that's pretty cool.

Nothing really to report here though. Just in class all day every day, and not getting our hair cut. Sorry, i'm still a little bugged. Dad, you asked about callings. Anziano Burton is our new district leader, and i'm his senior companion. So I guess if he makes a decision I don't like, I get to over rule him because i'm the senior companion. Sweet! Just kidding though.

Letters are being dropped off right after this. Remember the ones I sent last week? They never got sent, so sorry about that. They will be on their way shortly. If someone could send me Brandon's address somehow that would be awesome. If I could get the Poulos' and Grant's that would spectacular as well. Also, how many stamps does it take to get to Mexico? I'm hearing two or three.

Dad, they have Choco Taco's here in the vending machines, so it's kind of like being at scout camp again. Oh, and M. Russell Ballard came and spoke at a devotional on Tuesday. That was awesome. I honestly believe that if the most anti LDS person in the world stood in the same room as an apostle, they would be converted instantly.

I ran into a guy wearing a "Norman Baseball" t shirt the other day. I asked him if he knew Grandma and Grandpa Fife, and he said that he used to be in their ward. His name is Elder Jensen, and says that he'd talk to Grandpa in the hall, and Granpda would tell him some super deep "Apostle like" thing that would blow him away every time.

It's getting around that Sorella McCann's grandpa is Elder Holland. I keep hearing people say how cool it would be to have him as your grandpa. I dunno though. I'd rather have my grandpas be my grandpa, and I say that with no disrespect to Elder Holland.

One thing I think is funny from reading the BoM. There are still people out there who don't think we are Christians. It blows my mind that people think that after reading 2 Nephi 25:26.
Well that's about all I have. Italian is really hard still. I'm spending all my time reviewing what we've learned and it's starting to click.

I love getting Brandon/Kenny/James' emails through dearelder. I'm pretty sure everyone working there hates me, but that's ok. I'm going to send home my SD card from my camera pretty soon. When you put them on my flashdrive (which I will also be sending home) can you have Beck Locey or someone show you how to do it, just cause I don't want to accidentely lose my pictures.

Well I guess that's it for this week. Halfway done with the MTC, and I couldn't be more excited. As fun as it is here, I think Italy might be a little better. Amanda, Sophie and Kate, I love you all lots. Remember no kissing any cute boys (or ugly ones for that matter), and Mom and Dad I love you both as well. Thank you for everything you do for me. Dad, i'm sorry I can't go to any games or anything with you right now. I'm kinda bummed I can't go to BYU Gonzaga with you, hopefully it's a good game. I don't have time to send home any pictures this week, but hopefully the SD card will get there soon. I love you all!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Monday, February 25, 2013

Candy Bar Valentine

Wanted to share with you Christian's Candy Bar Valentine that we sent him on Valentine's Day.  We had to cut 2 poster boards into fourths to get all of the candy on (and to fit it into the box).

Dear Christian,

It’s Valentine’s Day!  Don’t worry that you don’t have a Sweetart and aren’t getting any Kisses.  Most of the girls around her now are probably Nerds and Milkduds anyway.  You’re a Mr Goodbar out serving the Lord.  This is a 100 Grand experience filled with lots of mo-Mentos and everlasting Almond Joy.

Beware in Italy of those young Hot Tamales!  You may need to make a Fast Break and keep your distance.  But it’s Up 2 U (gum) how you React. (gum) But don’t be a DumDum.  Righteousness brings a huge Payday!

When you get home you’ll meet some Cuddly Cuties (Valentine Day Chocolate bear) AND some Airheads.  Then one day you’ll Skor and meet a Bit-O-Honey that will send you into Orbit (gum) and you’ll see Starbursts.  Don’t be a Sucker and Rollo around looking for Extra Fruit Sensations.(gum)  Those are Twix of the devil.  Wait for the woman whose love is Good & Plenty.

Try not to have Butterfingers when you pull out the Ring Pop.  You’ll be a gread Duo (gum) and before you know it you’ll have a bunch of Junior Mints running around.  Have lots of Snickers on your mission.  We love you Mounds.  XO, your family

Sunday, February 24, 2013

New Mission President

This will be Christian's new Mission President starting July 2013.

Bruce LaVar Dibb, 62, and Colleen Poole Dibb, seven children, Bountiful 50th Ward, Bountiful Utah Heights Stake. Brother Dibb is a counselor in a stake presidency and a former high councilor, bishop, Scoutmaster and missionary in the Italian and Italy South missions. Partner and attorney, Jensen, Duffin & Dibb, LLP. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to George and Marjorie Dreier Dibb.
Sister Dibb serves as a temple ordinance worker, Church service missionary and a ward Relief Society board member. She is a former stake Primary president, counselor in a stake Relief Society presidency, ward Relief Society president, counselor in a ward Primary presidency and Cub Scout den leader. Born in Preston, Idaho, to Morris Hasley and Rhonda Nelson Poole.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Provo Temple, 2

                   Elders:  Loveitt, Herrin, McKinnon, Burton, Smith, Taylor

Outside the Provo, Temple

Anziano Loveitt, Anz. Herrin, Anz. McKinnon, Anz. Burton, Anz. Smith and Anz. Taylor

21 Feb 2013

So things are getting pretty boring around here. Italian all day every day, class all day every day. Il capo (our district leader) Anziano Taylor came up with the best description of the MTC I’ve ever heard. He said one day at dinner "I've never laughed so much in a day in my life than when I’m in the MTC. At the same time, i've never felt so deprived of joy and happiness." He hit it right on the money. There are days where I hate it, and days that I love it. Don't worry though i'm totally glad i'm here and the only reason I hate it is because Italian is like a foreign language to me haha. Which brings me to a few stories.

While teaching an investigator, I was trying to translate "God's priesthood is on Earth." So I looked in the dictionary for "earth." Under it, it said "What on earth" so I was like hey i'll just use that. According to the dictionary, the word for "on Earth" is "devolio." So I was like that's weird but whatever i'll just go with it. So I put it on paper, and as we're getting ready to go teach, I decide to look up "devolio" in the Italian part. Devolio means devil. So I guess instead of saying "what on earth" they say "What the devil." So if I wouldn't have checked, I would have told an investigator that God's priestood is the devil. Good thing I double checked or I don't think she would have gotten baptized.

Anz. Taylor during his lesson told our investigator that he would "Recieve women from God" instead of "Recieve gifts/blessings from God." That was hilarious.

As for pictures Dad, i'll send my SD card home like next week. I'll try and throw some pictures onto another email if I have time, and if I can get a computer in the laundry room/ It's the only computer with an SD card reader.

We got a new teacher this past week named Srrla Turley. She is actually the investigator I almost lead astray. She speaks SO fast (she's slowing down now) but the first day she taught she explained to me what we were supposed to be reading and studying in Preach My Gospel, and she spoke so fast I just sat there for a bit. I just said "Yeah, I have no idea what you're saying." And she laughed so now were friends.

Today was a Brennen filled week. Anz. Burton is seriously just like him in a lot of ways, and I ran into an Elder Lee who knows Brenn. I also saw William Cutler who we went to EFY with.

I loved the cards and packages. The candy posters were so funny! Kate, they don't sing "look down" to us while we study or anything, but since that was stuck in my head before I got here I was singing it a lot, which meant my district was singing it a lot. There was a time when you would walk down a hall and hear people singing it. Looks like i'm a trend setter here. And Kate/Sophie, no Sister Missionaries to be my Valentine. That's kind of frowned upon here. And nope nothing special for the hollidays. I'm glad Sophie is still in school. She's fallen behind in social skills from being home schooled, but I think she'll catch up (just kidding). Hopefully Amanda got her letter, I felt awful that it didn't come. And Sophie, don't get mad at me for barely writing anything to you cause you hadn't written me yet.

Here is my list of things I need: A scripture bag for my Italian Scriptures. They are a little longer than English ones, so the dimensions are like 9X5 approx.
Thanks to the people writing me. Lauren and Whitney, your letters are on the way. And I just read your email Brynn, that's awesome Keeton is coming to Milan! I'm super stoked. If you could write a hand letter that would be better, cause I have limited time on the email. We talked about Fival Goes West, so if Cierra is reading these that'll make you happy.

It's amazing how the Lord works. I know i'm jumping around a lot in this letter, but whatever. Every single day i've been frustrated or mad or anything, i'll get something that'll cheer me up. I've gotten the Valentines packages, or learned good lessons. Our zone leaders just left to Romania, but there was a night I was frustrated again and he came to talk to me. his name is Elder Baielli. I told him I was frustrated because it's taking a long time to click. He just said the Lord called me here for a reason, and even thiiiiiiis (little) progress is still progress. My favorite moment though was when I was frustrated again (I promise i'm happy most of the time) and Anz. Taylor knocked on the door and said he forgot to give me a letter during dinner. It was from James telling me to keep my head up. It's the small simple things that really amaze me. Well it looks like i've got some time left so if I can snag a computer in the laundry room i'll send some pictures.

I love you all so much! I can feel your prayers, they're helping a lot. And Italian really is slowing down for me. I can put together sentences without looking at notes and stuff. Anz. Burton said that he wasn't learning the stuff we're learning in High School Spanish until his second year, and we're only in week two! Crazy!

Much love, Anziano Christian McKinnon

Thursday, February 14, 2013

14 Feb 2013

Hello family!!!

Sorry it took me so long to write home. My P day is on Thursdays and I guess we didn't work hard enough to get one last week. So I guess here's the rundown. And pardon my spelling, I’m getting into Italian mode.

Anziano Burton is my companion. He's from Washington. He reminds me of Keith kind of, but as I’ve gotten to know him he is literally SO CLOSE to being Brennen. He's got the same sense of humor and same laugh. That has helped me out a lot to have a "familiar" face. I was kind of nervous because he considers himself a "Brony," or someone who writes My Little Pony fan fiction. Nope, that's not a joke. He is actually really cool though, and I like him a lot. He is an incredible singer. He was on American Idol and made it to Hollywood! He was on the season that Phil Phillips was on.

My roommates are cool. Anz. Mata'u is the one we saw at the Provo temple! he is an awesome kid. Then his comp. Anz. Simcox is from Ohio. All three of them are great at singing, so I feel like I’m in the Motab hang out spot. It's just like being at home, except instead of girl singers it's boys.

I LOVE my district. They are Anz. Taylor, Smith and Anz. Loveitt, Herrin. Anz. Herrin went to Alta and SUU but I never met him. Then there are sorelle McCann, Accerson, Seere. sorella McCann says her mom told her about a Mariah McKinnon, so maybe we know her? I got mom's letter saying she's Holland's granddaughter, so that's cool. Its awesome that her mom and Dad were friends. Sor. Accerson lived in Italy when her parents were mission presidents in Milan. She remembers Dylan, and thought we were brothers cause of the last name and we look alike.

My first day was crazy. the teachers speak nothing but Italian. Anz. Burton is really good and Sor. Accerson sounded like Rosetta Stone herself. I thought I was so toast? on the first day, but I’m getting better. We are the first six week program ever, and the biggest group going over to Italy. i guess the pope heard about us so he retired. 

My teacher, fratello Garvin says he met Dylan at a ZC. Fratelli Taylor and Bulloch both know Dylan as well. Bulloch went on splits with him I guess and Taylor met him somewhere. bulloch is the guy in charge of the Italian department, and I guess David Fife taught him. Pretty cool!

Italian is HARD. It is so frustrating, but it's starting to click. Mom, you asked if we started SYL. Yup, from day one. we taught our first lesson in Italian on day three. Anz. burton carried me on my back haha. The days are LONG. In the same classroom for 9.5 hours took getting used to, but it's easy now. The sleep schedule hasn't been bad. There was only one lesson where it was hard to stay awake, but the rest I’ve been ready to go. Our requirement by the end of the MTC are: Basic Grammar, 500 vocab, 150 phrases, 20 scriptures. It makes seminary look like cake.

I'm just running down a list of what I wrote down to write to you, so sorry i'm jumping around. Thank you to Cheryl for the valentine's card, and thanks to Grandma and Grandpa McKinnon, the Poulos, and Grants. There packages have been awesome!

If you could send me Kenny, James' and Brandon's address' that would be awesome.

My pants ripped already, but Anz. Loveitt helped me sew them. What a guy! I love seeing people I know. I've run into tons of people from Skyline and Brighton, and even Caleb Eggbert from Orem. I actually ran into Kyle Jessee on my way to write this and got a picture with him. he says thank you so much for the letter you wrote him. Watching Asian kids (who speak asian) try and speak Spanish is one of the funniest things ever.

Ask Laurel/Sherry/Lynette if KJB email each other. If they do, can I get their emails also?

I went to the consulate in Salt Lake yesterday and got my Visa. I'm ready to go! On the way out, we joked with our escort that she should let us go to jimmy john's right next door, and she let us! It was awesome to get a slim 3 and Dr Pepper!

Seeing McKenzie was awesome. It seriously made my day! If you could send me the picture of us that would be much appreciated.

I have letters to the girls in the mail, along with Jeremy's so tell them to sit tight and be patient. Jackson Smith also sent me a letter, so his letter is on the way as well.

It hasn't been all good here. There are a lot of dudes who walk around in the bathrobes who look like they're getting ready for the title weight fight, and there is a constant ringing in my room. I'm getting used to it, but it's hard getting to sleep.

 I got some awesome advice on day one. anz. burton and I asked some guy who's been here for ten weeks for advice. He thinks for about a minute and says "well....stay away from the Orange Juice and teriyaki burgers. They give you EXPLOSIVE diarrhea." I seriously died laughing.

If you could send me a watch, my retainer, and whatever else I mentioned earlier in the letter that would be awesome. If you could find a way to send me more white socks for exercise and one more sweatshirt that would be AWESOME. Shoulder is doing well, I’m keeping up on my physical therapy.

A few days ago, I was so mad at myself because I was struggling with the language so much. I was just frustrated. (I know I shouldn't though, don't worry). i was in a bad mood, and got back to my dorm. Anz. Matau talked about how he was feeling sick. I got this feeling "Hey Christian, you've got to calm down. he's going to ask for a blessing and you need to be in the right state of mind to give it." I did some pushups and sit ups, and just relaxed for a little bit. I calmed down, and sure enough, Anz. matau asked for a blessing, and I got to take part in that. I've learned so much about the holy ghost while I’ve been here.

Sorry there are words and stuff squished together. These computers are so bad. I've got 30 minutes of Email time, and I’ve been on here for like 40 and I still have time from my timer left. I don't have anything else to report, so I just wanted to say I love you all. thanks for the letters and packages, they are seriously awesome. I get the mail every day, but I just can't write back till Thursday. Oh, could you also send me some scripture mastery cards in English? they told me I’d wish I had them on my mission and I didn't believe them. I love writing in my journal, that's going to be a masterpiece when I’m done. Yeah that's just about it. Looking over my notes I don't have anything else to report.

I guess I’ll end with how much I love you all. thanks for all the love and support. good job Kate on getting some sweet parts in the play, and keep working hard. Amanda and Sophie, I hope everything is going well at your new schools. mom and dad, I love you so much! I'm missing you a lot more than I thought I would (no offence) but I’m doing great. I love you all!

Anziano Christian McKinnon

PS will you write me a letter just so I know this went through? Thanks!
PSS I’m leaving the MTC on march 19 and flying to Chicago, London, then Italy. Almost there!