Wednesday, March 27, 2013

27 Mar 13

Dear family

first let me say sorry for all the typos im about to have. this thing < is where shift is on an american keyboard and à is where ' this is. stupid. oh well though.

Week one kind of flew by. I'm beyond exhausted, but thatàs ok. Anziano Davis is awesome. He's from Texas, and is actually in James mission, but he doesnàt speak spanish. hes been out for just over a year and is awesome. hes super patient, and he kind of looks like Ben Hutchins, but with black hair and Jeff Hutchins face shape. If that makes any sense at all. Hes also our district leader, so i guess that means im pretty cool also.

Sorry the phone call ended short. I think I just ran out of time on the pay phone, but its all good. Ill be honest i have no clue when mothers day is, but you all say its soon, so ill talk to you soon!

Speaking Italian is hard. I stopped nine people in a row on the street yesterday, and they all said "non capisco" aka Christian doesnt know how to speak Italian. Its a good thing the tenth person said they werent interested or i would have started crying. not that its good that they werent interested, but at least they understood me haha. the first few days were hard. we had zero lessons, nobody was interested, and nobody let us into their house. then finally on monday i think it was we got a referall from the office. the guys name is marrio and is super old. he doesnt believe in God because God has never answered his prayers. He has tons of weird questions like why does god let capitol punishment happen. i only understand like 16% of what is going on, so thats been frustrating. Anyways, we gave him and his wife a book of mormon, and we have an appointment again tomorrow night. he really wants to believe god exists, but he doesnt want to not get an answer again. its really sad, cause you can just tell he wants this to be true, but he is scared it wont be.

We have five other investigators, Roberto and his wife Silvia, and the Ursula and her two daughters. I havent met any of them yet, but im sure theyre stellar. Then last night at family home evening, a guy who was about to be baptized but then didnt want to pay tithing showed up, and we have an appointment with him.

The ward here is awesome. Our WML looks, I kid you not, identical to Willam Defoe. I know Brandon said his MTC companion looked like him, but this guy is his twin. Ill try and get a picture, once I figure out how to say Will you take a picture with me. But yeah its the biggest ward in Italy, and I think the biggest in Europe. I think i heard that somewhere. Anyways the people here are super awesome and nice. We ate at a mans house named Fratello Melandry. He is the nicest guy ever. His wife just passed away, but hes doing really well. He fed us frozen lasagna. If American frozed food tasted that good, id be super fat. speaking of which, ive gained fifteen pounds since i left. i look the exact same though so dont worry. but yeah, my ward is awesome.

my area is milano lampangano, and it used to be Milan 1. Dad and Mom, you both said david fife served here? ask him if he has any referals for me. its still pretty cold outside, so any chance i get to go inside ill take it. this area is like the most western side of milan. you can go on and look at ward bounderies, and our bounderies are the milano lampangano ward bounderies if you want to check it out. im a pro at the metro and bus system now.

im learning how to cook mom! thats another thing Anziano Davis is teaching me. so now I can make toast AND pasta haha. No i can make a little more italian than that. so when i get home i should be a pro. me and dylan can do iron chef italia or something.

so they changed the email rule! i have an hour and a half now and can email friends and stuff. so my email is so anyone can feel free to beam me an electronic mail. ps i got the easter card mom, so thank you! Could you also send me Brandon and James and Jeremys mission emails? im sure itll be easier to find brandon and james than jers but if you could find them that would be awesome. I got an email from Kenny already so ive already got his.

I think thats pretty much it! lots of walking, lots of rejection, but we get strong from doing hard things, right Dad? oh im glad BYU is doing well in the NIT. If you could send me anything interesting about BYU spring football that would be awesome. Oh, Sorrella McCann is in Como just in case youre wondering Dad. Its cool you and Mary were friends in HS cause McCann was one of my best friends at the MTC.

But yeah I think thats it! I wish our time zones were a little closer, but thats ok. I love you all, and thanks for all the support! Youre the best! Let me know if you have any questions.

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

PS-I saw Brady Call at the MTC! Hes Brandons friend who came to my farewell. That seriously was the best thing in the whole world. I love that kid. If you could let the Poulos family know that hes doing well, that would be awesome! Love you all again!

PS again - haha sorry I forgot so many things this week. One experience then one favor. First, could you send me an email address that I could reach Brennen Conlee at? That would be awesome.

So yesterday we stopped a girl named Anna. We said something about true happiness. She said Oh, you look like angels! Shes from Labanaise (Lebanon?) or something like that. Shes been relying on the Savior a lot recently, becasue work and stuff werent going very well. Only problem is shes going back to Lebenenene next week. So we gave her a BoM and she said shell read it and call as if shes ever back in Italy. She said she thinks God wanted us to find her, and that we really were Angels. Stuff like this makes all the frustration and dissapointment ok. and she spoke English! so that was good for me haha.

Again, I love you all so much!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

21 Mar 13

I got a call from Italy yesterday from an Office Elder I presume, maybe one of the APs?  I didn't get his name but he called to say Christian has arrived safely.  He will be going out to contact, have an interview with his mission president hopefully get some sleep and today will be sent off with his trainer to his first area.  Christian's first area will be in Milan, serving in the Lampugnano Ward, which I'm told is the western part of Milan.  I think the missionary said there are 3 wards in Milan.  He will be meeting in a Stake Center bldg for church.  His trainer is "Elder Davis" from I don't know where!  From his name I assume he's American.  But anyway, Christian's Pday will be on Wednesdays so we won't hear from him for a week.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pics 14 Mar 13

 Elder McKinnon and Elder Smith.
 Sister Berry is a missionary serving from our Granite View Stake.

Someone in that room knows how to clean.  I hope it's Christian!

Elder and Sister Holland visited Christian's district last week and spoke to them for about 45 minutes, leaving them with a special blessing.  Christian said it was an amazing experience!  Of note is Sister McCann who is standing between Elder and Sister Holland.  She's their granddaughter. Back: Anz. Burton, McKinnon, Smith, Taylor, Sis Accerson, Seare, Anz. Herrin, Loveitt.  Front:  Elder Holland, Sister McCann, Sister Holland.

 Christian and Elder Burton, Christian's MTC companion.

Sister Accerson, Elder McKinnon, Sister Seare, Sister McCann.  These are the sisters in Christian's district.

14 Mar 13

Hello family and friends!

I cannot wait until Tuesday. This week has dragged by, but it's already Thursday. Crazy!

So Dad asked what my typical schedule is like everyday. Sorry I'm responding to this as i'm about to leave, but here it is:

Wake up at 630
Study time ay 7 (we read scriptures as a district in Italian)
Breakfast at 730
Class from 8-11 (all in Italian. Coaching missionary study, "investigators" and Language)
Personal Study time at 11 (when I read my scriptures)
Lunch at 1215
Language Study at 1 (just study what we've learned, no teacher)
Class from 215-515 (on mondays we have TRC, where we talk to members who volunteer in Italian. This is where I saw McKenzie Boyle. Someone needs to tell Dylan to do it haha)
Dinner 515
Gym 610-7
TALL 730 (my least favorite part of the day. It's a computer program to help us learn Italian and it is the WORST)
Additional Study time at 835
Planning from 9-930
Personal time 930-1030 (journal time, brush teeth, etc.)
Bedtime 1030

Every tuesday and sunday we have a devotional, and every tuesday morning we have service.

Ok so when I call home. I think we are leaving the MTC at 8am on Tuesday. I will double check, I accidently left my flight plans in our room. I'll send that later today if I still have time. We leave in the morning at 8ish (from the MTC) and our flight leaves at 11? Then we fly to Chicago, have a three hour layover, fly to london, have a six hour lay over, then to Milan. We'll get to Milan at 12:30pm Milan time. No idea what happens then.

Make sure you know how to do the conference call thing Mom and Dad before I call. I don't know how much time i'll have, cause we have to do security and passports and stuff. Maybe be ready at 10ish? If you have a better guess let me know. I'll try and find out more and send you a letter.

That would be awesome to see Brad and Sherry with Austin and Audrey in Italy. You'll have to let me know when exactly you'll be there, and hopefully i'll be in Venice mid July! Congrats to them by the way. I really like Austin, i'm glad to have him in the family.

I hosted new missionaries yesterday again and saw Travis Steward. I talked to him for a couple minutes. I didn't know that he knew Dad before he got married. He said he could tell me some funny stories about Dad, i'd love to hear haha. He seems like a really nice guy.

I've gotten some great packages. I loved Amanda's cookies, Grandma and Granpa's letter/candy, and Laurel and Lynette send some awesome candies to. I think i've got enough high chews to last at least another week :) haha. So thanks to them for all the love!

I saw Alex Stewart this week. He got here last Wednesday (not yesterday, but the week before) and got a chance to talk to him for 15 minutes while waiting for a devotional. I also saw Cam Larsen and talked to him for a bit.

Things are getting pretty exciting now. We've had lots of departure meetings and they want us to start packing today. I'm so thankful my Visa had no problems. I ran into mark brewster just barely, and he said he was supposed to leave on Monday but he didn't get his visa. I know six weeks isn't a ton of time, but i am so ready to get out of here. As fun as the MTC is, I think Italy will be better. Crazy one week from now i'll be knocking on doors 4000 miles away. And I've been gone for a month and a half. So insane!

Sorry this is kind of a short letter, but not a lot has happened. Actually, I don't know if this got put on the blog, but Elder Holland visited our class last week. Such a cool experience! Mom, if you could throw that picture on the blog that would be awesome.

I'm kind of bummed i'm missing March Madness right now. The tournament starts today and spring football has got to be coming up. I'm excited to get out of Provo. It amazes me how cut off I am from the world here.

I'm going to send this really quick, and go find my flight plans just so I can give you specific details. Hopefully everything works out!

Just in case I don't get a chance to jump on here again today, I love you all! And I'd like to give a shout out to my Mom. She has written me every day since i've been in the MTC. She's in the lead for best writer in my district. It's a close race with Anziano Herrin's girlfriend who writes him 4 pages letters every three days or so. She even sprays them with perfume. But I think Mom is still in first place for sure. And it's her birthday on the 18th. You're just growing up so fast! So happy birthday Mom! i love you so much!

Anyways, thanks again for all the support! I love you!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

PS i'll be sure to take the point at your mission picture today.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

07 Mar 13

Chow family,

Just kidding, I know ciao is spelled like that, not chow. I just think i'm funny and MTC jokes are getting old.

I love all the letters. Mom, you're the best. You make me look really cool when I get mail every day, so thank you for that! And a special thanks to the Smith family. I got a letter from Jackson last week, and a letter from Sam, Stone, and Jade this week. Thank you!

This letter is going to be scrambled again because i'm reading down a list. I ran into Jaxson Judkins last week at the temple, I think I forgot to tell you. He played (volleyball) with me at Skyline when I was a freshman, and my coach's brother. He got home a year or so ago from his mission.

The people here are so cool. There is an Elder here from New Zealand who served in the military for a year before coming on a mission. He bore an awesome testimony. He talked about being deployed on a small island, and how it really changed his life. 
I told you last week that I was cruisin’ through the Book of Mormon. I slowed down a lot once I got to Alma. Alma the younger has to be one of the coolest dudes to walk this earth. Every single story about him is cool, especially when you think about his younger years. It has kind of hit me that the BoM is truly a book of repentance. Almost every single prophet or story has repentance in it, which shows us how important it is for us to always do our best, and repent when we need to.

Every Sunday we have a devotional, and then watch a recorded devotional from past years. This week we watched Elder Holland's talk. He talked about how a mission is the most important thing we can do. He said "I hear missionaries say "I can't wait to serve a mission and get back to real life." This is real life. This is as real life as you're going to get!" What a good speaker! He also talked about how everything in the Book of Mormon is meant to be there. Especially the stuff that gets repeated. "These prophets wrote on metal plates with an ice pick, none of this is an accident!" Which brings me back to the importance of repentance. Every prophet could have left out their repentance and no one would have thought twice about it, cause they're prophets. Since they left it in, it means it's important. And I hope I don't sound like i'm calling you all to repentance, it's just something I thought was cool.

So it turns out that me and Anziano Burton were at the same EFY at Utah State. Crazy small world! I also ran into Andy Nelson the other day. I guess he works for security here. I ran into him while he was on a break from patrolling the MTC fence, using a cattle prod to keep the missionaries from escaping. Just kidding, that's a bad joke. Sorry.

Two nights ago I gave my first blessing, where I actually gave the blessing. Anz. Mata'u has been having back problems and he asked me to give it. It was such a cool experience and i'm glad that I have such a good Dad who sets such a good example for me. 

Yesterday I got to host new missionaries. I heard Alex Stewart was getting dropped off yesterday but I missed him. Hopefully i'll run into him before I leave. An Elder in my district Anz. Herrin is so funny. When we were hosting, he said "When the next car comes, i'm going to open the door and say "Take me with you. Please." or give them a note and say "Please get help." I was laughing so hard. I helped a kid not from the US. I couldn't tell you where he's from cause I couldn't understand him, but he was nice. He took a long time with everything, but I remember how overwhelming it was my first day, and I can speak English. I also helped a Sister. I only helped two people because my first one took so long, but what can you do.

At this past tuesday devotional, a member of the seventy came and spoke to us. He said on his mission his trainer took him to a house and told him to teach the first lesson by himself. The guy who they taught was wasted, and the speaker said "I realized what my trainer was doing. He was having me practice!" I'm hoping I get a few drunks to teach just to get into the swing of things.

I love Fratello Garvin to death. He seriously is the most awesome teacher. He took me the other day and interviewed me just to see how i'm doing. I'm not getting as frustrated with myself, and really making sure that i'm spending any time I can reviewing things. He told me he was proud of me because I can speak with courage and power like Nephi. It meant a lot to me that he'd say that. I'm getting a lot better now at the language. Anziano Herrin and I taught a lesson the other day. Usually i'm with Anz. Burton and he usually takes the lead cause he's better than me. With Anz. Herrin I took the lead, and it was cool to see how well I could do by myself. A lot of times when I teach with Az. Burton, I rely on him a lot. It was cool to see I can do it myself. Anyways, when I get home i'm taking Fratello Garvin out to lunch or something cause he seriously has helped me out so much.

While i'm talking about going to lunch, Paul I haven't forgotten our bet. Five Guys is on me, mark your calendar for February 2015.

A cool thing that we did in class was make a "Conversion Map." It's where you write down the big testimony building experiences in your life. I encourage everyone to do this. As I thought back, I remembered a lot of things that I don't normally think of with building my testimony. I realized that a huge part of my testimony is built on the Priesthood. It has had such a huge impact on my life, so it made the blessing I gave Anz. Matau' mean that much more to me. Again, I am so thankful for you Dad for teaching me the importance of the priesthood and setting such a good example to me.

Well i'm running out of time again. I'll send my SD card today once I get the chance. I'm hoping you'll be able to send it back to me before I leave for Italy because it'll be 1000X cheaper. PS this time in two weeks, i'll be knocking on doors in Italy. Here's the protocol: (nothing is official yet, because we haven't officially received our travel plan thing)

Leave March 19 (the day after Mom's birthday, I didn't forget) in the morning. I can call home at the airport, so i'll figure out when I'll do that once I get the travel plan. We fly to Chicago, have a layover, then fly to London, then to Milan. Once we land we'll have twelve hours to sleep, then we go tour a cathedral in Milan, and leave for our areas. It's finally real! And I can't wait.

Thanks again for everyone writing me, and all the love and support i've gotten from home. It means the world to me, and I want you all to know how thankful I am. You're the best and I love you all!

Love, Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

PS Mom when you clean out the sewing room, make sure you put my stuff in a spot I can find it when I get home. Thanks! Love you :)