Friday, April 26, 2013

25 Apr 13

Sorry I have to write this on Thursday instead of Wednesday. We had Ted D. Callister speak to us yesterday morning, so President just told us to do P Day on Thursday instead of Wednesday. So I didnt break any rules or get kidnapped or anything.
This has been a pretty boring week. We started meeting with a guy whos wife and daughter are both in our ward. Hes been going to Church for years, but has never comitted. We met with him and hes a super cool guy. He loves American Sports. He says he doesnt know how Italians do it, with only soccer. So it was nice to talk about that a little. He said he doesnt want to be baptized because he works so much. He said "If im going to buy season tickets to the Dallas Cowboys, I want to go to all the games." He never really met with missionaries. But the Sunday before we met him was fast Sunday, so I bore my testimony. Anziano Davis does the English translations for the Brittish members in our ward. So Fratello Fuorelli said that since im new and hes impressed Anz- Davis can do translations hed meet with us. His father passed away recently so hes really interested in the Plan of Salvation. He said "Maybe destiny says now is the right time for me." We met with him once, but then he went out of town this week and we havent seen him yet. His wife said to schedule an appointment next week. So fingers crossed for that! hes a super smart guy. He reads books in English because it doesnt translate perfectly. He doesnt speak it, but has tons of questions. My favorite was "Why is it "All I want for Christmas IS you, and not ARE you."
Speaking of favorites, I heard my favorite excuse for not wanting to talk with us. A lady we stopped said she doesnt like churches in general, because they teach boys only to date girls who look like the Virgin Mary. Haha well what can ya do? The poor girl has probably had a guy tell her "sorry, my church teaches..." as an excuse.
After FHE Tuesday night I was trying to play the piano. I am learning hymns Mom! Are you proud? Right hand only of course, but still. So I was practicing one that isnt in the English hymn book, number 44. Cant remember the name of it, but its good. So I was practicing it, and some old South American lady came over and was trying to help me. Yeah I can barely get through religious topics. Needless to say, I didnt understand any of her part italian, part Milanese dialect, part Spanish explanation of how to play the piano. So I just said "Ok, grazie" over and over and finally she gave up haha.
Thats one thing I havent written about. Each area or city has their own dialect. So a guy in my ward named Antonello loves to talk to me in Milanese. He thinks its hilarious. Hes a funny guy. He always wears different Juarassic Park ties to Church. Thats kind of his personality.
Thats pretty much it. Matteo, the kid from conference, came to Church but got a phone call and left fife minutes later. Then we have Giovanna, the lady with the bap date, who we havent seen. She went with her boyfriend to "the mountains." No clue what that means, but were seeing her Saturday morning.
One thing thats been really frustrating, is that Italians dont talk how I talk. I guess I dont speak very proper, and use lots of phrases that dont translate. For example "hang out" or "Im toast." I got lots of confused looks when I said "Sto tostato." Thats been what has gotten me down the most. Its not the learning the language thats frustrating me, its that I cant say what I want to say. Not because I dont know how to say it, but because Italians DONT say it. I cant tell you how many times ive asked Anziano Davis how to say something and he says "Oh, they dont really say that here." So thats the only thing thats really gotten me down ive figured out. Its hard being me I guess.
Dad, President Wolfgramm said he did my endorsement, so if you could make sure im applied and everything thatd be great!
Oh, we had lunch with a guy in our ward named Fratello Short. Hes English, so thats awesome! Hes got a sweet apartment with his wife right next to San Siro, where AC Milan and Inter play. Literally right next to it. He said that the AC Milan "cougar club equivelant" meets in his building. His wife is the principal at a private school where all the rich important kids go. Like the President of Italy, all the players for AC Milan and Inter, and Zlatan Ibrohimavic. Hes one of the best players in the world. So Brother Short goes and helps with sports day and stuff like that and talks to them all the time. He said that they all have security guards, and walked past a car when the trunk was open. There was a full arsenal of machine guns, etc. in there. I want to go do contacting there now.
Thats pretty much it from my end. Its crazy that next Wednesday, a new transfer of missionaries come in. Im not the baby anymore. Hopefully people will stop asking if im a new 18 year old missionary, cause I get that almost every day haha.
I love you all! Thanks for writing me. Kate, im still waiting from a letter from you!
Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

17 Apr 13

Hello all! I cant believe that its already been a month in Italy. It seriously flies by.

So last P Day after email we went to the Duomo, the big Cathedral in Milan, and went to the restraunt Luinis behind it. Brad was telling me about it, and holy cow it is AWESOME. Its like Italian food inside scones. Seriously amazing. Anyways, were going back there today haha.

Oh, happy birthday to Amanda and Kate this week! Im so proud of you for making it this far haha. I love you both so much (and Sophie too :) ) and hopefully you have a good week!

So remember that kid who got pulled into conference? So on Friday we went to teach the mission prep class because there would be an investigator there. So we go, and at the last minute the investigator bails. But then, this kid Matteo shows up. Someone had invited him to it. So he was making comments and stuff, then he came to Church on Sunday! So we have an appointment with him this week. So I guess I was wrong in thinking it was a bad idea to make him sit through English conference haha. Hopefully that works out.

We got dumped (dropped) by Mario, the guy who refused to pray. But we did get a new investigator named Juana. Shes from Peru (not anywhere by where Jeremy is going though). Her sister is a member, but doesnt speak Italian so she translates for her at Church. Weve taught here twice this week and we set a baptism date with her for May 5. It might not happen then cause shes waiting for her boyfriends divorce to go through until they can get married. But everything is going awesome, so hopefully itll work out! Her sister is actually moving to Spain now for work, but shes still coming to church. Ill find out where in Spain, and hopefully Rachel can check up on her!

So last night at our wards FHE, they had a drink called Sanpellegrino Chino. Its Chinese rootbeer. Anziano Davis told me it was amazing, so I tried it. It was the most foul, putrid, disgusting thing ive ever tasted. He said that its a requirement for trainers to have their trainees try it haha. It seriously is SO bad.

Yeah, I was going to ask about the bomb thing in Boston. I saw a newspaper that said "America in terror" and I was wondering. Thats really sad. Glad that Stan’s sister was safe though. Hopefully they catch the guys that did it.

Funny note though, we were on the metro and some guy was wearing a Red Sox hat. So I asked if he was American, and he said he was. He said "Youre Mitt Romenys people." So we talked to him for a little bit. He said Mitt was a great guy. Those are the only things that I can tell you about what he said cause we arent supposed to talk about polotics or negative things when we write home haha. Moral of the story, he likes Mitt Romney haha.

I guess you heard I ran into Mark Lusvardi at a special conference this week. It was a conference for District and Zone leaders and me (probably because it was in my area, but still cool I got to go) with Stephen B Allen, head of the missionary department for the Church. Brother Lusvardi was there. When we were all introducing ourselves, he says "does the name Gary McKinnon mean anything to you?" So I talked to him for a little while at lunch. He said this: "Gary McKinnons marketing class at BYU inspired me. It inspired me to have a succesfull business career where I could retire young and help the Church. Then he (grandpa) taught his kids at BYU H, and then he worked with Lusvardi at the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial. He said Granpa is an amazing man who has influenced his life so much." So he asked me to tell Grandpa all this. Hes super nice. I dont have Grandpas email, but could you forward this to him? Maybe you already send all my letters to him but if not, send this one! Haha.

Thats been my week! Its starting to click more. I contributed to dinner conversation at our ward mission leaders house, so I wasnt the awkward kid anymore haha. Or atleast I wasnt the silent awkward kid. His son is waiting for his mission call. I told him if he got called to Utah, you guys would have him over for dinner haha. Theyre a super awesome family though. We started teaching his daughters boyfriend also. He agreed to be baptised but we dont ahve a date yet. They were all laughing at me when I tried to eat spaghetti. Its hard haha. Fratello Lauriolla (oh, we ate at their house twice this week) was teasing me. We had this sea food and rice stuff (mom, you should be proud of me. Ive eatin everything theyve given me, even the tenticles and stuff haha) and he was saying "we made this for you because its easier to eat than spaghetti." Hes awesome though.

I love you all so much! And happy birthday again to Amanda and Kate. Glad to hear Scottie is doing better (he really is Mom, I promise). Im in good hands over here, so dont worry about me!

Love, Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

10 Apr 13

Hello family! 

So yeah this week flew by. It was super fun though. A few funny stories:

There was a marathon here in Milan Saturday morning. So the bus we take to the church wasnt running becaue it went through the race. So our ten minute bus ride turned into a 40 minute walk. Another companionship of elders said on the metro there were lots of runners, but it was right after the race started. It looks like some of them had the great idea of taking the subway instead of actually running. To bad there were 40 other people with the same idea. The elders said it smelled like super bad BO on the subway, so im glad I didnt have to experience that.

After a session of conference, some of the missionaries (like 8 or so who came to watch conference in our building) and some member kids all played soccer. We have an outdoor soccer court (yes, court on the cement) instead of basketball, and I think its awesome. The member kids are so good! It was cool to see. Theres a kid named Thomas who is 17, who is about to go on a mission or put in his papers at least, who is super good. Hes also a cool kid to. Its amazing to see the "tricks" as theyre called that they do. Sorry I know there were supposed to be commas in that last sentence. Anyways, were watching conference (in English thankfully) and we see some fifteen year old kid playing soccer by himself. He wasnt a member. So some missionaries went outside and brought him in to watch conference. He said he understood English, so they brought him in with us. I dont know if he could really udnerstand English though. If he didnt, he had to sit through an hour of English. If he could understand, he saw a stellar talk by Elder Bednar on the law of chastity. Poor kid, I felt bad for him. He was just hangin out playin soccer and some missionaries made him watch conference. oh well, we played soccer with him after.

Foosball is huge here. They have tables in all of the churches. Last night (every tuesday night we have a FHE, and every few weeks there is ward council. So i go and run FHE while Davis goes to WC) after FHE, I played foosball with Thomas for a while because WC went long. It was fun, but he KILLED me. You watch pro soccer players how they "step over" and fake with the ball? He did that with foosball. It was cool though, and ill be stinkin good when I get home.

I also did a scambia (exchange) monday. I went up to Como with our zone leader Anziano Angel. Como is gorgeous. Apparently George Clooney has a house there that he is going to sell to Tom Cruise or David Beckham. Anyways, it was awesome. We had a dinner with a member family. They had the cutest three year old. It was kind of demoralizing to have him correct my Italian, but its all good haha. It was cool to be in Como. It is more like what I expected Italy to be like. Milan kind of looks like how I picture Detroit, so it was good to get to another part of the country.

While I was in Como, I went with Anz. Angel to fix something in the Sisters (Sorrella McCann) new apartment. Theyve had to stay in Milan and take a train (40 minutes) to Como every day. So we go and put in a power cord, and the land lord pulls one of the cupboards away from the wall to plug it in. Pieces of the counter just started falling apart, drawers coming out, etc etc etc etc. The furniture is like Ikea but 1000x worse. So we watched him (he wouldnt let us help) put the kitchen back together. He tried for 45 minutes until he gave up. Every time he put something into place, some other piece would get undone. It was seriously hilarious to see him put a drawer in place, have the counter cave in, put the counter back on, and have three drawers fall out of place. So we left the kitchen looking like Katrina hit it, and I guess the traveling assistants have a new project haha.

Thats pretty much it on this end. Our investigators are difficult because they are so set in their ways, and ask lots of questions. We had zone conference yesterday, so it was cool to see all the missionaries in my zone. I didnt know anyone other than Sorella McCann and the APs though. Me and her are pretty good friends now, its cool that Dad and her Mom were friends back in the day.

But yeah, thats it. Im still waiting to hear how Sophie is doing (from her, im getting updates from Mom) and how Kates play is going. I miss ya girlies! Of course I miss all of you, but those two have to step it up! Haha. Thanks again for all your love and support. Oh, to answer your question mom, Anziano Davis is like 6'3". My apartment is tiny and we run out of hot water super fast. Its kinda gross sometimes, but we have a sweet cockroach zapper so thats been kinda fun. With so many new missionaries coming in though, theyre getting new apartments. Eventually everywhere will have four missionaries in an apartment. Also, because its growing so fast (especially with the sisters) Im expected to be able to train after my first two transfers. Some sisters will have to train after their first. So I guess im going to see lots of miracles here haha. Transfers here are six weeks, to answer another question.

I love you all so much! Im doing well here and ready to see what happens next!

Love, Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

PS Dad where did Ziggy get drafted?
PSS Can I get Rachel Grants email to?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

03 Apr 13

Hello family!
Well week two is done. This is insane. The ward here is absolutely awesome. We had a dinner appointment this past week with a member. For lunch, we ate at a kebab place. My comp described it as "a place that isnt legal in the US cause of how they cook the meat." It was actually way good. So I ate almost a whole kebab pizza. We dont usually have dinner, just eat snacks at night but this member invited us over. So im full and im feeling pretty sick and he tells us were having sardine spaghetti. Italians are super generous and gave me a ton. The guy is from the Phillipines (there are lots of them here) and pretty poor. So I said "Christian, you are going to eat all of this even if it kills you." I did it. It actually wasnt that bad haha.
Then for Easter we ate at a members house, the Favlos. Seriously one of the coolest families ive ever met. Sister Favlo is the best cook. We had 8 courses and ate for 2 hours, and I ate everything they gave me. Im staying at the same weight though so dont worry. I refuse to get fat haha.
The work is picking up a little bit. We met with two investigators, Roberto and Silvia who are super super believers that the Bible is the only word of God. Theyre starting to be more and more accepting of the BoM though. Tonight we have a lesson with them and itll be good. Then we have this guy Marrio. His house kind of smells like the stuff used to preserve animals for discection. He asks really weird questions and refuses to pray. Absolutely refuses. He says if God is real he needs to strike him with a lightening bolt. But we believe in him and hes going to believe eventually haha.
Funniest story of my mission so far. It actually might not be that funny, but I thought it was hilarious. So were doing casa (door to door) and every apartment complex has the telephone thing on the outside of the gate right? So were ringing all the doors and theyre all saying no. I get to one lady and she says shes not interested, and as shes hanging up the phone, the gate unlocks. When this happens we usually open and close it so no annoying soliciters can get in (haha). Also we got tired of being thrown out of apartment complexes. So I open it and close it. A few seconds later, this little old lady comes around the corner with a cane, going super slow. As I see her, im thinking "please please please tell me she didnt unlock it." She keeps walking towards the gate and I have no clue how to say "Hey, im an idiot and locked the gate" in Italian. So I just go behind this wall that surrounds the complex. The old lady gets to the gate, pulls on it, its locked, so she has to walk all the way down the driveway to push the button again. I busted up laughing, and I know its a horrible story but I just cant believe it happened. oh well, thats what repentance is for I guess.
Mom to answer your questions: No other elders in our apartment, its pretty tiny. Four sisters in our district and no elders. Theyre solid missionaries.
I hope you all had fun in St George. I bet its warmer there than it is here. It rains all day erry day. Actually, yesterday was pretty nice but Anziano Davis was sick so we stayed in. I got some good language study in, so that was good.
Dad, im glad BYU is doing well. Hopefully they win the NIT. Gross about that Louisville guy though. Glad I missed that. Who won the NCAA tournament?
The language is still frustrating, but its cause im being too hard on myself. We helped with an activity with some of the youth, where they went on splits with us. So I was with some seventeen year old kid, and guess who we ran into? Jehovahs Witnesses. It made me mad, cause I cant speak Italian well and he starts going off on this kid about the Bible. So I said look, ill set you an appointment with the missionaries (we were in a city like 30 min north) and you can talk with them. They said no. So thats my encounter with them haha.
No other stories really. My schedule is wake up, study personal, and with my comp till like 11. Then we do strada (street) till one and eat. Then at 2 we do language study. Then we do strada till like 6 and then 6 to 8 we do casa. The glamorous life of a missionary haha.
Thats pretty much it on this end. Glad everyone is doing well. If you could send me Brennens email that would be awesome. I got BKJs so thats good. Keep me updated with everything else thats going on! And there is zero excuse for Amanda Sophie and Kate /anyone else not to send me letters cause its over email now. Anyways I love you all! Shout out to Brynn for getting her mission call to Argentina Rosario mission. Itll be awesome! And Jeremy is going to the MTC on the tenth, so thats awesome to! Youre all the best!
Love Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Monday, April 1, 2013

Meeting Mission President, Mission Mom and Trainer - 3/19/2013

Sister Wolfgramm, Elder McKinnon, President Wolfgramm
Sister Wolfgramm, Elder Davis (Trainer), Elder McKinnon, President Wolfgramm