Wednesday, May 29, 2013

29 May 13

Good week this week. Heres the run down:

We set a baptismal date! We finally were able to see a less active lady in our ward, whose husband isnt a member, and we set one with him. Second week in July. Hopefully ill still be here in Milano. 

Were working with lots of less actives right now. All of them are from South America, so im getting a good culture of food. We ate at one members house, Augusto, who made us sardine spaghetti, Charki sesina, and bunasimi spagnolo. I might have mixed up the south american food names, so sorry if I did. He also gave us some cheese. He cut it into long slices and gave us each one. I took a bite, and was overcome by the smell of a ripe outhouse. It seriously smelled so bad. I managed to get two bites down, then I had one bite left and Augusto went into the kitchen. I gave the last piece to Anziano Davis, who has allergies and couldnt smell a thing. He saved the day for me. Then Augusto came in and said "Anziano McKinnon, did you have some cheese" and of course I said "Yes thank you." Then it clicked in my brain that he really said "Do you want some cheese." I guess I had a funny look on my face when it clicked cause Anziano Davis started laughing at me. I got the cheese down.

So a guy in our ward is the 7 time champion of Italy and 1 time champion of Europe for MMA. His name is Fabrizio Gambardella if you want to google him or something. Hes a really cool guy, I like him a lot. Sorry this is kind of random, im goin down a list. I have to make a list or else I forget.

We were walking on the street one day, and we get to this roundabout. In the middle of the roundabout, theres a small park. Were walking, and an older lady in front of us starts getting attacked by these crows. Three or so crows kept swooping down and attacking her. In the middle of the park, there was a group of 15 or so Phillipne Os who had set up chairs and were eating snacks, watching these birds. Apparently there was a hurt bird on the grass somewhere, and the other ones were protecting it. So I guess a good Friday night for those kids is getting drunk and watching derranged birds attack old women. Pretty crazy.

So im getting to the point with the language that I can understand pretty much everything, and say like 60% of what I want to say. It takes a second to conjugate everything in my head, but its getting there. The problem with being in Lampugnango still, is most of the members still think I dont understand anything. I had a guy say to my face "I need to talk with you, but you cant speak Italian!" So he got another Italian, who "speaks English" (they all say they can speak a little English, aka they can say "thank you" and "New York") so he was trying to translate, even though I understood. So im speaking to this guy in Italian, hes speaking in Italian, and then another Italian is "translating" for me. For example, I asked if we could meet Saturday. The guy said "Sabato non va bene" (Saturday is no good) and the translator translated it into "Saturday is IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!" and threw his arms up. So im starting to get bugged at stuff like that, which I shouldnt. This guy ended up giving me a free hair cut today, so i cant be to frustrated.

We talked to a guy in the park two days ago who spoke a little English. He didnt speak very good Italian or English, so when he switched halfway through our conversation I didnt notice until later because I was trying to hard to understand both languages haha. I guess when I talk to people I guess I just have a really stupid, blank look on my face all the time because he asked if I understood English. Im American!

Things are going well here though. We have zone conferences on Friday, and weve already taught more lessons this transfer than we did all of last transfer. Same old, same old I guess!

I have some requests for my first care package: 
-All the EFY cds you can find. Anziano Davis has two CDs, one with only the piano, and one with all blue grass versions of some hymns. Thats getting old FAST.
-Flash cards. They aparently dont exist in italy. 
-Ink filler things for the pen brother morgan gave me. 
-A good Italian-English dictionary. I accidently left mine in the MTC, and have been using Anziano Davis. Were thinking one of us is leaving after this transfer, so that isnt an option anymore. Preferably paper back if thats ok.

I know this isnt a lot, so if you want to wait until you have more stuff to put in thats fine. Other than that, im doing well! Hope everything is going well at home. Crazy that school is almost out at home. Time is FLYING.

Thats all from here! Were using the computers at the church and I dont have my camera, or id send more pictures. Keep on CTRing and everything! Love you all!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

PS sorry if my grammar is bad. I realized my English is getting pretty ugly after I spelled "Bird" like "burd" three times in a row. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Duomo & Arc di Pace


Arc di Pace

22 May 13

Hello family!
I cant believe this transfer is half over.
Fun week. I did a scambio with Anziano Droghei on Monday. Hes from Idaho and is going to play football at Utah State when he gets home. He has one and a half transfers left, so it was cool to learn from him. He knows Taysom Hill and says hes a stud. So Droghei came to Milano with me and Anziano Davis went to Como for a day. Anziano Droghei is seriously awesome. Hes way less serious than Anziano Davis. He is still an awesome missionary, he just has fun at the same time. So that was an awesome change of pace. We found an awesome South American family that we have an appointment with tonight.

So in our ward were doing a 40 day fast for missionary work. Its where each of the days, a family in a ward will fast. So we passed around a sign up sheet in Church. Five families signed up for fast sunday. Very clever, but I think they missed the point. Italians!
We taught a high school class this morning. We were doing casa a few weeks ago and ran into this teacher who teaches a religion class. So we went and taught them this morning the first lesson, talked about the Rome temple, and showed them the "Im a Mormon" video by Brandon Flowers. Made me a little home sick to hear the music, but it was still good! It was weird, considering a year ago I was in a high school religion class.

Funny experience this past week. There were like 8 apartment buildings that were all enclosed in a fence. Someone left the door open so we just went in. As we were ringing the doors, the meanest, scariest old lady ever (sorry for judging) came and asked us for a cigarette. We didnt have one (obvi), so she was really mad at us, but luckily someone accidently unlocked the door as they hung up the telephone thing at the bottom of the stairs. We were able to escape. So the rest of the night we had to sneak around trying to avoid this lady. We saw her once from the other side of the complex screaming at some kids playing soccer, and she spotted us. She started rumblin on over towards us, and we ran into an apartment building that someone had left the door propped open. We were sitting there pounding on the elevator button, but it wasnt coming fast enough. We could hear her coming. It was like being in a scary movie haha. So the elevator didnt come in time, so we had to hide in a door way. I lived to tell the tale.

Our ward mission leader's son got his mission call to London! Im really excited for him. Hes a super good kid. I was hoping hed get called to Utah so you all could take care of him, cause his family is taking good care of me here.

Not a ton of news here. We got dumped by Roberto and Silvia, a couple weve been teaching for three months. They just stopped talking with us. Im kind of glad, because they werent progressing at all and their lessons always turned into long bible bashing discussions. Its to bad, but maybe in the future theyll listen!

Our next investigator is Andrea, the boyfriend of our ward mission leaders daughter. Hes super nice, but is taking a step back because he needs to make sure hes meeting with us for him, and not for her. Understandable.

Then we have Emanuele. Hes a 70 year old guy who never leaves his house. The missionaries met with him in 1997, and he still has the Book of Mormon that they gave him. Hes always wondered if the BoM is true, but never knew. Hes an awesome guy, but kind of stubborn (welcome to Italy). He wants to know if its true, but wont pray for it. He wont pray with us, and when he prays alone he prays to understand. Hes getting better though, on Monday as we were finishing the lesson, Anziano Droghei was praying. In the middle, Emanuele says "Wait! Ask him if the Book of Mormon is true!" So the desire is coming, it might take awhile though.

Dad, President says that the online endorsement has been recieved, so hopefully we'll find out soon.
So I could only send two pictures because this computer is being real dumb. But there is another email with two pictures! Ill get it sorted out next week or something.

Thats it from this end! Not a very exciting week. Anyways I love you all! Keep CTRing!
Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

15 May 13


Long time no see? It was good to see you all on Mothers Day! I thanked the Shorts again for letting me use their computer. Dad, I forgot to tell you, their house is literally next door to San Siro Stadium, where Milan and Inter play. There was a match that night so there were tons of people tailgating outside.
Nothing to exciting from these past three days. We met with a family from the Phillipines monday night. They fed us Phillipine food. I cant remember now if it was Greg or David that served in the Phillipines, but it was cool to see what they lived on for two years. It was good! It has nothing on Italian food, but it was good to have a change of scenery I guess. The only problem was the chicken had little bones in them, and the only way to find them was after they were in my mouth. So I got pretty good at discretely taking the bones out of my mouth when they werent looking. After dinner they made us do Kareoke.  That was exciting. So I sang Eye of the Tiger for them. First and last time ill do kareoke. It might have been against the rules, but we didnt want to be rude because I guess all the other missionaries that had eaten at their house did it also. I think I can put a big check on the section in Preach My Gospel of gaining the trust of members. Nothing brings members and missionaries closer than Survivor. You can call me the Italian Stallion now.
I guess Phillipine O's (sorry to make them sound like the name of a cereal) like American names. The husbands name is Arnold, the wife is Michelle, and their three year old daugther? Her name is Army Princess Joy. The force is strong with this one.
I read that Brandon, Kenny, and James are all training now? Thats pretty exciting. Rachel, youre next haha.
Last night I gave my first spur-of-the-moment-zero-preperation spiritual thought as a missionary. Thank goodness President Wolfgramm has us do a thing called "Popp Charts" every day. A popp chart is where with your companion you do a two minute "lesson" on a section from the lessons in chapter 3 of PMG. He promised me that if I do my Popp Charts every day (four) I will have complete mastery over Italian and know the Church basic principles better than 95% of the members of the Church by the end of my mission. So im working really hard on those, and im thankful that I am because thats what I used for the Spiritual Thought.
Funny story I forgot to tell you over Skype. We had an appointment with a less active member who lives in the same apartment complex as two of our investigators. We got to the appointment 10 minutes early and were making phone calls, and we see our two investigators (Roberto and Silvia) get home from the park. We talk to them and they invite us in for ten minutes for a drink while we wait. Were sitting there talking, and their cat is on the balcony watching the birds fly by. Silvia says "He always acts like hes going to catch one, but hes really to scared." Five minutes later, a bird flies in the house, hits the wall, and the cat runs over and snatches it out of the air. Roberto starts hitting the cat to let the bird go, Silvia starts screaming and crying and runs out of the room, and Anziano Davis and I are just kind of sitting there watching. Of course, im trying not to laugh because 1. That was the coolest thing ive ever seen and 2. the reactions were so funny. Roberto eventually got the cat to let go, the bird got away, and Silvia calmed down. Cant wait to see the instant replay on that one when im dead.
This Sunday there were four Americans in our ward from Utah who were visiting. Two couples, and were super nice. The two guys play (or played) rugby at Utah, and one coached Skylines rugby team. They know James, so thats cool.
Im glad Kates play went well, and hopefully Sophie doesnt have mono. Shes busted if she does! And Amanda, I think you should try out for lacross. I think youd like it.
Thats it from me! Ill send pictures next week. I need to buy a cord that works with my camera, but next week I should be good to go. I love you all!
Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

08 May 13

Another week! A lot better than the last two, numbers wise at least. Weve had a rough stretch, where we taugh a total of six lessons in two weeks. But this weeks weve had some pretty cool miracles happen.
Here is my favorite story from the mission so far. We were doing Casa (door to door) and we knock of this door (Monday night). We hear an old lady on the other side say "its two boys!" so they open and theres an old man. We say were missionaries of Jesus Christ and he says "avanti!" (Forward or come in!) So we go in and there are crosses and pictures of the virgin mary and just Catholic stuff. You know what I mean when I say that. So we go and sit in there living room and I start thinking "Oh they are going to be SO mad when they find out we arent Catholic." Not that its misleading to say were missionaries of Jesus Christ, because its true, but I feel like if we said "Its the Mormons!" they wouldnt have let us in. So we ask if we can start with a prayer, and Anziano Davis starts. Five seconds in the guy goes "Wait! Wheres your cross!?" So im thining Ok here we go. So Anziano Davis explains that we dont use the cross and focus on the living Christ. So the old man says "Ok, we are finished here" but his wife stopped him and said "We can all believe how we want to believe." So he let us stay and she went to bed. So we talked a little bit and explained the Joseph Smith story. He wasnt happy but he took it better than how I thought he would and seemed interested. Then he started talking about his life. Hes 90 years old (his wife is 92) and has been a super devot catholic ever since. He fought in World War 2 for Italy (I think for the good guys in Italy though) and was a POW. He prayed to the Madonna every night and he was finally released. Some Germans gave him some holy water to or something. But then he asked if we believed in the Madonna and we said no. He got super concerned and went "Ooooooooooooh." Like we were in trouble haha. But he said "I dont know why im still alive. I have a mom and dad, and a sister who was a nun, and theyre all dead. I pray every night and say "God, im ready whenever you are." Im just waiting for the time that im reunited with my family." So we left him with a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. He really liked us at the end. He was a really nice guy.
So I liked this a ton. I am positive that hes still alive so that he could hear our message, and maybe he'll remember it on the other side. it showed me that missionary work isnt all about baptism. It was seriously cool.
Second experience I loved from this week. Sunday night we were doing Casa. We ring this door and the guy says "Youre Mormon right? Want to come up?" I had never had anyone let us in before, so this was exciting. So this guy who let us up has a BoM from 1997, and had met with the missionaries. He said that ever since, he had wondered if the Book of Mormon was true. So were teaching him now! He likes me a lot.
So this week is looking like itll be a lot better than the last two combined. Weve taught five lessons Monday and Tuesday combined, and tonight well have our 6th so well have already taught more than the last two weeks. We have two new investigators lined up. One of them has a Book of Mormon and loves it, the first we dont really know anything about. We got him as a referal from the office.
So Mothers Day! Were 8 hours ahead of you here I think. The only time that I could call where you would be at home would be before Church. So Im going to call at 3pm Milano time. I hope no one has meetings or anything. Its kind of annoying trying to figure this out like this when you cant tell me if there is something going on. So pray that everything will work out! If we get to use Skype thatll be awesome. I keep asking Anziano Davis what the plan is and he just says "Well probably go to a members house." So I dont have lots of information and dont have a ton to go on. Oh well. Itll all work out. Dad, I have a feeling you have a meeting then. Im sorry if you do, but thats the only time I can call so hopefully you can get out of it. Sorry its so early, we just cant call after 8 so thats the problem.
Thats it for this week! Not a ton thats happened. We got two new sisters in our ward, so we now have a total of 4 sisters and us 2 elders. The work is picking up! I love you all!
Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

01 May 13

So this is going to be a funny letter. At least I think that its funny. Lots of stories to catch up on.

This was a really rough week for us numbers wise. We had three total lessons, lots of traveling, and lots of people cancelling. I did a scambio in Busto this past Friday/Saturday. They use bikes there, so that was exciting. Dad you didnt want me to ride a road bike in Utah because it was dangerous. If you could see me now haha. No the traffic didnt bother me. The breaks on the bike didnt work very well though. The front brakes didnt work at all, and the back ones didnt do anything until it clamped on the wheel and didnt let it spin at all. PRetty crazy, but im alive so thats good.

So remember that conference I got to go to with Stephen B Allen or Henry B Allen? Another two elders stayed with us the nigh before cause they travelled far. ONe was from Romania, and he has a hilarious story. His bike got stollen one day, so he decided to go look for it. He took his companions bike and they split up (which is a no no). He was riding and saw some guy riding his bike. So he chased him down, ran into him, punched him in the face and kicked him in the croch. Then took his bike back. Hearing him tell that story in his Russian sounding accent is the funniest thing. 

Yesterday, we were going to our bishops house (awsesome guy, ill tell you more in a second) and we see some guys running to a train. One of the guys hamstring cramped up and he hobbled his way to the train. I thought of Dad when he tore his hammy at the Turkey Bowl. I felt bad for him, but I also thought it was really funny. I guess I have some work to do with the Christ Like Attribute of compassion haha.

So with transfer day, you find out on Monday where youre going. Im staying here in Lampugnano and so is Anziano Davis. My guess is that he will leave after this coming transfer and ill stay and train. So I could be here for awhile. There are tons of new missionaries coming in, especially sisters. So three sisters from my group have to train. Two already speak Italian, but one doesnt. I am SO glad im not her. Im probably using the wrong "train" but oh well. Is there another one?

So today we helped take the new missionaries to the Duomo to do strada contacting. I was put with a new guy whos MTC comp went to Rome. Aka I was flying solo. But I was able to talk to a lady for twenty minutes on the street and explain that we werent Catholic, Protestant, or Amish. We get asked if were Amish a lot here. But it was a big confidence booster for me to be able to do that. It was cool for me to see the new guys and see how far ive come. So hopefully ill continue to get better. I felt like a hypocrite though telling the new guys not to worry about the language haha. Oh, one of the new guys who came in played volleyball for Olympus, and played a little with Elite also. I didnt know he was coming to Italy, so its cool to have a friend from home.

Last night two new missionaries from Spain MTC stayed with us. They both know Rachel and says shes awesome. They both speak Italian, English, and Spanish. So we did a scombio with them so I was senior companion for a day. We got a solid contact and phone number that I think will be really good, so hopefully that works out. Both of them are super cool though.

We have a mosquito zapper in our apartment. It looks like a tennis racket, but when you push a button the wires get electric and you zap bugs. We have ants everywhere so weve been having a hay day killing all of them with it. But one of the new Elders picked it up and said "is this like a toaster thing?" So we said yes and he walked around with a piece of bread on it for ten minutes until he figured it out. Still working on my Christ like attributes.

So I talked about how we ate with Bishop right? It reminded me of a story from my first Sunday I forgot to tell. On that sunday, bishop came up to me and said "Ciao, sono Vescovo Reterolli" (I am Bishop Reterolli). And since I didnt understand, Anziano Davis said "He said hes Vescovo Reterolli." Only problem is our Bishop cant say his "Rs" so he thought Anziano Davis was correcting him. So he said "Yeah, I have a little problem" haha. Poor guy. 

What else happened this week? Oh yeah. The sisters in our ward had a baptism and Elias (the investigator) picked me to baptize him! So I had my first baptism on Saturday! It was super cool. It was hard with his name cause hes from Ecuador and has like four of them, but still cool! It was right after my scambio so I didnt have my camera, but ill ask the sisters to send me them or something. So dont worry. 

Its been a rough week though investigator wise. We made contact with these two named Roberto and Silvia, who REALLY believe in the bible. There lesson lasted for two hours (which is super not good, should only be 45 min. tops) arguing about baptism and if its required or not. That was a hard lesson because they talk really fast and I dont have the vocabulary yet to contribute.

Giovannah, or Juana, we havent seen in two weeks. She ran off with her ragazzo to the Mountains, but we should see her Friday. The kid Matteo stopped talking to us, so thats a bummer. We do have a good investigator with a guy named Anrea. He is dating our ward mission leaders daughter. Hes super cool and keeping commitments, but hasnt recieved an answer yet. But its still good. We meet with him every Monday night and have FHE with the Lauriola Family. They always have sea food. This past monday, there was pasta with baby squids in it. THere was one that was two inches long, and I just looked at it and thought "at least im not eating cow brain or something" and ate it. Still have finished everything given to me Mom. 

One more story about food. Yesterday with the new guys we ate at a Kebab place. I got a Kebab PIzza. Kebab is some sort of meat (dont know what kind, dont want to know) and I ate all of it but like 1/6. Anziano Lopez looked at me and said "Anziano. Per i bambini in Africa" and I finished it. I wanted to die after but i finished it.

Nothing new other than that! This has been a crazy crazy week, but its been good. Hopefully the work picks up. Our zone vision this past transfer was counting how many rejections we got every day. Ill have the total next email, but we should have over 2000. The glamerous life of a missionary!

I love you all, and thanks for the updates. Hopefully Ill get Kates letter soon, but it might be awhile. Hopefully ill be able to speak Italian by then haha. Im glad Ziggy got drafted high. Kate do super good in your choir performance! And crazy that school is almost out again. Time is flying by! It feels like I havent been gone very long, but in one more period of time from now since I left home, ill be a quarter done. Hopefully that made sense haha. Anyways I love you!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon