Wednesday, December 31, 2014

31 Dec 14

Transfer 16 Week 3

Well I have stories this week.

We'll start with the funny ones. So there was a Christmas market that was selling Christmas hats. So I picked one that looked really warm and bought it. When I got home Anziano Malzone decided to tell me that the hat I bought was a girl hat. So of course I swore never to wear it. He tried to convince me that it wasn't really a girl hat but I didn't believe him. Then on Christmas, for my present I made him swear to tell me the truth if it was a girl hat or a boy hat. He said it was a boy hat, so a few days after I wore it for the first time. We went to do grocery shopping, and we get into the store and there is a girl in there wearing the exact same hat. Soooo I took it off never to wear it again.

So then I went to church and asked the sisters and some trusted members what they thought, and they all decided that it was a neutral hat. So I was thinking about just wearing it because it was warm. Then that night I got a call from one of the sisters who said she had a very serious question for me. She said "Anziano McKinnon, if you decide that you don't want the hat, can I have it? Because it's really cute." So that was the last straw and now she has the hat. Normally i'd take this story to the grave, but it's Christmas. So Merry Christmas.

Yesterday we ate the biggest pizza ever. Some members told us about this giant pizza and that there was no way we could eat it all. Challenge accepted. So we went and got the pizza and it was giant. While I was ordering, I told the lady I wanted the gigante and she laughed, but I got it anyway. The rule was the we didn't have to eat the crust, and I almost made it. I stopped only because it wouldn't look good for a missionary to throw up in the middle of a resturaunt, but if I ever go back i'm getting revenge. I'm attatching a picture.

Here's the sad news. So there are these investigators that i've been working with for like 7 months now. The Dad and son are a little farther behind on the conversion process, but the mom knows that the Book of Mormon is true and everything. So we went and saw them on Sunday and she said she decided that for New Years she couldn't have a foot in our church and a foot in the traditions she grew up with, so she said that she had decided to stick with her traditions. It was super super super bummer. We've still got time though, and I think that they'll get baptized eventually. 

That's all the big news for now, but i'll let you know if there's anything else. I hope you all have a great New Years and CTR. Tell the fam that I love them and stuff! I love you!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

PS Other big news, my companion says that i'm the best American foosball player he's ever seen 

24 Dec 14

Subject: Transfer 16 Week 2


Well unfortunately this one has to be fast because today we have half a p-day because it's Christmas Eve....yeah.

So this week was pretty insane. Anziano Malzone makes everything interesting all the time, so my last X amount of time will not be boring. 

We've had a lot of success finding recently, especially with leaders of other religions. It's going to be a lot of fun teaching and we're excited to see some miracles!

I know this is a super lame email, but i'll talk to you more tomorrow!

I don't know what time i'll be able to Skype, but it'll be around 4ish probably. At least that's my guess. Like I said last week just put all of your phones on loud and we'll get it worked out.

I love you all so much! Talk to you tomorrow!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

17 Dec 14

I wish that words could explain this week. This email finishes well, so hang in there.

This week has been full of the worst luck ever. It started with the whole moving apartments thing. We were in a hurry because they gave us two days to pack, clean, get everything over to the other apartment, unpack, clean the other apartment. To make matters worse there was some miscommunication between my last comp and the office. Mallari understood that he can have two bags plus the carry on that could weigh 50 pounds each. We found out on Wednesday that it was really two bags could be 50 pounds and then 30 pounds for the carry on. So he was tryin to get his 3 barely under fifty pound bags to become twenty pounds lighter. But we got all my stuff to the other apartment and cleaned the sister's apartment to a respectable level (I swear I did my best). 

Then we went to Milano for transfers. There was a bit more miscommunication because my comp needed to get there early so we took a 7:10 train. We got there at 8 and just kind of waited because we were really supposed to be there at 11:30. 

So we waited and I got my new comp, Anziano Malzone. As one of the sister missionaries said "I need to film you (Malzone), because if I explain what you're like, nobody will be believe me." You'll probably talk to him on Skype. Anyways, i'm with him and the new sisters, and all the ticket services are down in Milano Centrale. So we end up having to wait until 3pm to take our train. It wasn't that bad waiting though, I hung out with Anziano Johnson and Anziano Anderson. Johnson played volleyball at Olympus and we've become really good friends and Anziano Anderson was in my group. They're all going to Utah State so that'll be fun. But it was good to hang out with them for awhile. 

So we get on the train and go to Piacenza. We get there and get on the bus. Some ticket checkers got on and threw a fit because we didn't buy tickets for all the luggage we had with us. So in the end they gave us a "Christmas deal" and only fined us for two "passengers" without tickets. So Malzone and I took the fall and both got fined 65 euro. Dont worry though we talked to the mission office and they helped us out. 

Long story short, after bike problems, apartment problems, cleaning our new apartment, everything, I think everything is back to normal now. I think.

So here is the happy thing. During district meeting, the doorbell in the church rang. So one of the sisters went and answered, and it was this lady. She said that she met with the missionaries a year ago but lost their number. There was something special about the missionaries, so she decided to re find us. She got our address off the internet and came to the church right when we were there. I was bummed that she didn't show up a week ago when there weren't sister missionaries (i'm only half serious), but she seems really cool! So there's the miracle of the week.

Other than that, we haven't had time to sit down. Yesterday we had enough time for language study for the first time in a week, so we've been keeping busy.

As far as Skype, It'll be at 7 or 8 in the morning. Maybe later. Just have your phones with you and i'll send you all an email when I get on. We've got a place to go so everything is ready to go!

I love you all so much! Make sure to be extra righteous for Jesus' birthday! CTR and have a good week!!!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

10 Dec 14

Well i'm about to start my last transfer, big bad 16.

Soooo i'll be in Piacenza for my last one, and i'll be serving with Anziano Malzone. He's an Italian who lived in England and Argentina so he speaks Italian, English, and Spanish. He's one transfer under me so it'll be good to work with him!

Here's the lame news. We found out about transfers Saturday morning, then the office called us on Monday night telling us that we need to go back to the old apartment. So yesterday was a lot of packing and cleaning, and today will be the same. I'll tell the truth, it was kind of hard packing all my stuff right before my last transfer while my companion is weighing his bags so he'll be under the weight limit for the plane. To answer the question i've heard a billion times already "Are you even going to un pack?" Yes, I am going to un pack. 

Other transfer news, we're going to have sisters in Piacenza again! So we aren't alone anymore. It's kind of sad though, because now we're our own district so we don't get to see the missionaries in Reggio any more. It was really good getting to know them and it was a blast doing scambios with them. 

The only other thing that you might care about is that Anziano Burton got transferred to Bergamo for his last transfer. That's all that I know about people you would know.

The rest of the week has been saying bye to people for Mallari. Lots of packing and re arranging of bags to get under weight and he finally got all three bags under 50 pounds. Then he found out this morning that he understood wrong and that only two can be at 50 and the other has to be 8kg. So this morning was kind of stressful and sad for him trying to decide what to do. 

Sunday evening we went to Reggio to Christmas carol. As you know, that's not really my thing. So first chance I got I went and talked to a guy listening to us on a bench. He asked who we were, etc. and all of a sudden he was telling me that we can't believe in the Bible because there are mistakes in it. "We believe in the Bible as far as it is translated correctly" is an invalid belief because something is either 100% correct or 0% correct. So we talked about the Book of Mormon and when he found out he couldn't prove it wrong he went back to the Bible. In the end, he wouldn't take a copy of the Book of Mormon because he already had one and had read it. His favorite part was when Joseph Smith starting teaching his religion. It turned out to be a very frustrating contact and I wish that I had been singing. 

Monday we had our last district meeting in Reggio, then we saw some of my favorite members. Then we got the call about us moving and yesterday was packing. So that was our week!

I hope everyone has a great week this week! Brandon is getting home pretty soon, right? Make sure to CTR this week and follow the commandments. Oh I forgot to tell you all, I decided to man up and wear contacts. The first few days were spent convincing people that I wasn't crying, but now i'm pretty used to them. So guys i'm growin up. Have a great week, I love you all!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

03 Dec 14

Sent: Wednesday, December 3, 2014 6:21:13 AM
Subject: Transfer 15 Week 5

Well we're in the last week of Anziano Mallari's mission. That's kind of weird. 

Big news of the week was our Thanksgiving party with the branch. It was Saturday evening and almost everyone brought Shepards pie. So we ate a lot of that. We're really excited because we were expecting like 10 people to show up, but we ended up with 20. Better than that is that 7 of them were non members. It was a lot of fun to hang out with them all. I love this branch!

I can already tell that this is going to be a short email, so I'm sorry. Thursday I went to Reggio Emilia for a scambio. I was with an Anziano Vacklaw from Bartolsville (spelling?) [Bartlesvile] Oklahoma. He thought I was cool when I said that my mom was from Norman, so thanks for that mom. Bartolsville sounded super familiar for some reason, and finally I figured out that it's because Noah Hartsock is from there. The sports stuff is still in my brain, it just takes longer to process I guess. I must be getting old. But anyways, I was supposed to go back to Piacenza Friday morning but there were some difficulties and we missed the train. So I had to spend another day in Reggio. This week flew because I wasn't even in my city, and this week is going to fly as well. 

The only other big news of the week is that I had to go to Milano this morning to see a doctor about my migraines. They've been pretty bad lately and he gave me a perscription for better medicine. It was really good to be in Milano again, I love that big city feel. I was hoping to run into Claire Hubbard but it didn't happen. Is she still in Milano or did she go home?

This is the worst email i've ever done and i'm sorry. I'll try and make it better with this story. Please don't take it seriously. I got kissed this week. I did everything I could to avoid it, but I wasn't quick enough. Luckily we got a picture just nano seconds before it happened. My triple chin is a result of me leaning back while still trying to look at the camera. You have the evidence before you, and I still think that i'm innocent.

I repeat, don't take that story seriously, it's not what you think. That's all I have for this week! I hope you all are safe and CTR and stuff. Be nice to each other and have fun at Christmas! I love you all! 

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

26 Nov 14

Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 6:10:41 AM
Subject: Transfer 15 Week 4

Happy Thanksgiving!

Funny story about that, we forgot which Thursday Thanksgiving was on, so we were ready to go with a branch Thansgiving party last Saturday. We figured it out in time though, so we'll have our party this Saturday instead. Our branch wasn't very impressed when they asked what I did on Thanksgiving. "We eat a ton of food...and then we watch football." "What else?" ".....when it's halftime we go play football outside?" "Yeah, but what else?" "....that's Thansgiving." So we're kind of making up american thanksgiving traditions for Saturday. 

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes! It was full of miracles. So I woke up and went and went to my desk where I had put my presents (Thanks Mom and Dad!) I got a new wallet (one that I picked), a second new wallet from a less active in the ward who heard I needed a new wallet. It's purple and has little cartoon aliens all over it with a velcro strap. So i've decided that when I go on dates, i'll bring both wallets. If it's going well, i'll pull out my cool Italian one, and if it is going less well, i'll pull out my alien wallet. That way i'm not the bad guy when a second date doesn't happen. Anyways. The last present I got for myself was a box of Krave, my favorite cereal here. I only get it on my birthday and Christmas because if I ate it more regularly than that I would probably die of sugar intake. Later I also got myself a cookbook called The Great Golden Spoon. It is Italy's pride and joy, with 1000 recipes for only 25 bucks. Then Anziano Mallari gave me a sweet wireless bluetooth speaker that i'm really excited about.

Then we went to church and my Branch President pulled me into his office and gave me a really nice tie and a card. It was really nice of him, i'll be sure to send pictures because I like it a lot. At the end of sacrament meeting, we were talking to a member and his girlfriend, who is visiting from the US. She pulled out this GIANT jar of Skippy Peanut Butter and asked if we wanted it. Anziano Mallari still has American PB from his last city plus he's finishing in two weeks, so I have 1.5 KG of peanut butter. It's great because i've been living off of African/Asian store peanut butter, and it's not really the same. After trying American PB i've decided i'm never leaving the States for the rest of my life.

After Church we went to our investigator's house for lunch and they got me a cake. It was great to spend time with them. They are from some city in Equador which is written in my planner, but I forgot to bring my planner so i'll bring that next time. Where is Amanda's boyfriend from?

The rest of the day was spent out in the rain knocking doors.

Yesterday we found a cool guy who is interested in meeting with us, and he wants us to meet his Priest as well. He says that this priest is the best one in Piacenza, so i'm really excited to teach him as well.

The rest of the week was pretty normal. We're getting pretty close to dropping a lot of people because it feels like all of our investigators know that the Church is true, know that they need to be baptized, but don't want to give up stuff. We've got a lot of people saying just give me 3 months/6 months/one year and then i'll be baptized. Mom and Dad, I apologize for every time you asked me to do the dishes or clean my room or come to family night and I said "Give me five minutes" because it is the most annoying thing ever. Thanks for not dropping me.

That's all I have for this week. Keep on being good people and obeying commandments. I love you all and thanks again for the prayers and the support! You da bomb.

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Shout out to everyone who remembered my birthday on Sunday. People who aren't my friends on Facebook yet/missionaries without facebook to remind them, you are forgiven. The rest of you, you aren't forgiven. I think 21 means that I get a horizontal driver's license and that I can legally drink alcohol. 21 is less of a big deal as a Mormon I guess.

For Thanksgiving tomorrow I will be in Reggio Emilia eating fufu. Fufu is an African food that is like hard mashed potatoes that you eat with your hands and dip in soupish stuff. It's not turkey, but it should still be somethin. I've never tried it, and i've heard "It's the best thing ever" as well as "Avoid it at all costs." So i'll tell you how it goes next week. 

Report on last week, for those of you concerned i've gone rogue for writing on Thursday instead of Wednesday, we had a conference so we had to change our p day. Don't worry, im still CTRing. 

Have a good week friends.

Anziano McKinnon

Thursday, November 20, 2014

20 Nov 14

Subject: Transfer 15 Week 3

This week was a really good learning week.

A couple days ago, it was one of those really low motivation low morale days. I think last week I mentioned that finding work has been super slow, and this week was the same. It had been days since somebody actually talked to us, so we were just super bummed. We were doing some street contacting and there were a few people in a row who said no before I even opened my mouth so I was pretty frustrated and decided to just go ring doors. So we were ringing and I said a little prayer and said "Heavenly Father, I have close to zero desire to be outside right now, I need your help." One of the next people answered and let us in. He was a student from Turkey, and right from the beginning he said he wasn't religious at all, but we could present our message. So we talked with him for tennish minutes and he said "Wait, are you guys mormons?" We said that we were, and he said he'd heard about us from the tv show South Park. If you don't know what that is, don't watch it. He still wasn't interested, but it was a huge confidence booster and gave us the motivation to finish the day strong.

Yesterday we went to Verona! We had a multi zone conference and I saw a ton of friends. Anziano Matau, Windley, Smith (from the MTC), Burton, an Anziano Johnson who I played against in volleyball, and others that I haven't talked about before. It was great to see them all. We had Elder Fingerle and his wife come and speak to us. He is an area seventy, and they did a great job. President and Sister Dibb also did a training and it was awesome as well. It was a really cool experience for me afterwards though. At the train station I was waiting for my comp to go to the bathroom. As we went in, out walked Elder Fingerle. So I said thanks for coming, and he asked what I took from the conference. I talked about a few things, and then we talked about some goals I had for my mission. I told him that my biggest goal was to work hard until the end, because I go home soon. He asked what I was planning on studying and I talked to him about some ideas that I have. I asked him some questions about what he thought and he gave some great advice. It was really cool to be able to talk to a member of the 70 for about ten or 15 minutes one on one. 

A bit of bad news. For the first time in my mission, I wasn't able to finish some food. I can't be competitive out here about anything, so I guess my competitiveness (if that's a word) went into the fact that I had eaten everything. My pride was hurt for awhile, but I think i'll be ok. I'm still pretty bummed though.

Sunday I gave another talk about worshipping the Lord's way and not our way, and it went really well. I had my first "You're the last speaker and there are 25 minutes left in sacrament meeting" moment. The phrase from Batman came into my head "You either finish early enough to be the hero, or talk long enough to become the villan." It went really well I think. We finished like 5 minutes early, but I think that it was ok. I don't think I quoted that word for word from Batman, but that's pretty much what it says.

Monday we went and helped clean out that evil basement at the widow's house. I'm hoping that it'll be the last time that I go down there, but it probably wont. Then after, we went and helped one of our members from Ghana move. We put together a giant closet for him and it was a blast. If all else fails I can just be an IKEA furniture assembler and live a happy life.

That's all I have for this week. I hope everything goes well for you all! That's crazy that Sophie is in driver's ed, 16 is way too young to drive. Does Amanda have finals coming up? And what is Kate up to? Anything exciting? But yeah, I love you all and I hope that you have a great week! I love you all so much!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Photos from Piacenza

At the Romana

Anx McKinnon and Anz Malari

Lunch with the Ward Mission Leader

The MAXI Burger

Piacenza Zone

                                                              The Piacenza Circus!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

12 Nov 14

Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 5:31:14 AM
Subject: Transfer 15 Week 2

Well this week was cold and rainey. AH. Before I forgot. P Day is going to be next THURSDAY instead of Wednesday, so when you don't get an email Wednesday, i'm still alive. We have to go to Verona! for a zone conference.

Our investigators have kind of particular schedules, so we can see them very infrequently. This means we have lots of finding work to do! So we've both been pushing hard to push through and finish strong, and give as many people as possible the chance to hear the Gospel. Right now, we've kind of been ice cold in our finding efforts, but we're pushing through. I don't have a lot to report this week because investigators have been sick so we really haven't seen hardly anyone this week. 

One sad thing, our ward mission leader is moving. It's kind of a happy sad thing, because he just got married and found a new job down in his hometown. We went and saw him last night, and he and his wife left this morning. It was sad because he's been one of my best friends here in Piacenza, and been a real big support. Piacenza has been a pretty big challenge, and he's helped me get through a lot of difficult things. He was the AP here in Milano right before Dylan got here. Ask Dylan if he ever met an Anziano Casti. Anyways, that was our sad news of the week.

Dad, you'll think this is funny. I was talking to Anziano Mallari about football. He's a student at the U and doesn't follow it very much. He told me "I don't know anything about Utah's football team, except that we're in the PAC 12." And I said to him, "Well, if you only know one thing, that'd be the thing you'd know."

Here is a story from last week I forgot to send. So we were going to the store last week and on our bikes. I'm in front and my companion yells from behind "Anziano! I just saw a giraffe!"I was thinking "Look man, you have to drink more water or something, you did not see a giraffe." When we got off our bikes he asked "Did you see it? Did you see the giraffe???" Nope. So we were on our way back home and I looked over, and there were some camels sitting in a field. So I pulled over and was like "Dude! There are camels over here!" And he came up and said "I told you!!!" Turns out there was a circus. There were lions and tigers and bears. Oh my. We actually only saw the tiger, camels, the giraffe, two elephants and some zebras. So i've repented from thinking that my companion is a lunatic and have a picture with a giraffe.

That's really all that I have this week. I have a scambio with an Anziano Stoll tomorrow. That'll be fun because we were in the same biology class at Skyline! So i'll report on that next week. Have a great week everyone! I love you all!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

05 Nov 14

Subject: Transfer 15 Week 1

Well the start of another transfer!

Halloween was a blast. We were trying to decide what to do, because everyone was either at a party, with their kids trick or treating, or inside being anti Halloween. So we went reverse trick or treating. We bought some Mars bars at the store and went and passed by some people in our ward. I bought an extra pack just in case somebody said trick or treat to us. Mallari didn't think anyone would, but I had faith. As we were on our bikes, I made eye contact with this 13 year old kid who probably didn’t need any more candy but he said trick or treat. He was pretty surprised when I pulled over and gave him one. It turned out to be a miracle because one of his friends turned out to be a girl who used to come to English class that we hadn’t seen in a long time. 

It turned out to be a really good idea because it led to us talking to a lot of people who wouldn’t normally talk to us. We stopped by a really nice baker lady and gave her some candy as well. I don’t know, it wasn’t like we had any super powerful spiritual encounters with anyone on Halloween, but I feel like we did a great job planting seeds and helping people see that we're not just the only people who wear helmets while riding a bike.

This weekend was stake conference. Saturday evening they did a special fireside on dealing with anti-material. It was really really good for long-time members, but it introduced ideas that not a lot of people had heard before. We were there with our new convert, and she had actually brought up some concerns that her mom had told her in the lesson, and then they talked about it that night. I was nervous because you could tell that it was kind of an overwhelming day for her. It has a really happy ending though, because the next day we were teaching her family, and we were reading in 3 Nephi 15.  So we were reading, and we were talking about things that jumped out to us. Our new convert talked about verse 8ish that talked about prophets. She said "This verse is talking about Joseph Smith, because he was a true prophet of God." I wish I could explain the look she had on her face or the light she had in her eyes when she said that, because you could tell that she knew it was true, and she had put whatever concerns she had behind her. It was a great moment.

So getting to 3 Nephi 15. The lesson was about priesthood, and we got to the point where we were talking about how great it is to use the priesthood to serve others. I was talking about Christ's commission to the apostles after his resurrection, the "Do you love me? Feed my sheep" and I forgot how it's worded in the Bible. There isn’t a verb "to feed" and I couldn't remember how it said it. So that started everyone jumping through the scriptures trying to find it. Having an investigator trying to find a scripture for you is a pretty embarrassing thing, but it happens I guess. Anyways, we didn’t find it, but the wife had her Book of Mormon open and I asked where she was. She said she didn't know and I said "Well, lets read it." It felt good so I went for it. I opened to where she was, and read the chapter introduction: As I read that, I didn't have a clue why we were supposed to read it.

Jesus announces that the law of Moses is fulfilled in Him—The Nephites are the other sheep of whom He spoke in Jerusalem—Because of iniquity, the Lord’s people in Jerusalem do not know of the scattered sheep of Israel. 

As I read that, I didn't have a clue why we were supposed to read it. I got kind of nervous thinking "Great, now they're going to think I’m weird for having us read this chapter." So I asked everyone to think of a question before we read, and then look for the answer in the text. To be honest, my question was "Why in the world are we reading this right now?" So we read it, and I still didn't have a clue. So I asked what jumped out to everyone, hoping that someone else got something out of it. We talked about it, then the husband pointed out the last verse and into my heart jumped the feeling "This is why." I still don’t know who it touched or how, because the husband didn't explain very much, but we'll see how it goes. 

Other than that, I don’t have any good stories. Other than the fact that I was cutting my hair and screwed up so the Christian McKinnon Classic Buzzcut© is back. It's rained a lot the past few days and it's getting colder. Not much else to report there!

When I got onto my email I got really excited because I saw "48 unread messages" but then I saw that they were all pictures from Dad. Not that I don't like the pictures, I thought that I was popular. But I will say that from the pictures of Grayson's baptism, Sophie looks so so so grown up and pretty without her braces. All you girlies are pretty, but Sophie looked so old all of a sudden! Roger and Dale, you know what to do. I hope you all have a great week and CTR! I love you all!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pics from Piacenza

29 Oct 14

Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 7:32:17 AM
Subject: Transfer 14 Week 6

Well transfer news.....I'm staying here in Piacenza!!!!!! So it looks like I will be finishing my mission here. I'll be with Anziano Mallari again, so it'll be good to "kill" him (be his last companion) because he finishes one transfer before I do. It's kind of weird because Anziano Miller and Anziano Garner go home on Friday. When I was with Anziano Miller we were both pretty new and didn't have a clue what was going on with anything, so it's weird that he'll be home.

So Saturday we had a party for our ward mission leader and his wife, because they just got back from their honeymoon. It was so fun to be with the branch. These people are some of the best people in the world, and i'm really excited to be with them longer. It felt like a big family party. It'll be weird if (if because it's still not 100% i'll be here for my last transfer, but it's pretty likely) I finish with only four areas. That doesnt happen very often here, most of the time people get 5-7 areas but I am completely fine with my four. I cant talk that much though because Jeremy is like one transfer under me and he's still in his second area.

So this week it cooled down a lot. I got the scarf and gloves out, and I got a cool jacket thing for 10 euro, so I look pretty stylish. I wasn't on a bike last winter and bikes are a billion times colder. I also think that i've been growing because my pants dont reach down over the ankles very well anymore when I sit down. This is probably the weirdest thing i've sent home, but cold ankles suuuuuuck.

This Sunday I gave a talk on service. My average has dropped from speaking every 2ish weeks to every 3ish weeks, but I think that I should get a reward. 

Yesterday we went to a city in our area called Cremona. It's a pretty big city, but it takes an hour on bus to get there. We hardly ever go there because unless they're super beyond elect they're probably not going to come to church. But we got a referal from the office, so we went there. We only got the address so we just had to pass by. We got to Cremona and walked for 30 minutes to the address to find out they had given us an address to a business. So we walked in and asked if this lady was here. I don't think ive ever been judged harder (does that make sense?) than I was by that secretary. 

"Hey we're looking for Jill, is she here?"
"She's not here. Do you have an appointment?"
"Nope, just this text message from our office."
"Who are you guys?"
"We're missionaries."
"Missionaries for who?"
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (nothin) We're Mormons."
"Ok... well i'll leave her a note saying you passed by."

In the end we got her secretaries number, but it didnt go anywhere really.

On happier news, we have this incredible family that we're working with. It's the same incredible family that i've been talking about since I got here. So the wife's sister got baptized in January, and she gave our investigator a triple. So she started reading that, and she was confused because it's pretty much the same as the Book of Mormon. She thought that the Book of Mormon we gave her didn't have everything in it. She did say though that everything made a lot more sense and everything just makes her feel happy. That whole family is so so so so ready to be baptized, they just dont know it yet. So it's been great working with them.

We have some cool activities planned for these next few months. We're having a Thanksgiving party and having a "Turkey Bowl." Instead of playing football, or even soccer, we're playing foosball and ping pong. It's the thought that counts.

One last story before I finish, last night we had our corelation meeting with our WML. Before we went I ate a ton of rice because we got back from Cremona late and I had a loaf of bread for lunch. So I stuffed myself and then we went over, and turns out his wife cooked dinner for us. I don't think i've prayed harder in my life than that night, because throughout my whole my mission i've never not finished something someone has given me. My prayers were answered and I got it all down, so the streak is still alive.

That's all i've got for this week. I hope you all have a happy Halloween. I bought some stickers and put them on our windows so we're all ready also. Make sure to keep on CTRin and reading the Book of Mormon! Congrats to Grandpa Fife for publishing his first book! I'll only buy one if he promises to sign it for me! Haha have a great week!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

One more thing - 
My companion had to return some ink that he bought (no, that's not a joke) and so he looked at different ink and fountain pens for awhile. Just to paint the picture, the store we're in sells Mont Blanc, Armmani, Ferrari, etc. type brands, so everything is locked up. I'm not kidding when I say I saw a 600 euro pen. Anyways, a salesperson came and asked if I needed help. I have to tell you, it is a blast to pretend like you're a rich person shopping. I was "wallet shopping" and had her pick some out for me. Of course, she got the smallest ones she could find, and I think I caught her off guard when I said "These are great, but i'm looking for stuff a little bigger." So I looked at wallets with billions credit card pouches and little machines that shredded anything smaller than a 100 euro bill. The last part isnt real. But if you ever have the chance to look at 300 euro wallets, go for it. And to answer all of your questions, no I didnt buy anything.

Anziano McKinnon

PS my Grandpa Fife just published his first book, if you're interested here are the links.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

22 Oct 14

Subject: Transfer 14 Week 5

Good week!

This week I feel like it didnt even happen because I wasnt in Piacenza very much. Wednesday I went to Reggio Emilia and was there all of Thursday, Friday was pretty normal, Saturday was packed so it flew (yeah, we got the phones working again), Sunday was packed as well. Every Sunday we go visit members with our branch president, who is the best. He's in his seventies but works like he's in his thirties. We've become really good friends while ive been here, so its great to work with him a lot. 

Monday I went to Modena for another exchange and was there until Tuesday afternoon. I swear the worst thing ever invented is the mosquito. There was one in our room in Modena and I swear there isnt a more annoying noise than a mosquito buzzing in your ear. So that wakes you up and then you start itching and you never fall asleep. I think I might have mentioned this before, but my testimony that Outter Darkness is really a giant swarm of "zanzare tigre" has grown from a seed to almost perfect knowledge. 

It was good to go to Modena, I had a really good time. I went with Anziano Guzzle, who is in my group and we had a blast. Then last night we saw a part member family that blew our expectations out of the water. We'd seen them before, and their non member husband didnt seem super interested. We became friends with him on the ride home, and then last night we passed by and he had SO many questions about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. So we're excited to work with them more.

Remember that primary lesson where you put rice and golf balls in a jar and try and fit everything in? Where if you put the rice first it doesnt work but if you put the golf balls in first it does? Well that one works like a charm. We have an investigator who is ready to be baptized but doesnt feel like he has enough time to give to the church. We haven't fixed any dates yet, but this lesson got his wheels turnin for sure.

Other updates, our ward mission leader got back from his honeymoon! Its really good to have him back. And then there is a family who is the best that weve been working with for a long time. Theyve been coming to church for months and are just right there. They're super prepared and ready, we're just waiting for that last little click and we're there.

Which brings me to transfers. We find out about transfers on Saturday. It's kind of a big deal because this will be Anziano Mallari's last transfer. So it looks like i'll either leave now or i'll finish my mission here in Piacenza. I want to stay so so so badly. Everybody talks about seeing cool cities and stuff, but the absolute best part about an area are the friendships that you develop with members and investigators. Other than Verona, I havent been in any of the "poster board" beautiful cities in Italy, but I would be so content finishing in little old Piacenza. But we'll see what happens I guess!

That's all ive got for this week. Keep being good people and CTRing! I hope the home comings both go well! Mom, could you email me Kenny's last email home? Brandon said it was incredible. Thanks! I love you all so so so much!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

15 Oct 14

Subject: Transfer 14 Week 4

Hey again.

So here is the weekly rundown. 

Thursday we taught our high school class again and they filmed us to show to future generations. So pretty much were going to be famous here in Piacenza for the next few years. We werent allowed to "proselyte" technically, but it was still really cool to share the message of the Restoration with 60 kids.

Sunday we had a huge lesson with a family that we're working with. The Dad has taken longer than the others but he did a great job reading all week and he said that he's ready to prepare himself to be baptized! Then the mom said that she wasnt quit ready yet even though she's been ready for like 3 months. So we had a huge step forward with him and a little step back with her, but we're gettin there!

Monday. Monday monday monday. So we woke up to our street flooding over and I had the beginning of a cold that got gradually worse all day. So we had to go to Modena for District Meeting/Interviews. So we had to leave here around 1 to get to Modena by 430. Its only a one hour train ride but we went early because once bad weather hits everything goes into chaos with public transport. It was a good call because we got there at 4:15. So that was a long afternoon. District Meeting went well and I passed my interview so things are looking good. I got some scary news that every missionary that i've served with/lived with has finished their mission and is either engaged or married. So when I get home I will be going to school in Neverland until i'm atleast 30. Assuming that you can age in Neverland. Anyways. 

So this storm that hit us came from Genova, where there had been severe flooding for a few days (to the point where the missionaries couldnt go outside for a few days, which never happens here). The storm hit Piacenza and followed the train line through Parma to Modena. Parma apparently is the regional headquarters place for our phone company. Their building got flooding so we've been without working cell phones for a few days. Which means we cant set up appointments and we've got lots of strada to do. They started working again this afternoon so hopefully we can get some stuff set up.

So after interviews we went to the train station to find our train delayed by an hour. We were lucky though becuase there were some trains with 150 minute delays. So we finally got home Monday night, and my cold had went from "this is annoying" to "I hate my life" so that was the longest train ride of my entire life. I was inside pretty much all day yesterday sick while the rains came down and the floods came up, and now its today. Im feeling a lot better today but still kind of it. A guy asked us what church we're from and I said "La chiesa di Gesu Cristo dei Santi degli ultimi dias." Don't ask me why I said "Days" is Spanish instead of Italian because I still dont have a clue. 

Last night we still went and saw a member family and while we were on the bus, we were talking to some ladies. I guess congestion is an american accent multiplier because I havent had any mention my accent for awhile, and these ladies said "You can totally hear that you're american!" Thanks ladies, now i'm going to cough on you. Just kidding. 

Then today after P-Day im going to Reggio to do a scambio and yeah. That pretty muc sums up the week!

I hope everything is going well at home! Well, my companion just said that our phone network is down again so that really sucks alot. So we're going to have to find Anziano Burton and Smith later today without cell phones. I dont know how you less young people lived without modern technology. I hope you all have a great week, and I love you so so so much!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

PS please forgive any grammatical mistakes that I may have made. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

08 Oct 14

Well hey again.

So the big news of the week is that we taught a high school class yesterday. A few weeks ago we were talking to a guy who wasnt super interested but wanted to share his ideas about the Bible. At the end of his discourse about evolution and stuff, we just said "Well, we still believe Adam and Eve were the first people on the earth. He said he liked our testimonies and asked if we could teach his high school class about what we believe. So we went yesterday and taught 29 17 year old girls and one 17 year old boy about our Church. That is one clever young man. It went super well, they all loved eternal marriage and all that stuff. Tomorrow morning were going back to teach a different class, but this time theyre the "science majors" so we'll see how that goes.

I do have to say, my heart is in pieces about Taysom Hill. We stopped by the church a few hours ago before going to give a member a blessing, so that my comp could check if his girlfriend wrote him and so I could check if BYU won. So I was pretty bummed afterwards, but we had a good time with our members. The shock is over and I can now write this letter with my eyes tear free.

Conference was awesome, it was the first time ive been able to watch all five sessions. Usually we cant watch Sunday afternoon but we pulled it off this time. Ill just put it on paper now, if I become a lawyer it is because Elder Christofferson is my new idol. His talk was so sweet! Elder Oaks and President Eyring are super high up there as well. Not that I have favorite though, theyre all pretty cool.

Other big news, every p-day it rains. So if its Wednesday and you want to know what the weather is like in Italy, its raining. 

We had a zone training on Monday, and our zone leader anziano Cook gave his "dying testimony" and that was weird because Anziano Miller and Garner are in that group as well. Anziano Burton and I were talking on the phone last night and we realized that starting tomorrow, were closer to the end of our missions than we are to the day we got to Piacenza/Reggio. I almost threw up. 

One things ive been doing the past while for studies is really study hard the Book of Mormon. Ive been reading it super carefully with the Book of Mormon institute manuel, and im just learning a ton. Ive been reading the Book of Mormon for studies for the past few months and my knowledge of the Gospel has grown so so much. When you read close, those "normal chapters" all of a sudden become "THIS IS THE BEST CHAPTER ON EARTH." Im just havin a great time.

Weve been working really hard on doing finding even when its not the best time. My comp was mad at me when we went out to do finding the other night a half hour before 9. We saw only one lady the whole time and she shut us down pretty fast with an abrupt "No" and the Italian finger wag. It's like what Dikembe Matumbo (spelling???) did but way more insulting. But we were out there doin our part, so it was worth it.

That's all ive got for this week. Ill try and get some pictures to ya'll soon. Keep being good people and doing good things. Im proud of you all for bein missionaries, keep up the good work! I love you!!!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Thursday, September 25, 2014

24 Sep 14

Well another transfer officially done. Im now with Anziano Mallari, who is going into his second to last transfer. He's a ballroom dancer, or as he just clarified "Competitive Social Dancing", cooker, Phillipino, and a student at the University of Utah. He's very energetic and loves to talk and sing. He reminds me how much I miss Kate singing all the time, so there's that memory from home! When we got to the apartment after I picked him up from the train station, I went and sat down on my bed. Ten seconds later, I hear this loud sound from the other room. I went in to see what was going on, and he had started re arranging how our desks and tables were set up. So I just looked at him and went back and laid on my bed. I thought it was pretty funny. At night, I wish someone could just document what our room is like. He listens to music and dances in the middle of our room and I sit on my bed and read the Bible. Im sure that our lives are documented on a missionary version of Drake and Josh for the angels who watch TV. 

Missionary work is going well! This morning we got a phone call from this professor we had talked to a few weeks ago. He wants us to go and teach his class about what we believe. So we'll be doing that on the 7th of October. 

We did some less active pass bys that we havent been able to get ahold of. We ran into an ex branch president who's been less active for awhile who was really nice, and then a Phillipino family let us in. Anz. Mallari worked his Phillipino stuff and spoke in Tagalog, and now were going back to see them for dinner! Its cool to see how transfer calls are inspired!

I say it every week, but we are SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO close with some of the investigators were working with. Last week I forgot to tell a story. We went to see a part member family for lunch. The wife is a member, but the husband isnt. He's a really great person and was close to baptism but got really busy during the summer with work. The member's mom was there, who also isnt a member, but she was kind of against the church. The husband, for lack of a better term, threw down. He was like "This Church is so flippin true, theyre all about following Jesus, and they pay way more tithing than the rest of the world and its awesome! This Church is so true!" We just kind of sat there in silence thinkin "Yeah, you gett'er Michele!" It was a really cool experience.

Those experiences sum up pretty well our week. Im really excited for General Conference! Mom, you wont believe this story. I bought a tie today, and it wasnt blue or black. Thats actually a lie, it is blue, but it has lots of red on it too. You'll like it a lot.  

I wish I had more to tell you all this week, but I really dont. So i'll get you a better letter next week! I love you all so much! Im glad things are going well, and am glad that Sophie has some motivation to go to math haha. The number one first thing im planning on doing when I get home is watch Kate's singing DVD thing. Boo ya! Anyways, have a good week! CTR!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon