Wednesday, August 27, 2014

27 Aug 14

Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 8:12:04 AM
Subject: Transfer 13 Week 3

Big news of the week: We got a call from the AP's monday morning (as our zone leaders are on a train to do an exchange) "Hey you guys are moving into the sister's old apartment. You need to be ready by Wednesday, but the Harmers (a senior couple) are coming tomorrow so if you want help moving your suitcases with a car, be ready by tomorrow morning." So yeah, we got ready for the car. So that means we had the lamest scambio ever as we cleaned/packed. So that was Monday, a whole bunch of cleaning. I sent a package home because I was planning on being here in Piacenza until the winter, so id just leave my short sleeve shirts here and have plenty of room in my bags. Psych, ive got to pack up again, so I sent a box home. I sent it "via nave" again, so you can expect it to get there within six months. I may even beat it home. Just keep an eye out for a box with Madonna pass along cards all over it. They are really the Christmas ones we use with the nativity on it, but Italians wont touch anything with the Madonna on it, so I think ill be safe (knock on wood).

Then yesterday we spent the day unpacking/ungirl-efying the aparmtent. They left it really clean for us, but we decided to move all of the shelf space from the bathroom into the kitchen. We didnt have any shelf space in the kitchen, which we needed badly considering we have a month's worth of food (I am so thankful we had the car to move everything). We decided we didnt need 100 shelves to store our toothbrushes, so we just moved some stuff around. The new apartment is super nice, were right next to a cool park and street closed off to cars so its really quiet. Ill try and remember to send a picture of the view at our old apartment compared to our new one. The old one looked over abandoned train tracks and had a great view of our neighbor's balcony (who told us he likes to watch us cook breakfast in the morning while he sits outside....). Were loving our new view of "The Valley of Zion" as the sisters called it. We only have one fridge in this apartment (yes, im still devastated) but it is a way better apartment over all. 

So remember that old widow in our branch that we go and visit? Make sure Grandpa McKinnon reads this story because he's going to love it. She's getting smarter. She has started calling us for errands that she doesnt really need done, just so we'll come over to her house. So she called us the other day to pick up some medicine for her. We had gotten that same medicine for her two days before, and when I reminded her she said "Anziano, you dont know how horrible it is to be all alone! Nobody ever visits me ever!!!!" Soooo im a softy and caved. We went and saw her, and she was so excited to give us some gelato. So Anz. Jacob has a cone thing, and she gives me a cup and a small spoon. She should have given me an ice pick because her freezer is apparently turned to negative one billion degrees. So she talked to us about her life while I hammered away at this ice cream. I did find a new appreciation for Mormon, as I imagined him doing the same thing to get the Book of Mormon put together. Anyways, I finished eating the ice cream, and I went to her sink to wash the spoon. I rinsed it off and said "Hey, where is your dish soap?" She look at me and said "Dish soap? What do you need dish soap for? I never use dish soap!!" So I just looked at the spoon and thought about the hundreds of other missioanries who have used that spoon. So if I get mono while im here, its not because im a bad missioanry, its because I fell victim to a spoon that has been growing germs for 40 years. 

On the bright side though, she said if I ever move to Italy, I can live there with her. So yeah. My branch president gave me the same offer, so if I ever do come here, his offer is the one ill probably take. Anyways.

Work is going well! We've been doing lots of calls to make sure we track down all of the sister's investigators also. The whole moving thing kind of threw a curveball at us but were getting back into the swing of things. We are SO SO SO close to baptism with a few of our investigators, its just helping them see that they're ready. Weve been working really hard and were at that last little push thatll get us over the hill with five people. So were doing everything in our power to make sure it happens. President Dibb said one time "I dont have to be a super smart guy to be a mission president. I just have to be obedient and do my best." So were making a big push to be exactly obedient.

The biggest test I had was this morning. I was super tired, and realized that I needed to excersize. I cant tell you how many excuses came into my mind to not excercize. 
"Its p-day" "You already excercized yesterday by moving" "You have to carry groceries home later, that can be your excercize" "You are already super attractive, you dont need to excercize." All these things are true (haha) but I did it anyways. Thats one of the biggest things ive learned out here. Life really isnt that hard. Just be obedient, and everything works out. 

Well thats all I have for this week. I did want to say one more thing though. As many of you have noticed, I like to put a lot of stories in my letters, and not exactly stories that are super powerful spiritual experiences (except for the spoon story, im counting my blessings that I dont have evil diseases). Dont worry, ive got all the good stuff in my journal, and ill be happy to talk about all this stuff when im home. I dont want to throw all these experiences out on the internet to everyone, because ive had a lot of growing moments that are between me and the Lord that have built me and my testimony up a lot. I just dont want these things to turn into "mission stories." But we'll have a real heart to heart if anyone wants to and ill be happy to share stuff in a "right place right time" sitch. I just wanted to throw that on here just so you know im not out here just eatin gelato and workin out. Anyways.

I love you all so much! Keep on keepin on! Tell James im waitin on an email from him. Keep readin the scritptures and CTRin!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A missionary, 3 dogs and a member (and a horse and a cat and another dog)

20 Aug 14

Today was kinda sad. This morning we helped the sisters take their luggage to the train station and sent them off. So now its just anziano Jacob and I here in Piacenza. Its just us two in our district now so we might be going to Reggio Emilia every week for district meeting, so that might help us be less lonley.

We found two cool new investigators this week! And one of them is from Scotland! He was in our area book and I saw his name and had to call him because were probably distant brothers. Whatever that means. So he is really cool and really interesting. He took us into his study, and he literally has 8000 books. Literally. He knows everything about everything so we'll see how it goes. 

The second guy stopped the sisters the other day and said "Hey, you guys are Mormons! Will you come teach me?" So the sisters sent us because they were leaving and cause he's a single man. So we went and saw him, and asked about baptism before we even said the prayer. He told us about this dream he had where Jesus was coming out of a giant white church with steeples instead of a cross, and that when he finds that church he's getting baptized like that. He says the SL temple looks very similar to the one in his dream, so were going to bring every temple picture we can find until we find it. He's got a baptismal date for the 25th of September. 

He has only been in Italy for 2 years, so he doesnt know Italian super well yet, so we use the pamphlets alot. I bought a "Learn Spanish book" and im trying to learn. I only study it at night when I have time, so dont worry about me wasting time, plus I already had a conversation with his grandma entirely in Spanish and she said ive learned well. Miracle. Its also really helped me be thankful that I can speak Italian now. You get to the point where its like "Yeah, anyone can understand Italian, how could you not?" and then I go back to Spanish and its like the MTC all over again. Its helped my Italian alot because the book is from Italian to Spanish, so I have to understand Italian well to learn Spanish. Ive seen a big jump in my Italian these past couple of days.

I dont really know what more to say. I love the people that were working with, I love Piacenza, I love the branch. Every morning I still think "I will never be as tired as I am right now for the rest of my life" and then I beat it the next morning, but its good.

Our Zone Leaders came to our district meeting this Monday, so they stayed the night Sunday night. Anziano Richardson has become one of my best friends in the mission, so it was really good to be with him. He and another missioanry made a "Six Months till Sexy" book thats the funniest thing ever, but I tried it out. Its a lot like p-90x so my stomach has been hurting for like a week. But I cant be fat when I get home so ive gotta fight through the pain!

Not a ton to report except that its the weirdest thing ever that James is getting home. Time is being so weird. I cant get over it. Im working hard to finish strong all the way to the end, because if im going to be here, Id better be here. Plus if im missing another season of BYU football i'd rather be doing something thats worth it, and preaching the gospel is one of the few things that is! Have a good week everyone! Girlies, have a good time at school! Same rule still applies, no kissing cute boys! I love you all!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

13 Aug 14

Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 5:59:26 AM
Subject: Transfer 13 Week 1

Hey again! 

Ill just jump right into it. We did our grocery shopping last week for the whole transfer. I dropped 70 bones but I saved a lot of money. And besides, 70 euro for six weeks isnt that bad at all. Planning is good! Carrying it all back to our house was the worst experience of my entire life, I was sore for at least 3 days after. 

So remember the woman who we helped to clean out her basement? Weve been her little slaves the past few days. Since then we have cleaned out the basement again (literally the day after it rained SO hard, so there was no point in going the first time), fixed the 90 year old ladder that gets you done into the basement, and picked up medicine. Ready for the most frustrating story ever?

So she calls us and says "Hey, I need you to pick up some medicine for me." So we bike to her house, get the money, and bike to the pharmacist. We get the medicine, get back to her house and she tells us the gave us the wrong medicine. So we biked back to the pharmacy and the lady said that it was the exact same medicine, they just added more vitamins to it. So we bike back to the old ladies house, and she refused to take the medicine because she's alergic to everything. At this point I may or may not have been considering just putting the new medicine in the old box, but Anziano Jacob has more patience than me so we bike back to the pharmacy, and the pharmacist (who is pretty ticked at us by this point) who says that they dont make the old one any more. So we get our money back, and bike to two other pharmacies before finding the old kind of medicine. Then we went back and delivered it and we all lived happily ever after. Just to add to the pain, she gave us like 5 euro to little, so I ended up paying for the rest. It really isnt a big deal at all, but I just think thats a cherry on top.

We have two new sister missionaries here and theyre really cool. Unfortunately, they both go home next wednesday, and then we'll be all alone here in Piacenza. They doing a great job and working hard until the end though.

These past few days have been something that state side/south american missionaries will probably never experience. Getting home, opening the planner, looking at the next day and the only things on it are "studies" and "lunch/language study". What do we do the rest of the day? FINDING WORK. I dont want to sound pesimistic but thats kind of a sad feeling. Actually, yesterday was pretty good

It started off kind of a bummer, because we got stopped by some missionaries from another church. They tried to give us a pamphlet and I said "Yeah, we'll take it if we can do a swap" and tried to give her one of our Restoration pamphlets. She said "I dont want that, we dont believe in images and that pamphlet has an image on it" (that doesnt really make sense in english, but she's refering to the ten commandments). I didnt know that pictures of Jesus are a no no. So we talked to them for a little bit and it went nowhere, and I was frustrated. Im fine if people say they arent interested but when they say silly goose things I get frustrated. 

Anyways, we walked by these super old lady and asked if she needed any help. She said no but was really nice and smiled at us. We walked away and I said to Anziano Jacob "I hope Heavenly Father blesses her." Then a voice in my head "Well why dont you bless her?" Good point voice in my head. So we went back and said she had a really pretty smile and thanks for making our day better. We talked to her for like 45 more seconds and she was just a happy old 95 year old woman. I like happy people.

At the end we talked to this guy for awhile who agreed 100% with the apostasy, and then said "Ive read the Bible, but it isnt translated very well. I hate that there are so many translations. Why couldnt one person translate it well once, and then everything would be fine. Well, we cant do anything about the Bible, but boy do we have a book for you. At the end he said he was going on vacation for a long time so he couldnt meet, but thats pretty much how all of our contacts end these days so its cool.

Yeah, things are going well! Were just having a good ol time in Piacenza and workin hard! Not much more to say other than that! I hope you all have a great week! Its crazy that Amanda starts college soon...Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Remember to CTR and all that stuff! I love you!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Pics from Piacenza

                               Yucky Basement

                                          Cutting Weeds

                                Friend from English Class

                                Christian on top of the world

06 Aug 14

Transfer news, pretty boring. Were both staying here in Piacenza! For the sisters it was kind of exciting though. Sister Montagnoli is finishing her mission tomorrow, just like all the other sisters in my group. That officially means im old. Then, Sister Beaumont had to go home for medical stuff, so were pretty sad about that. Then, Sister Gross is getting transfered to... Muggio! Im really excited because weve become pretty good friends, so now she can go clean up all the mistakes I made at Muggio. So were getting two new sisters here who will be finishing their missions in ten days. Theyre going home early to start school. So it looks like itll just be Anziano Jacob and I in Piacenza in a few weeks. So we had a "Mega Planning Sesh" and are getting everything organized.

This week was kind of crazy. First off, last week we went to help an old widow in our branch clean out water that got into her basement. To get to it, you have to go down a trap door covered in spider webs and down a falling apart ladder. I cant even describe what I had to clean out, so ill just send a picture. I can, however, describe the smell of that gross water. It smelled like (VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED) a scout camp outhouse at the end of the week, after Fat Freddy used it just after breaking the Chuck o Rama chilli dog eating record. It was so gross. So we had to clean it out while battling Aragog and his hoardes of spider babies that came to defend the homeland that no human has set foot in for 300 years. That last bit is a kind of a stretch, but she did say that we were the first people to go down there for awhile. 

So we survived the Temple of Doom, and helped her pull weeds in her garden. She gave me a machette to use, that picture will be included later. 

Theeen on Saturday we got kidnapped. Because of transfers, one of our english class students planned a picnic for us. The picnic, that was supposed to be our two hour lunch break ended up being a five hour voyage to the top of the world. It was really cool to see, but kind of long. So we called President and were taking some time out of our P-day today. So we saw some cool castles and churches. 

Anziano Jacob's bike broke again! But we got in fixed in a timely manner this time and were out rollin on our hot rides again. 

Monday night we had a sweet FHE activity. We did the Iron Rod. We ran string throughout our church and made them do challenges and answer questions along the way. With all of the questions, there were hints in the Book of Mormon. For example "What was the first Disney movie?" See 1 Nephi 11:8. It was pretty sweet. I also included the question "Who is the most attractive (boy) missionary?" They all answered that it was me, but they got a little help because their hint was "The answer is Anziano McKinnon." It was a super good activity and our investigators loved it. Were getting SO close to baptism with some of them. Like I said last week, were just having a hard time with consistency seeing them.

Thats all ive got for this week. I hope everything is going well at home. Shout out to Sophie for getting her learners permit! She wrote me this week "Bikers are the worst things ever." You be careful Soph, I am one of those bikers. Thats crazy Anziano Love was like at our house. Tell him I say hi. If I would have stayed in Milano one more transfer I think he would have been my zone leader. Anyways, have a super great week and make sure to CTR. I love you!

Anziano Christian Fife McKinnon