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