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