Thursday, November 25, 2010

November 22, 2010 Letter

Dear everyone, this week was interesting.  My companion and I were sick...aka not fun.  Being sick on a mission is like being grounded as a kid.  The rule is that if you have thrown up or have a fever you cannot go out for 12 hours.  We were up in the morning ready to go, check Elder Lyman's temperature...and we can't leave.  Grand.  We're getting over it now that is good.
     In other news, I tried to wax my face last night as to avoid shaving for a couple of weeks...yeah that didn't work out.  I guess the hair is just too short or something...whatever...dumb wax.
     My money...okay so we have this magic card called the JP card.  We are alotted $140 a month for groceries and stuff.  The 140 is what's left from the 400 that is paid by us.  The rest of the money is used for housing and what not, but I don't have to deal with I don't.  Basically when I spend money on my account it's only when I have spent too much money on groceries and crap, or when my card doesn't work.  That happens all the time.
     My companion is from Riverside, California.  He likes everything that I like and hates everything that I hate.  Country music included. =)  For thanksgiving we're eating with 4 different families.  I think that I am going to explode.  Oh and people here don't call it stuffing.  They call it dressing.  When you say stuffing they have no idea what you are talking about.
     Glad to know that everything is going well at home.  Everything out here is finally picking up.  We have 3 new investigators and are committing them to baptism this week.  Wish us luck!
     So I am finally getting into the Book of Mormon.  Remember how I hated reading?  Not anymore!  I'm getting the chronology of the BOM down now so everything finally is making sense to me.  I seriously cannot stop reading.  It fascinates me that I could be so intrigued by Never before, but now it is amazing.  By then end of my mission I want to be able to give a summary in my own words of the chronological events that take place throughout the Book of Mormon.  It's a lofty goal but it is really fun to piece together....sorry I am a nerd.
    Oh Harry Potter.  I seriously only watch that to watch Dobby.  He's so funny.  Oh!  The other night I did my Smegal impression for Elder Lyman.  He didn't really like it because all of the lights were off and he couldn't see me.  Anyways...the work is good.  The church is true.
Love ya,
-Elder McNinch

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1, 2010 Letter AND PICTURES!!!!!

Heeeellllllloooooo!!! LA LA LA!  (Seinfeld quote)
So this week I will send you my memory card after this next baptism on Saturday.  This lady is so pumped for her baptism it is hilarious.  She is like 60 and calls us everyday to make sure that everything that she wanted on the program is there.  So funny!  The baptisms of the little girls went awesome.  They were SO nervous.  The oldest girl (12) was like, "Elder McNinch!  My hands are sweating!"  Ha ha ha silly girl, JUST GET IN THE WATER!  Just playin...but really...  I had to confirm two of the girls in Sacrament Meeting!  So scary!  That is the most terrifying experience of my life.
 Tell Brother Meeks that there is this guy here that reminds me so much of him.  Like if I close my eyes I could swear that he was Brother Meeks.  Tell him also that I had a dream that Danielle came back to church and married a returned missionary.  Don't ask me why I had a dream about her but yeah...weird...WIOD!
     Tell the Lee's that their daughter sent me a poster with her picture on it.  The poster said "Boyfriend Needed!  Call Tatum!"  Ha ha ha.  She had her number typed up on the little pull off tabs and everything too!  HA HA HA.
Yes I enjoyed the package but...there wasn't my 4x4 cube in it.  The one that is in my big bible box.  I wants it!  (Lord of the Rings quote: Golum) Everything else was super though.  I have enough candy now to last me til next year.  So we were teaching this lady on her doorstep yesterday (Halloween night) and tick or treaters kept coming up and were about to ask for some candy when their parents swooped in and said,"Let's go hunny, those are the Mormons."  HA HA HA.  So great.  I also got my first, "My mom said to tell you that she isn't here"  this week.  So funny!
So yes I got to go to the trunk or treat.  We picked up 3 families as investigators.  That is 12 new investigators!  Trunk or treats here are so different.  They pull up, open the trunk, trick or treat for like 10 minutes, then peace out.  No chilli, no booths, just 10 minutes in the parking lot and then they're outta there.  So weird.  Texas is just weird.
Yes I played at the baptism.  The mom was stunned that I sang too.  I don't get why people are surprised when someone starts singing AND playing.  Like they just expected me to sit up there and strum away to entertain them.  Weird.  So this crazy in the Melissa ward is trying to get me to sing in Sacrament now.  That was a dumb idea.  It was really cool though.  The mom of the three girls (only non-member of the family now) cried after the song.
So yes all is well.  I love being a missionary.  It is so fun.  Tell Natalie Timpson to write me and McCall Magness to write me back!  She hasn't written me back from the MTC!
Love Y'all,
Elder Michael Syl McNinch

I'm sure there is a story behind all this, but I don't know what!!!
I'll bet it's funny, too!

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18, 2010 Letter

Dear Family,
     Sounds like y'all had a busy week.  This week for me wasn't all that busy but it was a really good week.  We had the Valverdes show up to church yesterday.  They are a family that hasn't been to church in like a year and their daughters haven't been baptized.  We now have them scheduled to be baptized on the 30th!!! So that is really cool.  There are three daughters, two of which count as convert baptisms.  So that is two baptisms for the month of October.  Then we also had C come back to church again and said that she wanted to get baptized on the 6th of November instead of waiting til May 1st.  We happily agreed to set it up.  So that is another baptism.  Then we also have two more dates that are set for the month of November.  That will be five in less than a month's time if they all go through!  Cool huh?!?
     Glad to hear that the Seegmillers talked to you.  Sister Seegmiller has been writing me like 3 letters a week since last week.  She is really nice and sends me letters.  Ask her to give you Jordan and Kasidy's addresses on their missions.  Then you can give them to me. =)   
You saw Oliver?!?  What is that boy doing with his life?  Tell him to get his butt on a mission!  Tell him to write me too!  What the poop, he should be gone already!  The Savages don't go out of town often.  I know that there was a baby blessing last week for their grand daughter, so that's prolly why they weren't there. You do know that Natalie is at BYU right?  You know that is why you prolly haven't seen her around too often?  Tell Matt that he is a bum for not writing me back. 
Not cool man.  Tell him that I want a picture of this girl he is "SEEING".
     So there wasn't really too much to report on this week.  It is getting harder and harder to write in my journal every night.  I am like 4 days behind.  The only thing funny that happened this week was when this old couple picked us up from a zone meeting.  They picked us up and the old lady started talking to us.  "Sorry that we are late boys, we are just (FART!!!) running a little behind today."  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!  I tried so hard not to laugh at this extremely elderly woman who was so kind as to come with her husband to pick us up, but it was so hard to hold it in.  I'm pretty sure that she didn't even know that she farted.  That was what made it even better.  Pretty sure her husband knew that she did though.  I could tell by the grimace look that he gave as he looked over at the front seat.  HAHAHA!!!
     -Elder Michael McNinch
PS-  I like sour patch watermelons, swedish fish, starbursts, and skittles
PPS-  If you could go trough my boxes of stuff and find my holy bible box and send me my four by four rubix's cube I would much appreciate it.  I figured out that the rubix's cube is a great object lesson for active member lessons.  Especially when there are kids there.  Their minds pretty much explode at the end of the lesson when it is solved.
PPPS-  Yes I did go on a Sea Camp trip to Catalina my 8th grade year.  BUT!!!...I paid for the entire trip myself from the money I got helping dad with painting jobs.
PPPPS- If you could send me more stamps that would be great. =)
love you bye!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 4, 2010 Letter

Dear Family,
Texas weather stinks.  It was blazing hot like a week ago and now its like 50 degrees every morning. I don't understand it.  This week hasn't been too entertaining as far as the work goes.  Conference was awesome!!!  That was about the only fun thing to report this week.  My favorite talk by far was Elder Uchtdorf's talk during the priesthood session about pride.  So COOL!!!  I loved his talk Saturday morning as well when he said," I know that you are all wondering by now what this has to do with flying a plane."  He's a hoot.
It is so nice getting letters from all of you.  Yes that means you too, Grandma and Grandpa.  I do read them.  Thank you all so much for everything that you have done for me.  I know without your examples I wouldn't be where I am at today.
HA HA HA okay so yesterday we were in Allen for conference to watch it at the stake center.  I meet this guy Brother Dalton.  He asks me where I am from and I tell him Henderson, Nevada.  He was like," NO WAY!  Me too!!"  Then he asked me if I knew any Savages.  HA HA HA HA!!!  Know them?!?  HA HA HA they were like a second family to me.  Turns out that he is best friends with *Natalie's dad since college.  So funny.  He said that he would call Brother Savage and let him know that I was alive. Man what a small world.  First it was Sister Fisher (mom of the kid Blake who wrote on my facebook wall) who dated dad in college and then now Brother Dalton that is best friends with Natalie's dad.  Oh and then Brother Don Lewis in the Melissa ward is cousins with *Rex Lewis.  HA HA HA.  I know like everyone here somehow.
Well everything here is fine.  Our tire blew out yesterday and so we have to go into Plano to get it fixed today...wonderful waste of a P-day.  Anyways...this church is awesome.  I just kept thinking during conference how blessed we are with the organization of the church.  How pure and simple the doctrine is.  That if you were to fly around the world on a Sunday and listen to all the lessons given in the different parts of the world, they would all follow the same doctrine.  There is no other church in the world that can say that.  That has a membership as knowledgeable about their beliefs as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  This is Christ's church upon the earth today.  There is no way that it would be in such order if it wasn't.  I love when people say to me that we worship Joseph Smith or that this church was founded by Joseph Smith....please just read my name tag.
          THE CHURCH OF
...thank you.
Love all ya'll

*(Natalie is Michael's girlfriend and Rex Lewis is a good friend of our family)

Friday, October 1, 2010

September 27, 2010 Letter

Dear Family,
     This week has been especially crazy.  We have taken on the apostle's promise that if we will get 20 contacts a day that our weeks will be filled with teaching appointments.  Well...we have 22 new and old investigators.  YEAH.  6 of which are having baptism dates set this week.  Yeah we have a TON of teaching appointments.  So awesome.
     So this week's story is about this nice black lady that we met while we were tracting.  She was sitting in the front seat of her car with the back hatch of the car open.  She had a ton of stuff just kind of all piled in there.  We asked her if she could use any help.  She was so confused as to why we were asking, but eventually she said that she could use our help if we were serious.  She went on as we were helping her, telling us about her life story.  She had been in Katrina and lost her home and some family members.  Namely her grandmother.  She then told us how she had been with her husband for 10 years and he had been cheating on her for eight.  This was the reason for moving and the stuff in the car.  This was her second husband and she has 4 kids.  Crazy.  We started talking with her about the church and what not and how life is really hard at times, but through Christ's Atonement we can feel comforted.  She said that she knew that and asked where she could find one of our churches down in Houston where she was moving.  We called the Elders in Houston and they are going to help her move in when she gets there.  She asked for a card with our names on it so that she could remember us and the name of the church.  When we gave her a pass-along card she started to cry.  We told her everything was going to be okay and that Heavenly Father would take care of her.  She proceeded to tell us that that wasn't the reason she was crying.  She said that she had been looking for that picture. (the one that was on the pass-along card that we gave her).  She explained that before the hurricane her grandmother had let two young men come in and share a "message" with her.  She (lady we helped)  was there when her grandmother let them in, but didn't want anything to do with another church.  Turns out that at the end of that visit the missionaries gave her grandmother that pass-along and told her that they would be back to teach her more.  All that this lady remembered was the picture on the card; not the name of the church they belonged to.  Her grandmother was investigating the church prior to the evacuation.  The last thing that the grandmother said to her before the evacuation was that she felt at peace because of the message that the young men had shared with her.  The grandmother didn't evacuate and was killed. This woman had been searching for that picture for 2 years or so trying to find which church the picture was from, and there we were.  It was so amazing.  This woman was so greatful just to have us help her repack her stuff in the car, and then we brought her the picture.  She was speachless.  She gave us both huge hugs! ( I know that is not allowed, but would you ever try to stop a crying black lady from giving someone a hug?...I wouldn't either)
     It was so amazing to see how the Lord works in our lives.  I know that I am here for a reason.  I know that this gospel is truth.  That Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father live, and love each and everyone of us.  I love you all.  Happy General conference week.  Happy Birthday dad.
love- Elder McNinch

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010 Letter

Hey Family,
     So yes I got that wonderful package!  Thank you for all the letters!  All your stories are hilarious!!!  Patrick, your picture that you drew is hanging up on my wall...just so you know.
So this week has been pretty crazy.  I got my first blessing, first home dedication, and my first ordination to the priesthood. So my first blessing was to help J.  He broke his foot recently and asked for a blessing to help him heal.  He can't work so he can't pay for his truck. That was a really cool experience.  You seriously just go into it not knowing what you are supposed to say and then...the blessing is over. 
The home dedication was at a family called the F.  The dad and mom had been struggling with things for a while but have finally fixed everything and come back to church.  The dad didn't have the priesthood yet so he asked me to dedicate the home. The son of the family is the one that we are working with.  During the parents inactivity he was never baptized and is kinda hardhearted towards the church.  
So my first priesthood ordination was yesterday.  This kid Jose got baptized like three months ago and was going to be getting the Aaronic priesthood.  President Walker pulled me out of Elder's Quorum to be apart of the circle.  I asked him right up front, "I'm not doing the ordination, right?"  He goes," No no.  We just want you part of it so that he remembers."  We get in there and President Marble asks him who he wants to ordain him.  He looked straight at me and said," Can he do it?!?"  Goodness.  
So last but not least is my surprise underwear door knock.  OH DEAR.  So we're out tracting and this girl answers the door in seriously her bra and thong.  When she answered I just looked up at the doorframe and was like..."We're missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, would you like to go put some clothes on?" (said as fast as I could)  She goes, "ugh (teenage sigh) you're just like my dad."  I was thinking in my head...WHAT?!?!  So she goes back and puts on this little tiny robe which only made things worse, so we were just like obviously you are busy so we'll just come back another time.
On a more positive note we found 4 new investigators so that is cool.  We've begun the discussions with all of them so we'll see how it goes.  I'll send ya'll updates next letter.  
Okay so my favorite scripture is Ether 12:4, I like long walks on the beach, and going to the temple. (ad for a Mormon dating site)  So I got an e-mail from Zach.  He'll be out a year in October...weird.  Jordan is almost done.  More weird.  I'll have been out almost 2 months on wed.  It's cool though.  Tell Taylor I'm dang proud of him and that he is a baller.  
Alright so I need you, DAD, to send me my line of priesthood authority so that Jose can have that. =) and...that's about it.  
I hope Shannon got my most recent letter...please write back when you do get it.

I love ya'll and hope that all is well,

-Elder Michael McNinch

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September 13, 2010 Letter

Dear Family,
     There have been two tornado warnings this week and a tropical storm that came through...guess who tracted through all of it...yeah that would be me.  So this week has been kinda crazy.  The president came out with a new challenge.  It's to be a 14 point missionary.  You get 1 point a day for 10 contacts.  That means to get 14 points in a week as a companionship we need to make 140 contacts a week!  Yeah, that's crazy.
     So today was interesting.  I got hit by a car again.  No I am not kidding you.  This is the fourth time in my life that I have been hit by a car.  We were running past this "T" intersection and there was this lady in a mustang coming towards us.  I was out in front because Elder Harrison doesn't like to run.  Anyway so she didn't have a turn signal on so I thought that I was good to go.  Well I'm like in the middle of the street crossing and she turns!  I jumped forward to beat it and the front right fender caught my left ankle and flipped me onto the grassy patch in front of me.                      
     So yeah that was fun.  Other than that this week was relatively boring.  That lady C still wants her baptism date on May 1st so...YAY I have a baptism for next year planned!....We found a new investigator though.  His name is Joe.  He is a refferal from a couple of sister missionaries.  He is like my size, black, and buff as can be.  He's a Jehovah's Whitness so it's really weird that he would want to talk to us...we'll see how the next visit goes.  Sorry this is so short but I have to go.
Love you all,
-Elder Michael McNinch

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 4, 2010 Letter

Hey ya'll
     So the libraries are closed on Monday because of the holiday so I have to write today.  We have TWO baptisms today!!! So sweet!  One kid's name is L). So the other kid is Jo and he's the giant. He's so big that we had to go into Allen to get some baptismal clothes for him because the church in our area didn't have a big enough clothes.  He's a XXL as a thirteen year old.
     So we met this lady yesterday.  Her name is C.  She has been coming to church for the past couple weeks and wanted to take some more lessons from the missionaries.  We didn't know that she hadn't taken any prior to our visit with her.  We challenged her to be baptized and she accepted!!!  The only problem is that when we said okay well we'd like to set a date so you can have a goal in mind and be baptized on that day, she said, "MAY 1ST!!!"  We were like....May 1st?  We're thinking in our heads....that's like 8 months away.  She is so set on May 1st we don't know what we're going to do.
     I went on exchanges with Elder Davis this week, (Elder that was in my district in the MTC) because my comp had to go to a leadership training for three days.  We met one of Elder Davis' investigators.  His name is T.  T is so tight!  He knows everything from the Bible.  I MEAN EVERYTHING!  Symbolisms, laws, you name it.  He didn't think that any of the churches were performing ordinances and rituals correctly.  He decided that he was going to live every law that he could find in the Bible and that would bring him closer to God.  He lives everything from the Mosaic Law to the Code of the Nazerite.  He's so awesome.  I don't think that he sacrifices anymore...we kind of convinced him that it wasn't necessary anymore because of Christ's sacrifice....that was a fun conversation.  So he's talking with the bishop and should get baptized soon.
     We also met another one of Davis' contacts, Sister Y.  Sister Y believes everything about the Gospel but the word of wisdom.  She will not give up her alcohol and cigarettes.  She is HILARIOUS!!!  Wow she is the biggest Republican that I have ever met.  She gave Elder Davis a box that said "DON'T FEED THE ANIMAL"  inside was a black pet rock with googly eyes...she calls it her pet "BARROCK" HA HA HA HA HA!!!  Wow some people are just so crazy here that you have to love them.  She called me handsome as well, and ya know... coming from a 65 year old alcoholic and chain smoker I thought that it wouldn't be as flattering... but she was just so nice about it. Ha ha ha I'm just playin!  But really, she did call me handsome.
     But that's about it for this week.  I'm excited for the baptisms today.  I miss you all so much.  I wish you could serve a mission with your family.  That'd be so fun!  Love you all!
-Elder McNinja (nickname given to me by everyone who can't say our last name)
PS- Send me Music!!!  I need Benton Paul- Look For the Light; Andy McKee- Rylynn, Africa, Art of Motion, For My Father, Drifting, and Into the Ocean; Ben Harper- Forever and Walk Away; City and Colour- Forgive Me, Confessions, and The Death of Me.  Kaite Borden should have most of them except for the Andy McKee ones.  These songs are okayed by the president. =)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Letter from Michael

Hello Wonderful Family,

So I wanted to thank you all for your wonderful letters. It's really nice to go to the mail box and see something in it for me. The MTC is a grand experience. There isn't a whole lot that is different than the last time I wrote you. I'm currently making a scripture case out of Gorilla Tape. It actually doesn't look half bad. So I have met a lot of cool elders with some pretty awesome stories. We have this one elder that is in our zone and we were doing a mock investigator meeting, and he was asked how he knew that families can be together forever. This five foot nothing elder stood up, buttoned his suit, and said this:
  • " Last year I was in a car accident. My brother was the driver. We were going down the interstate and he lost control on some black ice. The car rolled so many times I couldn't tell if I was upsidedown or rightside up when I woke up. I just remember looking over to see my brother there in the front seat motionless and bleeding. I was screaming John John wake up and to my disappointment he didn't come out of it. I remember getting pulled out of the car and being put in the abulance, the whole time asking if my older brother was okay. They wouldn't tell me anything, just kept asking me if I was okay. Then I blacked out again. I woke up in the hospital bed. My brother wasn't next to me. I found out later that day that he had been pronounced dead at the scene. I didn't want to believe anything they were saying. I just kept telling myself that they were lying to me. Loosing my brother would have been hard enough, but it was what was happening in the car that I regret or lament the most. I had decided not to go on my mission. My brother and I were butting heads about the church and I told him that I hated the church and I hated him for trying to run my life. Then he was gone. So my answer to you is yes, yes I know that we can be with our families forever. It isn't possible that God would let my mom suffer the loss of a son in this life, if she wasn't going to see him again. I testify to you that that is true. I testify to you that that is why I'm here on my mission. To let the world know that families are the most important thing you have."
I just thought that was the most powerful testimony and I wanted to share that with you all. I want you to know that I love you guys and I'll send you another letter next Prep day (THURS.).

Elder McNinch

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Drop Off aka Arriving at the MTC

Mom, Ryan Michael, Patrick, Shannon
In front of the Provo Temple

The Sibs: Patrick, Ryan, Michael, and Shannon

@ the Provo Temple

Mom and her Missionary

Michael and sister Shannon

Ryan, Patrick, Cousin Jason, & Shannon

The drop off
 No pictures of mom after this point.
No evidence of the waterworks will be provided.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Farewell Luncheon

Mom, Aunt Mary, Uncle Brent, Grandma Staley

The Family
Back Row: Mom, Shannon
Front Row: Dad, Michael, Patrick, Ryan

Michael strumming it