Monday, February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012 Letter

Well this week is a little more interesting than the last. I'm pretty much used to the whole "country" thing. It's kind of ridiculous, but's where I live. I am most definitely taking pictures of the new area so don't you worry your little heart mother. I have a lot of pictures on this sd card that I have been meaning to send home to y'all. I just wanted to know if you had all the videos that were on the previous card saved to a disc at home? I will send y'all the memory card in the next few days.
Cool things to report on from this week. We got to have a sleep over with other missionaries, I got to meet Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the Seventy, I got to go on splits with Elder Johnson from my MTC group, and we had 3 baptisms on Saturday. The sleep over was absolutely necessary because we live in the BOONDOCKS!!! We had a meeting that we were going to in Longview on Wednesday (meeting with Elder Duncan). Well, Longview is 110 miles away from Idabel. No bueno for missionaries who are limited on the number of miles that they have a month. So we drove down to Mt. Pleasant, Texas and stayed the night with some other Elders. Elder Moody and Elder Drake. Elder Moody came out with me so I know him pretty well. He is hilarious. Then from Mt. Pleasant we drove into Gilmer, Texas. Then from Gilmer we drove to Longview. It was kind of crazy. Fun, but crazy. All in all it was about 4 hours of driving with all of the stops.
The meeting with Elder Duncan was great. Other than the fact that I was asked to sing a special musical number again. They always ask me to sing when there is someone important coming and it scares the heck out of me! It didn't sound all that great, but it wasn't terrible. All I know is that Elder Jones was the reason that I had to sing. He was my companion two transfers ago and he is one of the assistants. I am POSITIVE that he volunteered me for that wonderful musical number. It's whatever though. The meeting was amazing. If I told you everything that I wrote down at the meeting this letter would be way too long, and I don't have a lot of time right now.
Friday I got to go on exhanges with Elder Johnson, who is now my zone leader. He and I were in the MTC together and he is one of my most favorite missionaries. Truly will be one of my most close friends for the rest of my life. He is in Gilmer right now so that was an adventure to get there. But, when we did finally get there, we had a blast. We went out tracting in the middle of nowhere. As we were tracting we found this dog (more like the dog found us). It was huge! It was a Pyranease? However you spell that. My spelling is the first thing that is going to leave me as I serve out here. 
Anyways...the dog followed us around the whole time that we were tracting. I guess it was a body guard from Heavenly Father or something. After tracting with the dog we went to dinner. The little girl at dinner was hilarious. The only thing that she would eat was butter. I was dying laughing. Like, her mom would spread the butter on a biscuit and she would pick off the parts of the biscuit that had butter on them. Then towards the end she got tired of it and just decided that she would go for the whole thing. She reached over and stabbed the butter with her fork and took a big bite. YUM! Ha ha ha. The really fun part of the exchange was when we got pulled over for speeding. The cop came up and asked for registration and what not. He was the nicest cop that I have ever met. He said that it would just be a warning and that he would go and run the license real quick and be back. Awesome. We felt so grateful that we decided to give the cop a Finding Faith in Christ DVD. He accepted! Who would have ever thought that you could share the gospel when you have been pulled over? It was great.
Saturday. Oh sweet Saturday. We got to see 3 people become baptized members of the church. Yes mom I took pictures. They are on the memory card that I am sending. Two of them are a couple. They are from the Marshall Islands. There are a lot of Marshallese people here in Idabel. They all work at the Tyson factory. Then again, Tyson and some railroad company are the employers of more that 3/4ths of every one in a 70 mile radius. (we recently figured out that our Branch covers about 6,000 sq. miles) The rest work at Walmart or the casino. Anyways... the third person was a part member family. The wife decided that it was time for her to join the church.
Sunday we got to go out and meet the family that drives 68 miles to church every Sunday. Man, THEY live in the boonies, not me. The family is awesome though. I'll have to send you more updates next week. I don't have a lot of time on the computer today. This library only gives you an hour to email so...yeah...gotta go. But I love you all so much you cannot even believe. Being out in the "wilderness" makes you miss home a lot more I have noticed. Don't think that I am getting all mushy gushy or I can't hack it out here because I miss you so much, but do know that I miss y'all. I love you very much and I will talk to you next week.
Elder McNinch
PS- yes they can write to me here in Idabel. Otherwise I would only get their letters once a month. So yes, please write me here!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

February 20, 2012 letter

Oh deer,

"Where am I?" You see, that's an interesting question. The name of the city that I am CLOSEST to is called Idabel. I know longer live in Texas. I am in OKLAHOMA! Ha ha ha. Part of my area goes into Arkansas! Ha ha ha I love it! We live with a member about 5 miles outside of town. I tell you what folks, if this ain't the boondocks then I don't know what is. Remember how I thought that I was in the middle of nowhere when I was in Longview? Doesn't even compare. My first few days here were my first sign that I was no longer in "the city", but after Sunday I now KNOW that I am in the sticks.
Monday was a bunch of packing and saying goodbye to people and what not. Tuesday morning was transfers. That was a lot of fun (as you probably saw). The mission recently ordered trucks for some of the missionaries to drive and guess who got to drive it out to them!?! Yours truly! They are pretty sweet trucks. Chevy Colorado's with a 3" lift and after market rims and tires. Elder Morris and I drove the truck out to Lindale, TX where I met my new companion Elder Whicker. Elder Whicker served in The Colony and Little Elm when I was serving in Frisco so I already knew him pretty well. After the hour and a half drive to Lindale we drove with a member another hour to a place called Mt. Pleasant (smell of the town= not so pleasant). That's where my companion had parked our car to save miles. From Mt. Pleasant we drove another hour and a half out to the wonderful city of Idabel, Oklahoma. Ooo boy! We got home, unpacked what I needed for the day, and headed off to dinner. Dinner was awesome. Oh my goodness. We ate dinner with a man named Buddy. You know how sometimes we would watch Blue Collar TV? Well, let's put it this way. Buddy doesn't have to watch it. He lives it! It is so great! His son (28) was poking fun at him for being "old" and Buddy was jeering back at him with some of the funniest sayings that I have ever heard. I was in tears all night from laughing. Everything in Buddy's home is a nice John Deere yellow or green. Yes, even down to the toliet. I LOVE these people here! Buddy is a convert to the church. The two missionaries that taught him are some of the greatest ones that I know. Elder Ryan Hurd being one of them (he was the missionary that I met in the temple before our mission). Buddy has one of the strongest testimonies that I have ever heard. Hearing him bear his testimony after dinner was one of the greatest moments of my mission. Let me tell you, I cannot wait until fast Sunday. Ha ha ha.

I cannot tell you how many new phrases I am learning out here. Favorite one of the week is, "You bet'r git on dat lika duck ona Joonbug!" Ha ha ha. I almost peed my pants when I heard someone say it. The funny thing was that they weren't kidding. They meant it. It was in a normal, casual conversation. Something else that I am finding interesting here is that it's very culturally diverse. I mean apart from the 80% who are backwoods, you have a lot of people from the Marshall and Gilbert Islands and different Indian tribes. It's pretty awesome. In fact, most of our investigators right now are from the Marshall Islands. Sometimes we need to have one of them translate the lesson for us. It is so awesome.
Within the first three weeks of being here we will have 4 baptisms. We already have set 2 new baptismal dates with 7 more to be set this week. All with new investigators from this week. I will have to give you details on all of them in the coming weeks.

I had the opportunity to see someone healed this week. Her name is Carol. She has been ill for quite sometime. She suffers from some type of cancer and usually cannot have any visitors because of her weakened immune system. Her grandson, Austin, is 11 years old and wants to be baptized. So we went over to visit and see what we could do to help her, as well to talk to Austin about being baptized. Grandma let us right in and talked with us for a little while. She is currently on a breathing machine so she usually doesn't talk very much, but we had the chance to talk to her about what we could do to help her and her family. She expressed that she wanted her grandson to be baptized and someday go on a mission. She said, "If y'all could do that for me, everything else will be a piece of cake." I said, "No problem, I love cake." We set a baptismal date for Austin to work toward and left with a prayer. The next day we felt like we needed to call Carol to talk to her more about the baptism and what not. She could barely talk on the phone. I asked her if she needed a blessing, and she said that that would be wonderful. We went over as soon as we could. We got there to find out that Carol had developed pneumonia over the past few days. She said that she was in terrible pain. We gave her a blessing, promising her that if she would have faith enough, she would be healed and that the pneumonia would not overtake her. We left her with a word of prayer and a couple of extra blankets, telling her that we would be back in the morning to see how she was doing. The next morning we arrived at her home to find that SHE answered the door. Carol was walking around and talking like there was no tomorrow; breathing tubes still stuck up her nose. It was amazing.

So, now to Sunday. The day that I knew I was in the boonies. We had a meeting with the Branch Mission Leader at 8 and then we went to go wake up all of our investigators for church. As we were leaving the church parking lot we had to stop. Boonie clue number 1- A pack of deer came running out across the church lawn and darted into the woods on the other side of the building. I just kind of sat there and said to myself, "That just happened..." After the deer and trying to wake up our investigators, church was almost ready to begin. We were in printing programs when the Relief Society President came in saying, "Elders! Come quick! I need to borrow you. I have baptisms for you!" Say what? We go into the hallway to meet a family who just drove 68 MILES to get to church! 68 MILES! That is a long drive to church. They haven't been to church in about 15 years and all of their kids want to be baptized. Ha ha ha. Miracles much? But really what killed me was that they had to drive 68 miles to the NEAREST building. Boonie clue number 2. Then Sacrament service started and I starting to read some scriptures as I normally do. I couldn't help but look at all of the deacons as they stood up to pass the sacrament. They all had a common theme to their attire, and that was boonie clue number 3. They all had huge buck knives on their belts with abnormally large buckles. Awesome.
Needless to say, I LOVE my new area. Good luck getting mail here. My new address is "Rural Route 2 Box 602, Idabel, Oklahoma, 74745" No joke on the "Rural Route" part. That's really what it's called. I didn't even know that those kinds of addresses existed. We live with members and they are great. Their names are the McDonald's. Yes, ee ei ee ei oh, I live on the McDonald's farm in Oklahoma. Yes mom, you can look at all the picture cd's. The rest of the stuff is all books and talks and stuff that I want after the mission. Yes I got to see April Feliciano get baptized by her boyfriend Christoph McLaughlin. It was an amazing experience. Glad to know that we are not going to move before I get home. That is nice. School? Ummm...yeah...need to pray about that one.


Elder Michael McNinch

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Transfer Day February 14th 2012 Pictures

First up I just want to say that this hair looks nothing like

THIS hair!
Now for your viewing pleasure....

There are more pictures, but blogger is being difficult and I can't get them all uploaded.
You can go here to see more. (Clickety on the word "here")

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February 6, 2012 letter


Glad that y'all figured out the whole email thing. I was getting kind of worried that my emails weren't getting to you. I enjoyed getting an email from Aunt Enner last week. It was much appreciated. Please know that I love and miss all of you dearly.
I did get your really large packet in the mail. Glad to see that everyone is doing well. I love how Shawn and Michelle's family had 3 surgeries in a two week period. That has to be some kind of record. I loved seeing all of the pictures of everyone. It made me really happy. I'll have to make a list of addresses that I need so I can write all of them and see how they are doing.
I interrupt this email to tell y'all that the man that is sitting in front of me is listening to "Hot-blooded" by Foreigner and dancing his heart out. Ha ha ha. I am about to pee right in my pants. It's really funny because he is Hispanic and doesn't really know what the words are, so he is just kind of singing whatever comes to his mind. It's even better because he is using headphones but the music is up so loud that everyone around us can hear it. Ha ha ha. Okay...back to the letter.
Brent and Brittany got to meet President Durrant?! That's so awesome. Really crazy that they are in my mission. Transfers are coming up...who knows? Maybe I'll have another east Texas experience.
Jordan Miller is home huh? That must have been a pretty sweet talk. I bet that the girls in the ward were all swooning, weren't they? Elder Miller is such a stud. I love that kid. Glad to know that he is home safe now. No more freezing cold winters in New York.
So y'all have a new Elder. Where is he from? It seems like y'all have had a lot of foreigners. That's kind of cool. Everyone always freaks out when I tell them that I am from Las Vegas. They always say, " really...where are you from?" Ha ha ha...I'm a missionary...I don't lie! It's kinda funny. We have this girl who is getting baptized on Saturday who says the same thing. She told me yesterday at church, "When I first heard that one of my missionaries was from the city of sin I had to ask myself How can someone holy come out of the city of sin?" I thought that the statement was funny in general, but even more funny that she called me Holy. Ha ha ha. I have been called a lot of strange things on my mission, but never Holy.
So I understand that stamps are up to 45 cents now?! What is up with that?! Doesn't the government know that missionaries all over the US are outraged!?! I handed the letter to the teller at the library post office today and he said, "That will be 45 cents" I said, "What?" Then he explained that it is now 45 cents a stamp. I feel like my world is closing in on me. My companion just had to buy four 1 cent stamps to put on all of his letters today. Seriously?!? We need to get Romney in there fast so he can fix this mess. He'll go to bat for the missionaries for sure.
This week was fun. Getting everything all set up for April Feliciano's baptism. She is so excited. Her boyfriend is the was that is going to baptize her. He keeps telling her that he is going to hold her under for a while to make sure that she gets all the sins off. She is so scared of drowning which makes it all the more funny. She is also terrified of public speaking so we keep telling her that she is going to have to get up and bear her testimony at the baptism. She is hilarious. She is so ready to be baptized. I have never seen someone so giddy.
I don't really have much to report on this week...oh...I...uhh...broke the car...BUT! Other than that, everything is all good. "What?! I didn't brake it...I was just testing it's durability." But really...I broke like the smallest piece of the car. It was like a side taillight and just the plastic covering broke. They're trying to tell me that it'll cost $76.00to fix!!! I was like WHAT!!! No way. I'll figure it out. Don't worry.
Okay, so after the baptism and such I will send home a memory card so that you will have some beautiful pictures of your wonderful son. Other than that nothing much to say. The church is still true no matter how many crazy people I meet that set out to prove the church wrong. No matter how many people try to bash with us, it's still true. "I love my mamma very much, now you know that!"- Waterboy


Elder McNinch