Monday, April 30, 2012
Moving really doesn't matter to me at this point. If y'all move...well...I won't be there to help. If you don't move...I'll share a room with Patrick. It's not like I haven't shared a room with another guy for the past two years or anything. Logan's talk sounds pretty funny. I'll have to hear the story in person later. Speaking of in person, the day of Mother's is coming up, would you like me to Skype home or call. Let me know either way.
This week I became a "real missionary". We were on bikes. Yeah...rough. We were really low on miles for the month, therefore my bum suffered much affliction. My rear end hasn't been so sore in my whole life. It was way fun though. I loved it. We had people waving, screaming, and honking at us left and right. Most likely because I don't know the hand signals to turn left and right on a bicycle so they were all trying to get my attention before they hit me, but all is well. Not a bump or bruise. Except for maybe my tailbone; and no, I haven't checked. We have had some minor adjustments to make with some of the people who are getting baptized but, everything seems to be alright. Just got to figure a few details out and keep it moving.
We had the confirmation of Edith King on Sunday, April 29, 2012. It was awesome. She asked if I would be the one to confirm her a member of the church. Well YEAH! She bore her testimony again in Gospel Essentials and again I cried. She is such an amazing lady. I will definitely be sending pictures soon. In other news for the week we met some really interesting people. We were out tracting and we came upon a lady who was a little bit tipsy. She was on her 3rd or 4th glass of wine if I am not mistaken. As we proceeded to share what it is we do, she kept interrupting and talking about "the good ol' days when I [she] was hot." So, the contact wasn't really going in the direction that we wanted to, so we decided to set a return appointment for when she was not that intoxicated. Next house two young women answer the door. Tried to share things about the Gospel, but alas they were not very interested in the Gospel. I left the door to go get my companion, who was taking a phone call, to start walking back to our bikes when the two young women opened the door again. They invited us to a keg party for the local college that night and said that they would be my dates if I wanted. Ummm...No thanks...God bless! Bye! Somehow the nametag that says Jesus Christ really reads "I love to party". Whatever. On to the next door. We meet another Marshallese person. Sweet! Find out that she is sisters with someone that we have been trying to get ahold of since last month and she's a member. Sweeter. They invited us to play a game of volleyball and eat dinner. Even sweeter. Finished a plate of food and game of volleyball in just under an hour and said that we needed to go. We got the information for about 10 people who we're going to be contacting this week. Super sweet. As we are leaving I had a woman who asked, "What is your name?" I of course told her that my name was Elder McNinch and my companion's name was Elder Whicker. She asked if I knew any Elders that went by the name of Michael. I said...umm...well that's my first name. Why? Then she asked, "Are you single?" OKAY....Gotta go...BYE! Ha ha ha I have never ridden my bike so fast.
We had a lot of really great experiences this week but I cannot cover them all. I'll have to write about them later. I only have like 3 minutes left on the computer. Love y'all so much.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
This week we helped our branch mission leader with his chicken houses. We didn't have to pick up any dead ones this time so that was nice. We did have a wonderful baptism on Sunday. Edith King was baptized April 22, 2012. She is the funniest lady that I have ever met. She was baptized by a man in the branch named Brother Melton. Brother Melton is probably the funniest man that I have ever met. Together you get the cutest little old couple that you ever did meet. We're pretty sure that they have a secret crush on one another but won't admit to it. Edith gave him a big hug in the font after she came up out of the water. It was so awesome! Another note to add is that Edith is deathly afraid of water. She nearly drown when she was a child and has had a severe fear of going under water ever since. She was a trooper. I felt her nervousness as I watched her hands shake in Brother Melton's. Then, as soon as he finished the prayer, the shaking stopped. Then before you knew it she and Brother Melton were hugging and everyone had a smile across their face. I think that my favorite part of the day was not necessarily the baptism itself but the Gospel Essentials class that was held just a few hours before. Edith answered one of the questions asked by the teacher, and then proceeded to expound on why she knew it was true. The lesson was about the Church of Jesus Christ in former days. She bore a powerful testimony of her conversion to the gospel. Of her whole testimony, the part I enjoyed the most was hearing her say, "I feel like I have been a Mormon all my life; guess it was just in my heart and I didn't know it." I LOVE those kinds of experiences. They provide you with a spirit that is unparalleled. Being a missionary is one of the greatest gifts that I have ever been given.
Other than the baptism, nothing really too exciting around here. The Branch Clerk jokingly said that he is kind of upset with us because of all of the records he has to create. He said that it is the best problem he has ever encountered since being the clerk. Don't worry, there are more still to come. We have 9 dates scheduled with another 4 to be set this week. I have never felt more apart of the Lord's work than I do now.
Tell Jake congrats for me. I understand his not waiting for me to be home. That is awesome. Tell him that he will have to wait a little while to be invited to my wedding. That won't be for a long time. Betcha he'll have a kid before I get hitched. Anywho...so I got a call today from the mission office informing me that you'll be getting my departure papers soon. Please do not let me know when you get them or what they say. Tell Shannon that she is a turd for not writing me for a while now, but I'm glad that she liked the card. It's the least that I could do. Tell Patrick that he is a player (baseball and ladies man) and he'll have to show me some of his skills when I get home. Tell Ryan that he's a punk and I miss his guts.
Elder Michael McNinch
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
This week was great. Yesterday we had the confirmations of all of the Pate children. Never had 4 confirmations on one Sunday before, so that was pretty cool. President Durrant called us the other day asking us about all the work that is going on here. He asked if I thought that it would be beneficial for him to call another missionary companionship to serve in the Idabel Branch. I told him that if he did we could definitely find some work for them to do. So, President sent a senior couple that is currently serving in Marshall, Texas up to "survey" the branch to see whether or not another companionship was needed. It was so fun to have them up here. We got to go and introduce them to all of our investigators from the Marshall Islands and all the families that we are teaching. They loved it up here. I hope that they give a good report to President Durrant because there is plenty of work for two companionships.
I would have to say that the best day of the week was Saturday. Even though we had 4 confirmations on Sunday, Saturday was amazing. We had the baptismal interview for a lady that we are teaching. Her name is Edith. She is a rock. We had the zone leaders come up from Gilmer to do the interview. We all drove over to Edith's friend's house to have the interview out on the porch (because we can't be in a house with no male present). Well, we thought that it would be a big waste of time if Elder Whicker and I just sat there and watched the interview being conducted from the car. So, we left Elder Fisher there to watch his companion from the car while we tracted. We went to the house right next door to the interview first. We thought that it might be awkward and all with the interview happening directly to our left, but hey, we're missionaries. We embrace the awkward. So we go to knock on the door and find that there is a young man sitting on the porch. We start talking with him and getting to know him; he's a great kid. He's sixteen and goes to Idabel High School. Turns out that he knows a few of the kids in the Branch. So we start talking to him about how they act at school and stuff and he kind of shocked himself when he realized that they were the only kids at the school that didn't smoke or drink. I just kinda chuckled to myself on that one. We then asked him who some of his hero's were in his life; people he looked up to. He mentioned his uncle who was in the Army. That was all he had to say. I had just read about Helaman and the stripling warriors (funny because Idabel High School's mascot is the warrior). We asked him if he liked reading and hearing stories from his uncle. He said that he LOVED hearing his uncle's stories. We then asked if he'd like to read some military stories from a book that we had. He of course said that he would. So we gave him the Book of Mormon, not telling him what it was, and told him that he should read that chapter and that we would be back to talk about it the next day. By the time that we left Marcus (the sixteen year old kid) with a prayer, Edith was done with her interview. With tears rolling down her face and the biggest smile I have ever seen, she came running up to me, threw her arms around me, and gave me a BIG hug. There was no stopping this woman. Her fit of joy was too much to withstand. I was hopelessly destined to be hugged. She said, "I have never been so happy in all my life. I cannot wait to be baptized. This is the true church, I know it is." I then said, "I am so happy for you Edith. But I am sure that you and I will be much happier the day of your baptism." I then motioned towards our new friend Marcus and said, "Guess what Edith? Marcus is going to start meeting with us tomorrow." She paused for a moment to collect her thoughts. Then in a shaky voice said, "You have no idea how happy you are going to be. This has changed my life forever. I am so excited for you to feel the way that I do now." It was amazing, I tell you! AMAZING! As soon as we left the porch Marcus began reading the chapter. On top of this great event, we went back to talk with Marcus after church on Sunday. He was going to come to church but got called in to work at his friend's shop. He apologized for not being able to come, but proudly delared that he had finished the chapter and couldn't wait to continue reading. He said, " That was an awesome story! What is this book? Is is like a history book?" Ha ha ha. We said that it was a history of a people that used to live here. A people that knew and loved God. We assigned Alma 43 to introduce him to Moroni and gave him the Introduction as well. We are going back to visit with not only him but his whole family on Wednesday.
We are seeing great blessings in this area and they are only going to continue. I love it here. Can't wait to hear from y'all next week.
Elder Michael McNinch
ps- I'm alive and well. We had a tornado almost touch down in Gilmer when I was on exchange there, but no harm done. At least not to me.
Monday, April 9, 2012
We had an AMAZING week. SO SO busy. I'd say that Sunday was was one of the top two best days of my mission. Well...you know that we got our investigator couple married last Monday. Well, they were baptized on Saturday. They didn't want a very large baptism so it was only the Branch Mission Leader, the Branch President, the Branch Missionaries, and yours and my favorite Brother Raymond Melton who were there. I'll have to tell you more about Brother Melton later. Or you can ask Kaitie about him. I am sure that I have shared something in our letters about that awesome man. Anyways. So Ranny and Elna Lautona were baptized on April 7th, 2012. They were the 10th and 11th baptisms for the Branch this year. After their baptisms we got to clean up and prepare for Sunday when the Pate family members were getting baptized. After much preparation we drove out to Broken Bow to visit with another investigator family. They had invited us over for dinner and dying Easter Eggs. So awesome! While we were waiting for all of the kids to finish dying their eggs, Tim (the dad) was teaching me how to rope a steer. Ha ha ha. It was great! That is way harder than I thought that it would be! After dying eggs and roping Gatorade coolers, we got to teach the egg lesson to about 10 kids that were there. They LOVED it! We picked up all of the kids and the families they belong to as potential investigators. The parents all told us that they would like to have us come by and teach them more. AWESOME! Then came Sunday. AMAZING. We started off with Ranny and Elna being confirmed in Sacrament meeting. We had 13 investigators there too! Then the day pressed on. We had a little bit of a wardrobe malfunction with all of the Pate kids, but we figured it all out. All four of the Pate children were baptized by their father after church on Easter Sunday April 8th, 2012. It was one of the most spiritual baptisms that I have ever attended. To see all but the mother and grandmother of the family dressed in white sitting in the front row will forever be one of the most vivid mental pictures of my mission. As each one of the kids came down to meet their father in the water the tears became harder and harder to withhold. Then as I watched the father pause to wipe the tears from his eyes and struggle to keep his voice from shaking before baptizing his youngest girl, it became much too difficult for me to try and maintain my manly composure. The tears just started pouring out uncontrollably. I felt so privileged to be apart of such a wonderful service. The joy that I felt for that family is indescribable. Then even more joy came when I realized that their road to the temple is much shorter than most converts. Since all of those who were baptized were children, they can be sealed in the temple in just a few short months. This is what a mission is about. This is why we do this work. That perhaps we might be the means through which God can work to unite families forever. I feel so blessed to have even met this family. To top off the whole day, following the baptism we went into the Branch President's office to witness the marriage of another couple that we are teaching. The husband said that he wants to become a member of the church. He agreed to be baptized on May 6th, 2012. Happy Mother's Day! After that wonderful lesson, we went to go stop by the family that we dyed eggs with; Just to check up with them and confirm an appointment for later this week. Well, wouldn't you know it, we got into a gospel conversation right there on the doorstep. Man, it's like we're missionaries or something. There too, the husband said that he would like to join the church. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! I love the people that I have to opportunity to teach and be taught by. I love feeling love for those that we teach. It is such a wonderful feeling.
So yeah...that was my amazing week. I am still kind of in shock. Don't know that I will ever really get over it. Anyways...to address your last email:
I am glad that Ryan had a good time in Hawaii, just tell him to stay away from the girls. Save all that surfer charm for after the mission. Umm, no I don't remember your friend Gregg. I am sure that they last time I saw him I was about 3 feet tall and a lot skinnier. AJ IS MARRIED!!!???!!! What the?!? When did that happen!?! He has kids too!?!? Or wait...are you talking about Steven? I know that he is married. Well...maybe you did tell me that AJ was married before...I don't know. I can't remember. I have slept since then. Yes Mother I got your wonderful package. I LOVE that little memory game. The kids that we teach love it too so thank you much. Anyways...I got to go...my hour is up on the computer. Love y'all so much.
-Elder Michael McNinch
Monday, April 2, 2012
I'd be doing my gurl an injustice if I didn't send her a shout out first, so a big THANK YOU goes to a MIZ BUFFAY LUKEACE!!! The package that you sent made me laugh so hard! I love it. Rockin one of the ugly ties as we speak. You best be expecting a letter with pictures from yours truly soon.
Idabel is the promised land! We have had a great start to the week so far. This morning we got to be the witnesses at the marriage of two of our investigators. IT WAS AWESOME! I felt like I was doing some official business signing my name on a marriage certificate and all. Just glad that it wasn't MY certificate. It's been a really tough process helping this couple get to this point and it seems to have all paid off today. What is even better is that they are going to be baptized THIS SATURDAY!!! YAY!!! So all in all we are expecting to have 12 baptisms this month. We are pretty excited about all of it.
We met a lot of angry people this week. Bumped into more than a few disgruntled persons who blame the church for their problems. Had more than just a couple of doors slammed in our face, but all of those moments seemed to melt away with conference. The only other times of the year that missionaries look forward to beside Christmas and Mother's Day. Oh man, I loved this conference. Too many favorite talks to mention. I think that I set a personal record for notes taken at any meeting with about 8 pages front and back. Sad to think that this was my last conference in the mission, but glad to think that at the next conference I might be able to enjoy some of those wonderful pancakes, huh mom! I am really enjoying the mission at this point. Times when I thought that I was before, pale in comparison to now. I don't know what it is, but I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. I really don't even have to think about how to share the gospel anymore, it just sort of comes out in every conversation. Maybe it goes a little something like this, "Hi. How are you today ma'am?" "Good. Howboutchew?" "Doing great, you just waiting for a ride?" "Yeah, can't wait to get home to my family." "I know the feeling. I'm sure that your family can't wait for you to get there either." "Yeah, I'd rekon that they'd like to have something to eat tonight, guess they need me for that." "Ha ha ha, I'm sure they would. Ya know, just like your family can't wait for you to come home I know that the Lord can't wait for us to come home too." I have found that ANY conversation or topic can be related or diverted into a gospel conversation. I invite all y'all who read this email to create a gospel conversation from the most random topic possible. Email me back with the starting topic and the gospel transition and I'll see if my companion and I can't one up you on the "randomness of topic" scale. It'll be fun. Please humor me...I live in the middle of nowhere.
Nothing much else to report on from this past week. No chicken farming or calf pulling to discuss, so I'll have to get back to y'all on that one. In other good news we tracted into a former investigator (investigated about 15 years ago). She took all of the lessons, believes in what the church stands for, just wasn't ever baptized. We asked her why and she said, "...I dunno?" Ha ha ha. Miracles, I'm telling you. They are my favorite thing to experience. She and her husband invited us over for dinner this next week. I'll have to get back to y'all on that one as well.
Glad to hear that my little brother is just chillin in HAWAII!!! No big deal or anything. Don't worry Ryan, I'll sweat for you! Idabel and the 90 degree heat in APRIL thank you very much. This summer is going to be a hot one folks. Just pray we don't have 100 days over 100 like last summer. For Easter I would like an elephant and a side of world peace. PSSH, I don't know what I want for Easter mom! I've been on the "six months to sexy" missionary program, so not TOO much candy please. I've been cooking some pretty healthy stuff lately. Don't ask me why I agreed to this program, just know that the Lord is the only one that is going to make it possible for me to be sustained on this green stuff. I didn't even know that half of this stuff was edible. I'm just playing, send me anything, or nothing, it doesn't really make a difference to me.