Monday, October 10, 2011

Letter 10/3/11

Well so I know I left everyone on a cliffhanger (not that anyone is really that interested in my life right now...haha) last week with me getting my transfer call...I basically spent all day monday and tuesday packing (Elder Gibson literally took allll day to pack! It cracked me up how much junk he has!) and visiting some of our families that we have been working with. There was one family in particular that has definitely been the reason that I feel I was sent to Alabama. They thanked both Elder Gibson and I so much for all that we had done for them, but we had to honestly reply to them that we really hadn't done anything at all...we were just put into their path by the Lord, who had also prepared them for our message! It was truly a blessing to have gotten to work with that family (their son, daughter-in-law, and two grandkids also are coming into the church as a result.) They are planning to get to the temple within a few months....Elder Gibson will probably be lucky enough to join them on that wonderful day! There was also one other investigator that I got to know pretty well, Mike, a 17 year old kid. His family, was probably just as gold as Sammy and Fay were. They were never home until our last visit, but I definitely think that that family will one day be strong and faithful members of the church. I look forward to hearing all the news I can from hasn't been too difficult resisting the old habits of wanting to text friends, look on facebook, etc. but I think not being able to stay in close contact with these investigators will be rough....snail mail will have to do!

Anyway transfer meeting was Weds AM. Here is where things kind of get crazy. I thought it was a little strange to be transferred away from my trainer and first area after only 3 weeks.....I guess the Lord has bigger plans than that....I've been assigned to train another missionary who is Brazil bound! That and I'm being sent to a new area! Ensley, which is part of Birmingham! I was absolutely flabbergasted (nice vocab huh?) by that news! I've been a missionary in the field for 3 weeks and I'm being called upon to train another missionary? I definitely feel that I am unqualified for the task. The saying goes: whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies. I'm putting a lot of faith right now in that "saying"! My new companion hasn't arrived yet....all I know is that he is supposed to come sometime this week....until then, I have been put into a triple companionship with Elder Withers from Delta, Utah and Elder Emmanuel (from Burundi, Africa!). Elder Withers has been out for nearly 10 months, Elder Emmanuel is as fresh as can get...he only spent 15 days in the MTC too! It certainly has been fun working in a trio....but it has its disadvantages too...I'm definitely excited to get my own companion....It will be fun to have a little bit more freedom and flexibility with what we do, although I know with that added flexibility I'm going to need a little bit (a lot actually...) more help from our Father in Heaven. Jess sent me a quote from conference that I hadn't completely caught the first time through, from Elder Cornish's talk. Basically, the Lord cares about the things we care about because he cares about us so much! How cool and true is that? Me being worried about how to lead another missionary is just as big of a concern to the Lord! Definitely comforting to know. I am so excited to get to be "let loose" here....there's been a few times when I've felt like our companionship's could be more effective, but because I am the Junior Companion, I kind of have to go with the flow. Hopefully this Brazilian elder likes to work!

Well to tell a bit more about's not quite as nice (or white) as Millbrook fact, I think I've seen about 6 white people since I've been here. Now, Michael McKinley 3 months ago might have thought that that would mean that this is a "rough" or "sketchy" place....not so...these people here are the nicest, and most respectful people I have ever met anywhere in the United States (and when I went to Mexico the people weren't as nice as these people, so I guess they are nicest I've ever met!). They are willing to listen and take heed to your message, even if they are slightly lacking in the "commitment" department. I swear, that if we could just get 2 guaranteed appointments with these people, we'd have em hooked, and it wouldn't be too much of a problem getting them to show up when they say they will. But regardless, the work is ready to roll here.

There is a branch of Ensley, of about 60 active members. The Stake President had a dream recently in which he visualized the Ensley area "blossoming"...he said it was something very similar to Lehi's dream, with people wandering and not knowing where to turn. I definitely that that is true about this area. There are people here that are struggling, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is probably the only thing that would lift these people out of their current conditions, both temporal conditions and spiritual know that I'd love to sit here and write a thesis on this stuff, but unfortunately my time is limited here.....just know that there is work to be done here, and someone who is willing to try and do it!

I'll leave with my favorite quote from comes from President Monson...he said that "when the time for decision has arrived, the time for preparation has passed". How true that is....some of the biggest decisions we will make in our lives we will only have to make once....make those decisions well in advance, through prayer, guidance from loved ones, scripture study, and pondering so that the adversary will not have time or place to nudge you from your rock of decision when the time comes to choose. I testify that we are all more powerful than anything he has to offer, but only if we walk in the light. Prophets walk the earth today! Listen to what they are telling us! A living prophet is more important than the Bible (don't tell that to people in the south) and the Book of Mormon. He is God's living representative here on the Earth...just as Jesus Christ was once God's living representative on the earth. I know that this Gospel is true! I wouldn't get out of bed every morning if it weren't! Jesus Christ lives, and wants us to know that more than anything else! I love this work and the sweet, sweet joy it brings to all who are associated with it!

Until next time,

-Elder McKinley

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